Taking the Kids is your information resource for family, multi-generational and group travel. We have reports on thousands of family-friendly destinations including unique resorts, lodges, hotels, camps, theme parks, cruises and more. Creator Eileen Ogintz is a nationally syndicated travel columnist and the author of more than a dozen books.

Our Seasonal Travel Guides bring you the best ideas for vacations or getaways – Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring – plus Best Holiday Light Views and our Annual Cruise Guide

51 Great Ideas for Your Best Family Summer Vacation

Hard to believe, but this is Year 2 of the Covid Pandemic. We are all hoping for a somewhat more normal summer vacation! 51 Great Ideas!

Spring Break Ideas to Meet Every Family’s Wish List

Updated for 2020: Each year we join our colleagues at Family Travel Forum to recommend Spring Break getaways that are guaranteed to please, whether you’re planning a reunion of several generations, a wild time with a bunch of friends, or some “we” time with loved ones, we hope you’ll find this roundup of the top adventure, beach, resort, cruise, festival, city, historical and international short breaks a helpful starting point.

The Best Family Getaways to Light Your Winter

Welcome to our new directory of the best winter 2021 adventures. With an end to the pandemic in sight, see how easy it is to book the best value winter family getaway guaranteed to make lifelong memories

FUN IN THE SNOW — Your Guide to Family Vacations on the Ski Slopes and Beyond

Winter is a great time to get outdoors with the kids, whether it’s a ski and snow family vacation at one of North America’s top mountain resorts, snowmobiling, snowboarding or snow shoeing on local trails, fun in the snow on a tubing run or seeing wildlife at a national park.

Holiday Lights are everywhere – our annual family guide to the best and brightest

This roundup of the top holiday displays across America compiled with The Family Travel Forum is your guide you to the best and brightest public events in 2020

20 FALL GETAWAYS FOR 2020 – Taking the Kids Seasonal Guide

The pandemic has changed our lives — and our travel plans. But this fall, we want to focus on what we can do. Our annual guide has 20 ideas for a 2020 fall getaway

The Best Virtual Family Vacation Ideas – while we practice social distancing

We hope you will use our virtual travel guide to make your life easier during this difficult period. Pardon the cliche, but we ARE all in this togethe

Taking the Kids Annual Family Cruise Guide

In 2020, you will find families cruising with kids in the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska and far-flung destinations like the Galapagos Islands. You can count on kids being seen and heard everywhere.

A WALK IN THE WOODS

I decide I want to see what else this tiny resort village has to offer so I decide to go on a walk in the woods with engaging ski pro Alois Gstrein, who was raised here on a farm and has lived here all his life, now with his wife and new baby. His entire family – parents, two brothers, two sisters — all live here.

The latest news and trends from the world of family travel.

Cruising is back soon: What’s your pick?

Princess, Carnival, and Holland America will be sailing from Seattle to Alaska starting late July without any port stops in Canada,

JetBlue and the Terrible Day at JFK

What should have been a simple 3 ½ hour direct flight from JFK Airport in Queens, NY, to Montego Bay, Jamaica, turned into an all-day and night travel odyssey

Cruises Returning for Summer 2021

The US cruise industry is moving quickly to resume sailings with a flurry of announcements that some cruises to Alaska will resume in mid-Summer from Seattle

Back in the air but pandemic rules still apply

The United flight was packed, including with many kids and infants—not surprising that we were headed from Denver to Orlando in late April

Epic, Ikon? What’s with these dueling ski passes?

Wherever you want to ski and ride and whether you plan just one week a year or every weekend, passes are a far better deal. This season reservations were required

An Epic Family Antarctica Adventure

Antarctica is the world’s most remote and coveted destination and World Navigator is perfect for families to share a once-in-a-lifetime adventure

Exploring new places through food—from home

For many of us, exploring new places through food is a big part of why we like to travel–from farmers’ markets to local groceries, bakeries and restaurants

THE KID’S GUIDE TO CAMPING

Falcon Guides is proud to announce the release of THE KID’S GUIDE TO CAMPING (978-1-4930-57887, May 2021, paperback) By Eileen Ogintz

BLACK FRIDAY/ CYBER MONDAY — 49 travel deals for 2021

With promising news on the vaccine front, this is an opportune time to book great travel deals for 2021. Black Friday/Cyber Monday (Nov. 27 & 30) traditionally offer some of the best deals of the year

Professional advice on Preparing for a Pandemic Holiday Season

Is it safe to even get together? What do we do if families aren’t on the same page about public health guidelines? How do we decide what is the right thing to do?

