Beginner’s Guide for Americans Visiting the UK

Traveling to England was my first real foreign travel, and my first real solo trip.  During college, I went to Mexico and the Bahamas with friends, but since I did not get a stamp in my passport it never seemed foreign (enough).  Traveling to the UK is a rite of passage for many Americans, usually following high school or college graduation.  Like me, it is often the first stamp in our passport and we finally get to travel abroad by crossing the pond, aka Atlantic Ocean.  The UK is notoriously expensive, but it is a great destination to take off those travel training wheels and start to explore this big, beautiful world.  Warning – I have made this crossing many times over the last 20 years and it is absolutely to blame for my wanderlust now.

As I find myself back in England after an eight year break, I am reminded of everything that I wish I knew before my first trip to Merry ole England.  Here is my Beginner’s Guide to London/UK, specifically for Americans. Continue reading Beginner’s Guide for Americans Visiting the UK

Casa Roig Museum

Casa Roig is more than a museum, it is a glimpse into the life of a wealthy sugar plantation owner, an architectural first in the region, restoration in progress, as well as a lovely exhibit hall for local artists.Casa Roig Museum in Humacao Puerto Rico

Sugar production shaped the Caribbean culture in many ways including wealth distribution and overall agriculture.  Casa Roig is a unique Prairie House style architecture build by renowned Czechoslovakian architect Antonin Nechodoma in the Frank Lloyd Wright influenced style of building.  This house was unique to the region and would appear modern, futuristic even compared to the local buildings at the time.

Located in the heart of Humacao, Puerto Rico, Museo Casa Roig is hidden on a small street.  A street that I have hurriedly driven down, not noticing this delightful two story former plantation owner’s home now restored and converted into a museum and art gallery. Continue reading Casa Roig Museum

Humacao Natural Reserve

Humacao Natural ReserveThe Humacao Natural Reserve is located on the East Coast of Puerto Rico near the community of Palmas del Mar.  Behind the small unassuming entrance awaits big adventure exploring the lagoons, swamps, and wetlands.  The walking and bike trails are well maintained throughout the reserve.  Kayakers can enjoy the calm lagoon waters in a secluded section of the reserve.  Fishing is a common sight from the bridges and docks.  There are multiple floating docks along the lagoons for fishing and unobstructed views over the lagoon water.  The majority of the natural reserve is shaded by the lush foliage making it a pleasant destination year round. Continue reading Humacao Natural Reserve

Exploring the Champagne Region of France

Champagne is my go-to beverage for celebrations, Sunday brunch, a quiet night in, and every other occasion that I can think of. 

In February 2002 I spent a week in Reims, France to explore part of the Champagne region.  The main purpose of my visit was to enjoy as many varies of Champagne as I could!  I called to reserve my cellar tours (before online reservations), booked my hotel (through a travel agent), and rode the TGV train from Paris Gare de l’East to Reims.  My hotel was a short walk from the train station, and I stopped at a local café for dinner and pastry.

Between Champagne tastings and cellar tours, I managed to visit the Palais du Tau and nearby cathedral of Notre-Dame de Reims.  I walked to most places with the occasional taxi ride.  Exploring the city as a solo female traveler was easy and safe.

The down side of travelling solo all those years ago (before smart phone with built in cameras) is that I have a fuzzy memory and very few, poor quality photos.  Admittedly, the photos were made even worse by the massive amounts of Champagne consumed during operation.

My friend Lisa recently went to the Champagne region, and was kind enough to share her experience and photos. 

During a recent trip to Europe to visit family, my husband and I snuck away to France for just a couple of days.  We thought about visiting Paris, but then I ruled against it… I wanted to go to the Champagne region instead.

Continue reading Exploring the Champagne Region of France

Experience the Condado Vanderbilt Spa in Puerto Rico

I love the complete escape that I experience enclosed in happy spa time.  My mind and body relaxes as I prepare for a wellness treatment to sooth my aches, address specific skin concerns (the main concern is that I am getting old), and enjoy a treatment for both mind and body.  A good friend suggested, “hey let’s try the Condado Vanderbilt Spa” which kicked  off a relaxing day in Condado for food, shipping, afternoon cocktails, and finish our day at the spa.

Condado is a neighborhood of San Juan, Puerto Rico  known for shopping and fantastic food.  After a little retail therapy in the shops across the street, we returned to the hotel to watch the ocean from the Vanderbilt lounge while sipping delightful rum drinks.  Continue reading Experience the Condado Vanderbilt Spa in Puerto Rico

Fun and Interesting things to do…

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