Posts

Showing posts from 2008

Taj Hotel

Image
As I view and help out with the coverage of the hotel tragedy in India today, I am reminded of something travel maven Peter Greenberg said a few years back when I saw him. Peter stressed how vulnerable hotels are. Unfortunately we are seeing this vulnerability in India.

My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families involved in this awful incident.

Charleston folks come to town for a great visit

Image
The Charleston, South Carolina CVB and friends were in town. They held an excellent function at Atlanta's Insperience studio where they cooked great Lowcountry cuisine. I promise to visit soon and come out with some features for Men's Traveler.

Great lodging in Chattanooga

On a recent trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee, I rediscovered The Chattanoogan Hotel. Check out my story on Men's Traveler.

Chicago has magnificent neighborhoods

Just as Senator Obama wrapped up his acceptance speech, we had Chicago on our minds. This week's cover story is a feature on the Windy City's neighborhoods. Read all about Chicago's neighborhoods on Men's Traveler.
Plus, there are some great deals at the top of the page.

The Emerald Coast

I have a new In The Spotlight this week at Men's Traveler. It's a feature on Florida's Panhandle.

All inclusives are a great deal

Now that I know I have time around Christmas to get away, I'm looking to plan my next winter vacation. I have a few suggestions in a feature on all inclusive vacations on Men's Traveler

Good BBQ in South Carolina

I was thinking about a recent Anthony Bourdain program when he visited South Carolina. It inspired me to produce this week's cover story on Men's Traveler


Driving to SC for good Q is a real treat for us. Indeed we have some good places in the ATL and the Southeast, but there is something about SC's history and dedication to the art of cooking Q. If you happen to be in our part of the U.S. (the Southeast), try to take a trip throughout South Carolina -- especially the Old 96 district and Olde English district .

Mojitos visit

Yes, I raved about Norcross, Georgia's Mojitos before. I must give another shout-out again. We visited again on Saturday. This time I was treated to their Elena Ruth sandwich. The Elena Ruth is Mojitos' house specialty and consists of: Roast turkey, cream cheese and strawberry preserves on toasted sweet bread. The result: Yummy!

Virginia is for lovers

The 30th anniversary of my family's Virginia trip is mentioned in my latest feature on Men's Traveler

Also, more material is available on my Tales from the Corners blog. Don't worry big brother, local issues are discussed :-)

Early August Weekend

This weekend was a whirlwind. We took a quick day trip up to Chattanooga and check out its south side area. Unlike Atlanta, Chattanooga is revitalizing old buildings. The area is now beginning to offer cool shops and lofts.

When we were returning to the ATL, we were greeted by some nasty weather on the horizon. We followed the big storm down I-75. When we got to the area, we heard about huge oak trees that fell and knocked out power to thousands of Georgia Power customers.

On Sunday morning, I was surprised by the appearance of my last column for the AJC Gwinnett. The section will be gone after next week. In the future I might contribute to the main section. Note to Big Brother, I'll always write about local issues so I can avoid so-called "conflicts." No worries: I don't have an axe to grind with your or the president. As one can tell, I'm getting into the county issues. Hmmm, I'm wondering if I ought to join the planning commission.

Awesome eating near Raleigh

When I was in the Raleigh area last spring, I was completely floored with the Umstead Hotel in nearby Cary. Out of all of the places where I stayed, I confess that I wanted more than one night in this classy hotel. With an infinity pool, uber-spa and service that spoils you, I highly recommend this property.

While I was impressed with its Heron's, the hotel's restaurant, I knew that it was trying to "find its voice." Recently, Heron's has discovered its niche. Read all about it in the Good Eating section on Men's Traveler.

Things are heating up in J-Ville

Jacksonville, Florida has some hot, hot, hot deals this summer. If you get a chance, hop on down to J-Ville for some smooth jazz. All of the details are in The Latest section on Men's Traveler

Also, check out the new video of grape stomping at Montaluce Winery on this YouTube cut.