Overcoming physical disability and discrimination: The true stories of a new spy thriller

A new IFC movie, A Call to Spy, celebrates the accomplishments and bravery of the young women who were enlisted as spies by Winston Churchill’s Special Operations Executive during World War II

YOU NEVER KNOW WHERE A SUMMER JOB WILL LEAD

I last rafted the Grand Canyon 40 years ago on a trip where we paddled, following the guide’s shouted directions. I was glad for the opportunity to go again, confident that we could raft safely and stay healthy with Western River’s comprehensive COVID-19 mitigation plan

More masks everywhere – including Jackson Hole WY

Certainly, there is a lot to feel anxious about this summer whether you are at home or traveling with spikes in COVID-19 cases in many states. Locals in Wyoming, like elsewhere, say they are nervous seeing so many out of state license plates

A look at summer travel under COVID rules

We’re talking about the havoc the COVID-19 Pandemic has wreaked on in lives. That includes, of course, any travel plans we might have had for this summer.

Rocky Mountain Towns are Reopening for Adventurers

As long as you are willing to wear masks and social distance, you will find mountain towns have fine-tuned their lodging, restaurants, and guided adventures so that you can get outdoors and enjoy yourselves this summer—safely.

Read about our most recent travel experiences.

Something For Everyone: Half Moon Resort

Mixology classes for the adults… sailing and diving classes for the kids. And plenty of sun, sand and ocean for everyone

A Different Kind of Trail Ride

So here I am in the bay at Half Moon Resort, on the North Coast of Jamaica. I’m hanging on to Cutta’s tail as well as I can. But I’m not sure it will be enough

Jamaican Food at Its Best: Star San

Award-winning and well-known Jamaican Chef Brian Lumley is showing us how to make coconut curry shrimp and just-caught fish—lionfish, parrot fish, snapper

What’s On Your Bucket List? Add GoldenEye

It’s small enough that there are no conflicts over finding a beach chair. And with its tropical gardens it’s easy to forget what’s happening in the world

Communing With James Bond at GoldenEye

Fleming wrote every one of his 14 James Bond novels here in a tropical villa off Oracabessa Bay. He took the name of an English ornithologist for his hero

Good To Have a Plan B – Authentic Jamaica

Cummings explained he has fond memories of growing up in Jamaica until his parents moved him and his siblings to Brooklyn when he was 13

In Jamaica, it’s all about YA MON

Everyone is so friendly. Even if you don’t know the person, it’s common courtesy to say hi — “YA, MON,”

Can’t choose entree? Choose everything!

when we couldn’t choose between Duck Bigarde (with an orange sauce) or Carre D’Agneau (rack of lamb) our waiter encouraged us to try both

Wedding are back at Sandals in Jamaica

The music alerted those of us in the water and on the beach as the bride floated down the dock in her long, white dress to the Gazebo

Heaven for dogs and humans

Our 10-year-old pooch Jake, a 14-pound poodle mix, was greeted at check in with a packet of treats and is lazing on the couch in our room

Families connect at White Stallion Ranch

Dolores Day and her husband had gathered her two daughters and three grown grandchildren for the first time in four years from all over the country

Family activities and, of course, horses!

The Mattsons were so fearful this trip would also get derailed that they didn’t tell their daughters until they got to the historic White Stallion Ranch

The White Stallion Ranch experience

If you thought a dude ranch was just about horses, think again—even a historic one like the White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, owned by the True family for decades

The Cactus Garden at The Phoenician

They may sound like a mixologist’s drink names. But they are some of the different cacti here in a unique two-acre Cactus Garden at The Phoenician Scottsdale.

