Tag Archives: The Traveling Adjunct

The Traveling Adjunct Feb 2019 – Where To Celebrate Mardi Gras Besides New Orleans

Other Places to Celebrate Mardi Gras Besides New Orleans

New Orleans is probably the first place that comes to mind when you think of Mardi Gras, but did you know there are lots of other places that celebrate some version of Mardi Gras?  Here are three that totally on my bucket list! By the way – Mardi Gras is on March 5 this year!

But First…What the heck is Mardi Gras anyway?

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Mardi Gras is French for ‘Fat Tuesday’*.  According to Catholic tradition, it’s the last day of celebrations before Lent begins. Lent (from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means “spring”) is the 40 days beginning on Ash Wednesday** and ending on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter).  Oh, and no counting Sundays in that 40 days.  Lent is a time to repent and fast.  Frequently, people give up something for Lent.  It might be chocolate, coffee, meat, smoking, or whatever.  

* Mardi Gras is also known as Shrove Tuesday in some parts of the world.

 **Ash Wednesday starts Lent.  On Ash Wednesday, Catholics go to church services and get an ash cross marked on their farheads as a symbolic way to repent for their sins. In a nutshell, the ash cross is the human body (in the Bible the body is composed of dust) and the body’s returns to dust in death. 

Anyway, the Italians took things to a new level with Carniva – aka, Carnevale. Although it originally meant ‘farewell to the flesh’ (as many people give up meat for Lent), that kinda changed over time.  Carnevale evolved into wild parties, parades, and costumes, and not just in Italy!  It spread all over the world!  Just take a look!

And now, the fun stuff!  Where to go!

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The granddaddy of all celebrations,  Carnaval  is no one day deal – uh, uh- it’s a four-day celebration beginning this year on Sunday March 3, and ending on Ash Wednesday (March 6), BUT, when I checked on the Rio Carnaval Party Planner,

 “pre-celebrations” start on Friday, March 1!  The Brazilians sure know how to throw a party!  There are extravagant parades, samba school competitions and awesome food! 

Good to know:  While some of the street parties (balls) are free, others require tickets. Here’s a website.   I found that lists the free and ticketed balls.

 

Dusseldorf, Germany

Yup, Germany.  While many cities celebrate fasching, fastnacht or karneval, Dusseldorf’s Rosenmontag parade is a big deal. First held in 1825, the parade is on the Monday before Shrove Tuesday (you know, Mardi Gras).  There are all kinds of celebrations leading up to the party, but I particularly love Old Hag’s Day (where women run through the streets chasing after men for kisses).  You can find out more on the Dusseldorf Tourism website.  

Montreal Canada

Introduced by 19th century French transplants as a Mardi Gras festival, the Carnaval de Quebec has turned into a celebration of all things Québécois. There are snow sculpture competitions, a canoe race down the frozen St. Lawrence River and crazy food to try like Beaver Tails (fried dough coated with cinnamon and sugar – what’s not to love?).  But, my fave is the carnival mascot, Bonhomme – which looks like a slightly insane mashup of a snowman and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters!   

Have you been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans or any of the places above?  

Tina Vignali is an English as a Second Language adjunct at the Charles D. Worthington Atlantic City Campus. She writes a monthly travel-themed column for the CommuniCator. You can follow her trips around the block and journeys around the world in her travel blog Traveleidoscope.com.  Psst! You can also visit Traveleidoscope on Instagram,  Facebook and Twitter!  And guess what – she’s now a member of the North AmericanTravel Journalists Association!  

The Traveling Adjunct–Dec. 17, 2018

A Quick Trip to Annapolis

Sometimes, ya just need to run away from home for the night.  That’s exactly what we did when we ran away to Annapolis, Maryland for the night.  Our schedules were pretty limited, but we needed a break, and we chose Annapolis since it was an easy three-hour drive for us.  Here’s where we slept, where we ate and what we did!

But first, a bit about Annapolis…

Annapolis, Maryland is right on the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Severn River.  It’s 25 miles (40 km) south of Baltimore and roughly 30 miles (50 km) east of Washington, D.C., with a population of 39,321.  It’s the capital of Maryland and the county seat of Anne Arundel County.  Annapolis is also home to the U.S. Naval Academy.

Annapolis also just a really charming and walkable town, perfect for a quick escape.  Many of the streets are cobblestones and there are lots of buildings from the 18th century that have been converted into restaurants, shops, antique stores, galleries, etc. Check out Visit Annapolis for more info. https://www.visitannapolis.org/

Fun fact:  The Maryland State House in Annapolis is the oldest in continuous use (for legislative purposes) in the United States.

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Where’d We Stay?

