The Peabody Memphis – Hotel

I was recently in Memphis for a wedding and we stopped off at The Peabody Memphis hotel to see the DUCK MARCH. I found this YouTube video, so you can see what it looks like. The ducks have a special home on the rooftop / penthouse. They come down the center elevator and march down the red carpet to the lobby fountain every day at 11:00 AM. People come from all over the world to see the ducks. THEN at 5:00 pm, the Duckmaster escorts the ducks back to their rooftop penthouse for the evening.

In 1940, Mr Pembroke became the first Duckmaster and taught the ducks the famous Duck March. He served in this position for 50 years. He was a former circus animal trainer. I loved this photo of him.

Of course, while we waited, we had to have the signature Peabody Duck Drink, little floating duck on top.

It’s amazing that something so simple as marching ducks to a hotel fountain can be so entertaining. We enjoyed seeing them. The weekend was especially busy with families coming to watch with their children.

It’s a beautiful historic hotel. I tried to visit St Jude Hospital to see the Danny Thomas Memorial Garden, but the hospital was closed to visitors. Music on Beale street was fun!

Glad we had a wedding to go to in Memphis, fun visiting.

FANCY–> Non-alcoholic drinks… FINALLY!

I just read an article in the February issue of Travel-Leisure, “No Hangovers Here.” Music to my ears! It talks about how more and more people want alcohol free drinks on the menu. I’m one of those people. I don’t drink on a regular basis. Why? I’ve never had a taste for it.

Wine, beer, a cocktail — nothing excites me. As we get older, who wants the dreaded hangover. Well, I do like a slushy margarita. I admit if a friend brought that to the table, I’d gladly accept.

Apparently, Hyatt Hotels Corp launched the Zero Proof, Zero Judgement Initiative in August 2021. They noticed a market for this as more consumers are focusing on health and wellness. So, Hyatt had their restaurant and bar teams come up with creative non-alcoholic drinks they have added to the menu. Great idea!

Around the world, alcohol free drinks are being offered. The Ritz Paris says one in five guests orders non-alcoholic. In Ireland, The Merrion Hotel is distilling its own nonalcoholic gin. Cruise ships have added alcohol free drinks to their menus too.

So, YES, when I say, “FANCY drinks, FINALLY!” I mean its great to see a drink I can order off the menu that’s alcohol free versus whispering to the waiter to bring a club soda with a lime on the side.

Health and wellness are a priority these days. I’m curious to give these NEW drinks a try. I hope there is a big plant close by in case I have to spit it out. Not sure how it will taste!

Here’s to ZERO PROOF, ZERO JUDGEMENT — I look forward to that toast!

Hopefully, as a joke, my friends don’t seat me at the grandkids table! THAT would be FUNNY!

Rhode Island – Providence

On the way to Providence, our flight was in line to take off. I looked out the window and took this photo. So many planes in line and pretty close together. Looked beautiful. Upon landing, I saw this map that shows how close other well known cities are. So, depending on how much time you spend in Rhode Island, you can travel quickly to Boston, New York, etc.

As Rhode Island is on the water, I saw this gold ship on the top of one of the buildings.

We walked over to Brown University and saw their Mascot, the brown bear.

Along the way, saw this house. You can see the style is so different, so took a photo. Not sure of the significance…

Another interesting house. I liked the BLUE doors, but they don’t seem to fit with the style of the house.

I was reading in the Brown University newspaper that these scooters have become a big deal for Athletes. Since they have so many practices and would be walking 1-2 miles between class and practice, they were getting worn out. So, some of them started using these scooters. Then more started using them, while they can be dangerous in traffic, the athletes said it was worth the risk.

Here is an old bank, now that looked like a fortress.

Here you can see the river…

The Rhode Island trip comes to an end. Providence is small. We did walk the street where they have the Italian section. Being Italian, I would like to jump up for joy, but I was not impressed. It felt like a run down area, so that was sad. They did have my favorite cookies from Italy, but expiration date was June 2021. How fresh do cookies stay after expiration date? I passed.