Scottsdale AZ: family oasis in the desert

Scottsdale is a city of a lot of contradictions. Huge fancy resorts like The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess and The Phoenician with huge pools, more than 50 spas

Wellness at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

The Well & Being Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, one of the largest in Scottsdale, is inspired by the Havasupai oasis deep in the Grand Canyon

The historic hotel on Route 66

The El Rancho Hotel, right on Route 66 in Gallup NM has hosted actors including John Wayne, Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy…

Off the beaten path near Moab, Utah

Cedar Bend cabin at the Whispering Oaks Ranch that has six bedrooms, six baths, two half baths, a pool table, poker table, outdoor decks and spectacular views

The joys of river rafting in the rain

I’ve always thought misadventures make the best vacation stories. Our morning raft trip in the cold rain made another one

Taking the (grown) kids on a vaxication

When I began to plan a spring get together with family, I had no idea everyone would be vaccinated.

Family ties run deep at the historic Alta Lodge

Bill Levitt fell in love with Alta when he brought his family for a ski holiday, building a house in 1954 and buying the Alta Lodge, one of the first ski lodges in the country, in 1959.

Fine cuisine on the slopes and at the Alta Lodge

These days, the chefs say, guests tend to want lighter dishes with a more international flair and expect the Alta Lodge to accommodate all varieties of diets.

Family traditions endure over generations at the Alta Lodge

By Eileen Ogintz ALTA, Utah -- All it took was one Sports Illustrated cover to start a family tradition that has...

Yin and Yang: Alta and Snowbird ski resorts in Utah

Snowbird is known for its steeps and deeps; its cliffs, glades and moguls as well as The Cliff Lodge, which boasts one of the best spas in Ski Country

Alta, Utah: Old-fashioned family ski resort and home of a legend

Located in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Alta is about 30 miles from Salt Lake City and enjoys a unique micro climate characterized by over 547 inches annually

Steak, lobster, chicken, trout: Gourmet fare at a dude ranch in Colorado Springs

By Eileen Ogintz COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- We are at over 8,000 feet up a steep gravel road from Colorado Springs in the...

The Ranch at Emerald Valley – history, charm, family-central by The Broadmoor

Today, all that is left of the Nanny’s cabin is the foundation and a huge stone fireplace after a fire many years ago. Camp Vigil is now The Broadmoor’s Ranch at Emerald Valley.

Dreaming of a Sustainable Trip to Norway In 2021

We might not have been doing much traveling this year with our families because of Covid-19, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start bookmarking some of our favorite spaces and places for 2021.

A quick fall getaway to Vail. Forget something? The Antlers can substitute most anything

Unlike most rental condos, The Antlers at Vail come equipped with aluminum foil, plastic wrap and containers, a fully equipped kitchen and more. The location also can’t be beat—at the Lionshead base area a short walk on a pedestrian path from Vail Village.

Weather can’t spoil a trip to remember down the Grand Canyon

Finally! Five hours after we were scheduled to leave, the helicopters started to fly again, taking two or three passengers at a time rather than four because of the conditions

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Cool stuff we like and recommend for your travels

Walking on a cloud

Have you ever made the mistake of going sightseeing in uncomfortable footwear?

Kurobuta Pork On the Go

Great to take camping or to vacation rentals! Family-owned and operated, True Story Foods is bringing Kurobuta Pork to the masses.

The Stella Falone Story

If you are looking for a Father’s Day gift—or a gift for yourself—consider a Stella Falone cutting board, sustainably made and connected to music!

Tangy Sauces Made with No Sugar

Abe Kamarck, a former Navy helicopter pilot and MBA, was distressed that the ketchup and BBQ sauce his four kids were eating had too much sugar.

Convenient Libations On the Road Trip

On a camping or road trip, you might be the only one who wants a glass of wine or a certain cocktail. You don’t want to bring along multiple glass bottles.

Yeti’s new Roadie 24 Hard Cooler

For shorter trips, like a day at a nearby state park, the new Yeti Roadie 24 Hard Cooler ($199.99) gets the job done and saves a lot of space in the car.

Cool new travel shirts from Royal Robbins

Cool, dry, comfortable – that’s what you need for the summer road trip, hike, or day on the beach. These men’s short sleeves from Royal Robbins meet the need.

Backpack with handy front shuttle pod

These days, some backpacks are much more than just a tote on your back. Take the new line of “swing out pouch” backpacks from Paxis.

Gear to motivate you to get out on the trail or road and move!

Spring is a great time to get off that couch and out onto the roads and trails to move! Check out some gear that will help you stay hydrated, safe, and comfortable on your next adventure.

