The Evolving Role of a Travel Agent in 2023

The Role of a Travel Agent - Travel Professional NEWS®

In recent years, the travel agent industry has undergone several changes. The emergence of online travel booking platforms and the increasing availability of information on the internet have shifted the way people plan and book their trips. I am definatelly one of those people.  I enjoy spending time perusing the options avavilable to me.   have time to do it and een when I didn’t have time, I enjoyed the planning because it was a stress reliever.

With the advent of the internet, there have been changes to help keep the travel agent industry alive. Overall, the travel agent industry has adapted to the changing needs and preferences of modern travelers by offering personalized services, leveraging technology, and promoting sustainable and experiential travel.

Here are a few notable changes in the travel agent industry:

  1. Online booking platforms: The rise of online travel agencies (OTAs) and direct booking options offered by airlines and hotels has made it easier for travelers to book their own trips. This has reduced the dependence on traditional travel agents for booking flights, accommodation, and other travel services.

  2. Customization and personalization: Travel agents now focus more on providing personalized services to cater to individual preferences and unique travel experiences. They aim to add value by offering tailored itineraries, insider recommendations, and expertise in niche destinations or specific interests.

  3. Emphasis on experiences: There has been a shift from traditional sightseeing to experiential travel. Travel agents now play a crucial role in curating unique experiences such as adventure trips, culinary tours, cultural immersions, and wellness retreats.

  4. Technology integration: Travel agents have embraced technology to streamline their operations and enhance customer experiences. They use innovative tools for booking, trip management, communication, and seamless transactions, making the travel planning process more efficient.

  5. Focus on sustainable and responsible travel: With growing environmental awareness, travel agents have become more conscious of promoting sustainable and responsible travel practices. They provide options for eco-friendly accommodations, support local communities, and encourage responsible tourism initiatives.

  6. Shift to specialized agents: Instead of the traditional ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, travel agents are increasingly specializing in particular niches or destinations. This specialization allows them to develop deep knowledge and expertise, catering to the specific needs of travelers interested in those areas.


In an era where travel options and information are easily accessible to anyone with an internet connection, the role of a travel agent may seem outdated or unnecessary. However, in 2023, travel agents have adapted and evolved to cater to the changing needs and preferences of travelers. This essay aims to explore the significance and relevance of travel agents in the modern world.

Personalized Service and Expertise: In an age of information overload, travelers often find it overwhelming to plan a trip. Travel agents in 2023 provide personalized services and expertise to help clients navigate through the vast array of options. They have an in-depth knowledge of various destinations, airlines, accommodations, and activities, allowing them to curate customized itineraries according to individual preferences.

Time and Stress Management: Planning a trip can be time-consuming and stressful, especially for those with busy schedules. Modern travel agents help alleviate this burden by handling all the logistics and arrangements, including airfare, accommodation, transportation, and visa requirements. By entrusting these tasks to travel agents, clients can save time, reduce stress, and have peace of mind.

Access to Exclusive Offers and Deals: Travel agents continually build relationships with travel suppliers, allowing them to access exclusive offers, discounts, and perks that are not widely available to the public. In 2023, travel agents leverage their connections to secure the best deals on flights, hotels, tours, and other services. They can provide their clients with cost-effective options while ensuring a high-quality travel experience.

Assisting with Unexpected Changes: Travel plans often encounter unexpected changes, such as flight cancellations, delays, or sudden changes in weather conditions. In such situations, having a travel agent proves invaluable. Agents can swiftly handle these issues, find alternative solutions, rebook flights, or make necessary adjustments to the itinerary. This level of support and assistance is particularly valuable during times of uncertainty and emergencies.

Adapting to Sustainable and Responsible Travel: Sustainability and responsible travel have become crucial considerations in recent years. Travel agents in 2023 are actively promoting environmentally friendly practices and ethical tourism. They help clients make informed decisions by recommending eco-friendly accommodations, suggesting carbon offset programs, and promoting environmentally responsible activities. This way, travel agents contribute to the preservation of travel destinations and the well-being of local communities.

Supporting Local Economies and Tourism: With a rise in remote work and digital nomadism, people are seeking extended stays in various destinations. Travel agents play a pivotal role in connecting travelers with local businesses and supporting communities economically. By focusing on local suppliers, boutique hotels, and authentic experiences, they contribute to a more sustainable and responsible tourism industry.

Contrary to misconceptions, travel agents in 2023 do provide a valuable services tailored to suit the needs of modern travelers. Their expertise, personalized service, access to exclusive deals, ability to handle unexpected changes, and support for sustainable and responsible travel make them an essential resource in today’s travel landscape. In a world overwhelmed by information, travel agents continue to offer a human touch, simplifying and enhancing the travel experience for individuals and families alike.

Tips to Choose Trusted And Reliable Travel Agents - Netroot

Harvesting Heallth at Lancaster’s VegFest

Lancaster Veg Fest: A Celebration of Plant-Based Living” is an annual event held in Lancaster, Pennsylvania that celebrates the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. The festival features a variety of vendors, speakers, and activities that promote veganism and vegetarianism.

At the festival, attendees can sample a wide range of plant-based foods, from vegan burgers and tacos to smoothies and desserts. There are also cooking demonstrations and workshops that teach attendees how to prepare healthy and delicious plant-based meals at home.

In addition to food, the festival features a variety of vendors selling vegan and eco-friendly products, such as clothing, skincare, and household items. There are also speakers and panel discussions on topics such as animal rights, environmentalism, and health and wellness.

The festival is family-friendly and includes activities for children, such as face painting and crafts. There is also live music and entertainment throughout the day.

Lancaster Veg Fest: A Celebration of Plant-Based Living” is a fun and educational event that promotes healthy and sustainable living. Whether you’re a committed vegan or just curious about plant-based living, this festival is a great way to learn more and connect with like-minded individuals.

So, when one of the besties brought up that we should go, I thought why not? This friend is very health conscious, and is actually a pescatarian. I’m the one person she can rely on to be adventurous when it comes to vegan and vegetarian food. It was an incredibly beautiful day, and I truly enjoyed our time there.

We got there fairly early, so we really didn’t have to wait in line for a lot. As any food feels full, there were some foods that were better than others what I really appreciate it, or the vendors that really amped up the flavor, such as the Cajun and Chinese places. It was all about the flavor. I had a delightful bow with the most intense mushroom filling. I also had cauliflower Cajun bites that were truly out of this world. What I really didn’t care for, were the vegan mushroom jerky’s. I found them a little lacking in flavor.

I am not one of those people that turns up their mose at vegan food, because there is a place on the table for it, even if you are a meat eater. I enjoy learning about different techniques and ideas on how to elevate vegetables into something wonderful whether it’s a main dish or a side dish. I appreciate the chefs that have take the time to innovate and transform, the wat I cook or look at something.  I enjoy watching people transform some simple into something wonderful. If you’re in the area, and looking for new and different, this one is a good festival to go to.


Road Trip Music: The Ultimate Playlist for Your Next Adventure

Life Music Laughter: Summer Travels: Top 10 Road Trip Songs

Nothing starts a roadtrip off right, than great driving music.  Of course, the choices are personal but the intent is the same whether it is to inspire, energize, entertain, or commune. Here are some tips for creating the ultimate road trip playlist:

