I’m a travel writer with more than 30 years experience as reporter, photographer, columnist and editor. I love to explore and share my experiences in a meaningful way with readers.
The itinerary for the trip was specific: Bring warm clothes, specifically jackets, ski pants, boots, scarves, mitts, hat and sunglasses.
After all, we were heading to the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec — about three hours northeast of Quebec City — where winter is the real deal.
My usual “winter” outfit of sneakers and a barely-suitable-for-cold-weather jacket to get me from the car to the house was not going to cut it.
So, suited up we were with proper snow pants, boots, parkas, ha...
I don’t know who was more startled, me or the room attendant. As soon as she saw me, she anxiously pointed at my feet, making shocked exclamations in Japanese. I was walking on the woven tatami mats in my hiking shoes.
I leapt off the cherished mats like they were hot coals.
Afterward, it was all smiles and bows as welcome tea was poured – staying in a traditional Japanese inn, called a ryokan, comes with graceful service, peaceful traditions – and rules.
A guest of Walk Japan, I was there fo...
Adam Barnett takes a moment to think about his favourite cycling route in Nova Scotia. It’s not because he doesn’t have one. “I have a bunch of favourites.”
He settles on describing a route fairly close to his home in the Gaspereau Valley that takes you from Canning to Scots Bay, out toward Cape Blomidon Provincial Park, up the North Mountain, back down to Scots Bay, over to the Look Off and a quick zip down the hill back to Canning.
“Just the dynamics of that route are just so beautiful,” he...
According to Wikipedia, a Gran Fondo is a long-distance cycling event that began in Italy in the 1970s and roughly translated means a “big ride.”
Traditionally, the event included a 120km ride on closed roads while everyone celebrated the end of the big ride with a big meal.
Gran Fondo cycling has since migrated around the world, including to North America, and in many communities the big ride is more loosely translated to mean big fun.
While there is still a 120km (or longer) distance offere...
Mysteries of Oak Island on tour
“Are you going on the boat tour,” asks a woman who is coming up the walkway at the Oak Island Marina as we’re making our way down.
We sure are.
“It’s fantastic,” she said, having just got off the boat we’re waiting to get on to take a waterside tour of the famous Oak Island.
Cathy Sherman, sporting a black long-sleeved t-shirt that reads Oak Island Nut, had with husband Jay just completed the two-hour Salty Dog Tour operated by Tony Sampson.
This would be our f...
Math is not exactly my strong suit, but even I can tell that it’s a tight squeeze.
Captains Helder Conceicao and Ricardo Simoes are carefully guiding CroisiEurope‘s newest ship, the MS Amalia Rodrigues, through Europe’s deepest lock on the Douro River in Portugal.
And it’s close. The sparkling new vessel is 11.4 metres wide. The steel-walled entrance to the Carrapatelo lock is 12 metres. Divide by four, carry the three, and, yes, that’s a mere 30-cm clearance on each side of the lock, one of ...
What is it about islands?
Is it the feeling of seclusion thanks to separation from the mainland or the serenity that comes from being able to see water from many vantage points?
Whatever it is, islands tend to have a special vibe, especially if said island is in the Caribbean, only reachable by boat and just 93 square kilometres in size with one main road following the coastline.
Nevis, you’re a star among islands.
How was I charmed by Nevis? Let me count the ways.
Starting with a fun, 10-min...
Jade Mountain, St. Lucia
There it is. The bed of my dreams. It’s a beautiful canopied, four-poster arrangement with a delicate gauzy covering, and a gorgeous heap of accent pillows. Like every hotel guest who swoons at the sight of an amazing, welcoming bed, I was ready to fling myself upon it.
This bed was at Jade Mountain, a legendary resort hotel in St. Lucia with panoramic views of the Pitons and jaw-dropping, cliff-side suites – excuse me, sanctuaries, as my personal butler called it whi...
Chef Jose Andres is tired, but dutifully answering writers’ questions about his new restaurant, Fish, at the upscale luxury resort The Cove at Atlantis on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.
But it’s not surprising he’s a little fatigued given that within the last few days the avid diver and fisherman had been out on a boat doing what he loves to do, as well as hopping around Nassau to check in on some local conch shacks, then later preparing to host a dinner in his new restaurant to thank commun...
What if I told you there was a magical land with emerald blue waters, beautiful crescent shaped beaches at the base of majestic volcanic mountains – and chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.
So much chocolate, in fact, that you can check into a resort nestled in a cocoa plantation, have a spa treatment featuring cocoa, or eat meals that incorporate the delicious results of the thriving industry.
Welcome to St. Lucia, apparently the land where all your chocolate wishes can come true.
When I w...
We’re bouncing along a dusty, rutted path, giddy with excitement at the prospect of seeing wild elephants in Sri Lanka.
It’s an opportunity that, while not unexpected, came earlier than planned as our guide got word that “The Gathering” was taking place the next day at nearby Kaudulla National Park.
Did we want to alter our itinerary to make this happen, asked Samantha (Sam) Jayathilaka?
Next thing we knew, we were in a safari-style jeep with Roshan Maand behind the wheel, blasting the Back S...
Cycling is the new golf in Prince Edward Island, or so some have said.
Although this might spark a lively debate, the sentiment does speak to the rise in popularity of exploring the postcard-perfect Maritime island on two wheels.
And it makes perfect sense with its jewel of the Confederation Trail — part of the newly branded national Great Trail — providing a tip-to-tail 273-km jaunt across the island from Tignish in the northwest to Elmira in the east. Another 162 km of branch trails take yo...
There are many ways to explore the world.
Hop in the car, jump on a bike, or with two feet and a heartbeat.
Then there’s by boat.
There’s something very magical about travelling on water, opening up a whole new way to explore places you may have even visited before.
Such was my experience aboard Adventure Canada’s Ocean Endeavour, our floating hotel during a 10-day tour of the St. Lawrence River — the Mighty St. Lawrence as the company rightly dubs it — for its history, its breadth and depth ...
Our van pulls up in front of a beautiful home in a residential neighbourhood of Nassau in the Bahamas, where we are warmly welcomed by Beverley and Cornel Mortimer.
It’s Christmastime, so lovely wreaths have been hung and there is more than one tree festooned with elaborate decorations.
The delicious smell of food is wafting our way from the kitchen, setting the scene for what would be a wonderful evening of eating, drinking and laughing as if we’d known the Mortimer family all of our lives.
When tourism is the No. 1 industry in your country, providing thousands of jobs and the infrastructure for your economy, nothing can be more devastating than a natural disaster.
The fall of 2017 saw just such a catastrophe hit many parts of the Caribbean as hurricanes Maria and Irma plowed through the region like back-to-back freight trains, leaving some countries flattened and residents scrambling to survive and rebuild.
The tiny island of Anguilla in the British West Indies is recovering fr...