Ethel M's Botanical Cactus Garden

Eating Chocolates in Ethel M’s Botanical Cactus Garden in Henderson, Nevada

Chocolate might go with almost anything: Wine, fruit, ice cream, coffee -- but cactus? Yet here I am, standing among the cacti eating gourmet chocolates at the botanical garden at the Ethel M Chocolate Factory in Henderson, Nevada. An old hollowed Read More

Uros women doing chores and chatting (©photocoen)

Meeting Uros People on Lake Titicaca in Peru

Living on an island of reeds, in a house of reeds, sleeping on a bed of reeds, cooking on fuel of reeds, and fishing from a boat of reeds? How intriguing is that? The Uros' way of life has fascinated me for years. According one of the stories, Read More

Superwoman on a Zipline (©photocoen)

Ziplining near Machu Picchu in Peru

I have a choice, I realized as I was swinging in midair. Either I freak out or let go and enjoy. While fear is an emotion, often used as an excuse – I can't help it, I'm just too afraid to do it – I took a rational decision not to be afraid and Read More

Stirling Castle sits high above the plain (photo credit: Ann Burnett c 2013)

Paying Homage to King James V at Stirling Castle, Scotland

It’s the color that strikes us at first. How could sixteenth century Scotland be so full of color? Even on this dull, rainy day (dreich as the Scots call it) the outside of the Great Hall of Stirling Castle is a luminous cream. One of the many guides Read More

Driving Through the Chandelier Tree

Driving Through a Redwood in Northern California

It seemed mythical when I was a child: There were actually trees in California that people could drive a car through. I couldn’t help but envision a busy freeway running through the forest, occasionally sending commuters tunneling through the trunks Read More

The Willis Tower, Chicago's tallest building, looms over its neighbors.

On Top of Chicago: Taking in Breathtaking View from Willis Tower Skydeck

My stomach attempts a back flip, a visceral reaction to stepping onto a clear glass floor with 1,353 feet of nothingness between me and the street below. Another step and I begin to get my bearings, feeling brave enough to peer down between my Read More

Atlantis view from Royal Tower

Indulging Watery Fantasies at Atlantis in the Bahamas

My taxi driver dropped me at the wrong spot, so I ended up tugging my luggage through a mammoth casino with all the blinking glitz of Vegas. Massive sea-suggestive Dale Chihuly glass sculptures and the ka-ching of slots greeted my arrival, then a Read More

On Harmony Night, dancers in the parade wear elaborate costumes (photo by Laura Byrne Paquet c 2011)

Reveling at Harmony Night on the Caribbean Island of St. Martin

A tropical village that holds a street party called Harmony Night every Tuesday evening, all winter long, is my kind of place. Tiny Grand Case, on the French side of the island of St. Martin, is also home to a few of the best restaurants in the Read More

Seymour Tower and Intertidal Reef (photo: Anthony Toole)

Crossing Jersey’s Intertidal Reef to the Seymour Tower

Along the south-east coast of Jersey, stretching from St Helier to Gorey, the seabed is so shallow that at low tide an area of 17.5 square kilometres becomes exposed, making this one of the largest intertidal reefs in the world. Because of this, the Read More

Cheering on a Soccer Game in Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro (©photocoen)

Cheering on Soccer Players in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã Stadium, Brazil

"You can't leave Rio de Janeiro without having seen the Maracanã Stadium!" "The what?” I couldn't even pronounce the word. "The Maracanã Stadium! You don't know what it is?" "Sorry, never heard of it." "No, that's impossible. Everybody knows Read More

El Limon -- we're here!

Riding to the Domincan Republic’s El Limon Waterfall on a Horse

I am not a horsewoman. I did not grow up around horses, and they've always been a mystery to me. When people say a horse is nervous, or bad tempered, or skittish, I don't know how they know this, as I can't figure out a horse's mood when I'm near Read More

Bronc riding and other rodeo events are the centerpiece of Cheyenne Frontier Days. (photo credit: Katherine Rodeghier c 2013)

Roping in Cowboy Culture at Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming

The aroma wafts toward my nose from a block away. The familiar sweet smell mixed with a yeasty scent makes my mouth water, and by the time I walk to Depot Square my mind is on only one thing: pancakes. But the crowd gathered in front of the Read More

Garden Eels and King Angelfish

Finding Water at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum Aquarium in Tucson

We wanted to time our walk to see plants and wildlife early in the morning at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. Instead, we got lost and were late. When we arrived in town the hazy cloudless sky had already stoked up the mid-day temperature; the hot Read More

View of Sugar Loaf from Cristo Redentor Statue (©Coen Wubbels)

Marveling from the Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Thus far thick traffic and having to watch my back had made me wary of the city but after a leisurely walk up the Sugar Loaf, I took in the view and suddenly understood the spell that visitors as well as Cariocas – Rio de Janeiro's residents – fall Read More

Inside Aspen Music Festival's Benedict Tent. Photo: Alex Irvin

Hearing Great Classical Music Free in Aspen, Colorado

There’s nothing more glorious than sitting on the grass on beautiful evenings at summer classical music festivals, listening to Brahms or Stravinsky. But from Tanglewood to Hollywood, from Wolf Trap to Ravinia, only one top festival offers lawn Read More

The working grist mill at Dollywood was built by hand to resemble mills in the 19th century. (photo credit: Katherine Rodeghier c 2013)

Immersing in Smoky Mountain Culture at Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

I admit it, I was wrong. I thought Dollywood, the theme park in the Tennessee foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, would be a cheesy tribute to the buxom, big-haired blond country singer and movie star. I imagined over-the-top caricatures and Read More

