Visiting Lyon, the “Capital of Lights”

View of Lyon and the river SaoneLyon, like many French cities, is beautiful, charming, and historic. But it is truly unique in its location. Situated in east Central France between Paris and Marseilles, this UNESCO World Heritage site is located on a peninsula where two rivers, the Rhone and the Saone converge to the south of the historic city center. Because the city is located between two rivers, you can stroll east or west along cobblestone streets lined with lovely, local shops and restaurants, and end up on a river bank.

The city came by its famous nickname because of the popular lights festival called the Fete des Lumieres which occurs every December 8 and lasts for four days. The celebration is an homage to the Virgin May, who supposedly saved the city from a deadly plague in the Middle Ages. During the event, the entire city places candles in their windows and there are impressive large-scale light shows which are projected onto the sides of some of the most famous monuments.

Read the rest of this article on My Itchy Travel Feet HERE.

Pin It
Categories: Cities, Countries, Europe, France, France, Lyon, My Itchy Travel Feet | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Going to the Dinosaurs with Jurassic Quest

Hosted Activity

2012_10_sif_cal_dinosaurs_zRiding a Tyrannosaurus Rex is a good one to start the day.

Especially for a dinosaur loving 9-year old.

OK, technically the T-Rex was not alive but this is probably a good thing as you don’t want your face eaten off during a fun outing.

When I heard that Jurassic Quest was coming to Lexington, Kentucky, I knew that I had to get there with our grandson. We are the two dinosaur lovers in the family although both of my grown children were also raised to love these mighty beasts. They were honestly surprised as kids when others didn’t know the names of every single dinosaur.

Not only does our grandson know those names but he has far surpassed all of us and knows the names of dinosaurs I have never even heard of.

So, tickets were obtained, plans were made, and we headed to one of the best, and most kid-friendly events I have ever attended.

The first and best advice I have for you if you are planning to attend one of these events is to get there as early as humanly possible. Like, be there when they open the place. We were there a couple of hours after they opened and it immediately began to get crowded. Especially if you want to ride the dinosaurs – and of course you want to ride the dinosaurs – get there early. I suggest you walk back all the other exhibits, even though they are amazing and you will want to stop – and get in line for the dinosaur rides. You can always go back to the exhibits.

When we first entered the area, before we even went into Jurassic Quest, we heard the sounds of the dinosaurs roaring and calling.


It was like this.

Read more »

Pin It
Categories: Family Travel, Travel with Children | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Take a Slice of the Big Apple: A Getaway to New York City

New York clipartNew York City in the summer is a great place to vacation but, since it’s a very popular tourist destination, you should consider checking out some of the lesser known attractions. Start by staying in the middle of the quiet neighborhood of Nolita at the charming Nolitan Hotel or other New York hotels. The casually chic, boutique hotel is the only one in the neighborhood, it is surrounded by small, local shops, restaurants, apartments, and tree-lined streets, so there are more local families strolling around than tourists.

The name of the neighborhood, Nolita, is derived from North of Little Italy which means it is bounded by Little Italy on one side and Chinatown on the other so one focus of your visit should definitely be visiting the fabulous area restaurants. For great, homemade Italian food, try Antica Ristorante, of if you feel like takeout Chinese instead, just call Double Dragon for delivery right to your hotel. There are several wonderful bakeries in the area; for cupcakes, check out the Little Cupcake Bake Shop, and for the best cannoli you have ever tasted, drop in Caffe Palermo.

Little Italy by The Solo Traveler via

Little Italy by The Solo Traveler via

When you have eaten your fill, it’s time to explore this amazing city. Avoid the major tourist attractions and instead take a walking tour of Brooklyn, which is only about 20 minutes away from Nolita by subway. Wear comfortable shoes, and take a backpack with some water and snacks for this three hour walking tour through the neighborhoods of Brooklyn which was a magnet for immigrants in the past.

Brooklyn New York by Jennifer via

Brooklyn New York by Jennifer via

In the evening, some tourists will be dolling up for fancy nights out at the theater but save that for another time, and instead take in a Mets game. The Mets will be playing all summer long and this is a great opportunity to see a Major League Baseball team play in their own city. The subway is the fastest way to Citi Field where they play but it will still take about an hour from Nolita, so plan ahead. An afternoon game might be a good option so you are not trying to get back to your hotel late at night. Relax, enjoy a ball park hot dog and a beer, and cheer on the home team!

Citi Field by Bob Cummins via

Citi Field by Bob Cummins via

For a truly relaxing day, take the subway about half an hour from Nolita to Brooklyn Bridge Park. An 85 acre waterfront park which stretches along Brooklyn’s East River shoreline, the park has lots of grassy space so bring a picnic and enjoy the sights, or stop at one of the many concession stands to pick up a quick meal.  The park has a great carousel, a roller skating rink, basketball courts, playgrounds, and even a 30 by 50 foot family friendly swimming pool.

