Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Things To Do: Tequila Express, Guadalajara, Mexico

One of only two passenger trains left in Mexico (Copper Canyon is other), this festive, usually crowded, journey includes a two-hour-long scenic train ride, a distillery tour, a Mexican buffet, a folkloric dance show, and strolling mariachis, not to mention all the Tequila, beer, or soft drinks you can consume. Every weekend, this train journeys from Guadalajara through the agave fields to the town of AMATITAN, to the very old Hacienda San Jose del Refugio distillery (http://www.herradura.com/), where Herradura tequila is produced (the one with a horseshoe symbol, and the only Tequila that doesn’t use yeast in production). Dedicated to partying, mariachis begin belting out tunes at the Guadalajara Railroad Depot. When travelers are on board, waiters pass by offering beer or a Tequila cocktail and return again and again, and no one is in any special hurry to arrive. Mariachis wander from car to car. It is a lot like one of those Mexican bay cruises, except on rails.
Tequila Express http://www.tequilaexpress.com.mx/. F-Sun. Reservations advised.

More things to do in Guadalajara.

More things to do in Mexico

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mariachis warm everyone up at the train station
video c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers






these kids keep the party going!
video c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers



Friday, April 23, 2010

Sights to See: spider sculptures, Guadalajara, Mexico


While recently riding in a charming horse-drawn calandria cab through downtown Guadalajara, I viewed the “creepy spider sculptures” by Alejandro Colunga that are displayed on a small plaza there.



image c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Good Eats: Real Food Daily, Santa Monica, California


The all-organic vegan menu here features items made from fresh vegetables, whole grains, and soy products. Cooking is done in stainless steel with filtered water. Opt for a familiar salad, or venture into the section of the menu offering Salisbury seitan and a tempeh Reuben sandwich. Create-your-own-bowls--with choice of veggies, beans and grains, and plant proteins—are also a good bet. And keep your eyes open for celebs; many are vegans.
Real Food Daily 514 Santa Monica Blvd./5th St., (310) 451-7544; http://www.realfood.com . L-D daily, SunBr; $$.

In this video, Real Food Daily owner and chef Ann Gentry shows you how to make tofu whipped cream. Yum!

More things to do in Santa Monica.

More vegan-vegetarian places.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Misc.: National Park Week


In addition to free admission to all 392 national park units being offered by the National Park Service during National Park Week (Apr. 17 - 25), hundreds of special events, discounts and special offers are available by visiting
http://nps.gov/np-week
http://nationalparksonline.org/
http://parkpartners.org/

More volcanoes.

Travel articles to inspire you and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

image Hawaii Volcanoes National Park,
c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sights to See: Utopia Orchid Park, Tel Aviv, Israel


The Utopia Orchid Park near Tel Aviv includes an indoor orchid garden with more than 20,000 orchids from different species from around the world; a rainforest with tens of thousands of tropical plants, including carnivorous plants, waterfalls and lush greenery; and a butterfly garden and animal park with a wide range of animals and birds.

The park also features two plant mazes--a classical English-style maze and a 6,560-square-foot obstacle maze.

More gardens around the world.

More things to do in Tel Aviv. 

More things to do in Israel.

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http://www.utopiapark.co.il/english

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Good Eats: deBoer’s Dutch Brothers Cafe & Bakkerij, Holland, Michigan


Jakob deBoer emigrated here from the Netherlands. His great grandson, Jakob deBoer, is a fourth-generation baker known for his Klompen cakes, pea soup, pig in blankets, Hippy Hash, buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy, and much, much more. Don’t miss a yummy, atmospheric Dutch breakfast here.
deBoer’s Dutch Brothers Cafe & Bakkerij 360 Douglas Ave., 616-396-2253. B daily, L M-F; $.

More things to do in Holland, Michigan.


