Archive | September, 2013

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TBP 0018 Ski Utah Powder

Posted on 28 September 2013 by Leslie Lello

Winter is on it’s way! Time to talk skiing!

SKI UTAH!

Inspired by a mega Ski Group Meet-up in New York, I decided to create a show about Utah, one of my favorite places to ski.

I got really jazzed when one of the groups was telling me about their upcoming trip to Brighton, which is one of many ski resorts located around Salt Lake City.

I have skied Utah many times. Most experiences were great but the last time resulted in an injury for the person I was with so I also became very familiar with Salt Lake City, which I also talk about on the podcast.

But most of the focus of today’s podcast is on Park City and the ski resorts that are located around Park City.

  1. Dear Valley (skiers)
  2. Park City
  3. Canyons

I talk about packing strategy, too. When you fly to Utah for the skiing, it’s good to know what NOT to bring because between equipment and bulky clothes, there’s already a ton of stuff to drag from the baggage carousel.

Finally, I also talk about some lodging strategies if you are planning to be in Park City during Sundance Film Festival, which is not only a great time to see some great flicks, but the slopes are great at that time, too.

DEALS RIGHT NOW: https://www.skiutah.com/winter/deals/showme/member/550579887.html

The ski resorts around Salt Lake City: http://www.onthesnow.com/utah/ski-resorts.html

I mentioned on the podcast a lift ticket /ski ticket deal with The Canyons. I have information on last year’s deal, and actually, several ski resorts participated. I have not seen any information on whether this deal is happening this year (2013-2014). Here is some information on last year’s deal (Look at listing number 4 on this webpage): http://www.saltlakecityonthecheap.com/free-or-cheap-ski-lift-tickets-in-utah/

Winter Activities in Park City besides skiing and snowboarding: http://www.visitparkcity.com/things-to-do/winter-activities/

 

*** Sorry no pix this week… photos are trapped on a grumpy computer other than the one I am typing on right now.  Will revise later when I have access. ***

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Sunset over Lake Michigan from South Haven, Michigan

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Sunset: Lake Michigan – South Haven, Michigan (Wordless Wednesday)

Posted on 25 September 2013 by Leslie Lello

Sunset over Lake Michigan from South Haven, Michigan

Sunset over Lake Michigan from South Haven, Michigan

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hostels now pet travel friendly in europe

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Pet Travel Made Easier with Hosteling International

Posted on 23 September 2013 by Leslie Lello

hostels now pet travel friendly in europe

When I created TBP 0004 “Enjoying a Hostel Environment” I mentioned that one should leave the dog home if planning to stay in a hostel. I didn’t think that any hostels existed that were open to pet travel because the logistic of a dorm room are not conducive to such amenities.

It can get too crowded with just a bunch of humans and their huge luggage, but can you imagine adding three barking chihuahuas and a giant St. Bernard to the mix?

That would be utter insanity!

But apparently hostels in Europe have figured out a work-around for the dog issue.

After I posted that podcast, I received an email from Hosteling International with a link to their blog post about a few of the hostels that DO allow dogs.

I was thrilled to read the article because even though I enjoy solo travel, it can get a bit lonely.

The dog obviously keeps me company, and many of the dog-related places that I visit (like dog parks) offer a great way for humans like me to socialize on the road, but there is nothing like finishing a day of sightseeing in a common room or in the kitchen and sharing my experiences while listening to others who also have advice and could guide my next day of touring.

I hope that the American hostels will follow suit and consider opening their doors to pet travel, too.  I love staying at hostels and have really missed the camaraderie and the social way to learn about the the destination.

 

 

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TBP 0017 Chicago – A Nice Place To Visit…

Posted on 21 September 2013 by Leslie Lello

Ramlbin Chicago - 11

Yes, I know I said I would never do a podcast about Chicago, and to tell you the truth, it took me a while to figure out how to I would present the city in an honest way – both celebrating the fun of traveling as a tourist while also being forthright about my learnings from living there for over a year.

I think I achieved a good balance in TBP 0017, so if you are interested in visiting Chicago, this podcast should give you not only a great overview, but a few tips that most tourist don’t know and tour books don’t tell you.