1. Choose a variety of genres: A good road trip playlist should have a mix of different genres, from classic rock to pop to country. This will keep things interesting and ensure that everyone in the car has something they enjoy.
2. Include sing-alongs: There’s nothing like belting out your favorite songs with your travel companions. Make sure to include some classic sing-alongs that everyone knows the words to.
3. Add some new discoveries: A road trip is the perfect time to discover new music. Add some new artists or songs to your playlist that you’ve been meaning to check out.
4. Consider the scenery: The music you listen to on a road trip should match the scenery around you. If you’re driving through the mountains, consider adding some folk or bluegrass music to your playlist. If you’re driving through the desert, some classic rock or country might be more appropriate.
With my roadtrip coming soon, I am looking at my current list and what I want to make sure is on my list and what I want to add.  I did a bit of search and here are the contenders.
5. Don’t forget the classics: No road trip playlist is complete without some classic road trip songs. Think “Life is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane, “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen, and “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson.
“Rockaway Beach” by The Ramones
“Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey
“Bohemian Rhapsody” Queen
“Living After Midnight” Judas Priest
“Radar Love” by Golden Earring
 “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC
“Centerfield” by
“Kokomo” by The Beach Boys
“Take Me Home Tonight” by Eddie Money
“Wanted Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi
“Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen
“Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars
“I’m Still Standing” by Elton John
“Takin’ Care of Business” by Bachman Turner Overdrive
“I’m a Believer” by The Monkees
“Take It Off” by Kesha
“I Know How to Say” by 3OH!3
“Beverly Hills” by Weezer
“Are you Gonna Be My Girl Or what” by Jet
“Rough Boys” by Pete Townsend
“Got To Get You Into My Life” by Earth, Wind & Fire
“American Girl” by Tom Petty
“No One Like You” by Scorpions
“Magic Man” by Heart
“American Women” by Lenny Kravitz
“Flirtin’ With Disaster” by Molly Hatchet
“Freeze Frame” by J. Geils Band
“What I like About You” by The Romantics
“Feed my frankenstein” by Alice Cooper
“Hot Blooded” by Foreigner
“Livin’ La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin
“Under Pressure” by David Bowie and Freddy Mercury
“Any Way You Want It” by Journey
“Jump” by Van Halen
“I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5
“Dream On” by Aerosmith
“Can’t Stop the Feeling!” by Justin Timberlake
“I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston
“Somebody to Love” by Queen
“Bad to the Bone” by George Thorogood


Proceed with Caution: Navigating the World’s Most Dangerous Travel Destinations

There are some places in the world that are considered less safe for travelers due to various reasons such as high crime rates, political instability, terrorism, natural disasters, and health risks. It is always important to research and stay informed about the safety conditions of a destination before traveling. One source is the US State Department, although most of those locations are not considered vacation locations.  The US Department of State provides travel advisories and warnings for US citizens, and other countries have similar resources available for their citizens. It is also recommended to consult with a travel agent or a trusted source for advice on safe travel destinations.
Do your research.  Not all locations come up in a “what are the most dangerous locations in the world” search.  Look for vacations, tourist and holiday travel.  There are several articles and blog posts concerning safety and danger when it comes to locations.  Some are are on the list because of crime and safety concerns, while other are on the list because of natural dangers like animals.  The Cliffs of Moher in particular is dangerous because the walking trails has no barrier between the trail and the edge.  It was a frightening point on the trail.  Be aware and be careful when planning something on the dangerous side.
Here are some of the most dangerous travel spots as per Armormax.
  1. St. Louis, Missouri
  2. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  3. San Bernardino, California
  4. Detroit, Michigan
  5. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  6. Memphis, Tennessee
  7. Oklahoma City
  8. Oakland, California
  9. Jackson, Mississippi
  10. Chattanooga, Tennessee
Traveling to the least safe travel destinations can be challenging, but there are ways to minimize risks and ensure a safe trip. Here are some tips for traveling safely in the least safe travel destinations:
1. Research the destination: Before traveling, research the destination thoroughly to understand the potential risks and safety concerns. Check the travel advisories and warnings issued by the government and read up on recent news and events.
2. Plan ahead: Plan your itinerary and transportation in advance, and avoid traveling alone, especially at night. Stay in well-known and reputable accommodations and avoid staying in remote or isolated areas.
3. Blend in: Dress conservatively and avoid wearing flashy jewelry or carrying expensive items. Try to blend in with the locals and avoid drawing attention to yourself.
4. Be aware of your surroundings: Stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Avoid walking alone in unfamiliar areas and be cautious of pickpockets and scams.
5. Stay connected: Keep your family and friends informed of your travel plans and stay connected with them throughout your trip. Carry a charged phone and keep emergency contacts handy.
6. Respect local customs: Respect the local customs and laws of the destination, and avoid engaging in any illegal or risky activities.
7. Hire a local guide: Consider hiring a local guide who can provide valuable insights and help you navigate the destination safely.
Remember, safety should always be a top priority when traveling, especially in the least safe travel destinations. By taking precautions and staying informed, you can minimize risks and enjoy a safe and memorable trip.

Exploring the Vibrant Charms of Cuba: A Guide on to Navigate the Travel Requirements

Cuba House Rentals | Cabin and House Rentals | Airbnb

I truly wanted to go to Cuba for my birthday this year.  We had a group of friends that wanted to and my kids were on board.  My kids really wanted to see the country of their grandparents.  I still have my Mom’s address book and I wanted to take copies so we could visit the families residential locations.  I would have loved to find the department stire windows where my parents met and the cemetery were some of my family is laid to rest.

The dream came tumbling down when I saw how difficult it can be to get to Cuba.  Americans can travel to Cuba but not as tourists and there are several considerations before embarking on a trip to Cuba.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that the situation regarding travel to Cuba can change, so it’s always a good idea to check for the most up-to-date information from official sources such as the U.S. Department of State or the Cuban Embassy.

Currently, Americans can travel to Cuba under specific categories, including family visits, official government business, journalistic activity, professional research, educational activities, religious activities, public performances, sports competitions, and humanitarian projects. These categories allow for different types of travel with various requirements, so determining which category applies to your situation is essential.  Here are all the reasons that allow travel to Cuba:

The 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba include:

  • Family Visits
  • Journalistic Activity
  • Professional Research and Meetings
  • Educational activities
  • Religious Activities
  • Public Performances, Clinics, Workshops, Exhibitions, Athletic and Other Competitions
  • Support for the Cuban People
  • Humanitarian Projects
  • Activities of Private Foundations, or Research or Educational Institutes
  • Official Business of the U.S. Government, Foreign Governments, and Certain Intergovernmental Organizations
  • Exportation, Importation, or Transmission of Information
  • Authorized Export Transactions

Travel from the US to Cuba is limited.  American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, jetBlue, and United are the only airlines that I could find that travel to Cuba.  There only a few airports that eligible U.S citizens traveling to Cuba can find non-stop service from the following airports:

  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey
  • Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), Texas
  • Tampa International Airport (TPA), Florida
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), Florida
  • Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida

If you are eligible to travel under one of these categories, you will need to plan your trip accordingly. This may involve getting the necessary documentation, such as a visa or permit, and making arrangements for accommodations and transportation. Additionally, you will likely need to keep records and follow certain guidelines during your stay in Cuba.

As of my knowledge up to July 11, 2023, here are some general travel requirements for visiting Cuba. Please note that travel requirements can change, so it’s always a good idea to consult official sources or contact the Cuban embassy for the most up-to-date information.

  1. Visa: Most travelers will need a tourist visa, also known as a tourist card or Cuban visa, to enter Cuba. You can usually obtain this card through travel agencies, airlines, or the Cuban embassy/consulate in your country. Make sure to check if your nationality is eligible for visa exemption or if you need to apply in advance.

  2. Passport: Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in Cuba.

  3. Health Insurance: All visitors are required to have travel health insurance that covers medical expenses during their stay in Cuba. This can be obtained either through a travel insurance policy or by purchasing a Cuban health insurance policy upon arrival.

  4. COVID-19 Requirements: As of May 12, 2023, the Administration will end the COVID-19 vaccine requirements for international air travelers.  Starting at 12:01 a.m. on May 12, 2023, noncitizen nonimmigrant air passengers will no longer need to show proof of being fully vaccinated with an accepted COVID-19 vaccine to board a flight to the United States.

  5. Currency: Cuba has a specific currency system where tourists generally use the convertible Cuban Peso (CUC) or the Cuban Peso (CUP). It’s recommended to bring some cash with you, as credit and debit cards issued outside of Cuba might not be widely accepted.

Cuban Tourist Cards are not Cuban visas, though the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. 

It’s also important to note that financial transactions can be a bit more complex when traveling to Cuba, as there are restrictions on the use of U.S. credit and debit cards. Therefore, it’s advisable to have cash on hand, either in U.S. dollars or euros, to cover your expenses during your stay.

The U.S. government has implemented a set of regulations known as the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) to govern financial transactions with Cuba. Under these regulations, American travelers are required to adhere to specific guidelines. While I can provide some general information, please keep in mind that these regulations might evolve over time, so it’s always a good idea to check with the relevant authorities or consult with a travel agent for the most up-to-date information.

Here are a few key points regarding financial restrictions for American travelers to Cuba:

  1. General licenses: In the past, American travelers had to apply for specific licenses to visit Cuba. However, under the current regulations, general licenses are available for certain travel categories. This allows visitors to travel to Cuba without obtaining a specific license, as long as their travel falls within one of the authorized categories.

