Exploring Mexico's History at the National Museum of Anthropology www.casualtravelist.com

Exploring Mexico’s History at the National Museum of Anthropology

I have to admit museums can be hit or miss for me. When I’m in one of the world’s great cities it takes a lot for me to dedicate a few hours to a museum when I could be out exploring. While researching what I should do in Mexico City more than a few people, including some of the most well-traveled bloggers I know as well as some locals I met, recommended that I make a stop at the National Museum of Anthropology my interest was piqued. I expected to learn about Mexico’s pre-Hispanic cultures. but what I found here was so much more than your typical museum. With a location in Mexico Citys Chapultepec Park, a strikingly modern exterior, and a collection of artifacts far beyond my imagination; Mexico’s National Museum of Anthropology deserves a place among the world’s great museums.

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The Best Places in the World to See Cherry Blossoms www.casualtravelist.com

The Best Places in the World to See Cherry Blossoms

After a long, gray winter it seems like everyone is ready for spring. The days are longer, the weather is warmer, and the world awakes with blooms of every color. The most celebrated sign of spring is the arrival of the cherry blossoms, whose blooms vibrantly paint cities in shades of pink and white drawing visitors from far and wide. I asked a bunch of my travel blogging friends for their favorite places to view the blossoms; while Japan and and the Washington DC area were popular choices there are a few surprises here as well. Here are the best places inn the world to see cherry blossoms. Read More

Travel Confessions: I went to Mexico City and Ended Up Getting Starbucks and Pizza

Guys, I have a confession to make. I went to Mexico City with full intentions of eating nothing but tacos (and a handful of chapulines if I was feeling particularly brave) and drinking nothing but mezcal and agua fresca, but somehow had a day where I ended up getting Starbucks and pizza. Through this blog I encourage everyone to get out and explore the world; get to know cultures different from your own, taste local delicacies, and experience things you can’t do back home. Like most of you, I have limited time off and try to show how to make the most of a short trip or long weekend. I typically spend hours researching a trip, knowing exactly what I want to do and where to go while allowing for a little spontaneity here and there. I’m usually pretty successful at this, returning from a trip with a camera full of pictures, a handful of memories and temporary too tight pants syndrome from days of devouring the local cuisine.

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Girlfriend Getaways: Skiing at Wintergreen Resort,Virginia www.casualtravelist.com

Girlfriend Getaways: Skiing at Wintergreen Resort, Virginia

My friend Heather and I had been talking about a girls getaway for a few months and the stars aligned for an early February trip. We bandied about a few ideas but when she mentioned that she wanted to try her hand at skiing I had the perfect place in mind-Wintergreen Resort.

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Whale Watching in Virginia Beach

“Whale watching in Virginia Beach?”

The looks from my friends were incredulous as I told them about my experience whale watching a few years ago. Every winter, from December to March, several pods of humpback whales migrate from their summer homes of the coast of Maine and Nova Scotia and spend the winter months feeding in the rich waters where the Chesapeake Bay opens into the Atlantic Ocean. Whale sightings have been plentiful and frequent the past few years but despite this,  one of Virginia’s greatest winter experiences remains a secret even to many locals. On a clear but chilly January weekend I brought my friends down to the Virginia Aquarium for a winter wildlife boat trip so they could see the whales for themselves.

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A Winter Weekend in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

“Four score and seven years ago……..”

This famous speech from Abraham Lincoln is the introduction to Gettysburg most of us get in elementary school. Lincoln’s speech and the events that inspired them also inspire many people to visit this area of southern Pennsylvania. With a year round population of only 7,000 people Gettysburg has a staggering 4 million visitors a year with the bulk of them coming in the spring and summer. Winter? Well, that’s another story. On a quick weekend trip in January we practically had Gettysburg to ourselves. No traffic clogging the bucolic country roads and no fighting the crowds at the monuments. A weekend is just long enough to get a taste of Gettysburg, with one day focused on Gettysburg’s past and one day focused on Gettysburg’s present.

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A day of learning at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida-www.casualtravelist.com

A Day of Learning at Big Cat Rescue

Every year during the holidays we head south to Florida, to sunny Tampa where we get to celebrate Christmas with Steve’s family with palm trees and 80 degree weather replacing pine trees and snow. Of course one of my favorite parts of our yearly Florida trip is spending time with my niece Morgan, a super fun kid who is growing up far too fast for my liking. When it came time for our girls’ day adventure we had tons of options, after all Tampa is famous for its white sand beaches and theme parks. This year, our choice was completely up to Morgan and she had one place in mind-Big Cat Rescue.

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I went to Mexico and Didn’t get Sick, Attacked or Kidnapped-Here’s What Happened Instead

When I was planning my recent trip to Mexico I was excited. It was my first trip to the country, and rather than head to a luxury resort I wanted this trip to be about the culture. Don’t get me wrong, I love a luxury resort as much as the next person (as you can see here and here), but the Mexico I wanted this time didn’t involve palapas or infinity pools. A few days at an immersive cooking school in the small mountain town of Tepoztlan, with mornings spent walking through town to the market to gather the ingredients for dinner that night all within view of dramatic limestone cliffs capped with the ruins of an Aztec pyramid; followed by the frenetic mix of modern and historic in Mexico City would be my introduction to Mexico. When I announced my travel plans to friends and family I was a bit taken aback, more than any other place I have visited I was deluged with warnings and questions about my safety.

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One Great Weekend:What to do in Mexico City www.casualtravelist.com

One Great Weekend: What to do in Mexico City

A heady mix of traditional cultures and cosmopolitan buzz, there is no doubt that Mexico City is having a moment. A rich indigenous and Spanish colonial history, a vibrant arts scene and one of the most exciting culinary scenes on the planet, the allure of Mexico City is endless. As one of the world’s largest cities, it’s nearly impossible to ever fully know Mexico City but you can certainly get a taste of the Mexican capital in two days time. Here are my recommendations for what to do in Mexico City. Read More

A Taste of Mexico with La Villa Bonita Culinary Vacations www.casualtravelist.com

A Taste of Mexico with La Villa Bonita Culinary Vacations

It’s no secret that I travel to eat, I find that food is one of the best ways to experience a destination. For my first trip to Mexico I wanted to immerse myself in it’s cuisine, from vibrant salsas to smokey moles and everything in between, I wanted to experience Mexico’s diverse food culture on a deeper level. This is what led me to La Villa Bonita, a hands-on cooking school and boutique hacienda in Central Mexico’s highlands.

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