Finding the right skis for all conditions – and skiing 30 years younger!

Volkl, is the largest manufacturer in Germany and has making high performance skis since 1923—some of the most technologically advanced skis in the world.

Can ski boots ever be comfortable? Answer: Yes

I couldn’t believe how comfortable I found my Dalbello boots when I first tried them out at Alta in Utah recently. My shins didn’t hurt at the end of the day

#ROADTRIPHACK: portable pillow

Whether you’re camping, RVing or staying elsewhere on your road trip, you’ll want a comfortable pillow—especially for the kids napping along the way.

The most comfortable travel PJs ever

Yup — the most comfortable PJs I’ve ever tried come from Sijo. a company that promises products backed by science without harmful chemicals or dyes

Trekking Poles for all seasons

I love it when gear transcends the weather—like my new trekking poles.

#BOLLEBEST Sunglasses

Let’s hear it for shades that look good, are light weight, protect your eyes and enhance your depth perception.

Nathan’s cool new dog harness and hydration pak

Inspired by Nathan race vests (for humans, the new Nathan K9 Series Dog Harness comes with breathable and comfortable material on the chest and back

Performance and safety in a woman’s ski helmet – Anon Nova MIPS

Ski helmets keep getting better and safer. The new Anon Nova MIPS women’s helmet from Burton proves the concept.

Nathan face masks for runners and walkers

A common complaint about face masks is wearing them on a walk, run or workout with heavy breathing. New face masks by NathanSports solve that issue.

DRAGON goggles and lenses for all snow conditions

DRAGON goggles and lenses fit every skier or snowboarder, protect eyes in bright of flat light and are eco-friendly as well.

Headlamps that don’t blind, are fun and carbon neutral

Headlamps for camping, night hiking, or just walking the doggo can often be blinding to oncomers. Not with LoBeams.

Eileen’s weekly family travel columns “Taking the Kids” have been syndicated national in newspapers and websites since 1991

On the newly opened Pikes Peak Cog Railway

It’s no wonder that the Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway, just reopened after a 4-year makeover, is hugely popular with families

A brand-new way to experience art

Anyone who has tried to interest and show kids Great Art knows they may not always respond the way you’d like, or even expect.

Returning to the (not always friendly) skies

No one — from airport shuttles to rental car companies to airlines – seems prepared, resulting in irritable employees and travelers

A different kind of Jamaican vacation

I don’t know which is better — the food, the view, or bragging rights to the Jamaica experience very few have.

To Denver for the 2021All-Star Game

You don’t want to miss taking a selfie when you are exactly a mile high, 5,280 feet — on the 13th step of the west side of the State Capitol Building

Safely visiting the national parks

Rangers underscore that our national parks are not theme parks, that there are real dangers. It’s essential that you teach the kids that you must be careful

Reasons to brave Arizona’s summer heat

It’s worth braving the heat for the “you can only have them here” experiences: food and fantastic deals at resorts with expansive pools, spas and restaurants

Calling all cowboys and cowgirls

Russell True jokes that his mom thought her husband was crazy when he said in 1965 that he was done with his job in Denver and wanted to buy a ranch in Arizona

Celebrating Dads cooking prowess

Is the dad in your life suddenly waxing eloquent about camping trip meals? Has grandpa become an oenophile during the pandemic?

What’s ahead for summer

If you are thinking about renting an RV or a car, heading to popular national park lodges or camping, you need to book or you may be out of luck

To Moab: an outdoors-oriented vaxication

I wanted a place where we could cook with distance from other families. And with my outdoors-loving gang, it needed to have plenty of hiking and biking

A late pandemic trip to Walt Disney World

We’re talking about the masks you’ll see adults and kids buying and wearing throughout the parks and Disney hotels, often with mouse ears to match.

A unique Colorado experience

Only the huge stone fireplace is left of the Nanny’s Cabin and Camp Vigil is the kid-friendly Ranch at Emerald Valley, part of the historic Broadmoor Resort

Let’s hear it for Moms! Travel ideas

With Mother’s Day, time to thank moms and see grandmas again now that those who have been fully vaccinated can safely visit family members

Taking the kids: Camping

Who cares if you get dirty? Who cares if you wear the same T-shirt for three days? No wonder most kids love to go camping!