  2. Authorized travel categories: These categories include family visits, educational activities, religious activities, humanitarian projects, professional research, public performances, and more. It’s important to make sure your travel purpose aligns with one of these categories.

  3. Financial transactions: American travelers are allowed to spend money in Cuba, but there are restrictions on certain financial transactions. Travelers are advised to use non-U.S. financial institutions, such as credit cards issued by international banks, to avoid any potential issues. It’s recommended to do thorough research and consult with your bank before traveling.

  4. Cash transactions: It’s advisable to carry enough cash during your travel to cover expenses, as some U.S. credit or debit cards may not work in Cuba. ATMs and banking services might have limitations, so it’s a good idea to plan accordingly.

Please note that the information provided here is general in nature and subject to change. It’s always best to consult official resources, such as the U.S. Department of the Treasury or the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, for the most accurate and up-to-date information before planning your trip.

There are insurance requitments for traveing to Cuba.  Squaremouth recommends travelers visiting Cuba buy a travel insurance policy with at least $50,000 in Emergency Medical coverage, and at least $100,000 in Medical Evacuation & Repatriation coverage. Squaremouth has a Cuba Travel Insurance page which provides more information and specific policy recommendations for travelers planning to visit the country.  This informaation is current.

Remember, it’s always best to check with official sources such as the Cuban embassy or consulate in your country for the most accurate and up-to-date travel requirements before planning your trip.Another opportunity to Discover Cuba with Michigan Radio this November

Cuba offers a variety of ways to explore and tour the country, depending on your preferences and interests. Here are a few popular options:

  1. Independent Travel: Many people choose to travel independently in Cuba, allowing them the freedom to design their itineraries and explore at their own pace. This option can involve booking accommodations, arranging transportation, and planning activities directly.

  2. Organized Tours: Joining an organized tour can be a convenient way to explore Cuba, especially if you prefer to have someone else handle the logistics. There are various tour operators offering guided tours that cover different parts of the country, cultural experiences, or specific interests like history, music, or cuisine.

  3. Self-Drive Tours: Renting a car and driving around Cuba can be a great way to explore the country’s stunning landscapes and visit more remote areas at your own pace. However, please note that driving in Cuba can sometimes be challenging, and it’s important to familiarize yourself with local road rules and conditions beforehand.

  4. Bicycle Tours: For a more active and eco-friendly way of touring Cuba, you can consider joining a bicycle tour. Cuba’s relatively flat terrain and scenic routes make it a popular choice for cycling enthusiasts.

  5. Cruise Ship: Some visitors opt for a cruise ship experience, which allows them to visit multiple destinations in Cuba without the need for constant packing and unpacking. Cruise itineraries often include popular ports such as Havana, Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba.  As of the writing of this article, there is still a ban on cruise ships that leave from the US cannot stop at a Cuban port.

Whichever method you choose, it’s essential to plan ahead, research the areas you want to visit, and understand the current travel regulations and requirements for Cuba. Additionally, engaging with locals, trying the local cuisine, and immersing yourself in the vibrant culture can enhance your experience as you tour this fascinating country.

Cuba is a beautiful island with a rich history and vibrant culture. So, if you are planning to go here are some of the best places to visit in Cuba:

  1. Havana: The capital city of Cuba, Havana is known for its charming colonial architecture, vintage cars, and lively atmosphere. Take a stroll along the Malecon, explore the historic Old Havana, and visit iconic landmarks like Plaza de la Catedral and the Museum of the Revolution.

  2. Varadero: If you’re looking for pristine beaches and turquoise waters, Varadero is a popular resort town located on the Hicacos Peninsula. Enjoy relaxing on the stunning stretches of white sand, indulge in water sports, or explore the nearby caves and natural parks.

  3. Trinidad: Step back in time as you visit Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This preserved colonial town features cobblestone streets, colorful houses, and beautifully preserved architecture. Don’t miss the Plaza Mayor, the Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra Bandidos, and climb the Manaca Iznaga Tower for incredible views.

  4. Viñales Valley: Situated in the western part of Cuba, Viñales Valley is known for its stunning natural beauty and tobacco plantations. Explore the lush countryside, go hiking or horseback riding, and learn about the traditional Cuban cigar-making process.

  5. Cienfuegos: Known as the “Pearl of the South,” Cienfuegos is a charming city with a French influence. Visit the gorgeous Cienfuegos Cathedral, the Teatro Terry, and take a stroll along the picturesque Malecon.

  6. Santiago de Cuba: Located on the eastern side of the island, Santiago de Cuba is known for its vibrant music and Afro-Cuban culture. Explore the historic center, visit the San Pedro de la Roca Castle, and immerse yourself in salsa rhythms in the city’s lively clubs.

These are just a few of the amazing places Cuba has to offer. Whether you’re interested in history, natural beauty, beaches, or captivating cities, Cuba has something for everyone.

Remember to always stay informed about the current regulations and requirements, as they can change over time. Consulting with official sources and contacting the Cuban Embassy or a travel agency that specializes in trips to Cuba can provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information to ensure a smooth travel experience.


Cuba country profile - BBC News

Discovering the Beauty of Nature at the National Arboretum in D.C.

The National Arboretum is a 446-acre botanical garden and research facility located in Washington, D.C. Here are some details about the National Arboretum:

The National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., has a rich history that dates back to 1927. It was established by an act of Congress under the US Department of Agriculture. The arboretum was designed to serve as a research and educational facility dedicated to the study and preservation of trees, shrubs, and other plants.

The original purpose of the National Arboretum was to conduct research on plants that were of economic importance to American agriculture. Over the years, its scope expanded to include other botanical research, conservation efforts, and public education.

One of the most notable features of the arboretum is the National Capitol Columns. These Corinthian columns were originally part of the United States Capitol Building, but they were replaced during an expansion in the 1950s. In 1984, the columns were relocated to the arboretum and now serve as a symbol of the history and beauty of the site.

The National Arboretum is home to a variety of collections that showcase a vast array of plant species. Some of the notable collections at the National Arboretum include:

  • National Bonsai & penjing Museum: This collection houses an impressive display of miniature trees, both bonsai (Japanese) and penjing (Chinese). It’s one of the largest collections of its kind in North America.
  • National Herb Garden: This collection features a wide range of herbs, including culinary, medicinal, aromatic, and ornamental varieties. Visitors can explore various themed gardens and learn about the historical uses of different herbs.
  • National Grove of State Trees: Each U.S. state has a designated tree planted in this grove as a symbol of the state’s unique identity. It’s a fascinating collection that represents the diversity of America’s forests.
  • National Capitol Columns: This collection consists of twenty-two Corinthian columns from the original United States Capitol building, dating back to 1828. It serves as a striking monument and a reminder of the nation’s history.
  • Asian Collections: The Asian Collections at the Arboretum encompass a range of plant species from different countries in Asia. This collection highlights the diversity of Asian flora, including flowering cherry trees, magnolias, and many other stunning plants.

The National Arboretum in D.C. conducts a wide range of research related to plants and horticulture. Here are some of the key areas of research carried out at the arboretum:

  1. Plant Breeding and Genetics: Scientists at the arboretum work on developing new plant varieties and improving existing ones through selective breeding and genetic research. This includes developing plants with improved disease resistance, tolerance to environmental stress, and desirable horticultural traits.
  2. Plant Conservation: The arboretum plays a significant role in conserving plant biodiversity. Researchers study rare and endangered plant species, develop conservation strategies, and work on restoring populations in their natural habitats. Efforts are made to preserve plant genetic diversity and maintain living collections of threatened species.
  3. Pest and Disease Management: Scientists at the arboretum investigate plant pests and diseases to develop effective management strategies. This research helps in developing sustainable methods for controlling pests, preventing the spread of diseases, and protecting plant health.
  4. Ecosystem Studies: The arboretum conducts research on plant communities and their interactions with the environment. This includes studying the impact of climate change on plant growth and distribution, evaluating the role of plants in mitigating pollution, and exploring ways to enhance ecosystem resilience.
  5. Urban Forestry: Given its location in an urban setting, the arboretum also focuses on urban forestry research. This involves studying the benefits of trees in urban environments, such as their effect on air quality, temperature regulation, and overall well-being of urban communities. Research also focuses on tree planting techniques, tree care, and urban forest management.

