FWT Magazine: food wine travel - Issue 5, Fall 2016

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USA & Canada

food wine travel

explore! savor! live!

North Carolina’s Outer Banks Taos • Prince Edward Island Yuma • Norfolk • Kykuit New York State Waterways Amarillo • San Francisco St. Augustine • Puerto Rico 100 Years of National Parks

USA & Canada


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contents 12 National Parks’ 100th Anniversary The Photography of Gary Arndt

28 Slumbering Across America’s Best Idea Yellowstone, Grand Canyon & Death Valley

36 Outer Banks of North Carolina Beyond the Beaches for Cultural Immersion

42 Canada The Bounty of an Island Table

48 A Day in the Eastern Townships of Quebec Province

54 Zipping Through Puerto Rico 58 Norfolk, Virginia Where Mermaids Mingle with History and Art

64 Exploring the Waterways of New York State 70 Visiting Kykuit

depts Contributors 4 First class reporting from around the world.

From the Editor 5 Welcome to Issue Five

Gear 6 Google’s Project Fi

Wines & Spirits 7 What is an AVA and Why Should You Care?

Bon Appétit 8 Seafood in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia

My Home Town 9 Taos, New Mexico

Last Shot 100 The Statue of Liberty

A Memorable House Museum in the Hudson Valley

76 The Mission Inn Southern California’s Exotic Hotel

80 Mountain Cheers! North Carolina’s Craft Beer and Hard Cider Industry

86 What’s So Cool About Yuma? 92 Exploring St. Augustine America’s Oldest City

96 Amarillo Anytime

On the Cover A bald eagle looks for prey over the Alaskan landscape. Melanie Votaw

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Pristine beaches distinguish North Carolina’s Outer Banks.


More information and links for individual authors at the end of each article.

Gary Arndt

Catherine Parker

Sandra Chambers

Christine Salins

Jim DeLillo

Sandra Scott

Beth Graham

Cori Solomon

Kristin Henning

Susanna Starr

Kristin Henning is a writer and constant traveler. Read her stories at TravelPast50.com.

A well-traveled and published travel writer, her books have achieved worldwide acclaim.

M’Liss Hinshaw

Christine Tibbetts

John Lamkin

Amy Trotter Houston

Hilarie Larson

Melanie Votaw

Irene S. Levine

Kathleen Walls

Gary Arndt is an awarding winning blogger and travel photographer who has been traveling around the world since 2007.

Sandra writes magazine, newspaper and online articles for national, regional and local publications.

Jim’s photojournalistic, reality-based, eclectic style provides a refreshing break from stiffly posed shots.

Food, wine and travel writer always up for an adventure. Former Italian expat. Wine lover. Storyteller.

M’Liss is a native San Diegan and has been exploring old restaurants from her youth which thankfully are still in existence.

An award-winning journalist and photographer, he started travel writing as an escape from the drudgery of being an aerospace engineer.

Hilarie’s passion for wine began in the1970s while in the European hospitality industry.

Dr. Irene S. Levine is an award-winning freelance journalist and blogger.



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Catherine Parker has a passion for travel with only two states left in her quest of seeing all 50.

Christine Salins is an Australian writer travelling the world in search of the next great experience.

Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience.

“My writing epitomizes ‘write what I know,’ and I share my experiences and joy with my topics in a passionate, candid, caring and entertaining way.”

Christine Tibbetts is a veteran journalist with 40+ years in news, editorial, marketing and travel writing, bridging classical journalism with social media.

A travel writer and editor, Amy loves taking armchair travelers along for the ride.

Melanie Votaw is a freelance writer based in New York who has visited more than 40 countries on six continents.

Kathleen Walls is the publisher, editor and general go-for at American Roads and Global Highways


From the Editor


elcome to Issue Five of the quarterly FWT Magazine. It gives us great pleasure to bring you another issue, this one themed “USA & Canada.” I was born in the USA and live most of the year there. I have also lived on both coasts of Canada. They have all become important parts of my life. D. H. Lawrence, a native of England and author of the infamous Lady Chatterley’s Lover, said -- speaking of my home state -- “In the magnificent fierce morning of New Mexico one sprang awake, a new part of the soul woke up suddenly, and the old world gave way to a new.” Let’s hope that travel to a new place will provide you with that kind of excitement also. In this issue we will travel first to one of D. H.’s favorites: Taos, New Mexico, then, still in the USA, on to the Outer Banks of North Carolina; to the U. S. National Parks to help them celebrate their Centennial; Norfolk, Virginia; the waterways of New York State; the Hudson Valley; the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa in Riverside, California; on to check out the beer and cider deep in the mountains of western North Carolina; to Yuma, Arizona; to America’s oldest city, St. Augustine; and then fun, culture and food, Texas-style in Amarillo. Then we head for Canada – Prince Edward Island; then on to the Eastern Townships of Quebec Province; and a stop in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for seafood. At last, we take a detour to Puerto Rico where we will get the adrenaline going with an exiting zip line ride. I hope you enjoy the journey and will please let us know what you think about our magazine. Cheers, John Lamkin, Executive Editor

Executive Editor at D.H. Lawrence Ranch

fwt food wine travel

FWT Magazine: food wine travel Publisher IFWTWA Publications Executive Editor • John Lamkin Assistant Editor • Christine Salins Contributing Editor • Irene S. Levine Contributing Editor • Diana Russler Contributing Editor • Susanna Starr Contributing Editor • Melanie Votaw Editorial Assistant • M’Liss Hinshaw Creative Director • Dan Kuehn Dan Frank Digital Design Photography Director • Jim DeLillo Blog Manager • Beth Graham Advertising Director • Michelle L. Lamkin Wine Consultant • Hilarie Larson Publications Adviser • Allen Cox Webmaster • Timothy Lack CharlotteCountyWebsites.com Social Media Team: • Tom Westerhof • Mary Lansing • Debra Schroeder • Alexa Meisler FWT Magazine is published in English, however our audience is global as are our contributing writers. Each contributor writes using the form of English with which they are most familiar, thus you may see international variations on spelling, grammar, and phrasing. We hope this eliminates any confusion. Thank you. -- the Editors FWT Magazine: food wine travel is published by IFWTWA Publishing of International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association ifwtwa.org

“Life is ours to be spent, not to be saved.” ~ D. H. Lawrence


“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.” ~ Mark Twain

IFWTWA: admin@ifwtwa.org FWT Magazine: editor@FWTMagazine.com Advertising: ads@FWTMagazine.com Submission Guidelines If you have a product you would like us to try email editor@FWTmagazine.com

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Number Portability

A very handy feature of Fi is the portability of your current phone number to the Fi service. This is easily accomplished when signing up for Fi. If you wish to discontinue your existing service, contact your provider to determine if cancellation fees are applied.

An International Cellular Phone Service: Google Fi Network

Transfer between Devices

Google has added a feature for subscribers. This data-only SIM card can be inserted to a SIM-compatible laptop or tablet, attaining a dedicated connection which provides the same features as on your phone without any additional cost. This can be quite advantageous when sending/receiving video or streaming. Plus, the Google Hangouts application makes it possible to use the data-only SIM for calls.


he advertising tag line for Google’s Project Fi is: “A new way to say hello.” And, indeed, this appears to be true. Project Fi (Fi) is Google’s wireless service, launched in April 2015. It is designed to allow the user to seamlessly switch a Nexus (5X, 6 or 6P) phone between Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular’s 4G LTE networks, locating the strongest bandwidth available to carry your data and calls. Fi also accesses steadfast public Wi-Fi networks, reducing the cost of usage.


Project Fi charges a basic monthly fee of $20 per month. This fee includes unlimited talk and text, unlimited international texts, use as a Wi-Fi hotspot and access in over 135 countries. Data usage is an additional monthly charge: $10 for 1Gb, $20 for 2Gb and $30 for 3Gb. Any cost for data not used during the monthly billing cycle is credited back to the user’s account and applied to next month’s usage. This is a great savings for users who do not require the full data option offered. There are additional charges for state government and taxes; a service termination is not applied. The only apparent inconvenience with Project Fi is that the service works with only three phones: Google’s Nexus 5X, Nexus 6 and Nexus 6P. However, these phones are rated some of the best Android phones on the market. Also, if the user opts out of Fi, a Nexus is not a “locked device” and can be used with a different service provider. With the offer of a unique, feature-robust and cost-effective service, Google’s Project Fi merits a closer look and “new way to say hello.” Google Project Fi https://fi.google.com/about/

Google Project Fi

Fi has many useful features, including international use, portability of current phone numbers as well as service transfer between devices (laptops and tablets).

International Use

Fi offers high-speed data in over 135 countries. A breakdown of these countries and their related usage costs are found on the Project Fi website and application. While usage is not available in countries not supported by Fi, a SIM card local to the country in which you are traveling, can be purchased for access. Also, Fi provides access to countries not covered by the service when use is originated from a country that is covered (international costs apply). On the Road Again with nexus 5X Google Fi Network

John Lamkin


An award-winning journalist and photographer, John started travel writing as an escape from the drudgery of being an aerospace engineer – dropped the engineering, kept the writing. John went on to study at the San Francisco Art Institute, then on to found the now famous San Francisco Camerawork. His recent book about the Zapotec weavers of Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley is reaping critical acclaim. John will go anywhere for a story and believes as Isabelle Eberhardt once said, For more information about John Lamkin: http://ifwtwa.org/author/john-patrick-lamkin or visit his website: http://www.travelwritingandphotography.com/


The vineyards of Buttonwood Farm Winery express the distinctive character of the Santa Ynez Valley AVA, California.

Wine & Spirits What is an AVA and Why Should You Care?


ine should not be confusing. Most people simply want to enjoy a glass with friends or choose something tasty to complement their meal, not analyze the bottle as if they are training to become a Master Sommelier. That being said, there is never any harm in arming yourself with a bit of basic knowledge to help guide you through the gauntlet of choices. If you’re perusing the wine shop shelves and looking at American wines, you’ll find a lot of information on the label that can give you hints about the contents and aid in narrowing down your selection. For example, every label shows a place where the grapes came from, a ‘place of origin.’ Known as an ‘American Viticultural Area’ (or AVA for short),this information is a key to understanding more about the quality and character of the wine. So what exactly is an AVA? In simple terms, it’s a delineated, geographic area for growing wine grapes. To become an AVA , the petitioners who want their little corner of their vineyard world to be recognized need to go through a rather long and arduous process of proving why their region is special. It could be the soils, the climate, a special geographic formation such as a hillside slope or ancient riverbed. Whatever the reason, it must be something that sets the land apart from the area around it and, most importantly, influences the character of the grapes grown upon it. An AVA can be tiny like Cole Ranch in Mendocino County, California at only 62 acres, or as vast as the largest AVA, the 26,000 acre Ohio River Valley. Often, an AVA will sit inside a larger region, like Southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley, which is surrounded by the Rogue Valley AVA. There are currently over

200 of these specialized growing regions with more on the drawing board. By law, wine labels have to tell us where the grapes came from. The more specific the location, the more we know about those grapes and the land on which the vineyards are planted. Here’s an example: Robert Mondavi Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, Napa Valley From reading this label, we know that the grapes come from the Oakville AVA, which is in the famous Napa Valley AVA. Do a quick ‘Google’ search and we learn that this area is near the town of Oakville and the vineyards are planted on gravel soil in a small valley between the Vaca and Mayacamas mountain ranges. Oakville is acclaimed for its Bordeaux varieties that have really good tannins and a distinctive herbaceous, minty note. As you can see, just this little nugget of information on the label can tell you much about what lurks inside the bottle and can enhance your wine experience. Santé.

Hilarie Larson CSW, FWS Hilarie’s passion for wine began in the1970’s while in the European hospitality industry. In 2003 she began her wine career in earnest in her native British Columbia, Canada, working at several Okanagan Valley wineries where she was able to assist in the vineyard and cellar as well as the tasting rooms. Along the way, she acquired her certificate from the Court of Master Sommelier, worked for an international wine broker and as ‘Resident Sommelier’ for wineries in Washington State and California. Hilarie’s greatest joy is spreading the gospel of wine, food and travel. For a full author biography and profile, please visit: http://ifwtwa.org/author/hilarie-larson

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were so tender even drawn butter was optional. No winner declared, though at Hall’s we did get the pleasure of personally walking our rubber bin of selected live lobsters to the chef ’s counter. Our survey of local fare culminated in Halifax, where we could sample locally sourced fare in all its chef-driven glory. At Bicycle Thief (Bishop’s Landing in Halifax), an impromptu meal at the bar turned into a tasty flavor festival. We shared an appetizer of tuna tartare with avocado and sesame cucumber pickled wasabi, and then laid into lamb chops. See? Not all Maritime food is seafood. The bartenders were accomplished mixologists, offering seasonal twists on classics, like my Negroni cocktail. Emphasizing local wines and ingredients, The Five Fishermen Restaurant in Halifax was worth a second visit just so we could sample the specialty of the house, The Five Fish. Perfect for indecisive seafood lovers, it features pan-seared Digby scallops, halibut and salmon and grilled shrimp – all served on a bed of luscious lobster risotto. Topped with crispy grilled fennel and simple lemon beurre blanc, this is a plate that impresses because it is not overly fussy. The fresh fish are wonderful on their own. A Nova Scotia white wine, Avondale Sky Tidal Bay 2015, adorned the meal, offering a slightly sweet, melon-tinged match for the seafood. While the cuisine of Atlantic Canada goes way beyond seafood, it’d be a shame not to sample the best the sea has to offer.

