Travel Writing

 
 

“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck

 

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Your Readers Want a Journey

Travel WritingAny traveler knows it’s about the journey, not the destination. What do your readers need to feel or experience to act? Whether you need your audience to book a hotel room, find the motivation to travel, or just click through to the next page, you have to take them on that journey.

I’m a Traveler, and So Are Your Readers

It’s the age of the digital nomad, and that’s exactly what I am. I take my work with me on the road and that makes me an excellent travel writer. Why? Because I’ve seen some stuff. I’ve meditated on the beaches of Tahiti, discovered Denali Mountain on horseback on a rare, cloudless day, and hosted international travelers right in my own home. I’ve flown, cruised, road-tripped, hiked, biked, and motor-cycled around the globe and I can’t wait for more.

Can I write for your demographic? Chances are, I am your demographic. Forbes Magazine predicts a growing number of digitally-based entrepreneurs, and oDesk estimates that 64% of entrepreneurs work while traveling. And it’s not just millennials. Even older generations and retirees are getting into travel.

You need a voice that speaks the international language of the traveler. You need someone who’s been around. You need a nomadic travel writer.

Travel Writing that Radiates

How will you reach your readers? With copy that inspires, ignites, and radiates. When your copy radiates out into the world, your readers are sure to follow. Check out the samples below of some pieces that I’ve created. And when you’re ready for travel writing that radiates, let me know.

I’m Ready to Radiate

Travel Writing Samples

Nirvana Sanctuary Brochure Copy

Exotic Real Estate Brochure
A Paradise of Eternal Beauty
Welcome to Nirvana Sanctuary, where beauty and natural splendor abound. Supreme Auctions is offering you your choice of not one, but four exquisite eco-luxury homes. Each is a unique and stunning property in its own right, and all are located in one of the most tranquil resort communities in Latin America on the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. Sleek, modern designs, ultimate comfort, contemporary living, all with a low ecological footprint, makes these homes the perfect getaway for anyone who wants to be “off the radar” and one with nature. Join some of the world’s most eco-conscious people in creating your own slice of paradise. When you purchase one (or all) of these incredible properties, you’ll have the freedom to choose to live here, vacation here, and have a beautiful investment property that will pay for itself over and over.

Make Sustainable Resort Living in Guanacaste, Costa Rica Yours Today!

The carefree resort lifestyle that can only be experienced once you step into one of these breathtaking villas caters to discerning buyers who want all the modern conveniences, comfort, and peace of having expert property managers attend to each and every detail. Whether you choose to live year round, vacation here, or allow others to enjoy the lifestyle of Costa Rica through the beauty of your luxury villa, rest assured that residential services will care for your property all year round. Available services include housekeeping; gardening; chef services; maintenance; watersports, including surfing and diving; childcare; eco-tours; and vacation rental services, to name just a few.

The Nirvana Sanctuary properties were designed and built to be an everlasting compliment to San Juanillo, Nosara and the natural beauty of their tropical surroundings. A refined, clean, contemporary style, combined with green roofs and architecture that benefits from features of the natural geography, makes these homes an elegant addition to the breathtaking landscape around them. Amenities like infinity edge pools, large and abundant windows, and telescoping sliding doors provide an almost seamless indoor-outdoor lifestyle. Enjoy gentle breezes throughout the open floorplans, breathtaking views from every vantage point inside and out, plus an incredible array of luxurious finishes and features. What better way to experience the majestic nature of Costa Rica and the tropical rain forest than to experience it in the comfort of your own home away from home?

Owners of these spectacular villas can rest assured in knowing they are making a lasting, eco-friendly investment. All of the homes in the community were built without harming the environment. Plus, each home has energy efficient appliances and installments to minimize its footprint on the environment. The homes are stocked with eco-friendly, cruelty-free products, and the resort community has instated a recycling program.

Eco-Luxury Masterpieces In The Heart of the Tropical Rain Forest

The incredible homes of Nirvana Sanctuary are masterpieces of eco-luxury living and have been built with both quality and efficiency in mind. Sleek, contemporary lines and modern furnishings bring a feeling of simplicity to these comfortable, refined villas. Luxurious en-suite and master suite bedrooms make these vacation homes some of the most comfortable in the world. You will never want to leave. With steel construction, they’ve been built to last forever, and refined details like imported European cabinetry make them simply gorgeous.

Expansive walls of windows, accordion-style glass doors, and European telescoping pocketing aluminum sliding doors are all that stand between you and the outdoors. Soaring ten-foot ceilings and open floor plans provide a feeling of spaciousness and abundance. Stunning yet practical, chef kitchens with top-of-the-line appliances, breakfast bars, and recessed lighting make meal preparation effortless. Each kitchen flows seamlessly into the home’s dining and living areas, and outside onto the covered patio. Well-appointed pool areas provide peace and tranquility to take a dip or just relax and soak up the pristine views of the ocean that leave you feeling one with nature among your surroundings.

