Lovely Los Gatos

“Where do you want to go?” “I don’t care. Where do you want to go?” “To the winery?” I suggested in a high-pitched, pleading tone.

When my younger daughter decided that she was considering going to college on the West Coast, my first reaction was “Oh, no.” My second? “Road trip!” I encouraged each of the kids to test drive the schools that accepted them before making final decisions to avoid sobbing phone calls and thousands of wasted tuition dollars. We flew into San Jose, picked up a rental car (a sensible Ford Focus despite the siren call of a yellow Porsche 911 Cabriolet), and headed south on Route 17 through the redwood groves toward Los Gatos.

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To Market We Go!

Purchasing ornaments when traveling is a common activity, correct? When I stumble upon a Christmas shop, I tumble in and pick up at least one decoration to commemorate the trip. My favorite is a snow-capped cactus I found in Sedona. A major storm hit while I was there, knocking out the power at the Enchantment Resort. The area’s famous red rocks were transfigured by the snow and I appreciated the event; that is, after wrapping my head around the understanding that there’d be no hot coffee.

Traveling specifically for ornaments is a niche peculiar to the Christmas season. Markets abound here in the States and abroad and browsing through one is an easy way to jump-start your holiday ho-ho-ho.

German markets feature stalls peddling glühwein (mulled wine). I’d like to tell you it tastes better than it sounds, but it doesn’t. And it smells like “Sunday Morning in the Frat House.”

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Congratulations…

…to Nerdtrips, winner of the CoolStream Bluetooth headphones.

Nerd Trips is a history/travel blog exploring “Roads Less Traveled to Presidents, Poets and Other Historic Persons.” The creator/head nerd behind it is Sharon Boston, who lives in Baltimore. In 2002, a coworker was making fun of Sharon’s excursion to the home of President Rutherford B. Hayes asking, “Are you going on another one of your Nerd Trips?” With that, Sharon’s lifelong interest visiting historic homes had an official name and a renewed focus.

When Sharon started sharing funny stories of the strange sites and quirky people she met on her Nerd Trips, friends encouraged her to write a blog, which she launched in 2010.  She has traveled to dozens of presidential and historical sites, and loves discovering what’s unique about the individuals who have shaped our history. She also likes exploring small towns and local eateries as well as sharing laughs with family and friends who have come along for the ride.

Sharon says she is looking forward to trying the CoolStream Bluetooth headphones since her ear buds were really bothering her on a recent flight from London, the first international trip since the blog launched. British Nerd Trips included the Charles Dickens museum, Ben Franklin house, Handel house museum and Sherlock Holmes museum.

Sharon says she tries to keep an “open suitcase,” but usually over packs! You can read about her travels at nerdtrips.net

Nerd TripsThanks to all who entered.
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Photo: Exeter Science and Entertainment

Caz-Mania

Brigadoon_(french_poster)I’ve been searching for Brigadoon since falling in love with the film (and Gene Kelly) when I was a wee one. It’s an entertaining musical about a mysterious Scottish village that appears for one day every 100 years and then vanishes in the mist. Gene hooks up with Cyd Charisse and considers chucking his glamorous NYC life and pal Van Johnson to spend his life in kilts. To date, Cazenovia is the closest I’ve gotten to finding Brigadoon. I forged the two together years ago after dining in the local tartan-wrapped Brae Loch Inn. Located on the eastern fringe of New York’s Finger Lakes, this picturesque village has a charming mix of Gothic, Greek Revival and Adirondack-style residences and wonderful spots to sip and shop. And, best of all, it won’t disappear when you turn your back. Continue reading