Tag Archives: Trip Report

a black and white sign with white text

Rafting / Floating Down Rivers at Lake Tahoe, CA and Boise, ID

Good morning everyone, happy Father’s Day!  Over the last few weeks, I spent time with my family in Lake Tahoe staying at the Marriott Grand Residence Club, Lake Tahoe (located in South Lake Tahoe right next to the Nevada state line) and at my parent’s new home in Idaho, just outside Boise.  On both trips, we spent time on the water rafting / floating down the rivers and I wanted to share some details of this fun family activity.

In Lake Tahoe, there are 2 rafting companies that operate on the Truckee River (which is connected to Lake Tahoe).  We used Truckee River Rafting (yellow paddles), but if that is full, you can also use the Truckee River Raft Company (orange paddles).  Prices are $55-$60 per person, depending on which company you use.  For Truckee River Rafting, you park at the top, raft / float down the river, and then you take their bus back to the top to get your car.  The whole operation is very smooth.  The river is a bit cold, but relaxing.  There are barely any rapids, so the majority of the trip is just a relaxing float down the river and you can use the paddles to stay away from the edge of the river.

a group of people on a raft

My family floating down the Truckee River at Lake Tahoe, CA

Continue reading

a group of babies sleeping

The Real Story Behind the Siesta Culture

When you’re in certain European countries, thanks to the concept of a midday siesta, conducting business or even going out for a meal can be a challenge. Recently, when I was in Florence, I needed to go to a travel agency to see about purchasing a train ticket. The staff at the hotel told me they better call ahead because at this hour (it was about 1pm) the agency would likely be closed for the long siesta midday lunch. Sure enough, the agency was closed and I was told to go there much later in the day. I wasn’t really sure if the siesta idea was followed outside of the smaller towns and cities, but judging from my most recent trip to Europe, it’s definitely still being honored.

But this article explains it all: the history of the siesta concept, as well as its current status. Did you know it didn’t even originate in Spain? It was imported from Italy! How those Italians can take a midday nap after all that espresso is beyond me :)

Anyway, I think this article is a fun read and hope you will too!

a green text with a map and a glass of wine

Italian Vacation Part 3: Hotel Mozart in Rome, AquaSalata Fish Restaurant & Villa Borghese Gardens

Are you taking advantage of Europe being on sale these days? I know many readers are heading over the pond. If Italy is in your plans, either now or sometime in the next year or so, be sure to read this post. After all, who doesn’t plan on visiting Italy sooner or later. I’ve got four Italian destinations for you, so let’s get started. In Part 1, I talked about Venice and Milanin Part 2, I talked about Florence, and what to see/do/eat in those cities. In this post, I’ll share tips with you about Rome, so let’s dig in.

ROMA (Rome, Italy)

a large stone building with a fountain and statues with Trevi Fountain in the background

Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy. Image source: http://www.cntraveler.com/destinations/rome

To begin, let me talk about taking the train from Florence to Rome. Usually, I use Trenitalia train service, which is owned by the Italian government. I heard about Italotreno which is a competitor and offers relatively new high speed train service. I had heard that the main advantage was that it cost less. However, that’s only if you buy your ticket ahead of time, so beware of this. I did decide to give them a try, even if the cost was the same as Trenitalia. Their trains were late and there was insufficient storage for luggage. So sure, the savings might be worth it, but if you don’t buy your train ticket ahead of time, I still prefer Trenitalia. Actually, I think next time I’ll try BlaBlaCar, the long distance carpooling service!

For lodging, I stayed at Hotel Mozart which was recommended to me by my cousins. The hotel is near the Spanish Steps on Via Condotti, which if you’re at all familiar with Rome, you’ll know is a busy part of Rome. Do make sure to ask for a quiet room. My cousins warned me about asking for a quiet room, so I did just that and didn’t have any issues with noise. The room was lovely, the concierge Rosella was very helpful, and Alex at the front desk had a great sense of humor! The breakfast spread is included with the price of the room and it was everything and more that you could want. There’s a music conservatory on the same street, so I enjoyed hearing opera being sung when I was in my room during the day. The hotel is priced on the high side, but like Hotel La Scaletta in Florence, if you use your Citi Prestige Credit Card 4th night free benefit, the cost is offset.

a counter with food on it

Breakfast at Hotel Mozart in Rome, Italy. Image source: http://www.hotelmozart.com/en/gallery/

Continue reading

a building with a mountain in the background

Trip Report: Viceroy Hotel in Snowmass Village, Colorado

I arrived in Denver from Maui (read Trip Report: Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa) and checked into the Viceroy Hotel in Snowmass Village, Colorado, about 5 hours later, mid-week in September, for a 3 night stay.  There was no snow on the ground in Snowmass, contrary to the name, but the views were still breathtaking.

There’s not much to say about the Viceroy hotel except one thing: it is awesome!  This particular location has high end finishes on literally everything, including the in-room espresso machine, washer and dryer, gas fireplaces in the master bedroom and living room, and a full kitchen.  If you are into skiing, you will notice the lift is at the base of the hotel.  You can literally get on the lift as you walk out of the resort and ski back down to your room.

a helicopter on a cable car

Viceroy Hotel in Snowmass Village, Colorado

Continue reading

a city skyline with white text

A New Yorker Returning Home for a Few Days

Do you live where you were born and raised? Given the transient nature of life these days, and perhaps because the United States is such a big country with so many possible “hometowns,” it’s likely you don’t. I was born and raised in New York City and frankly, I don’t get back there nearly enough. And feeling like it had been way too long between visits, I recently spent 5 days there. Wow, not only did I have a fantastic time, but I’m leaving there feeling proud to be a New Yorker. What a great, vibrant, amazing place!

I know that every article and blog post about NYC will tell you what to see and do, and in fact we have quite a few Boarding Area bloggers who call NYC home and do a great job covering the NYC scene, so I’m just going to mention two wonderful sites to see that don’t come up on lists. I’ll also suggest a coffee place that has locations throughout the city. And how can I not mention my trip to JFK from Manhattan on the subway??

I walk A LOT when I travel, and NYC’s 23 square miles provides plenty of walking opportunities. I averaged about 11 miles a day walking, so please, get out on the streets and walk. It’s the BEST way to see and experience the city!

One of my favorite places to walk is Riverside Park. The people who live by and use Riverside Park probably won’t like me spilling the beans, but this park is wonderful. It spans 4 miles and the views of the river and New Jersey are wonderful, there are wooded paths as well as paved paths for walking or running, lots of dog parks, plenty of benches for enjoying the park or hanging out and reading, tennis and basketball courts, as well as fields for soccer and baseball. I really enjoy this place! Check out the VIRTUAL tour of the park!

a stone building with columns and flags with General Grant National Memorial in the background

Grant’s Tomb at the end of Riverside Park – New York City

Continue reading