January 31, 2014

Celebrate Chinese New Year in NYC; things to do

Celebrate Chinese New Year in NYC

One of my favorite travel experiences is to happen upon a special event. I’ve been lucky several times in NYC to be there around Chinese New Year. 

More things to do in NYC.

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video ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

January 29, 2014

Adare, Ireland: Aunty Lena’s + Pat Collins Bar/O'Coileain; restaurant review

Aunty Lena's pub

In addition to a wide variety of drinks, many pubs in Adare, Ireland serve bar food during the day.  Two of the best are:

Aunty Lena’s  Main St., 00 353 (0)61 396114.  Traditional Irish food is served here all day every day, and music is scheduled several nights each week.  Featuring a cozy traditional interior and picnic tables out on the sidewalk, it is always very busy. 

Pat Collins Bar

Pat Collins Bar/O'Coileain  Main St., 00353 61 396143.  This family-run bar is renowned for good conversation, good beer, and inexpensive quality food--soups, sandwiches, fresh salmon, Irish stew, spectacularly delicious salads, and more, and Irish coffee is a specialty of the house.  The evening I was here, the whole establishment was mesmerized watching a hurling competition on TV, and the Guinness flowed. 

More things to do in Adare.

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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

January 27, 2014

Adare, Ireland: Adare Country House Guest House; hotel review

Adare Country House Guest House  Blackabbey Rd., 1-block walk to village.  10 rooms.  E35+/person.  Free parking lot in front. 

Ideally located on a quiet side street off the main drag, this relatively new inn opened in 2001.  Guest rooms are particularly spacious and well-maintained, and hallways feature attractive art and original paintings by proprietor Eileen Moroney.  Room 3 was outfitted with knotty-pine furniture and floors, pale butter walls, and a spacious bathroom with gorgeous deep-blue tiles and a large tub/shower. 

The full Irish is a breakfast option along with a buffet laden with goodies.  The owners are very helpful with answering questions and recommending pubs and restaurants. 

Note that the N21 traffic is channeled right through Adare, which must affect the serenity of downtown lodgings.

More things to do in Adare.

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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

January 24, 2014

Adare, Ireland: Adare Heritage Centre; things to do

Adare Heritage Centre  Main Street.  Displays here provide insight into village history.  Several craft shops and a cafe are also in the complex. 

Adare Woollens  353-61-396922.  An outlet for a well-known woolen mill in Beaufort in County Kerry, this venue stocks a range of traditional Irish woolens and knitwear.

Black Abbey Crafts  353-61-396021.  This craft shop stocks an extensive range of hand-made Irish crafts.

The Holy Trinitarian Abbey  Adjacent to the centre, 353-61-396177.  Dating to the early 13th century, this historical building is the only recorded Trinitarian monastery in Ireland.  It is believed these Trinitarian monks came to Adare from Scotland.  The monastery was badly damaged during the reign of King Henry VIII, but it was repaired and enlarged in the mid-19th century.  Today it serves as a Roman Catholic Church.  A graveyard and large, round, old-time dove cote (cage) is in the back.

The Washing Pool  Across street from the centre.  The town women once used this small man-made triangular pool to wash laundry.  It allows access to a small stream off the river Maigue that flows under a small bridge with two arches. 

The Village Park  Across street from centre.  The land upon which this lovely park stands was once part of the Dunraven estate.  Now a public park, it provides winding paths and plenty of benches. 

More things to do in Adare.

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image ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

January 22, 2014

Adare, Ireland: Sweet shops in thatched cottages; things to do

Introduction to Adare, Ireland

When days are dreary, as they were on the Dingle Peninsula the day we drove from there to here, this town often offers a pocket of Irish sunshine.  Located on the banks of river Maigue and featuring black-and-white timbered houses and assorted ruins, it makes a great spot to overnight.  A row of vintage thatched cottages line one side of the main drag for about a block, leading some to call it one of the prettiest villages in Ireland.  But ancient it isn’t--almost the entire present village was built in the 19th century.

Shops in thatched cottages:

Adare Cottage  (above)  Main St., 353-61-396422.  Set within an atmospheric thatched cottage, this shop purveys upscale Irish goods.  

The Gift Box  Main St., 353-61-396000.  Not actually in a thatched cottage but situated adjacent to one, this gift shop operates within an ordinary building but it stocks an anything-but-ordinary selection of Kilkenny's renowned Nicholas Mosse pottery.  I hesitated but later wound up buying my favorite souvenir of Ireland--a small Mosse pitcher decorated with a
sweet little lamb-- at the airport.

More things to do in Adare.

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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

January 20, 2014

UNESCO sites quiz


How many of these 125 UNESCO sites have you visited?  I came up with only 41.  Please post your number in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

UNESCO sites found here in Travels with Carole.

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image depicts Chichen Itza, MainTemple
image ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

January 17, 2014

Atlantic City, New Jersey: Tropicana Casino & Resort; things to do + restaurant review

Tropicana Casino & Resort  2831 Boardwalk, (800) 345-8767.  2,079 rooms.  24 restaurants, 17 bars.  Indoor/outdoor pool; fitness center; health spa.  

The original Tropicana Casino and Resort was located in the heart of Old Havana in Cuba and was the queen of Havana casinos.  Some of the magic has been transported to Atlantic City--this casino has the town’s most slots, largest showroom, and only IMAX Theatre, plus the popular Boogie Nights club.  And it’s good with kids. 