I did meet a woman who had moved with her family from Southern California to Rhode Island. She said she LOVES Rhode Island. Simpler way of life, not so materialistic and she liked the change of seasons.

So, if COVID is holding you back from International travel. Take some small trips close to you, it’s worth it! We had fun!

Rhode Island – Sunset on way home.

I’ve always wanted to see Rhode Island and this was the time. I traveled with my daughter, we stayed in Providence and took a day trip to Newport. TRAVEL TIP: Take the bus from Airport to the city – $2 / bus versus $35+ / Uber. We also took the bus to Newport about one hour 15 min ride. Again, $2 per trip versus $60+ / Uber. Can’t beat that and it was a pleasant bus ride driving through the different cities along the way to Newport.

I REALLY liked Newport. It’s on the water and has the most amazing homes, shops, etc. In fact, on our way to the Cliff Walk, I found an Irish shop and bought this cute hat. You can see a view of the Cliff walk too.

This huge home is The Breakers. Cornelius Vanderbilt II built this as a summer home between 1893-1895. In 1994 it was declared a National Historic Landmark. It’s now a tourist spot with tours, owned and operated by the Newport Preservation Society. The Society agreed to let the Vanderbilts live on the third floor, which is closed to the public. It appears in 2017, the Society wanted the Vanderbilts out. After 120 years of living there the Vanderbilts were told there were issues with electrical/plumbing, etc.

So many articles, hard to keep up with the latest. I will leave that to YOU, if you are interested. BUT there is an article stating that Trump bought The Breakers for $112M, plans to turn it into a casino? That would be sad, I hope not. This is such a beautiful area, why have a casino there.

This house is next door to The Breakers.

Many homes are hidden by bushes, so you cannot see them. In many ways, this walk reminded me of parts of Ireland on the cliffs and also the weather was sunny, then shady like it might rain.

There are a lot of nice shops down by the marina. Shop owners said they really suffered last year during COVID, not sure if they could stay open with no tourists, hard to pay the rent, so some places closed, some remained.

It’s a BEAUTIFUL area. I’d like to go back and stay a few days in Newport, explore that area more.

Travel Virtually– NEW site — Heygo!

I just came across this virtual travel site called, “Heygo.” It looks like a great site, the idea is good. Of course, right now it is FREE; however, you can’t view a tour unless you sign up on the site. They are asking that you tip the tour guides, which is fair.

It appears that “VirtualTrips.io,” was founded in May 2020 by Liam Garrison and John Tertan. This year, April 2021, they changed name to “Heygo,” which is a fun name (HEY – GO!). They say new name better reflects who they are. I was able to view a snippet of a Quebec tour, it was quick before they cut me off. Need to sign up on site to view full tour.

Sharing with you. We can’t travel Internationally yet, virtual it is.

They have 200+ tours around the world. A place for everyone to travel.

Let me know what you think.

Florence, Italy… I miss you!

I was taking to my Italian mother the other day. She said was one of her cousins was in Florence and it felt so strange. There aren’t many tourists, so to be able to walk and “see” the city was an eery feeling. We are used to so many tourists that we are elbow to elbow with them. Instead, my mother’s cousin arrived in Piazza Della Signoria with open eyes, as if seeing the Piazza for the first time. BEAUTIFUL!

I remember that feeling years ago. I was in Florence in June, it was so packed with people that I could not enjoy the city and I wanted to leave. I thought, I am DONE, I do not need to visit Florence for a long time.

THEN, one year, I visited in late November. I was walking the streets, hardly any people. Like my mother’s cousin, I had this strange feeling that something was wrong. Where were the people? My next thought was… ah, it’s late November – no tourists – this is GLORIOUS!

Fast forward to COVID 2021. My friend is in Florence right now. She said that August is SO HOT, over 100 degrees, she can see why the Italians go to the seaside the whole month of August. She remembers going around town with me, but couldn’t remember where restaurants and shops were.

