Ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs are more accessible than you might think at the Big Island's Volcanoes National Park. This is what it was like hiking to see the Pu'u Loa site.
You may have come to Volcanoes National Park to satisfy the child within, to hunt down fiery lava and stalk ancient eruptions. But it’s your inner artist who will be squealing with glee if you’re fortunate enough to explore the legendary ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs at the Pu’u Loa site.
Roughly translated as “the hill of long life”, the archaeological site of Pu’u Loa contains over 23,000 petroglyph images, carved into lava bedrock and dating back centuries. With a keen eye, you’ll see a feathery cape, the billowing sail of a canoe, and the squiggly flash of a lizard. But even if your imagination is a bit rusty, you’ll have no problem deciphering many human forms. And there’s no way you can miss the thousands of ‘dimples’, little cups carved into the rock, which served as repositories for umbilical cords. With the promise of blessings and a long life for a new baby, it’s easy to see why ancient Hawaii families considered the Pu’u Loa such a precious spot.
My list of the best things to do in Ogunquit, Maine, includes lots of cozy, affordable microadventures - plus plenty of foodie fun.
There’s nothing like the sound of the waves, the smell of salt spray, and proverbial long walks on the beach to make you realize just how much you love oceanside travel. The tiny town of Ogunquit, home to less than 900 people, stands out as one of my favourite seaside escapes in southern Maine. I promise it will check every box on your cozy wish list, but this is no place to simply be idle. There are plenty of things to do in Ogunquit, Maine to fill a long weekend - or maybe even an entire week.
These are some of my absolute favourite places to stay, spots to eats, and things to do in the Ogunquit area.
In New York State, a tiny boat museum holds a century's worth of travel memories. This is the Lawson Center Boat Museum.
In a workaday village in western New York state, a tiny boat museum holds a century's worth of summer memories - memories that changed the face of travel for Canadians and Americans alike.
100 plus years ago, motorboats on Chautauqua Lake were fancy. VERY fancy. If you wanted to see and be seen along this vacation destination that's about halfway between Cleveland and Toronto, you'd cruise the lake on your very large, very expensive motorboat which, in actuality, was more like a mini-yacht than anything else. These boats were great for invoking a sense of old-school glamour but weren't exactly the most accessible of vehicles. That all changed with the Lawson Boat and Engine Company (a precursor of the better known L.S. Aero Marine organization), the driving force behind family-friendly motorboats that would revolutionize the area.
It doesn't sound like much at first. How much can a destination change simply by making pleasure boats a little bit smaller and a little bit more affordable? There's more to it than meets the eye, as I learned firsthand on my visit to the Lawson Center Boat Museum in Bemus Point, New York, situated in L.S. Aero Marine's former boat chandlery.
In Western Montana's "Gates of the Mountains" wilderness area, a rare rose keeps company with bats, birds, and legends.
At first glance, Kelseya Uniflora doesn’t look like much to get excited about, but botanists know better. These petite, low-lying pink and white blossoms don’t look anything like the classic roses you’d find at a flower shop. They’re quite the opposite, as their limited territory makes them one of the world’s rarest members of the Rosaceae (rose) family.
Finding them in nature is no easy task. The Kelseya Uniflora is fond of the volcanic and limestone cliffs of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Using the fine hairs on the underside of their branches, these tenacious little blooms can gain a foothold in small cracks on high cliffs. These rocks, which are so inhospitable to other plants, are Kelseya Uniflora’s ideal habitat. The tiny hairs gripping the rocks can also draw up moisture from small crevices. Once established, their semi-evergreen foliage forms mats of silvery green leaves that look like moss to novice horticulturists, such as myself. But up close, intricate leaf patterns are visible and the delicate tiny bright pink and white blossoms are lovely – that is, if you can find them.
These made in Montana cocktails showcase exactly why the Montana distillery scene is thriving. Plus: Glacier National Park's best hotels and restaurants where I tried them all!
What does it take to convince me to try the best spirits from the best distilleries in Montana? Admittedly, very little! During my recent trip to Western Montana however, I had a particular motivation behind my quest. I began my trip in the city of Billings, which is famous for its craft beer and walkable beer trail. That's great for Billings, but not so great for me as I'm not particularly keen on beer. But when I found out that Montana was a leading producer of spirits I knew I had found my niche. I'm not sure why it never dawned on me that vodka, gin, rye, and rum would all thrive here. After all, growing grain is one of the things that Montana does best! As I was to discover, they're pretty darn good at processing grain too - and turning it into delicious cocktails.
I soon learned that conducting "research" on the best spirits and cocktails in Western Montana isn't an easy task. There are A LOT of amazing made in Montana distillers, creators, and cocktail shakers! My current list is but a small sampling of the spirits and distilleries Montana has to offer, with my personal thoughts on the tasting rooms, the cocktails I sampled, the restaurants where I ate, and - when those restaurants were in National Park lodges - my notes on some of the best hotels near Glacier National Park.
It's my hope that this rundown of Western Montana's best local flavors will encourage you to visit and have your own "spirited" visit. Like me, I suspect you'll encounter more flavor, fun, and fanciness than you ever imagined.
This Greenwich Village food tour made me feel at home in New York City - and it's filled with celebrity homes, haunts, and musical legends too!
I've been playing catch up on my relationship with New York City for a while now. Unbelievably, my first visit was only a few years ago in the form of a short layover at the beginning of our round the world trip (short, mind you, but impressive - we combined a library visit, a meal at a singing diner, and a movie-themed sightseeing bus tour all in a few hours!) My second visit - which coincided with our second round-the-world trip - brought another short layover, another lovely but brief bus tour, and (of course!) another meal at my favourite singing diner. With two layovers and two bus tours under my belt, I felt like I had seen a lot of classic New York but I hadn't actually experienced the city. I hadn't walked through a single neighbourhood. I didn't have a good sense of where things were in relationship to each other.
Bottom line, I hadn't really hit the streets for the proverbial pounding of the pavement to get my bearings. But was a Greenwich Village food tour what I needed in order to feel more settled in the city?
If you want to try llama trekking, Montana is the place to do it!
With soulful, chocolate brown eyes, silky soft hair, and a passion for food, nature, and daydreaming, Raffi sounds like the perfect man. And I can certainly attest to the fact that he is! Furthermore, legends about handsome, strong, capable Montana ranch men are indeed true... provided that you don't need all said men to actually be human. Raffi, after all, is a llama. Yes, you read that correctly. A llama! And a devilishly handsome one at that. We spent one blissful day together, sharing our hopes and dreams as we hiked up the side of a mountain. But I know that it's only a matter of time before another girl catches his eye. After all, if you're into llama trekking, Montana is the best place to be! Find out why this is one of the most memorable micro-adventures I've undertaken.
We found the best things to do in Concord New Hampshire - all while on a tight budget. But could we save enough to make our $200 travel challenge a success?
I often start a lot of blog posts by explaining that a certain destination has been on my travel bucket list for a long time, or that I've read a lot about a place and thus jumped at the chance to visit when an opportunity presented itself. But not Concord. The state capital of New Hampshire wasn't on my radar, not one little bit, when we booked our trip. However, travel in general was on my mind in a big way. I had returned from the always inspiring Women in Travel Summit and was highly motivated to see more of the cities around me. I instructed Ryan to find a place within a 6 hour drive that would cost $50 a night and, just like that, I was researching the best things to do in Concord NH, making lists of local cheap eats, and getting excited to discover something new.
The end result was one of the best spontaneous travel decisions we've ever made. Concord NH is just LOVELY! And it was filled with all sorts of me-ish places to explore. From an amazing bookstore to a delicious doughnut stand - I was hooked! But, of course, I wasn't in Concord just to have a great time. I was thinking of all my dear readers as well! I wanted to put Concord to the test with my $200 Challenge. The premise is simple enough. Can two people travel for two days and spend just $200? The $200 Challenge has to include clean, safe accommodations with a hot shower, three proper meals a day, and enough activities to fill two days. With past Challenges including London, Boston, and Washington, DC, how would Concord hold up?
Looking for affordable things to do in Portland, Maine? My list focuses on posh treats that are all under $20!
Some links within this blog post are affiliate links, which means we are paid a small commission should you make a purchase . I was in Portland for the Women in Travel Summit and some of these experiences were the result of tours which were included in my conference registration fees.
Portland, Maine, is the kind of budget-friendly small city that frugal travelers such as myself are thrilled to explore. With a gorgeous ocean front location, compact streets which are easy to explore, and plenty of low cost attractions, you get great bang for your buck here. And if you want to feel a bit spoiled, you don't have to break the bank. I've got five sumptuous, luxurious, feel-like-a-millionaire things to do in Portland, Maine, that all ring in under $20. In fact, some are even FREE! Get ready to indulge!
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