North America

The Art and Heart of Michele Maring Miller:

Water Color of a Local Iowa Scene (©simon@myeclecticimages.com)

An Amana Colonies Living Treasure In rural Southern Iowa lie the Amana Colonies – seven in all – where time moves slowly and sweetly. Among the gentle people, in the community of West Amana, live Michele Maring (pronounced Mah-ring) Miller and her husband David. Together they are the heart and soul of Michele Maring Miller […]

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Farewell to a Beautiful Lady

Rachel Zibula at 100 years old

Central and South America / Europe / Middle East / North America / Travel

Taking Stock of 2017:

Sunset in Civitavecchia, Italy (©simon@myeclecticimages.com)

The Good, The Great, and the Bittersweet As I write my last post for 2017, it’s 26˚F outside. There’s no snow on the ground, but it’s bloody cold! I’m sitting in the comfy recliner in my warm office, wrapped in a cozy blanket, lap desk and laptop resting securely on my knees. In an odd […]

Accommodation / North America / Travel / Travel Tips

Set Your Watch to Island Time at Hotel Tybee:

Your Gateway to Affordable Family Vacations. Surrounded on three sides by ocean, Tybee Island, Georgia is a beach lovers paradise. Every summer families, couples, and individuals flock to its shores in search of fun and relaxation. But not everyone enjoys crowds, humidity, and 100-degree temperatures. Not to mention high season prices for accommodations and activities. […]

Europe / Travel / Travel Tips

Hardship and Hope at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum:

Powerful and Poignant Accounts of Leaving Home and How the World Has Benefitted. Ireland is like a savory and sweet stew, composed of multiple textures and complex flavors. Throughout the last 700 years, the stew has boiled over, sending its contents out into the world to influence the flavors of other nations and cultures. The […]

Food & Beverage / North America / Travel / Travel Tips

The Mouthwatering Magic of Claude’s Chocolate:  

See a Wonderful Display of Chocolate at Claude's Chocolates Store in St. Augustine (©simon@myeclecticimages.com)

Indulge Your Senses and Don’t Forget to Share Do you love fine chocolate? If the answer is yes, do I have a scoop for you! The next time you’re in Ponte Vedra or St. Augustine, Florida, – the lucky people who live there already know – be sure to pamper your palate at Claude’s Chocolate. […]

Europe / Travel

Travel Back in Time at the Wieliczka Salt Mine:  

Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland

Preserving Poland’s Subterranean Treasures for Future Generations. As my fingers traced the mother’s face, her horror and anguish were transmitted straight to my heart through my fingertips. I was carefully exploring the figures in a salt carving depicting the Slaughter of the Innocents 300 feet below ground in the Chapel of St. Kinga. This was […]

Accommodation / Europe / Travel / Travel Tips

The Mespil Hotel in Dublin, Ireland:

Entrance to the Mespil Hotel in Dublin (©simon@myeclecticimages.com)

A Comfortable Retreat for Business or Pleasure Immediately upon entering our room at the Mespil Hotel, we knew we were welcome. The greeting was hard to miss, coming in the form of a platter of dainty petit fours, and a chocolate, “Welcome,” written in flowing script directly on the plate’s surface. It was late afternoon […]

Accommodation / Europe / Food & Beverage / Travel / Travel Tips

Atlantic Crossing on Holland America’s Westerdam:

Diary of a Some-Time Cruisaholic and Her Cruise Shy Husband (Part 3. Going Below the Surface on the Westerdam) If you’ve read J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, you’ll remember how kid-pleasing food and pumpkin juice appeared directly on the tables in the dining hall at Hogwarts. You’ll also remember the elves working hard below the […]

Accommodation / Europe / Food & Beverage / Travel / Travel Tips

Atlantic Crossing on Holland America’s Westerdam:

Food Preparation in the Westerdam Galley (©simon@myeclecticimages.com)

Diary of a Some-Time Cruisaholic and her Cruise Shy Husband (Part 2. Food and Fun) Ask anyone to talk about their experiences aboard a cruise ship, and the answer will boil down to two components: food and fun. In both these areas, Holland America Westerdam excelled. From a Gala Night dinner menu featuring jumbo shrimp […]