Nature is never far away as the unique architecture creates a delightful use of living space with captivating ocean views and abundant light at every turn. Wake up to the sights and sounds of the howler monkeys, sloths, parrots and parakeets as they pass overhead or rest nearby in a mango tree. The native hardwoods and recessed lighting bring serenity into each home. Cool tile cement flooring, ceiling fans, and a green roof keep each home cool while maintaining energy efficiency. The Carlyle-designed green landscaped roof systems insulate the homes, in addition to giving them a beautiful way to blend in with nature.

Each home brings its own unique enchantment to paradise. Rio, with its spaciousness and incredible comfort, boasts 770 square meters (8271 square feet) throughout three levels and four bedrooms. Mariposa’s four bedrooms, family room, and media room sprawl over 603 square meters (6495 square feet) with peace and serenity. Luna’s three bedrooms and inventive architecture will delight you in every nook and turn of its 451 square meters (4855 square feet) of space. Tierra, the mother of all eco-luxury homes, encompasses 502 square meters (5403 square feet), three bedrooms, and two wings of elegance and beauty.

Come and Experience the Unique Paradise of Costa Rica

The architecture of each home is unique, and just like the magic of Costa Rica, these homes must be experienced in person to be truly understood. Contemporary, energetic lines combine seamlessly with functionality in features like glass hallways and walkways; open-air, floating staircases; and luxurious walk-in showers. Nooks that tuck around staircases make for beautiful moments of solitude, while comfortable living areas make for quality family or social time.

It is astounding to see how the villas blend themselves into the natural hills and landscape. Minimal forest clearing was required to build these homes, almost as though the villas themselves desire to be one with nature. Each home was designed to marry luxury with the highest ecological principles, like energy efficiency and architecture that complements the stunning beauty of the tropical rainforest without overpowering it – a unique experience in any part of the world. The Villas are surrounded by Malinche, Balsa, Cocobolo and numerous other native trees; you’ll also have banana, mango, and papaya trees right at your fingertips. What more could you ask for than fresh fruit picked right from your own garden, perfect for a morning smoothie?

The Everlasting Beauty of Costa Rica

Costa Rica is known for the friendliness of its people, so it is no surprise that it is one of the most visited destinations in the world as well. Travelers here find themselves immersed in a natural and cultural paradise that they never want to leave. Flights out of the country are full of international passengers looking backward with longing and formulating plans for their return. And why not? There’s a magic in the rainforests here, a majesty in these mountains, and a certain knack for sweeping people up in the natural beauty of the country’s flora, fauna, and beaches.

The people of Costa Rica are just one of the many reasons visitors love this country so much. “Ticos” as the Costa Ricans call themselves, are very open and friendly people who value ecology, education, healthcare and happiness. They live the pure life, or pura vida, which is akin to the Swahili saying hakuna matata, and entails easygoing rhythms and a laidback attitude. The country is both peaceful and democratic, and hasn’t had a standing army since 1949.

What makes Costa Rica particularly special, however, is the government’s success in balancing their people’s needs with the needs of the Earth. Costa Rica ranks third on the global Environmental Performance Index, and first on the Happy Planet Index; both are measures of how much well-being a country provides for its citizens while leaving the smallest possible ecological footprint.

In fact, although the country covers a mere 0.03 percent of the Earth’s surface, it is home to five percent of the biodiversity in the world. Not surprisingly, one of the best reasons for buying a home in Costa Rica is the incredible opportunities for eco-tourism.

A mere 5,180,000 hectares (20 thousand square miles) in size, Costa Rica stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea between Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. Despite its small size, the landscape varies from lush rainforests, majestic mountains and volcanoes, twisting rivers, and white sandy beaches – especially in the Guanacaste Province.

This is a Rare Opportunity to Capture Your Slice of Paradise

Guanacaste is the north-western most province in Costa Rica and is known as the “dry region” of the country. Humidity and rain levels are relatively lower than in other places in the country, providing a pleasant climate while still cultivating the lush tropical rainforests for which Costa Rica is famous.

The Province of Guanacaste also boasts an incredible 644 kilometers (400 miles) of coastline dotted with award-winning beaches. Closest to the villas are, San Juanillo and Ostional. Tamarindo Beach was ranked fourth on Trip Advisor’s Traveler’s Choice list of Top 10 Beaches in all of Central America. Avellanes Beach and Guiones Beach come in at fifth and eighth, respectively. All of these beaches are located near Nosara and Nirvana Sanctuary.

Limitless Activities – A World Playground Awaits You!

According to Travel and Leisure Magazine, the area is also home to some of the best surfing in Costa Rica, namely Playas Guiones and Tamarindo, both within a short drive of the properties. Simply Surf, an all-inclusive surf retreat in Nosara, is internationally known by all who love to ride the waves. Playa Marbella offers huge, professional-class waves that are perfect for experienced surfers. Other beaches in the area are notable as well.

