Archive for Destinations – Page 2

Spokane Clock Tower and River

As a mining, agriculture, and forestry hub, beginning in the late 19th century, Spokane has played an important role in shaping the Pacific Northwest, despite being overshadowed by other cities in the region like Seattle and Portland.   But I found that the city offers so much colorful history and character via its downtown and three of its residential neighborhoods.  In this first part, I’ll share with you what I found exploring the vibrant downtown, where history comes alive at the turn of many corners.

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Wild flowers in bloom

Whistler, British Columbia, has always been famous with skiers for its fresh powder and dynamic winter sports fun, both on and off the slopes.  After the 2010 Winter Olympics showcased Whistler’s clear skies, towering peaks, sparkling lakes and vibrant village, the world-renowned ski area became even more renowned.

But many people may not know that the resort offers year round outdoor adventures.  And not only that, the end of summer and beginning of fall are the perfect time to not only enjoy the area but to snag some bargains too.

It’s called the ‘shoulder season’ and the crowds are gone, the weather is still warm, and right after Labor Day, the prices go down—the best time to travel, if you can arrange it.

Here is just a sampling of the adventures Whistler has to offer now, as summer turns into fall.

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Vancouver, Summer in the City – On a Bicycle

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Exploring the city of Vancouver on two wheels…

Vancouver Skyline

I’d always heard rave reviews about the city of Vancouver— named both the “Most livable City” in the world, and “Best City in the Americas” to visit, so my husband and I, on our recent honeymoon, headed up north to check it out for ourselves.  We discovered that the raves were all true!  In our three-day visit, we got a taste of what the vibrant city has to offer, and that is plenty, in all the categories of fun—outdoor activities, great restaurants, natural beauty, cultural diversity and art, theater and safe biking!  And don’t forget breathtaking views of mountains and ocean–what doesn’t this city have?

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The Positively “Off Key” Aspects of Key West

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Key West Sunset

In Key West, I found a place where its quirky aspects made it very memorable amidst all the sailboats, warm and breezy tropical conditions, outdoor cafes lining the city’s main drag Duvall Street, where the words “I’ll have Key Lime Pie” are uttered over and over.  The following aspects resonated more with me than the typical tourist quest to find “Margaritaville.”

Why did the Key West Chickens cross the road?

Key West RoostersI soon found out while walking in Old Town that one doesn’t just share sidewalks with droves of locals and tourists wearing shorts (whether they look good in them or not), but many other two-footed creatures who have ditched their short shorts altogether — chickens.   While these fowl have been around for almost two centuries, their numbers especially grew in the 1950s after Cubans fleeing their homeland brought them for use in cock fighting and food consumption.

Chickens multiplied over time after cock fighting was outlawed and grocery stores provided easier access to eggs and poultry.  The roosters don’t just crow with the sunrise either, as I found out at 2;30 a.m. in my hotel room.   Nonetheless, there’s been an uneasy tolerance for the chickens’ presence here because they do feast on pesky insects, even though they have irritated many locals because of where they choose to poop, trespass, etc.  This has resulted in various plans and schemes to deal with them over the years in what’s been called the “Great Key West Chicken Controversy” or “Key West Chicken Wars.”

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Guest post by Karen Field

Bezbog Lake, Bulgaria

I’m not sure what I expected but it wasn’t this. The view from Bezbog lake in the Pirin National Park looking back towards Bansko was breathtaking – surrounded by mountains offering great hiking and good value accommodation.

The two-seater chairlift up to Bezbog was grey and functional – no gloss here but somehow it fits right in. This area is still relatively undiscovered but to those in the know it provides a stunning summer destination teeming with wildlife.

Brown bears and grey wolves are still found here in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Pirin National Park although you’d be very lucky (or not!) to see them – our host James said they live deep in the mountains; he’s been here for 20 years and has yet to see either.

But if you’re looking for more friendly fauna and flora, you can find over 200 species of butterflies, over 400 species of birds and over 3000 plant species. This is a country with unspoilt countryside and traditional methods of farming.

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