Category Archives: travel

Fantasy Travel: A Quick Trip to Saratoga Springs

It is beautiful country, and autumn is a great time to visit.

Why You Should Visit Saratoga Springs, NY in the Fall

Travel awaits offers a peek at what you can find.

BTW, the Battle of Saratoga (actually 2 battles that took place within a few weeks of each other) was a turning point in the Revolutionary War.  Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne surrendered his army to the Americans which ended the British invasion from Canada. The colonial victory encouraged the French to support the American cause.

There is a side story to the battle – the heroics of a man who is widely vilified in the Untied states – Benedict Arnold.

Benedict Arnold - Children, Wife & Facts - Biography

Some say that it was Arnold who personally turned the tide of the battle. He was wounded twice, the second time after his horse was shot out from under him leading a decisive charge. There is this monument to Arnold’s heroics.

Boot Monument – Stillwater, New York - Atlas Obscura

Yes, it is a monument to Arnold’s injured foot and is called the Boot Monument.

Many do not realize that Arnold had been a zealous fighter for independence, and had led the failed assault against Canada.  Yes, Americans were somewhat obsessed about invading Canada back then. We would try again in the war of 1812. Back to the story. Arnold  then stalled the British invasion from Canada leading the colonial effort at the Battle on Lake Champlain.

Meanwhile, there were grumblings from the Continental Congress in Philadelphia that Arnold could not account for the expenses incurred in the Canadian invasion. Arnold denied that he had misappropriated any funds — but his documents were lost to the British in the battle on the lake. He could offer no proof of the expenses. Ooops! This made Arnold vulnerable to a hanging offense.

Hmm … it is a little remembered fact that his betrayal of his country was not done just on a whim. There was another factor —  his very pretty wife from Philadelphia (Peggy Shippen) was pro-British and no doubt put a few words in his ear.  Here is good old Peggy

Peggy Shippen, The Traitorous Belle of the American Revolution: Brief  Historical Accounts of Mrs. Benedict Arnold eBook: Crawford, Mary Caroline,  Logan, Mrs. John A., Tomlinson, Everett Titsworth: Kindle  Store

As it turns out, the documents that Arnold had lost were re-discovered in Canada a few decades ago. They showed that Arnold had been truthful. His expenses were in order.

And what happened to Peggy? When Arnold’s plot to sabotage the defenses of West Point (a key defensive position on the Hudson River) was discovered, he had to flee by boat. He could not take Peggy with him, so he told her that when Washington and his officers arrived to start creaming. The plan was that Washington would think she had gone mad with grief and release her to be with her husband. And so it happened.

Arnold was paid by the British for his betrayal.  BTW, Peggy was too! But Arnold squandered his money and died in 1801, leaving many unpaid bills. Peggy, now living in London, managed to pay off his bills by auctioning off her possessions, but died at a young age of 44,.

You can dive much more deeply into Arnold’s story in this biography.

Benedict Arnold: Patriot and Traitor: Randall, Willard Sterne:  9781557100344: Books

Ben and Peggy are buried in St. Mary’s Church in London, and ironically burial spot sports a tombstone paid for and erected … by an American Why would an American do that? As acknowledgment that Arnold had saved the revolution before he betrayed it!

Benedict Arnold's final resting place, a church with artistic pretensions –  Notes from Camelid Country

You can share this tale when you visit the Boot Monument!

If you are thinking about this jaunt, you might consider heading west after your stay in Saratoga Springs to visit Aurora, on Lake Cayoga. There  fantastic inns on the lake there! From Fathom

Live like a 19th-century patrician on holiday in one of four meticulously refurbished inns situated on the banks of Lake Cayuga. You can’t go wrong between the Federal-style Aurora Inn, the Italianate limestone E.B. Morgan House, the contemporary Rowland House, and the ornate Wallcourt Hall — all are furnished with custom fabrics, worldly antiques, and art from local philanthropist Pleasant Rowland’s personal collection

Parisian Fantasies: Sipping Red in the Sixth

There you are. In St. Germain des Pres, thirsty for a glass of red wine. A side dish would do  nicely as well!

This is not a problem! It is an opportunity! HIP Paris has some recs

Zip over to Freddy’s!


Ideal for the solo sip or meeting up with friends, nestle in at the wooden bar, or pull up a stool against the atmospheric stone walls. Freddy’s has a carefully curated selection of French wines, and a daily menu with tasty small plates such as kebabs, grilled fish, or sweet potato beignets. Beautiful presentation is at the heart of this local haunt, from its wines to its interior.

Left: a wooden platter of small plates at Freddy's wine bar, including grilled pineapple and small glass bowls filled with green ice cream.
Right: a main course of duck breast and potato purée on a peach colourd plate, resting on a wooden counter with a piece of bread to the lower left corner of the bread.

Or you might try

Avant Comptoir de la Terre

This Odéon wine bar and restaurant is authentic, inventive, and creative, pulling in lovers and wine lovers alike. It counts a sumptuous setting, fantastic tapas, exquisite wines, and a super-invested team among its assets. The atmosphere is so welcoming you won’t want to leave.

Left: A selection of Spanish charcuterie and 8 bottles of red wine on a metal shelf, at about the table level.
Right: a bottle of wine wine with two glases sat in front of it.
Avant Comptoir de la Terre

Check out the link for other wine bars around town!

Peak Foliage Time is Approaching in New York – Where to see it!

New England in the autumn is a feast for the eyes. BTW, usually, the climate is pretty nice as well — brisk autumn air and sun.

So, let’s say you want to head to upstate New York. Where to stay?

Fathom offers 5 options that ll all look pretty good, and won’t break the bank!

The Brentwood looks nice in Saratoga

A charming, carefully curated, twelve-key boutique located on the cusp of Saratoga’s historic race course where days are just as easily spent listening to vinyl at the small lobby bar as they are watching horses gallop by from the comfort of an elegant, sunny, family-friendly guest room window.

Brentwood Hotel, Saratoga Springs, NY -

Chekc it out!

From the Did You Know Dept: Data Security in the Travel Industry is Nicht Gut!

If you want the full story, head over to CPO Mag

Here is the bottom line from the article for travelers

(Which? Magazine that studied their security) is encouraging customers of the travel industry to be extra cautious when dealing with hotels, resorts, airlines and other forms of transport. The magazine’s cyber security specialists advise unique and strong passwords for each travel account, the use of two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever it is available, not creating website accounts (checking out as a “guest” instead) when it is not necessary, and not allowing these sites to save credit card details. For those who need to travel frequently, a good password manager may be helpful in securely juggling a number of different travel industry accounts.

It is also wise to keep an eye on “loyalty account” point balances, as hackers have recently begun to focus on these as they provide an easy means to anonymously purchase gift cards that can quickly be sold or used while remaining difficult to track.

Re-Thinking Travel!

I remember it well – my first travel experiences. They were all experiments with the same end — finding adventure and returning home to tell the tale. That is fine for young folks, but I would not recommend it as a philosophy of travel.

Is there such a thing? Well, maybe it is a bit grandiose to think so. But if there is a philosophy of travel, connecting or re-connecting should be part of it. We do not travel just to walk up and down the Strand and say “Done, what’s next?” We do to deepen a connection that we cannot deepen at home.

I thought that this article form AFAR offers some useful insights into what “going deeper” can mean. To summarize

  • Traveling only to selected places (not just wandering around)
  • Traveling with a purpose (your purpose, not someone else’s)
  • Traveling slowly (giving yourself time to connect)
  • Traveling to build empathy (at the end of the day, we connect to people, not just places)
  • Traveling with joy (as travelers, we should be ready to share our joy – to give something to the people we encounter)

Where to start ? My best thinking is to start with this question — what brings you joy?  If you can answer that, where is the source of that joy and where can you best share it?

Just a thought. What do you think?

When Can I Return to Marseille?

From HIP Paris

Sitting on a natural harbor on France’s Mediterranean coast, Marseille has attracted travelers since ancient times. In fact, the seafaring Greeks gave the city its name, “Massalia.” Being a port brought advantages and disadvantages to what would become France’s second largest city. A bad reputation for crime and grubbiness are two of the latter. However, since it was designated as the European Capital of Culture in 2013, the city has been spruced up, while keeping its cool, cosmopolitan edge. Here’s how to spend a weekend in Marseille.

They mean here.

A photo through a passage way of the Vieux-Port in Marseille, peering onto apartment buildings overlooking the sea with a hilltop church in the distance.

Nicaragua beckons!

A fun piece by Amelia Mullarz for  Fathom starts this way

“How can I be the only person here?” I thought to myself as I stepped foot on Nicaragua’s Escondida Beach. This was in January, two months before I owned a single surgical mask and began using phrases like “social distancing” on a regular basis. But even then, I knew having a stretch of sand all to myself was something to cherish.

What to do?

I scanned my brain for instructions on what to do when one finds herself blissfully alone in a tropical paradise. Cartwheels? Sand angels? Bury my passport and never leave? Instead, I perched on a rock, practically paralyzed by awe, and pulled a can of Toña beer from my backpack. I sipped and slowly scanned my surroundings, committing every inch of white sand, each glimmer of sunshine dancing off the blue sea and all the contours of the inlet’s towering bluffs to memory. I had the strangest inkling that someday I would have to live off these recollections, so I wanted them to be complete.

A pic may whet your whistle


And there is more!

check it out!

Paris in September? Why not?

Yes, there are restrictions. I know. And yes, some of us are not “in the pink”. They won’t be able to join in … this year.

But we can all share what is going on in Paris this September. HIP Paris offers a preview of some great events. My fav

Jazz à la Villette – until September 13

Prolonging summer with a celebration of the genre’s many nuances, Jazz à la Villette offers a fantastic musical lineup each September. The Festival is reformatted this year to address current health requirements. The program takes place at the Philharmonie de Paris, the Cité de la Musique, and the Grande Halle de La Villette. For two weekends, the international festival presents jazz in all its vitality and diversity. Paris Jazz Festival, usually held in July, has been rescheduled. This year, it will run until September 20.

On the left there is a photo of Notre Dame church in Paris, with trees surrounding it filled with autumnal leaves. The photo on the left is a flyer for Jazz à la Villette lasting from 4-14 September 2020. There are drawings of 11 volcanoes underneath the text in white - each a different bright colour and containing the names of the artists performing.
Daniel James / Jazz à la Villette