Saturday, March 6, 2021

Amelia Island, Florida

One of the first places to greet you upon entering Florida (via I-95) is a wonderful Old Florida town.  Part of the Sea Islands Chain on Florida's Atlantic Coast, Amelia Island is reminiscent of a bygone era. It is rich in history. Eight flags have flown over the Island. With beautiful beaches and one of the deepest ports on the Southeast Coast, this was a safe haven for pirates and explorers alike. The oldest saloon and lighthouse in Florida were also on Amelia Island.

Fernandina Beach, located on Amelia Island, is the northernmost city on Florida's Atlantic Coast. Stroll the quaint downtown with streets lined with shops and restaurants.


David Yulee, Former Senator and Visionary, greets visitors at the Welcome Center.

A few "not to miss" dining experiences -

Cafe Karibo

Espana Restaurant & Tapas


Front Street offers beautiful views for both nature and boat lovers.


Amelia Island has all the charms of the Sunshine State, minus the crowds and tourist trap feel.

If your goal is to relax on the beach, play golf, shop, and eat very very well (over 40 restaurants in a 13 mile stretch!) then add this place to your bucket list!


 Safe & Happy Travels.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Helen, Georgia - Bavarian Christmas without a Passport

Nestled in the Northeast Georgia mountains, the small town of Helen, GA is a not so hidden gem. Tourists flock to Helen for Oktoberfest, wine festivals and more. But, I think the perfect time to visit is during the holidays. The Bavarian inspired buildings occupy around 2.1 square miles, and are filled with Christmas spirit and European charm.

The history of Helen is a testament to ingenuity based on necessity. Helen rose from a logging town to reinvent itself into the third most visited city in Georgia. In 1969, an idea to turn Helen into a Bavarian inspired getaway was formed. German inspired facades, restaurants and themes transformed the town.With a population of only around 500 residents, the town welcomes around 3 million visitors a year.


For a perfect weekend getaway, add a visit to Tallulah Falls, visit the nearby State Parks, and enjoy the many trails and mountain hikes.   


Safe & Happy Travels!

Monday, July 27, 2020

The Best Maryland Crab Cakes

I realize this title might incite strong feelings in some crab cake aficionados.
So, I will say that these are the very best crab cakes that I have ever tasted. 

If you are in Baltimore, visit G&M Restaurant. You will not be disappointed.
Founded in 1974, G&M began as a pizza shop. The menu evolved over time to include seafood.

Since 1999, G&M crab cakes have won countless awards, and are recognized all over Maryland and the US as the best.

The best part - they ship crab cakes overnight to all 50 states! 

Also, the attached bakery is not to be missed. Cakes, pies, cookies & more.


So, the next time you are in Baltimore, be sure to visit G&M. It is a short ride from BWI.

If you cannot make it there, order crab cakes online and they will come to you!



Sunday, March 29, 2020

Real ID - Deadline Changed

A lot of people are not traveling right now. But, there is plenty you can still do to prepare for traveling to come. Aside from reading guidebooks and watching travel documentaries/shows, you can ensure you are Real ID compliant.

The Department of Homeland Security has extended the deadline due to the Corona Virus Pandemic. The new deadline is now 10/01/2021. At that time, passengers will need to have Real ID on their driver's license for domestic flights.

If you do not have yours, you can start the process online by completing the Real ID application form. Visit your State's DMV site. Although not required, this should save time when you visit the DMV in person to complete your application.

According to DHS: 

"Visit your state’s driver’s licensing agency website to find out exactly what documentation is required to obtain a REAL ID.  At a minimum, you must provide documentation showing:  1) Full Legal Name; 2) Date of Birth; 3) Social Security Number; 4) Two Proofs of Address of Principal Residence; and 5) Lawful Status."

If you are not sure if you have Real ID, check the top right of your Driver's License.
You should have a gold or black star. 

Do not forget that you can make an appointment at the DMV to save time!

Bring required documents so they can be used as proof of ID and scanned.
There is a fee (varies by State) unless you are renewing your Driver's License at the time of issuance.

