Something Old, Something New, Everything to Do in Mexico City

Mexico City is rightfully touted as one of the “hot” destinations for world travelers. Just a few reasons include her sheer size, rich history, respect as a food scene, lively arts, urban vibrancy, a genuine cosmopolitan identity and compelling architecture in a city with great weather that is easier to get around than you might think. Recognized as an “alpha” global city, and currently the 19th largest city in the world with a population of just under nine million (the … READ MORE – CLICK HERE

Dia de los Muertos – Death’s Joyful Mourning

One thing that makes Mexico unique among nations of the world is how the people there deal with the subject of death. Like all cultures, Mexicans mourn the passing of a family member or loved one, but in Mexico they do not fear death, they laugh at it. Death is such a part of life that Mexicans give their children skeleton toys and little coffins to play with. And every year from October 31st to November 2nd they celebrate death … READ MORE – CLICK HERE

Monte Albán, the Most Famous Zapotec Temple

Mexico has a long history and diverse population, stretching back thousands of years that include more than 60 indigenous cultures. One of the largest of those groups, Zapotecs, concentrated in the southern state of Oaxaca. The most famous remnant of their glory days – and surely the most breathtaking – is Monte Albán, a sprawling complex just a few miles outside the city of Oaxaca. But Monte Albán is a mystery in a number of respects. Located 1,200 feet above … READ MORE – CLICK HERE

Mitla – Zapotec Center of Religion

What makes Mitla an important archaeological site is not its size or the number of people who lived there, but because it was the main religious center for the Zapotecs who built it and also because of the fretwork of geometric patterns carved into the stone walls of the buildings that are found nowhere else in Mexico. Oaxaca, Mexico, for all its beauty, is a somewhat out-of-the-way locale. But for Zapotecs, who began their ascendance some 2,500 years ago, the … READ MORE – CLICK HERE

El Tule, One of the Largest Trees in the World

Scientific surveys have recently estimated as many as three trillion trees grow all over the world. But out of that mind-boggling number, only a handful of specimens are majestic enough to be considered iconic. The tree with the largest trunk girth on earth, El Arbol del Tule, grows in a church courtyard in the small village of Santa Maria del Tule in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. Certainly there are taller trees, ones with a larger volumes of wood, … READ MORE – CLICK HERE

Mezcal, Made Well in Oaxaca, Mexico

Once upon a time, mezcal had a bad rap. Not good enough to include in a margarita, it was once viewed as a cheap, shabby, rotgut cousin of tequila where shots were pounded down and fights broke out over who got to eat the worm (larvae, actually). But in the past decade or two the spirit is enjoying a well-deserved renaissance. Gulping and quaffing is now sipping and savoring, as aficionados discern the subtle smokiness of a spirit that has … READ MORE – CLICK HERE

The Rugs of Teotitlan de Valle–Woven Beauty

The hand weavings of the Zapotecs who live in the small village of Teotitlan de Valle, a short drive east of Oaxaca in the southern Mexican state of the same name, draw upon centuries of experience, combined with an inspiring sense of design, and a scientist’s knowledge of chemistry, result in some of the finest wool rugs in the world. Since before the time of Montezuma, Zapotecs in Oaxaca have been weaving trade and tribute goods, primarily from cotton. When … READ MORE – CLICK HERE

San Miguel de Allende Hosts Great Parades

To calculate how much a city might love a parade, take the population, divide by the number of parades and finally, factor in the total number of parade participants. By those measures San Miguel de Allende may well be one of the most parade-loving towns in the world. Parades here are punctuated with fireworks, elaborate costumes and dancing that would make celebrations in New York City, New Orleans or Pasadena, CA envious. And during some of San Miguel’s parades, hundreds … READ MORE – CLICK HERE

La Otra Cara de Mexico Unmasks Culture, History, and Passion

Putting on a mask to hide one’s face is universal and part of a folkway that stretches back as far as 40,000 years. Mexico has a rich tradition of masking and for more than 25 years Bill LeVasseur has been roaming all over Mexico collecting masks that became a museum in 2006 in San Miguel de Allende. “La Otra Cara de Mexico” (The Other Face of Mexico) is more than a collection of masks on walls. This is a carefully … READ MORE – CLICK HERE

El Charco del Ingenio – Mexico’s Flora at Its Finest

As quick as it takes to blink, the discerning eye instantly knows that any beautiful thing is always more than a single ingredient. In the case of El Charco del Ingenio, San Miguel de Allende’s botanical showcase, a confluence of location, terrain, design, and determination result in a conservatory that may be one of the finest public gardens in Mexico. Cactus is tough. But the succulent family is actually fragile, and in too many instances, a great number of the … READ MORE – CLICK HERE

Archaeologists Dig Cañada de la Virgen

A short distance southwest from San Miguel de Allende puts you at Cañada de la Virgen, one of Mexico’s most recently excavated pyramids, near the northern edge of Mesoamerican pyramids, and surrounded by private land in an out-of-the-way location that reduces visitor traffic and greatly enhances the guest experience. Pyramids are some of the oldest buildings on earth and throughout Mexico, Central and South America they were built and revered by Olmecs, Mayans, Incas, Aztecs, Toltecs, and others. The form … READ MORE – CLICK HERE

The Many Doors of San Miguel de Allende

By some estimates, upwards of 2,000 doors are along the streets of El Centro in San Miguel de Allende. No matter the number, each door is different, many are distinctive and some qualify as unique. But mostly, each door is an opaque veil hiding behind it a story all its own. In a real sense, a door stands as a sentry at a portal, a delineation between one state and another; outside versus inside, old to new, greeting or farewell, … READ MORE – CLICK HERE

San Miguel de Allende: Paradise Under Pressure?