So, I marked up this quick map for her. Once I did that, she had her bearings. She said there are not that many tourists. When outside you don’t need a mask, but inside you must have it. Also, because of COVID there were no new things to see in the market place or the shops. Everything seemed as it was from 2 years ago. Oh… this was funny. She was looking forward to a good dish of pasta. The pasta came, but it was SUPER AL DENTE. Not good.

My Italian girlfriend said her husband did that sometimes. I mean, there is AL DENTE, and there is ULTRA AL DENTE. She would tell her husband, “You must have been REALLY HUNGRY to serve pasta like this! YUK!”

Anyhow…

Traveling right now is challenging and different, because COVID rules / regulations keep changing.

If you are traveling… BE SAFE!

Florence… I miss you. I’ll be back.

Who’s eating the bird seed?

Visiting with friends in Michigan. A cardinal came by, but I was not fast enough to take the picture. We filled up the bird feeder in hopes of seeing more birds.

Later in the day, we wondered why the bird feed was so low.

WELL, look who was visiting. Amazing how athletic these squirrels are. They spook easily, so I had to be quick to take some photos. It was challenging. The wind was making the squirrel twirl around while he was trying to eat. I laughed and thought, “He’s a CIRCUS squirrel!”

Nature is amazing!

Traveling… Idaho – A Potato Hotel?

I think many of us would agree, we like to EAT potatoes, but would we like to SLEEP in one?

Due to COVID travel restrictions, we’ve been exploring fun trips in our own country.

Somehow, I came across the, “Big Idaho Potato Hotel.” Yes, IN IDAHO. It’s a HUGE 6 ton potato near Boise, looks like these russet potatoes. You’ve got to check it out. YouTube: Tiny House Giant Journey: Want to Sleep in a Potato? The Most Unique Airbnb in Idaho!.

This hotel was designed by Kristie Wolfe. She also designed a Hobbit House in Orondo, Washington about 160 miles from Seattle.

I would LOVE to stay at the Hobbit house, wish it was closer to Chicago for a weekend getaway.

Have you found anything interesting like this during COVID? Amazing what is out there.

San Diego: Ships, Horatio Hornblower…

When I was in San Diego I saw these two ships. I immediately wanted to climb aboard and stand at the helm like Horatio Hornblower OR Errol Flynn as the pirate. If you haven’t seen the Horatio Hornblower series (1998 – 2003), I highly recommend it. While it’s an older show, it’s not outdated. You will be engaged the entire time.

Take a look:

Here was another ship I saw. I didn’t have enough time; otherwise, I would have signed up for the tour.

It’s amazing to see these ships up close. A few years ago when I was in Sardinia there was a tour ship that was on the horizon. It looked BEAUTIFUL, I longed to see it up close there is such a mystery around these ships. In San Diego, I got my chance, they are a work of art. Intricate with all the details. I did not see a plank.

I hope you enjoy these ships as I did.

LAND AHOY!!

San Diego: “Save the Kiss”

I came to San Diego for a few days. It’s quiet here, not so many people because of COVID. Also, the weather is cool and cloudy.

This is an amazing picture and a bit deceiving. It looks like real people. That’s the beauty of this statue, it looks real. As you can see it’s gigantic, I was amazed to see it.

Here is the description:

As I was walking, ZOLTAR spoke to me in a deep voice, asking to read my fortune. So funny. I almost put a $1 in to see what he would say, but I didn’t have the proper change.

I’m an Aquarius, I read somewhere that it is my Emerald year. I wish I could remember where I read that. Somehow the planets are aligning for it to be the year of Aquarius. When I think of emerald, I think of the Wizard of Oz, and going to meet the all powerful wizard.

After our crazy COVID year, I’d like to hear what the powerful wizard would tell me.

ZOLTAR – I might just find that $1 and hear what you have to say…. just for chuckles!