Taking the kids on a cruise this summer? Maybe or maybe not

Major cruise lines are circumventing the U.S. no-sail rule by starting and ending cruises in the Bahamas, St. Maarten and Bermuda, as well as Greece

Celebrating Earth Day safely all spring

As we begin to travel again (safely), many of us are paying more attention to the environment. Can you afford to go to Antarctica before more ice melts?

Taking the Kids: Planning a “Vaxication”

It was welcome news when the CDC updated its travel guidance: Those fully vaccinated can travel at low risk two weeks after receiving the last dose

16 virtual travel adventures to inspire your future trips (once it’s safe)

When we updated our Virtual Family Adventure Guide, created early in the pandemic, we discovered there has never been so much opportunity for virtual travel.

Taking the kids: To Alaska this summer without cruise ships

Taking a road trip in Alaska means miles and miles of majestic mountains, peaceful coastline, lush forest or flat tundra streaming past your car, RV or camper van windows

To Orlando this spring — safely

When I last visited Walt Disney World — when I last flew — a year ago this month, no one I met was much concerned about COVID-19. They were too busy enjoying all that the Theme Park Capital of the World had to offer.

Celebrating courageous women and girls whenever you travel

March is Women’s History Month and it commemorates and celebrates the vital role women and girls have played and continue to play

Spring skiing in the year of COVID-19

In some cases, the Covid-19 restrictions have enhanced the sking experience this year, said Nick Besch, skiing with his family at Copper

Calling all dino lovers

Now for the first time, dinosaur lovers can meet SUE outside of Chicago; Denver’s Museum of Nature & Science is the first stop

On a (safe) spring break

Whether you want to hit the slopes in Colorado, get your theme park fix in Orlando, or laze in the giant pool overlooking the ocean at an all-inclusive in Mexico or the Caribbean, you’ve got plenty of affordable options — as long as you are comfortable traveling right now.

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A new place or travel experience to think about every day

TUGFEST LECLAIRE

The LeClaire, Iowa Tug-of-War-Festival will take place on August 12-14, 2021. The main event is the Tug-of-War at noon on August 14.

CANADIAN MUSEUM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights has reopened at 50 percent capacity. This museum is located on ancestral lands, on Treaty 1 Territory.

THE BIG E FAIR

Officials at Eastern States Exposition in Massachusetts announced the Big E fair will be open from September 17 through October 3, 2021 at full capacity

HYATT CENTRIC BEALE STREET

The Hyatt Centric Beale Street in Memphis TN, perched above the Mississippi River, is within walking distance from the city’s entertainment district

BROOKFIELD ZOO FREEBIE

Kids’ Free Days at the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois will take place on August 2-4, 2021. Admission for adults and parking fees still apply.

A THRILLING AIRBNB

The Cliff Dweller is an Airbnb in Red River Gorge, Kentucky. It suspends from a cliff high above the canopy and is an extreme and athletic place to vacation.

Eileen has published a veritable libary of Kids Guides to American Cities, national parks – the latest on camping!

The Best of Taking the Kids

We share our best family travel experiences over the recent years, international and domestic, at sea and in the mountains – every continent!

Jamaican Food at Its Best: Star San

Award-winning and well-known Jamaican Chef Brian Lumley is showing us how to make coconut curry shrimp and just-caught fish—lionfish, parrot fish, snapper

The White Stallion Ranch experience

If you thought a dude ranch was just about horses, think again—even a historic one like the White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, owned by the True family for decades

A unique Colorado experience

Only the huge stone fireplace is left of the Nanny’s Cabin and Camp Vigil is the kid-friendly Ranch at Emerald Valley, part of the historic Broadmoor Resort

Here’s to new culinary adventures!

Likely because we are stuck at home, I’ve been thinking about once-in-a-lifetime outdoor meals we’ve enjoyed on vacation.

Weather can’t spoil a trip to remember down the Grand Canyon

Finally! Five hours after we were scheduled to leave, the helicopters started to fly again, taking two or three passengers at a time rather than four because of the conditions

A hike to remember: North Rim of the Grand Canyon

After a five-mile hike, we’re sitting on a rock taking in the panoramic view from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park: Hoodoo you think you’re feeling?