Specialty Five Fish plate at The Five Fishermen Restaurant in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Bon Appétit Maritime Canada: Seafood in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia


he maritime provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia lie on either side of the Bay of Fundy, the phenomenal home to the world’s greatest tidal extremes. While travel to both provinces undoubtedly involves seafood chowders and live lobster plucked from the bay, the culinary heritage of this northeastern zone encompasses much more. Back when the British and French were jousting for control of the area, local Acadians were creating farm land from tidal basins using dykes and canals. Root vegetables withstood the climatic extremes and are still popular in today’s cuisine. Nearly every meal, in the summer at least, is accompanied by impressive seasonal greens and delicate veggies. Farmers markets feature local cheeses, jams, and condiments, as well as meats and smoked fish. Look for dulse, too, a sea vegetable still hand gathered at low tide, dried, and sold for snack fare or seasoning. Enjoy it on your favorite seafood chowders. But the fishing industry has always been the backbone of the area, thriving here between the Outer Banks of Newfoundland and the population base to the south. This strategic location proved especially lucrative during Prohibition when fishermen turned rum runners. Today, local wines and micro beers offer more accessible beverage options. Seafood, and specifically lobster, still command center stage in the region, and fishing villages engage in friendly battles for top lobster titles. We rolled up our sleeves to compare little lobsters from Alma’s Lobster Cafe (Alma, New Brunswick) one week, and Hall’s Harbour Lobster Pound (Nova Scotia) the next. Both



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If You Go Food Tourism Nova Scotia Food Tourism New Brunswick Alma’s Lobster Shop Hall’s Harbour Lobster Pound The Bicycle Thief The Five Fishermen Restaurant Avondale Sky Wines

Kristin Henning Kristin Henning is a writer and constant traveler, visiting over 55 countries since giving up her home in Minneapolis in 2010. She and her husband Tom share their photos and stories on the travel blog, TravelPast50.com. Prior to hitting the road, Henning was co-publisher of various periodicals in Minneapolis/St. Paul (MN), including City Pages, Minnesota Parent, The Rake magazine, and a guide book, Secrets of the City: Guide to Minneapolis/St. Paul.

My Hometown Taos, New Mexico USA: A Small Town with Tri-Cultural Heritage



ocated at the base of the Taos mountain, sacred to the Pueblo Indians for more than 1,000 years, the small town of Taos, New Mexico is notable for its tri-cultural heritage as well as its beauty. From majestic mountains to the valley of Taos where the town lies nestled, from the rivers and streams to the awe-inspiring gorge, the sculptural mesas and long stretches of high desert, it’s easy to become immersed in the unspoiled beauty of nature. Add to that the vast horizons, clarity of air and light, and the magnificent blue Taos skies, and this hometown of mine has much to offer visitors. Many people arrive from all over the country, as well as from Canada, Europe and Mexico. Not only are there three cultures in Taos, but there are also three languages spoken. The language of the well-known Taos Pueblo is the same as it has always been, Tiwa. Spanish is spoken virtually everywhere since the Spaniards arrived more than 500 years ago. The Anglos, as they are referred to here, are the most recent arrivals, and English, of course, is the common spoken language. So many of the Taos natives are bi- or tri-lingual. Setting it apart from most of the Southwest region, New Mexico has its own traditional food with locals justifiably proud of their unique version of chili. The architecture is also specific with the frequent use of adobe with its warm, rich color of the earth. Like Santa Fe, its larger neighbor to the south, Taos is known as an art colony. There are wonderful galleries and many fine museums, including the Harwood Museum and the Millicent Rogers Museum, each providing not only contemporary art shows but also the rich history of Taos art over the past generations. In addition to the historic landmark Taos Inn, there are several motels and many bed & breakfast accommodations available. These, of course, reflect the owners’ tastes and sensibilities, and each one of them has something unique to offer. Vacation homes are also available for rent, and families often find that they can settle into them and spend quality time getting to know all the many offerings in town. From the centrally located town plaza to checking out the many surrounding galleries to hiking some of the mountain trails, river rafting, ballooning, or skiing in the world-class Taos Ski Valley, there is much to do and see. That is, when you’re not trying

out some of the extensive culinary opportunities. Not only is Hispanic cuisine available, but there is a nice variety of other options, including organic, Japanese, Italian and other specialties. Finally, Taos is a town for all seasons. Springtime is glorious in the mountains, although it starts a little later than other regions. The snow-melt provides for rushing rivers, and the early flowers always evoke excitement after the cold of winter. Summers are glorious with morning and evenings almost always cool and crystal clear. Fall in Taos features the spectacular gold of aspen leaves. Taos is set against the intense blue of the sky and the deep green of the fir, pine and pinon trees, so there are many drives that will lure the visitor to cruise the mountain roads. Winter is much loved by skiers who have been waiting for the opportunity to sample the outstanding runs in the ski valley. This is where I live, where my children and grandchildren have been raised, where I still work in my gallery and where I have enjoyed, for more than half my life, the special feeling of community that is Taos.

Taos Pueblo “These main structures of the pueblo are believed to be over 1000 years old… Each apartment is a separate unconnected unit…doors being added in the last century as a result of Spanish influence…. The original entrances were through the roofs by ladder.”

Susanna Starr Susanna Starr, entrepreneur, photographer, speaker, artist, writer, holds a degree in philosophy from Stony Brook State University of New York, Susanna is the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association‘s Regional membership coordinator for Riviera Maya & Oaxaca Mexico. Formere owner of Rancho Encantado, an eco-resort and spa in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, she lives in Northern New Mexico. Look for her latest book, Our Interwoven Lives with the Zapotec Weavers, available in fine bookstores and online at amazon.com and others.

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National Parks’ 100th Anniversary Photos by Gary Arndt


Death Valley

Bryce Canyon



Isle Royale

Gates of the Arctic

Grand Tetons

Gary Arndt Gary Arndt is an awarding winning blogger and travel photographer who has been traveling around the world since 2007. His travels have taken him to over 180 countries and territories and has earned membership in the elite Traveler’s Century Club. He has also visited over 300 UNESCO World Heritage sites and all 50 US states. His blog Everything Everywhere is widely considered one of the most popular travel blogs in the world. In 2010 Time Magazine named it one of the Top 25 Blogs on the Internet and it earned a Gold Medal in the Travel Blog category in the North American Travel Journalist Association (NATJA) awards. He is one of the most awarded travel photographers of this decade. He was named the 2014 SATW Travel Photographer of the Year as well as the 2013 and 2015 NATJA Travel Photographer of the Year. He is the only travel photographer to have been named photographer of the year by both organizations. He is also a 3-time Lowell Thomas Award winner in Photo Illustration of Travel and a 2x Northern Lights Award winner in photography.



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National Parks’ 100th Anniversary


fter years of visiting national park service sites around the country, I recently I set a goal of visiting and photographing all 59 of the National Parks in the United States. I am currently 75% of my way to achieving my goal, which I should be able to complete in 2017. In honor of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, I’ve compiled many of my favorite shots from US National Parks.

Photo Notes Denali National Park is home to Mount Denali, the highest peak in North America. Only 30% of the people who visit the park actually see the mountain, as it is often covered in clouds. The road into the park stretches 92 miles, but it is not open to private vehicles. You have to travel there by bus. Death Valley National Park is the largest park in the continental US. It lowest, driest, and hottest place in America. In fact, it holds the record for the highest recorded temperature on Earth. Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah isn’t one of the larger parks, but the amphitheater with its spiring hoodoo rock formations makes it one of the most special parks. Sunrise Yellowstone National Park is not only the first national park in the US, it was the first national park in the world. With vistas, wildlife, and geologic features found nowhere else, it has earned its place as one of the greatest national parks in the world. I visited Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota after a period of heavy rains. The water in the lakes which make up the park were extremely high, causing minor flooding. There was about a foot of water on the ground which made for some spectacular reflections. Isle Royale National Park is an island in Lake Superior and is the least visited National Park in the continental United States. The only way to visit the park is by float plane or ferry. If you take the ferry from Grand Portage, Minnesota you will pass the Rock of Ages lighthouse, which is an old navigational beacon inside the park boundaries. Gates of the Arctic National Park gets fewer than 1,000 visitors per year. Located above the Arctic Circle, it is one of the most remote and inaccessible parks in America. There are no roads, trails, signs, or facilities in the park. The only way in is by float plane. Grand Teton National Park lies just south of Yellowstone and has some of the most beautiful mountains in North America. The mountain range extends north-south, so it is easy to experience the park in a drive from Yellowstone to Jackson Hole.

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Slumbering Across America’s Best Idea Four Iconic Properties of the National Park Service Story and photos by Catherine Parker

The Grand Canyon Lodge at the North Rim features rimside log cabins that enchant kids and adults alike.

National Parks’ 100th Anniversary


o help the National Park Service celebrate its Centennial, I loaded up my car full of kids, aged 8, 12 and 13, to explore America’s best idea. With a loose itinerary of 28 national park sites, we hiked through summer vacation and pulled over at every scenic overlook that didn’t require an illegal turn. In a summer of endless exploring, my favorite national park days began at night when I opened the door of an historic lodge room. With offerings ranging from iconic log-built inns to luxurious desert hideaways with sunbathing starlets, national park lodges offer memorable stays in some of the most cherished landscapes across the western United States.

Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

As I walked through its pair of red doors into the towering multi-story log building, I experienced all the wonder of a child. As my eyes were drawn upward to the vaulted log ceiling and then down along the rhyolite fireplace, the clamor of a guided tour in one corner drew my ears while the dining room’s slow-roasted prime rib caught my nose. Climbing the stairs, the pine newel post’s hand-burnished smoothness percolated gratitude for my moment to experience an American icon. Before the establishment of the National Park Service, an unknown 29-yearold architect from Ohio, Robert Reamer, changed the landscape of architecture with a rustic yet whimsical style celebrating locally-sourced materials. At Old Faithful Inn, he harvested building materials just



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Lake Quinault Lodge near Olympic National Park offers idyllic lodging, steps from the lake shore and rainforest hikes.

miles from the job site in the untamed corner of Wyoming during the winter of 1903-1904. The style evolved into National Park Service Rustic, or parkitecture, the predominant style of the western national park lodges. During my stay in the Old House, or the original section of the Old Faithful Inn, the details gave it an irreplaceable, organic feeling that makes it my favorite national park lodge. The hand-forged iron room numbers led the way to my pine-paneled, double-queen room with a pair of divid-

ed-light windows to catch the afternoon breeze. My room offered period-appropriate accommodations that allowed my family the opportunity to unplug and decompress. With furnishings provided by Old Hickory Furniture Company of Indiana and a sink set atop a vanity, guests experience lodging much like the first visitors did, without an attached bathroom. Immaculately clean showers in newly renovated bathrooms are a quick walk down the hall. For a tub bath, I found a tub room with an

Frontier Cabins at the Grand Canyon Lodge at the North Rim, Arizona

original claw foot tub, ready for a soak. Though Old Faithful Inn is the crossroads of Yellowstone National Park during the day, the overnight guests claim it as the sun falls beneath the horizon. The Old Faithful Inn’s Dining Room draws guests with a menu featuring locally-sourced ingredients and meals served on the signature Old Faithful Inn china. As the dinner service winds down, musicians entertain guests lounging in the mezzanines on each guest floor. The simple joy of playing a game with my family was

transformed into the sublime by the ambience. Other guests read a book in a corner, shared the latest animal sighting over a glass of wine or addressed postcards to loved ones from original writing desks. Not to be missed, the best place to witness Old Faithful Geyser is from the second-story balcony of Old Faithful Inn. Grab a glass of wine from the bar and toast this National Historic Landmark in America’s best idea, the national park.

In a landscape that always reminds me of a Native American blanket, I discovered a new treasure. I left the idling tour buses at the South Rim and trekked to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The journey had my 12-yearold son and I driving through fir forests and wildflower meadows. Located on a peninsula of the Kaibab Plateau near Bright Angel Point, the Grand Canyon Lodge at the North Rim offers guests an original log and stone building with patios, soaring log ceilings and walls of windows to view the canyon. Constructed in 1936 by famed architect, Gilbert Stanly Underwood, the Grand Canyon Lodge houses the lobby, restaurants and shopping. The guest accommodations are housed in more than 100 cabin buildings featuring 218 rooms, next to the rim . Grand Canyon Lodge’s Dining Room offers upscale dining with soaring log ceilings and a wall of windows perched along the rim. I enjoyed a seasonal baby spinach salad with strawberries and feta cheese while watching the late-day sun race for the edge of the canyon. Outside, guests found a seat and settled in with a cocktail for daily sunset celebration. The exterior of our log cabin reminded my son of Lincoln Logs with its green roof and rough-hewn logs that have aged to burnt umber. Once inside, I opened the original divided-light casement windows to my private view of the Grand Canyon. My cabin featured a full and a twin bed along with a shower-only bathroom; covering the basics for my son and myself. A Hickory Furniture Company writing desk offered a landing spot for the in-room coffee and phone.

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featured more amenities than traditional national park lodges, like Wi-Fi, a flatscreen television and in-room Starbucks coffee along with a sitting area and balcony overlooking the lake. To cap off the evening, Lake Quinault Lodge lights a fire pit for lakeside s’mores. Watching my marshmallow toast as the sky glowed like the campfire’s embers was a highlight of my stay.