Playa Ostional is home to the nesting grounds of Olive Ridley sea turtles, a rarely-seen biological phenomenon. It is here during the rainy season, normally a week before a new moon, that sea turtles arrive in unprecedented numbers. In fact, hundreds of thousands come to a specific area of the beach at Ostional to dig and lay their eggs in the black, volcanic sand. From July to November you can watch them at the Ostional Wildlife Refuge, which was created in 1984 to protect one of the world’s most important nesting sites of the Olive Ridley sea turtle.

The nearby town of Nosara has a casual feel while providing modern conveniences and opportunities to live an active yet serene lifestyle. Nearby instructors teach everything from yoga, boxing, and pilates, to zip lining, surfing, and standup paddling. In fact, the world-class Nosara Yoga Institute provides comprehensive, multi-dimensional yoga training and practice opportunities that draw yogis from around the world.

Numerous activities abound in Guanacaste and beyond. Mount a horse and take a trail ride, charter a sport fishing trip, book an ATV or 4WD adventure along rivers and streams leading out to the ocean. Scuba Dive with some of the top Master Divers, or zipline through the rainforest canopy; the choice is yours!

Tourism to this area has put housing and vacation rentals in high demand, making Nirvana Sanctuary a wise investment, whether you decide to live in, vacation at, or rent out your Costa Rican eco-luxury villa.

Make one of these Eco-Luxury Villa Yours Today!

Call Supreme Auctions at 866-929-2243 for more information or visit Supreme-Auctions.com

Book Mapping copy

Literature Mapping Blog

Have you ever walked down a street in your home town and wondered if anything great ever happened right where you were standing? Have you ever visited a new place and wanted to read what someone else thought of the place? Have you ever considered starting a book club that selects books by where they took place, but couldn’t find a comprehensive list of books by location?

Book Mapping to the Rescue!

Book mapping is exactly what it sounds like: taking a map and noting where scenes from novels have taken place or where an author was when she wrote a certain book. And if you’re half as nerdy as I am, you’re going to get really excited about it! Like me, you may also ask yourself why you didn’t think of it yourself. With really great mapping software like Google Maps and Google Earth, book mapping really is a no-brainer for book nerds like ourselves. Boy, am I glad for all the wonderful brains out there on the web!

Several websites now offer the opportunity to find the exact location of scenes in your favorite books. My favorite site for book mapping is placingliterature.com. With Placing Literature, I can zoom in and out on a Google-powered map, from street level to Earth level. Book icons are scattered across the terrain, and clicking on any of them brings up the book title, description of the scene that took place there, characters involved, symbols, and any extra notes fellow book nerds have offered up. My favorite part of this site is how interactive it is. If you log in, you can check in to the locations on the map! It’s like Goodreads meets Google Maps, meets Foursquare. Book nerds, welcome to the 21st century!

If you go to the site to check it out (which I highly recommend!) you may notice two things: 1) most of the books on the map gravitate toward the United States and Western Europe, and 2) there aren’t nearly enough book icons on the map to represent how many great books are out there. This is understandable, as the site is relatively new. But think about how cool this will be in a year or two, when you can visit any city or town, jump on this site, and check out all the literature this place has inspired! But don’t wait until then! Placing Literature depends on book nerds like us to populate their maps. Sign up for an account today and start mapping!

Now, there are some naysayers in the book nerd community about the book mapping concept. An argument could be made that this concept is only useful for modern literature. I disagree. While modern Dublin may be unrecognizable when compared with the setting of James Joyce’s books (Dubliners, Ulysses), for example, I’m still fascinated by the idea of what it used to look like, or what it could look like through a familiar character’s eyes. And isn’t that very similar to the reasons we study history? If book mapping is useless, then by the same logic, so is studying history, or–really–applying anything you’ve read to real life at all. And if that’s true, why read at all?

Sharing the Journey: How AirBnB Is Changing Travel in Louisiana

Published Experiential Travel Article

I wrapped my fingers around my steaming cup of coffee and breathed in the earthy comfort. Around my kitchen table in Lafayette sat a Swedish journalist in town to write about Zydecco, a New Orleanian lawyer, a young Parisian expat, two members of a bluegrass band out of Louisiville, Kentucky, and a mature couple from Austin, Texas who couldn’t wait to dance their way around Festivals Acadiens all day. As guests yawned their way into my kitchen to pour their own cups, the conversation ranged from politics, social issues, and oil, to rap music, cold-brewed coffee, and the rise of the selfie stick.

I thought to myself, if not for AirBnB, where and when would I ever have a conversation like this one?

If you’ve never heard of AirBnB, it’s a website that allows travelers like yourself to rent vacation space from regular people and stay right in hosts’ homes. If you have heard of AirBnB but haven’t used it, take a cue from the 17 million users who traveled just last summer.

