Thursday, December 13, 2012


Island of Mallorca

Avenue in Mallorca

I was booked to lecture on the Seabourn Quest late November.  Rather than fly overseas (which we avoid whenever possible), we were lucky to find a Holland America ship departing Fort Lauderdale   Oct. 19 for Rome.  I say lucky because this time of year, cruise ships are coming the other way.  We spent 22 days aboard with stops in Morocco and Spain.  It was our first time visiting the island of Mallorca and we loved it.  It reminded us of Aix en Provence.  

Alanya, Turkey
Alexandria, Egypt
I had learned that NCL Jade was arriving Civitavecchia the same day we did and would be returning 11 days later, so we took our bags and moved across the harbor. That evening we sailed for Turkey, Cyprus, Israel and Egypt.   The weather was good and since we had been in Israel and Egypt last year, we didn't need to do any extensive touring.  I spent most of the time on both ships preparing my lectures and Powerpoint programs for the Seabourn cruise.

Haifa, Israel
The Jade returned to  Civitavecchia the day we were booked on a Grimaldi Ferry for a 20 hour voyage to Barcelona. We boarded that night and to our surprise, it was more like a cruise ship: spotlessly clean with a huge showroom, lovely restaurant, snack bar and cafeteria. The state rooms were small but comfortable.  The best part of the journey was meeting a fabulous family from Australia.  I thought we were adventurous until we met Jeff and Jen and their 12 year old son and 8 year old daughter.  They spent the year traveling all over Europe in a small RV.  
With Frank & Julia in Barcelona

The morning after we arrived in Barcelona, we walked from our hotel to Hotel Arts to meet our friends Frank and Julia from Colorado.  They had flown in the day before to join us on the Seabourn cruise.  It happened to be Julia's 65th birthday and the hotel treated us like royalty inviting us to enjoy champagne and hors d’oeuvres in one of their luxurious suites overlooking the city. 
Martin & Trudy on Seabourn

On Nov. 24 we boarded the Seabourn Quest for a transatlantic crossing during which I gave 8 lectures. Trudy and Martin (friends from last year's World Cruise on Regent) also flew over to join us for the crossing.  The lectures went well and we made many new friends.

We are back in Boca Raton for the week getting ready to fly to Punta Cana for Christmas and New Year's.  Ron and I send you our best wishes for a joyous holiday season. 


Monday, October 8, 2012


Helene in her Greenwich apartment
Brother Jim and nephew Conor
Upon leaving Maine, we began our southward bound journey.  First stop: Greenwich, Connecticut where we stayed overnight with Helene and her husband, Per.  Helene and I met just about this time 50 years ago as college freshmen.  We became sorority sisters, roommates and lifelong friends.  

It wasn't far from Greenwich to North Jersey where we stayed overnight so we could have dinner with my brother Jim and my nephew Conor.  
George & Jeannette in their Charleston home

The next day we drove to Virginia making great time thanks to leaving  the New York metropolitan area early on a Sunday morning.  We spent two nights in Fredricksburg, an historic town a little below Washington D.C. Then it was on to Charleston, South Carolina.  Here we were able to see George and Jeannette, friends we made during our 2002 World Cruise.  They have a big, beautiful home overlooking the Carolina lowlands.
Club Med Infinity pool

Club Med beach
We made it from Charleston all the way to Port St. Lucie, Florida, site of the only Club Med in the States where we enjoyed a relaxing week before returning to the Boca Raton area.  

And so our 8 and 1/2 month, 14,000 mile car trip around the USA came to an end.  We visited or drove across 33 states and stayed in 68  different places.  We thoroughly enjoyed this trip.  Even better than seeing so much of this beautiful country was seeing so many beautiful friends along the way.  

Now we are back in South Florida for a short period getting medical and dental check ups, unpacking and re-packing things in storage.  And I am working on some new lectures for my next speaking engagement.  

October 19, we leave on a 22 day cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Rome, get on another ship to visit Turkey, Cyprus, Israel and Egypt.  When that returns to Rome,  we take an overnight ferry to Barcelona where we will pick up the Seabourn Quest back to Fort Lauderdale.  I will be lecturing on the Seabourn.

I hope to send you a little overview of that when we return in December.  Till then....  Wishing everyone safe journeys.

Monday, September 10, 2012


White Mountains of New Hampshire
Riding ATVs in New Hampshire
Our first stop in New Hampshire was Lebanon, right next to Hanover.  Hanover is a charming town and home of   Dartmouth College.   Then it was on to Lincoln in the  heart of the White Mountains.  Over 100 million years old, they are  part of the Appalachian Chain. The White Mountains were named for the snow that covers them in winter or for the extensive mica deposits in the granite; no one knows for sure.

It wasn't until we arrived in Lincoln that I realized we had been there with our motor-home in the late 90s.  (Either my memory is going or we've traveled a bit too much - maybe both!)  Oh well, it was worth another visit.   The first time, we saw Lost River, Franconia State Park and rode the railroad.  This time, we came to ride ATVs.  How was that?  Let's just say we're glad we did it but won't do again.

To Ron's delight, we re- discovered  Polly's Pancake Parlor.  People flock to this place (outside Lincoln in the middle of nowhere) for their wide variety of delicious pancakes - like corn meal with coconut!  Thought we  deserved to splurge after our wild ATV ride. 

Boothbay Harbor
Camden, Maine
A beautiful ride through the mountains and little New England towns took us into Maine.  First stop: Boothbay Harbor, a popular, scenic little town on the water.  But then just about everything in Maine is on or near water.  The whole state is ocean and inlets and lakes and.... just gorgeous.

Perry's perfect lobster dinner
From there, we drove to Hallowell, a small town right next to Augusta, to visit our friend Perry.  Originally from Maine, he moved back last year so he was the one to show us 'quintessential Maine.'  Camden may be the best example of that.  A beautiful town built around a harbor with Mount Battie in the background.  Then it was on to Rockport.  Perry was the perfect host and I would say that even if he hadn't satisfied my craving for Maine lobster and corn fresh from the farm.
Lobster night with Shirley & Betty

We left Perry after Labor Day and drove down to Wells, Maine to meet  two of my oldest girlfriends.  They drove over from New York's Adirondack Mountains to spend 3 days with us.  It was a gabfest as we caught up on old friends, reminisced about old times and enjoyed another lobster dinner before leaving Maine.

Now, after 8 months on the road, we begin our trip south.  




Sunday, August 26, 2012


Raw food diet class

Irene's flood waters pounded this bridge in Waitsfield

Vermont is among the 10 smallest states in area in the U.S.  With less than 700,000 residents, cows outnumber people 10 to 1.  What it lacks in people and size, it makes up for in beauty.  Lakes, rivers and charming towns cover the Green Mountain state.  We were fortunate to stay in several – Shelburne (just outside Burlington), Montpelier (the only state capital without a McDonald’s), Waitsfield (between Mad River and Sugarbush ski areas), Manchester (with elegant old New England homes) and Chittenden (where we stayed at a lodge on top of a mountain).  
The local swimming hole

It is hard to believe that the most of the state was under water last summer due to Hurricane Irene.  Covered bridges were washed out and roads collapsed.  At one point, every road in Vermont except the 2 major interstate highways were closed due to flooding. It is always amazing and encouraging to see how a land and people rebound from disaster.

View from our room in Manchester
Mountain Top Inn Chittenden

Aside from scenic drives and hikes, we took a class in raw foods one evening.  Many Vermonters are very health conscious, into organic farming and eating.  It is difficult to follow a strict raw food diet on the road but we do our best.  And part of the fun of the class was getting to know some local people.

Along with good weather, we enjoyed staying at several country inns in Vermont.  Now we cross into the neighboring state of New Hampshire.


Friday, August 17, 2012


Tippecanoe restaurant/Studebaker House South Bend
Niagara on the Lake, Ontario Canada
After leaving the Chicago area, we proceeded east via South Bend, Indiana.  While there, we visited the beautiful Notre Dame campus and had lunch at Tippecanoe.  Built in the late 1800's, the 26,000 sq. ft. mansion has 40 rooms and 20 fireplaces.  Now a huge restaurant, it was the showcase home of Clement Studebaker, co-founder of the world's largest wagon manufacturing firm.  Under his sons, the company successfully converted to automobile manufacturing.  

A Tuscan winery on the Niagara on the Lake wine trail
Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks
We then made our way  northeast into Ontario.  We covered Canada from Cape Breton to Vancouver Island in our motorhome but had missed Niagara on the Lake.  Having heard wonderful things about it, we decided to spend a little time there.  It is indeed a charming, idyllic place on the shore of Lake Ontario and surrounded by beautiful vineyards.

Approaching Burlington on the Lake Champlain ferry
Ausable Chasm
Crossing back into New York State, we followed the St. Lawrence Seaway Trail along Lake Ontario, stopping briefly just south of Rochester.  Continuing across New York State, we drove through  the Adirondack Park.  At over 6 million acres, it is the largest park in the contiguous U.S.  Beautiful as it is, we were anxious to get to New England, so we spent just one night at Saranac Lake, had breakfast in Lake Placid (home of the 1982 Winter Olympics) the next morning, made a brief stop at Ausable Chasm, a beautiful 2 mile long sandstone gorge, and proceeded to Lake Champlain and the ferry that would carry us to Burlington, Vermont.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Town readies for July 4 festivities along Mississippi
We were in La Crosse, Wisconsin over 4th of July.  The city is situated on the Mississippi River - the name comes from Indian words meaning Father of Waters. The Mississippi actually starts about 200 miles north of Minneapolis and creates the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin.   Our hotel overlooked the river which runs 2,352 miles down to the Gulf of Mexico and is used by 60% of all North American bird species as a migratory flyway.  Barges run up and down the waterway, each carrying the equivalent 58 semi truck trailers.  One barge carries enough wheat to make 2.25 million loaves of bread.  
Stone cottages in Mineral Point
From there, we drove through miles and miles of farmland to Mineral Point, Wisconsin.  This was during the height of the heat wave and we saw endless acres of corn gradually turning brown. Mineral Point is reminiscent of a small English village thanks to an influx of miners from Cornwall, England in the early 1800s.  Skilled in hard rock mining and stone masonry, they came to the area to mine the rich mineral deposits.  Now the population is less than 3,000 but at one time, more people lived here than in Milwaukee and Chicago combined. 

Scott & Ann at their dental office
We moved on to Delafield, Wisconsin and had a wonderful week at the Delafield Hotel.  The hotel is lovely, quite new but built to reflect the colonial era.   In fact, the whole town has a colonial flavor.  Our friends, Ann and Scott, came up over the weekend.  On our way to Chicago, we stopped to see them at Scott's beautiful, new dental office.  He wanted a set of x-rays in case we ever have a problem during our travels.  What a friend!
Trudy in her elegant Chicago apartment

Out on the town: Trudy, Scott, Geri, Ann, Ron
We continued into Chicago
to spend a few days with Trudy, another friend from the 2011 World Cruise.  What a magnificent apartment she has on Lake Shore Drive.  Ann and Scott joined us one night and the 5 of us had a great night out.  Another World Cruise friend, Alan, was in town from Colorado so we got to spend some time with him as well.

Caroline, Nick, Clare & Norman (with ball in mouth)
We relocated to a suburb of Chicago in order to see a girlfriend I had not seen in over 40 years.  That's a lot to catch up on!  And, we were able to spend some time with our niece Caroline and her family who had just moved to Evanston so she can obtain her Master's degree at Northwestern.   

This has been a very social segment of our journey.  As I have said before, one of the best aspects of this trip is seeing friends we met on our travels who live scattered across the country.  We feel so fortunate to know so many lovely, fun and interesting people.

BOOK NEWS: I am working on a new book called "The Relationship Handbook."  If interested, you can read excerpts on my website

Monday, July 2, 2012


Trail End
Frank and Julia
With 46 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, Sheridan, Wyoming  is proud of its heritage.  Walking Main Street, it is easy to picture the town 100 years ago.   On the hill, overlooking town is Trail End, former home of John Kendrick, a cattle baron, governor and U.S. senator.  Completed in 1913 at the cost of $164,000, it would cost millions today.  

Best part of our stop here was that Julia and Frank, our good friends from Fort Collins, Colorado spent a couple of days with us on their way to Montana. 
Crazy Horse Monument

Leaving Wyoming, we  entered the Black Hills  of South Dakota, so named because the dark green pines seen from a distance look black.  Don’t be fooled.  The area is green and gorgeous. 

Crazy Horse Model
All of Mount Rushmore would fit in
section behind his face
 We spent 3 days in the town of Custer named after Lt. Col.  George Armstrong Custer who led the first gold expedition into the Black Hills and was later killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn in southeast Montana.  After unpacking the car, we headed to the Crazy Horse Memorial.  When Mount Rushmore Memorial was created in their homeland, elders of the Lakota Indian Tribe approached sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski.  Saying, “the red man has great heroes also,” they asked him to carve the likeness of Crazy Horse into a mountain in the Black Hills.  Korczak agreed, moved west and spent the rest of his life on the project.  It broke ground in 1948.  Although he died in 1982, most of his 10 children continue the work today.

Got food?
The next 2 days we explored Custer State Park, surely one of the most beautiful parks in the country.  The first day, we drove the Wildlife Loop.  We saw sheep, pronghorns and friendly burros who come up to the car hoping for a handout.  But aside from 2 bison in the distance, we were frustrated that none of the herd of 1,300 the park boasts were to be found.  Then, on our final leg, we rounded a curve and a buffalo was grazing right by the curb.  He could not have been more than 10’ from the car as I took pictures.  

One of a herd of 1,300 in the park
Buffalo are huge animals. They can be 6’ tall and weigh over 2,000 pounds.  It is estimated that 30 – 60 million roamed the Great Plains of North America when Columbus discovered America.  The Indians used every part of the buffalo.  Aside from food, it provided material for clothing, shelter and tools.  They called him Tatonka and believed he symbolized the Great Spirit since he provided so much that sustained them.  By the late 1880s, bison were practically extinct.  A few individuals led the charge to preserve the animal.  Between parks and private herds, there are presently about 60,000 in the country. 
One of the wider tunnels
The eye of the needle
Sylvan Lake
The next day we drove the  endless curves and narrow tunnels of Needles Highway (so named because of granite peaks formed up to 2 billion years ago) and Iron Mountain Road.   We took a break at Sylvan Lake and hiked the trail around the lake.  Then it was on to nearby  Keystone to see Mount Rushmore.
 Everyone has seen pictures of this national monument but to see it in person is quite breathtaking.  The faces of the 4 presidents - Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Lincoln - are 60 feet tall.  Washington has the longest nose at 21 feet; the others are 20 feet long.   As with Crazy Horse, most of the work is done with dynamite, blasting the stone away to within 2 inches of the finished surface.  Unlike Crazy Horse, Mt. Rushmore was created between 1927 and 1941, and only 6 years involved actual carving.  The difference is that Crazy Horse refuses government funds and employs only 12 full time workers on the mountain; it may forever be a work in progress.  Gutzon Borglum, the man who carved the Confederate Memorial on Stone Mountain in Georgia was the master artist behind Mount Rushmore.  Believe it or not, the project originated with the hope of drawing tourists to the Black Hills.  Did it ever succeed!  
Auto mania downtown Sioux Falls
The falls in Sioux Falls
 Our final stop in South Dakota was Sioux Falls.  With about 170,000 population, it is the biggest city in the state.  It has a very nice downtown which was filled to overflowing one night with car enthusiasts and their old, restored autos.  Falls Park, created around the namesake falls on the Sioux river, were created about 14,000 years ago during the last Ice Age and are a series of falls cascading over pink quartzite rocks.
The falls in Sioux Falls
Now we will cross Minnesota into Wisconsin.

TRAVEL TIP: If you do go to the Black Hills, plan to stay in Custer not Keystone.  It is much more convenient for visiting the state park and Crazy Horse, and easy to get to Mount Rushmore.