Inn at Furnace Creek in Death Valley National Park, California

Near the lowest point of North America sits a four-star historic property that hosts Hollywood stars and Paris socialites. Nestled in the largest national park in the lower 48, the Inn at Furnace Creek offers graciously appointed accommodations that luxury travelers have come to expect. Built in 1927 with expansive views of the Panamint Mountains, the Inn at Furnace Creek offers a garden oasis in the desert of Death Valley complete with a spring-fed pool and poolside bungalows. For guests needing assistance in decompressing, spa services and massages are available poolside. The Inn at Furnace Creek’s Dining Room offers fine dining along with a legendary weekend brunch and afternoon tea. Dining on the veranda allows guest unparalleled views of the valley and the mountains above. My room featured an entryway that opened to a king room with a sitting area with a pair of upholstered chairs flanking a The Dining Room of the Grand Canyon Lodge at the North Rim overlooks the canyon fireplace. With all the expected amenities and offers regionally-inspired menus and locally-sourced ingredients. like a flat-screen television, in-room stereo and a work desk with a charging station, my room also featured a large walk-in spruce trees that surround Lake Quinault closet. Lodge, adding charm to this hidden gem, a The bathroom featured vintage white couple hours commute from Seattle. hexagonal tiles, a jetted tub and separate For rustic luxury in a fairy land of ferns A gracious lawn slopes towards Lake shower. The signature toiletries had the and moss, I found the idyllic Lake Quinault Quinault where Adirondack chairs provide aroma of desert wildflowers. Lodge in the Olympic National Forest an the ideal spot to enjoy a book or a glass of Along with luxurious surroundings, ideal retreat for travelers needing more wine. The white gazebo in the corner of the adventure awaits at the front door. Jeep creature comforts. lawn provides a fairytale spot for weddings. tours, bike rentals and horseback riding is Constructed in 1926, Lake Quinault With several buildings to choose from, available close by with tennis courts located Lodge features cedar shakes and original guests can opt for historic rooms in the at the hotel. For the golfers, Death Valley divided light windows. The evergreen main lodge or larger rooms with fireplachas the world’s lowest golf course, a bucket shutters match the towering centuries-old es or balconies. My double-queen room list course for serious players.

Lake Quinault Lodge in the Olympic National Forest, Washington



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The Pool at the Inn at Furnace Creek hosts Hollywood stars hiding under their chapeaus in Death Valley National Park.

If you go National Park Service Yellowstone National Park’s Old Faithful Inn is a seasonal property, open from early May until early October. North Rim of the Grand Canyon’s Grand Canyon Lodge is also a seasonal property, open from mid May until mid October. Olympic National Park’s Lake Quinault Lodge is open year-round. Death Valley National Park’s Inn at Furnace Creek is open year-round with reduced services after Mother’s Day weekend until October due to the extreme heat of the summer.

Catherine Parker

Nestled in the temperate rainforest of Olympic National Forest, Lake Quinault Lodge offers water recreation as well as hiking.

Catherine Parker has a passion for travel with only two states left in her quest of seeing all 50. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, she’s landed in nearly every North American airport at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting national parks, historic sites and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a 95-year-old house. She shares her life with her three kids, her husband and a yardful of animals.

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Outer Banks of North Carolina Beyond the Beaches for Cultural Immersion By Christine Tibbetts

First flight with Wright Brothers: history, art, National Park Service. OUTER BANKS VISITORS BUREAU


he Outer Banks beaches are so magnificent that visitors need to allow sufficient time to experience all they offer. Exploring North Carolina’s stretch of barrier islands presents unique opportunities to engage with fishing families who honor the traditions of generations, and to learn about the lifesaving stations trusted by early seafarers facing notoriously dangerous waters. Sure you can reserve a grand beach house – there are about 10,000 rentals available in the Outer Banks — and stay put there, shaping a sunny holiday with surf and sand. You can also drive some or all of the 138 miles of the National Scenic Byway, or take a 25-mile ferry ride to witness coastal history, nature and tradition. Find stellar experiences the whole length of the Byway. Pick any stretch and expect experiences loaded with heritage and tons of fun. Obvious and easy to find are the four lighthouses, two national seashores named Hatteras and Cape Lookout, two national

Elizabethan Gardens connect Outer Banks to settlers.

wildlife refuges and the little hill where the Wright Brothers launched the first heavierthan-air powered flight. Many more places also offer depth within these 21 National Scenic Byway villages. Here are five allowing deep connections: • Jockey’s Ridge dune hang gliding • Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center • 16th century Elizabethan garden and sailing vessel • Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum • Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station

Kill Devil Hills to Jockey’s Ridge

Orville and Wilbur Wright took turns on their first four flights, and 59 seconds in the air was their all-time record. You, too, can fly at the Outer Banks, taking off from the largest living sand dune on the east coast, not far from the National Park Service National Monument dedicated to the Wright Brothers. Combine seeing the actual spot of those four flights with Park Ranger storytelling and exhibits before heading to Jockey’s Ridge State Park. Run up the dune which has peaks of 90 feet, or trudge slowly just for the view from the top. Sunsets are spectacular. Book a class with America’s oldest and largest hang gliding school and fly back

down. $109 covers a 45-minute lesson on the ground plus five flights. Jeff Schwartzenberg, who has been teaching with Kitty Hawk Kites for 29 years, says everybody can do it. “You can fly when you’re four years old, and we’ve flown with someone who was 98.” What a way to connect with the reality of those Wright brothers in the Outer Banks wind and sand…..even if you only watch others strap on the big kite.

Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center

Finely carved decoys in the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum are but one of the artistic expressions helping the rest of us better appreciate fishing families. Find this center of abundant heritage and education in “Down East,” on the southernmost part of the Byway, almost to the city of Beaufort. “Core Sound is sacred to us. These Outer Banks and shores and shoals are like a retreat to many a mind and a peace to the soul,” said Barbara Garrity-Blake who co-authored an insightful book named Fish House Opera. You might just find her in the Museum amidst the wildlife art, quilts and quilters, in the library and research center, or resting



Hang glide near Wright Brothers’ first flights.

in a leather chair fit for a hunt club gathering room. The Museum’s second floor is community-based with exhibits reflecting the Core Sound neighborhoods. “Down East fishing families live by the values considered truly American—independence, risk-taking and freedom,” according to Garrity-Blake. “People are downright reverent about the area, living off its shrimp, crabs, oysters and clams for generations.” Core Sound is also where to find Cape Lookout National Seashore, and to enjoy a night hike to the top of the lighthouse. Whether heading north or south, spend a little time in Beaufort for the lively small city immersion in coastal life and history.

16th Century Elizabethan Garden and Sailing Vessel

Musing about the boats built by these rugged people for family survival, my thoughts turned to equally determined early settlers and I wanted to connect the people of the centuries — just like Kitty Hawk Kites enriched my Wright Brothers National Park System experience. It can be done at least two ways. Although they’re both named Elizabeth, one is a formal garden and the other is a vessel. Board the Elizabeth II sailing ship in Roanoke Island’s Festival Park, imagining it’s 1585 and you’re one with the earliest colonists. This is an outdoor living history

complex with a 45-minute inside docudrama film to get acquainted. Paths are paved, docents are cheerful and knowledgeable, and exhibits throughout the grounds are interactive with clear signage that teaches but doesn’t demand too much concentration. Well done for all ages. “Go where the winds are blowing the way you want to go,” was the sage advice I got from the costumed helmsman named Randall on the Elizabeth II. The journey from England to Roanoke? Eighty-five days. The ship’s crew, in costume and in character, was a boisterous lot but the formal gardens named for Queen Elizabeth on

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Authentic experiences in Outer Banks: fishermen with fresh catch.



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Fishing tools are art in “Down East village neighborhoods.”

Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

Good grief! 1,500 ships wrecked along the coast where the rest of us vacation. Lighthouses are such a pleasure to spot on the horizon that it’s easy to forget their purpose: they offer serious warnings to seamen. With four to see along the Byway, and a fifth recreated for Roanoke Island Festival Park, I was prepared for lighthouse lessons in the museum in the village of Hatteras. Time on the 1585 Elizabeth II connected me to this history in a personal way, imagining myself on a turbulent sea in that little vessel, desperately hoping to spot a light indicating land and guiding the captain away from dangerous shoals. Underwater archeology is the key to The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, launched by local folks and today part of the professional North Carolina Maritime Museums network. Even the Facebook page is interactive with video of real-time presentations and snippets of shipwreck and lifesaving history. Exhibits felt to me like down-home Hatteras wrapped in high tech technology and design. Plus, the beach is just across the street.

Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station

Stroll the Graveyard beach contemplating the sunken ships, and the one in Rodanthe at Chicamacomico appreciating that lifesaving was an art and a passion, and incredibly hard, dangerous work. “The book says you gotta go out. It don’t say nothin’ ‘bout coming back,” is the historic somber quote from a station keeper. 1874 was the start of this station, to rescue those in peril from the sea. Clearcut mission, would you say? The visit also allows guests to walk seven acres and enter eight buildings furnished with artifacts. This is feeling the rush, standing next to a rescue boat, looking toward the ocean and remembering the lessons from the Graveyard Museum. Plus Chicamacomico presents workshops, lectures, re-enactments and summer camps for immersing in this very particular history.

Christine Tibbetts Christine Tibbetts is a high-energy veteran journalist known for writing engaging, compelling tales about people in places, enabling travelers to better experience the rich dynamics of a destination. She serves as Destinations editor of TravelingMom.com, writes travel features on assignment for southern regional print magazines and for the web zine American Roads. A member of the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association, she earned a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri in 1970.


the edge of nearby Fort Raleigh National Historic site are calm and quiet. Ten acres of ever-changing blooms are maintained by the Garden Clubs of North Carolina. Tip: pack a picnic and relax on the Great Lawn. Pay tribute to Virginia Dare, revered here as the first child born of English parents in this new colony. She’s depicted as a grown woman in white Carrara marble sculpted by Massachusetts artist Louisa Lander.


The Bounty of an Island Table Article and photos by Christine Salins

Black garlic fettuccine with lobster and curry sauce.

The Table Culinary Studio provides the perfect spot for bringing local history, food and culture together.


errick Hoare has lived on Canada’s Prince Edward Island for 12 years and his love for it runs so deep that when he retired five years ago, he knew there was nowhere else he’d rather be. “I’m an islander by choice. I chose to live here because there’s a sense of community, a collective of folks putting together great things,” he said. Derrick is one of those people doing



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“great things”. In May this year, he opened The Table, a culinary studio showcasing the island’s bountiful produce. Derrick spent 35 years as a health care executive but he is also a trained chef, and his passion for fresh, local ingredients is inspiring. He particularly loves the spirit of co-operation and genuine friendship that exists between producers on the island. “It’s not a competition between culinary folks, it’s a collaboration. Everybody helps everybody, no matter what,” he said. The setting for The Table is a quaint wooden church in New London, a pretty

rural community 40 kilometres from Charlottetown, capital of Prince Edward Island (PEI). The 1952 church has been beautifully converted with a modern kitchen opening to a graciously furnished dining space. When Derrick bought the property in January this year, he built on the foundation laid by Annie Leroux, who established Annie’s Table in 2012. He has continued with Annie’s philosophy of gathering people together in the kitchen and around the dining table to experience fine food, community and laughter. Every dish that goes onto the menu at

oyster is wonderful.” George is George Dowdle, who together with his wife Marlene and daughter Britteny runs Green Gables Oysters, just up the road. George has been oyster farming for 38 years and his oysters can be found in restaurants around the world. When the oysters are close to being ready for harvest, he brings them from his 10 sites in the island’s pristine waters and puts them in baskets over a natural artesian spring under the sea. They are left there for about a month during which time they develop a slightly sweet, melon-like flavour. George also produces snow crabs, mussels, clams and eels, and he welcomes visitors popping in to see him. “He’s just a good neighbour,” said Derrick, who also finds a good neighbour in Al Picketts at Kensington, about five minutes away. Al’s black garlic, produced under the Eureka Garlic label, is fermented over about 30 days till it caramelises and reaches the consistency of a paste.

Al is one of only a handful of Canadian garlic producers making black garlic. According to Derrick’s head chef, Roark MacKinnon, Al “could be an exceptionally rich man but he loves what he does.” As we speak, 21-year-old apprentice Michael Bradley is kneading bread with shavings of the black garlic and walnuts. I help him to braid the bread as he explains what he loves about the island. “It’s the local connections between everyone, for example, George with his oysters and Al with his garlic. It’s all local, fresh and full of flavour.” His sentiments are echoed by Roark, who at 24 is wise beyond his years, knowing much about the science behind food and cooking, and turning out spectacular dishes highlighting the local produce. Roark comes from a family of farmers and fishermen on the island, and worked on yachts for a few years before deciding he wanted to pursue a career as a chef. Roark attended the Culinary Institute of Canada from 2013 to 2015, but has always

The Table Culinary Studio showcases the bountiful produce of Canada’s Prince Edward Island.

The Table is built around foods that are grown and harvested on PEI, from the land and the sea. The cooking classes, hands-on experiences, events and evening dining that take place at The Table bring local history, food and culture together. “It’s a great concept,” said Derrick. “It gives us a chance to share with folks the island culture and island life. To watch people’s pleasure, to see them participating in the class, is very rewarding. … The joy in their face when they see George opening an

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cooked. “It’s a big part of my life. Being in the garden as a kid was a huge thing. I turned culinary into my life.” With fine, slender hands, he makes a flour well to which he adds eggs and a little oil and cream. He works it delicately into pasta, gradually incorporating all the flour and then adding some crushed black garlic. He cuts the pasta into strips and before long is serving me black garlic fettuccine with lobster and curry sauce. Lobster is a speciality on the island, as are mussels, and I’m privileged that the pasta dish has been preceeded by a huge bowl of blue mussels sourced the same morning from PEI Aqua Farm just down the road. Roark has cooked them in some roasted butternut squash oil, butter-infused olive oil and canola oil, to which he has added carrots, onions, shallots, celery and an array of spices including turmeric, paprika, cumin and coriander. Derrick gauges how much his guests want to participate in the cooking – some like to sit back and watch the chefs at work, but most want to be hands-on, working side by side with the chefs, absorbing as much knowledge as they can. “We have a lot of fun together,” said Roark. “It’s hard not to have fun in this environment.” What he loves most about the island is its spirit of community. In times gone by, people had to trade food and get on with their neighbours in order to survive the harsh winters, and that co-operation continues to permeate the island today. People would get through the winter with root vegetables that kept for months, freezing berries and preserving food, even burying food outside. Roark draws on the knowledge of family cooks who came before him. His grandmother always stored her apples with potatoes to prolong their shelf life. PEI accounts for a substantial portion of Canada’s potato production. The island’s potatoes are legendary and there is even a potato museum in the town of O’Leary. About 12 varieties grow on the island but the waxy Yukon Gold is the chefs’ choice. “It’s the iron (on the island) that makes the potatoes so good and flavoursome,” said Roark. “It’s good for beets as well.”