Hoodoos actually have eroded out of cliffs, forming thin walls of rock called fins.Isn’t nature amazing?! Here at Bryce Canyon we are at the top of what is famously called “The Grand Staircase”

Three generations, 75 years: The Averill family and Flathead Lake Ranch

Flathead Lake Lodge is much more than a lodge – it’s a ranch, farm and acre upon acre of wilderness and lakefront.

Bear jam in Grand Teton National Park – for a very good reason

Meet Grizzly #399, perhaps the most famous bear in North America not only because of her advanced age (24) but her fertility (she has had seven litters—20 cubs. This year’s quadruplets, Smith said, account for only two percent of Grizzly Bear litters.

Taking the Kids — on different kind of trip to Alaska

You can’t get much more remote — or farther away from cruise crowds than at Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge, which opened 10 years ago — the first and only lodge in the national park and accessible only by a four-hour boat trip from Seward

To a special Jamaican villa

The experience, of course, is entirely different, as I discovered. Think being on a mega cruise ship with morning-till-night activities vs. your own private yacht with a staff to cater to every whim

Seeing San Antonio like local families

At the state-of-the-art Naylor Family Dinosaur Gallery at the Witte Museum in San Antonio, where you can step inside a cast of an Alamosaurus footprint at The Dino Lab. What’s different from other dinosaur exhibits? This one is focused on ancient creatures that called Texas home, including ancient fish, turtle and, yes, a full-size Tyrannosaurus rex.

To a galaxy far, far away

Kevin Gerber isn’t even a “Star Wars” fan, but he had happily just spent $100 to build a droid with his 5-year-old son at Disney World’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge’s Droid Depot

San Antonio has a new kind of “Pearl”

Pearl is the new go-to area of San Antonio – a 22 acre mixed use space for housing, shopping, dining, a year-round farmer’s market, riverside amphitheater and the third campus of the Culinary Institute of America

Tips for kids going on a cruise — from kids finishing their first cruise

On this “day at sea,” the kids put off playing a game in Club Mariner to impart some wisdom for kids whose parents and grandparents may be planning a cruise

To Robben Island, a Relic of South Africa’s Apartheid Regime

Nelson Mandela would have turned 101 this year, at a time when South Africa has been rocked by political corruption and still fraught with the ills that Apartheid wrought

This could be one of the best seasons ever for river rafting in Colorado – we know!

We just spend five days and four nights on the Yampa River in Dinosaur National Monument with the premier river rafting outfitter OARS. Take a look at some of our photos

A historic Army post transformed — San Francisco’s Presidio

Welcome to San Francisco’s Presidio — nearly 1,500 acres transformed from a bustling army post to a national park, the largest national park in an urban area, drawing 7.5 million visitors a year

World-class snow sculptures draw crowds from all around to Breckenridge CO

Young Colorado art critics were among the thousands who came to Breckenridge to see the results of the work of 16 teams from around the world that came to this historic mountain town to create enormous snow sculptures

On a safari planned for more than seeing amazing wildlife

The Madikwe Game Reserve borders Botswana to the north and is home to the famous “Big Five.” Before breakfast one morning, we’d seen four of them — lions, elephants, Cape buffalo and white rhino

Eating your way through Italy

Food has become increasingly important to traveling families as kids have expanded their palates by first watching the Food Network and then trying new foods on vacation. I can’t think of a better way to experience a new culture than through food or a better place than Italy where it won’t take any coaxing to convince kids to “eat local.”

Little Taste of Italy – Part 2

Little Taste of Italy Part II starts at the Umbria Region farmhouse (viaumbria.com) in Canarra with tours of Perugia, Spello, Assissi and Gubbo, then moves to Bologna and Parma, where we observed the making of Parmaggiano Reggiano cheese.

A Little Taste of Italy – Part 1

A Little Taste of Italy – October 2018 – Pt 1 – Starts in Milano with tour of Verona and Valpolicella Wine Region, followed by 6-day Uniworld River Cruise aboard the River Countess. Excursions to Ferrara, Padua, Chiccogia and Turano, with lots of time to explore Venice.

