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 […]


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 […]


Winning: Downtown Napa, Revitalized

by Chris on July 24, 2012

Downtown Napa has been on the rise for the past few years. A look at some of the restaurants and hotels that are fueling the change.
Storefronts of Downtown Napa

This week, I’m serving as a paid spokesperson for Hilton HHonors’ Seven Tickets to Paradise Sweepstakes. The contest, which is open to Hilton HHonors members, features seven prize packages and ends on Aug. 31. I previewed one of the prizes, the “Your Ticket To Dine,” in Napa Valley this past weekend.    Napa Valley has been […]


All about my upcoming Hilton HHonors Foodie trip to Napa Valley – and how you can win one too.
Vineyards in Napa Valley

This post continues my ongoing coverage of wine country travel. This weekend, I’m heading to Napa Valley. It will be the second time that I’ve gone this year, and the third time that I’ve visited since I moved out to the West Coast in 2010. To me, wine country getaways, both down in California and closer […]


Bluegrass night at Oskar Blues – and more off-the-beaten track gems – in little Lyons, Colorado.
Bluegrass Night at Oskar Blues, Lyons

This is fifth (and probably last) post about my roadtrip through northern Colorado. Some places rarely appear in tourism brochures. Some places, you need to know the right people. Not the right people, as in the richest or the hippest or the best connected (although knowing those people is never a bad thing, by any […]


An eerie night ghost hunting at The Stanley Hotel, otherwise known as the haunted hotel that inspired The Shining. And yes, it’s creepy.
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado

This is the fourth post about my Colorado roadtrip.  “The Shining” Hotel Horror movies and scary books were a real problem when I was a tween. All my friends were plowing through Stephen King novels and going to flicks such as The Amityville Horror. But whenever I would try to do the same, I’d wake […]