Book Review: The Oregon Trail by Francis Parkman


Author: Francis Parkman Title: The Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie and Rocky-Mountain Life Narrator: Robert Morris Publication Info: Blackstone Audio, Inc. (2012, originally published in 1849) Summary/Review: This narrative describes 23-year-old Parkman’s travels west in  with fellow Boston Brahmin Quincy Adams Shaw.  Together they travel with settlers adventurers through the future states of of Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado,…

Book Reviews: Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell


Author:  Sarah Vowell Title: Lafayette in the Somewhat United States Narrator:  Sarah Vowell, with  John Slattery, Nick Offerman, Fred Armisen, Bobby Cannavale, John Hodgman, Stephanie March, and Alexis Denisof Other Books Read By Same Author: The Partly Cloudy Patriot  The Wordy Shipmates  Publication Info: Simon & Schuster Audio (2015) Summary/Review: This audiobook includes numerous well-known actors performing…

Massachusetts 351


I’ve lived in Massachusetts for nearly 19 years (and in a bordering state for 15 years when I was younger), but despite it being a small state I feel that I have not seen much of Massachusetts.  I am the stereotype of the Boston urbanite who rarely ventures outside the confines of the Rt. 128…

Honeymoon + 10: Day #5: To Tierser Alpl and Back Down


The fifth day of our honeymoon remembered….   We awake to a chilly morning, the shadows and sunrise transforming the appearance of the surrounding mountains, and a dramatic undercast filling the valleys below. In the dining room, we’re among the first to take our seat and felt further shunned as all the German-speakers gather around the other…

Honeymoon + 10: Day #3: From Basilica Di San Marco to the Dolomites


The third day of our honeymoon remembered….       Over breakfast we determine that pricey Venice has emptied our wallets, so Liam sets off in search of an ATM so we have enough Euros to pay our hotel bill. Right in front of Hotel Riva the same fashion models are posing for another photo shoot. The…

Honeymoon + 10: Day #2: Venice Walks


The second day of our honeymoon remembered…. In the early morning, Susan watches from our hotel window as a man and his dog pilot a work boat down the canal. After a tasty breakfast at our hotel, we follow walks around Venice from our Rick Steves’ guidebook. We start in Piazza di San Marco –…

Honeymoon + 10: Day #1: Arriving in Venice


My wife Susan & I recently celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary.  Looking at the website with all our wedding and honeymoon photographs, I discovered that I’d written a travelogue of our honeymoon in Venice and the Dolomites which I’d forgotten about.  In a sense, it was my first blog post; my blog before I had…

Book Review: Unruly Places by Alastair Bonnett


Author: Alastair Bonnett Title: Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies Narrator: Derek Perkins Publication Info: Tantor Media, 2014 ISBN: 1494505827 Summary/Review: Dr. Bonnet collects a compendium of curiosities in geography, places in the world at the borders, no-mans lands, enclaves, dead cities, floating islands, and ephemeral places. Destinations include: Sandy Island, marked…

Book Review: Be there now : travel stories from around the world


Editor: Mike O’Mary Title:Be there now : travel stories from around the world Publication Info: Dream of Things, 2012 Summary/Review: This book collects very brief essays that capture a moment of a travel experience.  It’s interesting idea but a lot of the stories come out vapid and are not at all transcendent.  It’s a quick read, though,…

Photopost: Colonial Virginia


Some of my favorite photos from our recent trip to Virginia are below.  See the complete photo album on my website. For Spring Break, my son Peter and I traveled to Virginia to visit my mother and play tourist at Colonial Williamsburg, Historic Jamestowne, and Go-Karts Plus.  It was  three-day trip but it felt like we…

Book Review: Doing Germany by Agnieszka Paletta


Author: Agnieszka Paletta Title: Doing Germany Publication Info: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2013) Summary/Review: This is a book I idly picked up from a Kindle sale, because I enjoyed travelling to Germany.  What a surprise that the author declares early on that she never had any interest in visiting German.  As a Polish-Canadian, moving back and forth between…

Something Cool: Visited States Map Generator


The Visited States Maps Generator at the Defocus Blog allows you to create a map of US states (and Canadian provinces if you chose) that you’ve visited, color-coded by the amount of time and commitment you’ve given to each place. Here’s the key: Red means I’ve just passed through, maybe seen a thing or two. Amber means…

Book Review: The Wet and the Dry by Lawrence Osborne


Author: Lawrence Osbourne Title: The Wet and the Dry  Publication Info:   New York : Crown, c2013. ISBN: 9780770436889 Summary/Review:  I received this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. I selected this book expecting whimsical travel adventures seen through a drinking glass.  I forgot that alcohol is a depressant.  The author Lawrence Osbourne comes from a family…

Photopost: New York City


I spent the first week of September with my 5 y.o. son Peter and my mother (later joined by my wife and daughter for the last weekend). Three generations of family explored the City which has rich family history.  My mother grew up in the Bronx and I grew up in the Connecticut suburbs and…

Book Review: Cape Cod by Henry David Thoureau


Author: Henry David Thoureau Title: Cape Cod Publication Info: New York, NY : Penguin Books, 1987 [originally published in 1865] ISBN: 0140170022 Summary/Review: This book collects essays Thoreau wrote on several trips to Cape Cod and was published after his death.  Thoreau’s great journeys were rarely far from his home in Concord, and yet the descriptions of every…

Book Review: Straphanger by Taras Grescoe


Author: Taras Grescoe Title: Straphanger Publication Info: New York : Times Books, 2012. ISBN: 9780805091731 Previously Read By the Same Author: The End of Elsewhere Summary/Review:  In the previous book I’ve read by Taras Grescoe, The End of Elsewhere (one of my all-time favorite books), the author travels the world deliberately visiting the most touristed sites.  In Straphanger, Grescoe travels…

Book Review: Marco Polo didn’t go there by Rolf Potts


Author: Rolf Potts Title: Marco Polo didn’t go there Publication Info: Palo Alto, Calif. : Travelers’ Tales, c2008. ISBN: 1932361618 Summary/Review: This collection of travel essays (post-modern travel writing according to the author) grapples with travel in the modern day with the competing forces of commercialism and authentic experience.  A lot of people try to make a distinction between the…

Photopost: Baseball Double Header


Over Memorial Day Weekend, I enjoyed a two-city, two-team, two-day baseball double header. On Sunday, I traveled down to New York to see R.A. Dickey and the Mets take on the San Diego Padres in the good company of some of my Mets fan friends. The next day, my son Peter & I went to…

Book Review: Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway by Kirk Johnson and Ray Troll


Author: Kirk Johnson and Ray Troll Title: Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway: An Epoch Tale of a Scientist and an Artist on the Ultimate 5,000-Mile Paleo Road Trip Publication Info: Fulcrum Publishing (2007) ISBN: 9781555914516 Summary/Review: I’ve long been a fan of the art of Ray Troll who specializes in drawing realistic but whimsical representations of…