A little preparation saves headaches and delays. Get ready now for travels to come.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Sebastian Inlet State Park, Florida

Sebastian Inlet State Park is located in Brevard County, Florida.
It stretches over three miles of barrier island and spans 1,000 acres.

Sebastian Inlet has a long history of failed attempts to open and maintain the man-made cut through.  Today, it is a standing testament to human persistence and ingenuity.

Visitors can enjoy Swimming, Surfing, Snorkeling, Paddling along its Beaches.

Camping (electricity, water), Picnic areas, grills, showers other amenities make staying here comfortable.

Do not miss bird watching, manatee and turtle nests and other wildlife experiences.

Walk and bike along relaxing trails.

Great Beach, River and Inlet fishing is available. There is a fishing cleaning station, for convenience.

If you are looking for a family vacation, weekend getaway, or day trip, Sebastian Inlet is a beautiful escape.

Happy Traveling.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Porto, Portugal

Porto, the second largest city in Portugal, is located in Northern Portugal.
It is situated along the Duoro River, and is well known for its beautiful vineyards and world famous Port wine. There are many blogs that cover these areas. If you are not interested in wine, or are short on time, here are some Porto essentials for your itinerary.

Dating back to 300 BC, Porto is rich in history and beautiful architecture.

Historic Center - recognized as a World Heritage Site, it is very walkable.

Azulejo tiles can be found all over Porto. These tiles were initially brought over from Seville in the 15h century.


Porto is known as the City of Bridges. The most famous was built by a disciple of Gustave Eiffel. It has two levels where pedestrians can walk, along with the metro and car traffic.
Walk the bridge for the best views of Porto. Cross the Duoro River and spend the afternoon in Vila Nova de Gaia.

Portugal is also known for the food. There are many iconic Portuguese dishes. The almond tart is a must try.

Perhaps the most famous pastry is the Pasteis de Nata. This delighful egg custard is served warm with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top.

If you are craving chocolate, be sure to stop by Chocolataria Equador, This artisan chocolate shop is amazing.

Pedro dos Frangos is an institution in Porto. Be prepared to wait in line for this comfort food destination.

Lastly, a must-see for a unique experience in Porto is the Livraria Lello bookstore.  It is over 100 years old, and one of the most beautiful bookstores in the World.  Also, it is considered to be the inspiration of J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter books. Visit this tiny dynamo in the Fall or Winter. Summer brings crowds of 4,000-5,000 daily.

Porto is an amazing city that has so much to offer. Friendly people, amazing food and sites. This affordable and accessible city will call you from Lisbon again and again.

Happy Travels.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Sintra, Portugal

Sintra, Portugal is a charming town close to Lisbon. It makes for a great day trip. In around 40 short minutes via train ride, you will arrive in an idyllic location that was favored as a sanctuary for Royalty. Beautiful palaces and villas dot Sintra's landscape.

Getting to Sintra from Lisbon is easy. Trains run around every 30 minutes from Lisbon's Rossio station. This station is known for its architectural detail, and is used exclusively for routes to/from Sintra. The cost one-way is around five euros at this writing.

Sintra's city center is a short ten minute walk from the train station.

Câmara Municipal de Sintra "Sintra Town Hall"

Sintra has palaces, beaches and so much to see. If you have limited time, put the Pena Palace and Quinta da Regaleira at the top of your list.

Pena Palace is a magical place that looks like it appeared out a fairy tale. After changing hands many times, it was King Ferdinand was credited with adding the myriad of eclectic styles during its restoration under his ownership.

When the fog rolls in, the grounds take on a mythical feel.

Quinta da Regaleira

This World Heritage site boasts grounds that include gardens, lakes, grottoes, a waterfall, a chapel, and more.

The Regaleira Palace 

The Fountain of Abundance

The Initiation Well

The Castelo dos Mouros-, The Castle of the Moors
The influence of the Moors in Portugal can be seen perched high above.

This resort town is full of wonders that you should definitely include during your Portugal adventure.

Happy Traveling!