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Free desktop wallpaper for September 2012: A birds-eye view of Napa Valley from a hot air balloon.
September 2012 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper: Napa Hot Air Balloon Rides

This is the August 2012 offering for our desktop calendar series – always free and available for iPad and iPhone too! Get your August 2012 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper! This photo of the Napa Valley was taken from 2,000 feet, during an early morning hot air balloon ride.  September is the start of harvest season in California wine country […]

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A night in Paia, a surfer town on Maui North Shore, along with dinner at the well-known Mama’s Fish House.
Surfboard fence on Maui

After exploring Upcountry Maui for a magazine assignment, I spent one night in the surf town of Paia, in the center of Maui’s North Shore. As you can see by these photos, the North Shore on this island is much like it is on Oahu – a surfing paradise. This shot was taken from the […]


Time flies when you’re building a business: What I did on my summer non-vacation – and what’s on the horizon for fall.

It’s been a busy summer here at CATW’s Seattle headquarters. I spent most of July and August working on long-term projects for different clients, including a travel app prototype that had me channeling my inner Playboy and “writing” – or more accurately, compiling – restaurant “reviews” for those “masters” of the air quote, Zagat’s (now […]


Discovering Upcountry Maui, the laid-back center of the island that’s also home to many organic farms and galleries.
Upcountry Maui

I took a three-night trip to Maui for a magazine assignment last week. While I’ve been to the island before, I hadn’t strayed too far from the resort towns of Lahaina and Wailea (other than a day spent with my family driving on the twisty road to Hana) so both the rural area known as […]


A look at Cavallo Point Lodge, a LEED-certified property in Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Fog over Cavallo Point Lodge, Sausalito

Earlier this year, I wrote a story for USA TODAY’s Green Living Guide about LEED-certified hotels.  As I did my research, I was pleasantly surprised to find that one national park property, the Cavallo Point Lodge in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, had reached Gold certification. I resolved to check it out in person as […]


This week’s Photo Friday looks at the concept of “close up” – and flowers, especially the orchid, make great close up subjects.
Photo Friday: Orchid Close-up at the Philadelphia Flower Show

This is the latest in a series of travel photos inspired by #FriFotos on Twitter. This week’s Photo Friday theme is CLOSE UP.   A handful of years ago, Chris and I attended the Philadelphia Flower Show.  And while I enjoy gazing at flowers like most people, I wasn’t quite sure how I’d like going to an all-out flower […]


Napa Restaurants: Foie Gras at La Toque

by Chris on August 14, 2012

Should Napa restaurants serve foie gras, after California passed a ban on the food? Ken Frank of La Toque says yes.
Foie gras at La Toque

With a flourish, Chef Ken Frank set the serving spoons in front of us during a press dinner at his restaurant, the Michelin-starred La Toque in the Westin Verasa Resort in Napa Valley. “This is my favorite preparation of foie gras,” he said, pointing out the fresh corn polenta and the chanterelle mushrooms. Hey, wait […]


Free desktop wallpaper for August: A lighthouse on Lake Memphremagog, near the resort town of Magog in Quebec.
August 2012 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper: Lake Memphremagog, Quebec

This is the August 2012 offering for our desktop calendar series – always free and available for iPad and iPhone too! Get your August 2012 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper! This photo was taken at Lake Memphremagog. This hard-to-pronounce freshwater lake (mem-free-mey-gog) borders Quebec and Vermont, and supports several resort towns, including the location of this beach in […]


Does traveling change your view of the Olympic Games? Yes, I say – and so does social media.
2012 Olympics Rise of Industry

  By the time that the tape-delayed Olympics opening ceremonies hit the the West Coast, it seemed like all the joy would be gone. All day long, I had tried to avoid spoilers, coming from friends around the world. Yet Facebook teased me with snippets that sounded bizarre in status form: Daniel Craig and J.K. […]


My second hot air balloon ride involved gorgeous views of Napa Valley – and luckily, no trees.
Hot air balloons above Napa Valley

This week, I’m serving as a paid spokesperson for Hilton HHonors’ Seven Tickets to Paradise Sweepstakes. The contest, open to Hilton HHonors members through Aug. 31, features seven prize packages to destinations ranging from Bali to Palm Springs to a location of your choice. I previewed one of the prizes, the “Your Ticket To Dine,” in Napa […]