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Alaska

Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska

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Tracy Arm is renowned for its twin glaciers, North Sawyer Glacier and South Sawyer Glacier lie at the end of the Tracy Arm Fjord. Tracy Arm is a fjord and it spreads over 30 miles alongside the Tongass National Forest, near Juneau. It is almost 45 miles south of Juneau and 70 miles north of Petersburg, Alaska. Sailing through this deep and narrow passage gives you the stunning scenery of Alaska. You will be amazed by the breathtaking views of more than a mile tall mountain peaks carved by active glaciers, floating deep blue icebergs, plunging waterfalls, evergreen cliffs, and wildlife.

These photos are from our 7 nights cruise to Alaska during the last week of August, 2013.

Quick Facts and Tips

  • Best time to visit: June to September
  • Port of Call or Fly Into: Juneau (Alaska)
  • Clothing
    • It is cool, so plan to dress in layers. Comfortable pants, T-shirts, warm jackets over t-shirts, scarfs, coats, caps, gloves, comfortable walking/hiking shoes/Snow boots
  • What to Expect
    • Active Glaciers, Snow-capped Mountains, Fjords, Floating Deep Blue Icebergs, Plunging Waterfalls, Gorges, Evergreen Cliffs, Glimpse of Wildlife
  • Take a boat tour from Juneau, in case the cruise ship does not sail through the glaciers.
  • You need a one full day to visit the Tracy Arm Fjord
  • Other Attractions
    • Visit and enjoy the massive view of Mendenhall Glacier, lake and falls
    • Glacier Bay National Park: Offers stunning scenery with enormous glaciers, pleasant rainforests, hidden fjords, and a rugged coastline
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Gallery

Charlotte Amalie Overlook, St Thomas, USVI

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Charlotte Amalie overlook – A gorgeous spot on Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Location: Charlotte Amalie overlook on Skyline Dr(Rte 40), St Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Date and Time: Around 2:45pm on February 19, 2019.

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Alaska Canada

Yukon and British Columbia, Klondike Highway

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Driving through the historic Klondike Highway is an extraordinary memorable experience. The 445 mile/715 km highway passes through three different states (provinces): Alaska, British Columbia, and the Yukon. The gorgeous and unique landscapes can be seen once you cross the US border. There are many vista points worth stopping at along the Klondike highway to capture this exceptional picture perfect landscape. The most photographed among them is the Yukon Suspension Bridge. The Yukon Suspension Bridge is 65 feet long above the white-water rapids Tutshi river. The walk across this bridge is thrilling and the views are stunning.

These photos are from our motor coach tour to White Pass Summit and Yukon Suspension Bridge during the last week of August, 2013.

Quick Facts and Tips

  • Make sure you have valid passports and visas since the Klondike Highway crosses US-Canada border
  • Best time to visit: June to September
  • Port of Call or Fly Into: Skagway, Alaska
  • Clothing
    • It is cool, so plan to dress in layers. Comfortable jeans, T-shirts, warm jackets, scarfs, caps, gloves, rain jackets, comfortable walking shoes.
  • What to Expect
    • Glacier, Snow-capped rugged mountains, Fjords, Waterfalls, Sparkling turquoise lakes, Alpine tundra, Winding rushing rivers, Wind-battered rocks, Abundant forest of old trees, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Gorges, Tunnels, Historic sites
  • Best things to do
    • Take a tour to experience The Yukon & Suspension Bridge. There will be an entry fee to view/cross the bridge and exhibits if not included in your tour. There is a cafe, restaurant, gift shop and restroom.

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Gallery

High Falls at DuPont Forest, North Carolina

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High Falls, Dupont State Forest in North Carolina.

Location:  Buck Forest Road, Cedar Mountain, North Carolina, USA.

Date and Time: Around 4:45 pm on August 8, 2021.

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Alaska

White Pass Summit, Klondike Highway

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Driving through the historic Klondike Highway is an extraordinary memorable experience. The 445 mile/715 km highway passes through three different states (provinces): Alaska, British Columbia, and the Yukon. The South Klondike Highway connects Skagway (Alaska) to Whitehorse (Yukon), and passes through the White Pass mountain summit area and the Southern Lakes region of the Yukon. The North Klondike Highway connects Whitehorse to Dawson City, Yukon. The Klondike Highway runs pretty much parallel to the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway and offers stunning panorama views of mountains, glaciers, gorges, the dead horse gulch, waterfalls, tunnels, and historic sites.

