Traveler's USA Notebook

News,  Discoveries and Pleasures


Lehigh Valley
Hot Springs
Little Rock
Los Angeles
Rosemary Beach
Thimble islands

The Astrology  of Travel
Health on the Road
Luxe Guides




Norman Schreiber

Special Correspondent: Debbi Kempton-Smith

Pacific Rim Correspondent

Jan Prince

Contributing Editors: April Burbage, Robert Rattner, Fern Siegel, Debra Griboff


Traveler's USA Notebook

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The Confession of Lily Dare, Paddington Gets In A Jam

Posted 2/3/2020

Confession of Lily Dare reviewed  by Fern Siegel for

Charles Busch, queen of camp and master of drag, counts legions of fans enamored of his homages to Hollywood melodramas and bygone 1930s and 1940s movie stars, like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. His latest show, The Confession of Lily Dare off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theater, is Busch at his theatrical best. [more]


Greater Clements

Posted 1/13/2020

Greater Clements reviewed  by Fern Siegel for

In the post-WWII era, the U.S.’s manufacturing economy was booming. Industries like steel, copper and mining employed huge numbers of workers — and small towns with factories, mills or mines proved vibrant.

But by the mid-1970s, the economy had shifted. Technology, coupled with shipping jobs abroad, had gradually changed the landscape. And those once-prosperous communities eventually fell into decay. [more]


Lifestyle Getaway


Exodus Travels New Collection

One modern problem, particularly among millennials, is the combo of too much burnout and not enough downtime.

But, fear not! Exodus Travels, a Toronto based expert in cultural and adventure tours has a solution — Exodus Edits, described by the firm as “a new collection of compact and expertly crafted world tours designed for young professionals in their 30s and 40s.” Altogether there are 22 different trips (4 to 13 days long) that take you to fascinating accommodations (e.g. “converted monasteries, mountainside refuges and boutique hotels”) with plenty of fine food, culture and outdoor experiences.

The tours include “Aurora and Adventure in Iceland;” “Fizz & Spritz in the Prosecco Hills;” “Escape into Italy’s Prosecco Country;” “Summit & Spices in Morocco;” and “Digital Detox in Portugal.” (alluring photo above) For more details (prices, dates, features) click right over here.

Dive Into Luxury At El Pez Hotel

The El Pez beachfront hotel in Tulum, Mexico, has upped the luxury quotient.

In April, it opened two on-the-beach luxury rooms with heatable plunge pools that offer stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. Nature’s wonders are on display: Pelicans fly at sunset and turtles nest during the season.

Each air-conditioned room has a king bed and sofa, a lounge area and high-end bathrooms with double vanities. For families, the king-size bed can be split into twins.

The décor beautifully augments the locale. Local Mayan stone, tropical woods, natural Mexican hand-woven fabrics and textiles set the tone — rustic but elegant. And relaxation is ensured: These are TV-free rooms. 

Daily maid service, turndown featuring artisanal chocolates and herbal teas are provided, along with a safe and minibar. Fresh coffee is delivered in thermoses to the room’s outdoor terrace each morning at sunrise. In-room Nespresso machines are also provided.

In addition, all rooms have A/C, free WiFi and concierge service, along with dining and bar options. El Pez’s restaurant primarily offers a seafood menu, as well as handcrafted cocktails.

Brendon Leach, CEO of Colibri Boutique Hotels, El Pez’s parent company, calls the new additions “staying true to our unpretentious and thoughtful approach to barefoot luxury hospitality.” 

El Pez is set in Turtle Cove, a 20-room hotel that offers oceanfront rooms, suites and cabanas. More info?  

Lehigh Valley Haunts

Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley — just one hour from Philadelphia and two hours from New York    is a 730 sq. mile region clustered around Allentown, Easton and Bethlehem. Its colonial roots go back to 1741 Moravian Church settlers. The Moravian Book Shop, founded in 1745, claims the distinction of being the oldest bookshop in  the world.

Church members originally organized themselves as a commune. As population increased, the structure gave way but the communal spirit remained.

Other German-speaking immigrants felt welcome. One of them, Christian Martin, founded a company in 1833 that went on to produce the iconic Martin guitars. Other industries started in early colonial days. In 1899, Bethlehem Steel’s birth of pushed local industry into high gear. Steel barons presided over a general taste for the good life. [more]

 The Tropical Allure Of Curacao

Known for its blue liqueur and hurricane-free climate, Curacao is part of the Dutch Antilles — Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and St. Maartin – but the most interesting of the islands.

This tropical paradise, which retains its Dutch identity, stays 82 degrees and sunny year-round; its turquoise-blue waters and luscious palm trees beckon. [more]

The Astrology of Travel

If you're planning to run away and play, it's exciting to bring along a friend. You never know whether you will still be speaking when the trip is over, but this only adds to the fun. In selecting an earthling to travel with, remember that any of these people could be your companions. Heed well our guide to... SIGNS ON THE ROAD


Vancouver --Aerial view

courtesy Tourism Vancouver

There’s much to explore in Vancouver, a laid-back amalgam  of natural wonders and cosmopoltan panache. Five special tours give visitors a chance to see the “City of Glass” in new ways. Here’s a brief guide to the tours.

Sea Vancouver. This 90-mnute Zodiac ride zips  though the Vancouver waters and begins a new season in April.  (t starts at the Westin Bayshore Hotel .From your splendid maritime perch, you’ll get a splendid view of the Coal Harbour, Burrard Inlet, English Bay, False Creek and Stanley Park neighborhoods. You’ll see skyscraper skyline and beaches  You may even see seals, bald eagles, and orher wilelife specimens. offers a different perspective on city skyscrapers, runners on the seawall, offshore freighters and sun-tanners on Vancouver’s beaches. Sightings of harbour seals, bald eagles and other marine animals are a possibility. For more info, click here.

The Hippie to Hipster Tour, offered by Tours By Locals, is like a fresh cup of Joe.  The guide (a certified local) leads a small group (1-6) for about three hours around th ecity  that gave birth to Greenpeace and AdBusters (the magazine that ignited the “Occupy” movement).The tour starts downtown and make its way through Gastown, Chinatown, , the downtown Eastside, Commercial and Main Street. You’ll taste the culture, vibes, street art and all the highlights of alt-Vancouver. For more info, click here.

Coffee isn’t  all that’s brewing in Vancouver as the Brewery Tour will reveal.  It’s a three-hour cycling tour through fascinating neighborhoods with stops at three craft breweries. The behind the scenes glimpses and the nine beer tastings and light nibbles will make you hopping glad. For more info, click here

Speaking of yum, Vancouver Foodie Tours offers a special two-hour amble through the vibrant  Granville Island Market. As you leer at the fruits, vegetables, baked goods, cheeses, etc. words like luscious, fragrant, succulent, alluring will take over your mind. There are 20 tastings included in this tour. Say the word, and they’ll make it vegetarian friendly for you. For more info, click here.

To learn more about Vancouver, click here.

The Beautiful Sea Rocks:   Connecticut's Thimble Islands



Captain Kidd is said to have sailed the waters of the Thimble Islands in Long Island Sound and, legend has it, buried treasure on Money Island (hence its name).Tom Thumb came to Cut in Two Island to court Miss Emily, the similarly statured daughter of the island’s owner but, as the story goes, P.T. Barnum broke up the romance.President Taft made Davis Island his summer White House for two years though, according to some, he actually only spent one night there. Their colorfully blended history and lore – the two often indistinguishable from each other – just add to the natural charm of the Thimbles. . . [MORE]