I would love to hear feedback about this podcast.  Despite all of the trepidation I experienced before the recording, I think this is one of my better ones.  🙂

PODCAST NOTES FOR TBP 0017: Traveling in Chicago: A Nice Place To Visit But I Wouldn’t Want To Live There

Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co.
I refer to it in the podcast as the “red bus tour”

 

Howard Johnson’s on LaSalle
I have heard the quality is questionable. I didn’t mention this hotel in the podcast and have never stayed there, but you can’t beat the parking situation and fabulous location.

 

Museum of Science and Industry

 

Architecture Tour

 

Hosteling International Chicago
There are many hostels in Chicago, but this the one I have stayed at a few times. It’s in The Loop which is the main part of Chicago.

 

Eva’s Cafe
(Near The Second City)

 

The Third Coast (Restaurant)

 

Article on the best beaches of Chicago

 

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Florence Italy - Wordless Wednesday

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Florence Italy – Wordless Wednesday

Posted on 18 September 2013 by Leslie Lello

Florence Italy - Wordless Wednesday

Florence Italy – Wordless Wednesday

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Grateful dead special exhibit at the Rock and Roll hall of fame 2012

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Five Tips for Visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Posted on 16 September 2013 by Leslie Lello

rock and roll hall of fame bon jovi needs to be a member

I <3 BON JOVI SINCE THE 80’S! They had his motorcycle when I visited a long time a go but he needs to be a member ASAP!

How random is it that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland, Ohio?

One would think it would be New York, Los Angeles or even Nashville…

But if you are crossing the country and getting tired of the typical sights of the mid-west (corn fields, Amish markets, sports stadiums, etc), The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland is an awesome alternative.

Cleveland was one of my favorite stops when I was regularly driving between Chicago and New York because of the Rock Hall!

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located right on the banks of Lake Erie in Downtown Cleveland and is very easy find. They have signs leading to it from miles away on several of the highways, and if you have GPS you will be all set.

rock and roll hall of fame greenscreen

It’s definitely worth the stop, even if you only have time to check out the free part, which is the main level and part of the basement. You can still get plenty of driving in for the rest of the day.

This is how I visited the first time and it was the perfect way to get some fun in the morning before a long, 8 hour drive to my next stop in the Bronx (New York).

Here are my five tips for visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

1. If you are looking to stay in a hotel, I recommend staying in the suburbs, near the airport. You will find better rates there, especially if you use one of those Roomsaver booklets that are in every roadside stop on Rt. 80, and many of the places don’t mind if you have a dog (try Best Western or La Quinta). (And if you have to kennel your dog while at the Hall of Fame, there is a Petsmart with a very good Pet Hotel and day-camp that is only slightly out of the way when you are headed to the museum from the airport area).

Grateful dead special exhibit at the Rock and Roll hall of fame 2012

2. Garage parking for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is $10. It’s better to park in the train station and walk two blocks. You’ll be parking outdoors, but it’s equally convenient. One thing to note… they have signs all over the place that tell people to not leave valuables in the car because there have been break-ins. I have never had a problem, but maybe it’s a good idea to leave the laptop in the hotel safe rather than the car when your going to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the day.

3. Leave PLENTY of TIME to see the museum. This museum is HUGE! The first time I visited, it took me two hours to simply go through the free basement and first floor area, which has many awesome relics, like guitars that belonged to some of my favorite rock music legends, and rare candid pictures of artists, as well.
Don't go to the museum on a Cleveland Browns Football Game Day
4. Don’t go on Game Day! One Sunday last fall, I had the whimsy to go to the RRHOF as I was passing through on my way to Indiana. When I arrived, EVERY PARKING LOT WAS FULL and the streets were complete gridlock! The Hall of Fame is right next to FirstEnergy Stadium, the stadium where the Cleveland Browns play football, and the day I went, not only was there a big game, but tailgaters has started to throw back brewskis and bratwurst outside the stadium at the butt-crack of dawn. Needless to say, I did not get into The Hall that day.

5. Become a Member! The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is $22 for an adult pass and $33 for a two day adult pass, at the time this blog post was written. If there are two adults in your party and you pay for parking for two days, the price is $86. Better to get a “Duet Rocker” membership, which includes parking for one of the days, and will bring the price down to $85 and allow you to visit for free for a whole year. You get other perks (like discount purchases in the gift shop) and are helping to preserve rock and roll history for future generations.