There are many vista points worth stopping at along the South Klondike highway. The stunning White Pass is one among them. White Pass is a mountain ridge through the Coast Mountains range on the border of Alaska and the province of British Columbia, Canada. It leads from Skagway to the chain of lakes at the headwaters of the Yukon River. The White Pass trail was the main pass used by prospectors during the Klondike Gold Rush. Though it was easier than the Chilkoot Trail, the lengthy journey and harsh climate took the lives of many prospectors and their horses. Therefore, the White Pass trail was nicknamed the Dead Horse Trail.

These photos are from our motor coach tour to White Pass Summit and Yukon during the last week of August, 2013.

Quick Facts and Tips

  • Make sure you have valid passports and visas since the Klondike Highway crosses the US-Canada border
  • Best time to visit: June to September
  • Port of Call or Fly Into: Skagway
  • Clothing
    • It is cool, so plan to dress in layers. Comfortable jeans, T-shirts, warm jackets, scarfs, caps, gloves, rain jackets, comfortable walking shoes
  • What to Expect
    • Glacier, Snow-capped mountains, Craggy Mountains, Fjords, Rushing Waterfalls, Sparkling Lakes, Valleys, Wildlife, Gorges, Tunnels, Historic Gold Rush sites
  • Best things to do
Categories
Gallery India

Love From My Mom’s Garden

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Her garden is inspiring, just like her!!

Location: My Mom’s Garden at Kota, Udupi District in Karnataka, India.

Date and Time: Around 8:40 am on October 3, 2021.

Categories
Alaska

Skagway, Alaska

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Skagway is a dense city along the popular cruise route, the Inside Passage. The Skagway district has a historical past and looks like a Hollywood movie set with about 100 buildings from the gold rush era. During the Klondike Gold rush, many prospectors from all over the world stampeded and came through Skagway on their way to the Klondike Valley to find gold. The most popular tour, White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad/Motor tour gives you the best picture of the overall history of Skagway during the Gold Rush and also offers magnificent views.

These photos are from our visit to Skagway during the last week of August, 2013.

Quick Facts

  • Best time to visit: June to September
  • Port of Call or Fly Into: Skagway, Alaska
  • Clothing
    • It is cool, so plan to dress in layers. Comfortable jeans, hiking shorts, T-shirts, warm jackets, scarfs, coats, caps, gloves, comfortable walking/hiking shoes/Snow boots
  • What to Expect
    • Glaciers, Snow-capped mountains, Fjords, Waterfalls, Lakes, Valleys, Wildlife, Gorges, Tunnels, Historic sites
  • Best Things to do
Categories
Gallery India

Murudeshwar Temple, Karnataka, India

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Statue of Lord Shiva in Murudeshwar Temple!

Location: Murudeshwar Temple Main Road, Murudeshwar, Bhatkal Taluk in Uttara Kannada district, Karnataka, India.

Date and Time: Around noon on August 11, 2016.

Categories
Alaska

Juneau, Alaska

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Juneau is the capital city of the gorgeous state Alaska and it is well known for its incredible wildlife and the Glaciers. Juneau lies in the southernmost part of Alaska on the Panhandle. The city can only be reached by sea or air as there are no roads to this small coastal city. Downtown Juneau is surrounded by Mount Juneau, Mount Roberts and Gastineau Channel. The beautiful and most iconic site of the Juneau is the Mendenhall Glacier and is just a short drive from the downtown. The Mendenhall Glacier is in the Tongass National Forest, the largest national forest in the United States. A 13 mile long Mendenhall glacier ends at Mendenhall Lake and it can be easily viewed from the visitor center.

These photos are from our visit to Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau during the last week of August, 2013.

Quick Facts and Tips

  • Best time to visit: June to September
  • Port of Call or Fly Into: Juneau, Alaska
  • Clothing
    • It is cool, so plan to dress in layers. Comfortable jeans, hiking shorts, T-shirts, warm jackets, scarfs, coats, caps, gloves, comfortable walking/hiking shoes/snow boots
  • What to Expect
    • Glacier, Snow-capped mountains, Fjords, Waterfalls, Iceberg-dotted lakes, Valleys, Wildlife, Rugged coastlines
  • Best Things to do
    • Make a trip to Glacier bay National Park.
    • Take a tour to Tracy Arm Fjords to see the stunning blue colored Sawyer Glacier.
    • Ride a Mount Roberts Tramway
    • Walk around downtown Juneau.
    • Book any one of the Mendenhall glacier tours
      • Juneau Whale Watching & Mendenhall Glacier Tour
      • Mendenhall Glacier Ice Adventure Tour
      • Glacier Walk & Helicopter Tour
      • Mendenhall Glacier Float Trip
      • Juneau Mendenhall Glacier & Salmon Bake Tour
      • Dog Sledding & Helicopter Tour
      • Mendenhall Lake Canoe Tour
  • Popular hikes in The Mendenhall Glacier area
    • Photo Point Trail: Easy and short 0.6 mile round trip from Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, as the name suggests trail is best to capture panoramic shots of Mendenhall Glacier and the surrounding peaks.
    • Nuggets Falls Trail: Flat and easy 2 mile round trip from Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. At the end, the hike opens up to the powerful, beautiful, impressive, roaring and misty waterfall.
    • West Glacier Trail: Moderate 4 mile round trip, starts at the end of Skaters Cabin Road, offers spectacular view of large section of the glacier surrounded by mountain range that is not seen from the visitor center area.
  • Other Attractions
    • Tracy Arm Fjord: Located just southeast of Juneau. This ice-covered glacial fjord cuts through some breathtaking scenery of Sawyer glacier, turquoise color water with floating icebergs, descending vertical rock walls and waterfalls. The impressive blue colored twin Sawyer Glacier at the head of the Fjord are enchanting.
    • Glacier Bay National Park: Offers stunning scenery with enormous glaciers, pleasant rainforests, hidden fjords, and a rugged coastline.
Categories
Gallery

Salt Lake Temple, Utah

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Impressive six-spire historic Salt Lake Temple serves as a universal icon of the Mormon Church!

Location: Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

Date and Time: Around 3pm on September 1, 2012.

Categories
Alaska

Inside Passage, Alaska

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The Alaska’s Inside Passage is a coastal water route for cruise ships and boats between the Gulf of Alaska and the northwestern coast of the U.S known as Puget Sound. The Inside Passage cruise ship’s route stops at a few of the Alaskan ports such as Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Sitka, Haines, and British Columbian ports like Vancouver and Victoria. The Inside Passage route is a round-trip cruise from Seattle or Vancouver. This route is famous for its spectacular glaciers, wildlife-filled fjords, waterfalls, and lush green island scenery. Sailing through the Inside Passage is the most wonderful memorable experience.

These photos were taken during our round-trip cruise from Seattle to Alaska in the last week of August 2013!

Quick Facts and Tips

  • Best time to visit: June to September
  • Ports: Seattle, USA and Vancouver, Canada
  • Cruises: Royal Caribbean, Carnival,  Princess, Disney, Holland, Regent Seven Seas, and Oceania 
  • Clothing
    • It is cool, so plan to dress in layers. Comfortable jeans, shorts, T-shirts, warm jackets, coats, scarfs, caps, gloves, comfortable walking shoes.
  • What to Expect
    • Glaciers, Snow-capped mountains, Fjords, Waterfalls, Iceberg-dotted lakes, Valleys, Wildlife, Rugged coastlines, Lush Green Islands.
  • The itineraries that sail through the Inside Passage travel two full days on the open Pacific Ocean, which can be rough. Be prepared for sea sickness/motion sickness. Carry some motion sickness medicine.
  • It is a good choice to choose a balcony stateroom on the 7-nights or longer cruises which provide more time to relax and enjoy scenery in the private balcony area.
  • Dress in layers. Weather is unpredictable in Alaska. 
  • Select a ship that embarks midweek or choose shoulder season (late April, May or September) to avoid crowds.
Categories
Hawaii

East Maui – Road to Hana, Hawaii

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Road to Hana is undoubtedly the top attraction in Maui. The highway is beyond an exciting drive through the beautiful landscape of eastern coastline of the island. It connects Kahului and Kaupo with 68 miles of road. The road to Hana has 620 terrifying but thrilling curves and 59 narrow bridges. The road takes you through incredible island views, beautiful waterfalls, awesome beaches, lush green gulches and flourishing rain forest with tropical flowers and fruits.

68 miles, 620 hairpin turns, 59 narrow bridges, two way traffic, one lane wide. That’s HANA HIGHWAY!!!

and WE SURVIVED!!!

These photos are from a memorable drive on Hana Highway on 9th October, 2016.

Quick Facts and Tips

  • Best time to visit
    • Weather and good deals: Apr to May, Sep to Oct. Dec to Mar is better, but could be expensive
  • Fly into
    • Kahului Airport is the main airport and has direct flights from the U.S. mainland
    • Kapalua Airport (west side) and Hana Airport (east side) are other smaller commuter airports
    • Honolulu International Airport, then take a short, 35-40 minute flight to Kahului or Kapalua Maui Airports
  • What to Expect
    • Beautiful Beaches, Waterfalls, Lush Green Gulches, Blowholes, Sea Cliffs, Natural Pools, Tropical Flowers, and Fruits
  • Clothing
    • Weather is warm, so pack lightweight casual t-shirts, shorts, sundresses, tank tops, capris, skirts, swimsuits, sunscreen, sturdy shoes, rain gears and a light jacket for the cool evenings
  • Be sure to check Maui County Official website for the traffic alerts and current road closure before heading out.
  • Not many gas stations on Hana, so have the gas tank filled before you hit the road.
  • Weak/no cell phone signals, highly recommend to have maps downloaded or printed.
  • Important to follow the mile markers.
  • Roads are narrow and winding, drive slowly and park only in parking lots.
  • Bring food, water and changing cloths and prepare yourself if you have motion sickness.
  • Top Attractions and Best Things To Do
    • Ho’okipa Beach Park: It is a pretty good sandy beach with many activities like surfing, bodysurfing, windsurfing, and parasailing. There is easy access to the beach  from the parking lot and is also a great place to see sea turtles. The park has showers, restrooms, lifeguards, picnic tables, and a good amount of parking.This is a good, quick, and easy stop located near mile marker 9 along the Hana Highway.
    • Ho’okipa Lookout: Lookout is on the edge of the cliff overlooking a beautiful beach, big surfs, great surfers, and amazing views of the north west of Maui. This spectacular seascape is located at mile marker 9 and it is worth stopping by. There is a food truck and a large parking area.
    • Twin Falls: Twin Falls is the first easily accessible string of waterfalls and pools near mile marker 2 on the Hana Highway. The entrance to Wailele Farm and Twin Falls is just to the left of the farm stand and parking is lImited. Do not park on the shoulder of Hana Highway. The 1.8 mile round trip hike through the rainforest leads to a small but attractive twin falls and dark pools. Guided tours are also available. Stay on the paths to protect and respect the land. Fresh tropical fruits, refreshing smoothies, ice creams, and snacks are available at the Twin Falls Farm. No restrooms, only port-a-potties.
    • Garden of Eden Arboretum: This garden offers beautiful tropical lush botanical gardens spreading over 26 acres with gorgeous waterfalls and stunning coastal views.The garden is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m and there will be an entry fee. The garden is located on the Hana Highway, between Kailua and Ke’anae, near mile marker 10.5. The trails are well maintained and there are restrooms, giftshop, picnic spots, waterfalls & coastal views.
    • Honomanu Black Sand Beach: Honomanu Bay is a special and somewhat hidden beach along the ocean side of Hana Highway located about halfway between Paia and Hana, near mile marker 14. The Hana Highway passes high above the Honomanu bay and the bay is not directly off the Hana Highway. There are no signs of it, and it can easily be missed. It requires a drive on rough roads to get to the beach once you turn out of the Hana Highway. No crowd, but no amenities.
    • Wailua Valley Lookout: The lookout provides a spectacular view of Wailua village and beautiful coastal views. This is a small cut in the cliff along the Hana Highway near near mile marker 18.9. The lookout has only three parking spots and a set of steps to a lookout. Once you climb the stairs, you will have a perfect aerial view of Wailua village facing the ocean on one side and lush green deep Wailua valley and waterfalls on the other side. Worth stopping for awesome views and a nice break to stretch your legs.
    • Upper Waikani Falls aka Three Bears: The Three Bears Falls is one of the more famous waterfalls just right on the road and located Mile Marker 19.6 on Hana HIghway. The separate streams of falls rushing through rocks and lush vegetation with a pool make this location more popular. There are only a few unmarked parking spots right next to falls, but there is a small parking area past the falls. 
    • Hanawi Falls: This is a popular roadside lookout located near mile marker 24 on Hana highway. The lookout offers a series of waterfalls that tumble over lush green valleys and forested rocks into a pool.There are limited parking spots on both sides of the bridge.
    • Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach: This is a beautiful small black sand beach in a cove that features the deep blue ocean, a wonder lava tube, stunning rugged shorelines, great sea arches and valleys of green jungle. This famous park is located near mile marker 32 on Hana Highway. Besides the outstanding scenery the park has great hikes, easy walks, a blowhole, ocean caves, cliff diving, fresh water pools, camping, and cabins. and more. The park has a large parking area and there are picnic tables, barbecue grills, restrooms, showers, and water fountains. This is the must stop along the Hana Highway.
    • Hamoa Beach: Beautiful beach with clear water, white coral sand, and is surrounded by sea cliffs and lush vegetation cradles. This crescent beach is located on Haneo’o Road about a 0.4 mile drive off Hana Road.
    • Wailua Falls: This easily accessible picturesque 80 feet waterfall gushing through the lush green forest is just on the Hana Highway located near mile marker 45 on Hana Highway. There is a parking lot immediately after you pass the falls towards the ‘Ohe’o Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools.
    • ‘Ohe’o Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools): The Seven Sacred Pools also known as Pools of Oheo are one of Hawaii’s most surreal natural formations. The seven pools are connected by cascading waterfalls and are  hidden in the dense forest of Ohe’o Gulch. This is a great place with stunning ocean vistas, gorgeous waterfalls, deep valleys, dark pools, and a calm ocean breeze.
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Gallery

Mirror Lake

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Beautiful Mirror Lake

Location: Mirror Lake In Lake Placid, Adirondack Mountains Region, New York, USA.

Date and Time: Around 6:45pm on September 4, 2021.

Categories
Hawaii

East Maui – Kahekili Highway, Hawaii

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Maui, also known as “The Valley Isle”, is one of the islands of the Aloha state, Hawaii. Being the second largest Hawaiian Island, Maui showcases the island’s highest peak Haleakala National Park, the sacred Iao Valley and pools, waterfalls of the Ohe’o Gulch, and world famous beaches. Driving through the infamous Kahekili Highway and legendary Hana Highway on East Maui is hair-raising and unforgettable!

Highway 340, referred to as Kahekili Highway, is as scenic as the famous Hana Highway. This rugged scenic route is usually overshadowed by the popular Hana Highway. This cliff hugging one lane road is narrow, meandering, and has many blind curves and drop offs with no guard rails. The infamous Kahekili Highway offers picture perfect views of deep lush green valleys, rugged coastlines, stunning sea cliffs, gorgeous  pools, powerful blowholes, and the list goes on. 

These photos are from a memorable drive on Kahekili Highway on 8th October, 2016.

Quick Facts and Tips

  • Best time to visit
    • Weather and good deals: Apr to May, Sep to Oct. Dec to Mar is better, but could be expensive
  • Fly into
    • Kahului Airport is the main airport and has direct flights from the U.S. mainland
    • Kapalua Airport (west side) and Hana Airport (east side) are other smaller commuter airports
    • Honolulu International Airport, then take a short, 35-40 minute flight to Kahului or Kapalua Maui Airports
  • What to Expect
    • Beautiful Beaches, Waterfalls, Lush Green Gulches, Blowholes, Sea Cliffs, Natural Pools, Tropical Flowers, and Fruits
  • Clothing
    • Weather is warm, so pack lightweight casual t-shirts, shorts, sundresses, tank tops, capris, skirts, swimsuits, sunscreen, sturdy shoes, rain gears and a light jacket for the cool evenings
  • Be sure to check Maui County Official website for traffic alerts and current road closure before heading out.
  • There are not many gas stations on Kahekili Highway so have the gas tank filled before you hit the road.
  • Important to follow the mile markers. 
  • Weak/no cell phone signal, highly recommend to have maps downloaded or printed.
  • Renting a small car is a better option over big vans or SUVs. It is difficult to navigate the big vehicles on this very narrow, barely one lane wide but two-way traffic road.
  • Roads are narrow and winding with no guard rails, drive slowly and park only in parking lots.
  • It is better to start from the Lahaina/Kaanapali side as you will be on the inside of the road along the cliff, not along the edge. And this gives the advantage of looking farther ahead of oncoming traffic
  • Start early, avoid driving in the dark and rainy day as the roads may be slippery
  • There is a lot to capture, so keep your camera ready. Make sure that the camera is fully charged and also keep backup batteries and memory cards. Remember to stop every now and then to take in the views.
  • Bring food, plenty of water, changing clothes, sun protection and prepare yourself if you have motion sickness.
  • Makena Big beach
    • Pros: Perfect Orange Sand, parking and lifeguards
    • Cons: No showers, only port-a-potties
  • Popular Attractions 
    • Nakalele Blowhole Hike: The hike features a natural oceanic blowhole that shoots water up to 100 feet in the air. The 0.6 mile round trailhead is located between mile marker 38 and 39 on Highway Kahekili near Wailuku. Since there is no real trail, the hike down to the blowhole takes a little longer and climbing back is harder. The boulder backed dirt parking area has limited parking spots. Wear sturdy shoes as the trail is very rough and rocky with uncertain footing. The trailhead has no water or restrooms.
    • Ohai Loop Trail: 1.2 mile loop trail located between mile markers 40 and 41 on Highway 340 (Kahekili Highway) near Lahaina. It is a short and easy hike rolling through lush green hills and features the picturesque Kahakuloa Head and the northern shore. It is named after ʻOhai plant, one of the many species along the trail. The trailhead has no services and the parking area has room for about 5 to 6 cars. The trail is rough, so sturdy shoes are appropriate. 
    • Olivine Pools Trail: Offers dramatic deep tidepools sitting on the lava rocks at the ocean’s edge. The contrast of cerulean blue water pools and black rocks makes it more beautiful. This 0.4 mile short moderate trail down to the pools located near mile marker 16 on Kahekili Highway near Wailuku. The hike offers stunning views, but take extra caution as the rocks are sharp and can get slippery. Wear sturdy shoes.
    • Kahakuloa Bay Overlook: Offers picturesque Kahakuloa bay with the lovely Kahakuloa village, the stunning 636 feet high volcanic dome Kahakuloa Head towers over the deep blue ocean, lush green valleys, and the black sand Kahakuloa Beach. Lookout is near mile marker 16 and has countable parking spots.
    • Waihee Point Lookout: Roadside scenic pullover that offers a beautiful view of central Maui with endless rugged coastlines and sea cliffs.
    • Waihee Beach Park: It is a quiet and great little park with pleasant ocean views. The parking is at end of the Halewaiu Road. Picnic tables, outside showers, restrooms are available.

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Gallery

Biltmore Estate, North Carolina

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Biltmore Estate, A historic house museum and tourist attraction!

Location: Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, USA.

Date and Time: Around 11am on July 24, 2010.

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General

Finger Lakes, New York

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The Finger Lakes region in New York is an outdoor wonderland, spreading over 9,000 square miles of beautiful landscape with eleven sparkling long, narrow, roughly north to south Finger Lakes and gorgeous waterfalls. The Finger Lakes region of central New York is known for several remarkable state parks, including Letchworth, Watkins Glen, and Taughannock Falls. The region is an outdoor paradise full of recreational activities, excellent hiking trails, water sports, boating, fishing, and food/wine touring. Although anytime is a great time to visit the Fingerlakes region, the best time to visit the Finger Lakes is May through September (late spring through fall). Finger Lakes is a relaxing and joyful getaway for tri-state residents with amazing outdoor recreational activities. For more info check on the official website.

These photos are from Fall 2014 and Summer 2016.

Best Things To Do

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Gallery

New Vrindaban, Palace of Gold, West Virginia

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Kusum Sarovara Lake, Palace of Gold

Location: New Vrindaban, Kusum Sarovara Lake, Moundsville, West Virginia, USA.

Date and Time: Around 5pm on May 28, 2011.

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Hawaii

West Maui, Hawaii

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Maui, also known as “The Valley Isle”, is one of the islands of the Aloha state, Hawaii. Being the second largest Hawaiian Island, Maui showcases the island’s highest peak Haleakala National Park, the sacred Iao Valley and pools, waterfalls of the Ohe’o Gulch, and world famous beaches.  

While East Maui mesmerizes with breathtaking sceneries of lush green rainforests, cascading waterfalls, hidden pools, plunging cliffs, rugged coastlines, and remote Hawaian communities, West Maui is home to gorgeous beaches, historical sites, spectacular resorts, nice restaurants, ocean activities, and the towns of Lahaina and Ka’anapali. West Maui is truly an amazing travel destination.

These photos are from a day spent on the West side of Maui on 8th October, 2016. 

Quick Facts and Tips

  • Best time to visit
    • Weather and good deals: Apr to May, Sep to Oct. Dec to Mar is better, but could be expensive
  • Fly into
    • Kahului Airport is the main airport and has direct flights from the U.S. mainland
    • Kapalua Airport (west side) and Hana Airport (east side) are other smaller commuter airports
    • Honolulu International Airport, then take a short, 35-40 minute flight to Kahului or Kapalua Maui Airports
  • What to Expect
    • Beautiful Beaches, Waterfalls, Lush Green Gulches, Blowholes, Sea Cliffs, Natural Pools, Tropical Flowers, and Fruits
  • Clothing
    • Weather is warm, so pack lightweight casual t-shirts, shorts, sundresses, tank tops, capris, skirts, swimsuits, sunscreen, sturdy shoes, rain gears and a light jacket for the cool evenings.
  • Be sure to check Maui County Official website for traffic alerts and current road closure before heading out.
  • Important to follow the mile markers.
  • Roads are narrow and winding, drive slowly and park only in parking lots.
  • Bring food, plenty of water, changing clothes and prepare yourself if you have motion sickness.
  • Top Attractions and Best Things To Do
    • Iao Valley State Park: This is a historical state park located in Central Maui, just west of Wailuku. It is one of the most beautiful and easily accessible parks in Maui. This lush green deep valley park is home to an iconic landmark, the 1,200-foot Iao Needle. This sacred Iao Valley has great historical significance as it served as the lookout point during the Battle of Kepaniwai that King Kamehameha I led with the Maui army in 1790. The stunning landscapes of the park definitely remind you of the movie Jurassic Park. The 0.6 mile easy, paved, and well-marked path from the parking lot leads to a viewpoint that offers an astonishing view of green mantled Iao Needle, zigzagging Ioa stream, and the incredible deep valley. Check the weather forecast for flash flooding before you go as flash flooding is very common in the West Maui mountains region. More info here.
    • Take a beautiful drive on Honoapiilani Highway (Route 30) along the coastline. Stop at each lookout and enjoy the ocean breeze with breathtaking views. 
    • Lava Fields: It is a strange and interesting place located south of the town of Wailea, at the southern tip of the island of Maui. It is a 10 mins drive from Makena beach. Uneven Makena road opens up to a parking lot, from there you can hike the Lava Fields.There are some lavas on the sides of the road. The place offers the deep green mountains on one side, the blue ocean on the other side, and the scattered dark lava fields in the middle. The contrast is beautiful! Wear appropriate footwear and have sun protection.
    • Makena Big Beach (Oneloa Beach): It is a beautiful, long, wide, impressive orange sand beach. The beach is open to the public and has perfect orange sand, parking, lifeguards and picnic tables. No showers and only port-a-potties are available.
    • Kamaole Beach Park: Features a 1.5 mile long beautiful sandy beach with incredible views and provides great opportunities for snorkeling, swimming, picnicking, barbecue facilities, and playground. There are outdoor showers, bathrooms and public parking.
    • Ka’anapali Beach: It is a perfect, mile long, wide and sandy beach. This beach is home to many classy resorts.  This beach is open to the public too, but public lots are scattered between  Ka’anapali Parkway and the beach. Look for “Public access/Beach Access” signs near the shore that  direct you down to the beach. Free public beach access parking is available but it is hard to find spots. Outdoor showers are located all along the beach walk, but there are no public restrooms and lifeguards
    • Kahekili Beach: Open to the public and it is a nice, long and great place for snorkeling and swimming. The park has a large parking lot, restrooms and showers, covered picnic tables and pavilion, and lifeguards.
    • Honokahua Bay Beach: It is a nice sandy beach with ample shade; gets very windy in the summer, big waves are common in the winter; crowded during weekends with bodyboarders. The beach has lifeguards, bodyboarding, picnic tables, restrooms, showers, and parking. Makalua puna point is a short walk from the beach and you can also hike the Mahana Ridge Trail from the parking lot.

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Gallery

Snoqualmie Falls, Washington

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Snowqualmie Falls, one of Washington state’s most popular scenic attractions

Location: Snoqualmie Falls, located east of Seattle on the Snoqualmie River between Snoqualmie and Fall City, Washington, USA.

Date and Time: Around 2pm on April 5, 2010.

Categories
Canada

Québec, Canada

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Quebec is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is renowned for its diverse landscapes from historic cities to its isolated Arctic tundra. Quebec shares a border with U.S. states Vermont, New York, Maine, and New Hampshire to the south, Hudson Bay to the west, and almost reaches the Arctic Circle in the north. Quebec is Canada’s largest French speaking province in eastern Canada and looks like a piece of Europe. Quebec is known for its rich history, charming cobblestone streets, beautiful European architecture, and vintage fortifications. The provincial capital of Quebec is Quebec City and the province’s largest city is Montreal, the second largest city in Canada.

These photos are from our visit to Quebec City and Montreal on the third weekend of August 2010. We could have taken better pictures if our camera was not broken and it was not a gloomy day. But no regrets, we have wonderful memories of the French culture city!

Quick Facts and Tips

  • Make sure you have valid passports, visas and other documents
  • Fly Into
    • Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport, Quebec City
    • Mirabel International Airport, Montreal
    • Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (Dorval Airport), Montreal
  • Driving: 
    • Driving is always on the right side of the road.
    • Road signs are in French. Measurements are in kilometers and liters.
    • US Citizens: US driver’s license and insurance are valid.
    • Non-US Citizens: Advised to get an international driver’s license and purchase insurance to rent a car. 
  • Best Time to Visit: June to September and December to February
  • How many days: 2 to 3 days
  • Most places accept cash in US$, but in return the change will be in CAN$
  • What to Expect
    • Rich architecture from the XVII century, diverse landscapes from historic cities to isolated Arctic tundra, cobblestone streets, European architecture, and fortifications.
  • Accommodations and Parking in Quebec City: Old Quebec city is the best place to stay in Quebec City as it is close to main attractions and historic sites. There are plenty of good hotels available. This area can be easily explored on foot, so plan to park your vehicle at your hotel. Make sure to check with your hotel for free parking. There is a lot of underground parking in the old town with a day rate around $18 to $25 ($8 to $10 on weekends).  The underground parking below City Hall is the best option. The expensive street parkings have time limits and are hard to find.
  • Top Attractions and Best Things To Do in Quebec City
    • Quartier du Petit Champlain: Walk the narrow, vivid, cobblestone commercial streets in Quartier du Petit Champlain and immerse in the French heritage. It is a great pleasure to the tourists when they walk down the busy cobblestone street full of amazing gift shops, colorful boutiques, nice restaurants, and friendly people.
    • La Citadel de Québec (The Citadelle of Quebec): Walk around the remarkable military heritage site La Citadel de Québec, the biggest British fortress in North America. It is an active military installation base so guided tours are necessary. The site is also the secondary official residence of both the Canadian monarch and the governor general of Canada. The view of the old Quebec city and the Saint Lawrence Rivers from the top of the walls are amazing. Make sure you don’t miss the change of guards.
    • Fairmont Le Château Frontenac: Visit the most photographed, the world famous hotel, and an iconic building of the Quebec city, The Château Frontenac
    • Dufferin Terrace: Take a stroll along a long wooden sidewalk Dufferin Terrace for a magnificent view of the St. Lawrence River and the Château Frontenac.
    • Funiculaire du Vieux (The Old Quebec Funicular): Take a paid cable car ride in Old Quebec that connects the upper level Dufferin Terrace near the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac with Lower Town. The main entrance of the funicular is in Louis Jolliet House, located at 16 rue Petit-Champlain and the upper level entrance is on Dufferin Terrace near the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. Walk down the Old city and take a cable car ride back to the center of old Quebec to avoid climbing up the stairs and hills. Note that they only accept cash.
    • Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré: Make a trip to Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, located just northeast of Québec City almost 20 minutes drive from Quebec City.
    • Montmorency Falls Park: The park offers Stunning views of Montmorency Falls, cable car rides and zip lines over a high waterfall
      • Take a 2.7 mile Montmorency Falls loop hike along the narrow pedestrian suspension bridge. It crosses the Montmorency River to île d’Orléans. Enjoy the water rush over the edge right beneath your feet
      • Take a cable car ride to Montmorency Falls Park which takes you to the top of the falls and provides a stunning view of the surrounding landscape
  • Top Attractions and Best Things To Do in Montreal
    • Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal: Visit Canada’s largest Roman Catholic minor basilica, Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal. It is a National Historic Site of Canada and one of the world’s most visited pilgrimage sites. It is the largest sanctuary dedicated to Saint Joseph and one of the largest church domes in the world. Stunning articturetire, lovely garden, and beautiful views of Montréal from the top make this place so special. 
    • Old Montreal: Wander through the narrow, colorful, cobblestoned streets of old Montreal. Old Montrel represents the European roots of Montreal with historic structures, a handful of museums, supreme restaurants, long promenades of shopping, and more. 
    • Mount Royal Park: Make a trip to Mount Royal Park, Montreal’s best known green space in the city. Montreal is named after this small extinct volcano, Mont Royal, which was originally written as Monte Real. Parc Mont-Royal (in French) is spread over 470 acres and offers stunning panoramic skyline views over the Island of Montreal (Île de Montréal in French) and the St. Lawrence River. Along with the historic sites and scenic overlooks, the park also has a beautiful Beaver lake, picnic spots, and nice trails. Mount Royal Summit and lookouts are only accessible by a wide gravel trail Olmsted Path. Take the Olmsted Path trail from Mount Royal Parking lot and walk five minutes up the path to reach Mount Royal Chalet and  Kondiaronk Belvedere. Mount Royal Chalet is a charming old building located near the summit of Mount Royal and Kondiaronk Belvedere is a broad semicircular terrace that offers sweeping and beautiful views of Montreal and St Lawrence river. Continue walking up to reach the Summit that offers the remarkable views of the golden hours. Don’t forget to pack snacks/food and water.
    • Notre-Dame Basilica: Visit Notre-Dame Basilica in the historic district of Old Montrel. The church is one of the most visited tourist attractions and is the city’s regal looking oldest church with awesome architecture.
    • Parc Jean Drapeau (Jean-Drapeau Park): Visit Parc Jean Drapeau for fun-filled activities, events, exhibitions, and cultural and sports programs. A perfect place to spend a day with family and friends for all ages. Beautiful views of the Skyline, the bioderm and the river flowing around. 
    • Montreal Botanical Gardens: Enjoy the 75 hectares beautiful and lovely Montreal Botanical Gardens adjacent to the Olympic stadium.  This seasonal garden offers a Chinese Garden, a Japanese Garden, and a First Nations Garden, each of which celebrates the traditions of their respective culture.