In the summer of 2010, there were a mere 47,000 users. As of September of 2015, there were 50 million. (AirBnB 1) That’s a big change for a company that started when two college students in San Francisco (Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky) rented out a few air mattresses to conference-goers in 2007 (The Telegraph).

Sure, you can still find an air mattress to rent – or a couch, bunk, houseboat, or mansion, if that’s what you want. But you can also rent a room from locals who run community events; artists who sculpted their homes up out of the bayou; and transplants who were drawn to the magic of Louisiana themselves.

Live like a Local

What are your favorite Louisiana haunts? Imagine seeing Lafayette again from the eyes of a school teacher, or attending the Madisonville Wooden Boat Show with a woman from just up the Bayou. You may have visited some of South Louisiana’s best sights, but chances are you didn’t know about all the hidden nooks and treasures that locals do. AirBnB offers the chance to do just that.

According to AirBnB, 91 percent of travelers want to “live like a local,” (AirBnB 2) data that confirms my own experiences. As a traveler myself, it’s always people I meet that make a trip truly unique. As for my AirBnB guests, moments spent in conversation over a morning brew show up in rave reviews just as often as recommendations for the best local attractions do. It’s not that travelers can’t have these experiences while staying in a hotel, it’s just easier with the personal attention they get while from a local host.

Booking with AirBnB is easy, too. The first steps are opening an account and creating a profile. Then you can access thousands of listings from hosts right here in Louisiana. Each listing has photos, amenities, an approximate location, and pricing.

Hosts describe their home, things to do, and what to expect upon arrival. Travelers can send them questions and read reviews from previous guests.

Once you choose a listing, request a reservation. If the host approves it, AirBnB holds your money in a sort of “escrow” until your stay begins to ensure that the host provides what has been promised. Easy as boudin pie.

The Journey Begins

The growing popularity of AirBnB and its ease of booking offer travelers in Louisiana new ways to experience their own backyard. The peer pressure of reviews helps keep people safe in strange places.

Furthermore, travelers can give back to local communities in new ways by helping Louisiana thrive in a shared economy. In an AirBnB conducted survey of hosts, 53 percent said hosting helped them stay in their homes during times of financial difficulty (AirBnB 2). I know of a few hosts who do well enough to take a few annual trips themselves, in turn giving back to other communities.

I like to think of it as an economy of shared journeys. And with other shared economy platforms like Uber (driving services), Neighbor Goods (household items) and Lending Club (personal financing), it looks like we’ll be sharing a lot more than just a bit of extra space.

Where to Stay

Traveling Is an Art near Baton Rouge

The Palmetto House offers a luxurious getaway that has literally been sculpted over a swamp outside Baton Rouge. This gorgeous, detailed home features artisan furniture and sculpture, designed and handmade by the owners. In fact, the home is so beautiful and unique it’s been featured on The Discovery Channel’s Ultimate Homes.

The Palmetto House started out as just a bridge and eventually grew into the one-bedroom, treehouse-like haven for artists and nature-lovers that it is today. Your hosts are Sarah and Rigsby Frederick, Louisiana natives who love sharing their swampy slice of heaven.

“I’ve been really amazed at how many people across the world are intrigued by the Deep South, by Louisiana,” says Sarah. “It truly has a mystical, kind of magical persona, and I really enjoy being able to look at it through other people’s eyes.”

A Community Invitation to Opelousas

Originally from San Francisco, Jim and Christy Phillips fell in love with Acadian music, dance, and performance over decades of travel. Today, they are active members of the arts community in Lafayette as founders of the Steampunk and Makers Fair, owners of the Whirlybird Honkytonk Dance Hall, and teachers at Cité des Arts.

“The activities that we have relate to the kind of community that we want to live in,” says Jim, who also runs an active organic farm on Stonewood, their circa 1899 plantation. “We see AirBnB as part of our sustainable life.”

The Phillips offer several listings at their Opelousas property – including rooms in the beautifully-designed “Whirlybird Barn” and a ’66 Fireball Camper with its own wicker gazeebo. In Stonewood, The Red Room features antiques from the Far East and the Frida Kahlo Room has décor from Central American folk art.

On the Bayou in Madisonville

Melissa Shaw’s family-friendly Bayou Camp sits on the Bayou De Zaire and has room for four guests to fish off the deck, experience the Madisonville Wooden Boat Show, bird from the upper balcony, or just sit on the porch in rocking chairs that overlook the bayou. From the red vintage refrigerator and pedestal bathroom sink to a throw pillow that proudly proclaims, “Hey Y’all,” Bayou Camp has a comfortable, nostalgic feel.

Melissa herself is a Superhost, a rare designation that requires impeccable reviews, among other criteria. She says earning the distinction “was like being a movie star who just got her name on Hollywood Boulevard.” Her AirBnB profile proudly displays a colorful medal like a trophy.

