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Posted by on Dec 13, 2016 in Cultural Exploration, Destinations, USA | 6 comments

Discover An Old World Christmas Market In Wisconsin

Discover An Old World Christmas Market In Wisconsin

I have a confession to make: I’ve felt a bit like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas lately, when it comes to the holidays. I still go to friend and family dinners, and I exchange a few gifts, but I haven’t decorated in a long while. It all seems like a lot of work to be enjoyed for such a short time. And the older I’ve grown, the more my friends and I have gotten away from exchanging gifts. Maybe it’s shallow of me, but I always felt part of the fun of Christmas, or any time really, was finding something to gift someone, something especially for them. This year, I was saved from my Grinch-y self by an invitation to visit the Osthoff Resort on Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. I’d never heard of Elkhart Lake, but via a quick Google search I learned that it was the perfect place to find some Christmas spirit. There’s something about a small town all dressed up in tinsel, street lamps glowing, and a...

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Posted by on Nov 30, 2016 in Architectural Travel, Cultural Exploration, Destinations, France | 7 comments

Rolling On The Rhone River With Viking Cruises

Rolling On The Rhone River With Viking Cruises

September of this year saw me fulfilling a long-standing dream of taking a European River Cruise. From Provence in the south to Lyon in the  northern Rhone region of France, I spent seven days on board the Viking longship Buri. During the week long cruise, we stopped at six ports along the Rhone River. Each port was a mini history and culture lesson. Often the food and wine of a particular area was a special treat at dinner, as when we arrived in Tournon Sur Rhone, where just across the river are the famous Hermitage AOC Vineyards. That evening, we drank a local Syrah.  Food, wine, art, and architecture – all the things I love about Europe – were part of the cruise experience, which Viking does so well. This was my first time in France, and I was not disappointed. Many of my readers know that I’m a big Italophile, but this year I went to France instead of Italy. Who knew that France has almost as many...

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Posted by on Aug 25, 2016 in Cultural Exploration, Destinations, France, Wine Travel | 4 comments

A Consumer’s Guide: The Wines of Alsace, France

A Consumer’s Guide: The Wines of Alsace, France

One of the things I love about wine is that every bottle is a multifaceted story. I’ve learned more geography, geology and history than I ever learned in school, since I began my course of Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) study, and  pouring wine for tastings. Imagine an area defined by the Vosges Mountains in the west, and the Rhine River in the east. Undulating terrain unlike any other place in France lies between, blanketed in vineyards. Geographically situated at the crossroads of Roman and German influences, the landscape of Alsace is a charming mix of cultures and architectural styles, rolling hills, plains, and farms. I didn’t know at the time that I was already in love with Alsace and its wines. The floral and stone- fruit aromas simply make me happy. Once I started doing some research on the area it was easy to see why —Alsace is beautiful! The Romans knew a good thing when they saw it and were growing wine grapes there in the...

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Posted by on May 14, 2016 in California, Cultural Exploration, Destinations, Featured SLider, USA | 30 comments

Insider Tips From Hospitality Pros: San Francisco

Insider Tips From Hospitality Pros: San Francisco

The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Chinatown, Union Square, North Beach – travelers to San Francisco will likely recognize the names of these popular tourist attractions and neighborhoods of San Francisco. But what if you want to go native? What if you’ve been there, done that, and are looking for a new adventure; be it a new place to eat breakfast, or the perfect place for expansive photo-worthy vistas. Or maybe you’re the kind of traveler that thrives on surprise and spontaneity. One of the best ways to discover new places is to simply ask one of the staff where you happen to be staying. Whether a five-star hotel or a bed and breakfast, hotel and hospitality pros always have the best insider tips. And, there’s a good chance they live in the city. Most welcome the chance to talk about something a little bit personal, while doing their job and being helpful at the same time. It must be refreshing to answer a question like, “What’s your favorite place...

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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in California, Cultural Exploration, Destinations, Food and Drink, Tasting Rooms and Wineries | 6 comments

How To Spend A Day In Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone

How To Spend A Day In Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone

  Located just two blocks from the beach, between Cabrillo Blvd. and Highway 101, is Santa Barbara’s unusually hip neighborhood. Known as The Funk Zone, it was originally an industrial area taken over by artists who have turned the abandoned warehouses into studios. In addition to artist galleries you’ll find wineries, tasting rooms, farm-to-table restaurants, unique shops, a micro brewery and Santa Barbara’s first distillery. Wildly popular with tourists on holidays and weekends, locals love it too. I have no trouble getting my Santa Barbara friends to spend a day with me in the Funk Zone. I’ve been traveling to Santa Barbara for over fifteen years, and though it is undeniably beautiful it can be very quiet. The Funk Zone definitely adds to Santa Barbara’s fun factor. Read more about the Funk Zone.     How To Spend A Day in the Funk Zone In addition to wine tasting, one of my favorite things to do in the Funk Zone is to simply walk around and look at the...

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