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images c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sights to See: Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan


Situated on a small island in the eastern shallows of Holland's Lake Macatawa, this is the only authentic Dutch windmill in the United States. The 12-story tall, 248-year-old DeZwaan (The Swan) was brought over from the Netherlands in 1964 and is still used to grind grain into graham flour--bags of which make the perfect souvenir. (It is the last one brought to the U.S., because they are now national monuments in Holland and can’t be exported.) It runs silently on gears greased with bees wax, and its blades usually turn every day during Tulip Time. The windmill is the centerpiece of the lovely island, which also includes the Posthouse Museum, a miniature Dutch village called "Little Netherlands," an 1895 Dutch carousel, and lush pastures where Frisian horses and cows graze. The park also has canals, a drawbridge, and a replica roadside inn, and it displays a 1928 Carl Frei street organ donated by the city of Amsterdam in 1947 to the city of Holland in gratitude for its role in liberating The Netherlands in World War II. Even though the 150,000 tulips that bloom here in spring will be long gone, in summer Dutch klompen dancers dance in wooden shoes to traditional music and picnicking is choice.
Windmill Island Gardens 1 Lincoln Ave., 616-355-1030; http://www.windmillisland.org/. Daily April 30-Oct 1.

More things to do in Holland, Michigan.

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images c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sights to See: Holland Museum, Holland, Michigan


Located within a historical building, this atmospheric small museum holds an impressive collection of Dutch art. The second-floor Dutch Galleries displays 56 17th- through 20th-century Dutch paintings and more than 150 cultural objects, including fine furniture and Delftware.
Holland Museum 31 W. 10th St., 888-200-9123, 616-392-9084; http://www.hollandmuseum.org/. M-Sat 9-5, Sun 12-5. $5, children free.

More things to do in Holland, Michigan.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sights to See: DeKlomp Wooden Shoe and Delftware Factory, Holland, Michigan

DeKlomp Wooden Shoe and Delftware Factory 12755 Quincy Ave./US 31, 4 mi. N of downtown, 616-399-1900; www.veldheer.com . Hrs. irregular; Tulip Time 8am-8pm. Factory: free; tulip farm: $7, 3-13 $4. See Dutch wooden shoes being hand-carved or carved by machine in a range of sizes--from a miniature Barbie doll version all the way up to a man's size 13. The only authentic delftware factory in the United States is also here, and artisans still hand-paint the blue floral and windmill motifs onto white china just as they have in the Netherlands for more than 500 years. All materials and equipment for both the shoes and the pottery are imported from Holland.




In April and May, the adjoining Veldheer Tulip Farm--the Midwest's only working tulip farm--blooms with more than 5 million tulips in 125 varieties. The blooms are at their peak from the last week in April until mid-May. Begun more than 50 years ago, this 30-acre extravaganza becomes a huge summer garden after the tulip season ends. Tulip bulbs are cultivated here for sale in the fall.

More things to do in Holland, Michigan.

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images c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Good Eats: Phuket, Thailand


Happy Easter!

I saw these pretty pink 100-year-old eggs last week in the Takuapa Town market just north of Phuket in Thailand. They are actually made fresh but described as rotten beneath the shell. Yum, yum!

Learn more about these eggs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Century_egg


More things to see and do in Thailand.

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image c2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, April 2, 2010

Sights to See: Tulip Time Festival, Holland, Michigan

Founded by Dutch settlers seeking religious freedom in 1847, Holland holds on to many Lowlands traditions. Many of the outlying towns here—some are just tiny bergs--are named after The Netherlands’ 12 provinces. In 1871 a fire destroyed most of the town’s buildings, but the white Pillar Church still stands and performs Dutch services and some Dutch step-style architecture remains. Currently there are 174 churches in town.

Holland is one of the first cities to introduce a snow melt system beneath the sidewalks and streets. Theirs uses 125 miles of plastic piping and recycled warm waste water from a water treatment plant to heat sidewalks and melt the snow.

Holland Area Convention & Visitors Bureau 800-506-1299; http://www.holland.org/.


And the perfect time to visit Holland is next month, with the 81st annual Tulip Time Festival celebrates the area's Dutch heritage and blooms with 6 million tulips, 1,500 wooden-shoe dancers (mostly high school girls), and 3 parades. Fireworks and trolley tours are also part of the fun.

Tulip Time Festival May; 800-822-2770; http://www.tuliptime.com/ .

More things to do in Holland, Michigan.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways. 

See Klompen dancing in the streets in my video: