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One for the road….

In follow-up to my post last week about favorite dishes that we discovered on the road I thought I might add a companion post about cocktail-548032_1280cocktails.  Typically I’m  pretty straight forward, I like a good beer, a single malt scotch, or a gin and tonic once in a while… but I have bene known to venture into more elaborate drinks from time to time. Most recently I got hooked on a cucumber –lime smash that was being served on the MS Noordam while on a family vacation to the Caribbean. The drink was very refreshing and would make a nice addition to my summer rotation… I’ve include the recipe for it along with a few other select choices below…


Where do airplanes go to die?

Victorville California apparently….

I came across this 60 Minutes segment posted to YouTube by Quantas showing the final flight for one of their 767’s  and thought you might like to see it… there are several of these aircraft “boneyards” scattered around, but the one in Victorville houses Jetliners for Quantas among others. In fact it is more of an aircraft purgatory than a grave yard since some of these aircraft may fly again.

Niagara Falls Update

I just booked the hotel for Niagara Falls without any trouble and was able to secure deluxe falls view room for an extra 1000 starpoints a hotel-205378_1280night.  For most trips where I’m not spending much time in the hotel I would simply book the standard room and given my status with Starwood I might get an upgrade at check-in. However, given the nature of this trip I thought I would pony up the marginal number of extra points for what amounts to a confirmed upgrade at booking.  Starwood only publishes the standard room award booking rates on their website, but if you call customer service to make your booking you can usually get upgraded for a relative pittance compared to the basic booking cost.

So, now that has been done, I’ll need to look into dining options etc. There are a few high end dining options by celebrity chefs that I’ve seen (which are fine) but I would love some recommendations for less pricey or well-known establishments. I am a bit of a foodie in general, but I also find that in high traffic touristy places like this the most hyped restaurants can often be lackluster and disappoint.  The big names that I have looked at so far are  Skylon Tower, Windows by Jamie Kennedy, and the Rainbow room by Massimo Capra.  Skylon Tower has both a kitsch revolving restaurant and a buffet restaurant, but the prices seem a bit steep and make me wonder if we’ll really just be paying for the view. Jamie Kennedy’s Windows looks like it could have good food, but again it is a little on the pricey side and trades on a celebrity chef’s name which doesn’t tell me much. (On the upside though it is attached to our hotel so there is that)  Finally the Rainbow Room is also a celebrity chef inspired restaurant, attached to the Crown Plaza, with the latter possibly lending some credibility to quality in my mind…

That being said I usually look to Tripadvisor for some guidance, and none of these rate in the top 25 for the area. Recommendations please….


SkyMall is losing altitude….

It is a sad day indeed… apparently the iconic SkyMall and it’s parent company Xhibit Corp. are headed for bankruptcy.  I’m amazed they have stayed open this long so this probably won’t come as much of a surprise. I like flipping through the catalog once in a while to kill time on a flight but I can’t say I’ve ever bought anything from them…

Gizmodo has a cheeky post about it here.

Chasing Khaleesi

One of my more recent projects is putting together a map of GOT filming locations and tracking the ones we’ve visited. To create the world of GOT the show films in locations all over the globe showcasing some of the most amazing landscapes on earth. I’ve made it to a few of the shows filming locations but certainly have many more to go, and by no means do I expect to see them all.  So far we’ve made it to a few of the filming locations in Morocco that were used for Astapor and Yunkai, and this fall we’ll be headed to Iceland which is used for pretty much everything beyond the wall.

High on my list of places to visit are Malta (aka: Kings Landing) and Croatia which was used for a number of different cities including Kings Landing and Qarth.  The show doesn’t just feature these incredible landscapes, but also draws on many different world cultures in creating the world of GOT. To that end I am also very excited to be attending an even next month that discusses how the show’s set designers incorporate the aspects of many different cultures into their work.

So enjoy playing with the Map and feel free to suggest locations that I missed, or if you’ve been to any of these locations I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Filter by