Braided bread ready to go into the oven.

Black garlic produced by Al Picketts at Kensington.

Black garlic fettuccine.

Derrick Hoare with his head chef, Roark MacKinnon (left) and apprentice Michael Bradley (right).

If you go Both beetroot and black garlic star in an impressive finale to my meal at The Table. Chocolate Beetroot Cake in the shape of a maple leaf is an unusual and inspired creation, complete with strawberry glaze and dustings of rosemary and black garlic. Derrick serves what he calls his “New London version” of Anne of Green Gables’ raspberry cordial, a refreshing drink made with fresh raspberries that have been marinated overnight with sugar, water, honey and lemon zest. The drink is a nod to Lucy Maud Montgomery’s fictional heroine, whose story has put Prince Edward Island on the tourism map. One of The Table’s most popular classes, especially with Japanese visitors, is the Taste of the Past class, where all the dishes featured are from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s cookbook. One of the Maritime Provinces along with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, PEI yields some of Canada’s finest produce and its cuisine has been shaped by the Scottish,

English, Irish and French who settled there. Food and tourism go hand in hand as the island’s main industries. “The food industry is devoted to keeping the most amazing bounty here on the island,” said Roark. “I could write a book about what PEI means to me. There’s an energy here unlike anywhere I’ve been in the world. I love to travel and I love to experience food all around the world but the food I like to cook is right here on Prince Edward Island.” Every Monday to Thursday evening, The Table offers a family-style fine dining experience for up to 24 diners. Derrick says the experience is “so different and eclectic” compared to most restaurant experiences. “Hopefully they (guests) have half as much fun as we have doing it,” he said. “People say, ‘Thanks for treating us like family’, and that for us is one of the nicest compliments. It’s fun sharing Prince Edward Island with them.”

The Table Culinary Studio 4295 Grahams Road, Route 8 New London Prince Edward Island Canada Tel: 902 886 2025 www.thetablepei.ca

Christine Salins Christine Salins is one of Australia’s most highly regarded food, wine and travel writers. She spent more than 20 years as a newspaper journalist, including nine years as Food & Wine Editor for The Canberra Times, the major daily in Australia’s capital city. She has freelanced for print media since 2003, and together with Maurie O’Connor manages www.foodwinetravel.com.au, bringing all their great loves together in their award-winning website.

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A Day in the Eastern Townships Story and photos by Cori Solomon

The view to the US Border from Domaine Pinnacle in the Eastern Townships


Auberge & Spa West Brome


ust outside of Montreal is a unique area in the Quebec Province called Eastern Townships. Located around 45 minutes southeast of Montreal, several hours from the city of Quebec, and bordering Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, the Eastern Townships area offers many activities for the traveler to experience during any season. The area is also known as Estrie, a toponym adopted in 1981. It is also identified as “Cantons-de-l’Est”, which was a name used by the first settlers to the area in the 16th century. The area was formed after the American Revolution when the British



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gave loyalists fleeing the United States a safe haven to live in. Today the Eastern Townships area consists of the following sub-regions: Sherbrooke, Granby-Bromont, Brome-Missisquoi, Val Saint-François, Memphrémagog, Coaticook, Asbestos, Haut Saint-François and Mégantic. The charm of the pastoral countryside spattered with old villages, apple orchards, maple shacks and vineyards is a popular destination for New Englanders. For the wine and spirits enthusiast, there are many wineries and cider houses to visit. If you are visiting Montreal, it is well worth adding a day to visit the Eastern Townships. The ideal way to capture the beauty and sights of the area is by taking a tour. Kava Tours is highly recommended. Kava offers both

self-guided picnic lunch tours and private guided tours. Tour guide/owner Benoit Hébert will lead you through the best of the three wine regions of the Eastern Townships. They are Dunham, considered the birthplace of Quebec’s wineries, Bromont, and Rougemont (Monteregie), which is known for its cider producers. A day visiting the wineries of the Eastern Townships should include a variety of wineries and cider producers. Our visit to the region Vignoble Les Pervenchesbegan in the Brome-Missisquoi region at a boutique family-run winery called Vignoble Les Pervenches. Owners Michael Marler and Veronique Hupin take pride in their 3 hectare vineyard, which they farm using both organic and biodynamic principles.

They are certified organic by Écocert. Veronique is very modest in showing off the excellent selection of wines offered. Michael went to Mike McGill University, majoring in farming. While at the University he went abroad to study agriculture at Superior Purpan School of Agriculture in the South of France. It was here that Michael’s passion for wine developed. You might say Veronique is the marketing and finance part of this team as she got her MBA at HEC Montreal and then worked at Nortel before the couple started their winery. Although Les Pervenches makes both reds and whites, the primary focus is Chardonnay. They are one of the only producers utilizing this varietal in the Eastern Townships. Our second stop was at the oldest winery in the Eastern Townships, Vignoble

Domaine des Côtes d’Arboise in the Dunham region. Established in 1980, this is the perfect spot for a picnic because not only are you in the vineyards, you are also in a sculpture garden. This picturesque spot is an ideal environment in which to enjoy the wines while basking in the sun and picnicking. The winery’s portfolio is a combination of hybrid and vinifera wines as well as cider. Moving on, our adventure took us to Union Libre in Dunham. The cider and wine producing facility was established in 2010 and encompasses a 30-hectare estate. Cider is very popular in Canada and is created either by heat or ice hence the names fire cider or ice cider. The fire cider uses Empire and Spartan apples. Sparkling cider uses MacIntosh, Cortland, Empire and Spartan apples. The ice wine is made from

red delicious apples. A tour at Union Libre includes making a cider cocktail known as Mount Royale Cocktail. Our next stop was Domaine Pinnacle, a family-owned cidery and orchard. This property, purchased in 2000, abuts the United States and affords a magnificent view. Domaine Pinnacle is considered the highest elevation orchard. The property encompasses 400 acres of which about 35% is planted. The orchards are situated on the south-facing slopes of Mount Pinnacle. The cidery uses all those apples that drop from the trees. Domaine Pinnacle is known for its Ice Apple Wine, which is considered one of their signature products. It also creates sparkling cider, still cider, and sparkling ice cider. Unique to the cidery is Domaine

Sculpture Garden at Vignoble Domaine des Côtes d’Ardoise

Benoit Hébert and Amélie Dubé, Kava Tours

Chef Ugo-Vincent Mariotti in the garden at Auberge & Spa West Brome

Pinnacle Reserve 1859, an ice cider blended with apple brandy and slowly aged in Appalachian oak barrels. One has to wonder if reference to 1859 refers to the year the original farmhouse was built with its unique octagonal rooftop turret that rumor has it was a lookout for the Vermont border, used in the underground railroad to harbor slaves seeking their freedom and during prohibition a meeting place for bootleggers. Domaine Pinnacle also has a maple grove and produces its version of Quebec’s Coureur des Bois, a maple liqueur that combines maple syrup with ice cider and apple brandy. Although unusual, it makes the perfect dessert wine. Our final stop was the Auberge & Spa West Brome. This is a charming countryside Inn with the marvelous restaurant (The Bistro) and spa just north of the village of West Brome



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and close to Brome Lake where there are many golf courses. The rooms are equipped with fireplaces and terraces that afford a panoramic view of the surrounding rolling hills. Chef Ugo-Vincent Mariotti prepares a bistro-style farm-to-table cuisine utilizing the freshest ingredients he finds in his garden. The food is delicious and accompanied by local wine, it is a perfect and relaxing way to end a day of wine tasting in the region. The beauty of the Eastern Townships will enthrall you and give you a different perspective on Canadian wine and cider.

Cori Solomon My writing epitomizes “write what I know” and I share my experiences and joy with my topics in a passionate, candid, caring and entertaining way. Like my art where I am looking beyond the eyes to find an animal’s inner soul and spirit, I am looking for the story that is behind the restaurant, chef, winery, winemaker, artist or animal.

Domaine Pinnacle Cider

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Zipping Through Puerto Rico Story and photos by Jim DeLillo

A flier in the prone position is ready to launch from “The Beast” platform at Toro Verde.

So Now I’m Here–


ust a moment ago, my heart was racing. Now, my palms are sweating. Am I in love? I may be. The exhilaration takes over as I feel like I am flying through the air. Wait! I am. There’s nothing between me and the ground nearly 800 feet below. The wind in my face awakens my spirit. I let out a whoop. I can barely hear myself above the whizzing and whirring of the cable and pulley just inches from my ear. I feel a tug, not at my heart strings, but on the rope and blocking system that slows me down. It ends. Bravado has replaced my initial fear. I am now a veteran at zip lining. This is only the first of eight towers that I must hike to get to the famed “The Beast.” I am at Toro Verde or “Green Bull’ an action park in Orocovis, Puerto Rico. After each ride from the tall pylons, I get much more comfortable. The guides clip me into the carabiners. I get a little push and lurch forward along with my stomach as I leave the perch. I put my trust in the guides. I trust them with my life, period. They are hulking twenty-somethings who clip on and clip off with nonchalance as they prepare us for our rides. They use the cable system for their daily commute above the jungle. No cars, no traffic, no worries. I think that by time the guides fasten me to “The Beast,” I’ll be an old pro at this. Earlier, when I arrived, I was fitted with a sturdy harness with all the clips, carabiners, straps, bells and whistles one would want in a safety net. My nervousness mounted while an aide tugged, pulled, and tested. “Check it again,” I hear a voice in my head say. I didn’t need to say it aloud. Clinking and clanking I follow the line of other clinkers as we make our way down the narrow trail. Brilliantly colored local flowers border the trail. Bees and hummingbirds flit about. The air is warm and sweet-smelling. The hike, by design, helps relieve my anxiety and tension in my muscles.

“The Beast” or “La Bestia” – is 843 feet high, almost a mile long at 4,745 feet, and reaches speeds up to 65 mph. Seven trips later and I’m thinking I’ve got this. Or do I? They change it up. The previous runs had me sitting. Now, they want me prone. Superman position, facing down, arms back with strict instructions to keep the arms tucked. I hold on to the strap located at my butt. Failure to do so would slow me down, and I would not reach the landing platform. I would have to muscle my way hand-over-hand the rest of the distance. Higher, faster, longer, and now, face down. I feel like a penguin, with my arms tucked tightly to my side and my feet together. But penguins are flightless. Not so I. Away I go with the whirring of the wheel bearings. The ground flashes underneath me, the sensation of speed is invigorating. I strain to keep my head up and looking out straight. In this heads-up position, I take in the grand view of the Puerto Rican countryside. I also get to see my landing

zone loom larger and larger with each passing second. Then I feel the thump as the apparatus slows me to a halt. I’ve kept my arms in and I reach the terminal without additional effort being required. Some of the lighter-weight fliers aren’t so lucky. The guide speedily clips in and hand-over-hand deftly reaches the stranded patron. He returns, rescue in tow, to the security of the platform. Since my visit, Toro Verde has installed an even higher, faster, longer attraction christened “The Monster.” It is self-proclaimed “the longest zip line in the universe,” with a 2.5km (2530m, 8300ft, 1.57mi) cable, equivalent to 28 football fields. I’ll have to make my travel arrangements. Orocovis is located smack-dab in the middle of the island. It is a verdant, hilly geography. The roads to Orocovis are few, but direct. The drive winds its way through charming island towns. I am treated to a pretty mix of local homes, farms, and tropical flora.

The guide at Toro Verde clips in a flier to the zip line.

If you go Travel

To Puerto Rico Flights from NY are about $300 Flights from LAX are about $500 To Toro Verde Adventure Park Located about 40 miles from San Juan, the trip takes about 1.5 hours each way.

Via Excursion

Arrangements can be made for an all-inclusive trip including transportation, box lunch, and the zip line at Toro Verde. Try Expedia, or Rico Sun Tours, or my personal Favorite http://www.tourismfamily.com/ run by Angel Diaz

Heat & Sun

As I stated in the opening it can get unpleasantly hot in a very short time. You’ll need to pace yourself, stay hydrated, and use some of that water on your neck with a bandana to stay cool. Learn the signs of heat exhaustion. Use plenty of sun screen. But, you should already know that if you’re vacationing in Puerto Rico.

may need to use the restroom before the hike starts. If you do, make sure your harness is checked again by the guide. There are no facilities along the trail.


Prices range from $65 -$135 depending on which ride you choose. This includes the harness and all safety gear (gloves, goggles, etc.) Transportation to Toro Verde is a separate fee and may be arranged through hotel concierges. Taxi fees will cost between $75 and $105. Taxis can take up to 5 passengers, so you may want to ride share to bring your individual cost down. Remember to tip, 15% is typical.

Cameras, Cellphones, Personal Totes

You will not be able to bring dangly things. If it dangles, leave it behind. Lockers are provided. DSLRs are big, unwieldy, expensive, and may become a safety hazard if it smacks you in the face. They are usually not allowed. Small cameras and phones may be tucked in a pocket, or strapped to your There’s a concession/cafeteria at Toro wrist…if you drop it, you’ve lost it to Verde. the jungle. You usually don’t have use Plenty of water – 2-4 liters, bring one of your hands to take photos during the with you on the hike. flight anyway, you’ll be busy hanging on. Food – bring a box lunch or purchase. It is common to take photos at each of snack quality food at the concessions stand. the platforms. Videos are particularly exciting.