Membership rock and roll hall of fame

 

Finally, here is a single shot video I made when I first visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  It is a (almost) 360 degree shot from in front of the Rock Hall.

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TBP 0016 McMenamin’s (Do Doooo Do Do Do)

Posted on 14 September 2013 by Leslie Lello

Ramblin Oregon - McMenamin's - 05
Back in the day when people still read books for pleasure and information, I found Edgefield McMenamin’s in my trusty book of hostel reviews when I was looking for a place to stay around the Portland, Oregon area.

Despite the glimmering review in my book, I had no idea how wonderful and unusual a stay at McMenamin’s would be.

Not only is there a hostel (and one of the most luxurious ones I have visited), but there is the actual hotel where travelers who do not want to share a bunk can relax in a private room.

But as I explored the landscape, I was thrilled to discover that the hostel actually had a resort ‘feel’ to it, with beautiful grounds, artwork everywhere you look, a brewery, a wine tasting room, music events, a screening room and a spa with a salt pool.

You can also play golf or go off the grounds to explore Portland or the Colombia River area.

Today’s podcast is about my discovery and my “Alice-Down-The-Rabit-Hole” experience at this festive and magical surprise location.

SIDE NOTE: If you are in the Portland, Oregon area this weekend, you should see if you can make it in to McMenamin’s “Half Way to St. Patrick’s Day Celebration”. The big party for this year is TODAY September 14th, 2013!!!

http://www.mcmenamins.com/54-edgefield-home

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Malibu California Wordless Wednesday

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Malibu California (Wordless Wednesday)

Posted on 11 September 2013 by Leslie Lello

Malibu California Wordless Wednesday

Malibu, California

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How to Find a Massage or Spa Nearby When Travelling

Posted on 09 September 2013 by Leslie Lello

Trafalgar Tour Italy and time with family in Forli, San Marino and Ravenna - May 2013One of my top priority questions whenever I go on vacations is, “Where is the spa? How  can I find a massage in this unfamiliar town?”

Obviously, if you are going to a luxury resort, they are going to have a spa.

That’s a no-brainer.

But the answer is not as obvious if you are creating your own itinerary for a road trip or are going to be in a rural area.

Speaking purely about travel within the United States, when I am looking for a relaxing health experience I have a few go-to tactics I explore.

  • Look on message boards at coffeehouses, yoga centers, health food stores, health clubs or any place that health oriented people gather.

The last time I found a massage this way, I wasn’t even looking for bodywork, but I was so drawn in by an ad on a board in Cottonwood, Arizona, that I had to call. Not only did she do great work, but she also sold wonderful moisturizer products that I ended up loving and buying to take home with me.

Additionally, even the most rural towns have some sort of gathering place for people who want to stay healthy. My cousin found such a place in a teeny-tiny town in Southern Illinois, and I can guarantee they had a message board with at least one massage therapist posted to it.

The upside to this is you can zero in on a lot of options, especially in bigger cities.

The problem is that these sites often won’t help you find a massage in smaller towns, and if you are in a bigger city where you don’t know your way around, you may need to trek into areas that are hard to get to or that are not as safe as the mainstream tourist areas.

  • Massage schools

This is one of my favorite choices and I often am very willing to go out of my way in order to get to a massage school. They usually don’t offer eucalyptus steam rooms or cucumber slices over the eyes, but 9 out of 10 times you can get a great massage from someone who is very enthusiastic at what they are doing for a great price.

I was a professional massage therapist many years ago and massage schools were my go-to place when I needed a massage.

  • Ask at the Nearest Hotel Front Desk

He or she should be able to guide you well.

And if you are staying in a small town or a lower-end motel, the front desk will at least be able to guide you toward the right resource and tell you where NOT to go or what areas of the city to avoid.

I have found many out-call massage therapists this way, especially in ski resorts.

  • Do That Home Spa Thing

Well, you’re not at home, but you can still create a nice, relaxing atmosphere in your hotel room.

Obviously, this isn’t my first choice when I’m looking for some therapeutic bodywork, but if I have been sightseeing all day or am fatigued from carrying my day-pack all day, a little self-pampering in the hotel might be exactly what I need.

Here are some ideas… (not in any particular order)

  • Draw a hot bath for yourself.
  • Or even better, draw a hot bath and once your body is warmed up, stand up and shower in cold water, then warm the bath water up again and get back in… Instant Hydrotherapy Session.
  • Give your feet a massage with the complimentary lotion.
  • Steam your face over the sink by running the hot water and draping a towel over your head to catch the steam.
  • Massage face cream on your face and place a hot washcloth over it to open the pores and let in the moisturizer.
  • Dry exfoliate your skin before your shower by rubbing your body vigorously from head to toe with one of the hotel towels.

 

Do you compulsively look for a spa or massage place everywhere you travel?

What are your most successful tactics?

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"Club Mud" at Glen Ivy Spa

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TBP 0015: Feel Los Angeles – It’s All About The Vibe

Posted on 07 September 2013 by Leslie Lello

"Club Mud" at Glen Ivy Spa

“Club Mud” at Glen Ivy Spa

Whenever I would meet non-American travelers at the hostel in Flagstaff that were working their way across the country, I would ask if they were going to go to Los Angeles. I could give them tips about the city because I lived there for 7 years.

Most of the international travelers I met said that they were skipping Los Angeles. At first I thought that was odd, but then I realized that there really are very few major landmarks in that city that do NOT relate to the movie or entertainment business.

The natural landscape in Los Angeles is wonderful, but there are so many great natural spots in California that that really isn’t a draw for L.A.

So Why Should You Go to Los Angeles?

To feel it. Taste it.

That’s weird, huh?

It’s an intangible something that makes Los Angeles special.

There’s nothing in particular to see, but you should still travel to Los Angeles. If that makes sense. It’s an experience. It’s a phenomena. Even if you’re not into movies, a town build on the business of entertainment makes for a pretty odd scene.

Listen to this week’s podcast to learn more.

Even if you are not a movie buff, there a places to go that will be fun.

These are the places I go when I am in town. TBP 0015 has a lot more detail on these locations.

Places I Visit When Traveling to Los Angeles (TBP 0015 Podcast Notes)

Disney and the amusement parks (feel)
Great spas: Glen Ivy (feel)
Eat food traditionally made for high-maintenance people. (taste)
Hiking in Franklin Canyon (*See)
Hiking in Runyon Canyon (this is where young Hollywood goes) (*See)
Sit in a coffeehouse (taste)
Hollywood Farmer’s market (taste)
Cruise the Sunset Strip – hang out at Barney’s Beanery or Chateau Marmont (taste/feel)
Bel Air Hotel – Bellinis or coffee. Piano bar. Walk the grounds.
Massage at Santa Monica Massage School
Afloat sushi in Pasadena (Nobu in Malibu if you have the budget)
Paradise Cove is a great beach: pricy but not with a group. $40 for the day. $20 to walk in. $6 with cafe validation. Paradise Cove Beach cafe is a little pricy but not outrageous and the food is good with decent portions.
Best Beaches are in San Diego or on the way to San Diego. Or north of LA toward Ventura county.

DO NOT GO TO DOWNTOWN LA. THERE IS NOTHING THERE. (Well, the garment district can be interesting, but not worth hitting up if you have limited time in L.A.)

Show Notes and Links:


Glen Ivy Spa

Glen Ivy entrance fee is $46. I remember it as less expensive because there is occasionally a half price deal, and that’s when I used to go.

TreePeople

Franklin Canyon

Magic Mountain

Disneyland

CORRECTION: Legoland is closer to San Diego than Los Angeles

Runyon Canyon

Santa Monica Stairs

Hollywood Farmer’s Market


Bel Air Hotel

California Healing Arts (I referred to it as Santa Monica Massage School in the Podcast)

Afloat Sushi
– I didn’t find their website but I forgot to mention that you should take your time ordering so that you can watch the sushi chef and see what has just been made and pick that as your meal. You can also make requests. Some of the things float around for a long time and that isn’t as tasty. I also did a bit of research and their inspection score is only so-so. I never had a problem, nor did any of my friends who have been going there longer than I have, but I also wanted to let you know just in case you decide to check it out.

Paradise Cove, Malibu

$40 for the day. $20 to walk in. $6 with cafe validation. Paradise Cove Beach cafe is a little pricy but not outrageous and the food is good with decent portions.

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heashot_LeslieLello

Welcome and thanks for visiting!

My name is Leslie and I am the owner, publisher and media creator of Travel Better Podcasts.

A few years ago I started traveling... (Click Here For More)


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