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Travel Tips Around The World

Sep 25 2017

Things to Do on Kauai's North Shore

Category: Best Of | Favorites | General | Itineraries | Lists | Sightseeingkmaxwell @ 05:23

Known as "the Garden Isle" thanks to the lush tropical forest covering much of its 562.3 sq mi of terrain, Kauai has been featured in more than 70 Hollywood movies and TV shows—in large part for the breathtaking beauty of its dramatic peaks, scenic waterfalls and stunning canyons.

If you're lucky enough to visit this peaceful island in the middle of the Pacific, consider adding the following sights and activities to your itinerary:

Kilauea Lighthouse

This century-old lighthouse situated on a rocky peninsula 180 ft above the ocean is located in the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, a protected breeding ground for many Hawaiian seabirds. Placards along the walkway provide information on wildlife visible from the point, including the red-tailed tropicbird (koa'e 'ula), Layson albatross (moli), great frigatebird ('iwa) and more.

Tours are offered, but times vary based on availability of staff and volunteers. The refuge is open 10 am-4 pm Tuesday-Saturday.

Kilauea Lighthouse from the lookout point

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Aug 7 2017

A Day in Austin, Texas

Category: Best Of | Favorites | General | Itineraries | Sightseeingkmaxwell @ 09:34

As the fastest-growing large city in the United States and the second most populous capital city (after Phoenix, Arizona), Austin has much to offer – from finger-lickin’-good barbecue to honky-tonk dance bars to large cultural events, such as the annual South by Southwest festival.

A day is not nearly enough time to experience all of Austin’s gems, but if it’s all you have, check out these highlights to get a feel for the city. And along the way, don’t forget to join the locals in “Keeping Austin Weird.”

Texas State Capitol

Start the day with a visit to the Texas State Capitol. Completed in 1888, this pink-granite structure, designed in Italian Renaissance Revival-style, features wood wainscoting and an impressive rotunda, along with nearly 400 rooms. Its surrounding grounds, decorated with various statues and monuments, provide plenty of photo ops.

Guided tours are free and available throughout the week. They generally depart every 30 to 45 minutes and last approximately 30 minutes.

Texas State Capitol building

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Jun 30 2017

Historical Sites to Visit near Athens

Category: Destinations | General | Sightseeing | Historykmaxwell @ 09:12

There is much to explore in Athens—from museums to ancient architecture to the vibrant nightlife. But many of the region's most fascinating archaeological sites lie outside the city. If you're ready to dig deeper into Greek history, head to these remarkable spots. ("Yamas" [cheers] to adventure!)

Mycenae

Located southwest of Athens, in the northeastern Peloponnese (a peninsula in southern Greece), this archeological site was one of the major centers of Greek civilization during the late Bronze Age Era. In fact, the period of Greek history from about 1600-1100 BC is called "Mycenaean" in reference to this important citadel.

According to Greek myth, Mycenae was founded by the legendary hero Perseus, son of Zeus and Danae. It was also the home of Agamemnon, commander-in-chief of the Greeks at Troy. Be sure to check out the Lion Gate, which served as the main entrance to the citadel and is the only surviving monumental piece of Mycenaean sculpture.

The Lion Gate at Mycenae; via Wikimedia Commons

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Jun 12 2017

Portland's Finest Roasters

Category: Best Of | Cafes | Favorites | Listskmaxwell @ 04:19

In a city known for its specialty coffee, it can be hard to choose among the dozens of micro-roasteries and cafes that dot the downtown streets. But choose, you must. This coffee mecca takes its java-sipping seriously, and it’s one of the best ways to get a true taste of Portland. Skip the Starbucks for now (especially if your time in the Pacific Northwest includes a stop in Seattle, where you can visit the original Starbucks), and check out these local standouts instead:  

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Although this roaster and retailer has been recently acquired by powerhouse Peet's Coffee, it began as a grassroots operation that popularized a new type of cafe experience—one that elevated coffee from commodity to craft. There are now multiple locations throughout the city, as well as sites in Seattle, New York, Los Angeles and New Orleans.

Head to the headquarters on Salmon Street for free public tastings, where you can sip samples and learn from one of their knowledgeable baristas.

Stumptown Coffee cafe in Portland, Oregon; photo via Wikimedia Commons

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