Bring or Buy


Get there early. Plan to be there 45 minutes or 1 hour before the experience. The lines may get long and you may have an extended wait. Use the bathroom before you get harnessed. For some, if the wait is long, you




Bo. Gato, Road 155, Km. 33 Orocovis, Puerto Rico +787.867.7020 +787.867.6606 reservaciones@toroverdepr.com Toro Verde, The Green Bull greets visitors at the park entrance.

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A group of fliers make their way on the trail to the zip line towers at Toro Verde.

Jim DeLillo Jim DeLillo is a travel and adventure photographer who specializes in creating transporting imagery, capturing local color in travel, editorial, and commercial photography. His expansive landscapes are layered, narrative, and rich in tone. They are lit from within having a luminous quality and show a strong attention to detail, composition, and production. His 35+ years of experience includes international publications including Woman’s World Magazine. His photojournalist, reality based, eclectic style provides a refreshing break from the stiffly-posed shots. Jim has recently added Milkyway photography to his skill set.

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Norfolk, Virginia

Where Mermaids Mingle with History and Art By Amy Trotter Houston

The USS Wisconsin battleship is the largest artifact in the Nauticus Maritime Center collection. AMY TROTTER HOUSTON

Nautical Heritage and History


orfolk, Virginia is home to topclass museums, beautiful gardens and fun neighborhoods, all of which are peppered with… mermaids. It doesn’t matter if you pronounce it Nor-fok or Naw-fuk, as long as you have fun exploring 400 years of history while wandering through the city. Take in the thriving art scene from public displays to inspiring performances. Stroll through charming neighborhoods with exciting restaurants and boutiques. Relax in an urban oasis. Whatever delights you, you’ll find in Norfolk, even if your accent gives you away.



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Norfolk has a thing for mermaids, those sea nymphs of mythical beauty are found all over the city. Mermaids on Parade, a public art project, features dozens of mermaid statues, each decorated by a local artist. As you explore the city keep an eye out for the elusive creatures. Seeing as mermaid legends were often tied to seafarers, Norfolk’s nautical history is ripe for exploring. Along the waterfront is Nauticus Maritime Center, where you can’t miss the largest piece of the collection: the USS Wisconsin, an Iowa-class battleship. A tour highlights how the ship is a city in itself from the post office and medical unit to the chapel and mess deck. Watch your step (and head) when exploring the lower decks. Museum exhibits include sailors’ personal mementos, uniforms, numerous artifacts, and interactive exhibits. The second-floor Hampton Roads Naval Museum examines 200 years of local naval

history. Don’t miss the battleship’s silver service ‒ the candelabras are especially impressive. Norfolk has been an important port city since before its founding in 1682, but on January 1, 1776, a British bombardment nearly destroyed it. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was left with a souvenir: a cannonball in the façade that you can still see today. Just down the street, The MacArthur Museum preserves the legacy of General Douglas MacArthur. He and his wife Jean Faircloth MacArthur are buried in the Rotunda of the adjacent MacArthur Memorial.

Get Back to Nature

Begun over 75 years ago as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, 155-acre Norfolk Botanical Garden is the most serene place in town. Take the hop on/hop off tram for a good overview before

Look for the Mermaids on Parade public art project while visiting Norfolk, Virginia.

venturing in for closer looks at over 50 different gardens, such as the Butterfly Garden, the Enchanted Forest, the Sensory Garden, or the Japanese Garden with small stone temples and a koi pond. Garden lore has it that if you walk around Friendship Lake while holding hands with your BFF, you’ll be friends for life. Enjoy lunch at the onsite café and peruse the gift shop for botanical-themed items. In October, don’t miss AcquaFire, when the Renaissance Pond blazes with fires accompanied by live acoustic music, and during the holidays marvel at a million sparkling lights during Dominion Garden of Lights.

All Manners Of Art

Surrounded by lush gardens and woodlands, the Hermitage Museum and Gardens looks like something out of a fairytale. Built in 1908 by William and Florence Sloane, Mrs. Sloane later converted the Arts and Crafts style summer home into a museum for her impressive collection of artworks from six continents. There are

paintings, sculptures, tapestries, merchant chests, snuff bottles, and even a vintage Tiffany Travel set. Enjoy details such as the carvings around the fireplace in the Great Hall and a stained glass window of Columbus’ trio: the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. There’s beautiful woodwork, an organ and a confessional that’s a closet. Contemporary art is upstairs with frequent rotating exhibits. Bibliophiles will swoon at the collection of 3,000 books that include first editions and early volumes by HG Wells and Mark Twain. You can check out the original kitchen and take a look in the gift shop housed in the old vault. Stroll through the rose garden and take a peek at the grotto and the unique collection of millstones.

Glass Art as Performance Art

The Sloanes could be considered the patron saints of Norfolk’s art scene, as they helped launch what is today the world-class Chrysler Museum of Art, where Roman statues and Japanese woodblocks mingle with French impressionists and modern



Relax under the magnificent magnolia tree on the grounds of Hermitage Museum and Gardens.

The Pagoda Garden and tea house in the Freemason District of Norfolk is a relaxing urban oasis. AMY TROTTER HOUSTON

A Variety of Nifty Neighborhoods


masters. The glass collection, one of the largest in the world, includes centuries of history from ancient Chinese pieces to the cocktail culture to contemporary sculptures. The section dedicated to Tiffany Studios is breathtaking. Tuesday through Sunday, watch live demonstrations at the Perry Glass Studio, where you can learn all about the glassmaking process. Sign up for a one-day glassblowing class where the world-class instructors make glass art accessible, interesting and approachable. Monthly Third Thursday events combine live music with glass art performances. You’ll never look at glass the same way after experiencing glass art in Norfolk.

Spend some time contemplating life at the serene Japanese Garden at Norfolk Botanical Gardens.

If you go Where to Eat

Doumar’s (1919 Monticello Avenue), home of the original waffle cone, is the place for homemade ice cream and cones. The diner serves a full menu including barbecue and tasty limeaides. Press 626 (626 West Olney Road) is a café and wine bar with a relaxed vibe. Dishes feature local, seasonal ingredients. The sweet tea is outstanding. Supper Southern Morsels (319 West 21st Street) serves updated classics like fried green tomatoes, jambalaya and braised pork belly. A farmhouse chic décor and long bar add to the appeal. Todd Jurich’s Bistro (150 West Main Street) is a classy yet approachable venue with a seasonal menu, bistro cocktails, and daily recommendations from the chef. Don’t miss the strawberry shortcake if it’s on the menu. Yorgo’s Bageldashery (2123 Colonial Avenue) offers bagels and coffee in the morning, and hearty sandwiches for lunch, including loads of vegetarian and vegan items. Popular with locals, it can be busy on weekends.

Where to Sleep

Page House Inn (323 Fairfax Avenue) is a B&B in the heart of the Ghent District. Freemason Inn Bed and Breakfast (411 West York Street) is another in the Freemason District. For downtown bustle, opt for one of these hotels with chain hotel amenities you expect: Norfolk Waterside Marriott (235 East Main Street) is right downtown. Sheraton Norfolk Waterside (777 Waterside Drive) has direct access to the Elizabeth River Trail.


F.R.E.D. (Free Ride Every Day) is a funky battery-operated free courtesy shuttle. Trips via F.R.E.D. must originate or end within the Downtown Improvement District. Call 757-478-7233. Orange Peel Transportation provides personal travel services 24 hours a day. The Tide is a light-rail service running 7.5 miles east to west through downtown connecting 11 stations.

With sculptures as a gateway, the trendy NEON District has numerous art venues and hip hangouts. See a show at Push Comedy Theater and dine in the relaxed atmosphere of nearby Zeke’s Beans & Bowls. Popular Work|Release combines contemporary art with a nightclub vibe for a unique experience. The annual NEON Festival celebrates energy and light with public art pieces, performances and a variety of fun events. Colley Avenue is the main drag of the vibrant Ghent District named for Belgian workers who lived here years ago. Sit on the patio and sip a glass of wine at Mermaid Winery before catching a film at Naro Cinema. Check out the wares at the Mermaid Factory, and pop into the various boutiques and antique shops. Kitsch has handmade décor, jewelry, original art, and the best smelling soaps. Get a feel for 19th-century Norfolk in the historic Freemason District, where pre-Civil War buildings line cobblestone streets. Sip a coffee or craft beer at Cure on Botetourt Street or enjoy the peaceful harmony of Pagoda Garden with a tea house and views over the water. Interestingly, in the late 19th-century, James Maybrick, who was suspected of being Jack the Ripper, lived in this neighborhood. With so many things to do, sights to see and festivals to attend, Norfolk is worth repeat visits. At least until you can pronounce it – Naw-fuk – like a local.

Amy Trotter Houston A travel writer and editor, Amy loves taking armchair travelers along for the ride. She enjoys delving into the history and culture of a place be it across the ocean or around the corner. A serial expat, Amy currently lives in Amman, Jordan where she is on an epic culinary quest to find the best falafel and hummus.

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Exploring the Waterways of New York State Story and photos by Sandra Scott

View of the Hudson from West Point


have cruised on the Amazon, Mekong, Irrawaddy, the Nile and other rivers around the world but I still had not experienced the waterways of New York. I live only a few miles from Lake Ontario and the Erie Canal, and like many people, I hadn’t experienced the unique places near my home. New York State actually became the Empire State because of its waterways. Explorers and invading armies reached New York via the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. During the Revolutionary War, the British thought they would win the war if they conquered New York. It would divide the rebellious New England colonies from the southern ones. Obviously, it didn’t work. After the American Revolution, the Erie Canal was constructed, and this led to the development of the rest of the United States. I had always wanted to explore the waterways, but except for day trips on small portions of the Erie Canal, I didn’t think it was feasible. When I learned about Blount Small Ship Adventures’ “Locks, Legends, and

Canals” which covered nearly all of New York State’s waterways, I knew I had to sign up for their two-week trip. It departed from Montreal, went to Quebec, and then up the St. Lawrence River to Lake Ontario and the NYS Canal System, cruising down the Hudson River to New York City. For me, it was a dream come true. My home for two weeks was the Grande Caribe, a purpose-built vessel designed to make it through the narrow and shallow waters of canals. The experience turned out to be much more than I anticipated. In Quebec, the first port of call, I walked along the cobblestone streets of the old city nestled along the river and below the towering Chateau Frontenac on a guided tour. There was free time in the afternoon, so I walked a short distance from the Grande Caribe to the Museum of Civilization. I felt as though I was in France. The tour included a side trip to the impressive Montmorency Falls that, at 272 feet, are 98 feet taller than Niagara Falls. There was another short stop during which Blount provided a shuttle to Old Montreal, but I stayed aboard. Chef William showed me how to make a traditional Canadian Tourtiere, which was to be on the dinner menu. Like a stealth ship, while everyone was sleeping, we departed Montreal and traversed the South Shore Canal’s two locks. The St. Lawrence Seaway system is

connected by five short canals that bypass the rapids. They include 15 locks that are 766 feet in length and filled and emptied by gravity. During the day, we locked through the rest of the Seaway’s locks. The Snell Lock raised us 45 feet. Truly an engineering marvel. Locking through a canal never gets boring. We went through US customs in Ogdensburg, New York, which was a no-brainer. The custom agents came aboard and took care of everything while we had breakfast. The morning tour was to the Frederic

The Grande Caribe

Remington Art Museum. Remington is famed for his bronze sculptures of the Old West. The western end of the St. Lawrence is home to the 1000 Islands and Millionaire’s Row. Midday, we docked on Dark Island for a taste of how the “Robber Barons” lived, with a tour of five-story Singer Castle, which has 28 rooms and secret passageways. Our last stop on the St. Lawrence was at Clayton’s Antique Boat Museum, a boat-enthusiast’s dream come true with every kind of boat from Native American dugouts to

private luxury yachts to Gold Cup Boats. I was surprised to find that Dr. Seuss did the artwork for Esso and that Guy Lombardo’s love of racing earned him the title of “The World’s Fastest Bandleader.” We crossed Lake Ontario during the night and docked in Oswego, where the pilot house was lowered so that the Grande Caribe could fit under the “low bridges” of NYS’s canal system. What started in 1817 as the Erie Canal grew into the 525-mile NYS system now on the National Register of Historic Places. It was life in the slow lane. As we motored along at five miles per

hour enjoying the beautiful fall foliage, I would occasionally see people in cars and trains whizzing by, never knowing the beauty and serenity they were missing. We made several short stops along the canal with the option of taking a side trip to Cooperstown’s Baseball Hall of Fame and The Farmer’s Museum or the Fenimore Art Museum. I was familiar with them, so I elected to stay on board and savor the scenery. Our last stop on the Canal System was Troy, New York, the home of Uncle Sam. Samuel Wilson was a meat packer and

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Old Quebec

an Army inspector in Troy who supplied rations for the soldiers during the War of 1812. As required, Wilson approved the goods by stamping them “US,” and the Uncle Sam legend grew. During the Troy stop, the cruise raised the wheelhouse and readied the Grande Caribe for river travel. The 315-mile Hudson River starts in the Adirondack Mountains and flows into the Atlantic Ocean at NYC. Captain David Sylvaria provided an informative narrative as we passed historic places, lighthouses, other points of interest and the towering palisades. The weather was glorious and the foliage brilliant. There were two excellent side trips to Historic Hyde Park, the home of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the US Military Academy at West Point. I love the tidbits



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I learned that aren’t in textbooks. When England’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited Hyde Park, they were treated to an American picnic complete with hot dogs, about which the Queen inquired, “How do you eat these?” While the King picked them up with his hands, the Queen used a knife and fork. At West Point, I found out that President Dwight D. Eisenhower graduated in 1915 with an astounding number of demerits – 307! I wonder if those who served under him in World War II were aware of that. The views of the Statue of Liberty and the NYC skyline were impressive from our vessel. On our last full day there was a walking tour that included NYC’s High Line, an imaginative linear park built on a disused elevated rail track. In the afternoon

I took the city tour that hit all the highlights of The Big Apple including a reflective stop at the 9/11 Memorial. I have never taken a voyage on a popular, large cruise vessel. I think ships that can hold more people than the number in my village of 1,200 may not be for me. On this smaller vessel, the trip was well worth it. I visited two countries, three world-class cities, some of the world’s most important waterways, and historic places. I enjoyed gourmet meals, informative talks, musical presentations, and I only had to unpack once for two weeks. On board, the staff and other passengers created a causal and friendly atmosphere. It was my dream come true cruise. Now I hanker to cruise to the other Great Lakes.