The National Arboretum typically hosts a variety of events throughout the year, showcasing the beauty and diversity of plants and trees. Some common events include guided tours, botanical exhibitions, plant sales, gardening workshops, and educational programs for visitors of all ages. They may also organize seasonal events such as flower shows, tree festivals, and nature walks. Additionally, the National Arboretum might collaborate with other organizations to host special events like concerts, art exhibitions, or outdoor festivals. It’s always best to check their official website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information on specific events happening at the National Arboretum.

My SO, the pups, and I went to visit this spot on the advice of my daughter.  We arrived an hour before my daughter and began our tour with the herb garden. It was so incredibly beautiful.  It was nicely laid out well maintained and I loved the different types of garden displays.  Some of the gardens were groups in culinary, medicinal, regional, and other types.  Chiko and I loved our trot through it. 

While we waited, we toured some of the gardens.  Right across from the herb garden are the Japanese gardens.  It was a beautiful walk through which viewed over a wall since the boys weren’t allowed in.  A beautiful koi wraps around the museum center and house some impressive koi. I believe some of these were larger than my 8-pound little buddy.  I think he knew because after looking skeptically at the fish, he trotted around me to stand behind me.  wise choice, I think.

We loved every minute of our walk through it the herb garden and immediately, called my daughter and suggested that we picnic there. She put together a picnic and joined us about an hour later.  We found a lovely spot and enjoyed a charcuterie board and fruit.  It was the perfect day for a picnic.  We were near the children’s interactive garden and some walking trails.  It made for lovely people and nature watching.

This was also her first time there, even though she’s lived in the area for about 10 years. After lunch, we jumped into my Jeep and toured the grounds. Each garden was prettier than the last and at one point you are able to see past the woods towards the hills and greenery of Virginia.  I lost sight of the city just being there.  Even though it was my first time there, not be the last.  I am anxious to see it in the fall and winter.  You have time while you are in DC and want some time away from the hustle and bustle, grab so lunch and getaway to this treasure.  I cannot say enough nice things about teh National Arboretum.  Go!  It is worth the time.


Escape to the Serenity of Cape May for for a Relaxing Spa Weekend

Planning a Cape May Vacation -

I spent the weekend in Cape May for my birthday.  before the trip, I spent some time thinking about where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do.  My first choice was the Hershey Spa and Hotel but they were fully booked and other than the spa, there is little to do that time of year.  I also thought about New York, but then eliminated that option because I was looking for something more peaceful.  So, Cape May it was! Cape May has several spas that offer a variety of services and treatments to help visitors relax and rejuvenate. I took some time to check out the different spa and package and called a few for appointments.  I enjoyed the customer service I received from the Sea Spa at the Congress Hotel and choose that as the destination.  Here are some of the spas in Cape May that I considered:

1. The Well Center for Massage: This spa offers a variety of massage services, including Swedish, deep tissue, and hot stone massages. They also offer reflexology, aromatherapy, and other treatments.

2. Sea Spa: Located at Congress Hall, this spa offers a variety of services, including massages, facials, and body treatments. They also have a sauna, steam room, and indoor pool.

3. Cape May Day Spa: This spa offers a variety of services, including massages, facials, and body treatments. They also have a hair salon and offer bridal packages.

4. The Salt Cave: This spa offers halotherapy, which involves breathing in salt-infused air to help with respiratory and skin conditions. They also offer massages, facials, and other treatments.

5. The Red Door Salon & Spa: Located at the Icona Cape May hotel, this spa offers a variety of services, including massages, facials, and body treatments. They also have a hair salon and offer bridal packages.

The Sea Spa at Congress Hall is a luxurious spa located in the historic Congress Hall hotel in Cape May, New Jersey. Here are some of the features and services offered at the Sea Spa:

1. Services: The Sea Spa offers a variety of services, including massages, facials, body treatments, and nail services. They also offer packages for couples, brides, and groups.

2. Amenities: The spa features a sauna, steam room, and indoor pool, as well as a relaxation room with a fireplace and comfortable seating. Guests can also enjoy complimentary tea, water, and snacks.

3. Products: The Sea Spa uses high-quality products from brands like Eminence Organic Skin Care and Farmhouse Fresh. They also offer a selection of products for purchase.

4. Atmosphere: The spa has a serene and relaxing atmosphere, with soft lighting, soothing music, and comfortable furnishings. The decor is inspired by the sea, with shades of blue and green and natural materials like wood and stone.

5. Location: The Sea Spa is located in the heart of Congress Hall, a historic hotel that dates back to 1816. Guests can enjoy the spa’s services and amenities, as well as the hotel’s restaurants, bars, and other attractions.

I truly enjoyed my experience at the Sea Spa. It was exactly what I needed to give me the time to contemplate the upcoming year. I chose the full body scrub treatment. The treatment starts out with a light brushing to exfoliate the skin, then the aesthetician scrubbed with the most delightful scented product, and then, after it was all taken off, there was a lovely lotion applied. I chose a quiet appointment with soft music to help me drift to where I needed to drift.  I can’t say enough nice things about not only my treatment, but how I was treated.

What I really enjoyed about Sea Spa were the other amenities they had offered. They had a beautiful bathroom with a complement a product that you may have forgotten to bring with you, like, deodorant, razors, hairspray, and other things. There were lockers, a dressing areas and spa showers.  I choose not to shower, because I did not want to wash away my treatment, and really didn’t need to because I found that it has soaked in so wonderfully in to my skin.  After dressing, I went to the lounge and had a cup of tea and read while I waited. It is exactly what I craved.

After, our spa time was over, we meandered to the Washington Street shopping area, where we found Quincy’s Original Lobster Rolls.  This is a small place in the shopping area with a big flavor.  The menu is skewed towards lobster.  I love this kind of menu because they do one thing and they do it right.  To be frank with you, I had a bite of their bread which was very good but my focus was on the lobster.  It was sweat, fresh and meaty.  Quincy’s doesn’t rely on flakes but chunks of lobster meat.  My roll had a claw.  This was one of the best of the  lobster rolls I have had.  If you are nearby, this is a must go.

1. Menu: Quincy’s offers a variety of lobster rolls, including the classic Maine-style roll with butter and lemon, as well as a Connecticut-style roll with warm butter and a touch of paprika. They also offer a lobster BLT roll and a lobster grilled cheese.


Split-top roll, buttered, toasted, and served w/chips & pickle. All rolls made to order. Chicken Tenders: 5 all-natural white meat tenders………………………………………………….9.99 2 Hotdog or 2 Corn-dog Meal: 100% beef hotdogs or corn-dogs…………………… ………..8.99 Classic Roll: Tender lobster, bead of mayo, lemon butter & seasoning…………………….17.99 Connecticut Roll: Tender lobster, dunked in butter and seasoned, served warm……….17.99 Lobster Salad Roll: Quincy’s own lobster salad………………………………………………………17.99 Lobster Grilled Cheese: American cheese on wheat or white w/ lobster ………………….17.99 Lobster Mac & Cheese: 12oz mac & cheese w/ lobster…………………………………………..14.99 Crab Roll: Lump crab , bead of creamy horseradish, lemon butter & seasoning………..15.99 Shrimp Roll: Jumbo shrimp topped with a zesty, light & creamy cocktail sauce ……….10.99 4 Roll Combo: Try four of our rolls (Two Lobster Rolls, Crab & Shrimp Roll)……………..58.99 Chicken Tenders: 3 all-natural white meat……………………………………………………………….7.99 Grilled Cheese: American cheese…………………………………………………………………………..5.99 Hotdog, Corn-Dog: 100% beef………………………………………………………………………………..5.99 B L T Option: Add bacon and tomato to any roll for $1.00                                                       No Carb Option: Romaine instead of the bun, no additional charge KIDS MEALS OTHER


Maine Lobster Bisque: 12oz …………………………………………………………………………………7.99 New England Clam Chowder: 12oz……………………………………………………………………….7.99 Chatham Salad: Baby greens, tomato, cucumber, croutons, lemon wedge……………….7.99 Add Lobster $10 · Lobster Salad $10 · Lump Crab $8 · Shrimp $6 · Tenders $6

2. Ingredients: Quincy’s uses fresh, locally sourced lobster in their rolls, as well as high-quality bread and other ingredients. They also offer gluten-free and vegan options.

