Way up north near the top of the mitten of Michigan sits the small community of Traverse City and the surrounding beaches, lakes and vineyards found along the Leelanau and Old Mission peninsulas. Traverse City might be on the radar of Midwestern travelers, but for our friends back home in the Southern U.S., they seem confused about our upcoming Michigan trip discovering Traverse City family fun.
On the drive into the rainforest in the Sierra Madre Mountains above Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, is a unique scene that gets into what I feel is the real Mexico. Much like the rural South in the United States that I’ve known and loved for most of my life, there seems to be a unique friendliness in the simple architecture of the structures adjacent to Puerto Vallarta’s Rio Caule as it rises into the mountains.
Visiting Puerto Rico is more than just the beaches, food, culture and San Juan nightlife. There is plenty of Puerto Rico outdoors fun, especially with El Yunque hiking adventures. El Yunque National Rainforest is the only tropical rainforest in the United States, and its location about an hour from San Juan makes it a good day trip to enjoy some Puerto Rico outdoors adventures.
As the Rebirth Brass Band randomly comes on my iPod I’m reminded of our trip to New Orleans this spring. I’ve been to New Orleans many times but it was our son’s first visit. And considering we live just up the road in Memphis it won’t be his last. But it has me thinking about the unique travel opportunities we’ve had in the past year and the travel lessons learned by our son.
The world of travel blogging seems to live in the opposite world of print newspapers. But in today’s journalism, there really aren’t any rules. It only makes sense that as a veteran newspaper reporter and editor, I’d finally combine what I do here at Trips By Lance and the other online publications I write for with my newspaper life. So I’ve recently launched a bimonthly travel column, The Daily Traveler, in The Daily News.
Sometimes, the unexpected decisions turn out to be the best ones. As summer began, our family travel plans were looking like a visit to New York City and a few days at a beach along the U.S. Gulf Coast. But funny what can happen when I sit down with a map and start exploring possibilities. Puerto Rico is what can happen, and out of that unexpected decision came a beach vacation gem: the San Juan Marriott Resort.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Puerto Rico is a part of the United States. This island on the northeastern edge of the Caribbean Sea has the soul of the islands with a tropical vibe that seems so opposite of much of the U.S. When we decided to go for an El Yunque rainforest day trip, it really did feel like we were in a far-off land. But entering what’s labeled as the only tropical rainforest in the U.S., one that is part of the U.S. National Park Service, I was reminded that we were, in fact, in a U.S. territory.
What’s your true knowledge of ALS? For me, I learned a little about the disease when I watched “Pride of the Yankees” when I was a kid. The movie about iconic New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig chronicles the life of the legend. It ended in tears for me as I discover some mysterious disease would force one of the greatest players of his generation to retire from baseball. Today, that disease is called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. But everyone knows it as Lou Gehrig’s disease. And it isn’t a re-airing of that classic movie that has everyone talking about ALS. It’s the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and I happily joined the crowd today.
As I sit down to write this evening, I find myself in a reflective mood. Not in a sappy sense, but in two hours it will be midnight to begin Aug. 14. Another 18 hours after that it will be precisely 6 p.m. central time, and 15 years to the minute after my wedding ceremony began back on Aug. 14, 1999. Fifteen years ago today, the only travel that was on my mind was our honeymoon in Jamaica. But today, I found myself researching an upcoming visit to Traverse City, Mich., and looking at flights for an October weekend to Las Vegas. So let’s have a look at 15 years of travel reflections.
Family travel can be so overwhelming and full of challenges for parents who prefer unique destinations instead of amusement parks and beaches. Yes, finding bed-and-breakfast inns that will welcome a child, awesome chef-driven restaurants that aren’t too stuffy for children and cultural attractions the kids won’t find boring is pretty hard. But the biggest challenge I’m discovering? It’s scheduling family travel around school.