Friday, October 30, 2015

Photo Friday: Scenes From the Berkshires

What could be prettier than fall in the Berkshires? We spent two days in Mass. enjoying the colors of fall and visiting some of the sites. I hope you enjoy the scenery. 
Outdoors at Yankee Candle in Deerfield
Along the Mohawk Trail

Along the Deerfield River
Outside North Adams
The Round Barn at Hancock Shaker Village

Monday, October 26, 2015

Debunking Myths About Air Travel

Myths about air travel seem to have a life of their own. Air travel has fostered its own set of myths and urban legends. Everyone repeats them, even if they are not sure that they believe them. They frighten and fascinate at the same time and most of them are totally false.

Dress to impress

One myth that certainly needs to be debunked is that in order to get an upgrade from the airlines you have to be dressed as though you should be sitting in the more expensive seats. Who gets an upgrade has much more to do with being an elite member of their frequent flier program than how you are dressed. So dress comfortably for your flight and if you want an upgrade you can buy it at the gate like everyone else.


Rule 240

One of the oldest myths that are still circulating is that if your flight is delayed all you have to do is say the enigmatic phrase Rule 240 to the airline employee at the ticket counter and they will get you on the next flight out. This is not going to happen. Once long ago this might have worked, that would have been in the day when service came first but no more. The airlines have changed how they do business and you might as well just hunker down and get comfortable because you are going to be waiting with everyone else, there is no magical phrase.

Bringing down the plane with your cell phone

Another myth that isn't true at all is that if you turn on your cell phone during take-off or landing you are going to cause the plane to crash. With today's sophisticated technology that just isn't possible, however the airlines aren't ready to let you off the hook. If you try to make or receive a call during these times you still take the chance of not only having your phone confiscated but you can be placed under arrest when you land. This is one myth that isn't worth testing.

Best ticket prices

Several of the myths circulating about airline travel have to do with purchasing your tickets. One that many people, even travel agents believe is that there is only one day of the week when the lowest prices are available. This is patently untrue, especially when one airline may come out with a low price one day and then other airlines will respond to that price the following day. Another myth says that if you see a low price you have several days to purchase it, these days that is a really bad advice. 

With the recent cuts in the number of flights, more and more flights are going to be flying full and if you see a price that you think is a good deal you need to grab it right away since it may not be there in even fifteen minutes.

Losing your hard-drive to the x-ray machine

One of the most prevalent myths has reached the status of an urban legend. The x-ray machine at the airport will erase the hard drive on your laptop. Everyone knows someone, who knows someone who had their hard drive erased as they went through the TSA check point. Get the name and address of that person because they must be in the witness protection program, nobody knows who they are. If you have ever traveled with your laptop you know that there are absolutely no ill effects produced during the check-in process.

Having debunked all the myths and legends, you are now ready for your flight. There are enough real things to be thinking about when you are planning a flight let these myths die a natural death. Certainly by next week there will be some new ones popping up.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Photo Friday: Surprising Cavan

Our recent trip to Ireland was eyeopening. I was not expecting to fall in love with Cavan but I did. It has a wonderful rural beauty that will win your heart over in no time. 


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Flashback Thursday: What I Love About Belgium

One year in January, we actually spent two weeks in Belgium. When I told some of my friends, they looked at me in confusion, Why Belgium?  I think in order to explain I need to give you a little history of Belgium and information about the country. 
Belgium as a country is relatively young, the kingdom began in 1830 with Prince Albert' s (Queen Victoria's husband)  uncle Leopold as the first king. Before that, it had a very tumultuous history and it is the country that has the most battlefields in Europe, quite a telling fact. 

Belgium is really two countries that were combined into one. Flanders is the Dutch speaking part of the country and the rest of the country speaks French. Many famous old masters were Flemish which is another reason to visit, the great art. 
So, why spend two weeks in Belgium? Because it is a fascinating country and dah, the home of the real Belgian waffle and some of the best chocolate in the world.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Halloween in Nashville

Nashville's Halloween Weekend

Halloween in Nashville
This Halloween weekend join us in Music City. A magical time filled with laughs and "screams" of joy. There will be plenty of family fun events to get you in the "spirit" of things. If you are looking for a "thrill" check out the many haunted houses, Halloween tours, or festive parties perfect for celebrating All Hallows Eve in Nashville.

