Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas- A Gentle Breeze

People that are amusement park aficionadoaficionados-- beeline to Busch Gardens. Others that revel in waist deep powder and snowboarding-- jet to Vail, Colorado... But lover's of pristine blue waters and sugary sand slipping between their toes-- head to St. Thomas U.S. Virgin Islands. If you are in need of a beach lover’s break, don't delay-- pack your bags for a laidback and leisurely holiday to this sun drenched paradise.

St. Thomas is part of a diverse Caribbean archipelago that's steeped in a swashbuckling history of pirates and buried treasure. The islands exuding the delicate fragrance of flora, are home to many of the world's most picturesque sandy shores-- including Magens Bay and Coki Beach. There's a celebrated white-edged beach to discover every day of your vacation and right within footsteps of each other. At this world-renowned tropical oasis, feel free to fill up on rum cakes and cash in on huge shopping discounts.

The Cyril E. King Airport (CEKA)

Located on the western end of St. Thomas, is The Cyril E. King Airport-- one of the Eastern Caribbean's busiest. This airport offers nonstop flights from the United States, as well as many other International hubs.

Due to the Cyril E. King's small size, luggage assistance is generally not needed. For a lift into town, simply take a short stroll to the awaiting taxi dispatcher outside baggage claim. Most taxi fares average $4.00 to 12.00 USD. Buses also service the airport from 6am until 8:00pm but on no tried, nor true schedule.

Where to Stay:

Waft your worries away on the east coast of Saint Thomas at the Secret Harbour Beach Resort. Nestled on the lovely coastline of Benner Bay, this hotel is also conveniently located just a short distance from the Red Hook Mall and a great nightlife scene.

The spacious seaside guest rooms offer private balconies that feature seating for two which are perfect for watching the unrivaled Caribbean sunsets. Soak in the salty sea breeze and the tranquil scenery at this lovely property which hosts two restaurants, and an authorized PADI Dive center. There's plenty of access to any number of recreational vessels and sailing boats at this self sufficient resort... Not to mention any other oceanfront activity you could possibly imagine.

The Secret Harbour's studio apartments are situated directly on the beautiful beach-- also known as, 'The Lagoon--'  and come fully furnished with full kitchens, dishwashers as well as free internet. With a palm-tree shaded swimming pool, lighted tennis courts, and gift shop this is the perfect place for your sunny beach holiday. Other amenities include an onsite concierge, and even a wedding coordinator-- should the romantic setting overtake you.

Shop till you Drop

The three words you will covet the most when visiting St. Thomas are-- 'duty-free shopping.' Downtown Charlotte Amalie is a shopaholic's bonanza that won't suck you dry. Drop in any of the myriad of the island's discount jewelry emporiums, liquor stores or the open-air Market Square to find super bargains.

Generally as a rule of thumb,  I suggest waiting on cruise ship throng to clear out in order to avoid long lines and boisterous customers... But find the best deals at the Crown Bay Shopping Center, where the cruise ship crowds may work to your advantage as impatient and overwrought vendors will cave for your asking price.

Coki Beach-

Ever imagine where they film those Corona commercials, the one with the perfect turquoise water and pristine white sand-- the bottle of ice cold beer in the hand? Well, his stretch is that of beach. Waves lap up, ever so gently on Coki Beach, but due to its popularity-- it can get a little crowded. So to find a secluded stretch of the beach, walk down near the end of the cove and you will be undisturbed-- on this piece of heaven here on earth.

St. John-- Trunk Bay

There is no more of a romantic setting for soul mate's to share their very own, 'From Here To Eternity' moment-- than at Trunk Bay. You know, the movie where the two intertwined lovers, neck impassionedly on the beach.  Well cut loose, pucker up and express your undying love at this idyllic hideaway.

To get to St. John hop the water ferry from downtown Charlotte Amalie or the Red Hook dock-- the adventurous boat ride adds to a sense of excitement and anticipation of getting there... Once you arrive, safari ‘dollar ride’ buses will greet you at the tiny island's pier--  but you might pass a feral donkey on the narrow road leading to the National Park... so keep your hand inside the vehicle, lest you be kicked or nibbled on by the untamed beasts.

