Kimpton Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City
Finding a hotel that is both family and pet-friendly is no easy task!  But we stumbled upon the perfect hotel on our recent trip to Salt Lake City, Utah – The Kimpton Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City.  Located in downtown Salt Lake, the Monaco is walking distance from many of the top tourist sites.  It was love at first sight.   The hotel not only allows dogs, it welcomes them!  The first thing that you find in the entry is a water bowl and this sign.  Our golden retriever, Oso was delighted by the dog-loving valet and the bowl of fresh water.  We’d just driven from Moab, and he was dog tired! Our teen was drawn to the bright lobby full of comfy sofas and board games.  They even have bikes you can borrow to explore the town.   The Kimpton offers coffee, tea and hot chocolate in the morning and a hosted wine reception…Continue Reading
Intertidal Wonders touch pools
Whenever we visit Santa Barbara, we never miss an opportunity to visit the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center.   Located on Stearns Wharf, what this sea center may lack in size it makes up for in quality. Upon entering the exhibits kids can look at and crawl through a 1,500-gallon tidepool tank.  It’s up close and beautiful, filled with local creatures. Our twins loved the Shark Cove exhibit where they were invited to gently touch coastal sharks and rays.  They were fascinated by the baby sharks, which can be seen inside their translucent eggs. At the Intertidal Wonders exhibit, you can touch and feel sea anemones, starfish and hermit crabs.  Trained naturalists stand by to engage and answer questions.  Our boys really enjoyed this hands-on experience. Our teen was quick to head upstairs to the dimly lit and beautiful “Jellies & Friends” exhibit.  Black lights glow through tanks full of these gorgeous creatures as they move slowly through the…Continue Reading
Santa Barbara must be one of the most beautiful cities in the United States.  We love the Spanish revival architecture, beaches lined with palm trees, amazing cuisine, and of course the laid-back California vibe.  We lived in Santa Barbara in the 1990s and we still have family there, so we get to return regularly.  It’s always exciting to visit and so very hard to leave. We spent a week there this winter, which is out of the peak tourist season in summer, but the weather was very moderate.  There were no crowds and getting into restaurants was easy. We stayed at The Fess Parker: A Doubletree by Hilton Resort, which is a wonderful family (and pet) friendly hotel.  Located across the street from the beach and within walking distance from the pier, it’s in a perfect spot.  The resort has some great restaurants and relaxing pools! ” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]  Running through the middle of Santa…Continue Reading
Nestled in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa is a gem of a hotel.  Built in 1865, the Grand Resort operated as a hotel for 122 years, but had fallen into disrepair in the 1980s.  In 1998 it was purchased out of bankruptcy and completely remodeled by 2002 as a 4 star destination hotel and spa.  We spent 4 glorious days at the Mountain View Grand Resort and our only disappointment was that we were unable to stay longer.  It’s a very special place.     ” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]   The Resort is situated on a rise in the middle of a valley near the town of Whitefield, NH, with unobstructed views of the White Mountains, including Mt. Washington.  The grounds are gorgeous! ” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]   The resort offers plush, spacious rooms, with modern appointments and excellent room service.  Our family of 5…Continue Reading
While on our cross-country road trip from California to Florida, we took a detour north to visit Montgomery, Alabama, the site of several important events in the struggle for civil rights in America.  We feel it is important for every American child to learn this history, and we wanted to take the opportunity for our children to see it in person. Home to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Montgomery is the capital of Alabama, and for a short period was the capital of the Confederacy in 1861. Montgomery was where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger, leading to a court case and sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1956, demanding an end to bus segregation.  The Freedom Riders were attacked by white supremacists at the Greyhound Bus Station in Montgomery in May 1961, which brought the cause of desegregation and civil rights to national attention.  In…Continue Reading
castillo de san marcos
You might think that the oldest masonry fort in America would be somewhere in the Northeast United States, but it’s actually a Spanish fort in Florida: El Castillo de San Marcos, constructed in 1672 to protect the critical Spanish port city of St. Augustine, itself the oldest city in America, dating back to 1565. And what a fort it is!  The Spanish built it out of a local stone called cocina, which is a sedimentary rock made up of compressed seashells.  It was available locally and easier to cut and shape than regular stone, and it turned out to have a unique defensive benefit: when cannonballs hit the fort, they bounced off, rather than absorbing the impact like stone and shattering. Repeated attacks by the British did little to damage the fort, while the defenders would simply bide their time and take carefully aimed shots at the attacking ships.  Unique among forts in the…Continue Reading
Ambergris Caye is a fantastic place to visit: warm water, friendly people, white sand beaches and delicious food.  You can go out on a catamaran to see nurse sharks and humongous manta rays, go diving in the coral reef, go fishing, sample the delicious cuisine, or just lie on the beach and do nothing.  There are water taxis zipping around all day and night, so getting from one end to the other is not just easy, it’s fun! While getting around the Caye isn’t too hard, getting there is another story!  If you’re not flying in from Belize City (on little planes that are rather pricey), you have to take a ferry from Chetumal, Mexico, if you are coming from the north, or Belize City if you are coming from the south.  We were coming from Mexico, so that’s the route we took, and we’ll share our experience with you. From Cancun…Continue Reading