Big Thunder Mountain Railway (photo by John Keatley)

Riding Rollercoasters at Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Slipping into the skinny seat of the shuttlecraft at Space Mountain, I kept hearing the voice echoing throughout the noisy room. "Shuttle preparing for launch. Shuttle preparing for launch." In 1975, the year Space Mountain opened, my sisters and I - Read More

Detail of a frog symbol on a pole at the Vancouver Airport (Credit: MCArnott)

Learning about Totem Poles in Vancouver, British Columbia

Bulging eyes at the top gaze at the horizon, a grinning mouth bares teeth at the base of the pole. A bear? A wolf? The various symbols engraved in the wood still hold mystery, and a few misconceptions, about Canadian aboriginal culture. Fortunately, Read More

Beautiful tufa towers of Mono Lake. Photo by Yvette Cardozo.

Wandering The Tufa Towers Of Mono Lake

Years ago, I stopped at California’s Mono Lake on a bike trip. I was hot, tired and ready for the day to end. I briefly looked at the lake’s famous tufa mounds, felt the greasy, salt-laden water and left. I’ve always wanted to go back. And Read More

Baseball Fans Wait for the Game to Start Under a Typical Arizona Sky (Photo credit: Chris Eirschele, c 2013)

Watching Hometown Baseball at Spring Training in Scottsdale, Arizona

A bright blue sky and mild temperatures: Spring weather in Scottsdale, Arizona, is a far cry from the March snows of Wisconsin, which I once called home. And it's perfect weather for spring training baseball. I donned long jeans, my husband wore Read More

High Line from above by Iwan Baan

Walking New York City’s High Line

The High Line, one of New York City’s most unlikely tourist attractions, has been an overnight sensation that was almost 30 years in the making. Its life began in the 1930s, when a railroad spur serving Manhattan’s West Side industrial district Read More

Abaco Beach Resort

Being a Kid Bahamian-Style at Abaco Beach Resort

After a crafts session on the beach, the kids headed for the docks to go fishing. It may sound like an ordinary kids program on an ordinary day at a sunny beach resort, but what makes the difference at Abaco Beach Resort at Boat Harbour in the Read More

Ponce de Leon landing in Florida vignette at the Fountain of Youth Park

Drinking from the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, Florida

“Have you had a drink of the water?” the young man with the closely cropped beard and “Winston” name tag asked. “Do I look younger?” I shot back. “I suppose you’re going to tell me you’re 100 years old.” I’d done this before. I’d drank from the Read More

Tourists aboard Staten Island Ferry

Seeing New York City from the Staten Island Ferry

The greatest New York City sightseeing trip you could imagine is absolutely free: the Staten Island ferry. The views of the city’s skyline and East River bridges, the Statue of Liberty, and blazing sunsets are as enchanting as any on a paid cruise or Read More

Skyline of the Tower of London showing light coloured walls and many towers

Finding the Bodies and the Loot at the Tower of London, A UNESCO World Heritage Site in London, England

The Tower of London is an architectural bully, a big tough bouncer at the door of England’s history. Don’t worry, the people at the Tower are lovely and helpful. But the walls themselves? They were built to keep the likes of you and me in our Read More

The scenery knocks your sox off (Photo credit: Roberta Sotonoff ©2012)

From the Window of Norway’s Flam Railroad

It is cold and wet. Standing next to Myrdal, Norway’s railroad tracks—a tiny town that is about a four-hour bus trip from Oslo, I am lost in a crowd of about 500 people. But the weather and the crowds can’t dampen my spirits. I am about to embark on Read More

Americqn Alligators Hunt with Eyes Ears and Nose

Communing With Wildlife at St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park, Florida

When a close friend asked me to join her in a visit to her favorite zoological park in Florida, I jumped at the chance. I was curious to discover why my well-coiffed girlfriend of 50 years was so enamored with the mostly dark scaly skinned Read More

Macaws rescued from illegal trafficking in Bolivia (©Coen Wubbels)

Taking a Break at Biocentro Güembé in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

"Another Inca ruin?" "Again so many hours in a bus?" "Can't we go swimming somewhere?" "More markets? I want to go swimming! Please!" I don't have kids but I can imagine this being a frequent scene between kids and parents on vacation (or Read More

Lighthouse

Winter Critter-Cruising on an Aquarium Research Boat on Long Island Sound, Connecticut

"Whose idea was this?" I demand. There is an inch of snow on the ground, the temperature is in the teens, the weather forecast is for more snow, and the living room floor is covered with ski clothes, hats, socks, gloves, long underwear and anything Read More

Gold State Coach, Royal Mews, London

Visiting the Queen’s Horses at the Royal Mews, London

First, a confession. I was hardly aware of the existence of the Royal Mews; they were not on my ‘to do’ list for London. In fact, they do not seem to be high on the tourist radar at all. Just a stone’s throw from the mile long queue snaking around Read More

The beginning of the Centennial Seawall in Dundarave

Walking the Centennial Seawall of West Vancouver in British Columbia

I can’t say that I would take up dancing in the rain, but I am enjoying its drumming sound on my umbrella as my wellies (read: Wellington boots) splash in puddles. I have not completely adapted to the rainforest climate of the Pacific Northwest, Read More

Plants in the tropics grow large and fast. /

Wandering Tropical Trails at the Belize Botanical Garden

I have no way to know what the Garden of Eden looked like, but in my imagination, it looks just this: Palms and ferns grow exuberantly, birds dot in and out of the foliage, and everywhere there is green -- blue green, bright green, yellow green, dull Read More