Never mind that Wisconsin is the home of Frank Lloyd Wright and examples of his fine buildings are found here, 20 years ago I fell upon an altogether more exciting architectural experience.
The House on the Rock is the vision of a sculptor, Alex Jordan who wanted a retreat; a place amid the natural elements for him to express himself.
He discovered Deershelter Rock and its views of the Wyoming Valley below and knew he had discovered his haven.
Jordan built the house on top of the rock himself, carrying the stone in a basket on his back. One thing led to another and eventually he had created a fascinating home which feels like it is carved out of the rock itself. The interior has a distinct late 70's feel, with surprises around every corner.
The biggest surprise of all is the Infinity Room; a glass corridor which projects out from the rock 200ft, suspended over the valley below. Incredible!
Besides this wonderful home the rock also houses a mind boggling warren of the most bizarre collections; from antiques, musical instruments, full size carousels (I kid you not), dolls houses and much more...you could get lost inside for days! It is one of the most surprising places I have ever experienced.
Looking on the web, I see it has now expanded, but the house is still there to be investigated.
Head to midtown Sacramento, to 2004 Capitol Avenue, for fantastic wings and the "Monkey Knife Fight" beer, brewed on site and named after a Simpsons episode. Watch out for the 8% pomegranate cider though, it's delicious but lethal!
Rubicon Brewing Company
2004 Capitol Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95811
Phone: 916. 448. 7032
An experience that is out of this world! It is one of the best things that I have ever done, exciting and yet peaceful. The sea lions were a blast and love nothing more than jumping all over the front of your canoe. It takes a good level of skill not to capsize. I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and would go back in a heart beat. If you're lucky you may even pass by Bill Gates' house; as he lives in the banks of the Puget Sound.
This is an organic micro brewery and restaurant/bar. They have a small range of their own beers - I don't like beer and they managed to find one that I like! They also have a full bar with other beers (organically produced). The restaurant sells a range of organically produced food and the staff happily advise you of the day's specials (their baklava with local walnuts and ice cream was the best ever.) They also have live music at the weekend.
102 S State St
Ukiah, CA 95482-4903, United States
Mendocino is north of San Francisco, Napa and Sonoma counties. Still undiscovered but with some wonderful small wineries, mostly organic and some also biodynamic. My favourite is the Parducci Vineyard who are the first carbon neutral vineyard in the US. And as a bonus, it is one of the very few which exports its wines to the UK.
501 Parducci Road, Ukiah, CA 95482, tel: 00 1 707-463-5350
Good value B&B ( for the area). Clean and the owner is genuinely caring. Shared bathrooms though. Good location next to Live & Kicking lobsters. Fresh, cheap and local lobsters. Also near fantastic wholefoods supermarket
Puttnam St Cambridge mid way between Central and Harvard Sq on the Red line. 10 mins walk from either. Bus route, 2 mins
It is biggest of two Goose Island pubs in Chicago and is the only place - apart from main brewery site at 1800 West Fulton St - where the beer is brewed.
Goose Island is Chicago's only "craft beer" i.e. microbrewery and has been going since 1988.
They do brewery tours at N. Clybourn site on Sunday afternoons at $3 for a tour, full beer tastings and a souvenir glass to take away! Its ideal to have a leisurely lunch there (the food is also great, esp. the burgers) followed by the tour.
Goose Island Clybourn Brewpub/Brewery
1800 North Clybourn
Chicago, IL 60614, USA
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is the home of American brewing. Any beer fan is going to want to visit a city where the baseball team is called "The Brewers", and whose mascot "Bernie the Brewer" entertains kids at half time. In terms of brewery tours, don't get blinded by the bright lights of the Miller Brewery Tour - head downtown to the Lakefront Brewery which overlooks the Milwaukee River. A nominal $6 gets you the tour and also a free commemorative pint glass (ok it's not a proper English pint, but it's a quality glass). I don't actually remember too much about the tour, because the $6 entry fee also entitles you to four free pints of their specialty beers, plus a voucher for another beer at one of the pubs that they distribute to. Hiccup. As well as a large variety of ales and lagers, they also brew a number of seasonal beers - my favourite being the autumnal Pumpkin beer. Staff are great and they are very happy for you to drink away your afternoon on their terrace or in their large beer hall.
