Monday, February 29, 2016

Delicious DIning at Il Bosco Davidson, N.C.

If you happen to be staying at the Davidson Village Inn there are several dining options that you can walk to. Il Bosco is one of them and it was our choice on a Monday evening in January.

We were the first ones in the restaurant at 5 p.m. when they opened and we were lucky enough to get Tarra, the daughter-in-law of the owner as our waitress. She is an amazing waitress, she explained everything in detail, could answer any questions that we had about the cheeses, the entrees and of course the wine.

We began our meal with an antipasti tray. You decided which cheeses, meats and accompaniments you want. We choose two cheeses, a wild boar salami and two sides, candied pecans and mixed olives. It arrive right after the warm crusty bread and white beans with olive oil. 

Tarra had made cheese suggestions and I was very pleased with the choices. Saint Andre is a luscious creamy brie and the minionette was a harder more cheddar like option. The salami was excellent and not at all gamey as one might expect from wild boar.

We followed with a house salad which they happily split for us into two dishes. It is simple with a lemon vinaigrette topped with shaved parmesan and grape tomatoes. Light, simple and delicious.

For our main courses we opted for the smaller portions of the pappardelle Bolognese and the sweet potato gnocchi with Gorgonzola sauce. Al loved his pappardelle, no big heavy red sauce here, just meat and pasta. My gnocchi was sinfully rich and delicious. I could not quite finish even the smaller portion.

We were too full for dessert but three amazing homemade cookies found their way to our table and we of course did manage to fit them in. I had ordered a cappuccino in the beginning of my meal which I sipped throughout.

We loved Il Bosco. It is a little formal, not overly so but not shorts and flip flops more casual Friday work attire. Real cloth table cloths and napkins, wine service and top notch service. But of course, it was the high quality of the food that would bring us back and no doubt we will be back. 

To read about our stay at the Davidson Village Inn follow this link

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Flash Back Thursday: Pitfalls of Online Booking

Most of us rarely use a travel agent these days. We can book most things ourselves online. You can get hotel reservations by using you computer, your tablet and even your smartphone. It is fast, convenient and at times confusing. 

Some pitfalls that you need to watch out for when booking online are:

Third party booking agents

Have you ever tried to simply book a hotel and found yourself on a third party site? Some of these like and are fine and have competitive rates however, if you want to get reward credits, this is not the way to go. You may also find that hotels are not quite as happy when you use a consolidator, not always but sometimes. 

The problem with some other sites is that you may find yourself hijacked and charged booking fees. You should never pay a fee to book a hotel, seriously, you are giving them your business and you are going to be charged extra, I think not!!

You also may not be able to specify what type of bed you want. For me this is the most important issue, I do not want a double bed under any circumstances, it must be at least a queen or twins.

Overseas booking

When you are booking a  room outside the country, I am most familiar with Europe, I often deal directly with the hotel by email. It cuts down on misunderstandings and confusion. You will have the email later if there is any discrepancy. You also get to know the staff and it can be helpful, really in my experience as helpful as Tripadvisor in determining if this is a place you will feel comfortable staying. Always ask if breakfast is included in the rate, often it is.

In conclusion, always look your reservations over carefully. Be sure you are getting exactly what you requested. make sure it is the exact hotel you requested and check the dates and check in policy. 

Before making the booking, read the cancellation policy. Often the lowest rate will not allow you to change or cancel your reservation. If you are sure nothing will change, by all means grab this rate. If however you are prone to changes, make sure your rate allows this. This is one area that is often overlooked and if you don't want to find yourself charged for a room you aren't going to use, be sure that you can cancel before you hit the send button. If in doubt, call the hotel directly using Skype.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

2016 at Jamestown Settlement & Yorktown Victory Center

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – In 2016, Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center living-history museums will offer special programs across four seasons to enrich the story of America’s 17th- and 18th-century beginnings.

Special events, exhibits and interpretive programs expand on the stories of the past that unfold daily at the two state-operated museums through indoor films and exhibits and outdoor re-created living-history areas — a Powhatan Indian village, 1607 English ships and 1610-14 colonial fort at Jamestown Settlement, and Revolutionary War encampment and farm at the Yorktown Victory Center.

The Yorktown Victory Center’s transformation into the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown® progresses in 2016, as work continues on the development of new gallery exhibits, introductory film and outdoor living-history areas. The gallery exhibits and introductory film will debut during Yorktown Victory Celebration weekend on October 15 and 16. The name will change to American Revolution Museum at Yorktown late 2016.