"Intoxicating" Lake Toxaway's Greystone Inn to offer world-class golf

Lake Toxaway remains as one of my favorite trips in recent years. It was here where I went water tubing and had a blast! Yes, I did lose my favorite pair of sunglasses on the pristine lake, but the experience was well worth it. Now, the lake's top-notch property, the Greystone Inn, will be offering golf opportunities. Check it out on Men's Traveler in the Golf section.



Interview with Doc Lawrence

I have a new interview posted on Men's Traveler with Doc Lawrence. The travel/wine/food lecturer talks about his favorite places in the world.

The Ultimate Golf Experience

Are you looking for the ultimate golf trip experience? Check out what Pinehurst, North Carolina has to offer in The Latest section on Men's Traveler.

In other news, I recently participated in a pub crawl in Atlanta's Virginia Highland. I highly recommend Hand in Hand, an English restaurant. I haven't been in this building since it was the St. Charles Deli in the early 1990s. Other VA-Highland staples seem to be thriving including Murphy's, which is one of my old favorites. If you happen to live in the ATL or will be here in a trip or layover, get over to the Highlands.

I'm on GoNomad and other observations

My Greenville, South Carolina piece is appearing on Go Nomad
Their wonderful editor Max posted this weeks ago. Thanks Max! I hope to bring Men's Traveler up to that level.

Also, I had a wonderful time at the Cosmo Lava Lounge in Atlanta at a recent networking event. This was another successful Great Impact Communication event hosted by the legendary Nadia Bilchik

Delightful Dahlonega

Image
Visit Men's Traveler to see what's In the Spotlight. This week, I visited Dahlonega, a small town in North Georgia. Dahlonega was part of my stay-cation week which was relaxing. I'll be adding more trips close to my home in Georgia in the next few weeks. Yes,I felt the economic pinch on these trips with rising fuel costs, but the destinations are affordable and that in itself save me serious cash.


July Fourth

As part of my staycation this past week, I spent some time in Lawrenceville, GA. Lawrenceville, the county seat of Georgia's Gwinnett County held its annual Gwinnett Glows on its historic town square. It's been years since we attended this function which was held at the modern county courthouse at that time. With temperatures soaring, we found relief in nearby shops on the town square as well as a magic show inside the historic courthouse. Carey Huddlestun of Really Good Magic put on such a great show, one dad in the audience was more than amazed as he blurted out how much he loved Huddlestun with laughter and gusto every five minutes.
Many of the food stands were busy as well as nearby eateries. We opted to hit Cosmo's Original Little Italy. The food was great and the service was even better. This once-sleepy town has come alive on its historic square. Lawrenceville's fireworks display was first-rate this year. The biggest bummer was trying to get out of there after…

The Latest at Men's Traveler

Hey folks,

I just added some new material in the Golf section and the following item in The Latest section:

The ribbon has just been cut to open the third leg of one of southwest Florida ’s most acclaimed nature-based attractions, the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail – nearly doubling the size to 190 miles. This latest phase will introduce paddlers to the Caloosahatchee River ’s creeks and meandering waters.

Stay-cation

This week I'm all about "staycations." I'll post some information about destinations in the Atlanta area including beautiful downtown Norcross and Lawrenceville. Also, new restaurants in the Good Eating section on Men's Traveler

In The Spotlight: Jimmy Baron

I have a new "In The Spotlight" feature in Men's Traveler. This week, Atlanta radio legend Jimmy Baron supplies Men's Traveler with his favorite vacation destinations. Check it out at Men's Traveler

The MARTA Chronicles

From time to time, I ride Atlanta's rail transit. This morning was the first time I got on since my Little Rock trip in June 2008 (I took MARTA to the airport). I'm writing this short post because a fellow rider recently wrote an opinion editorial in Atlanta's newspaper -- The Atlanta Journal Constitution -- about how the system failed her one day. Yes, in my 19 years here, it has happened to me on a few occasions, but for the most part, MARTA saves me on gas and frustration.

This morning I had the opportunity to finish David Sedaris' new book When You Are Engulfed In Flames. I'm bringing this book up in the travel blog because Sedaris not only does a great job at hilarious storytelling, but he brings up descriptions of locations including Paris and Tokyo. After readingWhen You Are Engulfed In Flames, I seriously need to get to Tokyo and even Hiroshima! If you want an excellent summer read, pick up this new volume.

More Little Rock and Hot Springs videos

Here are some more videos from my June 2008 trip to Little Rock, Arkansas. This is a walk-through at Garvan Gardens:





The Rankin Brothers perform Simon and Garfunkel's "Sounds of Silence."

Video from Arkansas

I'm still getting around to posting more material from the Arkansas trip. In this entry I have some still images and video.



We had great musical entertainment at the Society of American Travel Writers meeting at the Peabody Hotel. This is the Rankin Brothers who perform in Branson, Missouri. For info, visit The Rankin Brothers





The upload tool on this blog is quite slow. It's a bit faster on my YouTube page. The following isn't much, but it gives you the idea that the water in Hot Springs is indeed hot -- notice the steam.







New column out today-June 11

I have a new AJC op-ed out today. Check Here's hoping the stadium is green out.


My recent observations on Little Rock are mentioned in the article.

Arkansas additional photos

Image
I had a few moments to upload more of my Arkansas material. Be sure to visit my Men's Traveler site http://www.menstraveler.com to view even more photos in my Arkansas article.







Stained glass ceiling at the Fordyce Bathhouse in Hot Springs.


Here are some more photos from the recent SATW chapter meeting in Little Rock:






Musical entertainment at Little Rock's Peabody Hotel in their Riverview Room, a great facility for breakfast meetings.

Little Rock - last half of trip

Image
Cathedral at Garvan Gardens


Blackened Ribeye over Mashed Potatoes at Acadia in Midtown Little Rock, Arkansas


Little Rock rocks. That pretty much sums it up. This once-sleepy Arkansas town is booming with great shops, restaurants and world-class hotels. The folks at restaurants like Acadia, Ferneau, So and the Copper Grill and Grocery are incredibly talented. If you drive through or find yourself on a layover, make your way to the downtown area which features the Old Statehouse, the Peabody Hotel and the Clinton Presidential Library.




Mary Beth Ringgold, one of the owner/chefs at Little Rock's Copper Grill and Grocery.





Lil Arkansas girl at Copper Grill and Grocery.






Home of the minor league Arkansas Travelers.


Please visit Men's Traveler:

http://menstraveler.com


LR Day Two

Image
I'm having a blast in Little Rock! This is a great walkable city with a "grid-like" pattern. In the heat of the day, I took a stroll over the bridge from the Peabody Hotel to North Little Rock, home to actor Ted ("Cheers") Danson's wife Mary Steenburgen.

Later on in the day, the SATW (Society of American Travel Writers) group held their Marketplace at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. It is a massive shrine to the 42nd president.

Tomorrow it's off to Hot Springs!

Be sure to see my full stories on my new site:

http://menstraveler.com

Little Rock -- Day One aka "LR"

I just arrived in Little Rock on this rather hot and muggy day. The temperature is about the same as Atlanta. There is a breeze which makes it feel like the back end of an air conditioner unit.

My American Eagle flight arrived without hassle into LR's aiport. The kind folks at the Convention and Visitor's Bureau had everything worked out. I was quickly whisked into downtown via limo service.

LR is similar to the ATL in its look. Many downtown buildings are boarded up, but the difference here is that the city fathers are on the ground floor with a major renovation. I wish I could say the same for the ATL. OK, we do have some bright spots in ATL's downtown even with the reminder of March's tornado, but LR is off and running. I really think I'm going to enjoy my week here.

In other news, please visit my main Men's Traveler site which is now up and running. After this trip, I will definitely have more material.

Please visit:

http://menstraveler.com

Fun meets function at Atlanta restaurants

Whether you live or travel to Atlanta, it's guaranteed that you will find quality dining. Here is a link to my feature on how some of the ATL's great chefs work with their favorite equipment:



Restaurant Forum magazine - September 2007


Charleston and Amelia Island

I just released a new contribution to The Chattanoogan . It is an article on Charleston, South Carolina and Amelia Island, Florida.




