Travel on the Side

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I could eat my way through Montreal…in fact, I did! We didn’t have a bad meal there. A lot of people I know make lists of restaurants they want to try when they visit a new locale. We prefer to just wander around neighborhoods and pop in when a place looks good. By far, one of our favorite experiences was the Old Montreal Food Tour–highly recommended! Besides that, we had good meals… Read More

One of the best ways to acquaint yourself with a city is to eat local food! On our second day in Montreal, we signed up for a food tour of Old Montreal (Vieux-Montreal) from Local Montreal Tours. We met the tour guide and our merry group of 12 at Crew Collective and Cafe. It used to be the headquarters of the Royal Bank of Canada. The bank moved out. Now it’s been taken… Read More

After three weeks of touring Italy, I decided to jot some notes down on the things I learned. Some of these are tips, some are surprises. I’ve broken it down into daily life, transport, food/dining, and comments about the U.S. that we heard from Italian friends and co-workers. Daily Life How many things can the word “prego” mean? It’s so much more than just “you’re welcome.” The acceptance that daily Italian life… Read More

While chaperoning the college group in Florence, one of my favorite activities we did was to take a cooking class. One morning, we got up early, met at Piazza della Repubblica and then walked over to Oltrarno to In Tavola Cooking Academy. Located on Via dei Velluti behind a non-descript door, the friendly chef met us and put us right to work! Most of the students had very little cooking experience (thank… Read More

The birthplace of the Renaissance in one day? I’m going to be honest here…this premise is crazy. I had three weeks to savor Florence. It at least deserves an overnight. But hey, I did Venice in one day, which now seems laughable. So, maybe this is your only option. So, do it right! Here are some suggestions for Florence in a day. Tip #1: Narrow it Down to Two Major Tourist Sites… Read More

After our day at the Magic Kingdom, it was time to explore Epcot. Same plan: breakfast at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and then hop on a shuttle to spend the day at Epcot. I loved Epcot as a kid. Visiting the world showcase made me want to travel and explore these places in person. It was Sunday and not too crowded. After entering the park, we decided to line up and wait… Read More

After three nights in Honolulu, it was off to Maui. We made Kihei, in south Maui, our home base for the next four nights. Only about 30 minutes from Kahului Airport – Maui’s main airport – Kihei is on the dry side of the island, has nice beaches and restaurants, and is just north of the Wailea resort area. We stayed at Maui Coast Hotel. It was close to everything, including good… Read More

One of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences in Napa Valley was the Platypus Wine Tour. This is the way to do wine tasting! Instead of having to drive from winery to winery, you let Platypus do it for you. It was perfect! They picked us up at our hotel in St. Helena and a group of 12 of us toured wineries around St. Helena and Calistoga in a comfortable little bus…. Read More

Sterling Vineyards near Calistoga is like Disneyland for adults. First, you drive down a tree-lined pathway. Then in a beautiful garden, you take a sky gondola up to the hilltop Sterling Vineyards. The views are stunning and the wine is good too. The general admission is $29, but it’s well worth it. It includes the sky gondola ride, a self-guided tour of the winery with short video presentations on the wine making… Read More

Napa County is home to over 400 wineries. The cities of St. Helena and Calistoga are great jumping off points. Calistoga has an old West feel and is home to a number of spas. St. Helena has upscale shops lining its main street. We made the El Bonita Motel in St. Helena our home base during our stay. It’s a cute little art deco place with comfortable rooms in an affordable price… Read More