The year starts with the ongoing “Clayton & Catesby: Botanical Virginia” exhibit at Jamestown Settlement, where 18th-century engravings created from the watercolor paintings of naturalist Mark Catesby, on loan from the Garden Club of Virginia, are exhibited alongside a 1762 edition of “Flora Virginica” based on the work of botanist John Clayton. The exhibit continues through February 28.

African-American Imprint at Jamestown Settlement on February 13 highlights Black History Month with musical performances, storytelling and crafts reflecting African heritage in America.

Jamestown Settlement’s annual Military Through the Ages takes place March 19 and 20, with hundreds of re-enactors spanning centuries of military history. The event includes artillery firings, a children’s parade and a military pass-in-review.

Jamestown Day at Jamestown Settlement on May 14, jointly sponsored with Historic Jamestowne, marks the 409th anniversary of the founding of America’s first permanent English colony. This year’s event acknowledges milestone anniversaries for two of Jamestown Settlement’s re-created 1607 ships. The Susan Constant turns 25 in 2016, and the Godspeed turns 10.

Opening on June 4 and continuing through December 10, “Bartering for a Continent: How Anglo-Indian Trade Shaped America” special exhibition at Jamestown Settlement will explore the importance of trade between American Indians and English colonists and the role of Virginia in the development of a new world of exchange in goods and commodities in North America.

Blacksmiths, potters, turners, carvers and spinners demonstrate their skills at Jamestown Settlement for a Historic Trades Fair on June 4 and 5.

At the Yorktown Victory Center, Liberty Celebration on July 3 and 4 salutes the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Visitors can observe tactical and artillery drills, take part in a military exercises, and learn about the challenges that faced our nation’s founders.

On October 1 and 2, Jamestown Settlement offers an American Indian Intertribal Powwow, featuring song and dance of American Indian tribes from the mid-Atlantic region.

Yorktown Victory Celebration is held October 15 and 16 in conjunction with the 235th anniversary of the decisive military victory of the American Revolution and features artillery firings and aspects of military life, along with the debut of new exhibition galleries and introductory film for the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.

Family Frights at Jamestown Settlement, a Halloween-theme museum night for elementary-school-age children and families, takes place October 21 and 22.

Historical foodways are featured during Foods & Feasts of Colonial Virginia, November 24-26, and 17th- and 18th-century holiday traditions during A Colonial Christmas, December 1-31.

Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, until 6 p.m. from June 15 through August 15. Admission to special programs during museum operating hours is included with general admission. A value-priced combination ticket for both museums is $21.25 for adults and $10.75 for ages 6 through 12. Jamestown Settlement admission is $17.00 for adults and $8.00 for ages 6-12. Yorktown Victory Center admission is $9.75 for adults, $5.50 for ages 6-12. An annual pass also is available. Parking at the museums is free.

Jamestown Settlement is located on Route 31 at the Colonial Parkway next to Historic Jamestowne, administered by the National Park Service and Jamestown Rediscovery (on behalf of Preservation Virginia). The Yorktown Victory Center is located on Route 1020 in Yorktown near Yorktown Battlefield, administered by the National Park Service. The museums are a short distance from Busch Gardens®, Colonial Williamsburg and other attractions. Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center admission is included in several Williamsburg area joint tickets and vacation packages.

For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838, or visit

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A delightful stop at The Rumor Mill Market in Davidson, North Carolina

Are you someone who will base a trip around someplace that you want to visit? I am. I was watching Tiny House Big Living on HGTV one time last summer and they were decorating one of the tiny houses. They went to a store called The Rumor Mill Market. 

I had no idea where it was located but a Google search showed that it was in Davidson, NC. I popped up a google map of Davidson and found that it was just a mile off of I-77 which is the route we travel from Connecticut to Florida. It is near Lake Norman which was familiar to me since we stayed in Mooresville last year.  

Jeanne and Scot opened The
Rumor Mill Market three years ago and it has been growing by leaps and bounds ever since. It now occupies the space of three former businesses in an industrial building near the Depot on Depot Street. It is also an easy walk from the Davidson Village Inn.

If you like shabby chic, antiques, creative home d├ęcor or just interesting shopping, this is the place for you. At this time about 85 dealers are offering their items in booths throughout the building. They have also added a coffee bar where you can get a drink to sustain you for your shopping.

The booths offer a wide variety of items from crafts to vintage linens. I loved the items made by women in Thailand from Napada and spent a good 10 minutes just looking through the luggage tags, purses, small bags and other items. I love to help woman to support themselves.

I will admit that I started buying almost as soon as I entered the door. It is hard not to find something that will grab your eye and just beg you to be taken home. Even though I am traveling, I was unable to resist and I purchased at least six items and was barely able to stop at that.

I highly recommend that if you are going to be anywhere in the area, you stop by and browse through. I am sure you will find something that you didn’t know you needed.