Located 3 miles out of Cruz Bay on the North Shore Rd., Trunk Bay has perfect powdery white sand and an underwater snorkel trail with plaques describing the sea life and ecosystem. No visit to St. John is complete without a visit to Trunk Bay. There is a $4 fee to access the beach.

Coconuts Bar and Grill

For the islands best margarita, or for that matter, the Caribbean's best cocktail-- drop in the well respected and much venerated, Coconuts Bar and Grill. The nachos will feed a family of four and the US Grade A beef burgers will leave you busting a gut... But with a cocktail's this good, it's all trivial-- you won't be seeing your food clearly after two of these potent potables anyway... so who's to care. The food's not the hero at this rambunctious and raucous setting but good luck trying to grab a seat-- this pint size pub packs a crowd. The clientele is colorful and rich in character however old adage applies-- get there early and stay late. After a night of revelry here, side effects might include-- hangovers and/or rehab depending on who you belly up next to at the bar.

Catania Charter

Enjoy a sun-filled afternoon and soak in dramatic views of the island on a classic sailing vessel. Catania Charter will usher you through hidden coves, stopping along the way to explore and snorkel.
All private charters include an open bar and refreshments as well as snorkel gear to take in the vivid coral and wide variety of ocean life.

Half day excursions run $95 per person but for the best value book the sunset cruise for six people at only $400.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Remembering San Antonio

Sometimes you will find your travel inspiration- in the most unlikely of places... where you rediscover your passion to strip away the facade of a destination and get right to it... Well this holds true for warm, and inviting San Antonio, Texas. Once you arrive at this Lone Star Treasure,  you will experience a genuine hospitality that embraces and appreciates you for who you are.. Like a comfortable and accepting throwback to a bygone day -- as if you've made a friend for life.

San Antonio is a large city with a small town feel that perfectly manages to retain its cultural heritage. Peel back the city's machismo exterior,  and you will discover a gallant and gracious community that reminds us what is important in life- family, love and romance. Slowly unwrap each layer to discover San Antonio's wild side, the cultural wonders as well as the romantic nuances the city has to offer.

When in San Antonio plan on making a splash-- there's a myriad of waterways, water parks and even at SeaWorld you'll get wet. But take heart, the shade of Cypress -lined San Antonio River Walk will provide you the perfect respite for a romantic stroll, fine dining or great shopping.  There's only one catch, the further you get from San Antonio... the closer to your heart-- it becomes.

Getting Around

Rio Taxi

The easiest method for traversing the San Antonio waterways is on a Rio Water Taxi. There are ton of fun stops and a truly exciting way to take in San Antonio's historic sites as well as all the beautiful attractions. There's a downtown and museum reach which will run you a reasonable  $15.00 for a twenty-four hour pass. Also, you can conveniently purchase tickets on board.

Explore San Antonio the practical and inexpensive way on the Red or Blue Circulators-- thanks to the VIA transit service. This fleet of historic streetcar replicas stop at virtually every tourist attraction, hotels and restaurants in the downtown metro area. These whimsical and seemingly adventuresome trolley rides run frequently-- around every 20 minutes.

A full day fare is less than three US dollars and transfers to/from regular city bus lines are included. But don't be fooled with the 'Hop on Hop off' Red Trolley-- which provides a voice tour for a much more expensive rate of travel. Virtually the same experience without a lot of gab and expense.


Staying There

The Hotel Contessa

For an incomparable San Antonio stay make your reservations at the only four Diamond-  all suite- hotel located directly on the River Walk. This premier property is literally ten steps away from the famed  San Antonio  River Walk with easy access to shops, galleries and of course-  the Alamo.

 The Hotel Contessa blends old world charm with a new world touch. These little nuances make the property special,  from the stunning brushed metal chandeliers hand-crafted by Mexican artisans to the atrium's  beautiful design.

The management actually listens to what their guests are saying through social media and are quick to make adaptations to ever improve the guest's  experience  and their service.  No amenity is overlooked, and there's even a seasonally heated rooftop pool sauna-- always a favorite for well traveled feet and with the kids. With 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and a gorgeous ballroom, all wedding's beckon. Even San Antonio's fabled 'Marriage Island' is steps away from the properties veranda.

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk

For a touch of class and an ultra-sexy stay in San Antonio book your suite at the upscale Hotel Valencia Riverwalk. Centrally located in San Antonio's posh Theater District, the Hotel Valencia is nestled on a quiet, serene stretch of the river walk that actually accommodates a running path-- and trust me if you tried to take a jog on the main drag-- you will be taking a dip.