We stayed at a Hilton Garden Inn on West Street. It’s walking distance from the harbor, but it’s enough out of the way to be enough out of the way, if you know what I mean.

Where’d We Eat?

We were only in Annapolis for the night and made dinner reservations at Carpaccio Tuscan Kitchen.  http://www.carpacciotuscankitchen.com/ We went to Carpaccio early for drinks before dinner. I had a drink called Il Sorrentino with vodka, Limoncello, pineapple juice and prosecco.  Hubby had a cucumber martini with cucumber vodka (that’s a thing?) and muddled cucumbers* ( I had no idea what that was).  We’re not big drinkers, so one cocktail about did me in, but while we waited at the bar for our table reservation, the hostess came to us and said that they were tight on tables and asked if we’d mind sitting at a high top table.  The house would be glad to comp us a drink.  Sure! What was I thinking, I’ve already had a drink, but I had a prosecco and Hubby had a beer.

Once we were seated and the waiter came we couldn’t decide if we wanted the grilled calamari or the fried calamari, so we ordered one and the waiter comped us one.  Wow!  Totally unexpected!  After we filled up on calamari, our dinners arrived. I had monkfish and Hubby had veal.  Forget dessert. We’re stuffed!  Wait a second, there’s gelato?  Well, maybe just a little…..

 *What the heck are muddled cucumbers? Here’s the definition I found on Leaf TV, https://www.leaf.tv/articles/how-to-muddle-cucumbers/

“When you muddle cucumber, you want its essence — the esters responsible for its clean, mild taste — to come through, not the remnants of flesh that result from pulverizing it. Peeling and seeding is often overlooked when muddling cucumbers; cucumber seeds and skin contain tannins, which impart an unwelcome bitterness to mixed drinks.”

What’d We Do?

After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel the next morning, we headed out.  It was a beautiful November morning – perfect for a stroll.  Old Fox Books and Coffeehouse https://oldfoxbooks.com/ was having a painted violin exhibit, so we thought it would be fun to check out the violins and grab a cup of coffee, because you can never have too much coffee.  I found Old Fox Books online.  As I was checking out the website I noticed on the events page that the shop was having a painted violin exhibit.  I thought it would be fun to see.

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Sadly, the violin exhibit was delayed so they weren’t on display when we visited, but we got coffee and explored the books and other unique items in the store.

After we left Old Fox Books, we took a walk around the docks, past the Naval Academy and along the cobbled streets, with no particular agenda in mind.  When we were done wandering, we made our way back to the hotel, checked out and were on our way.

Kent Island

On the way home, we stopped for lunch on nearby Kent Island http://www.baydreaming.com/destinations/kent-island/ at Harris Crab Househttps://harriscrabhouse.com/  It’s situated right on the Cheasapeake Bay, on the way to/from the Bay Bridge.  It was filled with locals and tourists looking for their crab fixes.  If you’re not familiar with Maryland, it’s known for crabs and crab cakes.  And crab cakes is what Hubby got.  Me, I got fish tacos!  I dunno, I was just feeling fish tacos.

After a totally delish lunch, we made our way back home, satisfied with our brief escape.  And, even though we had a great time, excellent food and a lot of fun, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz said best, “there’s no place like home.”

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Tina Vignali is an English as a Second Language adjunct at the Charles D. Worthington Atlantic City Campus. She writes a monthly travel-themed column for the CommuniCator. You can follow her trips around the block and journeys around the world in her travel blog Traveleidoscope.com.  Psst! You can also visit Traveleidoscope on Instagram,  Facebook and Twitter!  And guess what – she’s now a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association!

The Traveling Adjunct–Sept. 21, 2018

Get Away to Nantucket

lighthouse with boat in water in backgroundNantucket.  The name makes you think of grey shingled cottages with white trim and overflowing flower boxes.  I’ve visited a number of times over the years, and it’s always just as beautiful.  While Nantucket is a great day trip, it’s also a great weekend trip and I recently returned for a quick getaway.  Here’s where we stayed and what we did–

If you’re not familiar with Nantucket, here are some quick facts:

It’s the boomerang-shaped island off of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. It’s 14 miles (20 km) long and 3 – 5 miles (2-3 km) wide.

The year-round population is around 11,000, but during the summer, the population swells to somewhere between 50,000-60,000! Continue reading

The Traveling Adjunct–Aug. 31, 2018

See Seattle in 12 Hours

This summer, my husband and I road-tripped from Seattle to Montana. We flew into Seattle and ended our trip with a (very) short visit to the city, so our time was limited to about 12 hours (Yikes!).  It was a beautiful day in Seattle, so we decided to go for a stroll.

Here’s what we did and other things we would have like to have done!

