Sunday, July 31, 2016

Websites to help plan a vacation in Virginia

Virginia’s tourism slogan is Virginia is for Lovers and if you are like so many other visitors, you will find yourself in love with this amazing state. From the Atlantic Ocean to the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia really is the perfect place for lovers and for families as well. is the official website of the state of Virginia. It has one of the most attractive slide shows of any of the travel websites. It is large, it covers the full width of the screen and has seven screens that rotate. The screens will change with the seasons to give you up to the minute information. For Summer 2015 this includes Craft Beers, Summer Fun, Theme Parks and Big Name Concerts just to name a few.

Under the slideshow is a section called Now In Virginia which has six sections that again will change as the season's change and under that a section called Virginia Experiences. The site offers the option to search for upcoming events by a wide variety of categories within a date range and by region.

Above the slideshow, there are tabs that you can click for additional information. Welcome offers general information that will apply to most visitors, there are Maps of regions, Deals, suggestions for Things to Do, Events, and Places to Stay.

This is a great looking site with loads of really valuable information. It is the place to start your research when it comes to a Virginia vacation.The site includes a trip planner so you can save what you find and you can also order the 2015 Travel Guide.

Visit Richmond is the website of the capital of Virginia, Richmond. This historic city which was also the capital of the Confederacy has a lot to offer to any visitor. This website is a great way to discover all the things you should do if Richmond is part of your Virginia vacation plans.

Two sets of tabs are located on the homepage, one at the top and one larger set above the slide show. The top set offers help to media and meeting planners but also offers Civil War and Emancipation and Sports. The Civil War and Emancipation tab brings you to another page where there are links to such topics as Civil War Sites, Battlefields, Lincoln Tours, Civil War Events and Slavery and Emancipation. If you are visiting Richmond with the Civil War experience in mind, this site will certainly provide that.

The second set of tabs includes Things to Do, Events, Where to Stay, Plan Your Trip and About the Area. A very useful and easy to navigate website for tourists who are considering making their base in or near Richmond.

Visit Williamsburg is a great place to start your research for a visit to one of Virginia’s most popular destinations. It is not the official site for Colonial Williamsburg which has its own site. While most visitors to the area will want to visit Colonial Williamsburg, there are lots of other things to see and do in the area. The slide show on the Visit Williamsburg site offers a variety of freedoms that visiting the area provides including the Freedom to Relax, The Freedom to have Fun and The Freedom to be Curious.

Visit Williamsburg includes Busch Gardens, Yorktown and Jamestown and all the wonderful museums associated with these areas. Known as the Historic Triangle, Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown offer a very family friendly vacation environment.

When you are planning a visit to Virginia, you will want to use the best Virginia travel websites to plan your trip. You can start with these suggestions and I am sure you will find some that meet your needs. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Flashback Thursday: Fabulous Van Buuren Museum Brussels

Located in the former home of David and Alice van Buuren, this fabulous museum is one that should not be missed. The house, built in the deco style from plans drawn by David van Buuren, was constructed in the 1920s. It is a beautiful house in its own right, but the main reason to visit here is its exceptional art collection.

The museum is not located in the center of town. We took the tram to the Edith Cavell stop and then walked up Churchill to the roundabout. Go left in the roundabout to the first street, which is Ave. Leo Errera. The museum is down the street on the right-hand side. It is not well-marked and can be a little tricky to find. Go to the front door and ring the bell to be let in. This heightens the impression that you are a guest at a private home instead of a tourist. Once you have purchased your ticket, you will need to hang up your coat and put protective covers over your shoes. When you see the beautiful floors, you will understand why. 

The first room you visit is the dining room. The furniture is built from exotic woods in the deco style with definite oriental touches in the decor. A large picture window opens the room to the gardens. The walls have cases built in to display an attractive collection of china. The room has a peaceful aura, enhanced by a startling blue ceiling between sycamore beams. I kept waiting to see Joan Crawford with her big padded shoulders come strolling through the door. .

The Brazilian rosewood staircase is magnificent, with a sculpture sitting on the newel post. I really regret not being able to photograph in the house; this feature in particular is hard to do justice to and words alone are inadequate. Above the stairway hangs an unusual bright glass paste and bronze lamp.

Several of the pieces of art in the house are spectacular. The most famous is Bruegels "Fall of Icarus." It is in the reception room with three paintings by Fantin Latour. Upstairs there are some very rare paintings by Hercule Seghers, who was Rembrandt’s teacher. Only 14 known paintings are in existence and David van Buuren owned five. Impressive to say the least. Add a Joos van Cleve Madonna , some really fine furniture, and a very pretty garden and you can spend a very enjoyable hour or two here. Entrance fee is €10 for the house and garden. 

