A Birthday Trip to Italy: Part III – Rome
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but one day was all we had to shoot the iconic sights and find the best restaurants. Fortunately I have been to Rome a few times before and know the historic center reasonably well so I knew exactly where I wanted to be to get the photos I wanted. The unfortunate thing is that one never knows when the monument or cathedral you want to shoot is going to be covered in scaffolding and being restored or cleaned. (more…)
A Birthday Trip to Italy: Part II – Ravello and Maratea
Our trip to Italy was not only spontaneous but off the beaten path for the most part. Some destinations (see Part I) earn a big check mark once we have seen them and others, like Paris and Amsterdam, we return to again and again. (more…)
My Weekend at Seagrove Beach, Florida
Being a photographer, I am almost never without a camera. This past weekend, we joined my extended family for some fun in Seagrove Beach, Florida. Ever since my nephew was born six months ago, we just can’t get enough time with him. Between his dad and me, I think he has to be the most photographed baby of all time!
Let’s be honest. ALL babies are not equally cute. I understand that their parents may think so, but the camera does not. In my case, this little guy is so photogenic I think I could get him work in Hollywood. (more…)
The Famous 21 Club Burger
After the recent program was over and the group we were hosting left town, we stayed in the city for the weekend to recuperate. Some flights didn’t depart until mid afternoon so by the time we saw everyone off and changed hotels, it was time for a very late lunch. Just a few blocks away from our hotel was the iconic 21 Club and since neither one of us had ever been, we decided to go try their famous burger. Who knew we were in for a special treat, and I don’t mean just the burger.
The Perfect Ending to the Perfect Trip
Twenty Years in Paris – Part V
Call me a softie, a romantic at heart, or perhaps at the point in my life when I have crested the hill and begun what I hope to be a very elegant and gradual descent down the other side. Don’t get me wrong, I still love scuba diving, James Bond movies and the occasional leap off the top of a 2,000 foot tall mountain with nothing but a hang glider silently soaring over the beaches of Rio de Janiero. But sometime after my 40th birthday I noticed my priorities were shifting.
The obsession for the latest clothes, cars and cache has given way to experiencing life to the fullest every day. Life’s lessons learned have been punctuated by just how short life actually is. (more…)
Love Is In The Air – Or Locked To A Bridge!
Twenty Years in Paris – Part IV
Let’s face it. If you have been to Paris and liked it enough to return for another visit, you undoubtedly know the two biggest draws to the city. The visual eye candy comprised of amazing monuments, spectacular churches, ancient architecture, gardens, fountains, the River Seine and the cobblestone streets is reason enough for repeat visits to the crown jewel of Europe. The other reason is, of course, the food!
Clearly, the French can sculpt a statue, paint a canvas and design world class buildings. They can also create the most amazing, mouth-watering food I have ever seen anywhere. (more…)
A Perfect Evening in Paris
Twenty Years in Paris – Part III
We arrived in Paris at the Gare du Norde train station and took a taxi to the Marriott Champs-Elysees where we discovered our room was not yet ready even though it was 4:00 p.m. and check-in was at 3:00. We asked if another room was available and after a few minutes of feverishly pounding his computer’s keyboard and making phone calls, the front desk clerk was able to change our room so we could unpack and get ready for dinner. Knowing that we were celebrating our 20th anniversary, the hotel manager kindly sent a celebratory cheese plate and bottle of white wine for our enjoyment. Abandoning all dietary common sense during our trip, we dove right in.
After such an elaborate appetizer, we had to think twice about heading out for dinner. Well, not really! We knew what was in store for us and finished dressing for dinner. This night’s destination was a small, left bank restaurant serving classic Parisian dishes. (more…)
ATM Cards in Amsterdam
Twenty Years in Paris – Part II
Amsterdam is as charming and picturesque in September as it is in spring or summer. The canals and narrow houses lining them glow beautifully in the Autumn sun or after the evening lights appear, which happens as early as 5:00 p.m. in the fall season. Regardless of the time of year Amsterdam never fails to provide its visitors with plenty of eye candy and a magical experience not soon forgotten.
This year we chose the Renaissance Hotel near Central Station due to its location and room availability for payment with Marriott Rewards points. The nicest hotel in the city is (more…)
The Smithsonian Institution’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Twenty Years of Paris – Part I
Working the system using a combined 55+ years of travel experience, the best option for free Business Class seats on our 20th anniversary trip to Europe for the dates we needed turned out to be via Washington, D.C. So our trip began with a flight from Atlanta to D.C. where we would make our connection to Amsterdam on a KLM flight.
Taking full advantage of our passionate belief that the journey IS the trip, we booked a morning flight to DC so we could enjoy the day in our nation’s capital. (more…)
Fun in Phoenix
Phoenix is a city of contradictions. It is a desert city but a river runs through it. Lush green golf courses are surrounded by powdery dry, dusty landscapes. Mile after mile of flat land, with occasional mountains rising from nowhere, form a most interesting topography not often seen throughout the United States.