3. Location: Quincy’s restaurant is on Washington Street in the shopping area.  It is convenient to the hotels and is centrally located.

4. Hours: Quincy’s is open seasonally, typically from May through September. They are open daily from 11am to 5pm, weather permitting.

5. Reviews: Quincy’s has received rave reviews from customers, who praise the delicious lobster rolls and friendly service. They have been featured in several local and national publications, including Coastal Living and Food & Wine.

Quincy’s Original Lobster Rolls is a must-visit for seafood lovers in Cape May. With fresh, locally sourced lobster and a variety of delicious rolls to choose from, it’s no wonder they have become a popular.  We found that it definitely lived up to the hype.  We had a regular lobster roll.  The meat was fresh, juicy and well proportioned.  There was a huge lobster claw and the meat wasn’t flaked.  To tell you the truth, I only took a bite of the bread because I was concentrated on the beautiful lobster that Quincy’s serves.Lobster House, The - Drink Philly - The Best Happy Hours, Drinks & Bars in  Philadelphia

Another spot we choose was The Lobster House.  We made reservation on our way into Cape May.  We encountered quiet a bit of traffic leaving Philadelphia and wanted to stop before we checked into the hotel for the night.  We knew that we we went to the hotel first, we wouldn’t go out.  We managed a reservation and were thrilled when we arrived.

The Lobster House is a popular seafood restaurant and market located a bit out of the main tourist area in Cape May. Here are some details about The Lobster House:

1. History: The Lobster House was founded in 1954 by the Dougherty family, who had been in the seafood business for generations (they have a restaurant in Atlantic City, which is excellent!). The restaurant has since become a Cape May institution, known for its fresh seafood and nautical decor.

2. Menu: The Lobster House offers a variety of seafood dishes, including lobster, crab, shrimp, and fish. They also have a raw bar and sushi. In addition to the restaurant, they also have a take-out market that offers fresh seafood, soups, and other items.  They have their own oyster from which they source thier oyster.

Dinner Menu


Crabmeat Cocktail – Jumbo Lump Crabmeat

Crab Fingers served with our own Mustard Sauce

Chilled Combination – Two Shrimp, Two Clams and Two Oysters

Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail served chilled with Cocktail Sauce

Fried Calamari with Marinara Sauce

Escargots sauteed in Garlic Butter, served on Toast Rounds


Ask your server about our more extensive list of Oysters on the Half Shell.

Cape May Salts – A petite, crisp, salty oyster with a clean finish, harvested from our own beds in the Delaware Bay

Oysters Rockefeller – Oysters under a bed of delicately seasoned spinach, topped with mornay sauce

Mussels and Clams

Steamed Clams – Eighteen clams served with clam broth and drawn butter

Steamed Mussels with a red marinara or white garlic sauce

Fresh Jersey Clams on the Half Shell
Consuming Raw or Uncooked Seafood may increase your risk of food borne illness.

Barbecued Clams – Baked with sharp Cheese, bacon and our tangy barbecue sauce

Baked Clams Casino – Topped with a mixture of celery, onion, green peppers, herbs and bacon

Lobster House Combo – Two Clams Casino, Two Oysters Rockefeller and Two Barbecued Clams


Fisherman’s Wharf Clam Chowder – New England Style served in a crock

Homemade Snapper Soup – A Rich Turtle Soup served in a crock

Lobster Bisque

Baked Onion Soup Gratinee


Caesar Salad – Garden fresh greens, croutons, anchovies, egg, Parmesan cheese and tossed in Caesar dressing

Fresh Spinach Salad topped with chopped egg, mushrooms, crisp bacon and homemade dressing

Cold Seafood Platter – One half lobster stuffed with shrimp salad, king crab legs, shrimp, mussels, and crab fingers on a bed of romaine

Seafood Salads

Served on a bed of crisp Lettuce with Tomato Wedges, Sliced Egg, Ripe Olives and Potato Salad, served with Bread & Butter

Gulf Shrimp Salad

Lobster Salad

Crabmeat Salad

Dinner Entrees

Fried Shrimp – Six Lightly Fried Shrimp.

Saute Shrimp Parmigiana – Jumbo Shrimp with Our House Garden Tomato Sauce, Topped with three cheeses, Provolone, Mozzarella and Parmesan, Served over Penne Pasta.

Shrimp Scampi – Six Large Sauteed Shrimp served over Yellow Rice or Linguine.

Cape May Scallops – Prepared Sauteed, Broiled or Fried.

Baked Stuffed Shrimp – Four Large Shrimp, Stuffed with Crabmeat.

Crab Cakes – Two Crab Cakes Delicately Seasoned, Served Sauteed or Lightly Fried.

Sauteed Crabmeat – Fresh Jumbo Lump Crabmeat Sauteed with White Wine and Butter.

Crabmeat Au Gratin – Jumbo Lump Crabmeat in a Rich Creamy Cheese Sauce.

Baked Crab Imperial – Made with Our Own Blend of Special Seasonings.

Soft Shell Crabs – Served Sauteed or Lightly Fried.

Fillet of Flounder – Prepared Sauteed, Broiled or Fried.

Baked Stuffed Flounder – Fillet of Flounder Stuffed with Crab Imperial and Scallops, Topped with Shrimp and Mornay Sauce.

Flounder Francaise – Fillet of Flounder Dipped in Egg Batter, Sauteed in White Wine, Lemon and Butter.

Pan Blackened Redfish – A Spicy New Orleans Herb-Crusted Specialty.

Lobster House Specialty – Lobster Tails, Scallops and Shrimp served over Linguine with Garlic Butter.

Port & Starboard – Petite Filet Mignon, Half a Stuffed Broiled Lobster and a Broiled Tomato.

Broiled Fisherman’s Wharf Platter – Half of a One Pound Lobster stuffed with Crabmeat, Fillet of Flounder, Scallops, Clam Casino, and a Stuffed Shrimp.

Schooner Dinner – One Pound Lobster, Cherrystone Clams, Scallops, Shrimp and Mussels served in a Kettle.

Lobster Tail – North Australian Lobster Tail With Crab Meat Stuffing

Vegetarian Platter – An assortment of fresh seasonal vegetables.

Char-Broiled Fare

We offer a selection of fresh fish daily: swordfish, tuna, salmon, and mako. Any of them may be served on an oak plank with whipped potatoes and grilled vegetables.

Live Lobsters

1lb – 3lb lobsters, served steamed or broiled. Crabmeat stuffing available. Ask servers about larger sizes.

Beef and Fowl

Slow Roasted Prime Rib au Jus – Available Saturday night only

New York Strip Steak – Served with fried onions and sautéed mushrooms. Bernaise sauce available

Chicken Francaise – Boneless breast of chicken dipped in egg batter, sautéed in white wine, lemon and butter

Filet Mignon – Served with fried onions and sautéed mushrooms. Bernaise sauce available

French Cut Chicken – Pan-seared then oven roasted and served with chorizo sausage and rice over a basil cream sauce

Dinner entrees include:

  • Potatoes: French Fries or Baked Potato or Potato du jour
  • Vegetable: Stewed Tomatoes, Cole Slaw, Apple Sauce or Vegetable du jour
  • Salad: Tossed Salad, French, Russian, Ranch, Bleu Cheese, Italian, Fat Free Honey Dijon Dressing, Balsamic Vinaigrette or Sundried Tomato with Oregano.
  • Homemade Bread and Butter.

Side Orders

Fried Onion Rings

Fried Tomatoes

Fried Mushrooms

Sauteed Onions or Green Peppers – or Half and Half – Delicious over Steaks

Fried Vegetable Combination – Onion Rings, Tomatoes and Mushrooms Served with Our House Bleu Cheese Dressing or Marinara Sauce

3. Atmosphere: The Lobster House has a nautical theme, with a lighthouse and fishing boats on the property. The restaurant has several dining rooms, including a casual outdoor patio and a more formal dining room with white tablecloths and a fireplace.  It is older in appearance and more than likley has not been updated in years.

4. Events: The Lobster House hosts several events throughout the year, including a seafood festival in June and a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in December. They also offer private event spaces for weddings, parties, and other occasions.

5. Reviews: The Lobster House has received rave reviews from customers, who praise the fresh seafood, friendly service, and charming atmosphere. They have been featured in several local and national publications, including Travel + Leisure and Food Network.Lobster House: A day in the life of the Jersey Shore's most iconic eatery

Overall, The Lobster House is a must-visit for seafood lovers in Cape May. The oysters were phenomenal and the best any of us have ever eaten.  I could go on and on in detail, but it’s not everyne’s cup of tea.  They were plump, briny, and perfect.  I truly enjoyed the mild flavor.  Next, was the clam chowder which was not to my taste.  I felt that it was too vinegary and thin.  Next time, I think I will go with more oysters.

The seafood platters were good.  I much prefer something simple and  less fussy.  I chose the Schooner Dinner, which is one-pound lobster, cherrystone clams, scallops, shrimp, and mussels served in a kettle.  I liked it because it was steamed, but didn’t care for the scallops because I found them a little rubbery.  The rest was good and well steamed.  The service was very good, too.  All-in-all, a 7.4 out of 10.  

This was a great way to spend the weekend.  It was soothing and uneventful.  I rarely get an opportunity to take care of myself.  I can’ t tell you how wonderful it was to focus on my thoughts without distraction.  And with thst I have a list of what I would like to accomplush for this upcoming year.

Sun-soaked Delight: Exploring the Beauty and Charm of Cape May

Cape May - What you need to know before you go – Go Guides

Cape May is a great spot to go on vacation for several reasons. First and foremost, it offers picturesque coastal beauty and stunning beaches. Whether you’re looking to relax on the sand, take a refreshing dip in the ocean, or enjoy water activities like surfing and kayaking, Cape May has it all.  It is one of the most beautiful 

Beyond its natural beauty, Cape May is also known for its rich history and charming architecture. The town is home to many preserved Victorian-era buildings, creating a unique and romantic atmosphere. You can take a stroll along the streets lined with beautifully restored homes or visit the Emlen Physick Estate, a Victorian mansion turned museum. 

Cape May is also a food lover’s paradise. The town boasts a vibrant culinary scene with excellent seafood, farm-to-table dining options, and charming cafes and bakeries. Make sure to try some of the local favorites like Cape May salt oysters, crab cakes, and fresh fish.

In addition, Cape May offers a range of activities for all interests. You can go shopping in the quaint boutiques, visit art galleries, take a scenic boat tour, or even go on a dolphin-watching excursion. The town also hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, including the Cape May Music Festival and the Cape May Food and Wine Celebration.

Cape May, New Jersey is known for its beautiful beaches and coastal scenery. There are several stunning beaches in Cape May where you can lie in repose and soak up the sun and scenery. Here are a few notable ones:

  1. Cape May Beach: This is the main beach in town, located near the Cape May Convention Hall. It offers gorgeous views of the Atlantic Ocean and is known for its wide shoreline, soft sand, and gentle waves. It’s a popular spot for sunbathing, beachcombing, and building sandcastles.
  2. The Cove Beach: Situated at the southernmost tip of Cape May, The Cove Beach is a favorite among locals and surfers. It offers a serene setting with sand dunes and beautiful grassy areas. The water here is usually calmer, making it a great spot for swimming, especially for families with young children.
  3. Higbee Beach: If you’re looking for a more secluded and natural beach experience, Higbee Beach is a great choice. It’s part of the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge, offering scenic views and abundant birdwatching opportunities. Note that it has limited amenities, so it’s important to come prepared.
  4. Poverty Beach: Located just north of Cape May’s convention center, Poverty Beach is a quieter alternative to the bustling Cape May Beach. It’s known for its picturesque dunes, soft sand, and generally less crowded atmosphere. This beach offers a more tranquil setting to enjoy a day at the beach.

Cape May is renowned for its Victorian architecture, which is a major draw for visitors to the area. The town is home to one of the largest collections of Victorian buildings in the United States, and it has been designated as a National Historic Landmark City.  Walking through the streets of Cape May feels like stepping back in time, as you’ll encounter an array of beautifully preserved and restored Victorian-era buildings. The architecture reflects the popular styles of the late 19th century, including Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, Italianate, and Stick-Eastlake.

Some notable examples of Victorian architecture in Cape May include the Emlen Physick Estate, a stunning Victorian mansion that is now a museum and offers guided tours. Other prominent buildings include the Congress Hall Hotel, which has been in operation since 1816 and boasts a grand Victorian facade, and the Chalfonte Hotel, a historic hotel that exudes Victorian charm.What's in a Name? Physick Estate in Cape May -

Cape May’s Victorian architecture is not limited to grand buildings. The town is adorned with charming, colorful cottages, bed and breakfasts, and guesthouses, many of which have been lovingly restored. These beautifully crafted homes showcase the intricate details, decorative trim, and vibrant colors that are characteristic of Victorian design.

The preservation and restoration efforts in Cape May have been instrumental in maintaining the town’s Victorian charm and character. It’s not uncommon to see horse-drawn carriages carrying visitors through the streets, adding to the nostalgic atmosphere.

Cape May is known for being one of the oldest vacation resort destinations in the United States. Its history as a resort town dates back to the early 19th century when its natural beauty attracted visitors seeking rest and relaxation. The mild climate, beautiful beaches, and charming Victorian architecture drew affluent vacationers from nearby cities like Philadelphia and New York.

In the mid-1800s, Cape May experienced a period of significant growth and development. The construction of grand hotels, such as the Congress Hall and the Chalfonte Hotel, transformed the landscape and established Cape May as a premier resort destination. These hotels catered to well-to-do visitors, offering luxury accommodations and a wide range of recreational activities.Hotel History: The Chalfonte Hotel (1876), Cape May, New Jersey

Unfortunately, Cape May’s prosperity as a resort town waned towards the end of the 19th century due to natural disasters and changing vacationing preferences. A devastating fire in 1878 destroyed a significant portion of the city, including many of the grand hotels. However, the town was quickly rebuilt in its signature Victorian style, which still characterizes Cape May today.

During the 20th century, Cape May faced various challenges, including economic decline and military use during World War II. However, in the 1970s, Cape May experienced a renaissance of sorts. The City of Cape May and Cape May Point were designated as a National Historic Landmark because of their exceptional collection of Victorian buildings. This designation helped spark a resurgence in tourism and preservation efforts, leading to the revitalization of the city’s historic district.

Cape May thrives as a popular tourist destination and maintains its reputation as a hub of Victorian architecture. Visitors can explore the city’s historic downtown, indulge in culinary delights, relax on the beautiful beaches, or take part in various cultural events and festivals.

If you’re looking for the best shopping in Cape May, there are several places you can explore. One popular spot is the Washington Street Mall, located in the heart of Cape May’s historic district. It features a variety of shops, boutiques, galleries, and restaurants, offering a unique shopping experience. 

Another great shopping area in Cape May is the West End Garage. It’s a transformed automotive service station that now houses a collection of eclectic vendors specializing in vintage, repurposed, and handmade items. You can find everything from clothing and jewelry to home decor and artwork here.  If you’re interested in antiques, you might want to visit the Antique Emporium of Cape May. This multi-dealer marketplace offers a wide range of antique furniture, collectibles, and unique treasures for those who enjoy a touch of nostalgia.

Cape May is known for its vibrant food scene, offering a range of dining options to suit various tastes. Here are a few recommendations for the best dining experiences in Cape May:

  1. The Ebbitt Room: Located inside The Virginia Hotel, The Ebbitt Room offers an elegant and refined dining experience. Known for its farm-to-table cuisine, this restaurant focuses on using fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create delicious dishes.
  2. The Oyster Bay Restaurant & Bar: This restaurant offers a variety of seafood dishes, including oysters, clams, and crab cakes. They also have a full bar and offer live music on weekends.
  3. The Lobster House: A Cape May institution, The Lobster House is a waterfront seafood restaurant that has been serving hungry visitors since 1954. Enjoy fresh seafood delicacies in a casual atmosphere with stunning views of the harbor.
  4. Peter Shields Inn & Restaurant: This upscale dining establishment is set inside a beautiful Georgian Revival mansion. The menu offers a blend of American cuisine and flavors from around the world, using seasonal ingredients to create memorable dishes.
  5. 4. The Rusty Nail: This casual beach bar and restaurant offers a variety of seafood dishes, including crab cakes, fish tacos, and lobster rolls. They also have a full bar and offer live music on weekends.
  6. The Blue Pig Tavern: Located in Congress Hall, the Blue Pig Tavern is a popular spot for comfort food with a modern twist. Enjoy dishes made from locally sourced ingredients, including seafood, burgers, and hearty breakfast options.
  7. Union Park Dining Room: A fine dining establishment known for its romantic atmosphere and creative menus. Union Park offers a sophisticated dining experience with dishes made from the freshest ingredients and an extensive wine list.

To start, Cape May’s beautiful beaches and coastal areas provide a habitat for various bird species. Birdwatching is particularly popular in Cape May, as it is a major stopover point for migratory birds. Cape May Point State Park and Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area are well-known spots for birdwatching, where you can see a wide variety of species throughout the year.In addition to birdwatching,

Cape May offers other exciting wildlife experiences. Dolphin-watching cruises are a popular activity, allowing you to see these intelligent creatures up close in their natural habitat. You can also embark on nature tours and hikes through the local parks and nature reserves, such as The Nature Conservancy’s South Cape May Meadows Preserve.

If you’re interested in marine life, visiting the Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center is a must. They offer boat trips to observe whales, dolphins, and other marine mammals. It’s an amazing opportunity to learn about these creatures and their conservation efforts.


6 Travel Books That Are a Must Read For Any Traveler

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
By Bill Bryson

The Appalachian Trail is a goal for my daughter as she wants to hike it and I want to explore it.  One of the most interesting sites that I discovered was Camp Michaux, which is the site of a WWII POW camp.  This book inspires me to further discover the trail.

AMAZON:  The Appalachian Trail trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America–majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way–and a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in).

Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to The World of Food and the People Who Cook
by Anthony Bourdain

Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook

I am a foodie and enjoy exploring native foods and recipes.  I look forward to reading about the search for the unique and attainable.  Anthony Bourdain is someone that can help guide the gastronomically curious traveler on thier journey.


In the 10 years since his classic Kitchen Confidential first alerted us to the idiosyncrasies and lurking perils of eating out – from Monday fish to the breadbasket conspiracy – much has changed for the subculture of chefs and cooks, for the restaurant business and for Anthony Bourdain. Medium Raw explores those changes, moving back and forth from the author’s bad old days to the present. Tracking his own strange and unexpected voyage from journeyman cook to globe-traveling professional eater and drinker, and even to fatherhood, Bourdain takes no prisoners as he dissects what he’s seen, pausing along the way for a series of confessions, rants, investigations, and interrogations of some of the most controversial figures in food.

Beginning with a secret and highly illegal after-hours gathering of powerful chefs that he compares to a mafia summit, Bourdain pulls back the curtain, but never pulls his punches, on the modern gastronomical revolution, as only he can. Cutting right to the bone, Bourdain sets his sights on some of the biggest names in the foodie world, including David Chang, the young superstar chef who has radicalized the fine-dining landscape; the revered Alice Waters, whom he treats with unapologetic frankness; the Top Chef winners and losers; and many more.

Always he returns to the question “Why cook?” Or the more difficult “Why cook well?” Medium Raw is the deliciously funny and shockingly delectable journey to those answers, sure to delight philistines and gourmands alike.

100 Parks, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do
By National Geographic

The US and Canada has an incredible number of parks and each one if more beautiful than the next.  I am always surprised as how close I am to any of these parks.  This book will help you explore from city to country.

AMAZON:  In the sequel to the best-selling 50 States, 5,000 ideas, National Geographic turns to the United States’ and Canada’s most pristine–and adventure-filled–national, state, and city parks with 5,000 ideas for the ultimate vacation. Showcasing the best experiences, both obvious and unexpected, each entry in this robust guide provides an overview of the park, detailed travel advice, fascinating facts, insider knowledge about wildlife, and expert tips for hiking, biking, camping, and exploring. From the geysers of Yellowstone National Park to the Everglades’ Nine Mile Pond Canoe Trail and the stunning peaks of Banff and Jasper in Alberta, each page will fuel your wanderlust. Plus, explore the natural beauty tucked away in cities like New York’s Central Park and Boston Commons, and find bonus parks with day-trip suggestions to nearby neighbors. Top 10 lists throughout highlight best-of destinations for river trips, monuments, panoramic views, beaches, and more. This comprehensive book provides all the inspiration and information you need to plan your next park visit–and make it a memorable one.

A Woman Alone: Travel Tales From Around the Globe
edited by Faith Conlon, Ingrid Emerick and Christina Henry de Tessan

I do like traveling alone.  I don’t often do it and am planning on more.  I enjoy it because it gives me time to reconnect with myself and explore exactly what I want to explore.  A Woman Alone is about just that.

AMAZON:  The idea of a journey without companions is too daunting for most travelers. Not so for the women of this collection. These contemporary pioneers savor the ultimate freedom of solo travel. Marybeth Bond discovers the dubious pleasures of desert camel-riding when she decides to follow an ancient Indian trading route. Faith Adiele, a black Buddhist nun, enters a deserted train station at 3:00 a.m. in a Thai village controlled by armed bandits. Ena Singh negotiates with Russian police to visit the blue-domed city of Samarkand. In A Woman Alone, these women and others tell their funny, thrilling, occasionally terrifying, ultimately transformative stories of navigating some of the most unusual destinations on the globe.

Our National Monuments: America’s Hidden Gems
By Q.T. Luoung

There are so many national monuments to explore.  According to the National Park Service (  a national park contains a variety of resources and encompasses large land or water areas to help provide adequate protection of the resources. A national monument is intended to preserve at least one nationally significant resource.  These don’t rival each other but add to the potential of discovery.

AMAZON:  With the stroke of a pen, the president of the United States can proclaim a national monument. The Antiquities Act of 1906 was enacted to provide an expedited means to protect areas of natural or cultural significance. Since then, 16 presidents have used the Act to preserve some of America’ most treasured public lands and waters. In 2017, an unprecedented executive order was issued questioning these designations by calling for the review of 27 national monuments across 11 states and two oceans, opening the threat of development to vulnerable and irreplaceable natural resources.

Our National Monuments, the first book of its kind, introduces these spectacular and unique landscapes at risk from the review. From the north woods of Maine to the cactus-filled deserts of Arizona, these national monuments include vast lands rivaling the national parks in beauty, diversity, and historical heritage. The critically important landscapes are often under the radar, with limited visitor information available, yet offer considerable opportunities for solitude and adventure compared to bustling national parks.

QT Luong – one of the most prolific photographers working in America’s public lands and author of the best-selling and acclaimed photography book about the national parks, Treasured Lands – hiked and camped in the 22 land-based national monuments under review, aiming his lens at the grand vistas, archaeological wonders, and hidden delights along the way. Accompanying the collection of 300 scenic photographs is an invaluable guide that includes maps, descriptions of the author’s wide-ranging explorations and highlights for each of the monuments. Introductory essays from leaders and activists of 27 conservation associations provide the perspective of citizens caring for each of these national treasures. A foreword by former Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, as well as photographs of marine national monuments from Ansel Adams award-winning photographer Ian Shive round out this comprehensive portrayal of America’s hidden gems.

The Art Of Travel
By Alain de Botton

Why travel?  Here it all is in one beautiful book.

AMAZON:  Any Baedeker will tell us where we ought to travel, but only Alain de Botton will tell us how and why. With the same intelligence and insouciant charm he brought to How Proust Can Save Your Life, de Botton considers the pleasures of anticipation; the allure of the exotic, and the value of noticing everything from a seascape in Barbados to the takeoffs at Heathrow.

Even as de Botton takes the reader along on his own peregrinations, he also cites such distinguished fellow-travelers as Baudelaire, Wordsworth, Van Gogh, the biologist Alexander von Humboldt, and the 18th-century eccentric Xavier de Maistre, who catalogued the wonders of his bedroom. The Art of Travel is a “refreshing and profoundly readable” book (The Philadelphia Inquirer). Don’t leave home without it.

Great 2023 Reads for Summer Travels and Beyond



I’m a huge fan of reading.  I try to read 60-70 books a year with my favorite genres being Sci-Fi and Fantasy, although I do enjoy branching out into other genres like Historical Non-Fiction. I am searching for some new books to read and anxiously awaiting the sequels to a couple of my favorite series.

I am a fan of Jodi Taylor and Naomi Novak.  Jodi Taylor is an English fantasy writer that send historians into the past with almost near disastrous yet hysterical results.  The characters of St. Mary’s  “investigate major historical events in contemporary time” and just don’t call it time travel.  The 14th installment of The Chronicles of St. Mary’s is due in June.  Naomi Novak is an award-winning American author known for her fantasy and speculative fantasy writing.  I have several of her books and am looking forward to finishing the Scolomance theory where magic is deadly and high school graduation is not guaranteed.

Here are a few on my reading list.  Enjoy!

Lives of the Wives by Carmela Ciuraru

AMAZON:  LIVES OF THE WIVES is a witty, provocative look inside the tumultuous marriages of five writers, illuminating the creative process as well as the role of money, power, and fame in these complex and fascinating relationships.

“With an ego the size of a small nation, the literary lion is powerful on the page, but a helpless kitten in daily life—dependent on his wife to fold an umbrella, answer the phone, or lick a stamp.”

The history of wives is largely one of silence, resilience, and forbearance. Toss in celebrity, male privilege, ruthless ambition, narcissism, misogyny, infidelity, alcoholism, and a mood disorder or two, and it’s easy to understand why the marriages of so many famous writers have been stormy, short-lived, and mutually destructive. “It’s been my experience,” as the critic and novelist Elizabeth Hardwick once wrote, “that nobody holds a man’s brutality to his wife against him.” Literary wives are a unique breed, requiring a particular kind of fortitude.

Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman by [Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson]


Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman

AMAZON:  From his breakout role in Die Hard to his outstanding, multifaceted performances in the Harry Potter films, Galaxy QuestRobin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and more, Alan Rickman cemented his legacy as a world-class actor. His air of dignity, his sonorous voice, and the knowing wit he brought to each role continue to captivate audiences today.

But Rickman’s ability to breathe life into projects wasn’t confined to just his performances. As you’ll find, Rickman’s diaries detail the extraordinary and the ordinary, flitting between worldly and witty and gossipy, while remaining utterly candid throughout. He takes us inside his home, on trips with friends across the globe, and on the sets of films and plays ranging from Sense and Sensibility, to Noël Coward’s Private Lives, to the final film he directed, A Little Chaos.

Running from 1993 to his death in 2016, the diaries provide singular insight into Rickman’s public and private life. Reading them is like listening to Rickman chatting to a close companion. Meet Rickman the consummate professional actor, but also the friend, the traveler, the fan, the director, the enthusiast; in short, the man beyond the icon.

A Deadly Education: A Novel (The Scholomance)
The Last Graduate: A Novel (The Scholomance)
The Golden Enclaves: A Novel (The Scholomance)
The Scholomance (3 book series) by Naomi Novak


The one thing you never talk about while you’re in the Scholomance is what you’ll do when you get out. Not even the richest enclaver would tempt fate that way. But it’s all we dream about: the hideously slim chance we’ll survive to make it out the gates and improbably find ourselves with a life ahead of us, a life outside the Scholomance halls.

And now the impossible dream has come true. I’m out, we’re all out—and I didn’t even have to turn into a monstrous dark witch to make it happen. So much for my great-grandmother’s prophecy of doom and destruction. I didn’t kill enclavers, I saved them. Me and Orion and our allies. Our graduation plan worked to perfection: We saved everyone and made the world safe for all wizards and brought peace and harmony to all the enclaves everywhere.

Ha, only joking! Actually, it’s gone all wrong. Someone else has picked up the project of destroying enclaves in my stead, and probably everyone we saved is about to get killed in the brewing enclave war. And the first thing I’ve got to do now, having miraculously gotten out of the Scholomance, is turn straight around and find a way back in.

Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano

AMAZON:  William Waters grew up in a house silenced by tragedy, where his parents could hardly bear to look at him, much less love him—so when he meets the spirited and ambitious Julia Padavano in his freshman year of college, it’s as if the world has lit up around him. With Julia comes her family, as she and her three sisters are inseparable: Sylvie, the family’s dreamer, is happiest with her nose in a book; Cecelia is a free-spirited artist; and Emeline patiently takes care of them all. With the Padavanos, William experiences a newfound contentment; every moment in their house is filled with loving chaos.

But then darkness from William’s past surfaces, jeopardizing not only Julia’s carefully orchestrated plans for their future, but the sisters’ unshakeable devotion to one another. The result is a catastrophic family rift that changes their lives for generations. Will the loyalty that once rooted them be strong enough to draw them back together when it matters most?

An exquisite homage to Louisa May Alcott’s timeless classic, Little WomenHello Beautiful is a profoundly moving portrait of what is possible when we choose to love someone not in spite of who they are, but because of it.

The Good, The Bad and The History (Chronicles of St. Mary's Book 14) by [Jodi Taylor]
The Good, The Bad and The History (Chronicles of St. Mary’s Book 14) by Jodi Taylor

AMAZON:  Max needs to get away – fast – and a Brilliant Idea soon leads her to a full-scale uprising in twentieth-century China. If she can come by a historical treasure or two in the process, even better. That is, if she makes it out alive.

Then there’s the small matter of Insight – the sinister organisation from the future hell bent on changing History for their own dark ends. Having successfully infiltrated their ranks, Max is perfectly placed to stop them. But she knows her cover will soon be blown – because it’s already happened.

Can Max take down Insight before they come after her? The circle is closing, and only one can survive…

The Wife Upstairs: A Novel
The Wife Upstairs: A Novel by Rachel Hawkins

AMAZON:  Meet Jane. Newly arrived to Birmingham, Alabama, Jane is a broke dog-walker in Thornfield Estates––a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. The kind of place where no one will notice if Jane lifts the discarded tchotchkes and jewelry off the side tables of her well-heeled clients. Where no one will think to ask if Jane is her real name.

But her luck changes when she meets Eddie Rochester. Recently widowed, Eddie is Thornfield Estates’ most mysterious resident. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies lost to the deep. Jane can’t help but see an opportunity in Eddie––not only is he rich, brooding, and handsome, he could also offer her the kind of protection she’s always yearned for.

Yet as Jane and Eddie fall for each other, Jane is increasingly haunted by the legend of Bea, an ambitious beauty with a rags-to-riches origin story, who launched a wildly successful southern lifestyle brand. How can she, plain Jane, ever measure up? And can she win Eddie’s heart before her past––or his––catches up to her?

With delicious suspense, incisive wit, and a fresh, feminist sensibility, The Wife Upstairs flips the script on a timeless tale of forbidden romance, ill-advised attraction, and a wife who just won’t stay buried. In this vivid reimagining of one of literature’s most twisted love triangles, which Mrs. Rochester will get her happy ending?

Radiant Sin: A Darkly Hot Modern Retelling of Apollo and Cassandra (Dark Olympus Book 4)


Radiant Sin: A Darkly Hot Modern Retelling of Apollo and Cassandra (Dark Olympus Book 4) by Katee Robert

AMAZON: As a disgraced member of a fallen house, Cassandra Gataki has seen firsthand what comes from trusting the venomous Thirteen. But when the maddeningly gorgeous and kind Apollo asks her to go undercover as his plus-one at a week-long party hosted by a dangerous new power player…Cassandra reluctantly agrees to have his back.

On one condition: when it’s all over, and Apollo has the ammunition he needs to protect Olympus, she and her sister will be allowed to leave. For good.

Apollo may be the city’s official spymaster, but it’s his ability to inspire others that keeps him at the top. Despite what the rest of Olympus says, there’s no one he trusts more than Cassandra. Yet even as their fake relationship takes a wicked turn for the scaldingly hot, a very real danger surfaces… threatening not only Cassandra and Apollo, but the very heart of Olympus itself.

Our Share of Night: A Novel by Mariana Enriquez

A young father and son set out on a road trip, devastated by the death of the wife and mother they both loved. United in grief, the pair travel to her ancestral home, where they must confront the terrifying legacy she has bequeathed: a family called the Order that commits unspeakable acts in search of immortality.

For Gaspar, the son, this maniacal cult is his destiny. As the Order tries to pull him into their evil, he and his father take flight, attempting to outrun a powerful clan that will do anything to ensure its own survival. But how far will Gaspar’s father go to protect his child? And can anyone escape their fate?

Moving back and forth in time, from London in the swinging 1960s to the brutal years of Argentina’s military dictatorship and its turbulent aftermath, Our Share of Night is a novel like no other: a family story, a ghost story, a story of the occult and the supernatural, a book about the complexities of love and longing with queer subplots and themes. This is the masterwork of one of Latin America’s most original novelists, “a mesmerizing writer,” says Dave Eggers, “who demands to be read.”

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