Nevada City: Weekend Getaway in Gold Country

Nevada CityNevada City is one of those “I can’t believe I’ve lived in Northern California for almost 20 years and haven’t been here yet” places. After passing by the Nevada City/Rte. 49 exit off I-80 countless times on trips to Lake Tahoe, my husband and I finally made the turn off to check out the historic gold mining town that is fast becoming a popular spot for San Francisco Bay Area transplants. Continue reading

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Saint Lucia: Beach Meets Rainforest in the Caribbean

Sugar Beach Saint Lucia

The southwestern coast of Saint Lucia is dominated by the magnificent Piton peaks.

If someone blindfolded you and put you on a plane to Saint Lucia, you might think you were in the South Pacific upon landing. Much more than the clear blue waters and powdery beaches commonly associated with the Caribbean, Saint Lucia is a land of striking diversity. Only 27 by 14 miles, this gem of an island has verdant mountains, lush rain forests, and even a dormant volcano with skin-smoothing sulfur mud baths. And yes there are lovely beaches, but they share the stage equally with these other attractions. It’s the perfect destination for anyone looking for more than water sports and sunbathing from their Caribbean vacation. Continue reading

Five Tips for Better Vacation Photos

Vermont barn

Taking advantage of dramatic late afternoon lighting during a trip to Vermont.

Even if you’re not that in to photography, being on vacation is bound to bring the shutterbug out in you. Here are five tips for capturing beautiful images on your next trip. Continue reading

The Beauty of Traveling Solo

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There was a guy a while back who achieved minor Internet fame when he posted forlorn photos of himself traveling alone on a trip to Puerto Rico. Whether snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, enjoying a cocktail, or seeing the sights, he was pouting in every picture because his wife was not able to join him.

Now, I’m sure it sucks to plan (or in this guy’s case, win) a trip with a loved one and then find out that person can’t join you, but his plight also got me thinking about traveling solo, and how wonderful and liberating that experience can be.

Don’t get me wrong, I love travelling with my husband and kids, and we go on plenty of vacations together. But I’ve also had the opportunity to do some travelling by myself, including a bucket list worthy trip to Thailand to volunteer at an elephant sanctuary. While I missed my family during the week I was there, talked to them almost daily, and couldn’t wait to see them upon my return, I relished every minute of my solo adventure and would gladly embark on another one.

Here are some reasons to give solo traveling a try: Continue reading

48 Hours in Austin, Texas

South Congress Street in Austin, Texas

I had never been to Texas; not much desire to go really. But everyone told me Austin was worth it, different from the rest of the state – a fun college town with a booming tech industry, Uber-riding millennials, a renowned live-music scene, and even some rolling hills to break the monotony of Texas’ generally flat landscape.

So when my husband suggested we go there for a long weekend to see a college football game between his alma mater, Cal Berkeley, and the Texas Longhorns, I agreed to make my first outside-of-the-airport trip to the Lone Star State. We arrived on a Thursday evening, and left very early Sunday morning. We had a blast from start to finish; here’s what we did . . . Continue reading

Sigtuna: An Airport Layover Worth the Wait

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Usually when our family’s traveling and we need to stay by an airport for an overnight layover, we mainly consider price and practicality in a location. Sure, we don’t want to be in a dump, but we’re not expecting to be wowed by our accommodations or the area around it. After all, it’s just a layover. Well the little town of Sigtuna by Arlanda Airport outside of Stockholm, did wow us – so much so, I’ve been dreaming about going back ever since.
Continue reading

Joie de Vivre – Summer in Quebec City

IMG_3783If you’re a Francophile like me, but don’t want to shell out for the airfare or simply don’t have the time to travel to France, consider heading north of the U.S. border to Quebec City in Canada. This provincial capital and one-time French stronghold shares Europe’s distinctive Old-World charm, haute cuisine, and romantic language. Continue reading