A neighbor to Phoenix, Scottsdale is an upscale suburban area that is part oasis and part arid mountains scattered amid the hot, dry landscape. Adjacent to Camelback mountain is The Camelback Inn, a JW Marriott resort and spa. The property is very large and comprised of several two story guest room buildings scattered around the meticulously manicured gardens.
I can only imagine what the water bill must be at a resort like this in the middle of the desert. The grounds are very nicely maintained and (more…)
Playa del Carmen – What a Difference a Day Makes!
Waking up the next morning in the quiet, gorgeous condo we found the previous day through Airbnb.com, it was hard to believe that we had gone from such a ridiculous situation to such tranquility in just a few hours. The condo’s owner, who lives in Dallas, arranged for his local manager to meet us at the unit and let us “check in” at noon after high-tailing it out of the hip, young, trendy place where we clearly did not belong.
We quickly stocked up on staples for a weekend in Mexico. Beer, wine, some Scotch and munchies to nibble on. The one bedroom condo (more…)
Trumpets on the Mexican Riviera
We paid dearly for the hotel’s car to pick us up from the airport in Cancun for our 55 minute transfer to Playa del Carmen. Having been to Mexico several times before, and even fallen prey to two of the biggest tourist scams in the country, we knew it was better to be safe than sorry since we wouldn’t need a rental car for our long weekend stay in Playa. Paying off police officers who stop tourists in rental cars on their way to the airport only fuels the corruption fires that burn throughout Mexico.
The atmosphere on the flight to Cancun was even more festive than a flight to Las Vegas. After all, nobody is flying to Cancun for business. Everyone is headed for a vacation and many of us began our libations (more…)
Monkey Business in Bali
In addition to countless spas, restaurants and clothing shops lining the streets of Ubud, Bali, there is a remarkable stop right on the edge of town. If you love furry little creatures, you will love Ubud’s Sacred Monkey Forest.
Wenara Wana or what is more commonly known as the Padangtegal Monkey Forest is a must do for anyone visiting Ubud. The “forest” is actually a walled area with two entrances where visitors pay the 15,000 Rupiah ($1.65 US) fee for admission. There are no gates so the monkeys roam freely, but they know that their main source of food comes from the tourists (more…)
Zen in Ubud
On our drive from Seminyak to Ubud, Bali for the remainder of our trip, we stopped at one of the many Batik producers where you can watch how Batik is made. The process begins with crafters carefully applying melted wax to the fabric forming the pattern where die will not adhere to the fabric. Die is then applied and the wax melts off leaving the natural color of the fabric.
Once the pattern is created the fabric can then be cut and sewn into any number of garments, (more…)
California, Here I Come!
It’s the time of year when frequent fliers check their mileage balance to be sure they will have enough miles to qualify for elite status for the following year. I have already earned my Gold status for next year but my partner was going to be a few miles short.
The purpose of a mileage run is to fly somewhere, preferably on a sale fare, strictly (more…)
An Oasis in the Desert – Discovering Amangiri
Miriam Webster defines an oasis as a “fertile or green area in an arid region (as a desert); something that provides refuge, relief, or pleasant contrast.” Pleasant contrast is how I would describe the design and architecture of a new addition to the ultra luxury hotel chain Aman. Small, secluded and designed for personal pampering, Aman Resorts delight discriminating travelers who are looking to escape.
Having experienced their flagship property, Amanpuri in Phuket, Thailand a few years ago, I knew the resort in the middle of the Utah desert would indeed be an oasis. That is, if we could find the hotel. (more…)
National Park Accommodations
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I discovered a major source of photo opportunities I had yet to tap. The United States National Parks. There are some amazing visual treats just waiting for a creative eye and a camera. Finding great light takes some research, planning and luck with Mother Nature, but all of the major natural wonders are well documented which makes the research relatively easy.
Any type of travel requires basic logistics–food and lodging. What I am learning is that most national parks are not located near large cities. In fact, every park I have been to so far has been (more…)
Airport Run and Haute Dogs
Top Chef contestant Richard Blais has opened his third restaurant in Atlanta. The first two are both called FLIP and are both gourmet burger boutiques. His newest restaurant is called HD1 and serves gourmet “Haute Dogs.”
We needed to make a dry-run to the rental car center at Hartsfield International Airport to be sure driving instructions were correct for several folk who are coming to town this week. On the way back (more…)
Do you remember your first love? How about your second? Remember how you would lie in bed thinking about what exciting adventure tomorrow would bring? How you couldn’t wait to see that person again. It didn’t even matter how you spent your time with each other. It was the chemistry and the magical feeling you had, just being with that special someone.
Love doesn’t apply only to people. Most people love their pets. Some people love to sing. Others love (more…)
Where the Stars Eat
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was recently asked to accompany a group of corporate executives to New York where they would ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. I was documenting the trip and helping to make it as much fun as possible.
It was quite an amazing experience being on the floor of the Stock Exchange. The history, energy, and hundreds of millions of dollars that are made and lost every day was a thrilling experience for me. I was not allowed to use flash (more…)