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!
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!
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
Greeting Each Other with the Right Number of Kisses… in France!
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
Travel Stories of 2017
With 2018 here, I thought now would be a good time to reflect on some of the big travel stories we heard about in 2017 and what’s coming up in 2018!
The 747 Retires
As a former flight attendant, I’m nostalgic for the end of an era. I mention this first since the 747 has had such a huge impact on commercial flight. Not only could it carry more passengers, but it could also fly farther and more efficiently than other aircraft. In 1970, the 747 began flying commercially (Pan Am christened its first 747 at Dulles International Airport). The “hump” always made the 747 one of the most recognizable planes. It’s carried more than 3.5 billion passengers over the years, with more than 400+ passengers per flight. In November of last year, United’s 747 made its last flight. And Delta flew its last 747 commercially in December. Continue reading
48 Hours in Iceland
Aah, Iceland…. This cool island is very hot right now, but when I visited the first time in 2000, people thought I was crazy. It was “so off-the-beaten-path,” and where exactly was it anyway? Nowadays, travelers are beating a path just to get there. Last year alone, the country had 325,000 American visitors and about 1.3 million from across the globe! The entire Icelandic population is only 332,000! Well, we returned for a quick 48-hour visit, so here’s where we stayed, what we did and how we got around!
$$Warning$$: Don’t be misled thinking that Iceland is a “budget” destination. It was expensive in 2000, and it is (in my opinion) even more expensive now. I’m not saying it’s not worth it, I’m just saying, be prepared. As an example, two takeout sandwiches were about $25! Continue reading
6 Fun Thanksgiving Facts
Thanksgiving is tomorrow! And while most of us look at it as a day of eating and watching sports, here are six quirky factoids to mull over while you’re recovering from your turkey coma!
Just a note about Thanksgiving in the United States…
In the United States, we trace Thanksgiving back to the Pilgrims who came from England in 1621 and settled in Massachusetts. The “first” Thanksgiving celebrated the Pilgrims’ first harvest in the New World. It’s been a national holiday in the U.S. since 1863, and is celebrated on the last Thursday of November.
1. Oh, Canada!
Yup, our neighbors to the north celebrate Thanksgiving, too! In Canada, it’s celebrated on the second Monday of October.
And just in case you thought only countries in North America celebrated Thanksgiving – think again! Germany celebrates Thanksgiving on the first Sunday of October. Japan does it every Nov. 23. Grenada’s Thanksgiving is on Oct. 25 and Norfolk Island (in the Pacific Ocean between Australia and New Zealand) celebrates Thanksgiving on the last Wednesday of November!
5 Places to Celebrate Halloween
Halloween will soon be upon us! Are you looking for somewhere to get your fright on? Ever wonder how other places celebrate the spooky holiday? Well here are five places and ideas to satisfy your ghoulish trip cravings!
1. Finger Lakes Region, New York – Many people think of the Finger Lakes for wine tasting or a romantic getaway, but at Bristol Mountain in Canandaigua, New York, they have Scaerial Adventures where you can ride haunted zip-lines. It looks awesome!
2. Estes Park, Colorado – The Stanley Hotel. Yup, the hotel that inspired Stephen King’s The Shining, is supposedly really haunted and the hotel takes advantage of its reputation at Halloween! They celebrate the Twin Terror Weekends that include a murder mystery dinner, The Shining Ball and the Halloween Masquerade Party. So, if seeing or reading The Shining didn’t creep you out enough, you have another option. Continue reading
Help! I Lost My Passport!
Whether it’s before your trip or while you’re on your trip, realizing you lost your passport can be a panic-inducing moment. Even worse, what if you get robbed on your trip? What do you do? Well, it depends, but here are three scenarios, and what you can do in case it happens!
The U.S. Department of State is the Federal agency that issues your passport. Individual states do not issue passports. While a passport agency may be located in a state, it’s not a state agency. It’s a Federal agency. (And remember, passports and visas are different. You can read about the difference between passports and visas in my post Passports vs. Visas – the Difference) Normally, it takes about four to six weeks to get a passport. Expedited service is considered two weeks. Expedited service at the agency will take about eight days. Recently, the U.S. Department of State held passport acceptance fairs at various locations throughout the U.S. While that date has passed, you may want to keep an eye out for future dates if you’re applying for a passport for the first time. Continue reading
Passport vs. Visa – the Difference
It’s a common question – What’s the difference between a passport and a visa and why do I need a visa if I already have a passport? The short answer is: while they’re related to each other, they have totally different purposes. For U.S. passport holders, here’s what each is, why and when we need them! Continue reading
Ugh! 10 Tips to Deal with Jetlag!
You’re all packed and ready to go on your dream vacation to _________(fill in the blank)! You’re so excited!! Itinerary. Check. Passport.Got it. Emergency contacts written multiple places. Yup. You’re ready for everything…. except jet lag. You need a game plan, but you don’t have one. So, whaddaya do? Well, I’m no doctor, but I’ve read a ton about jet lag to learn how to minimize my own suffering and a while back, in Traveleidoscope.com, I wrote about surviving a really long flight. So, I thought it would make sense to talk about what happens AFTER that really long flight. I’m passing along what I learned from reading and from personal experience and I hope it helps if you’re gearing up for your own travels to a far off place!
So what exactly is jet lag?
Before figuring out what to do about jet lag, it helps to know exactly what it is. Also known as desynchronosis, or jet lag disorder, jet lag is a physiological condition that messes with our body’s circadian (daily) rhythms. Continue reading
5 Reasons Why I love Saba
Welcome to the June edition of the Traveling Adjunct! Unless you’re a scuba diver, chances are you haven’t heard of the Caribbean island of Saba. Why you may ask? Well, it’s not your typical Caribbean island. Sandy beaches? Nope. Nightlife. Nada. So what’s the draw? The diving and hiking!
Saba is a volcanic island located in the Caribbean roughly 30 miles southwest of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten. Like Bonaire and Sint Eustatius (aka, Statia), Saba became a special municipality of the Netherlands after the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles in October 2010. The other islands of the former Netherlands Antilles – Curaçao and Sint Maarten– became autonomous countries, while Aruba became a constituent state – a territorial and constitutional entity forming part of a sovereign state. I digress. Anyway, Saba covers about five square miles. And as of January 2013, the population was just under 2,000 – which is about 500 more inhabitants than the first time I visited!
The main town, with most of the shops and restaurants is called Windwardside. The capital or administrative center is call The Bottom. Fort Bay is at the harbor and is where you catch the ferry and board dive boats. Some of the other areas are Zion’s Hill (aka Hell’s Gate), Troy Hill and Booby Hill.
Now that you know where it is, here’s why I love it!
It really is the Unspoiled Queen
The official nickname of Saba is the Unspoiled Queen and it’s easy to see why. The Sabans are serious about maintaining their resources – primarily the rain forest for hiking and the underwater world for diving. There’s not a franchise or chain restaurant around. Sure, there’s satellite television and ATM machines are available, but those are probably the closest things you’ll get to the big city. The cottages (most people don’t call them houses) don’t have addresses, they have names, like Dushi Cottage (dushi means cute) or Flossie’s Cottage (I haven’t stayed at either). Yeah, there are hotels, but they’re not megaresorts. They’re personal and cozy and intimate and all part of why I love Saba. Continue reading