Any number of flattering adjectives describe one of Mexico’s most popular travel destinations: vibrant, serene, idyllic, or simply drop-dead gorgeous. San Miguel de Allende provides stunning eye appeal, pleasant year round temperatures, brilliant blue skies and dazzling clouds. In 2008, UNESCO was so taken with San Miguel de Allende that the 64-square block of El Centro was named a World Heritage site (along with the Sanctuary of Jesús Nazareno de Atotonilco, a few miles outside of town). Among the reasons … READ MORE – CLICK HERE

Mt. Wilson, Southern California’s Best Star Gazing

Los Angeles may be home to Hollywood stars but for an out-of-this-world experience drive up to the Mt. Wilson Observatory where you can find even more beautiful stars to gaze at, any time of the day or night. The Mt. Wilson Observatory, located north of Pasadena, is renowned as one of the most famous astronomical observatories in the world and groundbreaking work continues there to this day. George Ellery Hale, the driving force behind the observatory’s creation, persuaded steel magnate … READ MORE – CLICK HERE

A Look Behind the Scenery at Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Palm Springs is a popular California getaway, but Coachella Valley temperatures can easily push past 100 degrees Fahrenheit. A great way to beat the heat is to take the aerial tramway to the top of Mt. San Jacinto. The ride is memorable, topside views are breathtaking, and for those wondering just how safe it might be, a peek behind the scenes will allay the fears of even the most worrisome.   Not surprising, the dream for an aerial tram came … READ MORE – CLICK HERE

Joshua Trees, Desert Grandeur, and a Boulder Garden in Pioneertown

Even though Pioneertown counts fewer than 500 residents, this quaint Western-themed community hangs on with the tenacity of a cactus thorn buried deep, but instead of a sharp pain, visitors are left with fond memories of desert beauty where quirky is an everyday thing. First established in the late 1940s as a convenient locale for Hollywood to film Westerns, Pioneertown is about 125 miles east of Los Angeles, a few miles west of Joshua Tree National Park and about 40 … READ MORE – CLICK HERE

San Diego Is Sun, Fun, and Great Ocean Views

While San Diego may be California’s second largest city, it feels smaller – and friendlier – than some of the other, better-known neighbors further north along the California coast. With some of the best weather to be found anywhere in the U.S., a world-renowned zoo, a slew of amusement parks and attractions, first-rate cuisine and a rich history to go along with some fantastic beaches, San Diego may well be, “America’s Finest City,” as it likes to call itself. San … READ MORE – CLICK HERE

Only These Two Could Build This Castle

Hearst Castle, as it’s commonly known, is often thought to be the genius of one man. But look past the praise heaped upon William Randolph Hearst and your gaze rests upon Julia Morgan, a woman of brilliance and firsts of her own and the perfect partner to spend decades molding Hearst’s dream into a stunning reality known around the world. Despite their differences – Hearst’s tendency toward grandiosity, hyperbole and not letting the facts get in the way of a … READ MORE – CLICK HERE

Sequoia and Kings Canyon: Biggest Trees in the World

The giant sequoia is the single largest tree on earth and in a world of monarchs the castle’s keep would be the twin wonders of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, the greatest gathering of the largest trees on the planet. The grandest among them have been honored with the names of beloved American presidents, famous military generals and revered American Indian chieftains, including the Sequoia National Park namesake. To be clear, a close relative of the giant sequoia, the … READ MORE – CLICK HERE

Manzanar: Acknowledging a Past Tragedy

Manzanar National Historic Site is both crime scene and memorial. Incarcerating more than 10,000 loyal Japanese Americans there as a result of hysteria and paranoia at the outbreak of World War II is a case study in how the ugly stain of racism continues to be a blot on the ideals of the American experiment. But more recently, thanks to time, determination, and a willingness to acknowledge the sins of the past, Manzanar National Historic Site is evolving into a … READ MORE – CLICK HERE

The Best Side Trip I Ever Took?

Some of my greatest joys occur when I choose the road less traveled. Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, an hour’s drive outside Death Valley National Park, aptly fits that description, but this jewel of desert beauty is also home to the toughest fish – shorter than an inch – ever to take a case to the United States Supreme Court. And the fish won – for now.   Ash Meadows is nestled in the Amargosa Desert in southern Nevada and … READ MORE – CLICK HERE

Death Valley, Some of America’s Best Desert Beauty

For thousands of years, Death Valley has enticed adventurers hoping to suss out secrets, or perhaps plunder riches. But more recently, it is the traveler who comes and slips into an outdoor tapestry that guarantees this out of the way destination is a trip you’ll remember for the rest of your life.   Aside from its sheer size as the largest national park in the continental U.S. and temperatures hot enough to cook eggs in the summer Death Valley is … READ MORE – CLICK HERE

Handheld, On a Boat, At Night

The sight and sound of fireworks colorfully blazing across the night sky has dazzled audiences since the Chinese first devised the explosive concoction as far back as the 7th Century. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a little kid or a old sea-salted buccaneer, on the 4th of July throughout America you want to find a good seat for the fireworks extravaganza that’s sure to be a big part of the evening’s entertainment. And while some fireworks shows may be … READ MORE – CLICK HERE

Once You’re Gone, Does Big Brother Care?

The notion of a lifestyle that is perpetual travel begins to take shape once you start putting pins in a map. It’s a nice map as you can see and the first leg of our planned meanderings will take us about a year. We’ll end up in Rio, where we plan on a cruise reposition to Barcelona to put us on the European continent. Once pins start finding a home then planning questions start popping up. “How long can I … READ MORE – CLICK HERE