A big lesson in tolerance and humanity — Assisi Italy

Today, six million people a year visit Assisi, a hillside medieval town of 25,000 in Umbria, making it the second most visited religious site in Italy after Rome

At the Crested Butte Chili and Beer Festival, It’s Not About Winning or Losing

For my husband and daughter, it proved a fun shared experience—choosing the recipe, shopping for ingredients, and then two evenings cooking in our VRBO rental

Trooper’s Big Adventure Becoming a Mountain Dog in Breckenridge, CO

A first Gondola ride up a mountain is exciting for anyone—dogs included. And when Trooper gets to the base of Peak 8 on Breckenridge mountain, she is officially a mountain dog!

Taking the Kids — to Berlin

There’s no better place to see reconciliation at work that than in Berlin where the Berlin Wall, as of last month, has been down longer than it was up

Spending New Year’s with the whales in Antarctica

Everyone is busy getting ready for the black-tie New Year’s Eve bash. Here in Antarctica, it’s a giant penguin party, of course. Whales are invited too

Our special place — Curtain Bluff Resort on Antigua

“This is our special place,” said Gwen Larder. I get it. We honeymooned here 35 years ago and have returned 5 times. Curtain Bluff is our special place too.

Biking in the rain along the Danube in Austria

It is pouring, raining so hard that we’re getting soaked despite good rain gear. Did I mention we are on bikes riding alongside the Danube River in Austria?

Taking the Kids — to family reunion central

As fun as Colorado is in the summer, there’s something more important going on here at the YMCA of the Rockies. “It’s eating and joking around with all of our cousins.”

To Antarctica, South Georgia and Falklands – a trip of a lifetime even for kids

We walked amid thousands of penguins (we saw five species) not bothered by our presence and fur seals who were. The huge elephant seals ignored us, as did the humpback whales we watched from zodiacs.

Taking the kids to Germany’s famous Christmas markets

Germany has the most holiday markets in Europe, drawing tourists from around the world, though you’ll also find them a popular holiday tradition in neighboring Austria, Switzerland and Czechoslovakia.

At Vista Verde Ranch in Colorado – on a different kind of snow vacation

I wondered when I planned this trip if my gang of grown kids, who love nothing more than tearing down those steep slopes, would like a more laid-back holiday — at least for a few days on a week-long winter trip to Colorado. I needn’t have worried.

Why Cuba? History and reconciliation and the recipe for Cuban life

Cuba: “a dose of World War II rationing, a pinch of Soviet era austerity, the family values of South America, the educational values of the US and the loquaciousness of the Irish.”

TO CUBA ON THE FIRST AMERICAN SHIP TO SAIL HERE IN NEARLY 60 YEARS

I’ve learned first hand that encouraging kids to be global citizens, to be comfortable outside their own comfort zones, helps them navigate unfamiliar and difficult turf in their lives as they grow up.

Confronting Germany’s dark history: how the mighty had fallen

As I kept thinking about all of those architectural monstrosities that we saw on our tour of Nuremberg, I reminded myself of that photo I saw in Berlin of the Nazis crouching in fear at war’s end. How the mighty have fallen, I thought.

The sights, sounds and scents of Tokyo, Japan

It is eight in the morning and we are a few blocks from the hotel at Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji Fish Market, Japan’ largest. More than 15,000 people work here; international tourists line up in the early hours of the morning for the chance to watch the famous fish auctions,

A haunting visit to an elementary school in Hiroshima

I’ve got chills as Amber Whaley, 12, and her friend Miko Uno, 11, lead us into their elementary school’s basement. This was all that was all that remained of the Honkawa Elementary School when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima 70 years ago this past August 6.

Shopping in Tokyo’s ‘Kitchentown’

There’s shop after shop of kitchen wares—ceramic sake cups, wooden bowls for miso soup, colorful bowls for rice, all varieties of chop sticks and of course hand-made Japanese knives that will be engraved on the spot with your name in Japanese. And everything is a bargain!

Cruise follies, foibles, TMI, TLI and unexpected discoveries

No cruise is complete without its follies and unexpected discoveries.

Returning to Tokyo after 60 years revives old childhood memories

60 years ago my father, a U.S. Air Force officer, moved his growing family to Japan for four years. So when we had the opportunity to visit Tokyo this month, I naturally thought of my childhood and wondered if we could try to find some of my old haunts.

