I am a born wanderer and love to travel both near and far. I write for a living, so it only makes sense that I write when I travel. Here are the stories of the places I go.

North America » United States » Minnesota » New Ulm May 29th 2011

We saw only a fraction of the cool stuff to see in New Ulm during our short two-day, one-night trip. Here are eight things I want to return for: 1) I’d love to go back to taste the appetizers and share a bottle of wine at Morgan Creek Winery — some evening when my child isn’t so impatient. www.MorganCreekVineyard.com 2) The 45-foot-tall Glockenspiel in downtown New Ulm chimes throughout the day and plays programmed pieces at noon, 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. I’d love to hear those bells. There are 37 in the clocktower and they weigh more than two tons. Twelve figurines rotate on a circulating stage during the bell performances. 327 North Minnesota Street 3) I’d like walk reflectively through the The Way of the Cross, completed in 1904 and rennovated in 2004. It ... read more

North America » United States » Minnesota » New Ulm May 28th 2011

WANDA GAG HOUSE Ever read “Millions of Cats” as a child? I read it to my daughter because she loves cats as much as I do. So when I learned that the author, Wanda Gag, grew up in New Ulm, I marked her childhood home as a Must-See during our trip there. It is indeed a cool house. Wanda Gag’s father was an artist, photographer and all-around wacky guy. After falling out of the family’s hands for seven decades, the Gag (pronounced “gog”) family home at 226 North Washington, was purchased in 1988 by a group intent on restoring it. Today Anton Gag’s original color schemes once again decorate the interior and exterior walls of the Queen Anne home. In one section of the house, the restorers had to peel away 20 layers of paint ... read more
Front/side view
Historic home

North America » United States » Minnesota » New Ulm May 28th 2011

SCHELL’S BREWERY On day two of our trip to New Ulm, Minn., we set out for the August Schell Brewery -- the second-oldest, family-run brewery in the nation and the oldest in Minnesota. It was established in 1860, just two years after Minnesota became a state. There isn’t a big sign to follow; you’ll want to turn by the Target and head up the hill. Schell’s specializes in brewing 14 of its own German-style lagers, and has also been brewing Grain Belt and Grain Belt Premium since 2002. The tour is less of a brewery tour than a beer tour. We spent about 10 minutes getting the history of the company and then traipsed through the grounds. There are only a few buildings (and a pretty garden with a pair of peacocks), so it didn’t ... read more
Current office
Tours just $3

North America » United States » Minnesota » New Ulm May 27th 2011

MORGAN CREEK WINERY Billed as the only underground winery in Minnesota, Morgan Creek Winery (morgancreekvineyards.com) is about 10 minutes outside New Ulm. The drive in is beautiful; turn right before the creek. The winery building is set inside the hill and spills out into a pasture. There are plenty of tables for folks to sit a spell, as well as a fire pit. Live music drifted out of the building, and folks were spending their Friday evening sipping wine and snacking on wood-fired pizza ($6.25-$7), swiss raclette ($4.75) and bruschette sticks ($6.75). My toddler immediately went running through the field, straight to the swing hanging from a huge tree. We chased her down there and relaxed awhile, enjoying the early evening light coming down on the vineyard. Then we headed back up. I had some ... read more
Underground winery
This way
What a tree

North America » United States » Minnesota » New Ulm May 27th 2011

Jaunt down to New Ulm, Minn. this summer. You won’t be disappointed. There’s a ton of stuff to do. Just check the city’s web site, http://www.newulm.com. A quick scroll was enough to convince me we should head there over Memorial Day weekend. I’m a sucker for anyplace with a winery, a brewery and links to famous authors. New Ulm has all of that — and more. We packed up the toddler and the truck, and took off a few hours later. I didn’t plan ahead but we didn’t really need to. Well, mostly it wasn’t necessary. When we looked at the weather forecast and saw that there was a good chance of thunderstorms every day I called Flandrau State Park to see if they had a cabin free. I knew it wasn’t likely, but thought I’d ... read more
Fun pool
Six-foot pool
Holiday Inn

North America » United States » Minnesota » Brooklyn Park April 24th 2010

I think kids are happiest in water. My 15-month daughter is no exception. So for her dad’s birthday, I decided the perfect outting would be to a hotel with a water park. I found 4 in the Twin Cities, Minn. area, and decided on Grand Rios at the Ramada off of Interstate 694 at Lakeland Avenue. It was a good choice. I picked it for a bunch of reasons. First, the room rates were cheapest at $70 for a king room. We only needed 3 waterpark passes, so I didn’t see any reason to pay a higher room rate and get the four passes that came along with it. The water park at the Depot in downtown Minneapolis mostly looked like a big pool with a few waterslides. The waterpark by the Mall of America looked ... read more
Ramada room
Room from the door

Central America Caribbean » Puerto Rico December 17th 2009

It's always the same: I read through guide books before I go on a journey, and I don't see even half the things I had hoped to. Here are the places that are on my list to see and do next time I'm in Puerto Rico. • Bacardi Rum Plant: (We got as far as the plant and enjoyed the free drinks, but didn't have time for the tour.) Take a 45-minute tour of the world's largest rum distillery, Bacardi Museum, and be rewarded with a tasty sample at the end of your visit. The tour isn't of the actual rum-making facility, but is instead focused on the Bacardi family. You get tickets for two free drinks. Take a ferry over from Old San Juan. Before you leave the museum make a mini video at one ... read more

DECEMBER 16 -- PACKING UP Today we leave, and there's lots to do. When we returned to the villa after sailing last night, I started packing while Jesse watched the little one. We wanted to be ready to leave right away in the morning so that we could have as much time as possible at Old San Juan before our flight left. In accordance with our lease agreement, we had to strip all the beds and leave the bedding in the laundry room. We also swept and made sure the fridge was empty -- that part wasn't hard. The teens had devoured most of the food already. I did still have a few snacks to bring with for the airport. After lugging our luggage downstairs, our next step was to get our rental car. Jesse and ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Puerto Rico » San Juan December 16th 2009

The Bacardi Rum plant is a not-to-miss excursion when you're in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Be sure to leave at least 2 hours (or more) for the trip though. You can either drive straight there, or take the ferry from Pier 3 in Old San Juan. The ferries leave every half-hour and cost 50¢ one way. Off the ferry on the Catanya side, you'll have to pay $6 for transportation to the Bacardi facility. We read that there was a free bus to the facility, but discovered it was a lie. We took several vans parked in a nearby parking ramp; a little shady, but it was on the up and up. The 45-minute tour itself is free. Tours leave each 1/2 hour. Indulge in two free drinks while you wait or after the tour. There ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Puerto Rico December 15th 2009

ON A SAILBOAT Tuesday, our last full day in Puerto Rico, was the day I had most looked forward to. We were going sailing for the day. Sailing on the ocean. Ah. How wonderful. Well, it was and it wasn't. The sailboat was fantastic, the company good, and the food delicious. However, my body couldn't quite handle the waves and I was seasick most of the day. Go figure. Things got better midday when Ingrid loaned those of us who were nauseous bracelets that put pressure at a point on our wrists. I need my own for flying! Our day started early, although not as early as the day before. We had time for breakfast before we left for Puerto Del Ray marina, which is just southeast of the Fajardo port. Our sailboat was leaving at ... read more
The marina
Boardwalk out to boat
Our sailboat for the day

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