Let me start off by saying I have been a long time Starbucks fan. I am a card carrying gold card member and make at least a weekly Starbucks visit. I also love everything about fall: cooler temps, the crunch of leaves under my feet, and bringing tall boots into my wardrobe rotation. But the one thing I love about fall most of all are the warm, comforting flavors of the autumn harvest. I adore the days of fresh, orchard picked apples and pumpkin flavored everything.
Portland Maine is a vibrant harbor town with a creative spirit and a gritty, working class past. Access to some of the freshest seafood on the East Coast( including Maine’s succulent lobster) and scores of small scale farms and artisan food producers has attracted a new wave of forward-thinking chefs eager to showcase some of Maine’s best culinary offerings. Recently named the “Foodiest small town in America” by none other than Bon Appetit magazine I knew I had to sample some of Portland’s goodies for myself but I was only stopping in the city for one day. Maine Foodie Tours to the rescue!
Acadia National Park is the crown jewel of America’s east coast and it’s rugged beauty attracts millions of visitors every year. Granite peaks give way to pine covered forests that transition into dramatic cliffs and rock strewn shores, the surrounding bays dotted with emerald green islands are the picture of tranquility. Bar Harbor, located on Mount Dessert Island in northeastern Maine, is a bustling tourist town that serves as the gateway for Acadia and can be quite crowded during the summer or whenever a cruise ship pulls into town but you’re never less than thirty minutes from finding solitude once you veer from the well worn tourist paths. The park occupies not only a good swath of Mount Desert Island but also parts of the nearby Schoodic Peninsula, and the more remote Baker Island and Isle de Haut. Mount Dessert Island served as a summer getaway for the well heeled in the mid 1800’s transforming the once sleepy island of farmers and fisherman into a popular tourist destination. Charles W. Eliot and George B. Dorr were instrumental in preservation efforts that eventually led to Acadia becoming the first national park east of the Mississippi River in 1919 and John D. Rockefeller Jr. helped created the park’s 45 mile carriage road system, originally designed to navigate parts of the island by horse drawn carriage that now serves as popular hiking and cycling trails.
Summertime in coastal Maine evokes images of searching for the perfect lobster roll, exploring tide pools along the rock strewn beaches and sailing among bays and summer isles. Verdant hills tumble into the deep blue of the Atlantic forming over 3,000 miles of rocky coastline and to properly experience it you must take to the water. On a gorgeous 75 degree day filled with sunshine and gentle breezes we made our way down to Camden’s postcard worthy harbor to sort out our seafaring options. Kayak? Not a great option for us this time with Steve’s mom in tow. Motorized catamaran? Eh, not feeling it. A four-sailed, beautifully restored historic schooner? Now we’re talking.
The ice caves of Werfen are a frozen subterranean world that lie deep within the Austrian Alps. Perched high above the tiny hamlet of Werfen, Eisriesenwelt (German for “world of the ice giants”) is the world’s largest ice cave and is a popular day trip from Salzburg. Austria’s efficient train system will deliver you to the town of Werfen from Salzburg in just over an hour but once you get to the town you have to go up. Way up. A shuttle will brought us up a windy 3.5 mile road to the visitors center where we continued our uphill climb on foot. I was looking forward to pristine alpine views of verdant valleys giving rise to gray limestone peaks set against an azure sky however the weather had different views in store for us.
Airbnb is an online service that connects people looking to rent their homes with people who are looking for accommodations.Hosts list their available properties on the website which allows them to promote their spaces with photos and descriptions, they are also able to set their own availability and prices. Guests can search through the database and refine searches by room type, neighborhood, price, amenities and host language. Each user will have a profile with reviews from previous interactions and is a great way to get to know who you’ll be dealing with. There are currently over 550,000 listing available throughout 192 countries and spaces can range from a spare couch in someone’s basement to private villas and yachts. If you’re feeling royal there’s even a castle!
Kenai Fjords National Park features the best of Alaska’s natural beauty within its rugged expanse. Located at the tip of the Kenai Peninsula the park is crowned by the Harding Icefield which gives rise to 38 glaciers that carve out bowl-shaped, forested valleys on one side and slowly crash into the bays feeding the Gulf of Alaska on the other. You’ll need at least two days to get a taste of what this diverse area has to offer.
Once again I’m humbled to have been honored with a nomination for the Versatile Blogger Award by not just one, but two awesome blogs! The Vesatile Blogger Award was created to feature recognize blogs that have unique content and fantastic photos. A huge thanks to the awesome pair of Ashley and Alex from In Pursuit of Adventure and the lovely Stephanie Mayo with her two blogs The World as I see It and Lady of the Zoos.
No building captures the history of Seville quite like the Seville Cathedral. The Moorish, Gothic and Renaissance architecture of this UNESCO World Heritage Site tell the story of not just the Cathedral, but of Seville itself. La Giralda, or the bell tower, was originally constructed in 1184 as the minaret of the mosque that previously stood here and was modeled after the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakesh.Originally topped with four copper spheres this Moorish tower was used both to call the faithful to prayer and as an observatory over the city; however after an earthquake damaged the upper portion of La Giralda was replaced with a Spanish Renaissance style bell tower in 1568.Wandering through Seville’s labyrinthine streets my first encounter with Moorish architecture was La Giralda’s intricate lattices and arches all aglow and I was enchanted.
The Lodge at Chaa Creek offers up a bit of luxury for those wishing to explore the Belizean jungle. Located near the town of San Ignacio Chaa Creek was a pioneer in green tourism welcoming guests to experience jungle adventures since 1981.The Lodge has a reputation as one of the best eco-lodges in Central America and counts Prince Harry and Bill Gates among its guests. Being green comes naturally here with their commitment to sustainable tourism practices earning them a Green Globe certification. The Lodge is proud of their pristine jungle location and seeks to protect this environment while sharing its natural beauty with visitors with a variety of educational eco-tours and community outreach programs.