Dreaming in Color: Photos of New England Fall Foliage

Fall foliage reflection in Maine USA

Autumn in New England (USA) is a destination on every travel photographer’s bucket list. My last visit to see the fall foliage was far too long ago. Now, as spring settles into the southern hemisphere, I can dream about nature’s vivid colours on the other side of the world. New England hills are bursting with colour. The […]

Travel Bloggers Explore Utah: Home to Five USA National Parks

Bryce Canyon in Utah, USA. Photo by Kevin Wagar

Utah is a photographer’s paradise located in the western United States. It is home to five US National Parks nicknamed the Mighty 5. They are Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef. Utah’s winters boast the “Greatest Snow on Earth.” The more we learn about Utah, the more we want to visit. It’s an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts, […]

Warner Bros Studio Tour: Adding Magic and Shattering Illusions

The Central Perk on the set of television show Friends seen at Warner Bros Studio Tour

From the first moment of the Warner Bros Studio tour I was transported from reality. I am embarrassingly star struck, and a bit goofy at these types of places. My highlight list is long as I got to see Leonard and Sheldon’s living room (The Big Bang Theory), sit on the couch at Central Perk (Friends), turn on the bat […]

Classic San Francisco Images

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge as seen from Marin County, looking across to the city of San Francisco California

I couldn’t spend time in my favorite city without snapping a few classic San Francisco images.  My favorite is still a few years old, shot on our last visit: More classic San Francisco Images: A few of the classic San Francisco images that I already blogged about:  I know we missed a few, like Lombard Street and […]

The Saga of a Runaway Sourdough Bread in San Francisco

San Francisco's sourdough bread at Boudin Bakery

I love San Francisco sourdough bread. While we can get sourdough bread in New Zealand, it is just not the same. Unlike most bread recipes that use commercial yeast, sourdough bread relies on wild yeast and the acid that is produced from the bacteria and  lactobacilli in it. If you think about sourdough bread, or analyse it for too long, you […]

Secret Prohibition Room in Sir Francis Drake Hotel, San Francisco

A secret prohibition room at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco California

If you dig deep enough, I imagine every hotel has a story to tell; however, few are as intriguing as San Francisco’s Sir Francis Drake. Centrally located on the cable car line in Union Square, it was the ideal place to stay today, but even more so during prohibition. From our Arrival . . . Passing through […]

A Photo Exploration of the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco

The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco California

I remember the first time I saw the Palace of Fine Arts. I was young, maybe 9 or 10, yet it stuck with me. I think it ignited my love for travel, for recapturing that magical moment of discovery. For me, San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts is a place of peace, of wonder. It’s also a coming home to […]

Explore Canadian and American Street Art with Top Travel Bloggers

The Lovejoy Columns can be considered American Street Art

I found it interesting that when I asked top travel bloggers to share photos of their favorite Canadian and American street art, nearly all sent photos of people. Is this a trend in North America, or simply a coincidence? I am a huge fan of street art, generally preferring the colourful and fun over the political, […]

Is the San Francisco CityPASS a Good Deal?

Cable Car rides are included in the San Francisco City Pass

I lived in San Francisco for 15 years and it is still one of my favorite cities. This is the first visit that we had a San Francisco CityPASS, and I enjoyed it. While I think most people get it for the museum entries, we loved the unlimited transportation on the cable car or the city bus. We took the […]

The Making of an Irish Coffee: Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco

Making an Irish Coffee at Buena Vista Cafe in San Francisco

As I sipped my classic Irish Coffee while sitting at the bar of San Francisco’s Buena Vista Cafe, for just a moment I was transported back to a gentler time. Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista is a bit cliché, but it’s part of my history, my memories from living in this town that I love so […]

Giant Redwood Trees of California Put Life in Perspective

In Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Oregon, USA

It’s a strange feeling, standing amongst the giant redwood trees of Northern California. They surround us with strength and power, towering over us so tall we can rarely see their upper branches. They provided a sharp contrast to the wide open coastal views we had been enjoying as we drove from Astoria along the Oregon Coast. Actually, […]

Tillamook: Let Me Take You Inside a Cheese Factory

Tillamook Cheese Factory tour, Tillamook Oregon USA

We knew the name Tillamook from the award winning cheeses we had purchased so many times when we lived in California. What we discovered was ice cream, creamy fudge, and cheese factory tour that blew our mind. Each day they make 171,000 pounds of cheese. Tillamook County is part of the Oregon coast. Its high rainfall, […]

Oregon Coast – A Photo Tour of Nature at its Best

Spouting Horn at Cook's Chasm in Cape Perpetua along the Oregon coast in the USA

Far away, yet right at home. It was an odd deja vu feeling as we drove down the spectacular Oregon coast. Nature’s best included cliff tops, blow holes, sea lions, and miles of wild beach. After 13 years living in New Zealand and traveling the world, I rarely feel completely at home, yet I did […]

Inside a Legal Marijuana Dispensary in Astoria Oregon

Some of the various strains of marijuana at Sweet Relief, a legal marijuana dispensary in Astoria Oregon

Curiosity took me inside Sweet Relief, the first licensed dispensary for both medical and recreational marijuana in Astoria, Oregon. The state recently changed their laws, now allowing people over the age of 21 to purchase marijuana without a prescription, although Sweet Relief caters to medicinal needs as well. Their mission, “to provide Oregon Medical Marijuana Patients […]

Astoria: Highlights of Oregon’s Northernmost Coastal Community

Rose River Inn B&B in Astoria Oregon

Astoria sits in the northwest corner of Oregon, at the base of the Columbia River. It is the first permanent settlement on the west coast. It’s an adorable city built around the fishing, lumber and fur industries, yet its main waterway holds many hazards. Astoria was our first overnight stop as we began our adventure driving the […]

Hotel Vintage to the Rescue: A Day Relaxing in Portland

Our top floor room in Hotel Vintage Portland Oregon

Having heard great things about Portland, I was excited when our train pulled in to town. The short drive to Hotel Vintage gave us a brief glimpse of this eco-friendly city. Arriving tired after several busy days in Seattle, we were glad to be staying in another Kimpton property. Our recent stay at Seattle’s Hotel Monaco raised the bar quite […]

Seattle Itinerary: Top 10 Things to Do in a Weekend Visit

The Seattle Aquarium is one of the top 10 Seattle highlights

Located on Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle reminds me a bit of our current home city, Auckland. Both are surrounded by water, mountains/forests, and green park lands. The nearby evergreen forests in Washington are massive, thus giving Seattle the nickname of “Emerald City.” To hit the highlights, we have created a Seattle itinerary. We had a Seattle CityPASS. […]

Multnomah Falls: Another Reason to Fall in Love with Oregon

Multnomah Falls and Benson Foot bridge in Oregon

One look at Multnomah Falls and I knew why people fall in love with Oregon. It’s a short 30 mile drive east of Portland with easy parking and a short walk to this natural masterpiece on the Oregon side of the Columbia River. An Interesting Story from Wikipedia: On Labor Day in September 1995, a 400-ton boulder, loosened by erosion, fell […]

No Sleepless Seattle Nights at Hotel Monaco

Premium Queen Queen room at Hotel Monaco in Seattle

“We’re home, Randy.” We couldn’t resist speaking to the goldfish in our room each time we entered. Maybe it was because we felt at home at Hotel Monaco in Seattle. Like the old television show Cheers, “sometimes you need to go where everybody knows your name.” Of course that’s an exaggeration for a three night stay, but […]

Pike Place Market: Where to Catch Fish in Seattle

Pike Place Market in Seattle Washington is one of the longest continuously running farmers market in the United States

Visiting Pike Place Market is a Seattle tradition. An iconic destination opened in 1907, it is one of the country’s oldest continuously operating farmer’s markets. Today it is much more than just a farmer’s market. It’s an impressive pillar of the community, a top tourist attraction, a place for locals to shop for fresh meats, fish […]

Museum of Flight Connects Aircraft with History ~ Seattle

A Blackbird at the Museum of Flight in Seattle

The Museum of Flight is an unexpected treasure that caught me off guard. Being married to a rocket scientist, we naturally added it to our Seattle itinerary. Upon arrival, I had intended to stay about 90 minutes. Four hours later we were still captivated, learning, and enjoying every moment.  Huge planes hang overhead side by side smaller ones, flight simulators […]

Chihuly Garden and Glass, A Vibrant Must See in Seattle

Mille Fiori at Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle Washington

Few places leave me silent and staring. Yet, the vivid colors and fluid shapes of the glass creations at Chihuly Garden and Glass somehow caught me off-guard. The artist, Dale Chihuly, offers, “I want people to be overwhelmed with light and color in a way they have never experienced.” For me, his quote is a better description to […]

Views from the Top of the Seattle Space Needle: A City Icon

View of Mount Rainier from the top of the Seattle Space Needle

It’s certainly not the tallest tower in the world, yet the Seattle Space Needle is the number one tourist attraction in the Northwest United States attracting over one-million visitors annually. Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, it was considered a space age wonder. It takes only 41 seconds from the ground to the observation deck located […]

Birds and Alligators of Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Florida

Anhinga and chicks at Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach Florida

Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach Florida is home to interesting bird life, alligators, and colorful flora. As we walked along the boardwalk we saw it all. According to my mother-in-law, a frequent visitor, the day we visited exhibited the most abundant collection of nesting birds she had seen to date. According to the signage, “The […]

Highlights of Chicago in a Day

Picasso sculpture in Chicago Illinios

Chicago is one of my favorite cities to visit, as well as being my city of birth. Loaded with fascinating things to see and do, it is impossible to see all the highlights of Chicago in a day. Unfortunately, that was all we had last month, so we made some hard choices. Dividing the city […]