McMenamins Grand Lodge (Mic MIN i mins) in Tualatin (T’WAL-i-tin) Valley, Oregon (OAR-i-gin) – you get the idea -- gives new meaning to the word funky -- also whimsical and droll and quirky. Oh yes, and historic. But if you're looking for glitz or glamour -- not to mention basic amenities such as a TV or a dresser -- the hotel is not for you. If you want a little bizarre, you're in the right place.
A Duchess, a baker, a plantation history maker: Meet this coterie of capable ladies of the river, including a duchess defined by her all-suite staterooms; a nationally known chef who has cooked for the likes of Mick Jagger, Lily Tomlin, and Shirley MacLaine; and a Louisiana rebel who saved the history of the Creole plantation that bears her name. You’ll find them all on the waters or near the shores of the mighty Mississippi. FIRST ALL-SUITE PADDLEWHEEL VESSEL
With cruise season here, many folks who love that mode of travel will be taking to the season mega-ships that resemble floating ‘round-the-clock buffets and offer shore excursions too brief to provide a real sense of the destination. Others will opt for vessels and itineraries which provide very different experiences. They include Civil War buffs Tom and Elaine Preston, who take to shore to wander through reconstructed forts and trenches where one of the most important battles of that conflict was fought. Betsy and Andy Cross follow a machete-wielding guide as he clears a path through a dense rainforest that covers an area the size of India. Fun, rather than tropical foliage, attracts Lauren Davis and Jim Goodman to a Go-Kart race track, a ropes course and an exhilarating water slide.
Quebec’s French-Canadian allure is integrated with countless immigrant populations that have made this a prosperous area with an energetic blend of people and cultures. Despite being a family travel writer that lives on the East Coast of the United States, I had never visited our friends to the North. Our family decided it was time to go and explore this stunning area with our children Anna Cecilia (8) and Luca (5). A mere ninety minute flight from our home city of Washington, D.C., we had to find out what marvelous Montréal and it’s Eastern Townships were all about.
Although I would never intentionally seek out a taxi without a windshield, of course, I’m glad the only cab I could find to take me from Santo Domingo de los Colorados in Ecuador to a hummingbird preserve a few miles west didn’t have a windshield, nor windows either for that matter. My two-dented-doors vintage cab made Columbo’s battered old wreck look like a sleek new Jaguar.
It's a most undignified way to roll up to former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's favourite restaurant. We arrive at Lucca, in Sacramento's leafy Midtown, hooting and hollering on one of those 15-person party bikes that resembles a bar on wheels.Usually, Sac Brew Bike's tours hit rambunctious pubs. But, our group has chartered the party bike to peddle the eight blocks from Sac Brew Bike's bar and headquarters to fine-dining Lucca.