The Véloroute des Bleuets is my favourite of all cycling Quebec adventures - even in the off season!
With sunny blue skies and a bracing wind, I bravely mounted my bike to go searching for blueberries in the Quebec countryside. But if you're looking at my jacket and scarf in the photo above and thinking it looks far too cold for blueberry season, you'd be partially right. You see, I wasn't in search of blueberries to eat! I was searching for Quebec's famous blueberry bike route, known as the "véloroute des bleuets".
Made up of over 20 different short to medium length rides through the blueberry-producing countryside, the véloroute des bleuets circles around Lac St Jean, not far from the northern Quebec city of Saguenay. The route includes towns such as Alma (my personal favourite), Saint-Felicien, Roberval, and Sainte-Monique, as well as Pointe-Taillon National Park, and includes terrain suitable for all riders.
While in Botswana, safari camping was at the top of our travel list. But it wasn't without challenges, like how to stay clean.
This picture of me, taken after one day of Botswana safari camping, says it all. I'm wide-eyed and smiling but you can see the worry in my eyes. You can also see plenty of sweaty hair and a cooling, wet handkerchief draped around my neck. And that was my northern Botswana and Chobe safari experience in a nutshell: awe-inspiring, monumental, a bit overwhelming, and really, REALLY sweaty.
In so many ways, I was ill-prepared for the rigors of Botswana wilderness safaris. I had done exhaustive research. I had been camping dozens of times. Heck, I had even lived in southeast Africa before. But the heat, sand, dirt, and sweat hit me like a ton of bricks. It wasn't that I was unhygienic, per se. I was just out of my element in so many ways and feeling cruddy sure didn't help.
Ryan, I suspect, was absolutely in his element. But I was at the outer limits of my comfort zone. And, trust me, life does NOT begin there, no matter what the philosophers say! This is the blog post about keeping clean on camping safaris I wish I could have read before my trip.
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!
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.
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