Google+

Author: debbie-stone

Nature Takes Center Stage at These Southern Africa Wonders

I am both repelled and fascinated by crocodiles. Their fearsome reputation precedes them and the fact that they outlived the dinosaurs has given their species legendary respect. No one wants to mess with a croc, but many people will seize the opportunity to view one up close, particularly within its natural habitat. Prior to my trip to Botswana, I had only seen these primordial creatures in enclosed nature centers, where I felt removed from them. So, when the boat I was riding in started inching closer to the banks of the Chobe River, where a croc was sun bathing,...

Read More

Fall in love with Cape Town

There’s nowhere quite like Cape Town, the jewel of South Africa. This fascinating city is a meld of cultures, history and landscape, crowned by the magnificent Table Mountain. Often regarded as synonymous with the “Mother City,” (Cape Town’s affectionate moniker), this landmark is the single most welcoming icon to its people, as well as to travelers from around the globe. Named a New Seven Wonders of Nature, the mountain is one of the oldest on earth, six times older than the Himalayas and five times older than the Rockies. It forms part of the Table Mountain National Park, which...

Read More

Island Time, Ohio style

Most people, even residents of the Midwest, are incredulous when they hear there are islands in Ohio, I was born and raised in Chicago and I’m embarrassed to admit I knew nothing of their existence. I had to look at a map for proof, but it wasn’t until I actually visited the area that my doubts were dispelled. Known as the Lake Erie Islands, these bodies of land are clustered together in the lake’s western basin, north of Ohio’s mainland. Easily accessible from the metropolitan centers of Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo, they’re regarded as the Jersey Shores of the...

Read More

Seriously, Go To Cleveland!

Music has always evoked strong memories in me. When I hear a familiar song from my past, I am suddenly transported back to a distinct time in my life, and the experience is vivid and visceral. This is especially true when it comes to the rock music of my youth and early adulthood. So, you can imagine all the emotions that began flooding over me as I stepped through the doors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. A visit to the “Rock Hall,” as it’s commonly called by locals, is a pilgrimage for many...

Read More

Prepare to be Dazzled by Detroit

When I told friends I was going to Detroit, I received a lot of puzzled looks and raised eyebrows, followed by the question, “Why?” They were skeptical when I explained that my reason for visiting the town was curiosity-based, as rumor had it that “The D” was a reinvigorated destination and worthy of a look-see. Most people that I spoke to all had the same negative impressions of the city, as a gritty, seedy place with boarded up buildings, major unemployment and a high crime rate. Their views were likely shaped several years ago, based on photos and stories...

Read More

Taos: The Soul of the Southwest

Nestled at the edge where the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico spread westward toward the sage brushed mesas and plains is a land of wide expanse and open skies. Here you’ll find the enchanting high desert town of Taos, a historic art colony and world-class outdoor recreation mecca. Visitors to Taos often remark on the magnetic-like pull the town seems to possess, drawing them back time and time again. They fall under the spell of the jagged peaks and sun-drenched landscape, and the almost spiritual vibes that this magical destination with its age-old traditions emits. History...

Read More

A Walk on the Wild Side in Wales

For many trekkers, hiking the entire Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine is a bucket list accomplishment. It’s one of three long distance walks in the famed Triple Crown; the other two being the Pacific Crest and the Continental Divide Trails. Outside of the US, there’s a number of walks with similar bragging rights. Among them is the Wales Coast Path, an 870-mile route, spanning eight geographical areas, from Chepstow, Monmouthshire in the south to Queensferry, Flintshire in the north. Wales has the distinction of being the largest country in the world with a continuous trail around its entire...

Read More

Cruise from the Emerald Isle to the Land of Fire and Ice in Ultimate Comfort

I am easily enamored with all things Irish and my affinity with the country and its people is apparent as soon as I step on the soil of this magical, mystical isle. I adopt O’Stone as my new last name, attempt to speak with a lilting brogue, drink Guinness for breakfast and can belt out the words to “Molly Malone” with the best of them, albeit off-key. Sadly, my strong Germanic genes and Yank accent are dead giveaways, making my transformation to an Irish lass highly improbable. But, hey, you got to give me credit for trying! Although I’ve...

Read More

Stop and Smell the Tulips When you Take a “Slow Boat” Through Holland

My typical vacation often involves being on the go from morning until night, as I engage in a frenzy of activities aimed at seeing all the notable sights of a particular destination. I feel the need to do everything since I don’t know if I’ll have the chance to make a return visit to the place. The pace is tiring and I sometimes find myself needing a vacation from my vacation when I get back home. This time, however, I vowed things would be different. After extensive research, I chose to do a barge cruise in Holland with European...

Read More

For a Small Town, St. Simons Island is Big on Appeal

When a destination continues to receive recognition and glowing accolades in major publications, it piques my curiosity. Such was the case with St. Simons Island, one of Georgia’s Golden Isles. USA Today named this slice of paradise one of the “Best Coastal Small Towns,” while Travel + Leisure distinguished it as “America’s Favorite Beach Town.” Located on the southern part of Georgia’s scenic coastline, St. Simons has been attracting vacationers in the know for generations. This enchanting island boasts breathtaking views, sandy beaches and beautiful marshlands, along with a temperate climate and unhurried charm. And if that’s not enough, add...

Read More

Discover a Southern Jewel: Oxford, Mississippi

Visitors entering Oxford, Mississippi’s historic Square will come nose-to-nose with its famed Courthouse. The stately white building stands in the heart of town, creating a scene that looks like it came right out of one of John Grisham’s legal thrillers. The well-known author is actually one of many writers who lived in Oxford, a town with an impressive literary heritage and more published writers per capita than most big-time American cities. As a state, Mississippi boasts such distinguished wordsmiths as Richard Ford, Willie Morris, Eudora Welty, Donna Tartt, Jesmyn Ward, Larry Brown and Curtis Wilkie. Perhaps the most acclaimed,...

Read More

Fall Under the Spell of the Nation’s Oldest City, St. Augustine

Greedily I drank from the Fountain of Youth and patiently waited, but, alas, the wrinkles and crow’s feet remained etched on my face. The magical spring that was said to restore the youth of anyone who drinks or bathes in its waters didn’t have the powers of transformation I had hoped it would, but I could see how such a belief would motivate Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon back in 1513. Imagine what it would be like to have the wisdom that comes with age and the vibrant exuberance that represents youth? No need for creams and lotions,...

Read More

VIP Offers

Pin It on Pinterest