Title Category Address Description
39 Downhill Beach Getting there sooner or later 55.16645452899736, -6.821263879537582 The burning of the Seven was filmed on this beach.
38 Ballintoy Harbour Getting there sooner or later 55.244913212206924, -6.367381475865841 Some scenes for season two were filmed in and around Ballintoy Harbour.
37 Ballymoney Getting there sooner or later 55.07261523242928, -6.53595294803381 The Leslie Hill estate in Ballymoney was used as a shooting location during the first weeks of filming season one.
36 Cushendun caves Getting there sooner or later 55.12256831567927, -6.03690667077899 Scenes from the second season were shot at Cushendun caves.
35 Glens of Antrim Getting there sooner or later 55.07367789922865,-6.059088371694088 A scene set in the Dothraki Sea was shot at the Glens of Antrim.
34 Carncastle Getting there sooner or later 54.893809632530136, -5.876065157353878 Carncastle was used to film a scene from the pilot and again during filming of the first season.
33 Magheramorne Getting there sooner or later 54.81119398497278, -5.763197802007198 Magheramorne quarry is the location of a large exterior set that for Castle Black.
32 Ballycarry Getting there sooner or later 54.78194273710232,-5.747178643941879 Some filming occurred in a barn on the grounds of Redhall Estate in Ballycarry.
31 Shanes Castle Getting there sooner or later 54.727483409459346, -6.269029229879379 The grounds of Shane's Castle was used in the filming of the pilot and was the location of the tournament scene.
30 Sandy Brae 54.11854302567479, -6.088652014732361 This location at the foot of the Mourne Mountains was used for the entrance to Vaes Dothrak.
29 Castle Ward Getting there sooner or later 54.366511548366375, -5.576414465904236 Castle Ward has been transformed into Winterfell's courtyard
28 Castle Doune Getting there sooner or later 56.18477997134403, -4.049984738230705 Doune Castle in Scotland was a filming location used in the pilot.
27 Everything North of the Wall Getting there sooner or later 64.82915860410114, -18.967723846435547 Iceland has been used for several locations North of the Wall.
26 Lokrum island, Croatia Getting there sooner or later 42.62990989352665, 18.117378428578377 This Island was used for filming scenes in Qarth
25 Aït Benhaddou, Morocco Been there Blogged That 31.047597210223866, -7.129501914605498 Aït Benhaddou is the city of Yunkai in Game of Thrones. The city is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site that is often used in Hollywood productions.
24 Valletta, Malta Getting there sooner or later 35.89972531613155, 14.514229595661163 Malta has been used as a filming location for Kings Landing and parts of Essos
23 Trsteno Arboretum, Dubrovnik Croatia Getting there sooner or later 42.71337261536139,17.97205600887537 This location was used to film scenes from Kings Landing.
22 Ouarzazate, Morocco Been there Blogged That 30.927772346130254, -6.940515898168087 This is the home to CLA studios which has played host to several films. The studio were used for various scenes, most notably as a stand in for Essos. (Image courtesy HBO)
21 Essaouria, Morocco Been there Blogged That 31.511898263233668,-9.758520126342773 Essaouria was used as a filming location for Astapor in season 3.



When one door closes…

input-349355_1280So it looks like Charleston may not be happening this year after all due to some logistical issues… However, when one door closes another one opens as they say… It turns out that I’ll be adding a trip to Niagara Falls to our itinerary for the year, and with any luck I should be able to squeeze in a trip over to Cooperstown while I’m at it. I’ll talk more at Cooperstown later as I’m a huge baseball fan and Cooperstown is essentially holy ground!

While the falls might not have the allure they once did, it still looks like it will be a fun trip. I’m eyeing the Sheraton on the Falls since we have a free night award that I picked up in Starwood’s fourth quarter promotion. This seems like as good a location as any to use it! The Property ranks a class 4 in the Starwood family and is one of the top 10 hotels in the area on Tripadvisor with largely complimentary reviews.

Please let me know if you have any tips or suggestions for things I should check out…

Recipes from the road

One of the great things about traveling is trying new foods and expanding your palate and embarking on culinary adventures. Whether it’s Memphis Ribs or mussels in Brussels we all have our favorite food discoveries. I have had the pleasure of getting to sample the original Boston cream pie at the Parker house, the Hot Brown in Louisville, and yes… Mussels in Brussels, along with a frosty Chimay of course. So I thought I would take the time to share a few of my favorite discoveries with you and where you can find recipes for some of the most iconic dishes around the globe.


Google Inbox update

My Google Inbox invite arrived this week, and I promptly downloaded and installed it to test following last week’s posting about new(ish) Screenshot 2015-01-07 21.25.47travel apps. I have still kept my original email app in place just in case things don’t work out or if I decide I want a more familiar interface at some point… although I may remove it later depending on how the test run goes.



2015 Travel line-up as of today

boeing-159589_1280In keeping with my resolution to travel more this year I already have six trips in the works and we’re only 14 days into the New Year. Here is the line-up for the year as it stands now so you can expect trip reports on these as they happen. As always I’m open to any suggestions you may have for me while I’m visiting these locales…


Cats, Dogs, and Ducks Oh’ My!

A few days ago Condé Nast Traveler posted a short interview with the Cat Wrangler for the Algonquin Hotel. The article was rather entertaining and got me to thinking about what other famous (or not so famous) hotel animals.

The Algonquin

Of course there is Matilda at the Algonquin who is a shelter rescued Ragdoll kitty (as all the hotels cats have been) Matilda is just the cat-549476_640latest in a long line of cats that have lived in the landmark hotel dating back to the 1930’s. Legend has it that one of the early owners, Frank Case, took in a male cat and gave it the distinguished name of Hamlet. Hamlet had the run of the hotel and since that time every Male cat has been named Hamlet and every female feline has been a Matilda. The current Matilda has a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and you can even drop her an email at


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