Escape from San Francisco and the COVID Road Trip

When I made my initial decision to move out of California almost two years ago, it seemed like an eternity before I would actually be leaving. But time sneaks up on us, and in the strange time warp that the COVID crisis has created, weeks and months have run together and made a lot of us lose track of time. I should have used my time more constructively while I was sheltering in place to clear out my apartment after 29 years of living there, but I procrastinated and due to the crisis, I kept pushing back my date of departure from May 31, to June 15, to June 30, to July 7 and that gave me the sense that I had all the time in the world. All I can say to those of you who have lived in one place for a long time and are thinking of moving anytime within the next 50 years, is “Start TODAY!” Let me be your cautionary tale.

Continue reading “Escape from San Francisco and the COVID Road Trip”

A Golden State of Mind: Chapter 1 – California Dreaming

In just under a week from now, I’ll be leaving California after having lived here for the past 38 years. With this impending move and the ample time that the COVID crisis has provided for self-reflection, I’ve been pondering my long and often complicated relationship with “The Golden State.” I’ve decided to describe how this relationship began long before I ever stepped foot in California, and how it grew and changed over the course of my life. This will be the first in a series of relatively short posts or “chapters” that focus on different periods in my relationship with California. In this first entry I’ll describe how my fascination with California began and set the stage for my eventual move to the Golden State.

The Final (Round-Trip) Road Trip, Winter 2020

For the 10 or 15 years I’ve driven cross country from San Francisco to New England (making many stops along the way) every summer and every Christmas. If you’ve read some of my other road trip blog posts, you already know that these trips are probably some of the happiest times I’ve ever experienced…

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The freedom of the road… chasing the sunset.

Let’s go… one more time!

The Greek Islands: Naxos, Milos, Rodos and Symi

In prior postings I’ve described my time in Athens and on the Greek Islands of Santorini and Mykonos. Now I want to share with you my visits to some of the lesser-known of the Greek Islands, each of which was a unique and wonderful experience in its own way. So settle in for a tale that will take you to four other Greek islands: Naxos, Milos, Rodos and Symi.

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All aboard for Naxos!

Athens and Santorini: The Wonders of Greece

One place that I’ve neglected to say much about so far in my travel blogs is Greece, and in particular, the Greek Islands. My first trip there was with faculty and students from my university back in 2003 when I saw a Athens and spent time on the islands of Mykonos, Santorini and Crete. A few years later I returned with another student group and saw much of the mainland before returning to Santorini for a second time. Since then I’ve made several more trips on my own and with friends, often returning to Santorini and Mykonos (which I did talk about in a prior blog post). I’ve also visited the islands of Naxos, Milos, Rodos, Symi and Corfu, so I thought it was time to share some of my experiences and show you why Greece is probably, after Italy and Hawaii, one of my very favorite destinations. To avoid an overly long post, I’ll talk about Athens and Santorini in this blog and follow up with another blog about some of the other islands soon, so stay tuned.

Let’s head to Athens and Santorini!

Revisiting the Land of Pele: Hawaii’s Big Island

Hawaii’s “Big Island” was the first of the Hawaiian islands I ever visited, way back in 1994. That trip began a 25 year love affair with Hawaii, and while Maui remains my favorite island, I have a special place in my soul reserved for the still volcanically active Big Island.

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The summit of Mauna Kea from the slopes of Mauna Loa on Hawaii’s Big Island

Read more… Pele would want you to!

Croatia: Surviving the Heat, the Stairs and the Cruise Ship Hordes

Two years ago I went on a Mediterranean cruise as part of a study abroad experience with three of my faculty colleagues and about 25 students from my university. We boarded a very small cruise ship of only 250 passengers and went from Venice, Italy to Nice, France with stops at Split and Dubrovnik in Croatia, the Greek island of Corfu, Taormina, Sicily, and along the west coast of Italy.

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St, John Fortress,  Dubrovnik Harbor

First stop: Dubrovnik!

Budapest: Glorious Bridges, Spas, and No Goulash!

Every year when graduation ends and I take my summer trip to Europe, I’m drawn back to the same places that I have grown to love so much: always Italy, usually Paris and Greece, Britain or Ireland. But I also try to add a new place to the mix that I’ve never seen before. Last year was Portugal, which I adored. This year I decided to visit Budapest, Hungary.

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Never did I imagine that Budapest would be so magnificent!

Let’s go to Budapest…

Wild Horses, Low Tire Pressure, and the Official Chicken of Jesus: My Westbound Road Trip

I recounted by eastbound road trip in On The Road Again, and my beautiful New England Christmas in My 12 Days of Christmas, so technically, this is Part 3 of a trilogy! Hey, it’s not Lord of the Rings, I’m not Tolkien and I’m not a hobbit… but this IS about a great travel adventure, so…

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Atlanta

please read on!  

My 12 Days of Christmas: All the Makings of a Hallmark Channel Movie

After a successful and enjoyable cross country drive in mid-December, I was back in Massachusetts and I awoke on the morning of the 24th to find a thin coating of snow covering everything outside. As I was taking in the scene from the window of my little rented cabin in the woods, I got a text message from my friend Joanne saying, “You did it again! Where did this damned snow come from?”

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Christmas Eve morning surprise

Ho, Ho, Ho… keep reading!