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Sept-Oct 2022: Jasmine Avdagic Carpenter

 

 

 

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Sonia, owner of Auberge Bruine Océane, gave us a warm welcome and we managed to understand everything she said due to her expressiveness and patience even though she was mostly speaking French (and we have limited French). The inn is a heritage house and beautifully painted on the outside – perfect for a B&B. The bathrooms are updated and the furnishings are period. It is on the main street but was not noisy, so the windows must be good. There is a view of the St. Laurence river which is across the road and you can walk to the restaurants and cafes in town. Our suite, Éphémère, was huge and had a comfy bed, an antique desk, a spa bath, and even a mini kitchenette. The spa bath had a large walk in shower with multiple massaging shower heads and a whirlpool tub big enough for two with candles resting…
Chambers Guest House is in a Victorian heritage home filled with antiques and collectibles. Cheryl, the owner, greeted us and showed us around – there was both stained glass and colored glass vases in the windows creating warm lighting and nice settee's in the living room. The beautiful guest room we were in had a queen bed, sitting area, sunroom with an extra bed, private bathroom, and our own deck with an outdoor sofa. The room was very comfortable and clean and had everything we needed. She even offered red and white wine in the evenings in carafes downstairs (though the wine was not to our liking, but no worries, we were traveling with our own, so used the wine glasses in the room instead). My husband was impressed by the technology – our room had a large TV with 500 channels which is unusual for this type of property.…
This beautiful Manor home was recently renovated into a B&B and the result is the classic bedrooms have fabulous new bathrooms attached to them. There are nice antiques throughout the home and a comfortable furnished deck with a great view on the upper floor in back. The hospitality was top notch and Marisca, the owner, brought us homemade cookies after we arrived. Our room, the Landry Suite (their smallest offering), has a fireplace and sitting area as well as a coffeemaker and fridge, but the best part was the bathroom with its stunning clawfoot tub sitting beneath a chandelier. There's a large sink and modern shower as well. This relaxing space was especially well appointed with lots of toiletries including epsom salts, bath bombs, fluffy new towels and bathmats. We really enjoyed the long soak and slept well. In the morning Marisca served a candlelit breakfast in the beautiful dining…
Wednesday, 01 September 2021

Elephant Lodge: Gwango Safari Camp

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No elephants for me apparently. For various reasons, a dearth of transit in Namibia; sloppy planning in Zambia, my anticipated visits to the Etosha and Kafue parks had been skotched, so it was with trepidation that I registered at the Gwango Safari Lodge, which offered game drives to Hwange, one of Zimbabwe’s great national reserves, covering an area larger than Belgium. The lodge itself was placed a few kilometers back of the railway line that served as the park’s unofficial border, and didn’t feature the manicured lawns, swimming pools and electric fencing of the Livingstone or Victoria Falls hotels. It was an out of the way type of place, a forest clearing of white sands and thorn bush and giant ants. A couple of workmen were repairing the short fences that braced the sandy paths and a larger cohort had completed the cement frame of a new two-story building. A…
As I opened the door of the living room in the heritage bungalow at the Addaberie Tea Estate, I was time machined back to the 1900's. There were artifacts and brick-a-brac from the 20's; a library full of books from the 30's; a piano forte in full attention from the 40's and a wall entrenched with fishing logs, hooks and rods including pictures laureling prized catches by an Englishman in the 50's. Such was life in the British Raj, that the only computing needed was to ponder over whether they would land a good catch or not. The English influence seems to have been steeped in time in this part of India. The north east and especially Assam has many tea plantations with managers 'ruling' these gardens like small kingdoms for almost 4-5 decades. There are many who have trained under the predecessors of the burra sahib (the British era…
Serengeti Heritage Luxury Camp is a unique tented camp in one of the most animal rich parks in East Africa. The amazing thing about staying within Tanzania's Serengeti National Park is how surrounded by animals you are. It is so different from staying outside a park in a small village like we'd done the previous few nights. Being in their habitat and territory can be pretty unnerving for us city folk! One of the things we loved about this tented camp was the presence of many fearless Masaai tribespeople who are not intimidated by animals – they've been living near them their whole lives. 'Doctor' is in charge of the camp. He's a very funny guy who had a good-natured way of poking fun of all our fears. When we first arrived and got out of the jeep and walked right past a hyena we were pretty scared (have you…
One block from the main street of Ojai, California someone with a big heart is the innkeeper of a historic home turned into an elegant bed and breakfast. Her name is Kathy Hartley. Her goal is to pamper guests while they're staying in one of seven individually decorated rooms or the 1,000 sq. ft. cottage in the garden backyard. Kathy discovered a forlorn 1874 house in need of a little love called the Moons Rest Inn. The teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing purchased the inn and renovated it to be a comfortable bed and breakfast filled with antiques and local art. Located one street away from the hub of Ojai with it's art galleries, shops, and farm to table restaurants, she changed the name to the Lavender Inn and incorporated a small spa on the property. Throughout the year, couples reserve a room for a peaceful respite…
It happened so fast. I was crunching through deep snow, the top few inches of which had turned to slush in a rare morning of sunshine, carefully placing my feet in the footsteps of those who had gone before me, as instructed by our guide, Juan. Chest heaving with the effort of climbing, I planted my right foot firmly into the snow. Suddenly my boot broke through, overbalancing me and sending me sliding down the steep slope to my right. I closed my eyes in preparation for the long fall which must surely come, but instinct took over and I ploughed my arms and legs into the wet snow, icy particles showering me like cold diamonds. I opened my eyes to see a couple of trekking poles thrusting towards me, and, grabbing hold of them, was hauled back onto the path by two strong armed members of our trekking group.…
Thursday, 01 September 2016

Heavenly Hamanasi in Belize

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Charles Darwin described the country Belize in his 1842 book, Coral Reefs of the World, as “the most remarkable reef in the West Indies.” Snorkel and diving enthusiasts appreciate the 1,000 different live species, with 500 types of fish and 100 different varieties of coral. Belize has the South Water Caye Marine Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world. Stepping into the pleasant 83 degree water, the visibility is at least 100 feet. Belize borders Guatemala, Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. This Northern Hemisphere diving area has atolls and hundreds of mangroves and coral sand islands. It’s home to one of the world’s largest populations of threatened West Indian manatees, endangered sharks and marine turtles. When two American divers and nature enthusiasts traveled to Belize in 2000, they fell in love with the beauty of the beach town, Hopkins. They enjoyed meeting the people in this English-speaking nation.…
Sunday, 01 November 2015

Airbnb in Dunedin New Zealand

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“Would you like some milk?” “What?” I replied following a pause. After the long, torturous drive from Wanaka to Dunedin, it took a while to process anything. The roads in New Zealand range from curvy to torturous to slightly suicidal, the Kiwi engineers going with the mentality of “over and around” rather than “through.” Sure, sure—over and around is a fine mentality in places like Kansas, where there’s one hill and one medium-sized lake, but with as many mountains as New Zealand’s south island has, you feel like you’re following some two-year-old’s attempt at finding a way through a restaurant menu maze. “Oh like milk from a cow? Naw, I think we’re fine.” “Are you sure?” “Yeah.” She gave me a questioning look. “Well, I guess we’ll take some.” She sure was insistent. After disappearing into her house for a moment, she returned with a bottle. “Straight from the cow,”…

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