Photography is not allowed inside the house.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Star Trek Corn Maze

World's Largest & Most Intricate Corn Maze
to Celebrate 50th Anniversary of 'Star Trek'

SPRING GROVE, ILL. - The corn was "knee-high by the Fourth of July" at Richardson Adventure Farm, just an hour northwest of Chicago, where the Richardson family is putting the finishing touches on the design for their 16th corn maze.

This year's maze is a tribute to the 50th anniversary of "Star Trek", and the Richardsons are hoping it will be as popular as last year's Blackhawks' maze, which attracted more than 80,000 people.

"We got the go-ahead from CBS and Paramount" said Wendy Richardson, one of the five family members who own and operate the maze. "And we have permission to use Leonard Nimoy's and William Shatner's images."

The "maze master" from Idaho arrived July 9 to cut 10 miles of trails into the 28-acre corn field, guided by a GPS system mounted on his tractor. As the corn grows higher, the Richardsons will roto-till and tamp the paths that form the intricate design. To see a video of the maze being cut, along with an explanation by George Richardson, check out this YouTube link: 

What's new this year?  "Sixteen acres of pumpkins," said Robert Richardson. "That's the most ever, all sizes and colors:  from two pounds to 150 pounds, orange, white, blue, smooth and warty. And we brought some beehives in, so there'll be lots of pollination."

Richardson Farm has been in the family since 1840, and they planted their first corn maze in 2001. Over the years, it has become an annual destination for family fun, with a 28-acre maze that's different every year, plus more than 30 activities, including wagon rides, pig races, a carousel and a "park train" that runs on real tracks. Most of the activities are included in the admission fee. Only a few, such as the zip line and orb rides, cost extra. Private picnic sites and campfires are available by reservation, and there's plenty of free parking. New this year is a popcorn shop, and all the favorite foods are back, including fresh donuts, kettle corn and fudge. Admssion is $16 for ages 13 and up, $13 for ages 4-12 and free for ages 3 and under.

Richardson Adventure Farm is open Sept. 3 - Oct. 30, Wednesdays through Sundays, plus Labor Day and Columbus Day. For more info, log on to

Monday, July 25, 2016

Museums at Washington and Chapin in South Bend, Indiana

The amazing Studebaker National Museum is located in South Bend, Indiana. While Notre Dame is probably West Bends most famous attraction, this museum should not be far behind.  On our trip out to Rockford, Ill. in 2013 this was our third nights stop. I was totally unprepared for what an amazing museum it really is.   

At first glance, this seems to be a rather standard auto museum with loads of beautiful  cars on display but with a little deeper look, the layers of this museum are revealed. It is part of a complex called The Museums at Washington and Chapin and together with the J.D. Oliver House (Copshaholm), the Historic Oliver Gardens and the Worker’s House; it is The Center for History.

Purchase your ticket at the Studebaker National Museum. You need to register for a guided tour of the J.D. Oliver House. Guided tours are conducted at regular intervals so be sure to check with the website or give the museum a call before you visit to avoid disappointment. Tours are also limited in size, so if it is a busy day keep this in mind. You need to be able to climb stairs to visit here. 

Studebaker National Museum

We started our visit to this complex at the Studebaker Museum. The museum covers two floor and the exhibits are done chronologically. You begin on the first floor learning about the Studebaker family and there journey to the auto industry.  

One of the most fascinating exhibits is on this first floor, it is four presidential carriages. One of the most spectacular is the one the President Abraham Lincoln rode in the night that he went to Ford’s Theatre. It is an amazing piece of history.

The second floor has the later vehicles produced by the company including the Lark and the Avanti. There is an elevator in this building so there is no problem with moving between the floors.

Back on the first floor in the other wing of the building there is an exhibit along one wall entitled “Lincoln Highway: Centennial Reflections”. It celebrates the 100th anniversary of this iconic road that connects New York City with San Francisco and travels for over 3,000 across the country.

Oliver Mansion

A quick walk outside the rear of the building that houses the Studebaker Museum and The Center for History is the J.D. Oliver House. The house was designed by a New York architect Charles Alonzo Rich. Like any other city, there was a certain amount of competition among the wealthy residents to have the nicest home and South Bend was no exception.