Families trying falconry, the sport of kings

We are at Ireland’s School of Falconry — the oldest in the country and home to more than 30 birds, including the always popular Dingle the owl. The school is located at Ashford Castle

On a multigenerational cruise with Windstar in Scotland

The 91-year-old had chosen the Windstar Star Legend, a 212-passenger ship for a cruise with her 17-year-old grandson— one of three yachts without the line’s famous sails that the company has recently acquired from Seabourn

The Miracle of Camp 60 – in the Orkney Islands north of Scotland

In the Orkney Islands, north of Scotland, our cruise excursion takes us to an unexpected place: The Italian Chapel at a former POW camp, also known as The Miracle of Camp 60.

Now this is a real pasta machine: in the charming village of Grazie

Day Six – at charming small restaurant La Locanda de le Grazie in the village of Grazie just a few miles outside the amazingly preserved undiscovered Renaissance city of Mantova (Mantua in English).

To Norway, the land of fjords, ‘Frozen’ and family fun

No, not the Splash Mountain in Walt Disney World or Disneyland, we’re actually in Norway touring the gorgeous fjords with Adventures by Disney where one waterfall is bigger and more awesome than the next

Memories of Monet’s Garden: where a little girl led the way

From the time we told Melanie we were going to France that summer, she insisted we must visit Monet’s Garden. It wasn’t that far-fetched an idea.

A visit to Lady Liberty and Ellis Island on a cold January day

Despite the blustery January weather, crowds of bundled-up tourists from around the world lined up to take the Statue Cruises ferry to Liberty Island, good-naturedly taking off belts and watches for the security screenings. The second stop would be historic Ellis Island

Two weeks in France visiting Paris, champagne country and Normandy via river cruise

Arriving in Paris jet-lagged, a quick trip to see Monet’s water lillies at the Musee de L’Orangerie was just the tonic. Armed with a Paris Pass, we didn’t have to wait in a long line for tickets.

Fulfilling a long-held dream: the hike from Crested Butte to Aspen

As I struggled to my feet, I smiled remembering all the times her dad and I were trying to avoid a meltdown

Remembering the long goodbyes as we took our kids to college

Two parents, five overweight bags and a college-bound daughter about to burst into tears. Talk about a stressful beginning to the Long Goodbye.

Cleared for takeoff — over the Alaska Range

Kantishna Air Taxi mostly flies visitors around the mountain, said our pilot Andy Young. “A plane in Alaska is like a car anywhere else,” he explained. “It is how we get around. There just aren’t any roads in a lot of the state.”

Kayaking at the Top of the World

We are in bright yellow inflatable kayaks steering with foot pedals (I feel kind of like I’m on bumper cars cruising around the fjord, the ship in the distance, crew watching us from zodiacs. As safety is always a concern here, we are given signalers to wear around our neck—should we tip over. But the kayaks are steady and the water so calm. It is only 32 degrees but with the sun shining, it feels much warmer.

The Galapagos Islands — not cheap, not luxurious, but oh the wildlife and the memories!

This wouldn’t be everyone’s first choice for an expensive vacation. There are no beach chairs or bars on these protected beaches, where tourists may only venture with a guide. But this is an adventure we’ll never forget, starting with those sea lions we spotted on San Cristobal Island, snoozing on rowboats as if they owned the place.

TIME TO GO FISHING AGAIN – to a great resort in Canada

Last summer, after many years away from the sport, son Matt and I decided it was time to go fishing again. We recruited our cousin-in-law Mike Sitzman and his dad John, who live in Golden, CO to join us. After some basic internet research we decided upon a spot in Canada’s Ontario Province – Garden Island Lodge

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro with my daughter

Many people who lose 35 pounds would splurge on a new wardrobe. I opted for this adventure—one I could share with my daughter before she left for college. That was six years ago and I’ve traveled the world since. Still, our Kili Climb remains one of the most memorable trips we’ve ever taken.

The Chick Flies the Coop

“This is going to be the first time truly putting my travel skills from growing up to the test but I know it is just the beginning,” my youngest daughter Mel wrote in the “thank you” note she left

Skiing in Austria

I’ve never seen such wide open slopes — no trees, no houses, just field after field of newly fallen snow. And I’ve never seen my 18-year-old daughter Mel, an avid and expert skier, as happy to ski with mom.

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