Dec 172011
 
Mansions and Danger at the Cliff Walk in Newport, R.I.

One of the most dramatic tourist attractions in New England is totally free: the 3.5-mile Cliff Walk in historic Newport, Rhode Island!

Just make sure, as this sign pictured to the left politely points out, not to hurtle off the “cliff” aspect of the whole “Cliff Walk” thing.

Here’s what makes the Cliff Walk so amazing: it’s a marriage of nature’s glory with the most opulent human-made mansions imaginable.

On one side, you have [...Read More!]

Oct 102011
 
A Group Tour of Famous Boston TV and Movie Sites

The first  hint, around 2009, that Boston is becoming a hub for filming big movies was that our Charlestown High school announcements started filling with casting calls for “teenagers with strong Boston accents.”

The next hint was last year when seven giant movie trailers set up shop down the street from my apartment and flocks of locals gathered to catch a glimpse of Mila Kunis filming “Ted.”

But it took a guided group [...Read More!]

Aug 282011
 
Why China is the Most Intense Country I Have Traveled To

You’ve read my account of the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, and other China tourist attractions, but now let’s get into the darker side of my 17 days in the most populous country on Earth.

The reality is that China is the most intense country that I have ever traveled to, and I have traveled to over 30 countries across the globe!

Now, the intensity of China travel is actually good news, [...Read More!]

Aug 212011
 
Touring Beijing's Forbidden City Without Fights or Faints

“Be careful at zee Forbidden City,” our French hostel roommate warned. “Eet eez so big and so beautiful, that after a while you say: too much!”

“But look at that tiny rectangle on the Beijing map,” I protested, pointing to the box labeled “Forbidden City.” “I could walk that in like five minutes.”

The French lass guffawed heartily, said, “Well, just arrive as early as possible in zee day!” and headed off on [...Read More!]

Aug 162011
 
An Epic Hike on the Best Part of the Great Wall of China

We had been in China for less than 24 hours, the moment we found ourselves high atop the Great Wall of China, giddy with happiness.

At somewhere between 3,800 and 5,500 miles in total, depending how you measure its parts, the Great Wall of China stretches longer than the entire border between the United States and Canada.

This fact not only boggles the mind, but it also makes it tough for a tourist [...Read More!]

Jul 262011
 
Danger and Glory in Everglades National Park of Florida

“I’m not sure we’re going to survive the Everglades,” I gasped, browsing the Official Everglades Website. “Just listen to these warnings. They’re terrifying!”

“Please do not bring pets on the trails. Not only do you put your pet’s life in danger, you put yours in danger as well,” I read.

“I have this image of bringing a tiny yappy dog and having it instantly whisked away in the drooling jaws of a ‘gator!” I [...Read More!]

Apr 212011
 
The Unbelievable Glass Chihuly Exhibit at Boston's MFA

Normally, Boston’s famed Museum of Fine Arts is more expensive than two movie tickets put together… but it turns out that entrance is FREE every day for kids age 7-17 after 3pm, and on Wednesday evenings, it’s free for EVERYONE!

And you must go NOW. Why? Because there is an exhibit at the MFA now that may be the coolest art experience you encounter in your life: Dale Chihuly’s giant, color-saturated, twisted, [...Read More!]

Feb 122011
 
Crazy Scottish Food in Boston, or: The Night I Ate Haggis!

For the first part of the Robert Burns Scottish Dinner, no one would tell me what is actually IN Scottish Haggis.

“You’ve had McDonald’s before, right?” said David. “Well, then you’ve already ingested random animal parts. Don’t worry about it– just eat.”

Finally it came out: Haggis is a whole bunch of lamb parts (heart, liver, lung… maybe even “bollocks”), cooked in a sheep stomach. Wow. Haggis is traditionally served with “neeps and [...Read More!]

Jan 292011
 
The Sexiest Sign in Boston (of Our City's Revitalization)

This quote from a March 3, 2010 Boston Globe article by Geoff Edgers sums up what you’re about to read:

“The once-grand Art Deco theater, which had become a dilapidated porno movie house by the time it closed in 1976, has been restored to its former glory.”

Wait… there was a ramshackle X-Rated movie house in the middle of downtown Boston just a generation ago?!

Yes, that is correct. Remember two articles ago how [...Read More!]

Jan 182011
 
Big Dig and Waterfire: We're ALL Developing Countries

What magic, the advancements that have occurred within the past few years in our “Developed” country!  I’m astounded at the changes that have taken place in the United States within my lifetime.

We in America like to prance around and declare ourselves “Developed,” while we proclaim poorer countries “Developing” or “Less Developed.”

But terms like “The Developed World” make us seem fixed, finished, and all set.  In fact, no, we sure aren’t!  From [...Read More!]