150th anniversary: Celebrating the life of Lincoln

Wednesday marks the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln’s assassination in Washington, DC. In a piece published today on USAToday.com, I wrote about following in his footsteps, from a travel perspective.

Butterfly gardens are all aflutter year-round

I’m thrilled that my latest piece for USAToday.com is online – all about butterfly gardens across the U.S.! Click here to read the piece, and start planning your trip to see these delicate yet determined insects.

Pamper Mom This Mother’s Day

It’s that time of the year again, when we set aside a day to thank our moms for everything they do and have done for us. Though we should thank our moms more often, this is the perfect time to pamper your mom and show her how much you care. Continue reading “Pamper Mom This Mother’s Day”

Art, to the Max

A never-before-seen collection of Peter Max’s vibrant artwork is now on exhibit – and available for purchase! – at Syd Entel Galleries in Safety Harbor, just outside Tampa. “Peter Max – A Retrospective 1960 – 2013” was curated by the artist himself, and includes some of his iconic Pop Art designs, as well as new works featuring Marilyn Monroe. Peter Max will be at Syd Entel Galleries this weekend to meet and greet, and talk about his work. Continue reading “Art, to the Max”

the other side of new orleans


credit NewOrleans.com
credit NewOrleans.com

Walking through the sun-lit streets of New Orleans, there’s a feeling in the air that you just can’t put your finger on. Whether window shopping along Magazine Street, strolling through the Garden District, carefully making your way along the cobbled streets of the French Quarter, or riding an historic streetcar from one end of town to the other, the feeling follows you. Continue reading “the other side of new orleans”

holiday travlin’ deals










updated Dec. 18, 2013


The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa

  • Fire & Ice: package includes overnight accommodations, two tickets to Fire & Ice, kids eat free and more. Valid through January 2, 2014. Rates from $179/night; rate code FIREICE.


The Chesterfield Palm Beach

  • Home for the Holidays: package includes two nights’ accommodations, daily traditional English breakfast, a personal mixology lesson and pre-packaged beach supplies. Valid through December 30, 2013. Rates from $234/night.

Gaylord Palms Resort (Orlando)

  • The Christmassy DreamWorks Experience: package includes overnight accommodations, tickets to ICE!, character meet & greet, character breakfast, scavenger hunt and more. Valid through January 5, 2014. Rates from $223/night.
  • Christmas at Gaylord Palms: package includes overnight accommodations, tickets to ICE!, character meet and greet, and more. Valid through January 5, 2014. Rates from $183/night.


JW Marriott Chicago

  • Night at the Nutcracker: package includes overnight accommodations, hot chocolate night cap, ballerina welcome cookies, breakfast for two, two VIP tickets to the “Nutcracker” Ballet and swag bag. Valid through December 28, 2013. Rates from $475; rate code ZZLO.


Courtyard New Orleans Downtown/Iberville

  • Papa Noel Rates: start at $99/night. Valid through December 30, 2013. Promo code HOL.

Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans

  • Papa Noel Rate: starting at $199/night, includes complimentary welcome cocktails and discounted overnight valet parking. Valid through December 31, 2013.

Sheraton New Orleans

  • Enjoy 30% off Sunday – Thursday stays, and 15% off Friday and Saturday stays. Rates from $90/night. Rate plan PAPA NOEL. Valid December 22 – 26, 2013.

Windsor Court Hotel

  • 20% off best available rate; valid Sunday through Thursday. 10% off best available rate; valid Friday and Saturday. Valid through January 13, 2014 (blackout dates apply).


Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa

  • Ozark Mountain Christmas Package: includes two nights’ accommodations, $50 food and beverage credit, two-day tickets for two adults to Silver Dollar City theme park and more. Rates from $362. Valid through December 30, 2013.

New York

Waldorf Astoria New York

  • Tower Suite rates begin at $699/night; Presidential-style and Historic Suites start at $1,499/night. Valid through December 30, 2013.

Wolcott Hotel

  • Rates starting at $150/night. Valid through December 30, 2013.


JW Hill Country

  • JW Illumination features hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights choreographed to holiday music. In addition, holiday-themed activities such as the Gingerbread Craft Workshop, JW Sounds of the Season with carolers, Polar Plunge, Elf tuck-in and more. Valid through December 31, 2013. Rates from $170/night.


CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort and Spa

  • Stay for Breakfast: package includes overnight accommodations and breakfast for two. Rates from $159/night. Valid through January 31, 2014.
  • Christmas Dining Package: includes overnight accommodations, breakfast for two, and choice of lunch or dinner for two (alcoholic beverages not included). Rates from $315/night. Valid December 20 – 26, 2013.
  • New Year’s Eve Dining Package: includes overnight accommodations, breakfast for two, and choice of lunch or dinner for two (alcoholic beverages not included). Rates from $315/night. Valid December 27, 2013 through January 1, 2014.


Koro Sun Resort

  • Holidays On Island Time: package includes seven nights’ accommodations, three gourmet meals daily, resort activities, ground transportation, $200 resort or air credit (Island Hoppers) and more. Book by November 25 and receive complimentary room upgrade (based on availability). Valid for travel through March 31, 2014. Rates from $2,109/couple.

Let the Good Times Roll at the Super Bowl in the Big Easy

Superbowl 2013

Time spent in New Orleans is always fun-filled, what with the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, incredible dining and the all-around revelries that can be found year-round. When the Super Bowl comes to NOLA, everything kicks up a notch, to take a note from the city’s favorite son.

To help plan your time in the Crescent City, here are a few tips from Fodor’s and The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans.

You may want to go ahead and make reservations at these top restaurants as named by Fodor’s: Bayona in the French Quarter, featuring Chef Susan Spicer; Boucherie in uptown with Chef Nathanial Zimet; and Domenica in the Central Business District featuring local celebrity chef John Besh.

When night falls, or any time at all, really, check out these Fodor’s hot spots: Columns Hotel for a bit of romance; Jazz at Preservation Hall, a tradition since the 1920s; or roll the dice at Harrah’s Casino.

Fortunately, for those who party a bit too much, The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans is ready to offer everything you need to get back on your feet, fueled and back into the game.

M Bistro is offering gridiron-inspired dishes such as Fourth Down French Toast, The Big Easy Burger and Breesy Beefy Mac. If you’re up and moving during breakfast hours, the Big Easy Breakfast Buffet will fuel you up before hitting the field, or streets as the case may be.

The Recovery Concierge will be available in the Davenport Lounge, ready to help you recover and get ready to do it all over again. Smoothies, Bloody Marys and Cure Royals will be poured and ready to sip at your leisure. If you’re staying at the Ritz and would rather not leave your room, the in-room dining menu goes Late Night Tailgate, featuring wings, burgers, hot dogs and pizza to keep the tailgating long into the night.Ready for some spa time? Football infiltrates the treatment rooms, too, with the Four Quarter Four Hand Massage and MVP Mani/Pedi.

However you spend your time during the big game, Fodor’s and the Ritz-Carlton are ready to get you through the festive weekend. For more ideas, check out Fodor’s New Orleans Travel Guide.