If you are just looking to have a little fun without all the excitement of the holiday make sure to check out the special events, art exhibits, and concerts happening during the week of Halloween in Music City.

Looking for the best of fall in Nashville? Check out our Fall Fun in Music City for all the best ways to enjoy the beautiful season in Music City!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Trolley Tour Providence R.I.

Providence, R.I. is one of our favorite places to visit. It is a renaissance city which has risen from its gritty past to offer a fun and sophisticated place to visit. For the first time visitor, taking a trolley tour is the perfect way to familiarize yourself with the city. Actually, even though we have visited many times, we decided to take a tour because we always go to the same areas and we wanted to go to areas we have never been before.

The tour is seasonal so be sure to check out their website to see if the tour is in operation. It doesn’t run in the winter for sure and actually stops quite early in the fall and starts at the end of spring.

You can get on the tour near the Biltmore Hotel which is especially convenient if you happen to be staying there. It is one of our favorite hotels and we were indeed staying there when we took this tour. The trolley stop is at the corner of Fountain and Eddy Streets.

Things you need to know:

They do not take reservations so you need to be there to get tickets.

They only accept cash so again, be prepared.

Tour last one hour.

What you will see:

Roger Williams Park-this is location of the Roger Williams Zoo

Federal Hill: Providence’s Italian neighborhood

Benefit Street: A mile of history

First Baptist Church in America

And much, much more.

Is this the most amazing tour I have ever taken? No however, it is very enjoyable and well worth doing even for a seasoned visitor, which I certainly am.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Sites to Enjoy When Driving the Border between England and Scotland

England has so many historic sites, that it is almost impossible to write to this topic without making a decision about your departure point. When I traveled to Scotland on the train I left from Alnwick.(this is pronounced Annick) This is in Northumbria in the very far Northeast. 
Alnwick Castle by Cannaletto
Alnwick is a very historic site in its own right. Alnwick Castle is the home of the great Percy family who were the Earls and later the Dukes of Northumberland. It is the second largest inhabited castle in England, surpassed only by Windsor. If you know anything about Anne Boleyn, you will remember that her first love was Henry Percy.

This wonderful castle has been used as a backdrop for many famous movies including Harry Potter and when we visited here, they were shooting scenes from Elizabeth. It is every bit as regal a castle as you would expect from this great and once powerful family. The earliest parts of the castle date from 1096 and were built by one of William the Conquerors Normans Yves de Vescy who was the Baron of Alnwick. 

Today you will see great works of art, beautiful furniture and lovely gardens.

Public Domain
Another stop would certainly have to be at Hadrian's Wall. Next to the Great Wall of China it is probably the greatest feat of wall building every attempted. The Roman Emperor Hadrian decided that in order to protect the Romans in England from the marauding Picts he would have a wall constructed across the north of England. Work began on the wall in 122 A.D. It was 73 miles long, fifteen feet high and from eight to ten feet wide. It was quite an undertaking and obviously quite well done since there are quite large sections of it still available to visit today.

The Holy Isle of Lindisfarne is one of oldest religious sites in Great Britain. There was a monastery here on the Isle as early as 635 A.D. The Isle is associated with both St Cuthbert and the Irish monks from Iona in Ireland. The beautiful Lindisfarne Gospels are historically significant as well as being some of the finest examples of the written art in this early times on Lindisfarne. The Isle is controlled by a tidal causeway and is only accessible at certain times of day, if you miss it you won't be getting across. If you do, you won't be disappointed by the beautiful ruins and the museum that has been constructed there.

Photographer Stephen Mckay
On September 9, 1513 the British and the Scots meet in the town of Flodden, Northumbria and fought another of their senseless battles that resulted in the deaths of 14,000 men and the King of Scotland all with a few short hours. A memorial commemorates the site and it is worth visiting if only to wonder at the stupidity of your fellow man. I found it a site of great sadness and it is hard to believe as you look at this quiet peaceful spot that it could have been such a place of mass slaughter. The battle is known as the Battle of Flodden.

These are just a few of my favorite spots, there are of course many more for the avid traveler to visit. We also visited Etal and Warkworth Castles in England and Floors Castle on the Scottish side of the border, all of which are worth a visit. 

Forgive me for using others photos. Mine would need to be scanned but I have visited all of these places.