The Wilds: An African Safari Experience in Southeast Ohio

The Wilds Ohio sign

The Wilds is one of the largest conservation centers in North America, set on about 10,000 acres of land in Southeast Ohio. It is home to a number of rare and endangered animals from around the world, including cheetah, rhinos, camels, antelope, zebra, and giraffes, as well as a number of local native species. Visitors can not only do regular bus safaris to see the animals, but the Wilds also offers horseback safaris, fishing safaris, ziplining, a butterfly habitat, education programs, summer camps, and overnight lodging. This non-profit open-habitat safari park is a pretty amazing place given that this is reclaimed land which was strip mined for coal from the 1940’s to the 1980’s, which destroyed most of the natural wildlife and resources in this area. If you are in Ohio, this is definitely a place to consider adding to your itinerary. We’ll give you all the information you need Read the Rest…

A Weekend in Redding California: Romance, Local Culture, & Outdoor Adventures

Burney Falls weekend in Redding California Shasta Cascade

We recently spent a lovely three-day weekend in Redding California, which lies within the Shasta Cascade area that covers a large portion of northern California. Redding is an approximate 2.5 hour drive from Sacramento or 3.5 hour drive from San Francisco, a perfect distance for a weekend getaway. Redding and the surrounding area is definitely most known to travelers for its scenic natural wonders and the opportunity to engage in a multitude of outdoor activities such as kayaking, hiking, sailing, and biking. However we wanted to combine a healthy dose of outdoor activities and natural scenery with some local culture and romance. During the days, we hiked, explored caves and dams, visited museums, and gushed at majestic waterfalls, but in the evenings we dined well, gazed at romantic sunsets, and stayed in a cozy bed-and-breakfast. Keep reading for our tips on how to plan your own weekend in Redding and Read the Rest…

Jafferji House and Spa: Luxury Boutique Hotel in Stone Town Zanzibar

Jafferji House and Spa hotel Stone Town Zanzibar

Jafferji House and Spa is a luxury boutique hotel located in the heart of Stone Town on the exotic spice island of Zanzibar. The building was built about 100 years ago and had been used as both a family home and a shop before being converted into a hotel by the Jafferji family. Opened in 2012, the 10-room boutique hotel is finely decorated with authentic furniture, doors, and antiques from around the Indian Ocean so that you can imagine you are stepping into the historical home of a sultan or wealthy spice merchant. In addition to 10 spacious suites, the hotel offers richly decorated common rooms, an on-site full-service restaurant serving Swahili style food, and an on-site rooftop spa. This hotel has quickly become a very popular choice among Zanzibar travelers with its fine furnishings, good restaurant, and convenient location in central Stone Town. We’ll share all the details you’ll Read the Rest…

Avital Food Tours: Eating Our Way through North Beach San Francisco

Avital Food Tours North Beach San Francisco tour review

Taking a food tour in San Francisco is really a no brainer as San Francisco is a city full of culinary delights from artisan coffee to fresh caught seafood to old-fashioned ice cream. We didn’t hesitate when Avital Food Tours asked us to review one of their walking food tours. Currently, this small company offers food tours in several iconic San Francisco neighborhoods including the Mission District, Haight-Ashbury, North Beach, and Union Square. What is unique about the company is that not only do they take you to local culinary destinations and allow you to meet restaurant owners and chefs, but they also focus on providing participants with local history and little known local lore about the neighborhood. We’ll share our experience of eating our way through San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood and also provide readers with a chance to win 2 tickets to experience an Avital Food Tour of Read the Rest…

Le Marche Italy: Discovering an Unexplored Region of Italy

Gradara Castle Le Marche Italy

In October, I spent three days in the Le Marche Region of Italy following the Travel Bloggers Destination Italy conference in Rimini. Admittedly, I had never heard of the Le Marche region before and was mispronouncing the name of the region (pronounced lay MAR-kay) until we started the trip. However, I was excited to explore this relatively unknown region of Italy. The Marche Region sits in the center of Italy with the Apennines to its west and the Adriatic Sea to its east, and is best known for its rolling hills, agricultural products, parks and nature reserves, and its seaside towns and beaches. It is also a great region to discover small hilltop villages and picturesque towns that have preserved their medieval and renaissance heritages. During our three-day whirlwind trip we visited the northern part of Le Marche region of Italy known as the “Hills Riviera” and focused on the major Read the Rest…