Fenimore Art Museum

If you go For more information, visit Blount’s Small Ship Adventures, or call toll-free at 800-556-7450. “Locks, Legends, and Canals” is just one of Blount’s unique offerings. They also sail to The Bahamas,

Lake Michigan and along the Atlantic Coast. With a maximum of 88 passengers, they advertise that they “Go Where the Big Ships Cannot.”

Singer Castle

Sandra Scott Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. They have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to their life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. They travel seven months a year – at least – nationally and internationally. Let the fun continue!

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Visiting Kykuit

A Memorable House Museum in the Hudson Valley Story and photos by Irene S. Levine

West Facade of Kykuit

Front Facade of Kykuit, Rockefeller Family Home in the Hudson Valley


hether you are a tourist or a local, it’s always nice to plot an escape from the hustle and bustle of New York City. John D. Rockefeller, Sr., the founder of Standard Oil and once the richest man in America, must have felt the same way. After amassing his fortunes in Cleveland, the magnate acquired a brownstone in Manhattan in 1884 so his family could accompany him on lengthy and frequent



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business trips to New York City. Before long, like many wealthy New Yorkers had been doing since Colonial times (John Jay and Washington Irving, among them), Rockefeller purchased land to build a “country house” in Westchester County, only 25 miles from the city. John D. Rockefeller, Sr. and his then 18-year-old son and namesake, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., chose the perfect site for its construction in the hamlet of Pocantico Hills.

Open House

Named Kykuit (which means “lookout” or “high point,” in Dutch), the house occupies a commanding bluff that offers unparalleled views of the majestic Hudson River at one of its widest points, and the dramatic cliffs of the New Jersey Palisades on the opposite side of the river. Over the years, the family gradually acquired more than 3000 acres of adjacent parkland, and developed trails and roads on the property. Four generations of Rockefellers have left their mark not only on this house, completed in 1913, but more widely —

the National Trust, the non-profit Historic Hudson Valley (HHV) operates on-site tours. Visitors can only enter the gated estate as part of a guided tour, arranged in advance. After checking in at the Visitors Center at Philipsburg Manor in nearby Sleepy Hollow, a 10-minute shuttle bus ride along a scenic road drops guests off at the impressive Oceanus Fountain that dominates the forecourt to the Georgian-style mansion. The marble figures on the granite fountain were sculpted to resemble Renaissance-style ones seen at the Boboli Gardens in Florence. Once inside, guides reminded us that John D. Rockefeller, Sr. was unpretentious for a man of his means. He didn’t drink or dance, and was more interested in creating a comfortable home than a showplace. So unlike other mansions of the same era, this 40-room, fieldstone house with an Indiana limestone façade doesn’t boast a large ballroom or gracious center staircase. Instead, its cozy rooms are relatively modest in size. A 2007 article in the New York Times excerpted from “The House the Rockefellers Built,” by Robert F. Dalzell Lee Baldwin Dalzell, noted: “The house’s mix of idiosyncrasy and

through their remarkable contributions in the fields of business, government, conservation, the arts and philanthropy. The family of Nelson A. Rockefeller, a four-term governor of New York State and Vice President under Gerald Ford, was the third-generation Rockefeller to have lived in the home. After his death, the family turned Kykuit over to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1992 — opening its doors to the public, literally and figuratively. Working in partnership with Architectural detail of the Pergola

restraint stands in welcome contrast to the self-important hauteur of the average pile of stone in Newport.” There are constant reminders throughout the visit that real families lived in this house. The entertainment room, the largest room on the main floor, houses a few settees and a grand piano. It served as a music room and gathering place for the family during a bygone era when kids weren’t engrossed in televisions and computers. Above this “family room,” an oculus ceiling opens to a wraparound balcony with doors to the upstairs bedrooms. Our group of visitors was then led though a small library; a women’s conversation room across the foyer; a gracious sitting area; a formal dining room with Chippendale furniture; and a simple upstairs kitchen (with a service elevator) and butler’s pantry. Our eyes were drawn to the tasteful details throughout: sculptures, paintings, rugs, centuries old fine china in the butler’s pantry, Chinese porcelains under Plexiglas, European ceramics and elegant plasterwork that mimics fabric designs on the upholstered furniture. Art and beauty pervade Kykuit, inside and out. Most impressive is the modern art gallery on the lower level, which once

Reflection in the family swimming pool

housed a bowling alley. Collected and curated by Nelson A. Rockefeller, the collection showcases the work of 20th century artists and sculptors including Henry Moore, Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol and David Smith. A series of life-size woven tapestries on the walls, commissioned by Rockefeller, portray many of Picasso’s most recognizable paintings.

That the entire house appears enveloped in a park-like setting is not surprising. Rockefeller initially hired landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted (famous for co-designing Central Park in NYC) to design the grounds, although he later fired him and took up the job himself. Sculptures are strategically placed on patios and various spots on the lawn in just the right position to capture the light at different times of the day. We ended our 2¼-hour visit with a stop The characterization of Kykuit as an at the Coach Barn, where horse-drawn “unpretentious” abode wore a bit thin as carriages and vintage cars actually used by we walked along stone paths through the the family are on display, all in meticulous sprawling lawns and formal landscaped conditions. This same structure houses the gardens. Among the abundance of floweroffices of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund ing plants and varied deciduous trees, we and a conference space. caught glimpses of terraces, pools, grottos, It’s been said that old houses bear elaborate wrought-iron gates, fountains witness to history. As one of the best-preand an Asian teahouse. There was also a served houses in the Hudson Valley, a visit private nine-hole golf course where John D. to Kykuit not only offers visitors lessons Rockefeller, Sr. is said to have played every in art, architecture and history but also a day until he died at the age of 97. Inside the reminder of the seminal role of the Rockehouse, we entered the locker and shower fellers as philanthropists in health, conserrooms he used after playing. vation and higher education.

Stepping Outside

View of the Oceanus Fountain with Carrera marble figures in the forecourt at Kykuit

If you go Kykuit – The Rockefeller Estate

Open May – November; Timed tours can be reserved in advance and purchased online; Check the website for hours, tours and transportation options; No photography allowed inside the house.

Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

In memory of farmer and farmland preservationist Peggy Rockefeller, the family donated this 80-acre property and restored the barns that house this self-susOther nearby attractions that represent taining farm and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, whose menu emphasizes fresh, sustainable significant contributions to Westchester foods from small farms in the Hudson County by the Rockefellers include: Valley.

Union Church of Pocantico Hills

The Rockefellers donated the money and land for this small country church that has one stained glass window by Henri Matisse and nine by Marc Chagall

Rockefeller State Park Preserve

This state park encompasses 1,400 acres of unspoiled public parklands donated by the Rockefellers. For additional information: Visit Westchester County Tourism.

Irene S. Levine Irene S. Levine is an award-winning travel journalist and blogger who is a regular contributor to the Chicago Tribune, PBS NextAvenue. org and other print and online publications. She produces MoreTimeToTravel.com, a source of information and inspiration for the over-50 luxury traveler, with her husband/photographer/travel companion Jerome Levine. Trained as a psychologist, Irene holds as faculty appointment as a professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine.

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The Mission Inn

Southern California’s Exotic Hotel Story and photos by M’Liss Hinshaw


ouis C. Tiffany, John F. Kennedy, Bette Davis and a collection of 800 bronze bells played a significant part in the history of the Mission Inn. The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa is a fabled resort and California’s booming orange crops had much to do with bringing the people and bells to this location. I had heard about The Mission Inn and all its grandeur, but to really understand it, a look to the past is imperative. Growing up in Southern California, I was surprised it was not part of the Junipero Serra Spanish missions located throughout California. Then again, Navel oranges, I know well. In the later part of the 1800’s, a group of people started their own colony in Riverside and found The Nanjing Bell success growing Brazilian Navel orange trees from two grafts provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The area grew like gangbusters because of the style. Mr. Miller had keen marketing skills blooming citrus industry and welcomand influential friends, which he used to ing climate. Tourists from the east coast build up the property. He acquired art and and Europe found sunshine and orange numerous keepsakes from Europe and Asia blossom aroma a reason to visit Riverside that are as profound to the property as the which sits in a basin 60 miles east of Los Angeles. An adobe boarding house named unusual buildings. His wife Isabella loved bells and in the front of the property is a the Glenwood Inn was owned by Chris3500-pound bell named the Nanjing Bell. topher Columbus Miller and the small building was located on a piece of property Eight hundred bells are in the collection and displayed at various locations, which is the size of a city block. fun for adults and kids to discover. Mr. Miller’s son, Frank, bought the Guests enter through an arched abode property from his dad in 1880. Frank, entrance with hanging bells in the tall wall at age 22, with his impending marriage, known as a campanario or bell wall, resemdevised a plan to capitalize on Southern California’s booming times. Glenwood Inn bling a mission. Beyond that, the Inn takes was changed to The Mission Inn to take ad- twists and turns in an eclectic manner with vantage of people’s interest in missions and buildings and wings added one at a time and not in a flowing way. the growing mission revival architectural

Among the many add-ons is the International Rotunda Wing completed in 1931. This multi-level storied spiral staircase is impressive with wrought iron hand rails and insets of other country’s insignias. Truly intriguing is how the rotunda brings nationalities together step by step. Booker T. Washington was invited to visit and dine with Mr. Miller during his social reform speeches and President John F. Kennedy attended the Institute of world affairs conference before his presidency. One level leads to the St. Francis of Assisi Chapel and another level into the Courtyard of the Orient. The St. Francis Chapel is inviting with Tiffany stained glass windows, Belgian wooden benches, a massive gold-leafed altar and near the prayer candles a menorah. Many old time movie stars have been married in the chapel, including Bette Davis, and over 300 weddings are held each year. I noticed a woman behind me continued to glance to the back of the chapel while most were in awe of the forward altar. Quietly, she asked the docent leader if she could play the pipe organ because she was a professional organist and it would be such a thrill. Politely she was told no. Wings to the hotel were added including a Cloister wing with catacombs, Spanish wing with outdoor courtyard and Author’s Row. Each level has ornate accommodations for overnight guests. I was trying to take it all in, Moorish style roof on one wing, turrets, gargoyles and a glockenspiel. When the glockenspiel or clock tower chimes, rotating full size figurines appear every 15 minutes. Walking on a docent’s tour is the best way to view the property and volunteers in the museum arrange the tours. The museum and store are staffed by very knowledgeable people who love the Mission Inn and are able to answer questions. Trust me, after a tour, there will be many questions. Then it will be time to relax in the

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International rotunda wing

and glistened with drizzled citrus oil. Many visit the Inn during the holiday Festival of Lights with over 4 million lights and 400 animated figures that is spectacular to see. Other events are Valentine’s Day Specials, Sunday’s High Tea and collaborative arts programs. My friend, nearly 100 years old, told me she celebrated her 95th

Glockenspiel clock tower

hotel’s Kelly’s spa. I walked past the spa and eucalyptus aroma drifted through the air. It made me wish I had scheduled a massage, facial or private yoga session in the luxurious spa but I had dinner on my mind. Before my tour, I had sipped fresh iced tea in the Presidential Lounge, which is easy to find off the lobby because portraits of the 10 presidents who visited the Inn line the wall. Now, I was hungry and of restaurant choices that included Duane’s Steakhouse and Seafood, Las Campanas Mexican Restaurant, Bella Trattoria Italian Restaurant or The Mission Inn, I found myself in the Mission Inn Restaurant. My order of battered squash blossoms stuffed with chicken salad was picturesque. Arranged as if on the vine, an orchid gently laid on top



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birthday at the Sunday brunch and had a lovely time. Standing outside, I looked at the early 1900’s Spanish Renaissance and Mission Revival buildings lining the downtown streets. Palm trees swayed and I remembered my family driving past endless rows of orange groves and the sweet taste of navel oranges.

If you go The Mission Inn

3649 Mission Inn Ave Riverside, Ca 92501 951.784.0300 www.Missioninn.com Mission Inn Foundation and Museum www.missioninnmuseum.org

M’Liss Hinshaw Travel and food are my passion and writing about both has made my travel experiences that much more exciting. I was bitten by the travel bug when I was 13 years old and took my first flight from San Diego to Los Angeles and decided right then, I’d keep on traveling. I’ve explored and written about regional foods and peoples in many countries, including the USA and my home town of San Diego. Interviewing and writing about notable chefs and little unknown eateries has become my niche wherever I go. Meanwhile, I must swim and practice pilates because of all the delicious foods. Travel is a highlight with my life to open my eyes and experience the world in different ways. My hope with my articles and website is that it gives people a vision to travel outside of routines and expectations and enrich lives in a satisfying way.

Squash blossoms stuffed with chicken salad

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Mountain Cheers!

