How to Sneak a San Francisco Chef Into Your Kitchen

You can’t visit them (yet) and they can’t come to you but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience the creativity, expertise, and delicious cuisine of some of San Francisco’s top chefs in your home while you shelter in place and help flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic.

Practical Prepping

I remember when people used to comment on Madonna’s ability to reinvent herself. I believe we all have that potential to take inventory, realize the current situation, and realign our goals to meet the new climate. I’m in the midst of that myself.

Road Trip: Washington D.C. to Culpeper, Virginia

The natural beauty of Virginia plus the abundance of outdoor activities, craft beverage makers, and historical sites, lends itself as an ideal road trip. Start in D.C., then visit several cities in Northern Virginia before ending your tour in Culpeper, Virginia. Read Jill’s story at Travel Awaits.

Historic New Mexico Road Trip: Santa Fe To Taos

Offering history, culture, religion, and architecture, the high desert between Santa Fe and Taos is a wonderful place for a road trip. Along the High Road from Santa Fe to Taos, you’ll pass through remote mountain villages with Spanish colonial roots, see Pueblo enclaves, visit a chapel that’s thought to hold healing earth, take in…

California Road Trip: San Francisco To Los Angeles

The best kind of road trip features great scenery, and the road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles on Highway 1 (also known as the Pacific Coast Highway) certainly fits the bill — it boasts fantastic coastal views, wine country, quaint towns, and much more. Read Jill’s story at Travel Awaits.

4 Ways To Experience Basque Culture In Northern Nevada

Step inside a Basque restaurant in Northern Nevada, and it’s as if you’ve stepped back in time, with long community tables pressed so close you can almost sample your neighbor’s dinner. During peak hours, the noise is booming with the sound of jovial conversations, clanking forks, and platters being delivered to tables. The food is…

15 Best Stops On The Cajun Boudin Trail

I first tasted boudin during a visit to see my sister, who lived in Louisiana at the time. There are variations, but at its most basic, boudin is a combination of pork, rice, and seasonings ground together and stuffed into a pork casing that is then steamed to eat on the spot. The classic way…

Best Places To Eat In San Francisco’s Chinatown

San Francisco’s Chinatown is not only the largest Chinatown outside of Asia, but it is the oldest Chinatown in North America. From its busy seafood markets to its medicinal herb shops, San Francisco’s Chinatown offers an up-close glimpse at Chinese-American culture and food. There’s no better place to experience Asian-American culture, sample dim sum, sip…

San Francisco’s Chinatown: 12 Things To Know Before You Go

The first Chinese immigrants arrived in San Francisco in 1848 aboard the USS Eagle. As the population grew — some 30,000 Chinese came to the city in pursuit of riches during the California Gold Rush — many immigrants established businesses in what became known as Chinatown. Located in the historic heart of San Francisco, the approximately…

Virtual Tennessee

During this time of shelter in place where recreational travel is on standby, there’s still a chance to take a virtual tour of many cities. Tennessee, in particular, has a plethora of digital methods for exploring from your home. Take a cooking lesson with some of Nasheville’s most beloved chefs, tour historical sites, visit an…

Why I’m Keeping My Summer Travel Plans

In the midst of so much change, one thing I still retain is the ability to dream, to envision future plans. My future plans include a women’s fishing expedition to the Steamboat Bay Fishing Club in the remote area of Ketchikan, Alaska. Located on Noyes Island, our group will take a short float plane ride…

Traveling Just Before The Coronavirus Outbreak

It was looking to be a full but typical year of travel. Spring and fall are the busiest times for a travel writer, and headed into the year, 2020 seemed to be no exception. Plans were set for spring travel to California in early March, Virginia in April, Alabama in May, a visit to Erie,…

Train Talk on NPR with Thomas Wilmer

While visiting Carmel-by-the-Sea, I got a chance to sit down and talk about my favorite topic — train travel — with Thomas Wilmer on his award-winning NPR podcast, Journeys of Discovery. Listen here.

The Best Things to See and Do in Fredericksburg, Texas

Located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg offers wineries, charming shops, fine dining, and German heritage, all in a beautiful and historic setting. If you visit during the spring, you’ll be treated to a spectacular show of wildflowers, including Texas’s famous bluebonnets. Read Jill’s story at Travel Awaits.

10 Unique Bars in Phoenix

My introduction to the unique bars of Phoenix was walking down the stairs into the dark, cramped chamber of UnderTow. Lights were flashing as simulated thunder and lightning crashed in this makeshift ship’s belly. It was electric, and I’ve since sent friends to visit when they asked what to see and do in Phoenix. Read…

7 Reasons to Retire in Gainesville, Georgia

There’s a lot to consider when deciding where to retire, including cost of living, climate, leisure activities, community life, and access to the arts. Many retirees are flocking to Gainesville, Georgia, and it’s easy to see why. Gainesville, located near Lake Sidney Lanier in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, offers affordable living and…

San Francisco Bay to the Monterey Peninsula by Train – Itinerary

Follow along on a seven-night trip traveling to San Francisco, Sausalito, Monterey, Pacific Grove, and Carmel-by-the-Sea with a train ride on the Coast Starlight. Day 1  Arrive at SFO. Take BART to lodging. Check in at Clift Royal Sonesta. The Clift Royal Sonesta is very excited to announce the reopening of their renovated hotel, a…

8 Reasons To Visit Lewisburg, West Virginia

I recently rode the Cardinal train through West Virginia, stopping in Huntington, Charleston, and White Sulphur Springs/Lewisburg. It was a spectacular ride, featuring fall foliage, mountains, the Shenandoah Valley, and views of West Virginia’s whitewater rivers only accessible by train. While I fell in love with the entire region, Lewisburg won a special place in my heart…

Mardi Gras in Louisiana: Why I go to Lake Charles Instead of New Orleans

The carnival season in Lake Charles, Louisiana, starts with the Twelfth Night celebration, where the royal courts of more than 50 krewes are introduced. The season continues through the Fat Tuesday celebrations on February 25, culminating with the Krewe of Krewes Parade. These celebrations may sound similar to the ones happening in New Orleans at…

5 Things You Should Bring On A Long-Distance Train Trip

Long-distance train rides can be a relaxing cross-country adventure — watching the landscape pass, meeting fellow travelers, playing cards, or reading in the observation car — or a long and uncomfortable ride. Your experience will depend on your mindset and how prepared you are before departing. A few important items can make all the difference…

4 Reasons To Travel By Train

Five years ago, I set out to explore the United States by train. The vision started in part because I had spent three months in Europe as a teenager traveling with my mom and two Eurail passes. My sister was in the military, stationed in Augsburg, Germany, so we used her house as a home…

Traveling Solo Over 50

I took my first solo trip when I was 51. During five years of solo travel, I have met numerous female solo travelers along the way: There was the woman sitting next to me on the train from New Orleans to Tuscaloosa, buried under blankets most of the day because she had stayed up late…

7 Great Day Trips From Reno, Nevada

When Nevada Tourism offered me the chance to visit several cities near Reno, I jumped at the opportunity. Other than Las Vegas, I was unfamiliar with the state and looked forward to visiting Western Nevada for several days. Each of these cities is in close proximity to Reno yet has diverse topography and cultures —…

The Top 12 Things to Do in La Paz, Mexico

Settled between the Sea of Cortez and the Sierra Laguna mountains on the Baja California peninsula, La Paz, Mexico offers a myriad of recreational activities on land and sea. You can enjoy a day at sea on a guided cruise for fishing or whale watching, then catch the sunset on the malecón (waterfront walkway) before…

No More Misshaped Hats While Traveling When You Wear a Crushable Hat

Have you ever found the perfect hat for a beach or holiday getaway, then realized you’d have to wear the hat during your travels (and who wants to wear or carry a large floppy hat on an airplane?) because the alternative—stuffing it into your luggage—would ruin the hat’s shape? That’s where crushable hats come to…

Discover Virginia by Train on the Northeast Regional

From Prince William County to Hampton, explore a variety of history and food in these five Virginia cities. Amtrak’s Northeast Regional train runs daily from Boston to Washington D.C., and south of D.C. through Virginia. With multiple departures daily, it’s an ideal mode of transportation to visit several Virginia cities along the route. Begin your…

Get Your History on Tap

Many a successful business originated from a passion project. So what happens when you have two passions—that don’t necessarily seem like they go together—like drinking and history? In the case of Liz Garibay, you create History on Tap. Garibay blended her love for the camaraderie of drinking in intimate bar settings with her background in…

My New Favorite Travel Accessory

I have a new favorite travel accessory. Around Christmas time, I was reading an article on travel pillows when I came across a review of the Tumi Patrol Packable Travel Puffer Jacket. I’m always on the lookout for the ultimate travel accessory, especially if it has multiple uses and saves luggage space.