●The Quarter  This vibrantly colored, 3-story streetscape embraces an Old Havana atmosphere.  It has a wide selection of restaurants and bars, an array of entertainment and nightlife venues, chic shops, and a luxury spa—but no gaming.
Carmine’s  (609) 572-9300.  L-D daily.  This is a branch of NYC’s well-known family-style Italian restaurant. 

FIN  CLOSED  D W-Sun.  This beautifully appointed seafood restaurant features an underwater theme that includes glittery sea glass murals, and it also offers a dramatic ocean view over the dunes.  In addition to a raw bar and sushi bar, you’ll find creative salads, entrees like fergola Sarda (a Sardinian pasta similar to couscous) with fresh seafood, and desserts such as cheesecake with colorful seasonal berries.  Outdoor seating is available at above-street lamp level.  

●The Comedy Stop  This small stand-up comedy club is rated by some as #1 on the East Coast.  

image and video ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

January 15, 2014

Atlantic City, New Jersey: Revel (CLOSED); hotel review

Revel  CLOSED  500 Boardwalk, (609) 449-1899.  1,400 rooms.  5 pools; fitness center; spa.  14 restaurants.  Pets ok. 

This is Atlantic City’s newest—it opened in 2012--and perhaps most Vegas-like casino--this 2 ½ billion-dollar building is sleek, glitzy, and blue.  It is also the area’s biggest and tallest casino hotel and requires a trip up three very long escalators (think London’s Underground) to reach the lobby, and it features spectacular, jaw-droppingly impressive decor throughout.  Guest rooms begin on the 2nd floor and go up to the 48th; they all have ocean views.  Decor is simple, clean-lined, and elegant, and all rooms have a 46-inch flat screen TV.  Corner rooms fit into the category of breath-taking.  You’ll find plenty more to do here than play the slots.  The building is designed to embrace its natural surroundings, and its Boardwalk location means the beautiful Atlantic City beach is just steps away.  Bask spa is considered the nicest in town, with a coed bathhouse and 32 therapy rooms, a gym, a bar,
and more.  Nearly two acres of outdoor space includes the SkyGarden, lounges, and InOut Pool--a massive indoor-outdoor pool with an indoor overhead rain feature.  Evenings are glitzed up by three night clubs and two theaters that attract big names. 

High-end dining options include 14 restaurant concepts from award-wining chefs and restaurateurs, including three with an ocean view:  Amanda (Andalusian Spanish tapas bar), American Cut (steakhouse), and Azure by Allegretti (Mediterranean seafood).  SkyCafe (a circular bar by the pool) and Relish (known for comfort foods) serve all day long, and room service is available 24 hours. 

images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

January 13, 2014

Atlantic City, New Jersey: Harrah's Resort Hotel & Casino; hotel review

Harrah's Resort Hotel & Casino  777 Harrah's Blvd., in Marina District, (800) 645-6774.  2,588 rooms. 

The first hotel/casino located at the marina, rooms here spread out through five towers and many have water views.  It is a celebrity magnet.  A free shuttle operates between the various Caesar’s properties. 

The Pool at Harrah's  Thanks to one of the largest glass domes in the world, the temperature here is always a balmy 80 degrees.  This artificial oasis features pools and hot tubs and is surrounded by lush, tropical foliage.  In the evening it becomes the Pool After Dark nightclub and has featured Jersey Shore's Pauly D on the turntables.

Viking Cooking School  Expert Viking chefs teach these cooking lessons.  After you cook a meal, you get to sit down in a lovely dining room and eat it with special wine pairings.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan trips. 

image ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

January 10, 2014

Atlantic City, New Jersey: Golden Nugget Hotel, Casino & Marina; hotel review

Golden Nugget Hotel, Casino &Marina  Huron Ave./Brigantine Blvd., in Marina District, (800) 777-8477.  727 rooms.  Room service.  

A sort of boutique casino, this has a calmer demeanor than most.  But some will find the marina location--a five-minute shuttle ride from the Boardwalk--relatively isolated.  That said, the tranquil setting draws repeat guests.  All guest rooms feature soft, elegant colors and neutral tones, nicely upholstered chairs, desks, and baths with marble accents.  The suites are notable for their chic designer fittings and superior views as well as two oversize marble bathrooms providing the luxurious choice of a deep soaking tub or a sleek shower with duo showerheads.  Fitness facilities include a gym, year-round outdoor pool, whirlpool, tanning salon, jogging track, basketball court, recreation deck, five tennis courts, sauna, and miniature golf course.  A new spa provides Asian holistic treatments and has a sauna and steam room.  A variety of shops line a concourse,
and this is also where you will find the Hand of Faith golden nugget displayed.  The story goes that in 1980 in Wedderburn, Australia, Kevin Hillier found a 61-pound golden nugget barely a foot underground.  It is the biggest golden nugget in existence, the second-biggest ever discovered, and the biggest ever found with a metal detector.  Hillier sold his golden nugget to the Golden Nugget for more than a million dollars!

Restaurants are all owner Landry’s brands, including Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse and a Chart House overlooking the marina.  The outdoor H2O bar and lounge pool area with a view of the Atlantic City skyline includes a heated pool, four hot tubs, fire pits, and affordable private cabanas.  It is a great place to hang out in the afternoon and watch the sun set.  A spa and health club are also available.  The Wine and Wifi lounge is a comfortable spot to sip and surf, and the new Haven nightclub, in a former bus terminal, offers an extraordinary nightlife experience.  And, of course, there is the 80,000-square-foot casino open round the clock.  A seasonal lounge is situated on the marina.

images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers