Kingston events don't get much more memorable than a meet up with the city's best makers and creators.
Nick Allinson isn’t just a woodworker. I suspect he may just be a bit of a room worker as well. Within a minute of meeting him, he was drilling me not on the other makers and creators I was interviewing later that day in Kingston, Ontario, but rather what I’d be eating and where. I had barely mentioned a popular breakfast place that was on my list when he interrupted. "No! Not that one! You need to go here" before insisting I write down the name of what he says is the city’s finest breakfast joint (Northside Espresso) and telling me the story of the owners (Katie and Jess), who are from Australia.
In the same breath, Nick insisted we also visit Stone City Ales, arguing that they’re the finest brewery in the city and utterly unlike some suspected imposter brewers (say it ain’t so!) After a few minutes, he was waxing poetic about the city’s best florist, LSP Designs, and heaping praise upon his fellow makers and creators, who he credits for launching an amazingly innovative program to bring travelers and makers together at the most unlikely of venues - hotels. Yes, hotels!
Of all the fantastic things to do in Ellicottville, the Griffis Sculpture Park was my favourite. Here's why.
Participation in the press trip that brought me to Ellicottville was part of the Travel Bloggers Exchange (TBEX) conference. This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through said link, we'll be paid a small commission and we thank you for your support.
Hugging a trio of giant metallic mushrooms? It's all in a day's work when you're hanging out in Ellicottville, New York. This village of a few hundred people in western New York state is full of surprises! It's a lesson I first learned when I had a wild "anti-adventure" moment while riding on a mountain coaster. And it was reinforced when I visited the Griffis Sculpture Park, an interactive art and nature experience that is unlike anything else in the United States. It didn't take long before it wasy my favourite of all the things to do in Ellicottville and I suspect most visitors would likely agree.
Just outside Perth (Western Australia), we discovered a Fremantle coffee spot that is nearly impossible to find - unless you're in the know.
Want to know my formula for the perfect travel day? It's not first class tickets + champagne = luxury. It's more like tiny spot + jaunty bright colors = coffee heaven. While visiting the Perth (Western Australia) suburb of Fremantle, coffee heaven was in full force. We had the good fortune to visit the tiniest of all tiny cafes, featuring the jauntiest of all jaunty colors (bright orange!) and it was heavenly indeed.
My heart swooped the minute I walked through the door of the Leake St. Cafeteria - and so will yours! But first you have to find it. This is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it stop but read on and you'll see why I think a visit here is one of the best things to do in Fremantle.
In Perth, Ontario, restaurants don't just take the cake. They also make the pie!
The community of Perth, Ontario is just a short, one hour drive from my home in Ottawa but it's in a class all of its own when it comes to food. The handsome, historic town of 6,000 boasts a long list of restaurants, bakeries, pubs, and cafes tucked into the fetching limestone buildings of its downtown core. Always one to eagerly form neighborly bonds, I set out to Perth with two friends, a pair of stretchy pants, and a cooler in the trunk of the car to keep any perishable purchases preserved. While many foodie quests begin with savory appetizers and conclude with dessert, this trip would be happening in reverse. At the very top of my list was a visit to the Perth Pie Co's new headquarters, a delicious pilgrimage I'll be making again and again. If you're in search of Perth, Ontario, restaurants, I hope you'll follow in my footsteps for at least part of your quest, as my experience was absolutely delicious!
In the Tuscan hill town of Volterra, a small museum safeguards the legacy of a lost global powerhouse, the Etruscans.
If you were hanging around Europe sometime between 700 and 500 BC, you'd know that everyone who was anyone was Etruscan. They were the final word in all things commerce, trade, politics, art, and architecture, dominating life in what is now modern day Tuscany, Umbria, and Latium. Heck, before the Etruscans rolled into town, Rome was little more than a sewer filled settlement. The Greeks wanted to be as cool as them and everyone else wanted to kill them. Their growth, power, and influence was immeasurable, unstoppable. Until suddenly it wasn't.
And now all that's left of them is a dusty museum in Volterra.
As soon as we visited Volterra, we knew we had found one of the best villages in Tuscany. Here's why we love it.
See those happy, happy grins!? That's us, minutes after checking into our Volterra hotel room and discovering we had our own secret terrace. Swoon! We were fresh off the bus but we already knew that Volterra was one of the best villages in Tuscany.
Tuscany is a region in central Italy. It's famous for its spectacular regional capital city, Florence, as well as having one of the best food scenes in the world. Some of the world's finest olive oil, wine, cheese, cured meats, and pasta are produced here. And much of it is produced in and around small hill top villages which were once mighty fortress cities - that is, until the Florentines starting throwing their weight around!
With plenty of time and no real travel restrictions, we were spoiled with choice about where to go in Tuscany. We didn't want to spread ourselves too thin and decided to concentrate on just a couple villages. On paper, Volterra checked many of our travel boxes. It was picturesque, affordable, and small enough to explore on foot. And it didn't hurt that Volterra was renowned for its alabaster art. But until we arrived, we hadn't known that we not only made the right choice - we made the perfect choice! Arriving in Volterra was one of those take-your-breath-away moments, giving us absolutely everything we could have ever dreamed of for a sweet Tuscan getaway.
But what exactly about it made us declare Voterra to be one of the best villages in Tuscany? Here are some of the many reasons we fell in love, along with some practical tips for planning your own trip.
We hiked the Victoria Falls Bridge on foot FOUR times in order to cross the Zimbabwe Zambia border. Here's everything you need to know so you can do it too.
At 128 meters high, the Victoria Falls Bridge is a graceful, lacy arch, a throwback to the dreams of a Cape-to-Cairo rail link and what was once one of the most ambitious engineering feats in the world. Today, the beauty is still there, albeit faded and battered around the edges as commerce and trade push bygone nostalgia aside. Connecting Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe to Livingstone, Zambia, the bridge is a busy border post for commercial trade, as well as for travelers eager to explore both sides of Victoria Falls, the Zambezi River, and the Batoka Gorge.
It wasn't long into our trip to southern Africa before the Victoria Falls Bridge border crossing felt like our old stomping grounds. All told, we crossed the bridge four times! We entered Zimbabwe via Victoria Falls Airport and after three days, we walked across the bridge into Zambia to spend four days in Livingstone. Crossing number one!
We then walked back to Zimbabwe (number two!) for breakfast and to meet up with our Botswanan safari guide. After a week in Botswana, we returned to Zimbabwe. We had lunch post-safari in Victoria Falls before leaving Zimbabwe and walking across the bridge (number three!) for an extra three days in Livingstone.
Finally, we crossed back to Zimbabwe a final time (number four!) for breakfast, some last minute shopping, and to catch our outbound flight. Whew!
Believe it or not, all travelers really need to explore the Victoria Falls Bridge and cross the Zimbabwe Zambia border is their passport and their own two feet. Having the right visa helps as well. For us, that was the Kaza Univisa, a relatively new option that allows unlimited crossings between Zambia and Zimbabwe (as well as day trips into Botswana via Kazungula Borders) for 30 days. We purchased the visa twice as we departed the visa zone during our extended time in Botswana. This proved to be an economical and convenient choice for us, but other options - including single entry and multiple entry visas - might be better suited to your bridge adventures.
Speaking of bridge adventures, here's all you need to know for your crossing, regardless of which country you start in.
A review of Briars Resort and Spa at Jacksons Point, Ontario - my favourite of all the Lake Simcoe Resorts.
It sometimes takes a lot to bust out of a Canadian winter rut but a weekend at the Briars Resort and Spa on Lake Simcoe, in Jacksons Point, Ontario (just an hour north of Toronto) was just the thing to make winter exciting again! The beauty of all the Lake Simcoe resorts is something I had long heard about but never had the chance to explore - but I knew just the people to take along on my adventure. Arriving on a Friday night with three of my best blogging friends in tow, I was excited to dive into the first offering of their “Blah Busters” package – local wine and a delicious selection of cheeses. It was the perfect way to kick off a girls’ weekend and get into the outdoors spirit.
Changi Airport's free Singapore tour is famous. But is it more trouble than it's worth? Here's what you need to know before you go.
I love layovers and I love great deals - and everyone knows it! As such, the free Singapore tour out of Changi Airport has been on my radar for a long time. During our first visit to Singapore in 2013, our lengthy overnight layover of nearly 24 hours called for a hotel and some independent time exploring. But during our recent 2018 trip, our layover was closer to 12 hours - just the right amount of time to enjoy the free Singapore tour and explore the city a bit. What could be better?
Turns out, there's a catch to this story. Or rather, there are several. We soon learned the hard way that there are a lot of important rules that are rarely mentioned. If you're planning a layover in Singapore and keen to take in the free Singapore sightseeing tour, here's what you should know before you finalize your plans.
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