Tag Archives: travel

Midnight In The Garden: A Road Trip

Did I mention my little road trip to Daytona Beach, Disney World, and Savannah?  Well, it’s happening right now!  I left last Thursday and drove from NJ to FL in one day.  Treated my younger cousin (freshie at a college in Daytona) to a whirlwind Disney weekend.

Tonight finds me in one if my favorite American cities: Savannah, GA.  ‘The Book’, as it’s locally known, gave me my first introduction .  My mom and I made our first trip down in 2001 and this marks my fourth trip.

‘Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil’ may have inspired my inital visit, but this unique and charming city keeps drawing me back.

Has a book (or movie) ever inspired you to travel?

P.S. Hyatt hotel, are you serious with your $10 wi-fi charge?  Will you charge for AIR next?

P.P.S.  I totally circumvented the ludicrous fee by typing this post on my iPhone…so suck an egg, Hyatt!

Books and Beyond: What else or where else do you review?

One of my favorite aspects of book blogging is writing book reviews.  Maybe it speaks to my background as an educator–constantly evaluating and analyzing.  Whatever it is, I love to write reviews and with the advent of the internet have gone beyond reviewing solely books.  In addition to posting my  reviews here, I also submit them to Amazon.com.

Last year I joined Trip Advisor (nat-n-ant) and have since published a few reviews of the hundreds of places we’ve traveled to during our annual summer road trips.  Though Trip Advisor has been recently criticized for review integrity, I love the site and have found many wonderful places to visit and restaurants to try that I might have otherwise missed.  I have notes on so many great places (pictures, too!) and fully intend to post more reviews when I have some free time.   

I also write short book reviews and recommendations for my local library.  Brevity is the key to those mini-reviews–written on an index card–something that can be elusive to a chatterbox such as myself!  I love suggesting great books to other people and recently got some great feedback from a teen volunteer who read Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty at my recommendation.  She told me that she loved the book and read the remaining books in the series to find out what happened to the characters.

At restaurants, I always fill out comment cards complimenting on the good and noting the not-so-good.  When given constructively, feedback is a valuable tool for any company that deals with the public.

So, how about you?  Are you a reviewer of books or other things on sites beyond your blog?  Do you write for Yelp! or some of the others that offer public opinion?

Travel Guides: Use Them or Lose Them?

My husband and I take a Homeric odyssey by car each July and two to five smaller trips during the rest of the year–sometimes I fly solo and sometimes we go together.  Putting together our road trip takes Herculean effort–luckily, I love to do reserach and organize itineraries and schedules.

Orchestrating parties, trips, and other seemingly daunting tasks, especially when under a tight deadline, is sport for me.  This love of planning compliments my travel obsession and that’s why you’ll find me pouring over travel books, magazines, and websites all through the year. 

For our annual road trip, I have a giant accordion file where I stuff pages ripped from magazines and articles printed from the internet.  By May, the file is usually filled to bursting with places to visit, stay, or see and sheaves of restaurant suggestions.

In the pre-internet era, I called on my dear friends Fodor’s, Frommer’s, and Let’s Go to get ideas and information about my trips.  In the last few years, I’ve relied more on websites to guide me, though I did take out two or three books from the library for this year’s trip (old habits die hard).

travel books

A few of my travel guide books--one is a library book.

I do a fair amount of research on Trip Advisor, though recently they’ve had some issues with review integrity.  I tend to read reviews with a grain of salt and just use the website for ideas.  I also post reviews to help other travelers on their way.

I plan about 75% of our trip beforehand, leaving the remaining 25% to chance and suggestions from locals.  I’ve found, through trial and error, that if I plan too much we don’t have enough downtime to relax and if  I plan too little, we get bored.

By now you know that I’m a curious person and like to know if other people have better or more efficient ways to do things that I do, so I’m turning this over to you guys.

  • When you travel, do you use travel guidebooks to set your course or do you just use the internet for research? 
  • If you don’t plan at all (*gasp*) please tell me how that works too!
  • Do you have a great local gem (in the US or Canada) that we need to check out next year’s road trip?  (We’ll pick our Summer 2010 destination in August so toss out some ideas!)