This boutique hotel is the place to stay as many celebrities and professional athletes will attest,  including J-lo and Kobe on their stopovers  through south Texas. Often selected by world travelling publications as one of the 5 top rated hotels in San Antonio, their VBar- complete with a DJ- rocks to standing room only crowds.

Enjoy the relaxing vibe of the Rotunda area which has a romantic motif that will draw you in and melt away the real world. If you are visiting San Antonio for a romantic weekend the Hotel Valencia will satisfy all your requirements with a wide array of boutique amenities that of course include complimentary Wi-Fi.

Things to do--

Take advantage of the spectacular San Antonio River views from either one these hotel's Juliet balconies during 'Fiesta.' Fiesta is San Antonio's ten day version of Mardi Gras- which runs April 14th -24th. It is one of the countries longest running and popular festivals-- which feature 'floats on boats.'

The Historic Pearl Brewery -

A daytrip to the Pearl Brewery District by water taxi will take you through the lock & dam which is an enjoyable experience for the entire family. Moss covered bridges and the smiles of passerby's makes your journey to the mixed use development serene and peaceful. Tiny waterfalls and a wide esplanade greet your arrival at this mixed use development, located minutes north of downtown San Antonio.  Home to cutting edge restaurants, independent boutiques and wide open spaces. There's a fun loving and energetic vibe, which is reflected in the upbeat....

The Alamo

The Alamo teaches us not to back down from an oppressive and unyielding government. "Remember the Alamo"  are three words etched into the collective conscious of every true blooded American.  They inspire all of us to draw a line in the sand, and dig in a little deeper for the beliefs we hold true. This hallowed piece of ground inspires all of us to confront the tyrannical bully with good grace and dignity, albeit in face of overwhelming odds. San Antonio reminds us that, although we may lose the battle... together we will win the fight.

Market Square

Colorful, vibrant, and loaded with bargains... You'll feel as if you've been transported to Play Del Carmen or Cancun at this historic downtown marketplace. Children readily line up for face painting, as the adults gleefully look on. Two of the city's best Mexican restaurants are here in Market Square and customers stack up waiting for a table. The merchants offer finely crafted ceramics, handmade leather goods and intricately woven dresses. There's something for everyone provided you take the time to find your hidden treasure and keepsake.


La Margarita Restaurant & Oyster Bar

Don't waste your hard earn tourism dollars on inauthentic Mexican food on the River Walk. Head down to Market Square for the real deal- only the best Margarita and Mexican food San Antonio has to offer. And guess what-- it won't cost you an arm and a leg. La Margarita entrees are simple but as if they are prepared from the heart... The fajitas melt in your mouth and the enchiladas excite your taste buds. The service is timely and always with a smile.. Par for the course in lovely San Antonio.

La Gloria Ice House

Skip the Tex-Mex-- and get straight to the 'Mex.' This Pearl District Restaurant serves up out of this world, mind-blowingly delicious 'Street foods of Mexico.'  This Ice House is so cool it has even caught the eye of Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas-- where they are promptly adding a La Gloria's to their casino.

What can you say about a restaurant that takes a seafood taco-- batters and deep fries it to mouthwatering perfection. Sure, may not be the best for your arteries-- but you don't go on vacation to diet... and heck this badboy entree is worth  burning off the calories with a walk back to the downtown hotel.            

Monday, February 22, 2016

Buzz is in the air!

I'm delighted to say-- there's been a giant burst of BlogSpot traffic here as a result of the select résumés that I have recently sent out. Movers and Shakers from across the country are stopping in and showing considerable interest in my long list of televised appearances.  So, I wanted to assemble a few of my most memorable screenshots from recent Morning Talk Show interviews-- for all of my devoted followers to take a look at!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Between a Rock and a Fun Place-- Gibraltar, UK

Rising up, like one of the Pillars of Hercules-- The Rock of Gibraltar stands as an indomitable sentinel guarding the entryway to Mediterranean Sea. Steeped in history, this iconic monolith stands as a
testament to human resolve, for signs of this- simply stroll through the labyrinth of tunnels burrowed out of coarse limestone during World War Two--  in an effort to preserve a continent.
The British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar is lined with vibrant city streets, and numerous historic landmarks. It's like the perfect English dream vacation without the inclement weather. You will find plenty of tax-free shopping, high flying Barbary Apes, as well as numerous beaches on your unforgettable vacation to the southern-most tip of the Costa del Sol.

If it's good enough to be the wedding site of John and Yoko in 1969-- "Yeah, baby, yeah!" lets pack our bags and see what this Austin Powers-esque- shagadelic place is all about...
Getting There:

The Gibraltar International Airport serves the entire Iberian coastline-- from Seville to Malaga as well, of course as visitors to the Rock. The North Front Airport, as it is also known-- takes up a major portion of the entire British Territory. So to drive from Gibraltar into Spain, vehicles must literally cross the airport's runway... much like you would at a school bus crossing or waiting for a train to pass...

Pretty informal considering the nefarious times we live in-- but not to fear-- there is a tunnel under construction and should be completed soon--  However, for nostalgia's sake-- foot traffic into Spain will still be able to continue across the runway. Consider leasing an auto (in advance) from Avis Car Rental and as an added bonus you get to 'cross the runway.'

 Staying There:

 Situated in the heart of Old Town is the storied hotel O'Callaghan Eliott Hotel. A perfect 'pied-a-terre' for exploring-- guests are always never far the popular restaurants and romantic destinations along the Iberian coastline. The stylish Inn features room's with warm and contemporary Irish styling. Most room are outfitted with all the comforts of home as well as spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea.

The Eliott has a health club, a sauna and a bistro with views over the Strait, Rock of Gibraltar and city views. And don't forget your swimsuit for the rooftop swimming pool. This pleasant hotel features clean rooms, and a more than accommodating staff.  

Gibraltar Cable Car

No trip to Gibraltar would be complete without hopping on a cable car to the top of the Rock. The ride up the summit provides sweeping views and children will delight in a fifteen minute journey.

But, it doesn't come without its peril. If you are scared of heights-- forget about it--  the ride can be mind numbingly scary. Suspended only by the cable two cables above- the cable cars creak and will lurch without warning- as the crowd, packed in like sardines, collectively gasp in fright... swinging mercilessly in the high winds.

Once you arrive at the summit, it will all be worth it as you are greeted by the overly friendly-- yet somewhat aggressive Barbary Macaques (Apes).


In Spain

Considering Spain's economic downturn-- not all the bargains can be found in the tax free haven of Gibraltar--  Across the border in La Línea, values abound and they are everywhere. So be sure to take a day trip to explore the Spanish countryside-- you won't regret it.
Main Street in Gibraltar

Main Street is lined with typical English shops, hard to find items and exquisite jewelry. The scenic cobblestone pathway runs several blocks, almost to the border of La Linea. You may want to consider avoiding Main Street when the cruise ship pulls into port, and find all the daily bargains already have been scooped up. Also-- be advised-- even considering the tax free offerings, prices are still over-inflated, so ask for discounts and haggle in the jewelry shops.

The Great Siege Tunnels
Step back in time while exploring history with a to visit the Great Siege Tunnels. You will discover many nooks and crannies to duck into-- each of which are filled with fables tales as well as  historical relevance. The openings of the tunnels provides unique vantage points of the surrounding topography and fantastic photography views from high up the rock. Just one look through the canon turrets will let you know what your grandfather's generation did to save the European Continent from the Nazi menace. The climb back is steep so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water for hydration--  they even post signs to advise you of the ascent you will endure.

 The Original Dolphin Safari

Experience beautiful sea life on this extraordinary dolphin outing with family and newfound friends. Dolphins seemingly are ubiquitous-- and the views of the Ivory Coast and the Rock of Gibraltar are unparalleled. The Dolphin Safari prices average 25 to 30 Euros per person with several trips offered daily. They even offer a 99% guarantee that you will see dolphins-- hopefully there's a refund if you are the .01 percent that doesn't-- But then again, who really cares... you're on the water basking in the sun and loving every minute of it.

Roy's Cod Place

Don't you ever wonder-- how so many restaurants can screw up a simple recipe like fish and chips? They come out cool- soggy, laden in grease... well not here! At Roy's Cod Place-- they get it right every time! light, crispy-- flaky cod that melts in your mouth. And guess what? The chips are amazing as well... The serving sizes of full order are so large you may only need two servings to feed a family of four... is the only way to go. The only drawback? When you have to return to the states and muddle through a pedestrian serving of what is labeled as-- fish and chips.

Be sure to sample an order of the Mushy Peas with Curry Sauce... The Shrimp Scampi is another crowd favorite that the local's highly recommend.


You won't break the bank by dropping in for a bite to eat at this raucous and high energy eatery. Prices of the food aren't designed to gouge the patrons, yet the quality of the food always remains consistently high. Bruno's is located in Gibraltar's sailing marina of Ocean Village and home to superb dining with a highly competent staff.

Enjoy a homemade juicy burger homemade medium burger-- without busting your belt-- featuring their low calorie healthy recipe. Teriyaki chicken noodles are another outstanding option that should top your list when dining here. As an added bonus, don't miss out on their two for one cocktail special-- it's like a nonstop happy hour. This joint can get rockin,' so expect to pay as you go... Euros are always gladly accepted.  


Monday, July 20, 2015

Bridges over the Willamette-- Portland, Oregon

Sure it's a smaller West Coast destination, but Portland doesn't suffer from an inferiority complex. Forget about walkable, this city is 'bike-able.' Portland Oregon is comfortable in its own shoes and doesn't strive to be the San Francisco or Seattle. Portlander's are an accepting lot and a non-judgmental group where you are encouraged to "be true to yourself."
Some cities are built on silver and other's are built on gold-- but Portland, Oregon is a gem with a certain 'visit-ability' where everything's right at hand or within quick access. It's an easy town to figure out and simple to navigate from the funky vibe of the Alberta Arts District, to the city’s posh Pearl District and out as far as the stunning Silver Falls State Park. Nestled against the picturesque backdrop of Mt. Hood- Portland, Oregon is not only a haven for the micro brewery scene-- but also serves up some of the world's most renowned wines.

Getting There:
Flights into Portland's International Airport (PDX) are a straight shot and wide open... Fly US Airways while the getting is still good-- and before they are swallowed up by American Airlines.
Once you arrive, for only $2.50pp  you can take the TriMet's MAX Red Line light rail that will drop you off literally feet from your hotel in the city center. The TriMet does a great job providing peace of mind, even conducting random security sweeps before you board. However if you are dragging carry-on luggage, be prepared for an arduous trek through the lengthy airport--  you may want to consider checking your bags so you can pick them up at the baggage claim which is closer to the light rail boarding area. Once there-- consider a seven day pass on the TriMet or simply hop one of the ubiquitous cabs that prowl the city streets, as rates usually never rise above ten dollars a ride.
Staying there:
In the Lloyd District, on the east side of the Willamette River is the sparkling-- Hotel Eastlund. This brand new boutique property is appreciative of all things intimate and luxurious... Their room have tight, modern feng shui that is softened up through the use of textured throws, headboards and nice finishing touches that lend to an unparalleled sense of comfort. and thoughtful of all the essential amenities... including free Wi-Fi and personal service.
Within steps of the Oregon Convention Center and Portland’s Moda Center, Hotel Eastlund is easily accessible by Portland Streetcar as well as the MAX light rail system, making the property the perfect base camp point for exploring all nooks and crannies of the city. Hotel Eastlund is so new, however, that most taxicab drivers don't even know it's completed and have trouble finding the entrance so allow for some time waiting for your cab to arrive.

Hotel Vintage Portland
However, the ideal launching pad for any extended Portland stay is the exclusive, yet pricey Hotel Vintage. Being centrally located in the heart of downtown grants you the flexibility of walking-- or use of their onsite bicycles-- to Portland's most vibrant downtown destinations... like Pioneer Courthouse Square, Pioneer Place mall, Powell's Books and the Pearl District.
Everything you need for unforgettable Portland travel experience is right here in this stylish, urban retreat that has been a mainstay of the city for generations. Hotel Vintage offers you the best of everything including gourmet food, leisure activities in their gaming area, and of course-- luxurious accommodations.

Whether you choose to stay at the property be sure to take in some outstanding dining at their Pazzo Restaurant. The Pazzo Restuarant is arguably one of downtown's finest restaurants and a bastion of good eats for Portlanders and visitors alike.
Things to Do:
Willamette Valley Wine Tour
The Evergreen Escape's shuttle van will meet your party right outside your hotel... Then you will be whisked away on an enchanting tour of the Willamette Valley, home to home to many of the regions award-winning Pinot Noir wines. Your conversant guide will enlighten you with rich history of Oregon wine country and why soil is ideal for handcrafting world class Pinot Noir.  Bring out your inner wine connoisseur on this half day-- all things grape-- (or should I say,  great) expedition. evergreenescapes.com
Portland Saturday Market
Every Saturday, under the Burnside Bridge Portland hosts one of the largest craft markets in all of the Pacific Northwest. Get there early and enjoy the festive atmosphere and energy as the local vendors prepare for a day of brisk sales. Located in historic downtown feature the highest quality arts and handmade crafts. If you looking for a few one of a kind gifts to bring home to the family and friends, this is the place to find them. portlandsaturdaymarket.com
The Washington Park Area- hosts numerous activities for the entire family to experience. Below are just a sampling of family fun:
Stop! And smell...
If the park's Japanese Gardens aren't enough to excite the visual senses-- all you need to do is cross the road and discover why they refer to Portland as,  'The City of Roses.' As you descend into the bountiful array of rose varieties, you will immediately be greeted  by the flower's potent fragrance. Photo opportunities are never ceasing and the Portland International Rose Test Garden  will be appreciated by all ages.
Hoyt Arboretum
Take a stroll around the trails of the Hoyt Arboretum, featuring a collection of trees and perennial display gardens. Kids will delight in the exploration of the raw nature of the Pacific Northwest as they meander through groves of humongous trees. hoytarboretum.org
The Oregon Zoo- Children's excitement is palpable, literally when they are here-- their feet do not touch the ground. Be the hero parent by taking the kids to this wonderful zoo. oregonzoo.org
Dining There:
Embrace life's unexpected delectability with a Breakfast at Tasty and Sons - Dominating Portland’s popular brunch scene, the two Tasty restaurants serve up an eclectic and innovative menu--. The flavorful culinary collision of their signature dishes are simply scrumptious. The small plate servings are meant for family-style sharing. The restaurant's Bloody Mary's are the perfect antidote to a late night out. www.tastynsons.com
Natural Selections
Go meatless in one of the city’s most funkified and beatnik neighborhoods--the Alberta Arts District. Chef and owner Aaron Woo conjures up his sophisticated 'mostly vegan, and completely vegetarian' menu featuring only the freshest of Oregon’s produce. Trust me, seats in this intimate of a setting are coveted... so book your reservations now, or there will be little opportunity dining at this wildly popular (but expensive) vegetarian restaurant.

Trifecta Tavern and Bakery
It must be named Trifecta-- 'cuz they nail it right -- one, two  and three-- Where else can you find an appetizer consisting of American ham on  hot rolls covered with drizzled honey alongside raw oysters on the half shell? This mash up blend of bistro, bakery and bar-- is a do not miss anytime you visit Portland. A strong old school cocktail and wine approach complement the wide array of comfort food available in this Eastside gem of a restaurant.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Parks and Recreation-- Anchorage Alaska

Through a unique combination of unspoiled nature and a multitude of family-fun activities-- Anchorage, Alaska offers the backdrop for a perfect summer vacation. You'll find every outdoor activity imaginable and more. But, let's be clear on this-- this is not a place of leisure-- we are talking recreation on steroids. Discover endless acreage of park lands, tree-lined nature trials, and landscaped gardens during your stay to this wildlife mecca.

 Anchorage city limits span nearly fifty miles, that's roughly the size of Delaware.  At every turn, the opportunities for exploration and adventure are never-ending. There are trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding... There's fishing, boating, and camping... However, always remain mindful of wandering moose or the omnipresent brown bear-- to mention a few.

Gateway To Alaska
The most frequently used port of entry and departure for international flights into Alaska, is Anchorage's-- Ted Stevens International Airport. What the airport lacks in style, it makes up for with convenience. It is simple to navigate, not too large and passengers are never far from their gate.

Take public transportation directly out of the terminal to your downtown hotel. Since the airport is located a scant four miles from the city center, at $7.50 the short bus ride is a less expensive alternative than a local taxi ($25.00).

Copper Whale Inn
Whether you are traveling through or planning to visit Anchorage for several days, staying at this bed and breakfasts is an outstanding option. Treat yourself to a refreshing night's stay at the Copper Whale Inn situated in the heart of Anchorage and only a stone's throw from the Cook Inlet. The B&B's rustic appeal combined with a fresh costal breeze make this a relaxing retreat that offers the weary traveler peace of mind. Elfin ponds and waterfalls all add to the charm of the properties multi-colored gardens as well as rejuvenate your spirit. Choose from rooms offering private baths or many other unique amenities.

Re-live a more simple time as you sit on the patio with sipping your morning coffee. At this charming Bed and Breakfast you will able to explore, unwind and take pleasure in popular Anchorage, Alaska. Complimentary continental breakfast is served from 6:45–10 a.m.

Anchorage Excursions-
For a healthy dose of Alaskan hospitality visit the campy downtown visitor center with the grass-sod roof. They won't steer you wrong. Word has it-- if you are lucky, and stop in at the right time-- you may even catch a glimpse of the man, the myth--the living legend, Jack Booney.

Portage wildlife and glaciers
Sometimes-- seeing a small glacier up close and personal is more advantageous than seeing a large glacier from a great distance. All aboard the m/v Ptarmigan for one hour roundtrip cruise with fantastic views of the face of Portage Glacier. This pleasant scenic boat ride on the Portage Lake includes narration from the National Forest Service.
After you return stop and shop for valuable keepsake and children's mementos at the Begich-Boggs Visitor Center. The gangway to the vessel is wheelchair accessible and safe for children of all ages.

Bike Anchorage Multi-Use Trails
For an inexpensive and adventuresome afternoon-- venture out on bike ride along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail.  This trail is perfect for hiking, mountain biking, even horseback riding.  Bike rental kiosks line the city streets and it's quite easy to navigate the ten mile trail which follows the coast of Anchorage or one of the hundred and forty miles of paved trails the city has to offer. All of which are shared-use paths-- so if you have a hankering to huff them on feet or inline skates-- suit up to your hearts healthy desire.

Save Endangered Species
At the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, you will find yourself mastering the art of wildlife photography. Creating powerful wildlife images is a breeze in the stress-free confines of this hundred-acre nature preserve. The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center also rescues and rehabilitates native wild animals that are orphaned or have been injured.

Located at the entrance of the Portage Valley...  so needless to say, a visit here is in close proximity as well as an outstanding accompaniment with your glacial cruise outing. To bring out the next generation of conservationist in your child, simply pay the cost of admission: $12.50 for Adults and $9.00 Children & Seniors.

Snow City Café
Popular is an understatement... the locals are jawing about this downtown brunch spot before the airplane even lands in Anchorage. With menu items like Stuffed French Toast & Ship Creek Benedict-- poached eggs, over smoked salmon cakes... you  know this hotspot is not to be missed. Best of all the restaurant is right around the corner from the Copper Whale Inn... so just forgo their pedestrian breakfast of cereal and bananas and dine here every morning of your stay.

Glacier BrewHouse
The name says it all... handcrafted brews and fresh Alaskan seafood. The Glacier BrewHouse has acquired a strong reputation for quality menu offerings and a great value. You can't go wrong stopping in for a night of fine dining and revelry with family and friends here.  In a city known for its fresh seafood, the BrewHouse tops the list of upscale restaurants. From moist and tender Halibut fillet to Salmon, you'll will find every imaginable Alaskan fish entrees at this eatery.

The Kobuk
This coffee and gift shop serves-- amazingly good-- homemade donuts. The donuts have a slightly crispy exterior while the cinnamon-sugar frosting keeps them light, and moist on the inside. Located in the historic Kimball's Store, dating back to 1915. Find your way to this little known gem, it's worth the effort.

The Bake Shop
In the mountain town of Girdwood, lunch at the Bake Shop, Girdwood. a home-style restaurant that offers healthy dishes and made from scratch, too. They offering specialty cakes and homemade desserts, some even with healthy ingredients. The Bake Shop is renowned for it Famous Sweet Roll-- melt in your mouth and one will feed a family of four.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

the French Riviera-- old world opulence

With a litany of posh resorts and perennial sunshine the French Riviera provides the ideal backdrop for an idyllic European retreat. Everyone from adoring couples and families will appreciate the sheer raw beauty of the southern coast of France. Dramatic coastal cliffs meet the calm Mediterranean Sea... The setting is absolutely gorgeous, quiet and peaceful.

The Cote d'Azur's high-style, unashamed splendor and luxurious resorts-- will impress the most discriminating of tastes. When vacationing in French Riviera, Nice is a comparably inexpensive option as opposed to star-struck Cannes or lavish St.-Tropez. Nice, the country's fifth most populated city is replete with a wide assortment of shopping, perennial sunshine and superb dining.
Getting There:

Most visitors to the South of France will fly into Nice Cote d’Azur Airport, services flights from all over Europe including the UK's Heathrow and Gatwick International airports. Rapide Cote d’Azur provides safe and reliable bus service from the Airport throughout the coast.

Staying There:

A conveniently located boutique hotel, The Splendid- Nice is few blocks from the Promenade and train station. Although a bit dated, the airy rooms remain well maintained, large and comfortable. Their roof top restaurant serves a hearty continental breakfast and provides a picturesque view of the city. The rates are reasonable and offer a good bang for your buck.


No trip to the French Riviera is complete without a day trip to the small principality of Monaco. Monte Carlo is a city known for fast cars, opulence and their world famous Grand Casino. The twenty-two minute scenic train ride from Nice only costs a scant $5.00 USD. It’s best if you hail a cab for exploring the steep and congested streets of Monte Carlo. If you decide to huff it on foot to the Prince’s Palace-- good luck, and allow plenty of time for breathers. Tourists flock to the city's old quarter for a quick bite to eat and another notable attraction, The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco.


Kultours - Day Tours:

For a backstage pass to the French Riviera, reserve your private guide with Kultours - Day Tours. Open the doors for you to experience the beautiful countryside and shoreline as you enjoy a custom tour of coastal France. Kultours combines  all the essential ingredients of a best tour operator... experience, trustworthiness and fun. A luxuriously appointed van complete with beverages and snacks ushers you through the beautiful countryside and coastlines. Another viable option is to have their private shuttle meet you at the airport and spend the day touring breathtaking new sites. The roadside picnic adds charm and creates a memory that will last a lifetime.

Theatre de la Photographie et de l'Image:

When it comes to the nature of art, beauty, and sophistication nothing beats the creation of pure photography. Theatre de la Photographie et de l'Image is one of France's largest and most respected photography galleries.
This dedicated space for fine art photography houses a mind-bending collection of vintage and modern photographs. The viewer walk away take away images of beauty in this form of art and be left speechless contemplating the thought provoking works behind the photos they've just seen.

Shopping and Fashion:

One of the best shopping districts in picturesque Vieux Nice is Cours Saleya. This is the epicenter of unique fashion emporiums and designer brand boutiques. Visitors will stumble upon great dining opportunities and shoe tapping street performers as they ferret out that one of a kind art or antique selection at the local Flea Market. All in a friendly old world setting complete with no major parking hassles -
Eat All the Time

Let's be honest, you don't go on vacation to diet-- however, a Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest ways to eat. At the cornerstone of this healthy fare is Extra Virgin Olive Oil, featuring hints of pepper and ground cardamom.
One of the best places in the world to immerse yourself in fabulous recipes featuring this essential ingredient is at the Oliviera Restaurant. For gluten-free goodness-- order the fresh the Chicken with Vinegar Roasted Peppers another standout is their Mediterranean Olive Bread. Located in Old Town-- Vieux Nice
No Need For Lethargy:
We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so you may as well blow it out... At the Boulangerie Multari Bakery nothing will lift the enliven your senses better than the smell of fresh baked buttery croissants first thing in the morning. Besides breakfast they offer ready-made salads, sandwiches and bite-sized desserts for the taking... Seating is scare and extremely limited in the tiny bakery so grab your morning coffee to go and get your motor running.  Boulangerie Multari  has several bakeries peppered throughout the Cote d'Azur so odds are you won't have trouble finding one.
Le Sentier du Littoral, Cap d'Antibes:
One of best ways for you to get a treasured feel for this Mediterranean region is by your feet. Grab a cold beverage and experience firsthand the thrills of walking through rich vegetation on this legendary walking area. The perfect complement to your vacation and behold nature at its most dramatic. Along the scenic walking route you will take in many species of sea birds and sparkling ocean views of the South of France. Allow one to two hours possibly longer...