A sunset dinner cruise in Cozumel supplies lots of relaxing fun that increases even more when you add pirates into the mix. Decked out with dramatic masts, a waving Jolly Roger flag and a crew of colorful pirates, the Jean Lafitte does not look like your ordinary cruise ship. Climbing onto the boat from the Cozumel dock, I sensed adventure in the air. About 60 passengers lined the seats on the boat and the pirates Pork Chop, Sparky, El Capitain and Jack Sparrow, plied us with drinks. No sooner had I taken a sip of rum punch, then I spied Jack Sparrow climbing the mast and gazing down on us suspiciously. He and the crew proceeded to shake passengers down for jewelry, watches and hugs from the women. Read More »
Archive: October, 2009
Walking around Florence, Italy’s spectacular art galleries and monuments can truly overwhelm you and apparently make you physically ill – it’s called Stendhal Syndrome, and having been to Florence multiple times, I can definitely attest to feeling overwhelmed by all the beauty and history, whether or not the syndrome is real. (Although, it could also have been the fact I nearly knocked myself out on a 14th century beam at the top of the Duomo.) Not a fan of dizziness and feeling completely overwhelmed? How about trying out an entirely different type of experience at the Espresso Academy. That’s right! Instead of wandering around the Accademia or the many piazzas, you’ll get to learn about one of Italy’s greatest passions, which some people say is a work of art in itself – coffee and espresso.
Don’t scoff! The Espresso Academy gets really good reviews, and I find it to be a refreshing, creative alternative to the city’s innumerable art galleries. Here, you’ll learn that anyone can make a cappuccino – but making a good one takes skill and knowledge. Have ever been to a cafe that creates little milk designs on the top of your cappuccino? There’s an actual certification you can get to learn how to do that (it’s not as easy as it looks!) in the course called Milk Art.
I would also love to take the Tasting course – you are able to taste coffees from all over the world, both good and bad, and learn how to distinguish between high quality and low quality coffees. Apparently, coffee is as complex as wine, and this course will help prove that to you.
With its plethora of lovely old restored homes and storefronts, historic Dearborn Street in Englewood, Florida is the site for dozens of special events throughout the year. One of the most popular, the Fine Arts Festival hosted by the Rotary Club of Englewood, features well-known local artists and exhibitors from all over the United States and Canada. Fine art available in all mediums is available, including: sculpture (metal, wood and glass), paintings (watercolor, acrylic, oil and pastel), jewelry (gold, silver, and gemstones), photography, pottery and ceramics, and mixed media.
The theme of this year’s festival, “Colorful Mutton,” is drawn from the work of Captain Jim Roberts, a Florida native who combines his passion as an angler with his background in graphic arts to create sea life designs through Gyotaku, an art created by pressing rice paper onto fish. His “Colorful Mutton” artwork Read More »
Children’s museums are often located in big cities, but once in a while we find a small-town gem. Such is the case with the Northwoods Children’s Museum in Eagle River, Wisconsin.
Eagle River, with its population of 1600, is located in the heart of Wisconsin’s northwoods area. Outdoor activities abound in the summertime, and it’s known for its snowmobile races in the winter. But if you’re in the northwoods and it’s too wet or cold to play outside, take the kids to the Northwoods Children’s Museum.
The museum is located in an unassuming building, but don’t let its basic exterior fool you: inside are many quality and unique children’s exhibits. Fishing in the river and using the ranger tower were favorites with my children, as were the musical instruments, the dress-up room, and the ambulance/hospital area. Since everything’s in one room, children of various ages can enjoy their favorites while their siblings check out something else, all under the eye of a parent. Read More »