Jul 252014
 
The Famous, Beautiful Forts of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

“Of course, you’ve GOT to see the forts in Old San Jan,” anyone will tell you when you ask what to do during travel through Puerto Rico. But why, exactly, are these forts so famous and popular?

The background you must understand is that Puerto Rico was incredibly important, geopolitically. The island was a vital strategic base from the 16th through 18th century as Spain battled with other European powers for colonial control of the region. Whoever held Puerto Rico controlled the [...Read More!]

Jul 112014
 
Must-See Colorful Buildings of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico is a delight. Wander the centuries-old blue cobblestone streets, gaping at the brilliantly colored historic buildings. Did you know, however, that this treasure was nearly DESTROYED?

Old San Juan was settled by the Spanish in the early 1500s, and the conquistador, Ponce de Leon and his subsequent offspring lived in the city for centuries. By the late 1940s, however, Old San Juan had become decrepit, unsightly, and dangerous. Politicians called [...Read More!]

Jul 092014
 
A San Juan, Puerto Rico Resort Pool for Baby's First Swim

Hello from San Juan, Puerto Rico! This is our first big voyage as a family of THREE, and Puerto Rico is just as I hoped: Easy to travel to and through with a 7-month-old, but different enough from Boston to quench my ongoing ache for Latin America for a time.

Before diving into the sights of San Juan, however, let’s celebrate a momentous and hilarious occasion: Our baby had his first ever pool swim today, and [...Read More!]

Jun 292014
 
Monkeys, Imprisonment, and a Fall at Agra Fort, India

“This is where they say Shah Jahan, the man behind the Taj Mahal, was imprisoned BY HIS SON.”

Our India teacher tour guide paused dramatically, and our group gazed around Agra Fort, soaking in that shocking history.

Agra Fort in Uttar Prasdesh, India is really more of a giant walled city than a mere fort, and each corner of it has layers of history dating back as far as 1080 CE. It also has… MONKEYS! Upon entering the fort’s hulking red [...Read More!]

Jun 092014
 
My Favorite Exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

For the first time in my life, I found an art exhibit so enthralling that I returned TWICE to see it. In fact, I have plans to go back a third time. Ooh, the “Quilts and Color” exhibit at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts makes me happy! Its rainbow blasts are a perfect match for baby, too, as wee ones adore patterns.

What I find particularly moving about these quilts is not just their beauty, however: it’s the history [...Read More!]

Jun 012014
 
Surprises in India at Keoladeo National Bird Sanctuary

Let me be blunt about the first surprise of Keoladeo National Park and Bird Sanctuary in India: On the day we went, the air was so cloudy that we could have seen further by sticking our heads into bowls of oatmeal. Look how ghostly the birds appear in the next photo…

We had to squint and crane our fog-fluffy heads forward, asking: “Is that a bird, or a tree?” and, “Is that [...Read More!]

May 182014
 
Watch Out! Too-Seductive Food on Martha's Vineyard...

Did you catch the weirdness in that first photo? Yup… there is the mark of a tiny claw right in the middle of the luxurious mascarpone cream. But how did that get there???

Back up to when Colin, baby Devi, and I walked into Water Street restaurant at The Harbor View Hotel in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. “Brioche French Toast: Mascarpone, Wild Blueberry Jam, Ginger Chantilly!” sang the alluring description on the breakfast menu. We practically lassoed [...Read More!]

Apr 282014
 
Martha's Vineyard's Gingerbread Cottages Are So Cool!

“Lillie, do NOT leave Martha’s Vineyard without tracking down the Gingerbread Houses!” typed one of my readers on my Facebook wall.

“Gingerbread Houses?” I muttered to myself. “What the heck is this woman talking about?”

A few minutes of Internet sleuthing later (during which time my baby spit up all over my husband’s shirt) revealed that a major tourist attraction of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts is a cluster of fairy-like wooden houses in the [...Read More!]

Apr 242014
 
The Best Place to Stay on Martha's Vineyard?

Ahhh, what a difference a good vacation makes! In the five months since our baby was born, my husband and I had not left Boston together, and so it was high time. Scanning the map, we decided on Martha’s Vineyard: the famed island where New England relaxes, yet I (naughty Bostonian that I am) had never visited. But where to stay?

Some sleuthing revealed that one hotel’s name comes up again and again [...Read More!]

Mar 042014
 
Can You Believe the Size of This Hole in the Ground?

In the romantic Indian state of Rajasthan, in the dusty village of Abhaneri, there lies a massive hole in the ground. To be specific, this hole is called Chand Baori, and is one of the largest ancient step-wells in the world, plummeting down 100 feet to slurp water from the earth for the thirsty local population.

The well is around 1,200 years old (wowza!), constructed in 800 C.E. by King Chandra of the [...Read More!]