North Carolina’s Craft Beer and Hard Cider Industry By Sandra Chambers

Asheville’s Pubcycle is a fun way to explore the town’s beer scene


Sierra Nevada’s East Coast Brewery in Mills Creek, NC


Asheville’s Funky Beer Scene

There are several fun breweries located in the downtown area of Asheville. Two favorites are Thirsty Monk and Wicked Weed, which is housed in a renovated art deco hardware store and focuses on barrel-aged eep in the mountains of western beer, open-fermented Belgian ales and hopNorth Carolina, where breathpy West Coast style brews. Other breweries taking views of the Blue Ridge can be found in the area surrounding the and Smoky Mountains draw tourists well-known Biltmore House such as Cayear round, a robust craft beer and hard tawba Brewery and Cedrick’s Tavern, which cider industry is garnering a new kind of serves Biltmore’s own Cedric’s Pale Ale and tourism. With more breweries per capita Cedric’s Brown Ale. than any other city in the country, it’s not Asheville’s South Slope is fast becoming surprising that Asheville, NC, has been named “Beer City, USA” by Examiner.com the city’s unofficial Brew District. Several almost every year since 2009. Today, Ashe- vacant buildings and warehouses are being snatched up by new breweries and those ville boasts 24 craft breweries and more already established looking to expand their than 100 local beers that can be enjoyed production. Green Man Brewery, one of on draft or in bottles on any given day. North Carolina’s original breweries, recentAsheville’s brew scene got its start in ly opened a three-story, 20,000-square1994 when retired engineer Oscar Wong began tinkering with beer in the basement foot facility including a “brewtique”and of a downtown bar. His Highland Brewing an indoor/outdoor top floor taproom that overlooks production and the Blue Ridge Company became the town’s first legal Mountains. Wicked Weed’s Funkitorium, brewery. In the spring of 2016 Highland which is also located in the South slope opened its new rooftop bar and private area is one of a handful of dedicated tasting event space where guests can enjoy a pint rooms in the country for barrel-aged wild with great mountain views. and sour beers. It is also the largest producer of barrel-aged beers in the Southeastern



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United States. Two of the newest and biggest players in the area are Sierra Nevada (of Chico, CA) and New Belgium (of Ft. Collins, CO). Opening its East Coast brewery in Fall 2014 in Mills River, Sierra Nevada’s centerpiece is the Taproom with its 20-barrel pilot brewhouse. There’s also a 400-seat farm-to-table restaurant with 23 beer taps, outdoor seating and live music. New Belgium opened its “Liquid Center” tasting room in May 2016. The 6,000

square foot taproom is perched above the French Broad River with artist-made bars, tables and chairs crafted from repurposed wood salvaged from the stockyard that was previously located there.

Asheville’s Other Claims to Fame

Other firsts in “Beer City, USA”: The Pour Taproom, the world’s largest self-pour bar provides beer fanatics the opportunity to pay by the ounce and taste as many

as 46 craft beers available on draft. Open Brewing, the country’s first commercial home brewing brewpub is dedicated to “open-source brewing,” and is a space for home-brewers to develop recipes and brew commercially. Located next to Highland Brewing is Troy & Sons American Moonshine which started selling moonshine in 2011. They are the only distillery in the world producing spirits made from 1840s Crooked Creek Corn. Ben’s American Sake is Asheville’s only Sake brewery which is

Flat Rock Ciderworks tasting room in downtown Hendersonville, NC

Bold Rock Cider Works in Mills River offers nine hard ciders on tap.

served unpasteurized on tap and in bottles. A number of annual beer festivals; beer tours led by a certified beer expert (called a “cicerone”); a Pubcycle tour; yoga and beer classes; and a myriad of unusual products made from beer including ice cream, cakes, beer-glazed donuts and even shampoo reveal another fun side to “Beer City, USA.” (For more info on Asheville’s beer scene go to ExploreAsheville.com/beer.)

flavors in addition to their two flagship ciders: Wicked Peel and Blackberry Gold. Another newcomer to the area, Virginia-based Bold Rock Hard Cider opened its second location in Mills River, NC, in 2015. In addition to complimentary daily tours, their state-of-the-art tasting room with overhead views of the bottling line offers nine ciders on tap including Carolina Apple and Carolina Draft produced exclusively in Mills River. On weekends visitors can kick back on the outdoor patio and enjoy music and local food trucks. Just a hop, skip and jump from “Beer Henderson County native Alan Ward City, USA,” Henderson County is making opened Appalachian Artisan Ciders Fall of a name for itself in the hard cider business. 2016 in a renovated 1940s barn. The new The county is the largest apple-producing venue is located across the street from area in North Carolina and the seventh his Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards which largest in the nation, making it the perfect already produces a line of ciders under the location for the hard cider industry. name “Wallace” (named after his adorable Flat Rock Ciderworks began producing dog!) “You can taste cider in a grocery hard cider in 2014 from locally grown store,” Ward says, “but when you taste it apples and berries. “We take the product all here in the middle of the orchard, it gives the way from the orchard to the bottle, keg you more of an experience.” or can,” says Jim Sparks, one of the owners. Download a brochure and map of “We want to promote the local agriculture the Henderson Cheer! Trail (which also in our community.” Their recently opened includes five breweries and two wineries) tasting room in the quaint town of Hender- at http://www.visithendersonvillenc.org/ sonville serves up several interesting cider cheers-trail.pdf.

The Hard Cider Players


Appalachian Artisan Ciders

Sandra Chambers


Sandra has written hundreds of magazine, newspaper and online articles for 20+ national, regional and local publications. For the past four years she has been a regular contributor to Allegiant Airline’s in-flight magazine, Sunseeker. She has also written travel stories for West Jet Air, Luxe Beat Magazine,Dreamscapes, Lumina News, Wrightsville Beach Magazine, North Brunswick Magazine, and South Brunswick Magazine, among others. Sandra lives in Wilmington,NC, and enjoys photography, reading, the beach, seafood and all things Southern. See her travel blog at Southern-Traveller.com. IFWTWA author profile here.

What’s So Cool About Yuma? Story and photos by Hilarie Larson CSW, FWS

This locomotive marks the spot of the original Yuma Crossing over the Colorado River.

It’s Filled With Fascinating History

Spanish explorers discovered early Native American cultures near the Colorado River as far back as 1540 when the river was wide and wild. Two granite outcroppings offered safety and shelter from annual flooding, making it the most ucked into the southwest corner accessible spot to cross the Colorado. This of Arizona, Yuma has often been later became known as ‘Yuma Crossing’. looked upon as a small, hot, dusty Missionaries and settlers of ‘New Spain’ little burg that’s home to an onslaught of followed. Juan Batista de Anza was com‘snow birds’ each winter. While it’s true missioned to forge a trail from Sonora to that many retirees flock to the southern Northern California, a route used by over U.S. to escape the ravages of winter, they 2000 people, leading to the establishment are only a small part of the increasingly of San Francisco. Wagon routes crossed diverse group of visitors that come to Yuma here, as did 60,000 fortune seekers who in search of old west history, world-class followed the Gila Trail during the Gold recreation and delectable cuisine. What rush of 1849. Fort Yuma supplied the U.S. have they discovered about this not-soMilitary and its chain of forts throughout sleepy city? What makes Yuma so ‘cool’? the southwest. Stagecoaches stopped here


en route from San Diego to San Antonio, and by the 1870’s the Colorado was filled with steamships and barges laden with people and goods. Yuma was a bustling port filled with all the characters, crime and excitement of the wild, wild west. In 1871, a city plan was established and the railroad barreled into town, but life really changed when the ‘Yuma Project’ began in 1904. This monumental irrigation project included construction of Laguna Dam, the first on the Colorado, and the ‘Yuma Siphon’, a concrete tunnel, 14 feet in diameter, that ran underneath the river to deliver water to the burgeoning agricultural fields. The first ‘modern motel’ in the state, the Coronado Motor Hotel, opened in 1936. Owned and operated by John and Yvonne Peach, the hotel has always been in John’s

It was the first ‘modern motel’ in the state and the Coronado Motor Hotel still welcomes visitors to Yuma Arizona. Visit their museum to learn more about the history of this treasured city landmark.

Medjool dates hail from Morocco and have found a happy home in the Arizona desert.

family and the original home is now a museum. Created by Yvonne, when she found her mother-in-law’s treasure trove of memorabilia, it’s a fabulous collection of Americana and will bring back a bevy of memories and smiles for anyone who ever took a family road trip. The hotel is still very much in operation, with a new wing built across the street from the original structures. All the rooms are thoroughly modern but done in such a way that they retain the charm of days gone by. Full, hot breakfast at the Yuma Landing Restaurant is included – another example of the Peachs’ fantastic hospitality.

A Few Other Not-To-Be-Missed Spots

Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park – Built in the 1870’s this was the supply hub for all the forts and outposts of the US military. Pivot Point Plaza National Historic Landmark – The first railroad crossing in 1817 is commemorated with a locomotive engine on the exact alignment of the original swing-span rail bridge and the interpretive plaza brings history to life. Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park – Set in the most visited State Park in Arizona, the prison opened in 1876 and was built by the very prisoners sentenced to this harsh and crowded institution. In operation for 33 years, the facility is now run by local volunteers who treasure this unique and important piece of Yuma’s history. Take a tour with one of the docents for fascinating, behind-the-scenes tales. Sanguinetti House Museum & Gardens – One of the few adobe structures left in Yuma, this was once home to E.F. Sanguinetti, an Italian immigrant who became one of the most prominent businessmen in the area.

Experience Great Food from Field to Fork

The River Cafe Grill in Yuma Arizona offers global fusion cuisine on their expansive patio.

Parks & Recreation

Float or paddle your way down the river, take an off-road adventure in the nearby Imperial Sand Dunes National Recreation Area, or hike through a deserted mining town at Castle Dome. West Wetlands Park – Wander the trails through the Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden, check out the Solar Demonstration Garden or enjoy the riverfront access and boat launch. This popular local hangout has a wonderful children’s playground and pond. Yuma East Wetlands – The Colorado was a source of industry and prosperity for the Yuma area, but all the steamboat traffic and neglect took its toll on the local ecosystem. Since 2002, the East Wetlands Reclamation project has removed invasive vegetation and replanted the area with indigenous species including 200,000 trees, plants and shrubs, re-instating two miles of river channel to its original condition. Now, wildlife is returning; the bird population has doubled and diversity species are up over 75%. Those involved expect over 330 species of bird and wildlife will soon call this area home. Cool off under the native cottonwood trees, ride your bike past the fragrant mesquite and majestic willows, or stand below the newly re-opened ‘Ocean to Ocean’ bridge, the first highway crossing over the Colorado.



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Did you know that the fields surrounding Yuma are responsible for 90% of all the leafy greens Americans enjoy between November and March? Yuma produces 175 different agricultural crops: a vast array of vegetables, fruit and citrus, gourmet dates, nuts and grains. The sunny skies, low humidity and irrigation from the Colorado River have made Yuma not only the North American Winter Vegetable Capital, but also an agricultural research and education hub. Martha’s Gardens Medjool Date Farm – A date shake is a ‘must try’, especially tasty enjoyed on the patio in the shade of the palms. Urias Farms – Stop at another outstanding grower of these plump delicious dates, located in Somerton. The Peanut Patch has been satisfying Yuma’s sweet-tooth for decades with homemade fudge, dried fruits and peanut brittle. Take a tour of their kitchen.

Life was hard for women sentenced to the Yuma Territorial Prison.

The Colorado River is the lifeblood of Yuma Arizona offering a cool and relaxing way to spend a few hours.

Dining and Drinking

The historic ‘North End’ is now ‘the place’ to stroll, shop, sip and savor the many flavors and sights this charming area can cook up. Small boutiques and specialty stores line Main Street. Stop in at Desert Olive Farms for a selection of creative oils made from their own olives. Bare Naked Soap Company handcrafts every fragrant bar from natural ingredients. The art deco Yuma Theatre is just across the street and wine lovers should check out Old Town Wine Cellar. Shopping and strolling is thirsty work. Pop into Prison Hill Brewing for a flight of their locally brewed beers, including ‘Jailbait Date’. Trendy locals can be found at Yuma’s Main Squeeze. The city’s only urban winery imports juice from some of the most sought after wine regions of the world, then ferments and creates a tasty array of wines for their loyal and appreciative clientele. Blend a little history with your beverage at Yuma Landing Bar & Grill. “The Hanger Martini” – created to celebrate the first landing of an airplane in Yuma, right at this location, is perfectly suited to the aeronautic memorabilia that decorates the cozy Captain’s Lounge. Wine Wednesday’s are fun, too! Yuma’s dining scene is diverse, reflecting a multi-cultural influence. Take a trip to Bavaria at Das Bratwurst Haus where authentic, German cuisine,

is based on the owner’s family recipes. Tables are snugged up to shelves laden with ceramic steins and wood-carvings from the Black Forest. Only open from September to April 15th each year, this is a popular local Yuma Visitors Bureau spot and the beer is amazing! Historic Coronado Motor Hotel In summer, enjoy the Mediterranean/ Pacific Rim/Caribbean influenced dishes The author was a guest of Visit Yuma but of the River City Grill inside the cool and the observations and opinions are strictly her cheerful restaurant. In ‘winter,’ everyone own. moves out to the inviting and expansive patio to savor dishes that are healthy, fresh and rich in flavor.

If you go

The Foodie Festivals Never End

Lettuce Days (February) celebrate the bounty of the desert and people that grow it, with entertaining and informative cooking demonstration by top chefs. Meet local vendors, taste and be inspired. Savor Yuma (December – April) focuses on “Field to Feast.” Guests visit the University of Arizona Research Farm to harvest produce, talk to growers and meet with local culinary students to create a delicious lunch with fresh ingredients. Rio de Cerveza (River of Beer) is on tap each October, the Medjool Dates Fest is in January and why not celebrate Tunes & Tacos in April? Yuma is a city of surprises, graced with dedicated, involved citizens working to preserve their heritage and share it with the world.

Hilarie Larson CSW, FWS Hilarie’s passion for wine began in the1970’s while in the European hospitality industry. In 2003 she began her wine career in earnestin her native British Columbia, Canada, working at several Okanagan Valleywineries where she was able to assist in the vineyard and cellar as well as the tasting rooms. Along the way, she acquired her certificatefrom the Court of Master Sommelier, worked for an international wine broker andas ‘Resident Sommelier’ for wineries in Washington State and California. For a full author biography and profile, please visit: http://ifwtwa.org/author/hilarie-larson

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Exploring St. Augustine America’s Oldest City By Beth Graham

Casa Monica Hotel


ravelers flock to Florida for its pristine beaches but many are missing out on one of the country’s most historic towns, St. Augustine, located just 30 minutes south of Jacksonville on North Florida’s first coast. It was Ponce de Leon’s quest for the Fountain of Youth that led him to Florida in 1513, and today, this is one of St. Augustine’s most popular



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attractions. Decades later in 1565, Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés established the Oldest City, which celebrated its 450th anniversary in 2015. The Spanish influence is still prevalent all over the city through the architecture, food, and cultural attractions. Visitors will feel as though they are transported to another era. Much of the historic district is walkable, although the old trolleys and horse-drawn carriages are a great way to see the city.

You’ll find both tourists and locals strolling St. George’s Street, the city’s historic district lined with cobblestone streets, quaint outdoor cafes, and offbeat artisan shops.

Exploring History

St. Augustine has become somewhat of a school field trip mecca, allowing students to experience the country’s history up close and personal. The city’s top attractions offer

a glimpse into Old World life. Castillo de San Marcos is one of the iconic historic structures of North Florida constructed by the Spanish between 1672 and 1695. You can listen to park ranger talks, enjoy the green park surrounding the fort, and watch reenactments and weapons demonstrations in period costume. Fort Matanzas guarded St. Augustine’s waterway as the conflict between European nations raged. The ferry ride across to Fort Matanzas gives visitors a chance to enjoy the natural scenery that surrounds the Matanzas River. St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum offers the world’s largest collection of authentic pirate artifacts and interactive exhibits. Built in 1887, the Lightner Museum features costumes, furnishings and other artifacts from 19th century daily life. Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is the original site of the nation’s oldest city. Located on 15 beautiful waterfront acres, you can see the real Spanish watchtower, the Menendez 1565 settlement field, and a 600-foot founders riverwalk. Oldest House Museum is Florida’s oldest Spanish colonial dwelling and a National Historic Landmark. Old Florida Museum is St. Augustine’s only hands-on, interactive history muse-

Casa Monica Hotel



um. Guests can experience life in this time period through the tools, weapons, and homes featured in the museum. Hourlong educational programs on Timucuan natives, Colonial Spanish Florida, early Florida pioneers, and archeology are also available. Fort Mose Historic State Park is the first free African settlement in North America and a premier site on the Florida Black Heritage trail, the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation by over a century. Fort Mose was the northern defense post for St. Augustine.

Modern Luxury

The city’s only luxury hotel is an attraction unto itself. Situated in the heart of the downtown district and just steps from the Matanzas Bay is the historic Casa Monica Hotel. Built in 1888, the hotel opened with only three guests and struggled through its early years. Rough times forced the hotel to close in 1932, and it then served as the county courthouse for three decades. In 1997, The Kessler Collection acquired the property and, following a $10 million restoration, Casa Monica Hotel debuted once again as the luxurious destination it is today. It is also home to the Grand Bohemian Gallery, an in-house art gallery that

Fort Matanzas



showcases local and international artists’ work including paintings, sculptures, ceramics and jewelry. The moment you step into this Mediterranean revival-style building, you’ll know you’re someplace special. The lobby transports you to an ancient era with Moroccan frescos, exquisite tapestries and luxurious chandeliers that feel more like a palace than a hotel. But don’t let that fool you – the hotel is blessed with the best of all modern day amenities. Each of the 138 guestrooms has its own unique style with furnishings and décor fit for a king and queen. If you’re feeling especially royal, the suites are the way to go. The Ponce de Leon Suite is a two-story tower suite with a striking, wrought iron four-poster bed and panoramic views of the historic district and St. Augustine’s picturesque bay. The Flagler Suite is a luxurious three-story tower suite with two bedrooms and a living room offering views of the magnificent Lightner Museum. The third floor bedroom features colorful glasswork windows from the hotel’s original construction in 1888.

Spanish Fusion Cuisine

St. Augustine is a true culinary adventure as many rising chefs have descended on the city because of its welcoming mix of cultures – everything from Spanish to Cajun to Caribbean. Columbia Restaurant is one of the city’s oldest and most popular restaurants achieving recognition as “One of America’s Most Historic Restaurants” by USA Today. The Spanish/Cuban menu features Paella a la Valenciana, Red Snapper Alicante, Pompano en Papillot, Roast Pork A la Cubana and other international flavors. The Floridian is an old-school restaurant featuring “Innovative Southern Fare” like grit cakes, fried green tomatoes, local shrimp and St. Augustine’s prized Datil peppers. Michael’s Tasting Room is a contemporary Spanish restaurant serving traditional and inspired tapas, paired with an award-winning wine list. Appetizers include queso Manchego and ceviche tostones while main courses feature Spanish preparations of chicken, shrimp, lamb, lobster and more.

Beth Graham Travel is one of my passions, so I try to take at least one exciting trip each year. It’s about finding the things that feed your soul and make them happy. I do the things that make me happy – some people might call that selfish. I love to eat good food so I often indulge myself with challenging recipes and menus that satisfy my love for cooking and trying new flavors. I have an amazing husband, a college-aged son who is a classical pianist with his sights set on Hollywood, a vegan daughter who is passionate about life, a crazy happy yellow lab and a cat I brought home from Italy.

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Amarillo Anytime Story and photos by Kathleen Walls

“Spanish Skirts” at Palo Duro Canyon State Park

1948 Flxible from Robin Williams movie, RV

views are breathtaking. So many colors and shapes. The 120-miles-long canyon is second only to the Grand Canyon in the United States. Early Spanish explorers named the canyon “Palo Duro,” meaning “hard wood” ike George Strait says, “Amarillo’s on because the area is filled with mesquite and my mind.” There’s a good reason for juniper trees. The cliffs and formations are Amarillo to be on the mind of any variations of reds and oranges with some traveler looking for a unique place to visit. buff mixed in. The mesquite trees were It’s a bit quirky and filled with fun, culture a bright green and the juniper a darker and food, Texas style. What would you shade. expect from a town perched on the original Each formation in the canyon is differMother Road, Route 66? ent. There are hoodoos, mushroom-shaped Here are some of my favorite Amarillo columns of sedimentary rock jutting out attractions. Start with Palo Duro Canof the canyon floor, as well as ruffle, which yon State Park. From the flat land around early Spanish explorers named “Spanish Amarillo, drive 27 miles southeast to the Skirts, ” and many unnamed but beautiful. canyon. Once you enter the park, the




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The flowers are beautiful here also. Not the big showy display of a botanical garden or the lushness of a jungle, but the blooms standing alone on barren sand or rock are very eye-catching. The best place to get acquainted with the park, the canyon and their history is at the Visitors Center. There is a nice museum of natural and historical facts about the canyon. You can get up close and personal with the park by staying at its campground or cabins. If you visit from June through August, you can see Texas, The State Play of Texas, at the Pioneer amphitheater, carved out of a natural basin in the canyon. On Route 66, RVs are a big deal. So is Jack Sisemore RV Museum. It’s tucked away

behind Jack’s RV sales and service at 4341 Canyon Drive. Step inside, and you’re back in the past. The jukebox, set in a recreation of a 1950s diner, plays Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino or Elvis. The Lampsteed Kampkar was sold as a kit to fit the Model T Ford chassis. Once assembled, the rear compartment folded like a Pullman train car and became two double beds. When folded upright, the bed frame’s center section formed a pair of bench seats. You could buy this RV for only $535 back in 1921. Don’t even ask what it’s worth today. It was created by two of the least likely RV partners you can imagine, Anheuser-Busch (the producer of one of the most dangerous things you can drink while cruising along in an RV) and Samuel B. Lambert, whose father was part of the Listerine company. (Maybe they figured you could gargle Listerine if you drank “what made Milwaukee famous” while driving the RV.) Then, there’s the big 1948 Flxible. This one may look familiar to Robin Williams fans since it was the actual one used in the movie RV. The nostalgia continues with a shiny, like new 1962 Airstream, the little alumi-

The original Zimmerman

num 1946 Teardrop or the teensy red and white 1953 Fleetwood Travel trailer. Since the horse was transporting Texans long before RVs, you can bet there’s a museum dedicated to that noble beast. It’s the Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum. In spite of the cowboy getting top billing, it was really the American Quarter Horse that won the west. Start with the film in the Ken & Laina Banks Theater to learn the history of this animal. You can get the “inside story” with the X-ray exhibit. Kids of all ages will fall in love with “Doc” the vet and “Two Bits” the horse there for his check-up. Whether you’re a novice who wants to learn the difference between “Western” and “English” style or a serious scholar who wants to research the reason each inductee earned a place in this Hall of Fame, you’ll love this museum. Panhandle Plains Historical Museum calls itself “The Smithsonian with a Texas accent.” It is a fantastic museum located on the Texas A&M University campus in Canyon, Texas, so it definitely has a Texas accent. This museum takes on the past 14,000 years and 26,000 miles of rugged Texas

panhandle. It began as a bits-and-pieces museum during the Great Depression and continued to grow. Today, it’s the largest history museum in Texas, housing over two million artifacts. From the prehistoric creatures that roamed the plains on to the indigenous people and the Comanche that called this land home, the museum moves on to the era of the stagecoach and the Wild West. This is Texas, so there’s Samuel Colt’s Peacemaker, the gun that won the west, the Remington Revolver and many more. You can get a grip on one of Samuel Colt’s original Peacemakers or a Remington revolver. They’re replicas, but these interactive pieces have the feel of the real guns. Panhandle Plains Historical Museum recently opened a new Pioneer Town that covers life in the Texas Panhandle from 1890 to 1910. You can see the village church or visit a Chinese laundry. The transportation section goes from stagecoach to classic cars. One of my favorites is the 1910 Zimmerman, the first Zimmerman brought into Texas. Zimmermans are among the rarest of American-made autos. They really were horseless carriages made from old buggy components. There are classic cars and classic Burma Shave Signs. The People of the Plains represented here are as varied as the exhibits – European settler, native dweller, cowboy, oilman, farmer, rancher and more. Even dining gets quirky in Amarillo. The Big Texan is fun and food wrapped in one gaudy package. If Miss Kitty had dinner with Marshal Dillon, they’d dine here. It resembles a western movie set. There’s a life-sized windmill, cowboy paraphernalia, and a huge plastic bull out front with a sign offering “Free 72-Ounce Steak.” Pretty much everyone is dressed as a Gunsmoke extra, either cowboys or bar girls, so to blend in wear jeans, a Stetson and, naturally, boots. The dining room is classic Old West décor, wagon wheels, revolvers, mounted animal heads, imitation gas lights and a mural with an Indian teepee. The upstairs balcony tables are set behind red drapes. Cowboy musicians roam around playing requests. The massive grills where two

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The Big Texan

Climbers explore rock formations at Palo Duro Canyon State Park

grillers are turning out steaks at the speed of light sits right in front of a table set for anyone wishing to try for that free steak. If you want that “free” steak the sign promised, all you have to do is eat a 72-oz piece of meat with all the trimmings…in one hour. The age range on those who have gotten free steak goes from an 11-year-old boy to a 69-year-old grandmother. The most spectacular win was in April 2015 when Molly Schuyler tucked away three of the 72-ounce steaks accompanied by salads, baked potatoes, shrimp cocktails, and rolls in 20 minutes. She broke all records and won a grand prize of $5,000.

It’s a bit kinky and pure Texas, but they’ve been doing it right for the past 55 years. R.J. Bob Lee opened it in 1960 on the Mother Road, Route 66 and began the tradition his sons carry on today. In 1970, he realized the new highway, Interstate 40, was going to divert much of the traffic from Route 66, so he moved the restaurant to its present location. Owners Bobby and Danny have an onsite brewery where Danny and brewmaster, Tom Money, brew 11 Texas-style beers. There’s also a motel designed to look like an old western town. Maybe it’s where Miss Kitty and Marshal Dillon rendezvous after

dinner, assuming they would have enough energy left if they went for the free steak. It’s so-very-Texas; even the motel pool is shaped like the state, and there’s a “Horse Motel” where the marshal can leave Old Buck. For groups of four or more at local lodgings or the RV park, The Big Texan will send their black limo, complete with bull horns, for pick-ups and returns. It’s perfect if you plan to party hardy. Like they say down there, “Everything’s bigger in Texas.”

Kathleen Walls Kathleen Walls is the publisher, editor and general go-for at American Roads and Global Highways. She writes fiction books, non-fiction books, and travel books. Her travel and food related articles have been published in Woodall’s Publications, Family Motor Coaching, Amateur Chef, Georgia Magazine, North Georgia Journal, Georgia Backroads, London, England’s Country Music People, many of the visit***online.com sites and others.

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Last Shot

The sun shines on the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.

Melanie Votaw is a freelance travel writer and photographer, as well as a book author. Based in New York, she has visited nearly 50 countries on six continents. Her photos have been exhibited and published in several magazines and books, Melanie Votaw and her image of the Amazon River served as a mural backdrop at the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi.


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