“I worked from nothing and got to that in a little over a year, and all it was, was making people happy,” she says.

Private Retreat Near Arnaudville

A private room and ten bayou-front acres await Arnaudville travelers. Bill Matthews’ home features reclaimed cypress lumber, recycled doors, and art pieces made from Katrina debris. Enjoy contemporary style within a traditional Acadian home, as well as live oaks and bamboo from the second-floor deck.

Known as the Bayou Bourbeau Bungalow, this unique home was featured in Acadiana Living Magazine and is just 18 miles from Downtown Lafayette – the perfect distance between the heart of the city and peaceful wilderness, says Bill.

“I don’t host for the money,” says Bill. “I do it because I have a great house, and I like to share that.”

Bill has two AirBnB listings for his home, with the option to rent the whole five bedroom, four bath home when available. He’s also one heck of a cook and knows his way around a wood-fire pizza oven and paella pan.

Top 25 Houses of Worship in DFW

Research Travel Article

The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is a unique area when it comes to religion. According to Sperling’s Best Places, it’s one of the most religiously active areas in the nation; they estimate that more than 55% of the population considers itself religious, compared to under 49% nationwide. Like most states, the majority of religious Texans have some form or Christian faith, although denominational breakdown is different. In the nation, about 19% of people are Catholic. Although one might expect this number to be higher in a state bordering predominantly Catholic Mexico, DFW has considerably fewer Catholics, at only 13%.

Instead, DFW has more than twice the national average of Baptists. The Metroplex is also home to considerably more Methodists and nondenominational Christians. What does that mean for the landscape of worship? It all adds up to rich fodder for mega church culture. Northern Texas is known as the “Buckle of the Bible Belt,” meaning that not only is it home to many Christians, but that worshipers the area also have a very “Texan” way of being Christian. At one time or another, Dallas has been home to the nation’s largest Episcopal, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, and Southern Baptist congregations. Religion, like almost everything else in Texas, is bigger and glitzier than in just about any other part of the country.

Dallas is home to what many consider to be the first modern mega church, The First Baptist Church of Dallas. While certainly not the largest church in Dallas today, First Baptist was the model for all mega churches that followed, particularly other Baptist mega churches. A mega church has anywhere from several thousands of members to 10-, 20-, or upwards of 30,000 members and one or many monolith-sized facilities, on campuses that can seem like cities of their own. The largest churches often feature stadium seating, concert-quality sound and lighting, and televise their worship for those who cannot attend or simply don’t fit in the same room. Dallas has an unusually large number of mega churches.

It’s against this backdrop of mega church culture in Dallas, that the annual Mega Fest is set. Mega Fest is a revival led by celebrity evangelist Bishop T. D. Jakes. Not surprisingly, Bishop Jakes is also the founder of one of the largest mega churches in the nation — and the largest in DFW — The Potter’s House. Christians from every denomination and from all over the country flock to Dallas every year to take part in the largest revival in the nation.

While the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is known for its leadership in the mega church phenomenon, there are other religions that also make true the saying “everything’s bigger in Texas.” Eastern populations have been booming in Texas, and with them come eastern religions, such as Buddhism and Hinduism. DFW is also home to more than three times the national average of Muslims and the largest Jewish Synagogue in the South/Southwestern United States. There are also some fantastic and influential churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques with fewer than one thousand members.

While the landscape of worship in DFW offers a plethora of ways to develop one’s spirituality, it can be a difficult landscape to navigate — especially for those who are new to the area. The following is a list of the Top 25 Houses of Worship in the DFW area. While they are ranked by congregation size, church planting, impact on the community, innovation, and history, were also considered when choosing them for the list.

  1. The Potter’s House

Nondenominational Christian

Congregation: 30,000

6777 W Kiest Blvd

Dallas, TX 75236
214-331-0954

www.thepottershouse.org

The Potter’s House was founded in 1996 by Bishop T. D. Jakes with just 50 families in its congregation. It has since grown into one of the nation’s largest mega churches, featuring more than 59 ministries, including GED/literacy programs, homeless outreach, AIDS outreach, and a fast-growing prison ministry.

  1. Our Lady of Guadalupe Cathedral

Catholic

Congregation: 25,000

2215 Ross Ave.

Dallas, TX 75201

www.cathedralguadalupe.org

Our Lady’s Cathedral is home to the oldest Catholic parish in Dallas, which began as the Sacred Heart Church in 1869. It was also home to the first Dallas diocesan cathedral, which was renamed Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1914 to include a neighboring parish serving Mexican immigrants. The Cathedral is located at the center of the Dallas Arts District.

Central Christian Church is one of the oldest in Dallas; they celebrated their 150th anniversary in 2013. The church serves the community in many ways, such as converting part of their lot into a community dog park and another part into an organic community garden. Thanks to this garden, they are the largest donors of produce to Dallas North Shared Ministries.

This is an abridged sample.

Travel Booking Website Copy

Travel Booking Website Copy

Located between Manila Bay and Laguna de Bay, Paranaque is in the Fourth District of Metro Manila. Long a trade centre for China, Japan, Indonesia, India and Malaysia, it’s no surprise that today it’s the fashion capital of Manilla.

There are three legends about how Paranaque got its name. One says it was named for its location at the mouth of a river (palanyag). Another legend says it’s named after the fishermen (paglalayag) who made their living along its coast. And of course, there’s the one where local villagers laughed at the sound of the Spanish words para aqui (stop here), so the name stuck. Lucky for you, you won’t be tested on which is accurate on your holiday in Paranaque!

Things to Do In Paranaque

As part of the greater Manila Metro area, holidays to Paranaque are the perfect opportunity to explore off the beaten track. Check out downtown Manila for historic churches, Quezon Memorial Circle and numerous art galleries. Or jump in your Paranaque car hire and drive around Laguna de Bay, down to Batangas or up to the active volcano of Mount Banahaw.

Pull out your binoculars to see birds arriving from as far as Siberia at the Bird Sanctuary from August to March. If you are a boxing fan, head to the Gabriel “Flash” Elorde museum. More of an art lover than a fighter? See a show at the intimate Theatre at Solaire. Paranaque also has its own beautiful churches, so visit the Baclaran Church and Cathedral Parish of St. Andrew on your Paranaque holiday.

And how about those Paranaque events, eh? From the courtship ritual of Sunduan to the Caracol boat festival to the Sambalilo Hat Festival (a celebration of cityhood) Paranaque has it all.

Paranaque: Shopping, Dining, and Nightlife

As the fashion capital of Manila, guess what you can find a lot of in Paranaque? Shopping! From intriguing community malls and duty-free centres to some of the largest malls in the metro area, Paranaque has it all. Visiting a supermall’s hundred plus stores is an all-day adventure. For a completely unique experience (and a shot at haggling your way to great bargains) check out the Baclaran open air market.

When you’re hungry, visit one of the small fishing villages for great seafood. The most famous is DAMPA. No matter what you’re in the mood for, the city has it all. Enjoy sushi, comfort food, Italian, deli sandwiches, tapas and even specialty cupcakes in this international, metropolitan city. And feel free to splurge. When you book our cheap Paranaque holidays, you can afford it!

After the sun sets, it’s just the beginning! In addition to the huge variety of restaurants Paranaque has to offer, there are also top-notch bars, pubs and clubs. Head to Aguirre Avenue in the BF Homes area for your choice of ambiance. Dance the night away to techno, chat up some locals at a corner bar—kanto inuman tambay to natives—or enjoy some hookah. It’s all here in Paranaque!

What’s Next?

Ready to check out our Paranaque package deals? Great! We’ve saved a few just for you. While you’re at it, why not book holiday packages in Manila so you can experience this thriving metropolis to its fullest? We have all the tools to help you book an awesome trip—all in one place. Send us a postcard from Paranaque!

12 Equestrian Places in the US

Travel Listicle

While Americans have always had a close relationship with our gentle giants, the United States hasn’t always been internationally known for its equestrian culture. After all, the rest of the world had a head start. Once the nation had time to settle down and breed, however, breeders began producing some of the best thoroughbred champions in the world. Whether travelers want to feel the adrenaline of betting on a live race, learn about the history of horse racing, or mount up and go for a ride themselves, they’ll want to check out these 12 equestrian places in the U. S.

12 – Rancho Santa Fe, CA

In an area just outside of San Diego, America’s Air Conditioned City, Rancho Santa Fe provides an incredible 9 or more months of comfortable riding. Daytime temperatures rarely drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and stay in the high 80s or low 90s in the summer, when evenings are still cool. Rancho Santa Fe is the perfect place for a sandy beach ride among other enthusiastic horsemen and women, just a few miles from the bustle of San Diego.

11 – Woodstock, VT

Not to be confused with the site of one of the nation’s grooviest music festivals in Woodstock, NY, Woodstock, VT is a center for equestrian activity. For a beautiful ride among charming settings, horsemen and women can’t go wrong in “The Prettiest Town in America.” Plus, a flurry of horsing events for jumping, driving, and endurance riding provide a platform for showcasing excellence, including Ride for the Cure, the Fall Dressage Show, and a winter sleigh rally.

10 – Nashville, TN

While Nashville, Tennessee is more known for its music culture – it is, after all, nicknamed “Music City, USA”—there’s plenty of horse culture here as well. In fact, its equestrian culture includes being the place where United States first asserted itself as a contender for championship horse racing. Here, for the first time, an American born-and-bred horse (an Iroquois) won the English Derby. The breeder was Belle Meade, whose plantation and stables are open for tours today. The city also hosts the annual Iroquois Steeplechase race and attracts more than 25,000 attendees each year.

9 – North Salem, NY

North Salem has a long history of equestrian history, full of farming and the preservation of a”country” way of life. The perfect distance from New York City, North Salem is close enough to be a quick weekend escape from the city, and far enough to provide a peaceful and charming ride. The area has an incredible 100 miles of protected trails, which is good because 9 months of comfortable riding gives horsemen and women plenty of time to explore them with their favorite gentle giant. North Salem also offers world-class equestrian facilities, a high density of horse farms, and equestrian hunts.

8 – Middleburg, VA

The small town of Middleburg, Virginia has only 700 residents, but some of them have some pretty big names. The likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Onassis, and the DuPonts have all enjoyed horsing in Middleburg over the years. Anyone who has ridden along the English countryside will recognize that country’s twin in the lush fields and stonewalls that wind around Middleburg. Plus, the town hosts the oldest horse show in America – the Upperville Colt and Horse Show. The show was first held in 1853, and was one of the first horse shows in the United States. If shows aren’t your style, however, then enjoy the mild temperatures in Middleburg, which provide an incredible 9 months of comfortable riding.

7 – Ocala, FL

There are only 5 cities in the globe – and only 2 within the U.S.—permitted to use the term “horse capitol of the world,” to describe themselves, and Ocala, Florida is one of them. What makes Ocala so special? To start with, the area has over 1,200 horse farms and counting. It’s also a great place to enjoy comfortable riding, especially in winter months, when the average daytime temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit. While nearby Wellington has incredible equestrian events, Ocala has a thriving riding culture that can be experienced in a more casual way.

6 – Aspen, CO

For Rocky, mountainous riding, there’s no place quite like Aspen. As a second home for many international jetsetters, the town is a great place to enjoy spectacular scenery from horseback year round. Temperatures in the winter reach down below freezing, but summer days are often a perfect 77 degrees Fahrenheit. All-in-all, riders have 8 comfortable months to enjoy riding, while skiing, snowmobiling, and hiking can entertain them when it’s just a bit too cold to take a horse out. Located between the Colorado cities of Denver and Grand Junction, Aspen itself only has around 6,600 residents, but equestrian enthusiasts who want to buy a horse farm here better start saving. The average ranch price is around $18.9 million!

5 – Southern Pines, NC

For riders looking for a great experience year-round, Southern Pines, North Carolina might be just the place. With a minimum of 9 months of comfortable riding (and often 12 months), there’s great riding to be had no matter what time of year. Plus, the terrain is about as ideal as it could be for sandy footing and a smooth ride. The area has been given the name Horse Country for many reasons, a few of them being Carolina Horse Park, with is steeplechase harness track, and the Sandhills Preserve, which boasts 900 acres and numerous trails.

4 – Woodside, CA

How long does it take to develop a thriving equestrian culture? Well, the affluent San Francisco community of Woodside, California has been working on it since the 1800’s. Horseback riding can be quite an expensive recreational activity, and Woodside happens to be one of the wealthiest small towns in the nation. The community has worked hard to preserve equine-friendly policies, and horse farms and equestrian facilities are connected to each other by an elaborate riding trail system that weaves throughout the area. Plus, the bay area’s mild climate allows for comfortable riding during all 12 months of the year.

3 – Wellington, FL

Coming in at number 3 on the list is Wellington, Florida. This city is world famous for its equestrian and polo events, such as the U.S. Open, the Gold Cup, and the Whitney Cup. It also hosts both the National Horse Show and the Winter Equestrian Festival which draws more than 250,000 equestrian enthusiasts to the city each year. Visitors who are horsemen and women themselves love the climate which provides more than 7 months of comfortable riding, especially in winter – no surprise since Wellington is the southern-most city on our list.

2 – Lexington, KY

While several cities in the nation claim to be “The Horse Capitol of the World,” Lexington comes closest to earning that title. Just 80 miles from Louisville and the lure of a championship win, Lexington is home to some of the best breeders in the world. Many swear the heart of the Bluegrass Region is the perfect environment for raising and training the world’s best horses. Lexington is also the best place to learn about horsing from a “behind-the-scenes” perspective with the Kentucky Horse Park museum and tours of actual running horse breeding farms – many of which have produced champion thoroughbreds.

1 – Louisville, KY

The number one place for equestrian culture in the United States is Louisville, Kentucky. It’s home to the world-famous Kentucky Derby which the Queen of England has attended. The Derby takes place at the Churchill Downs track and is the first event in the Triple Crown (the other two are the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes). The track’s famous town spire grandstand has also hosted the Breeder’s Cup 8 times. After watching a race and enjoying one of the track’s signature mint juleps (served since 1875), horse enthusiasts can learn more equestrian history by visiting the Kentucky Derby Museum. For visitors who can’t make it to Louisville during derby season, Churchill Downs also features simulcast racing, where you can watch and bet on live races around the globe.

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At a Glance

Old California Restaurant Row is the largest dining and entertainment area in North San Diego County. It is home to 15 restaurants, a handful of small boutique shops, a cinema, and weekly events. The area wasn’t always one of North County’s star attractions, however. In fact, it began as a tiny fruit and vegetable stand, started by a couple who fell in love with the beautiful valley they decided to call home.

In 1972, Jim and Vera Eubank visited the then quaint and rural North County, known for its fruit groves and chicken ranches. They fell in love with the area and sold their home to move there and began selling fruit and vegetables out of the back of their truck. They soon discovered a plot of land on what would become San Marcos Blvd., bought it, and built their first building: a farmer’s market.

Soon, the Eubanks began to understand the potential of sharing the beauty of their little valley with other San Diegans, so they opened an outdoor food court where people could come to enjoy the warm San Diego sunshine and meals made with fresh produce from the valley. It was a hit. They expanded their little paradise by building their first full-service restaurant in 1978, Gentlemen’s Choice. They then added a seafood house and a pizzeria, and eventually built a total of 15 restaurants over the next 25 years. Today, the little strip of land along San Marcos Blvd. is one of the best places in North County to grab a bite, do a little shopping, and catch a flick.

Restaurants

Over the years, there have been a lot of changes in the restaurant line-up of Old California Restaurant Row, but one thing has stayed the same: the sheer variety of eateries available to visitors. No two restaurants are alike, and each has its own flavor to add into the mix. You can start your day by grabbing some pancakes at the International House of Pancakes or a breakfast scramble at the Old California Coffee House and Eatery. Breakfast is served all day at both places, so head on over whenever you roll out of bed.

For lunch, head on over to Acapulco Restaurant and Cantina for a margarita and fresh guacamole, prepared tableside exactly how you want it. If you’re looking for something with more of an eastern flair, check out the China Wokery for a Treasures of the Sea entre or get to know The King and I Thai Restaurant with some Spicy Noodles or Pad Him Ma Parn, a choose-your-own-meat stir-fry dish. If a good brew and some football are more your style, head over to the 55 Yardline for a Blackened Tuna Bites appetizer; alternately, try the San Marcos Brewery & Grill for some Rattlesnake Shrimp or a Brewhouse Top Sirloin.

Don’t fill up too much at lunch, though, because dinner is just a few hours and a few steps away. Step on over to the India Princess for a vegetable samosa or some tandoori barbecue. Swim through a “tide of seafood delight” at the Fish House Vera Cruz, and try their Cajun Style Seared Ahi. Or, if cooked fish isn’t really your thing, grab a caterpillar or rainbow roll over at Katsu Sushi and Teppan Grill. And, of course, there’s always the filet medallions or baby back ribs at Tony Roma’s. If you didn’t catch any Mexican cuisine at lunch, head over to some upscale, south-of-the-border fare at Cocina del Charro. Or, just head to the Sublime Ailhouse for a craft beer, artisan wine, and some gourmet comfort food.

Etcetera, Etcetera, Etcetera

In addition to the amazing eateries at Old California Restaurant Row, there are some other great things to do while you’re here. Hey, you’ve got to do something in between meals, right? Step into the CSUSM Art Gallery to check out exhibits by students, faculty, and regional and national artists. While you’re digesting lunch, head over to Somaly’s Fashion Boutique for a dinner ensemble; if you’d like to fully immerse yourself in the culture of your dinner at, perhaps, China Wok, stop by Shanghai Couture for a reversible kimono or a Kungfu outfit to wear at dinner! Or, if you’re like Jim and Vera Eubank, and have fallen in love with North County, check out the North County Associated Brokers and take a look at the available residential real estate in the area. After dinner, head over to the Edwards San Marcos Stadium 18 Cineplex for the latest releases.

If you’re in the area in the late morning or early afternoon on Saturday, and don’t want to stuff your face with some of the best cuisine in North County just yet, why not grab some fresh, local produce from the weekly farmer’s market? You can take it home and gobble it down later! The market features high-quality produce, local artisans peddling their wares, and freshly prepared hot foods. Excellent seasonal produce often includes various fruits, vegetables, honey, flowers, eggs, and herbs.

Sundays are also a great day to head over to Old California Restaurant Row for a good, old-fashioned car show. The show features exotics, racers, sports cars, hot rods, classics, drag racers, etc. You name it, they’ve got it on display! Shows are every Sunday 1pm-5pm, March through October.

With a name like Old California Restaurant Row, you’d expect to see a bunch of outdated eateries, and not much else. But that’s just not the case. While the architecture is reminiscent of an old mining town, the food is always fresh and delicious, the shops are fun and quirky, and the entertainment is hoppin’. So check it out!