I spent a week on Block Island (off the coast of RI) several years ago. It was one of the most wonderful, peaceful and relaxing vacations I've taken. We took only our bicycles (i.e., no car) and rented a house right on the ocean. I've wanted to go back ever since, but we never seem to get around to it. Maybe it's just one of those special memories that would be ruined by a second trip...
But if you like the ocean and natural beauty, with much fewer tourists than the Cape, MV or Nantucket, it's worth a visit.
It won't be cold in the summer! :-) Canal is only skateable for January and February and maybe into March if we're lucky. May has the tulip Festival. Canada Day - July 1 is a major downtown party -free museums and many downtown streets closed until after the fireworks. Entertainment all day on Parliament Hill. And during the summer there are LOTS of various music festivals
Debi - so sorry your DH twisted his ankle and couldn't skate.
Sounds like a nice trip, Victor. Haven't been to Canada in ages, although I love Louise Penny's series of mysteries set in Quebec...Block Is. is a fav place of mine...have been numerous times, & have always enjoyed it, so you won't spoil it by a second trip, SOJ.
victor- my brother went to Montreal this past summer and even as a non gardener he liked the Botanical garden with its 'crevice garden.' They liked Montreal and Quebec both. I went to Old Quebec with my DD French class a few years ago and loved it. We had a hotel in the old part and walked everywhere, except the tour bus took us to Montmorency Falls, the basilica of St Anne de Beaupre, and stopped at a little tiny cheese curd place and a copper art place, and a maple sugaring camp.
And I've been to Rome and Florence, just once, just pretty quick, but LOVED IT.
We're trying to decide on someplace sunny. But the oldest kid won't be available to go, the next already has a beach week with girlfriends- it gets harder to plan a trip for all five of us. Any Cancun feedback would be appreciated.
Sally, try looking into Riviera Maya, about an hour south of Cancun. I went a few years ago and loved it. There's a great park in the area also, Xcaret (sp?) It's kind of a hybrid adventure/natural/zoo park.
victor- we stayed in a Hilton for Rome cuz my sister used travel points from work. It's outside of town on a hill. Not very convenient but we used their shuttle to get to the city most mornings. Then the metro is very convenient, and cabs were fine. I think Rome is awe some, Just the ancient ness of old Rome. I loved Palatine Hill for the parklike setting and view. Got tickets there which covered that plus Coliseum and one museum so we got in Coliseum quickly- I think there's a big ticket line there or something. Wished I did Villa Borghese. Loved Villa D'Este. Did not love Vatican- I would skip it unless you really want to see Sistine Chapel. Sorry we missed the market day.
Would RIviera Maya be ungodly hot or rainy in early July?
Bill - I loved the Greek Isles as well, but the sand on the beaches was so hot you couldn't walk on it without shoes/sandals on. I lay down on a beach towel and had it get up within 5 minutes. I loved wandering around on the Acropolis, and I also loved seeing the very first toilet ever in King Minos' palace, as well as the labyrinth of the legendary minotaur. It is such an old place...fascinating!
We have taken the train to Montreal, DH prefers not to drive, a little bit of a wait at the border for customs to board the train. He likes it, I'm pretty sure we took the train to Ottawa. What do you want to know, I can ask DH.
Cool, Celeste! In time for cherry blossoms, hopefully?! Contact your congressman and senator now for free passes. WH, Capitol, Kennedy Center, etc. Check online for a tour of the Naval Observatory. That was cool. Only given twice a month. The night bus (private, have to pay) monument tour is very nice. Reserve Booth theater and where Lincoln died in advance. Skyline is beautiful.
Nice, Deb. That is on my list. Love to see all those mansions.
For those of you in NYS, Rochester is heavy on my list of destinations this year. International Viola Congress May 30 - June 3 is at Eastman School of Music. A wedding in the Pittsford area on June 9 and some time in the fall my 50 year high school reunion in Fairport. Then we expect to get to Vancouver where our daughter and family live, a few times - gotta see those grand kids. And a car event in MA NE of Boston in mid August.
Nice, Ann! I assumed the viola was for violets, not the instrument! Duh. You play? My son is getting pretty good on the clarinet. He is first clarinet at school. He takes private lessons too. His teacher's wife teaches the viola.
Well, we just got back from visiting Germany over the holidays. Marianne hails from Deutschland, and her only brother and family live there near Dusseldorf. We get back there every couple to three years (since 1987), and have traveled around most of western Europe both pre- and post-Euro. Love not having customs to cross anymore.
Oldest niece got married just before Christmas - darn the luck, had to attend. I would counsel anyone who has had unsatisfactory tours of Europe (attention, Bill) that: you just aren't doing it right. Take me/Marianne along as a guide, and you'll lose all the accumulated bile and be unable to wait till the next opportunity! 'Nuff said, though I'll discuss this till the cows come home with all comers.
If anyone ever wondered if loyalty to an employer was ever worth anything...Marianne celebrated 25 years running her laboratory by being awarded a trip anywhere in the world. We're planning to visit Australia in August/September this year, so thanks to ViolaAnn for the old link at the top of this thread. The niece that got married in December? Married an Aussie bloke, she did. They live in Brisbane, so we've got a little head start on guides. We are looking for others' experiences Down Under, especially garden/nature/countryside/wine-wise (like you were REALLY wondering).
Wow - lucky you, VV! Would love to get there one day. Lots of good wines from down under. And wonderful plants. And dingos. ^_^ what a great gift for Marianne! Congrats to her. My award for 17 years at Columbia U's nuclear lab was unemployment.
I will pick your brains regarding Europe. Our biggest problem now, in planning what will be our first trip there, is WHEN to go. We are constrained by school schedules. Summer seems like the worst time to go with the crowds of tourists and the vacationing locals. Our plan is to see Italy on this first trip.
We traveled Italy a few years ago at the end of May, which seemed be a good time for weather without the crowds.. It was a great trip arranged by our nieces and nephews instead of doing a tour. They really knew what they were doing so it all went well. Of course the highlight of the trip for me was in the Provence of Compagna where my family lives in Naples. Positano is just around the corner up the Amalfi Coast and is one of the most beautiful places that we stayed at. When you get to your hotel,if it's on the cliffs, the elevator takes you DOWN to the front desk and the rooms.
This year we will spend one vacation in August with our kids and their kids in a house in Rehobeth, DE, and then another one in October at Myrtle Beach (Surfside Beach).
Our winter vacations are usually to Florida or south, but this year I'm spending lots of time at my daughter's house to help with the new baby and her family.
VV if and when i head back to Europe i will consult with you - the greek islands where fantastic - quick question on your recent trip, did you have any alt while near dussledorf? it is one of my favorite flavors.
I have been trying to convince the wife to burn the rest of my frequent flyer miles and go to australia in May. the plan was to land in sydney and stay near the opera house on the arrive and return leg - head to brisbane and their wine country - up to Darwin and visit kakadu nat'l park, slide to the east and visit the great barrier reef before heading back to sydney and heading home - a three week vaca - she has two problems with my plan, first problem is it is an expensive vacation (the flights just around Assy are 4K) and second is we have to pay for it - still working on her although i am not making any headway.
I will be heading to Pittsford, NY sometime in June as well, Viola...my niece lives there...if my brother's health is OK at the time...we usually go in August when the peaches are ripe, but my niece wants to see Borglund's Iris Farm in bloom...also will be heading up to Mascoma Lake in NH for Memorial Day, and over to Watch Hill, RI to my nephew's summer home...also need to get to southern Maine to visit my stepson & his wife, who hopefully will be home from stroke rehab...
VV - I agree. Lucky you. And to have a built in guide, that's great. I hope you enjoy the trip.
This thread had been dormant for so long, I don't think I even mentioned our October trip to Germany - for an International Viola congress, too. Yes, I play and I'm active in the Canadian Viola Society and have been on the executive of the International Viola society and the Congresses have taken us all over the world - New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, Austria, Germany several times and Glasgow.
Anyway, the last trip we flew to Berlin. Had originally hope to visit friends in Hamburg AND get to Dresden in side trips from Berlin, but in the end we skipped Hamburg since those friends had been in Ottawa in July before we all went to a conference in Montreal. So, spent several days in Berlin, a few in Dresden and then went to the Congress in Würzburg. If you want to look at pictures, you'll find them at: http://violaann.smugmug.com/Travel/Germany-2011/19643233_pL2nst
BTW, we've been to Germany many times and spent a year in the Hamburg area in 1976-77. So, while I'm not an expert by any means, I do have familiarity with the country.
Gotta figure out a way to translate your love of (stone) walling into plane tickets - any airline execs live in your part of the world? I see some symmetry evolving...
The places you mention (and the ways of getting around) align with what we've considered, and have had recommended by others. Darwin might be one we'd skip, sticking with the areas from Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and up as far as Cairns/Kuranda and the Great Barrier Reef.
If you go in May, we'll expect a full report.
As far as Germany and beer...well, you can't hardly travel in the Dusseldorf/Cologne (Koln) corridor without being bodily held down and forced to imbibe the local elixir: alt. You wouldn't have any reason to consume mettwurst, bratwurst, grunekohl, and bratkartoffeln otherwise.
nice hat!:) In my opinion the Colonge Kolsch does not stand up to the Alt - planned to brew a Marzen later this week may reconsider and do an Alt.
Australia has a lot that is well worth seeing - it is a Continent after all - and it is hard to decide. i did have to explain that a couple times when discussing the in "country" air fares - looked into rail and it looks like it is all regional so you would still need to fly and the pricing was not that less expensive. I've been a few times on business (Melbourne/Sydney) years ago (In Australia I like the Victoria's Bitter the best)so it would not be a tragedy if we do not go. I keep trying the "you only live once line" to no success. I think I will be waiting on your trip report and planting japanese maples in May.
Victor - where will you be in Fla? Any chance it's close to us?
debi - on your way to Savannah, think about a stop in Beaufort, SC. Their historical downtown area is very nice with a gorgeous waterfront park. We spent a couple days there on our way down this Fall,and we really liked it. We almost changed our mind on the strip coming into town, but we were glad we went into the old part of town.
Our big trip next Fall will be to close up the farm a month early and drive out in September to Glacier National Park to meet up with our Colorado kids/Grands. My stepdaughter was the architect for the renovation of one of the Lodges there, and we want to see her work, as well as vacationing with her and her family. We'll stop along the way to see some old friends and some historical places like Crazy Horse and Little Big Horn, and after Glacier we'll visit my college roommate at their summer cabin on Priest Lake, Idaho before heading down through Yellowstone and the Tetons and Jackson Hole on our way to visit again with our Colorado bunch at their home in the Rockies. We have to go early enough not to have the Parks close for snow, so we'll leave right after Labor Day. Don't anyone DARE to think of doing a Fall RU without us!! (just kidding...maybe). LOL
Victor, if the restaurant "La Tagliata" is still there above Positano in the Amalfi cliffs, you MUST go there. You will be reminded of all the food from you grandparent's table for their holiday and everyday dinners. This is truly a breath taking area.
I don't think the lodge is finished yet, Victor. I think it is still in the construction phase. There will be a Grand Opening in the Fall, and that's why we decided to go and to meet them there. I'll know more during the summer, but I think we'll go even if it isn't finished by then. We are both looking forward to the trip. We have been out to most of the National Parks out west a few times since DSD went to college in Colorado (and we lost her for good). We have not been to Glacier though. Yellowstone is a big favorite, so we can't get that close without going back through it again. We have never taken a driving trip with the dogs for this long, but they are such good little travelers that we're hoping we aren't nuts! :)
Victor, we are almost straight across the state from Lauderdale. Please do let us know your timing and your itinerary. Love to see you and the family!
Thrilling is a good way to describe the beauty out west, Marilyn. The National Parks are wonderful...class act, plus we now have lifetime passes and parking passes, so you can't beat that, although, they are priced very reasonably anyway.
Debi, we've always wanted to take the train through the Canadian Rockies to go out to Glacier, but they don't allow dogs, so we'll drive instead. We are like you in loving the train trips. Have you done any of those trips across the Rockies?
Yes - sounds great, Deb! I am looking at airfares for Yellowstone now. The one problem with YS is that it's a pain to get to. Closest non-stop airports are not close! Can xfer to West Yellowstone but pay lots more. Looks like we will fly to Salt Lake City and drive 5 hrs. I can split the driving with my BIL.
it is what i have to do if i want to see my wife - besides it is such a car wreck, one of the better comedy's on TV right now.
girls spend maybe 2 or 3 hours alone with this guy, believe they have found the love of their lives, they do not get a rose, and then cry hysterically - it is so ludacris you can't make it up - just too funny :)
Victor, how bout flying into Jackson Hole? I personally enjoyed the Tetons much more than yellowstone - you could do both parks...? I don't remember how long the drive was but I don't think it was bad.
We last did YS like VV from Bozeman but in late Dec and Jan some years ago. It was breathtakingly beautiful and empty of people, but mighty cold.
I love Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park in Maine especially out of season when the locals aren't loco from the hordes of tourist. We use to go a few times a year, but haven't been for a while. Must go back.
I also like Quebec City in the dead of winter as riding back an forth across the St Lawrence when it is frozen over is an awesome experience and way cheaper than going to Antarctica which is on my bucket list.
I love most places in Europe and need to go to the two countries that I have somehow missed, Ireland and Portugal. I spent a few months in Paris back in the late 60's and then again in the 70's and found it to be the best city to poke around on foot. I never found the locals rude, just uninterested in my poor attempts at French, though out in the countryside they never seem to care how bad my French was (it is bad) and they where always nice. I had a car break down in the south, and found that the parts were unavailable, so the mechanic told us about an American couple that might help us find a place to stay while he made the part. They took us in for a week for a couple of modest dinners out and then the mechanic guy charged us far less than the new part would have cost, because he could make it. That was a revelation, plus the car worked perfectly.
Last time I went to Savannah, we just spent the day wandering about before heading south to a cheap place near a great BBQ shack that we wanted to try. Sterns Road Food find. We have an old friend that we lost track of until I recently found out that he and his wife own a beautiful BB there, so we may have to visit them soon.
I want to get to Alaska too, so I am jealous of SOJ's summer plans. My Dad spent the war years in the Aleutians which would be on my agenda if I ever get there.
We are leaving from Miami on Monday for Cuba. I have never been, nor has my brother, son and Mother who is treating us to this trip, but my husband spent a great deal of time there prior to 1961 when he was last there. It will be amazing if we can visit his old haunts, but we are not sure that will happen. But no matter as I find the best things with travel are the unexpected and unplanned parts of the adventure. I will post pictures and news upon our return.
In late June, exactly the wrong time of the year, we are off to New Orleans for a wedding for a week. It will be hot, very hot, but fun. Our son will be there as he is in the wedding party so that will make it even better.
Bon Voyage or at least good travel dreams to all. I always have my bags packed. Patti
Debi, yes, we're spending a couple days in Denali. Here's a link to the tour we're taking: http://www.alaskawildland.com/alaska-coast-to-denali-journey-i.htm
After the tour, we are going to stay an extra day and fly to Redoubt Bay where we are pretty much guaranteed to see an abundance of grizzlies - probably too close for comfort! We got the 400mm lens already :) I am really excited; I have wanted to go to Alaska for many, many years. We finally decided to splurge this year because it's our 20th anniversary in October :)
Just catching up on lots of missed posts. I am embarrassed to admit that I've been watching the Bachelor too. I don't really even like the show; but it's so ridiculous that it's almost fascinating. Bill, you forgot to mention that this season bikini's are optional. That should get Victor on board...
The US govt. has some sort of "Cultural Exchange" travel permits that are silly and a sham, but available if you travel with a small group. We are allowed to bring back educational material, art, books and CD's (music) but nothing else produced in Cuba. No cigars or Rum. We had to jump through a million hoops to get approved by both sides. I am not sure if the Cuban requirements where worse than the US's permits. Many of our Canadian friends go often, but we never wanted to circumvent our laws, no matter the politics and fly down from Canada or from Mexico. We had to get Canadian dollars as they charge a huge amount to exchange US dollars and greenbacks are not an accepted currency. I dug around and found some Euro's, Swiss Francs and a few other possible paper currency from past trips to take and spend. I doubt they will want the few dollars we have left from Papua New Guinea. We aren't big shoppers so we will spend our cash mostly of it on food as the rest of the trip has been prepaid for by dear old mum. She will be 97 on March 12th. I can't wait for all the yummy Cuban food and hope we can get her a cool cake. Patti
Victor, I'll bring you some. I am hoping I can find interesting books on plants, cooking, music and maybe a promising baseball player or two and a lost Hemingway manuscript and then for Castro to graciously give us back the families land or at least a fat check for it. I guess I will have to settle for a cook book. Patti
Colorado is awesome, Victor! I agree with Debi...the Durango-Silverton train ride is great. My stepdaughter just finished the renovation of the school house in Silverton. It's a fun little town with lots of history. I also think Mesa Verde was low on my list after we saw it. There are some very cool Indian ruins there though. If you haven't done Zion and Bryce Canyon, they are awesome and close enough to couple with Colorado if you have a week there. You pick great places to take your kids! They are getting a wonderful education through travel, IMHO. You can't go wrong with the National Parks. Now that I've turned the corner on my descent into thyroid hell, I'm hoping we can do our western trip next summer since we had to cancel it this past fall. 🚗 ⛽
Colorado parks...where to begin? We've been through a couple times (October 2004 and July 2005), and I'd love to go back again.
Mesa Verde was quite interesting - Marianne was hot to go there because of her interest in archaeology and past civilizations. It wasn't far off the path we chose to drive from KY to Salt Lake City for the ASLA conference in 2004 - which included Pike's Peak, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Silverton/Durango, and Arches in Utah.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison is simply unreal.
After the ASLA conference - and a breeze through the southern Utah national parks - we hit Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction. That is worth the price of admission as well.
On this trip, Marianne and I were squiring David - our oldest German nephew - around some of the impressive sights of the western United States.
Finally, we visited Great Sand Dunes National Park (in a flooding rainstorm, at that) before heading south into New Mexico. On the way back to Denver, we got to see the immense surprise canyon of the Rio Grande - which is not evident from just driving around southeastern Colorado or northeastern NM.
Looks like that NPS site is incorrect. Think they included other sites like monuments, forests, etc. Looks like four nat parks - Rocky Mt., Mesa Verde, Great Sand Dunes and Black Canyon of the Gunnison.
Victor, Hope you will be doing some dwarf conifer hunting while out there. I heard that the Denver Botanical garden is worth a visit. I would check on DG Rocky Mountain Gardening forum for current information on local gardens and nurseries as well as restaurants. I lived in Colorado, but too long ago to make any cogent statement except that it is the scenery is breathtaking. Patti
Victor, check this site out to drool over some alpines and conifers posted by a great Colorado blogger. The whole site is amazing but this posting is about a nursery that you might want to visit. I found this site, Prairie Break, awhile ago when looking for articles about plants from South Africa. I now dip into often.
Quoting:There are many blessings to being a gardener in Colorado, but I count as chief among these the relative proximity of Laporte Avenue Nursery, one of the greatest alpine plant nurseries in the world, and much much more. Owned by Kirk Fieseler and Karen Lehrer, they have grown thousands of plants and list hundreds of kinds of plants every year on their wonderful...
Wha, I worked at an Ihop in Boulder in the 60's, horrors beyond horrors, as a second job for a short while, and the Coors heir, Pete, came in a few times. He was a lousy tipper and incredibly rude, but made sure you knew who he was. So I never drank the beer again and would never venture into an Ihop either after seeing behind the scenes at that joint. Coors now owned or merged with Molson which I do drink while in Canada at the cottage. Patti
Thank you, Victor. It feels so good to be pretty much back to what is normal for me. I am so grateful for the terrific care I received at Mass General in Boston. They really deserve their reputation from my experience there.
VV, those are great photos from your interesting trips. We may have to work in a few more stops if we get to do our western trip.
Wha, the Coors brewery in Golden is the view from my DSD Liz's office. 😜
Victor here's some info from my sis
Estes Park, CO is in the Rocky Mountain National Park- north of Denver They will see elk, wild fox, coyote.wild sheep, mule deer. They can take the trail ridge road to the top of this beautiful area. There is a visitors center at the top (12,000) feet and the scenery is breathtaking. But before you head up to the top it is advisable to stay at the 5,000 feet level for a day or two until the body adjusts to that before heading into the park area at the higher elevation.
My advise would have them fly into Denver spend time in Denver area seeing the sights, have a rental car and head to Estes Park (1 hour drive there)
You can hike on trails, see waterfalls, go horse back riding, spend time in Estes Park which is a small town. -rent a cabin or motel room for a day or two or just drive up from the Denver area for the day. To get into the park there is a fee for the car. The park straddles the Continental Divide and Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous highway in the U.S. The park is 415 square miles it has beautiful lakes too.In the winter we rented a cabin and went snow shoeing, had a fire place in the cabin and kitchen area and we enjoyed the wildlife and they have horse drawn carriages and barbeque in a heated round Ute tent plus great main lodges with hot tubs and buildings with indoor heated pools.
The address to Estes Park is P.O. Box 2810, Estes Park, CO 80517 Your friends can write and get their catalog about all of the events. Also triple AAA has info about the park and accommodations. I haven't checked on line to see their web site but I bet the chamber of commerce has one for Estes Park.
2. If they stay around Denver there is a botanical Gardens that is wonderful, plus the large Science Center Museum, Children's Museums- hands on for the children also an amusement park in the Denver area. It was called Six Flags of Denver but they have renamed it. There is also a restaurant called the Fort, that is shaped like a fort and has then best food and around- and many of the U.S. Presidents have visited the restaurant. Plus there is a restaurant called the Broker. It is in a bank building with the bank vault opened. The Russian Tea Room is really neat also in Boulder, CO.
3. The other thing they can do is go to Summit County Colorado where there is Copper Mountain, Silverthorne, Arapahoe Basin, Frisco and Keystone.
Arapahoe Basin is where I first took my ski lessons. They have indoor ice skating, swimming pools, hot tubs, specialty shops, snow shoeing, sledding etc. Lodging in Summit County you can call 1-888-786-6482 for all information in this area.
She said if you decide where exactly you want to go she can give you more info
Ditto to what Bill said, been to all but CR, Utah is beautiful. We tent camped along the Colorado river, I dreamed I fell in the river trying to pee in the middle of the night. Needless to say, I waited til daylight.
Whenever we have gone to see Liz and family in Colorado, we have found that we are not bothered by the elevation change if we drink a lot of water. Liz's wedding was in Estes Park, and we took a drive to RMNP and the Continental Divide and I had a severe headache and nausea very suddenly when we arrived at the visitors center. Once I wobbled in and drank a bottle of water I was fine.
I agree that the NPs in Utah are all very worth the diversion from Colorado.
Debi, that is so funny about your dream! Perhaps you were subconsciously aware in your dream that Bill was also there and passing by doing his thing. 😜
Tentative plan for overnights is 2 in Denver, 2 in Estes/Rocky Mt Park, 2 in Glenwood Springs, 1 in Moab, UT and last night back in Denver. That still leaves one night. Will either add one to Moab or pick something between Moab and Denver.
A taxi driver once told me in Aspen that if you take aspirin or a similar blood-thinner for a week before travel to high altitude it helps to acclimate more quickly. He learned that in the army.
We're planning an all-inclusive in the Dominican Roublic in March, got a great deal on the rooms at the Lifestyle Tropical resort. All we want is an easy warm week. My SIL gave us a tip, not to take a package that includes airfare. They make you leave early in the am and change planes at least once, could get in at the end of the day. So we booked our own flight, will be at the resort by noon.
Thanks, Marilyn. 30s tonight here. It has been too hot for me down here most of the winter. I know that may sound strange and ungrateful, but the temps have been so warm we have not been able to get out for day trips with our dogs much. I know what you're all thinkin...what a whiner! LOL. Anyway, it will be nice to have some sweater weather for a change.