My Men's Traveler site contains this article as well.



Pennsylvania Dutch Country

My Pennsylvania Dutch Country feature on Speedwell Forge Bed and Breakfast is on my new Bed and Breakfast page .

If you're looking for something different, check this part of the country out. It is a step back in time.


Watch the latest videos on YouTube.com

Travel Georgia

Image
From Augusta to Gainesville, the state of Georgia has so much to offer.

Awesome Augusta

More than just an annual gathering for the Masters Tournament and a "pass-through" to Charleston, Augusta is becoming a vacation destination.

Over the past few years, this once-sleepy town on the Savannah River has become a vibrant bed of activity with a revitalized downtown that features the Riverwalk, a spruced-up area of greenspace that features a path that runs alongside the river and a modern amphitheater.

Augusta is a hit with music lovers like me. I enjoyed strolling down James Brown Boulevard, which features a statue of the music legend. Just seeing this replica of Brown reminded me of the time I literally bumped into to the Godfather of Soul. I said, "Hi," and he replied with his trademark, "Ha!" behind his dark sunglasses.

While I was in awe of anything that had to do with James Brown, my family was impressed with the Augusta Museum of History and Fort Discover…

Ignoring Transportation

I wrote an op-ed on the transportation situation in the Atlanta metropolitan area:

AJC Gwinnett News

Indeed this is a local piece, but it reiterates the point that the metro area can become a tourist destination if it would get its act together on transportation.

Charlotte is booming

Image
Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. Photo By Robert J. Nebel





The Carlotte article is up and running at Men's Traveler

I recently spent some time there at the Embassy Suites in nearby Concord.

Cool on the coast

My California feature which contains my trip to the Channel Islands, LA, Ventura and Marina del Ray is up and running on my Beaches page.

When it's boiling in my hometown of Atlanta, I always think back to this trip.

Condos. Cutting-edge restaurants. Trendy shopping.

There’s a whole other side to Orlando beside the massive Disney World in nearby Lake Buena Vista. If the ordinary Disney trip doesn’t interest you this year, try an extraordinary visit to Orlando and its neighborhoods. You’ll quickly learn that the area is full of historic districts and ethnic diversity.

(more)

Travelers rediscovering the other side of Mexico

Despite social turmoil in the past, Oaxaca City, Mexico is making a comeback.
Oaxaca City, the lively capital of the Mexican state that shares its name, was once overlooked by travelers who favored resort towns like Acapulco and Cancun.
The city’s year-round mild climate and relatively remote location — it’s nestled among the Sierra Madre del Sur mountains on Mexico’s Pacific coast — are helping to bring this exotic vacation destination into the spotlight.

Oaxaca City offers a special blend of history

Pronounced “Wa-Ha-Ca,” the grid-like city has a blend of prehistoric, modern and colonial styles. Much of the city’s feel was influenced by the Spaniards, who conquered the city in 1533.

Baroque architecture is prominent in Oaxaca City and can be found in its zocalo, or city center. The Iglesia del Santo Domingo, built in 1608, is a perfect example of the baroque style. While you’re there, check out the attached museum. Gold artifacts culled from the nearby Monte Alban archaeological site are…

Charleston is charming

As I was heading into downtown Charleston, I was greeted by a pounding rainstorm that was occurring under the watchful gaze of the sun. I was to never see this type of liquid sunshine during my week stay here. What did remain was the humidity, but it didn't matter. The charm of this coastal paradise offset the weather's behavior.

It has been quite a while since I visited downtown Charleston. My last visit was in early 1994 when I stayed at the Ansonborough Inn on Hassell Street for a two-week assignment covering events at the Citadel. That was not a bad gig. I stayed in a spacious room with all of the amenities. A Harris Teeter grocery store was next door so that I could cook up a feast in my room. When I didn't want to slave over a stove, I had the chance to dine on some of the best seafood in the country at places like Hyman's. I raved about Charleston's epicurean delights for years to come. Little did I realize that Charleston would build upon …