Archive for February, 2008

Destination Friday: Warwick Castle

When visiting in 2005, I gave my husband several options for a day trip.  His request was that he wanted to see a really good castle (in addition to Windsor).  I figured that ruled out Brighton Palace, I decided Leeds might appeal more to girls, and I wanted to go somewhere I hadn’t been before.  In prowling the TripAdvisor forums, I learned about Warwick Castle.



February 29, 2008 at 1:04 pm 4 comments

NC Eatin’: Johnston County

Saturday, February 23, 2008
The Chicken Barn
110 South Brightleaf Blvd 
Smithfield, NC 27577

I had been to Smithfield before and knew I wanted to go back there for my Johnston County visit.  The downtown is cute – little shops and restaurants on one side of the main street and government buildings and the Ava Gardner Museum on the other.  The folks in Smithfield I’ve met in my two visits there are wonderful, regular people.  They are willing to help out and want to make people feel welcome.  They’ve also done a great amount of work in demolishing the good ol’ boys network, which is especially impressive considering that the county was famous for a KKK ad not so long ago. (See here, here, here, and here about the sign.  I’m not making it up; I think it was removed sometime in the ’80s.)

In planning my visit, I did a Google search for reviews of restaurants in Smithfield.  Recommendations for places to eat in Johnston County are a bit tough to find.  I finally found this review on The Chicken Barn and knew I had to go.  The name alone was good enough for me!


February 29, 2008 at 8:17 am Leave a comment

A Benefit for Esten – Carrboro, NC

My regular readers already know Tom Maxwell (formerly of the SNZ) is a buddy of mine.  Tom’s son, Esten, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2006.  He’s now in remission and doing well but still needs some treatments.  This Saturday, March 1, there will be an all-day benefit concert for Esten at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro.  More details about the lineup are at Maxwell’s blog and an article by N&O.  Sounds like fun, and all for a good cause.

February 28, 2008 at 2:10 pm Leave a comment

TTT: More on travel to Cuba

MSNBC recently published this article: Traveling in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.  Fun stats from the article: About 65,000 Americans legally visited Cuba in 2006; an estimated 150,000 American tourists visit Cuba illegally each year; an estimated 3-5 million American tourists would be likely to visit Cuba in the first year following a lifting of the travel ban. 

Travel tip for this Tuesday:  Christopher Elliot, the author of the article, advises that Americans take some time before rushing to Cuba whenever the ban does get lifted to give Cuba time to prepare to host large numbers of visitors.  Right now Cuba is only prepared for a few million visitors from Canada and Europe.  Adding several million Americans to the equation will be unpleasant until Cuba has a chance to play catch-up.

February 26, 2008 at 8:26 am Leave a comment

A taste of Spain in North Carolina

I had a brilliant idea for an activity on Saturday night – a wine tasting.  My original plan was to check out some of the wines that will be available on my cruise this summer to see if I should buy a Wine & Dine Package.  At Total Wine, a helpful employee showed me the error of my ways.  He said that the proper way to do a wine tasting is to offer several selections that have been chosen to compliment each other.  He offered to pick out 5 bottles, each under $15, for my group of 11 tasters.  I agreed, and he picked out 5 bottles of Spanish reds, numbered them, and printed out some information about them for me. (more…)

February 25, 2008 at 1:08 pm Leave a comment

Destination Friday: More about eating in London

Yes, the UK series of Destination Friday is still going on!  My friend asked for some more info about eating in London, so today I’m sharing a bit more detail about my experiences (at least the ones I can remember!).  Unfortunately, I was extremely poor and picky when I was there in 2000, so I mostly ate pb&j in my room with the occasional trip to McDonald’s and Deep Pan Pizza.  I was a lot more interested in food when I visited in 2005, but I still wasn’t quite as interested in food then as I am now.  I did at least do a little research before my fourth visit to the country.


February 22, 2008 at 9:09 am Leave a comment

A quiz: how well travelled are you?

I found a cute little quiz on iVillage to test whether you’re a globetrotter or a bit more cautious.

My result:  “Globetrotter: Are you Michael Palin? You’re a seasoned traveller, with the passport stamps and souvenirs to prove it. You think nothing of jetting across the world to escape the rat race and you love experiencing faraway cultures. But, watch out that you don’t bore your friends with those interminable photographs…”  The last sentence is particularly apt!

They also have a fun quiz to test your knowledge of geography: Where in the world are you?

February 21, 2008 at 12:06 pm Leave a comment

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