Brooklyn Bridge by Matt Richmond via

Brooklyn Bridge by Matt Richmond via

Don’t leave the city without taking a stroll on the High Line, about a half hour subway ride from Nolita. A truly unique park built on a historic freight rail line, it is perched above the streets of the city and features a beautiful, foliage lined walkway. Go in the evening and you can watch the sunset over one of the most amazing cities in the world!

Whatever you do in the Big Apple, you will enjoy every minute!

I am a writer for Hipmunk and this is an article for the Planning a Trip to a City category. 

Pin It
Categories: Accommodations, Cities, Copypress, Countries, Hipmunk, Hotels, New York, New York, United States | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

A Luxury Weekend in Newport, Rhode Island

breakers and yardWhen my husband and I recently spent a summer weekend in the charming town of Newport, Rhode Island, our first view of this lovely and historic locale came through a dense, wet fog. As we drove over the bridge onto the island where Newport is located, we could catch glimpses of the harbor, the cobblestone streets, the little shops and the sprawling mansions.

Technically, Newport is located on Aquidneck Island and is one of the most famous New England resort areas. In fact, it’s been a favorite resort area for a long time, beginning during the “Gilded Age” in the mid-nineteenth century, when wealthy families wanting to escape the summer heat began to build summer “cottages” on Bellevue Avenue near the coastline. The misnomer of “cottages” for these absurdly huge mansions was ridiculous. The wealthy families tried to outdo each other in building the most opulent homes you can possibly imagine, and many of these are now open for tours, which we planned for the next day of our visit.

Read the rest of this article on Luxe Beat Magazine HERE.

Check out this article about 4 Way to Relive American History in Newport Rhode Island HERE.

Pin It
Categories: Accommodations, Cities, Countries, Hotels, Newport, Rhode Island, United States | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Savannah, Georgia: The Hostess City of the South

October - Relax in the Hostess City of the South Savannah Georgia - Jan Ross1Savannah, Georgia is called the “Hostess City of the South” for its hospitality, and that hospitality is one of the first things you will notice about this lovely city perched on Georgia’s Atlantic coast. Drawling Southern voices welcome you, and provide your first clue that Savannah is a place where the pace of life slows down, living is easy, and a tall glass of sweet iced tea is always the drink of choice.

The city’s beauty, bedecked as it is by the ubiquitous Spanish moss, and arranged in a series of  lovely park-like squares, is probably the next thing you notice. Drive into the heart of the city, with its abundance of live oak trees and lush blooms, and you will begin to catch glimpses of the busy Savannah River, and the gorgeous, sprawling historic homes.

Savannah has a humid, subtropical climate so, if you choose to visit in the summer, dress lightly, drink plenty of water, and take breaks on some of the breezy restaurant patios for a glass of that famous sweet southern iced tea in a glass packed full of ice; that’s the way they drink it in the South!

Read the rest of this article on Luxe Beat Magazine HERE.

Pin It
Categories: Accommodations, Bed and Breakfasts, Cities, Countries, Georgia, Luxe Beat Magazine, Magazines, Savannah, United States | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

10 Things to Know About Whitewater Rafting at Adventures on the Gorge

Sign SmallWe just spent an amazing few days at the gorgeous Adventures on the Gorge, located in the New River Gorge, West Virginia. With no idea this hidden treasure even existed, we were thrilled to enjoy the amazing location, great food, wonderful accommodations, and some truly heart-stopping adventures.

I’ll be writing in more detail about our stay but I wanted to share my advice about white water rafting which was the most terrifying and thrilling activity in which we have ever participated. We loved every second until we were tossed in the water and, in hindsight, that wasn’t even so bad and just lasted a few seconds before we were pulled back on the boat.

So, here.

My advice to you for your first white water rafting experience.

You’re welcome.

1. Pee before you leave. It’s a good idea to hit the bathroom before you leave because there will certainly not be any opportunity to go while you are rafting. Even though you may be scared enough to pee, and you will be soaked enough that nobody would notice a little pee, it’s not actually a situation conducive to letting it rip as you will be paddling frantically in between wiping river water off your face while yelling in terror/excitement/fear/exhilaration.

Read more »

Pin It
Categories: Family Travel, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exploring the French Medieval Village of Perouges

DSC_0953Visiting Perouges was actually an unexpected surprise on our recent trip to France. My husband and I were on a cruise of southern France with Viking River Cruises but, because the Rhone was overfilled with the run-off from melted snow in the Alps, our beautiful Viking Delling longship was berthed in Lyon and we were bussed to locations we would have normally cruised to.

Perouges is not usually on this itinerary but, because we had been so inconvenienced by not having the cruise experience we had planned, along with going out of their way to make sure we enjoyed the experience we were having instead, Viking added a visit to this medieval walled city and we were delighted with the addition.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

Categories: Cities, Countries, Cruises, Europe, France, France, My Itchy Travel Feet, Viking Cruises | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Enjoying Summer in the Windy City

Chicago in the winter is not a pleasant place to be, with icy winds whistling off frozen Lake Michigan. However, summer in the Windy City is a completely different destination with daily warm weather and a balmy lake breeze. Book a stay in the middle of downtown Chicago at the gorgeous and contemporary Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel and leave your car parked while you walk to most tourist sites, or use the readily available public transportation.