Built between 1895 and 1896 the house is a 38 room mansion built of gray stone in the Queen Anne style. The Oliver family had earned their money in the plow business and this house was the way to show off that wealth. The family lived in the house for more than 70 years. Today you can take a peek at what their life was like.

Worker’s House

The contrast between the home of the workers and the Oliver House could not be more vast. Most of us can relate to this since our ancestors would have been the workers.  

Oliver Garden

We did not have time to tour the gardens but they are very much as they would have been in the era of the house 1915.  A tea house, a pergola, a fountain, tennis lawn and formal Italian gardens make up the area you can visit. 

Center for History

Located in the same building as the Studebaker Museum, the Center for History is indeed loaded with history. We had a very short time to tour we were left wanting more. Galleries with a wide variety of displays from items that belong to the Oliver family to the Native American history of the area are offered. One display that stands out is the one about the South Bend Blue Sox of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

I can’t begin to tell you how much we enjoyed our visit to this complex and how wonderful all the parts of it are. I wish we had more time to visit here but certainly allow an entire day. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Flashback Thursday: What to do on a long flight

I am not a fan of flying,  flying these days is not fun. The amount of space has shrunk so that it is nearly impossible to even cross your legs and when you are taking a long flight, you may well wonder how you can pass the time and how you will survive. 

Having just returned from Ireland we had to deal with a flight of around 6 hours. Of course, you are in your seat at least a half hour before departure and then with landing etc. it is long. I will say that on the way back west, the movies were so good on the in-flight entertainment that I watched three. When combined with having lunch and a snack, before we knew it we were landing in Boston. 

In addition to movies, we could play games, listen to music and watch TV. My screen froze after the 3rd movie and I was not able to use it again. A request for help from staff went unanswered, but that is for another post. 

Other ways to pass the time on a long flight include reading. I brought along a book and several magazines for just this purpose. Playing cards is also fun and something that Al and I have done many times. Travel games are designed to be used under these types of circumstances. 

If you are traveling to a country where a different language is spoken, using the flight time to listen to language recordings on an iPod or iPad is a great way to arrive with a little extra knowledge. 

Our flight had WiFi so you can feel free to use your laptop, tablet or smartphone. I did play games on my phone. 

While long flights in economy class can be uncomfortable and boring, today's planes offer plenty of opportunities to entertain yourself. If all else fails, you can always take a nap and dream of your destination.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Taste of Wisconsin July 29-31

Taste of Wisconsin™ Returns to Kenosha’s Lakefront July 29-31!
The award-winning Taste of Wisconsin™ festival is quickly approaching and the event organizers are hoping you have saved your appetites! Presented by North Shore Bank and produced by the Kiwanis Club of Western Kenosha, Taste of Wisconsin™ takes place Friday, July 29 through Sunday, July 31 at Celebration Place in Downtown Kenosha, along the shore of Lake Michigan.  (Friday 3-11pm, Saturday 11am-11pm, Sunday 11am-7pm). This is a family-friendly celebration of all things tasteful and all things truly Wisconsin in their flavor. Admission is FREE.
The eighth annual event proves to be a feast for your senses with over 40 food and beverage vendors from around the great state of Wisconsin serving up their fresh-made specialties.  The vast offerings on the menu include fan favorites such as: Wisconsin cheese curds; grilled chicken tacos; Hawaiian BBQ ribs; pig wings and pulled pork; spring rolls; homemade sausages (Polish, Hungarian, Italian and German Brat); ethnic dishes including Italian, Mexican, Polish, Jamaican, Vietnamese, and German; delectable sauces, hand-dipped ice cream, gelato, popcorn and kettle corn; roasted corn-on-the-cob and even a dog treat vendor on site. The menu also features a few unique items such as artisan gourmet balsamic; Wisconsin bourbon barrel aged maple syrup; homemade bloody Mary mix; and Cajun corn baked potatoes.  Foodies desiring the unusual won’t go away disappointed…bacon wrapped tator-tots and deep fried Twinkies will hit the deep fryers at Taste of Wisconsin™ this year!
And to wash it all down, an array of specialty and traditional beers, flavorful wines, ciders, smoothies, and other refreshing beverages will be available.  Vendors will accept cash for all food and non-alcoholic beverages and products. Beer and wine will be sold at the event's four Beverage Gardens.
Adding to the fabulous lakefront ambiance and tasteful fare, the live music lineup is as impressive as the food choices! Over 80 live musical performances are scheduled throughout the weekend on four music stages on the Taste of Wisconsin™ grounds. Local and regional artists will entertain festival goers with music of all genres including classic rock, country, pop, indie, jazz, big band, folk and blues.
The popular Demo Center is also back, offering presentations including a wide variety of cooking  workshops and demonstrations.
Kids and adults alike can take a time out (the good kind!) in our kid-friendly KidZone tent, featuring live music, hands-on activities, theater and dance demonstrations and more entertainment just for our pint-sized guests!
Taste of Wisconsin™ offers FREE admission, so it’s a family and budget-friendly choice for a great summer weekend getaway.  As always, parking in and around the lakefront and Downtown area is free. Plus, Kenosha’s vintage Electric Streetcar system is a fun and convenient way to make your way from your parking spot to the front gates of the event. Streetcars will run for extended hours during Taste of Wisconsin.
And after you’ve had your fill at Taste, there’s plenty to keep the fun going on Kenosha’s lakeshore, including museums, attractions, events and more!  So come on down and have fun by the fork-full in Kenosha!
For more information about this year’s event including vendor menus, entertainment schedules, activities, and more, visit
For more information about visiting the Kenosha Area, go to 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

