Special Correspondent: Debbi Kempton-Smith
Pacific Rim Correspondent
Contributing Editors: April Burbage, Robert Rattner, Fern Siegel, Debra Griboff and Giles the Unflappable
Traveler's USA Notebook
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Spain has gone through extraordinary political and cultural changes in the last four decades. When General Franco’s regime ended in 1975, a wave of political reforms ensued. Since then, Madrid has transformed itself into a hip cosmopolitan capital that is one of the most exciting destinations in Europe.
For openers, it’s visually striking. [more]
Beauty is serious business.
“There are no ugly women, only lazy ones,” decreed the remarkable Helena Rubinstein, played with elegance and moxie by the formidable Patti Lupone.
Rubinstein, who pioneered the science of beauty, as well as brand marketing, commands all eyes in the new Broadway musical War Paint, which details her rivalry with fellow cosmetics titan Elizabeth Arden (Christine Ebersole).[more]
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.
PHOTO: ROBERT RATTNER
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]
To learn about other places Traveler has visited, click here