Page 3 of golfkat Travel Blog Posts

North America » United States » North Carolina » Highlands October 5th 2019

I am headed to a place called Highlands, North Carolina for a destination wedding for my nephew. So, why is a couple from beautiful San Francisco, choose a place out here in nowhere? Good question, so maybe I should do a little research. From what I read, Highlands is known as a mountain retreat, one of the highest towns east of the Mississippi River at 4118 feet. It contains a temperate rainforest, one of the few in the U.S. And with a population of 3200, it swells to over 18,000 in the summer. From their website: Highlands boasts exquisite restaurants, fabulous shopping and a great cultural arts scene. The "postcard" downtown offers plenty of art galleries, antique stores and upscale boutiques. Five of the restaurants have been awarded the coveted Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. In ... read more
Wedding venue at Old Edwards
Old Edwards lobby
The Ugly Dog Brewery

North America » United States » North Carolina » Asheville October 4th 2019

I have heard so much about Asheville, I am a smidge curious about it. Don't ask me why. My previous ventures into the hinterlands of the Tar Heel state rendered me covered with smoke from the incessant smokers. I can only hope Asheville will be a bit more civilized. On the bright side, Asheville is often called the "coolest" small city on the east coast. Is it the award-winning restaurants, hipster coffee shops, outdoor activities, or breweries? It is also known as "Beer City, USA." The Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar also sounds like my kind of place. Asheville must have something, since the Obamas visited a few years back. Asheville is a city in the Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains. It is known for its "vibrant art scene and historic architecture." Isn't that what ... read more
Biltmore wines
Biltmore Winery
Blue Ridge Parkway

North America » United States » North Carolina » Durham October 3rd 2019

I ran into an article about some unknown facts about North Carolina. That confirms the state has more than tobacco and basketball? Maybe, you decide! Carolina is the birthplace of both Pepsi and Krispy Kreme. They also probably have dentists running the state health department. Pepsi was the grand design of a drugstore owner in 1893, originally named "Brad's Drink" but later rebranded into Pepsi Cola. In 1933, Vern Rudolph bought an ultra secret doughnut recipe from a New Orleans chef, and opened his place in 1937. Speaking of sugar, can you believe cotton candy was invented by a dentist? They originally called it candy floss, not to be confused with dental floss, which was invented about the same time! America's biggest mansion is here, the Biltmore Estate, built by George Vanderbilt II in the 1800s. ... read more
Home of Krispy Kreme
Deal with NC heat
The famous Wright Brothers

Perhaps you recall I did some post graduate work at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, back in the 90s. Not only is basketball a religion here, it pervades (or should I say, invades) just about everything in North Carolina, except for its fabulous golf courses, and its ubiquitous tobacco. And yes, I was able to play many fine golf courses at Pinehurst while I was there. But I am returning now to the Tar Heel state for the first time since. Ostensibly, I am here to visit a dear friend from grad school at UC Berkeley. He is now the Chancellor of the Duke University Health System, a rather prestigious job. Before that, he was Dean of the UCLA School of Medicine. You would love this man! Other than driving around the state to ... read more
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
The famous Wright Brothers

Despite the orange man sitting in the White House, I still think DC is a cool place to visit. I love the museums, restaurants, and the overall vibe of the city. Putting politics on both sides of the aisle to rest for a few days, let's see what DC can do for you or me. For starters, have you ever seen the Lincoln Book Tower? It is 34 feet tall, and made up of 6800 books. It is located at the Ford's Theater Center for Education and Leadership (511 10th Street, NW). About the closest comparison I can make it is the guitar tower at the Museum of Pop Culture (formerly the EMP) in Seattle. Who was Kilroy? He was the ubiquitous war doodle, a bald-headed, long-nosed man, peering over a wall. He is often accompanied ... read more
Where is Kilroy??
The famous Lincoln book tower

North America » United States » California » Truckee September 21st 2019

I first encountered the town of Truckee when I began skiing in the 70s. Truckee was a good place to eat or drink the evening away after a hard day on the slopes. In those days, playing hard all day and all night was both the usual and the expected. But Truckee has changed considerably ( and so have I) over the years. I would say it has become a little more of a destination, rather than a wide spot in the road to grab a beer or a steak. Besides a number of interesting eateries, shopping has come front and center with a variety of eclectic, rustic, and stylish retailers. Truckee got its name from the Stephens Party in 1844, part of the first emigrant wagon train that successfully crossed the Sierra Nevada Mountains. They ... read more
A break from cycling to Squaw Valley
Squaw Valley ski tram
Morgan's Lobster Shack, great food!!!

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík September 20th 2019

In the travel world, bankruptcies are quite common, particularly the budget airlines. I had two such unfortunate incidents on my trip to and from Europe last May. It taught me a lesson. The big carriers, though somewhat boring and cumbersome, do tend to be more consistent. My first horror story involved WOW Air on my flight to Amsterdam. WOW suspended west coast flights, then filed for bankruptcy. Fortunately, I asked for and received a refund before they filed. So, no harm done, I found a flight on Aer Lingus, comparably priced, but had to eat the puddle jumper airfare to LAX. But the stress was not good! Then, on my return from Istanbul, another discount carrier, Iceland Air, also in various forms of bankruptcy or "reorganization", cancelled my connecting flight to Reykjavik from London. Why was ... read more
Cancelled flights
Bad behavior

North America » United States » Arizona » Grand Canyon September 19th 2019

I could not help but make note of this list of "buckets" to avoid. I have often felt this way about some of these, while I think others are definitely worth the experience. Leaning Tower of Pisa-skip it! Niagara Falls-have not been, but should have skipped Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Surfing in Bondi-I do not surf. Swim with dolphins in New Zealand-never thought of doing this! Venice gondola-stinky, and just very disappointing. Everest Base Camp-never, but been to Nepal, and seen Everest from above. Loch Ness, Scotland-I was too busy golfing St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Troon. Carnival Rio-would love to experience this! Rio was great even without it. Route 66-drive, cycle or walk at least part of it, but not the whole route. Bali beach hopping-might be fun. Seychelles castaway-not ... read more
Peak Bloom Day 2013
Horseshoe Bend
Famous City Lights Bookstore

Europe » Portugal » Alentejo » Fronteira September 5th 2019

Here are some great facts for wine lovers. Twelve billion corks are produced annually worldwide. These include corks and sparkling wine corks guaranteed to be free of TCA (cork taint) by the leading cork manufacturer, Amorim. Cork oak trees can be stripped of their bark only once every nine years; the bark is then turned into cork stoppers. The cork tree was officially named Portugal’s national tree in 2011. If you have ever driven through Portugal and parts of Spain, you know the countryside is covered with cork trees. And you also know what the cork harvest looks like, and how "naked" the cork tree looks after. The bark of trees older than 25 years is carefully stripped from the tree to protect it and perpetuate the life of the tree. The bark is dried for ... read more
cork tree

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