But first, a few Seattle tidbits…  

While we may all know Seattle as the birthplace of grunge music or Jimi Hendrix, here are some things about Seattle you might not know.

Where is it? 

Seattle lies between Puget Sound and Lake Washington. To the west is the Olympic Mountain range and to the east are the Cascade Mountains. It covers about 142.5 square miles (wow!) and as of 2016, Seattle’s population was 704,352 Continue reading

The Traveling Adjunct–July 26, 2018

 Road Trip:  Historic Wallace, Idaho

old boat

I’m continuing with my summer road trip series in the Traveling Adjunct this month with a stop in northern Idaho.  Specifically, Wallace, Idaho.  How did I decide to visit Wallace?  I read about it in a news article and since it was along our drive between Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and Whitefish, Montana, I thought it would make a fun stop. It didn’t disappoint so here we go! Continue reading

The Traveling Adjunct–June 28, 2018

Road Trip:  Spokane

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Welcome back to another edition of the Traveling Adjunct! This month’s post is the first in a series about the fun and unique places I visited on my summer vacation! For our trip this year, my husband and I decided to go to Montana. Montana?  Isn’t this post about Spokane, Washington? Yeah, but like most of our trips, this one “evolved” into an awesome road trip taking us through the states of Washington, Idaho and Montana, covering 1,400 miles. This month’s Traveling Adjunct is on our afternoon in Spokane. So fasten your seatbelts and let’s get going! Continue reading

The Traveling Adjunct–May 25, 2018

A weekend in the Finger Lakes

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Welcome back to another edition of the Traveling Adjunct!  Well, the semester is over and that means time to think about a getaway! Many people may think of the Finger Lakes of New York as strictly a wine region, but there’s so much to do in addition to wine tasting, like kayaking and cycling! So, for this edition of the Traveling Adjunct, I’m writing about my recent outdoorsy trip to “FL” – where I stayed, where I ate and discounts I scooped up! Continue reading

The Traveling Adjunct–April 20, 2018

10 Things to know about the Azores

Welcome to another edition of the Traveling Adjunct! I spent an amazing week in the Azores! And if you’re thinking of going, here are 10 things to know before you go!

But first, a bit about the Azores:

It’s an archipelago of nine volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, located about 1,000 miles off the coast of Portugal and about 935 miles off the coast of Morocco. The official name is the Autonomous Region of the Azores and it’s part of Portugal. You’ll also see the Portuguese name written – Açores.

The nine islands are Flores, Corvo, Graciosa, Terceira, São Jorge, Pico, Faial, São Miguel, Santa Maria and the islands’ volcanic beginnings are apparent everywhere, from the landscape to the lava stone fences Continue reading

The Traveling Adjunct–March 23, 2018

6 Awesome Places in the U.S. to See “Spring” Flowers!
Welcome back to another edition of the Traveling Adjunct! With the recent storms in our area, we’re all probably ready for spring to be here and to see flowers instead of snow!  And while spring will be here soon enough (we hope!), did you know that starting as early as February and going through August, there are so many places to see flowers in bloom throughout the States? Here are just six! Enjoy!

Washington, D.C.

flowers in bouquets

This year, the 2018 National Cherry Blossom Festival will be held March 20 through April 15.  The website even has a “watch page” dedicated to tracking the progress of the cherry blossoms! The festival includes the Blossom Kite Festival, a parade and a party known as “PetalPalooza.”  For all the festival details, including where to stay, and even how climate change is affecting cherry blossoms, go to the link!

 

California

Carlsbad:  What began as horticulturalist Luther Gage ’s simple flower plantings nearly 100 years ago, has developed into the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch. Located in San Diego County, the Flower Fields is a working ranch and as well as a tourist attraction. This year, it will be open from March 1 through May 13, 2018. So, what types of flowers grow here?  The ranunculus – it’s in the buttercup family and is actually native to Asia Minor. Continue reading

The Traveling Adjunct–Feb. 16, 2018

Greeting Each Other with the Right Number of Kisses… in France!

wine corks in a heart Since we just celebrated Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d write about an issue that baffled me when I lived in France–  how many kisses you’re supposed to give someone when greeting them.

Living in France was awesome! And while I was able to conquer the French language (mostly), one of the great mysteries of my time living there was how many kisses you’re supposed to give when greeting someone– 2, 3, 4?  What happens if you give someone the wrong number of kisses? Are you banished to smooch purgatory? Which cheek do you start with– the right or the left?  And how did all this kissing come about anyway?  It was way more confusing to me than learning the language!

A few years ago, I came across a chart in a French newspaper, called “Combien de Bises.”  In English, that means “how many kisses.” Why didn’t someone think of this before!?! The chart breaks down the number of kisses given…by department! Uh, department?  Continue reading