Villa Palagonia, Sicily’s Baroque garden of monsters

Villa Palagonia, Sicily’s Baroque garden of monsters

  Monsters, mirrors and 18th century excess all meet at Villa Palagonia, one of Sicily’s strangest attractions.  Villa Palagonia is one of the earliest examples of Sicilian Baroque architecture, begun in 1705 by architect Tommaso Napoli as a summer residence for Don Francesco Ferdinando Gravina, fifth prince of Palagonia. Located in the seaside town of […]

24.12.2016 · Filled under: Architecture, Art, Europe · Tags: , · 2 Comments »
Island-hopping in the Atlantic with Azores Airlines

Island-hopping in the Atlantic with Azores Airlines

Black volcanic cliffs shrouded in mist, fantastical ferns and flowers that look like props from an episode of Star Trek. I’ve just returned from a big adventure, island-hopping in the Atlantic Ocean with Azores Airlines (SATA). The two-island 12-day package took us on a voyage of discovery to a part of the planet we’d never […]

Grenada’s spice necklace

Grenada’s spice necklace

  I was lying on a beach in Grenada when I suddenly smelled Christmas. I opened my eyes to see a young man with dreadlocks and an armload of spice necklaces. “Welcome to Grenada,” he grinned. “My name is Terry.” Grenada’s beach vendors are the most polite in the world as well as determined business […]

08.04.2014 · Filled under: Food, Legendary Landscapes · Tags: , , · 7 Comments »
Monday in Central Park with painter Janet Ruttenberg

Monday in Central Park with painter Janet Ruttenberg

Tossing plans, taking cues from nature, leads to an extraordinary encounter in New York City. I didn’t plan to ‘waste’ a whole day in the park. In an expensive city like New York, I make the most of every minute, shoehorning museums, tours, specific paintings, into every daylight hour. Leaving Scotty’s Diner at 39th and […]

23.11.2013 · Filled under: Art, New York · Tags: , · 11 Comments »
A stroll in the treetops, Kew Gardens, London

A stroll in the treetops, Kew Gardens, London

From its 18th-century Pagoda to its magnificent Victorian glass conservatories, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew contain wonders of garden architecture as well as nature.  A new experience for me this year was the Xstrata Treetop Walkway, an exhilarating stroll in the treetops of the Gardens’ arboretum. Xstrata was designed by Marks Barfield Architects, who […]

13.09.2013 · Filled under: Architecture, Legendary Landscapes · Tags: , , · 12 Comments »
ArtSmart Roundtable: Marianne North, Victorian adventurer & botanical artist

ArtSmart Roundtable: Marianne North, Victorian adventurer & botanical artist

After a month off for good times, I’m back in time for September’s ArtSmart Roundtable. Scroll to the end of this post for more on the Roundtable and links to my colleagues’ great blogs.  This month’s theme of Travel Art/Art in Travel inspired me to write about Victorian artist and traveller, Marianne North. The gallery […]

Free Hawaiian culture classes and concerts in Waikiki, Honolulu

Free Hawaiian culture classes and concerts in Waikiki, Honolulu

Glamorous Waikiki Beach was once the retreat of Hawaiian royalty. Here at Helumoa, a royal grove of coconut palms, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop (1831-1884) wrote a codicil to her will establishing Kamehameha Schools dedicated to educating children of Hawaiian descent. Today the Royal Grove is a garden at the heart of the Royal Hawaiian shopping center, the […]

28.10.2012 · Filled under: Art, Hawaii, Legendary Landscapes · Tags: , , · 2 Comments »
Cherry blossoms in Toronto

Cherry blossoms in Toronto

Of all the beautiful things that grow better with age, the magnificent Somei-Yoshino cherry trees in Toronto’s High Park are some of the best. The donation of blossoming cherry trees, or sakura, has been a project of the Japanese Consulate in Toronto for years. With the support of private donors, the consulate’s Sakura Project has planted […]

02.04.2012 · Filled under: Canada, Festivals & Events · Tags: , , · 9 Comments »
Palmy afternoon in Buffalo, New York

Palmy afternoon in Buffalo, New York

Gee, a GPS makes road trips a lot more fun. You can fit in more of what you want to see when you’re not constantly getting lost.  This time, in Buffalo for the day, we finally made it to the legendary Anchor Bar where buffalo wings were invented. I still prefer Coles overall for location, atmosphere, variety and […]

14.06.2010 · Filled under: Architecture, New York · Tags: , , · No Comments »
Oh, Ottawa!

Oh, Ottawa!

Four days in Ottawa last week – which I almost backed out of for fear I’d be bored – wasn’t enough as I ran out of days before I ran out of things to do. Toronto Mayor Miller recently asked: who would want to live in Ottawa? Well, I wouldn’t mind. Perhaps it takes a Torontonian […]