The Speakeasy Makes a Comeback | Swordfish Tom’s

The term “speakeasy” is thrown about quite a bit these days. Odd, in a sense, because the meaning of the word represents Prohibition, when speakeasies were secret drinking places, hidden away, offering an illegal chance to partake. So how has the term suddenly become so popular again? The term “speakeasy” is thrown about quite a…

Ride the Cardinal Train to Discover West Virginia by Rail

West Virginia offers up a bounty of such intimacy. There’s the sweet beauty of the Appalachian Mountains, a quiet resilience to its people, and a chance to visit the past while watching its residents move surely to the future.

A Lesson in the History of Antique Barware

I learn so much on my travels. In Alexandria, Virginia, I was fortunate to get a lesson in antique barware and how you can tell what period a piece is from based on what was going on in the world at the time. Here, Victoria Vergason, owner of The Hour, shares some insights. Read the…

A Saturday Morning in Kansas City

Spring is the perfect opportunity to get out and explore Kansas City. Thanks to the KC Streetcar, you can spend a Saturday morning with a trolley ride from Union Station to the City Market, enjoy brunch at The Farmhouse, a farm-to-table restaurant, walk and shop the City Market, then return to Union Station for a…

Want Less Fear, More Joy? Take the Next Step

I stepped off the train into a blizzard. As I stood there trying to figure out where to go, I heard the conductor’s cry of All Aboard!, and knew I would soon be left to fend for myself. Yet fear never entered my consciousness. Instead, fully immersed in the moment and its requirements, I took the next step.

A Lesson in Breeding Mason Bees

It was a vibrant spring morning as Eliza, the owner of Best Kept Secret B&B in Glenwood Springs, CO, brought out containers filled with bamboo canes. Burrowed inside these canes were Mason bees, ready to be released from their cocoons.  Kept in the refrigerator all winter to protect them from predators, and so the bees wouldn’t accidentally get…

Why Would I Go To New Orleans Alone?

A light rain started as I climbed through the window to the balcony of my room at the Hotel Maison de Ville in New Orleans. I felt like a teenager sneaking out after dark for a secret tryst. The air was thick with humidity and the rain broke some of the day’s heat, if only briefly. There was an overhang on the balcony, so I sat outside, feet propped on a table, drinking a café au lait and watching the revelers just one block over on Bourbon Street.

Train Travel: It’s All About The Journey

Life on the train is sleepy; it’s a casual pace that allows for reflection and connection to others. This leisurely pace provides a luxury I rarely enjoy–my biggest choice being whether I lay curled in my seat, gazing out the window, or go to the observation car and meet other travelers. I enjoy both options, but…

Solo Travel: The First Step is the Hardest

“I think I’m going to throw up.” It was 10 o’clock at night and we had just arrived at the train station. The nerves and excitement that got me through the days of planning and packing for this first journey of the USA by rail had turned to dread. My friend pulled into the circle…

9 Spectacular Places to Eat in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe is renowned as a food-lovers heaven, with New Mexican cuisine leading as Archangel. The food is spicy, vibrant, flavorful and oh-so-delicious. The quality, whether New Mexican or standard American fare, is outstanding. Could it be the altitude? On my first visit in January, I commented to a friend that the salads tasted alive…

Ozark Mountains Road Trip: Osage Beach to Eureka Springs

Take a meandering route through Missouri and into northern Arkansas to enjoy scenery that changes with the seasons. The Ozark Mountains span four states and consist of a plateau that covers 50,000 square miles. There’s plenty of hiking, rivers, lakes, and caves interspaced amongst the wilderness areas, making for a great road trip adventure with…

Virginia City Looks To Rise Again

Late 1800s Nevada Mining Town and its Small Businesses Eager to Welcome Visitors Back Virginia City, Nevada, once a boomtown responsible for producing more than $700 million in mined gold and silver ore from the Comstock Lode, is today primarily driven by tourism. Its main street is lined with mom and pop shops, restaurants, and…