*There have also been scandals in the book form of travel guides–see Do Travel Writers Go To Hell? by Thomas Kohnstamm for details.

‘Til Books Do Us Part: Is Your Partner a Reader?

My husband and I have been together for 17 years this September–that’s 119 dog years–and I’m only (a freshly-minted) 35!  Since the beginning, we’ve shared a love of reading, though he’s not quite as obsessed as I am.

While traveling this summer, we spent many evenings poking around book stores, and made a special trip to Hobart, NY–the book capital of the Adirondacks–where there are more bookstores than people, or so it seems. 

Ant was content to wander around the bookstore while I snuggled in a leather club chair reading Janet Evanovich’s newest Stephanie Plum novel–I finished it on our third trip to the store!  (I know that I squawked against the series a few posts ago but couldn’t resist!)  It should be noted that we did spend a fair amount of money at the bookstore during our three visits, so I wasn’t a complete parasite.

So, if you’re attached, is your partner/spouse/significant other a reader?  Do you wish he or she was? 


For the record, the bookish hippy IS my husband.  :)

For the record, the bookish hippy IS my husband. 🙂

Accidental Book Tourist

Scrolling through our Road Trip 2009 photographs, I noticed an unintentional theme–bookish things!  Here’s a sampling:

Robert Frost's grave--Bennington, VT

Robert Frost's grave--Bennington, VT

Spying on a handsome hippy at the Northshire Bookstore, Manchester, VT

Spying on a handsome hippy at the Northshire Bookstore, Manchester, VT

Snoozing in the stacks at the Yankee Book Shop, Woodstock, VT

Snoozing in the stacks at the Yankee Book Shop, Woodstock, VT

Peal S. Buck left her mark in quaint Danby, VT

Peal S. Buck left her mark in quaint Danby, VT

Trout fishing is all the rage in Phoenicia, NY

Trout fishing is all the rage in Phoenicia, NY

Mama don’t take my kodachrome away…

I’m turning 35 (thirty-five!!) in a few days and my husband and family chipped in to buy me a new digital camera.  The camera arrived today and since we’re leaving on our annual road trip in a few days, my husband was merciful enough to give me the camera tonight so I could read the book and test it out before we leave.

With this camera, I graduate from a point and shoot to a digital SLR.  I have a film SLR and have been not-so-secretly pining for a digital for a while.  I was having some fun tonight, firing off shots of a few of my favorite things.

new cam markers

new cam super

new cam perfume

I can’t wait to use this camera outdoors–the road trip will provide ample opportunity I’m sure!  Some highlights include:

  • A visit to a drive-in movie–we’re going to see the new Johnny Depp film under the stars!
  • Riding a train through the woods, along a river.
  • Body sliding down a natural water slide in a Vermont river.
  • Nosing around the town where my paternal grandfather spent his childhood.
  • Visits to independent bookstores, antique shops, and farmers’ markets.
  • A trip to the new Woodstock Museum–this August marks the 40th anniversary of Woodstock–my dad was there way back when!

Compared to our previous trips, this one is a bit tame.  We’ve been to a rodeo in Wyoming, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, Wall Drug, The Mitchell Corn Palace, The Madonna Inn, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Memphis, Graceland, Dollywood, Nashville, Houston, Austin, Montana, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cadillac Ranch, and more–all by car! 

What’s on YOUR summer calendar?  Are you going away?  Taking a ‘stay’cation right in your own backyard?  I’m sure that no matter what our plans, we all share one thing–we’ll have plenty of books to read!

Giveaway: You’ve got to be in it to WIN it!

Are you looking for a fun and sassy read to usher in summer?  Look no further because I have just what the doctor ordered! 

looseNadine Dajani’s newest novel, Cutting Loose, introduces “three women who are as different as could be–or at least that’s what they think–and the men who’ve turned their lives upside as their paths collide in sizzling, sexy Miami…”

I’ll be reviewing this book on Friday and have one copy to give away.  To be entered in this giveaway, please leave a comment and tell me what YOU do to realax, or ‘cut loose’.  I’ll select a winner with Random.org on Monday, June 8th.  International bloggers welcome!  Good luck!