Safari West: An African Safari Experience in Sonoma California

giraffes at Safari West Santa Rosa CA

I was really surprised to learn that there was an African wildlife preserve called Safari West located only 75 miles north of San Francisco. Safari West is a 400-acre wildlife preserve containing over 100 species and over 700 individual animals, including giraffes, cheetahs, zebras, flamingoes, rhinos, cape buffalo, lemurs, and wildebeest. Opened in 1993 by Peter and Nancy Lang, Safari West strives to promote wildlife advocacy and conservation through breeding, education, research and public interaction. The preserve shares similar environmental features to an African savanna and guests can take open-air guided wildlife safari drives to see many of the animals roaming the expansive property. The smaller animals are kept in enclosures that are reachable by a walkway and you can also visit the open-air aviary containing all sorts of exotic birds. Guests can even stay overnight here and see and hear many of the animals in the evening once the daytime crowds leave. After hearing Read the Rest…

Visiting Finland in Winter: Top 15 Winter Activities in Finland

husky dog sledding in Finland during winter traveling

Laurence and I recently had the pleasure of spending a few weeks visiting Finland in winter during the month of January. Most people tend to avoid Northern Europe during the winter and head to sunnier and warmer destinations, but there are so many reasons to travel to Finland in winter. Yes, it is cold and there’s snow and the daylight hours get shorter, but there are also fewer tourists, surreal winter landscapes, and unique winter activities to be discovered throughout the country. You can’t go ice fishing, try dog sledding, take a traditional sauna, learn how to kicksled, drink cloudberry wine, or go hunting for those mesmerizing Northern Lights along the Mediterranean. We’ll share our tips for visiting Finland in winter as well as share our top 15 winter activities in Finland to help you put together your own trip to this magical winter wonderland. Tips for Planning your Trip to Finland in Winter If Read the Rest…

The African Tulip: Best Hotel in Arusha Tanzania?

The African Tulip Arusha Tanzania hotel review

The African Tulip hotel is a centrally located boutique hotel in Arusha Tanzania and is currently ranked on Tripadvisor as the number one hotel in the city. Arusha is a very common stop on most travelers’ itineraries in Tanzania as the city is a great jumping off spot to head to a variety of parks for those going on safari and is near both Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro for climbers. In fact, we ended up staying in Arusha three different times during our trip. The first time was unplanned and we ended up at The African Tulip after having to delay the start of our climb of Mount Kilimanjaro after I started feeling ill and running a fever. The hotel was highly recommended by our safari company Amani Afrika and we found out that over 50 safari companies trust their guests to this hotel. This hotel ended up being a perfect place Read the Rest…

Secret Sweater Shawl & Travel Blanket: A Review

Secret Sweater shawl and travel blanket review

The Secret Sweater shawl and travel blanket is the newest in a line of travel-worthy fashion products by San Francisco native Katherine Noyes Arnemann. This new product doubles as both a full-sized shawl and a travel blanket but is compact enough to fold up and store in a purse or backpack. The great thing is that the travel pouch is attached within the neckline area of the sweater so it folds up into itself! The shawl helps add an extra layer of warmth while also being stylish and versatile, and works well whether you are watching a sporting event, walking around an air-conditioned art museum, watching the sunset from a beach, or having a drink at a trendy bar. I loved the original Secret Sweater cardigan and was very excited to try out this new product. I’ll share my experiences of wearing the shawl over the past couple of months Read the Rest…

Internet while Traveling: A Review of the Netgear Trek Travel Router

Netgear Trek N300 Travel Router and Range Extender

Netgear sent us their Netgear Trek N300 Travel Router and Range Extender for us to try out on our travels. These days most travelers want to be able to get online regularly while traveling to check email, get directions, check hotel and restaurant reviews, upload photos, update social media, and stay in touch with those back home. It is definitely easier to stay connected as wireless Internet is now widely available in most parts of the world but there are still a number of situations when it can be tricky (or expensive) to connect. As travel bloggers, it is often even more important to be able to get online on a regular basis while traveling and it can be very frustrating when you are in a hotel with weak Wi-Fi, you are being restricted from using multiple devices on one Internet connection, or you would like more security when using an unsecured Read the Rest…

Outdoor Adventures in Scenic Los Osos California

Spooner's Cove Montaña de Oro State Park Los Osos California Montana beach

Los Osos is a peaceful bayside community that is home to a number of outdoor activities along Central California’s coast. Los Osos is conveniently located just off scenic Highway 1, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Located just south of beautiful Morro Bay and its famous giant rock landmark, Los Osos lies along Estero Bay and is the gateway to Montaña de Oro State Park, one of the most beautiful oceanside parks in California. If you enjoy hiking, water activities, bird watching, and other outdoor adventures, this lovely area of Central California is the perfect place for a weekend nature break. Ethan and I were very excited to be invited to spent a day and a half in Los Osos exploring the lovely parks, estuaries, nature preserves, and bays surrounding this lovely town. We’ll tell you all you need to know to start planning your own visit to Los Osos, Read the Rest…

Vintage and Antique Shopping in Morro Bay California: Perfect Place for a Recycled Holiday

Morro-Bay-rock-birds

Morro Bay is a charming seaside town with a bustling waterfront, charming old town, and an enormous landmark in the form of Morro Rock which sits in the harbor. You’ll likely first notice this large iconic rock from miles away as your approach the city. Morro Bay sits along the Central California Coastline just off of California’s scenic Highway 1, located midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. While perhaps best known for its waterfront activities, outdoor adventure opportunities, and rock landmark, Morro Bay also sports a downtown shopping district in its Old Town, and this was the reason for our first visit to this little charming town. The town sports dozens of antique malls, thrift stores, gift shops, and local speciality stores that beg to be explored. What would you do if you were given $500 to spend to buy gifts for a “recycled holiday”, where instead of buying Read the Rest…

Beyond Oktoberfest and Hofbrauhaus: Festivals and Beer in Bavaria Germany

couple at Hofbrauhaus with beer

Germany is well-known for its beer culture with Munich being home to the long-running Oktoberfest and the world-famous Hofbräuhaus beer hall, both of which attract millions of beer-guzzling tourists each year. However, attending Oktoberfest is not the only way to join in on some sudsy Bavarian fun and there are plenty of other German festivals and ways to experience beer in Bavaria. Hofbräuhaus is the world’s most famous beer hall and one of the oldest beer halls in Germany, regularly packed with rowdy tourists (and brave locals) throughout the year. A pilgrimage to the Hofbräuhaus is worth it, but we suggest that there is more to experience at this famous site than simply drinking beer and eating sausage and we’ll share how you can learn more about the beer culture in Germany here. To get away from the tourists, we suggest that in addition to the popular Hofbräuhaus that you also seek out some Read the Rest…

12 Tips for Attending your First Travel Blogger Conference

travel blogger conference tips advise preparing for first conference

Ethan and I are busy getting ready for our very first official travel blogger conference! We were selected among the top 100 travel bloggers to be hosted to attend Travel Bloggers Destination-Italy (TBDI) that will take place in Rimini, Italy next month in conjunction with Italy’s leading travel exhibition event TTG Incontri. Actually, I will be heading off to Italy alone as TBDI only hosts one blogger from each blog, so sadly I’ll be leaving Ethan at home to watch over the kitties while I spend a week in Italy. I have been thinking about how I can put my best foot forward as I head off to meet other bloggers, sit through presentations by travel industry experts, meet travel industry exhibitors, and explore a little of Italy on a post-conference blog tour. While we have not officially attended a travel blogger conference before, we have attended some travel and tourism shows and I Read the Rest…

Buffalo Luxury Camp: Bush Dinners, Night Game Drives, & Safari Walks

Buffalo Luxury Camp Serengeti northern Serengeti lodging hotel travel reviews

The main reason we chose to stay at Buffalo Luxury Camp is because it offers guests the opportunity to do both night game drives and game walks. Buffalo Luxury Camp is located in the northern Serengeti on its own privately owned hillside just a few miles outside of the boundaries of Serengeti National Park. Because of the lodge’s location outside of the park and its position on private land, the camp is able to offer a range of experiences not possible within the national park, including off-road game drives, night game drives, and nature and safari walks. Buffalo Luxury Camp is a permanent luxury tented camp consisting of 15 suite tents with constant hot and cold water, electricity, hair dryers, robes, and even bath tubs! We appreciated the luxury of our suite tent and the beautiful three-level main lodge building; however, what stood out to us most were the unique experiences of Read the Rest…