First Ladies National Historic Site Canton, Ohio

The First Ladies National Historic Site is in reality, two sites. They are within easy walking distance of each other and parking is free. If you don't know how to find the free parking you won't find it easily. There is a parking garage next to the First Ladies Library, it is not free. You need to continue down the street to the Ida Saxon McKinley House to find the free parking. 

The National First Ladies Library is in the former City National Bank Building. It is an an attractive building well signed. 

After you purchase your ticket at the library, you will be given a time-ticket to visit the McKinley House. You can then watch six videos which can take 40-minutes and tour the changing exhibits which are located within the library. 

Video number two is the White House Tour conducted by former First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in 1962. The videos are shown on a simple TV screen, which is someone is sitting in front of you, can make viewing difficult. The videos are interesting, the way they are presented could be improved. 
There is only one room of displays here.  I won't bothering telling you what we saw, what you will see will be different as the exhibits change. It was disappointing. I expected to see rooms of displays about the First Ladies, permanent displays to learn more and that is not at all what is offers. 

This is more of a place for people who are researching the First Ladies.  What is offered is interesting, it is just smaller than I expected. 

A little before your tour time for  the Ida Saxton McKinley House, you walk down the street to the house. Tours of the house are docent led and fascinating. The tour lasts for 45 minutes and it is the real reason that you must visit this site. It is one of the best presidential house tours that we have taken and we have taken quite a few!!  An elevator takes you to the upper levels of the house. 

The house itself is interesting . It belonged to Ida's grandfather. The McKinley's lived here from 1873 until the president was assassinated. They moved in when Ida's mother died to be with her father. 

Most of the furniture in the house is not original but is to the period. You see the president's office and the section of the house where the family lived. Ida's sister Mary and her seven children also lived in the house. It is a large house but not that large, they did not have a lot of privacy.

In the last room that you visit, there are pictures and short biographies of all of the First Ladies. The tour stops here long enough for you to read them. In my case,  some of these women will be almost completely unknown and it is interesting to see what they looked like and learn a little about them. 

Your last stop will be the gift shop. You need a couple of hours to visit this site. Photography is not allowed in the Library, not even for media. However, it is fine in the house. 

If you don't know a lot about President and Mrs. McKinley you are not alone. You will leave here, feeling as if you know them quite well and wanting to get to know them better. 

Your next stop in Canton should be the McKinley Monument and Museum. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

10 Great family summer destinations in New England

New England is a popular destination in the summer or for that matter, any time of year. There are six fabulous New England states to choose from. In any or all of them, you will find fun things for you and your family to do. 

Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, Mass.

In Sturbridge, the year is 1828 and in this created village you will get to visit authentic buildings moved here from all over New England. Villagers in costumes will share information about what life was like and what they would have done on a daily basis. You can visit stores, businesses, homes, a school, and a church. 

You can sit in the school house and learn what school would have been like, watch a blacksmith or a cooper as they perform their tasks, take a wagon ride through the village or walk the lanes to a farm where the crops are being tended. This living history lesson will be enjoyed by every member of the family.

Lake Compounce Amusement Park Bristol, Conn.

Known as New England's Family Theme Park, Lake Compounce is the oldest continually operating amusement park in the country. They have expanded their small town park and fresh water lake to include a water park and state of the art rides. It is a family destination where you can spend a whole day or a whole week enjoying the small-town feel.

