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Inspector Diaries

Rooms with a View

Jade Mountain 3 photo

While the Pitons of St. Lucia, one of the Lesser Antilles Windward Islands, have received much publicity in the media it is rarely mentioned that there are some very chic and exclusive hotels built around this UNESCO World Heritage site. One of the aspects that set these hotels apart from other traditional lodgings is that the guest units only have ... Read More »

Fun with Mexican Food Name Games


The next time you are at your favorite Mexican restaurant, test the owner/chef’s culinary/geographic prowess by asking if they know what is a Tampiquena? They’ll likely explain that it is a delicious Mexican dish of a juicy grilled skirt steak and red rice, likely served with a mole enchilada on the side. But repeat the question asking them, what is ... Read More »

A ‘Barny’ Love Story (and no, I’m not referring to the purple dinosaur… )


Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m in love with barns. Red barns, white barns, gray barns, brown barns, new, old, small, and big barns.. I love all barns. I especially love barns that are falling apart, and the more falling apart they are, the better!! I’m so happy that my territory, Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky offers a million opportunities to view barns ... Read More »

Napa Valley Wine Train

Napa March 2014 121_89413

Recently, I had the opportunity to evaluate the Napa Valley Wine Train, which is celebrating their 25th year in operation. After making my reservation in advance, I checked in at the modern train station complete with a gift and wine shop and waited for my time to board. You can bring your own wine aboard the train, but there will ... Read More »

Hawaiian Luau


When looking for a luau on your next visit to: Hawaii, there are a few things to keep in mind. Your first pick should go to the ones actually located adjacent to the ocean, since it adds so much more ambiance. It’s even better if you can face west during the show so you will likely enjoy a great sunset. ... Read More »

Jet Boating on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River


When visiting southern Oregon in the summer do not miss taking a jet boat on the Rogue River with Hellgate Jetboat Excursions , a AAA approved attraction, who have been in operation since 1959. Nearly 100,000 people take a jet boat each summer with Hellgate Jetboat Excursions – an amazing fact! The company strictly adheres to marine safety rules. I ... Read More »

A Texas Vacation


Taking a family on vacation can get expensive real fast. But not all family vacations need to involve theme parks or all-inclusive resorts. In fact, just getting everyone into the car for a long road trip can be an adventure. Your destination can simply be a place that has historical value or special events, which if timed with your vacation, ... Read More »

Trinidad – One of Northern California’s Best Kept Secrets


You can quickly drive right past the three exits for Trinidad, CA. You might even miss the green-colored “Population – 311″ sign while cruising along the dense tree lined US 101, also known as the Redwood Highway, on the Northern California coast. My recommendation? Plan a stop in Trinidad, perhaps even two. Exit number 728 will take you to the ... Read More »

Beat The Cold by Taking a Dive


It’s not the most conventional way, but when I was two years old I learned how to swim when my dad threw me into a pool off of a diving board. True story! As strange as it sounds, I’ve always enjoyed the peacefulness of pools. My favorite type of vacation is poolside in warm weather. Living in a state where ... Read More »

Burgers Galore


Here’s a restaurant trend I can get behind: gourmet burgers! (As for my actual behind as I pursue this trend, the less said, the better!) Chuck’s – Raleigh, NC The popular, tiny cafe serves craft burgers with house-ground chuck patties, available in 5 oz or half-pound versions, and gourmet toppings, like the Dirty South with smoked pork shoulder, roasted tomato ... Read More »