There is plenty to do in the city, but start by purchasing a Go Chicago Card online, which offers discounts on twenty different attractions and tours.

Chicago River by Martijen Scheepers via

Chicago Foundation Architecture Tour

Be sure to arrive early for this very popular tour since it may be a little difficult to find as it leaves from a dock area on the river. Sit on the top-level for the best view, but wear a hat and bring bottled water as the sun in summer can be very hot on this tour. Have your camera ready to capture some of the most interesting architecture in Chicago on this narrated and fascinating tour.

Chicago Beach by Sarah Pfenning via

Lake Michigan Beaches

Surprisingly, for a major metropolitan city, Chicago has several beautiful and well maintained beaches. One of the best kept secret beaches, however, is Kathy Osterman Beach. Considered to be part of Lincoln Park, this lovely, crescent-shaped beach is located on North Lake Shore Drive and has clean water, white sand, spectacular views of the lake, and a concession stand serving alcohol and all kinds of food. There is also a large comfort station with restrooms, lifeguard offices, and a first aid station. This is a very popular family beach with shallow water the kids will love. Parking is limited so public transportation is your best bet for visiting this beach.
Chicago Beach by Richard Remington via

Lake Michigan by Richard Remington via

Sailing Lake Michigan on the Tall Ship, Windy

You can be forgiven for thinking you are actually on the ocean when you are sailing on Lake Michigan. The furthest shoreline disappears into the distance on this 23,000 mile body of water. One of the best ways to enjoy it is on the Tall Ship, Windy for a boat tour. Leaving from popular Navy Pier where you can enjoy the famous Ferris wheel before or after your cruise, there are a variety of tours everyone will enjoy. Be sure to take seasickness medicine before your cruise if the lake is choppy.

Chicago Pizza by Adam Sockel via

Chicago Pizza by Adam Sockel via

Pizza Tour

Chicago has a lot of claims to fame, depending on your interests, but one of the most well-known of these claims to fame is their delicious pizza choices. A fabulous way to sample a number of slices of this wonderful concoction is by scheduling a pizza tour with Chicago Pizza Tour. After sampling pizza at the first location, board the van that drives around to different pizza places, each more delicious than the last. From Margherita pizza to pizza prepared in a coal-fired oven, you will enjoy every bite as well as getting to experience a number of Chicago’s distinctive neighborhoods.

You will love Chicago in the summer!

I am a writer for Hipmunk and this is an article for the Expert Opinion Piece category. 

Categories: Chicago, Cities, Copypress, Countries, Hipmunk, Illinois, United States | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Shrimpin’ Aboard the Lady Jane

Hosted Activity

I kneshrimp boatw how this cruise would go. We would meander around, see the backs of a couple of dolphins, everyone would ooh and aah, and we would head back to the dock. But first we would stay out way longer than anyone was actually interested, just long enough to get incredibly bored.

I have had this experience many times.


I could not have been more wrong in this case.

We were visiting the beautiful King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort on charming St. Simons Island, Georgia for a girlfriends getaway and they had offered us a shrimping excursion aboard the Lady Jane one afternoon. Even though I thought I knew exactly what to expect, I’m a travel writer always open to new experiences, so I agreed.

We headed over to Brunswick where the Lady Jane is docked, just a few minutes away from the resort. The Lady Jane is a Coast Guard certified passenger steel shrimping vessel which was used for years by the shrimping industry. With an air conditioned cabin, restroom, and a large, covered deck with plenty of room to walk around, it’s a comfortable ship to cruise on and provides a great family experience. The cruise takes place on the calm waters of St. Simon Sound, so you don’t have to worry about getting seasick on this adventure.

The Lady Jane

The Lady Jane

Read more »

Pin It
Categories: Countries, Cruises, Family Travel, Georgia, Islands, St. Simons Island, Tours, Travel with Children, United States | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Charming St. Simons Island, Georgia

I am constantly amazed at how many lovely islands are tucked away along the southern coast of the United States. Unique, beautiful places, many of which are still undiscovered and unspoiled by tourism. The Golden Isles, strewn along the quiet waters of the Georgia coast like the jewels in a priceless necklace comprise several enchanting barrier islands, including Jekyll Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island, St. Simons Island and the mainland city of Brunswick.

The largest of the Golden Isles is St. Simons, where visitors return year round to enjoy the warm and temperate climate, miles of beautiful and wide sandy beaches, four golf courses and plenty of interesting little shops and restaurants. Located quite near Savannah, Georgia, the island is easily accessible and has been popular for families, couples and groups of friends for generations. Chosen America’s Favorite Beach Town by Travel+Leisure in 2014 for its Southern charm, serenity and affordability, the island well deserves this honor.

Read the rest of this article on Luxe Beat Magazine HERE.

Pin It
Categories: Accommodations, Countries, Georgia, Islands, Luxe Beat Magazine, Resorts, St. Simons Island, United States | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment