Beyond the Waterfalls – Visiting Niagara Falls, USA

Visiting Niagara Falls, NY is so much more than just seeing the impressive water falls.

Cool off on a hot day as the wind sprays mist in your face. Feel the raw power reverberate through your body as millions of gallons of water flow by so close that you can practically touch it. Taste award winning wines and beers. Or walk in the footsteps of revolutionary war soldiers or escaping Civil War slaves. A long weekend in Niagara Falls, NY gave me all these sensory experiences and so much more.

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Skagway Excursions On Your Own: Going off the Beaten Path to Explore Carcross, Yukon

There are many options for excursions on an Alaska cruise. It’s easy to do Skagway excursions on your own and go off the beaten path with a self drive trip to explore the road to Carcross Yukon and back again. I am sharing my Skagway travel experience including tips on how to get the most of your independent day in Skagway.

A cruise through southeast Alaska is a convenient way to stop and discover the coastal towns that are not always easy to get to by other means. My recent Alaska cruise offered many Skagway excursions to discover this historic port. Tempting as they were though, this time I chose to take my own road less traveled to Carcross, Yukon in Canada.

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My Yellowstone Road Trip – A 10 Day Salt Lake to Yellowstone Itinerary

As I was planning a Yellowstone and Grand Teton road trip focusing primarily on photography, I decided to do a one way Salt Lake to Yellowstone itinerary, which I am sharing here.

I’ve been fortunate to visit Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park twice in the last few years. On my first visit I flew into and out of Jackson and did one big loop through the two parks.  This time, I got a better flight deal into Salt Lake city so I opted for a one way route ending in Bozeman, Montana.

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PhotoPOSTcard: Tapestries in the Chateau de Commarin

One of the most unique aspects of our tour of the Chateau de Commarin were the original heraldic tapestries made for the castle in the early 1500’s. The tapestries depict family armorial designs alternating with alchemical symbols. As a precursor to chemistry, I was particularly fascinated by the alchemy references. Sadly (for us), some of the tapestries were trimmed down to fit the existing space, so some of the panels were no longer complete. However, despite the centuries, the colors were still vivid and all the detail quite impressive. The tour of the Chateau de Commarin was the first excursion on my European Waterways barge cruise on the Burgundy canal.

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PhotoPOSTcard: At the Abbey de Fontenay

One of the excursions on my European Waterways Burgundy Canal cruise was to the UNESCO listed Abbey de Fontenay. The abbey was founded in 1118 by a group of Cistercian monks.  On our tour, I leaned that the Cistercian order was established in response to the excesses displayed by the Benedictine monks. The Cistercian’s believed in hard work in a simple, austere environment and they built this large abbey to insure that they would be self-sufficient. Much of the original abbey architecture remains to this day, including the cloisters seen in this photo.

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Get Thee to the Gedi Ruins

The atmospheric Gedi Ruins near the town of Watamu on Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast are a fascinating visit. A trip to the Gedi Ruins can easily be arranged by your hotel and a local guide can bring the local history alive.

“Please! Tell Everyone we are here!” 

These were the parting words that my guide said to me as we finished the fascinating tour of the Gedi Ruins near Watamu, Kenya on the country’s Indian Ocean coast. After three hours of touring the site with him, I could understand why. Other than a local school group, I was the only tourist there.

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Rockin’ the Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou, Morocco

Visiting the UNESCO heritage site of Ait Bn Haddou was a stop on my three day trip to the Sahara from Marrakesh, Morocco. Ait Ben Haddou is a well preserved and restored example of a ksar, that is, a collection of traditional earthen houses surrounded by a defensive wall and protective corner towers. Here is my experience of Ait Ben Haddou in photos.

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PhotoPOSTcard: A Living Movie Set

On the way to the Sahara desert, we made a brief stop at the Ait-Ben-Haddou UNESCO site. The site is recognized as a great example of a ksar, a collection of earthen dwellings built behind defensive walls which are reinforced by angle towers. At one time, the village was part of a thriving commercial trading route between the Sudan and Marrakesh. Today however, the site has been abandoned except for tourists, hawkers selling their wares, and the film industry. The guides make sure to let you know that the movie Gladiator and scenes in The Game of Thrones were filmed here.

My Sahara Desert experience was hosted by Merzouga Luxury Desert Camps. All content is my own.

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Terlingua and Lajitas – A Tale of Two Cemeteries

The historic west Texas towns of Terlingua and Lajitas share a common location as gateway towns for both Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. Though only fifteen minutes apart, their personalities are as distinct as their heritage. On my recent visit, I found that both towns are very much a reflection of their historic cemeteries: Terlingua is wild and woolly while Lajitas is more sedate and proper.

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Discover the Famous Zanzibar Doors – Finding Craftsmanship Among the Kitsch

“Please. Come into my shop. Let me show you what I have. I will make you a good deal”.  This was the constant litany that accosted us as we wandered the narrow lanes in historic Stone Town. But I wasn’t interested just in shopping. What I was really on the hunt for was to see the famous carved Zanzibar doors.

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