United States

All 50 States: I made it!

by Chris on August 15, 2011

In mid-2011, I hit one of my major life goals when I managed to make it to all 50 States. A look at what inspired me.
all 50 States

One of my favorite books when I was a kid was “Our Fifty States,” a photo atlas of the U.S. from National Geographic. Published in 1978 (check out that fab Bicentennial-era cover), the book featured photography, factoids and maps of all of the states. I used to pore over it, checking out the national parks […]


A sobering visit to the Heart Mountain Internment Camp in Wyoming, where 11,000 Japanese Americans were sent during World War II.
Heart Mountain Internment Camp, Wyoming

By Andy Hayes, Contributing Writer Have you ever considered how well you know the past?  It’s a question that was on my mind during my visit to the cold and lonely stretch of land that made up the Heart Mountain Internment Camp, halfway between Cody and Powell in northern Wyoming. Here in the shadow of […]


Looking for winter road trip ideas? A visit to Cody, a Wyoming town that most people pass while driving to Yellowstone, may be just the ticket.
driving to Yellowstone

By Andy Hayes, Contributing Writer “That’s cowboy country,” I heard many people say as I prepared for my trip to Cody, a small town located in western Wyoming (many people pass it in the summer as they are driving to Yellowstone). And indeed, they were correct. Named for Buffalo Bill – the most famous man […]


Wondering what to do in Ojai? Eat, of course! A look at some of the restaurants, wines and specialties of the area.
ojai farmers market, Ojai, California

By Andy Hayes, contributing writer You’re likely familiar with Los Angeles’s big league food and drink scene – some of America’s most famous restaurants are here, not to mention see-and-be-seen bars and celebrity haunts.  But if you’re a foodie looking for the latest trends in California cuisine – locally sourced ingredients, emphasis on organic and […]

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Ojai, Oh My: the Fillmore trains

by Chris on February 1, 2011

All aboard the Fillmore train, which has served as a backdrop in Hollywood films for decades.
murder mystery train, Fillmore and Western railway, Fillmore, California

 By Andy Hayes, Contributing Writer You’ve probably seen the town of Fillmore, California many times – you just didn’t know it.  The small city in the Ojai Valley is home to the Fillmore & Western Railway, whcih has been featured in hundreds of train scenes and backdrops in all sorts of movies, including Throw Momma from […]

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Ojai, a frequent movie location due to its proximity to Los Angeles, is where the upcoming Water for Elephants was shot. And it’s a great getaway from LA, as Andy Hayes writes.
Downtown Ojai, California

by Andy Hayes, contributing writer If you’re a fan of the California lifestyle, then you already may have heard of Ojai.  Pronounced “oh-high”, this small town is set in a valley hidden by mountains on either side, just north enough of Los Angeles to have all of the area’s laid-back vibe, yet none of its […]


Commander’s Palace has still got it! A rundown of our Jazz Brunch at the venerable Garden District restaurant.

Commander’s Palace, that venerable turquoise restaurant in New Orleans’ Garden District that’s been around since 1880, has always been one of my favorite “occasion” restaurants, in a city where people go out of their way to find reasons to celebrate, no matter what disasters are going on at the time. Back in 1999, I lived […]


A photo tour of Aspen celebrity homes, including those owned by Kevin Costner, Donald Trump, several technology moguls and Jack Nicholson.
Celebrity homes, Aspen

I’m the type of person who reads US magazine every week (along with the New Yorker). So I couldn’t resist the Aspen’s Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous tour, offered by Five Star Adventures. Costing $89 for two hours, the tour picked us up at Hotel Jerome in a blue minivan. The group included my […]


Great Aspen shopping: Harmony Scott Jewelry, a boutique in Aspen specializing in unique – and well-priced – pieces.
Harmony Scott Jewelry, Aspen, Colorado

Aspen is not for shoppers on a budget: High-end stores such as Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Prada are the norm rather than the exception on the ski town’s main streets. So imagine my surprise when I found Harmony Scott, an independent jewelry shop where the prices were as appealing as the pieces themselves. The shop […]

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Do you believe in ghosts? My supposed paranormal experience at Hotel Jerome, a haunted hotel in Aspen, Colorado.
Lobby of the Hotel Jerome, Aspen

Have you ever stayed at a haunted hotel before? After a night at the Hotel Jerome in Aspen, I can consider myself in that number. I moved into the Hotel Jerome – Aspen’s most historic hotel, dating back more than 120 years – after two nights at the Aspen St. Regis, where I stayed courtesy […]