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

“Of course, you’ve GOT to see the forts in Old San Juan,” 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!]

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!]

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!]

Sep 152013
 
Photo Essay: Is India's Amber Palace Your Dream Home?

It’s weird looking at photos from a few months ago, before I became pregnant… I look so bite-sized tiny! But the fact remains that I have waterfalls more photos taken during our wonderful India teacher tour from earlier this year, and you shall have these pictures, even if it takes another year for me publish them all.

What we have here are the final photos from our tour of the Amer Fort, also [...Read More!]

Sep 012013
 
YUM! An Italian Food Market Tour of Boston's North End

I expected luscious Italian food in my mouth during the Boston North End Italian market tour I just returned from, but I didn’t realize I would also learn shocking facts about my own kitchen and city.

Our tour group of a dozen folks from around the country assembled at 10am just past the Haymarket T station. Before us opened the (hungry) mouth of the North End: Boston’s “Little Italy,” a famed commercial neighborhood [...Read More!]

Jun 012013
 
Lovely Glass Architecture of Downtown Toronto, Canada

Hello from Toronto, Canada, where I am rocking out my third annual TBEX Travel Blogging Conference with 1,300 of my favorite writers and travel companies from around the world!

Yesterday I had the privilege of going on an architecture photo walk thanks to See Toronto Now, and what a feast for the eyes it was! For those who know the building I deemed #1 sexiest architecture in Boston, you may already have gleaned that [...Read More!]