Boston's Freedom Trail

Boston makes a great summer vacation destination and one of the things that many families want to take part in is walking the Freedom Trail. It is a 2.5-mile brick trail that takes you to the places that are important in the road leading up to the American Revolution. Other popular things to do are take a duck tour, visit Quincy Marketplace and head to the Aquarium. 

Newport, R.I.

In the late 19th Century, a few of the richest men in the United States decided to make Newport, Rhode Island their summer vacation destination. They built 'cottages" so that they could entertain and be entertained. Today you can tour these magnificent cottages and see how the other half vacationed. 

Stop at the Visitors Center at 23 Americas Cup Ave to find out what is going on and to pick up maps and brochures. You will enjoy the quaint shops and the waterfront dining as well.

Attitash Mountain, N.H.

This wintertime ski resort doesn't stand idle in the summer; they have an alpine slide, water slides, a Euro-bungee trampoline, mountain biking, scenic sky ride and lots of other outdoor activities to keep the sports-minded family happy. Attitash Mountain provides a great family getaway in the state of New Hampshire.

Burlington, Vermont

Burlington, Vermont is a popular vacation destination. You have all the water activities that are available on Lake Champlain and also the downtown marketplace in Burlington is a great place to browse. 

Rollerblade or bike in the designated area along Lake Champlain and enjoy the crisp mountain air. Nearby Shelburne Farm, Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory and the Vermont Teddy Bear Company are also very family friendly.  

Freeport, Maine

Did you know, Freeport, Maine is home to the only desert in New England? Yes, a desert, take a tour it will be a unique experience that the whole family will enjoy. While you are in Freeport, you can visit the flagship LL Bean Store which brings many people for Freeport on its own.

Cape Cod, Mass.

ape Cod is the quintessential summer vacation experience but be prepared for crowds. You can visit the National Seashore, The John F. Kennedy Museum in Hyannis, The Race Point Light House, Sandwich Glass Museum, The Heritage Museum and the Oceanographic Institute in Woods Hole. There are ferries that will take you to Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket. But the biggest attraction is miles and miles of great sandy beaches.

Bar Harbor, Maine

Come to Bar Harbor for New England’s only National Park. Acadia National Park has a wide selection of outdoor activities in a pristine setting. The town of Bar Harbor has been a vacation location for generations of wealthy New Englanders and while the wealthy have moved to other small towns in the area, the charm of the city as a vacation destination has not diminished.

Mystic Seaport Mystic, Conn.

Mystic Seaport is a former whaling village complete with sailing ships and plenty of fun for ocean lovers. You can climb aboard a whaling vessel and walk through the recreated whaling village. It is a history lesson at every turn.

New England is a popular and ideal summer vacation destination. There are activities for the entire family to enjoy. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Flashback Thursday: Hancock Shaker Village

From the moment you pull into the driveway at Hancock Shaker Village the beauty of this location will be quite evident. The Shakers made their home here from the late 1780s until 1959 when the community had to sell the property due to dwindling numbers.

Luckily for all of us, much of what the Shakers created has been maintained and a visit here will make you familiar with their beliefs and their work ethic. Unlike the Amish, the Shakers have always embraced technology and they used the latest available to help them to create their fine crafts.

Plan to arrive as soon as the village opens. Live demonstrations and tours are held throughout the day and you won’t want to miss any of them. Begin your visit at the visitor center where there is a display as well as two seven minute videos that you can watch. It will help to familiarize you with what you will be seeing during your visit here.

The Shakers were founded by Mother Ann Lee on the principals of the three Cs, celibacy, communal living and confession of sins. Their goal was to live perfect Christian lives following the example of the early Gospels and Christian community. They espoused equality of the sexes and also the races. Song and dance were an integral part of their worship which led to their being called “Shakers”. Their official name is the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing.

As you walk out of the visitor center and head into the village, the circular barn will grab your attention. It is quite impressive but resist the temptation to run right over there. Several buildings worth a visit are between the visitor center and the circular barn. Check the schedule to see what demonstrations are going on, where they are located and the times and plan your visit accordingly.

Hancock Shaker Village closes at the end of October and will re-open in April. While it is beautiful in the fall with the great foliage and the apple trees loaded with fruit, the spring is one of the most popular times to visit. The barn will be filled with baby animals and everyone from small children to senior citizens will be enchanted.

Twenty buildings are available to visit along with the gardens. The meeting hall is not original to Hancock, it is from Shirley where there was another Shaker Community. Today, the only active Shaker community is in Sabbathday Lake, Maine.

Among the demonstrations that we attended were a garden tour which pointed out the herbs and vegetables that are grown here. Local residents take part in Community Supported Agriculture, they can buy a share of the garden and in exchange they receive fresh vegetables every week from whatever is in season.  The tour also talked about the poultry house and of course, the round barn.

Another demonstration was the water turbine. The water for the village is provided by a reservoir across the street and the water runs the engine that allowed woodworking lathe among other things.

The most fascinating demonstration that we attended was the Shaker songs and dances. It took place on the main level of the brick house. Guest are encouraged to sing and dance along with the volunteers. It was very enlightening and inspirational.

Buildings are located on both sides of Route 20. Allow a minimum of three hours for your visit and you can certainly spend quite a lot more than that. The Village Harvest Café serves delicious soup, sandwiches and desserts. The potato salad was delicious and I would go back just to have that chicken salad sandwich again. Al is convinced the roast beef sandwich with mushroom gravy is the best he has ever had.

Don’t leave without visiting the gift shop. One of the many things that the Shakers invented was the flat broom and I have to admit I bought one to take home. It is so well made I am sure I will never need to buy another one. I also brought home some of their amazing jam, I have had it before and it is exceptional.

I can’t recommend a visit to Hancock Shaker Village enough. It is fascinating. I am sure that I will be coming back again to enjoy it during the spring and summer. Every member of the staff and volunteers whom we met was extremely knowledgeable and also enthusiastic, you can tell that they love being here and so did we.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wine on the Mountain Jim Thorpe, Penn.

Wine on the Mountain

Hit the road and head to Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe for this festival, which includes wine samplings from eight wineries in your own commemorative glass. Relax with a glass of wine on the outdoor deck with a panoramic view of Beltzville Lake. Or, stay inside in air-conditioned comfort while listening to live musical entertainment. July 23 & 24, 2016 

Browse through displays from local artisans and crafters selling handmade décor, accessories, and food items. Or, purchase food from the Penn’s Peak kitchens to pair with your glass of wine. Wine will be available by the bottle and case as well.

TICKETS: Advance tickets are $25 on Saturday and $20 on Sunday. Tickets at-the-door the weekend of the event are $30 on Saturday and $25 on Sunday. (Only 1,000 tickets will be sold for each day of the event, and advance ticket sales will end when that threshold is reached.)

Tickets are good for ONE day of the event, NOT both days. Tickets are not day-specific. Rain-or-shine event. Sorry, but refunds are not offered on already-purchased tickets.

*Please note: Wine on the Mountain is an adults-only event. Attendees must be 21 years of age or older to attend.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Flashback Thursday: Dublin Bus Tour

Why take a bus tour when you can just walk on your own? Read on and find out!!

Taking a hop on hop off bus tour can be one of the easiest ways to get to know any city. Dublin in no exception. We purchased a two-day pass at our hotel and the first thing we did was to take the entire trip, we then got off at Dublin Castle.

We found after two days that we learned something new on every trip we took. Some buses have live tour guides other have recorded but somehow different things were highlighted at least to our minds.

The tours begin on O’Connell Street but you can get on at any one of the stops and you get a discount for a two-day ticket. We actually bought ours at our hotel for one Euro less than the ticket price. We got on the first day at Merrion Square which was the closest stop to our hotel.

The tour travels both sides of the Liffey and now parks right in front of Kilmainham Goal. We took the red bus tour, there were green and yellow  ones as well. The route has been changed since we last took it and it is much improved if I have to say so myself.

You will learn all sorts of fun facts about Dublin. One thing I did notice is that we never saw Molly Malone, the tart with a cart or the trollop with the scallop, which is sad. We did, however, learn about the whore (pronounced hewer) in the sewer, the bride in the tide and the floozy in the Jacuzzi. Also the rod to God, the light in the night and stiffy by the Liffey.

We did have some issues with the bus. On the second afternoon, the bus dropped everyone at the Dublin Art Gallery and told us to wait for the next bus. No other explanation was offered. The next bus passed the stop without stopping, why? We have no idea. We waited about 30 minutes to get on and be dumped off again on O’Connell Street. Annoying to be sure. Especially since we had no idea why.

Overall, however, it was a lot of fun and we certainly enjoyed it. The first day we braved the top to really enjoy the views by the second day we were using it strictly as transportation.I highly recommend City Sightseeing