While each of these breweries might well give you a tour, each of them is so small you can see what’s going on while you taste their wares. The end of September is the Great American Beer Festival and the perfect excuse to wind through the autumnal mountains and deserts in search of a hearty brew.
The claim for Colorado’s first Microbrewery lies just north of Denver in the university town of Boulder. The Boulder Beer Company has its own huge range of beers with seasonal additions and everything from lemony wheat beers to deep dark porters. On the way up, you’ll pass Fort Collins where the large New Belgium Brewery lies and you’ll find these beers all over the country. You can tour this site to see just what care and attention goes into the production of these relatively small batches. Pick up an Onion to read on your travels and get into the vibe of this beer hunt.
Just west from Denver, in Golden, Miller has their Coors factory and a purpose built town to run the thing. The tour is free and gives you three half pints of beer to try at the end of your journey round one of the biggest breweries in the world. You’re here to see what NOT to do.
Heading down highway 70, you’ll hit Idaho Springs where the Tommyknockers brew their range of interesting beers. The food is just what you want from this backwoods hangout and the beer comes to take away in Growlers. While you’re here you can sample the waters in an amazing 60s throwback ‘spa’, and stroll the cowboy main street.
These being the Rockies, there’s a lot of thermal water about and Glenwood Springs, just the other side of a gorgeous canyon, about two hours from Idaho Springs, makes a great stop, the baths here are open air and lie right next to the Glenwood Canyon Brew Pub. As well as beer, you’ll also often find mead on the menu, just to give your hopped out palette a rest.
From here you can hop on a train to Utah, and another home of small time brewery, Salt Lake City. You can learn all about the LDS or explore the ring of ski resorts that tower over the flat of the city. If you want to return east, you could get on the train, or in the land of the freeway, you’d be advised to head south and into Mesa Verde, and Durango before snaking your way through Colorado Springs and back to Denver.
Girls have to give up a lot when they backpack in a thriving city like New York – think makeup, haircare, and comfortable beds! I can impart my sound knowledge and tips regarding female travel as well as recommending some good tricks when visiting the Big Apple!
You must leave any non-essentials behind. The last thing you want whilst away is trying to lug your heavy backpack from place to place, and struggling rather than enjoying the sights the city has to offer. If you must take makeup, take waterproof mascara and some lip gloss... that's it. Plus, New York has so many shops that you may have to end up posting things back home anyway.
Be savvy with the clothes you pack. Obviously make sure they are lightweight, but also things that can be worn in different ways are a good way to cut corners, I found long vests and tees that double up as little dresses very helpful. You will pick up lots of bits and pieces as you go round as there are so many little thrift stores, bookshops, and the more famous department stores to explore. Taking favourite jewellery or accessories is a definite no-no.
Also make sure you try out the sprawling subway network, but make sure to plan your route carefully so that at no point during the stay you find yourself in the dark on your own in an area you don't know.
This hostel is the only all-girls hostel in New York and is perfectly located right next to Central Park, with bags of the ‘New Harlem’ spirit and character you would expect for the area. Its main draw is the ideal location, you can easily get the express trains to most places in Manhattan from here as well as take a stroll around during the day.
With an antractive pink front door, this brownstone hostel blends in with the surroundings and neighboring houses. Inside the interior is simple and fresh and there are loads of opportunities to meet other female backpackers in the evenings when you are back from sightseeing.
Staggeringly cheap way of getting round - $15 for 7 full days - even timed. Connections between buses/subway excellent. Get into Boston/Cambridge for a few dollars from the airport. Machine at the airport.
All subway stations
There are ferries on streams, there are ferries on rivers, but ferries on oceans, well they are something else. And may favourite is the ferry service of the Alaska Marine Highway along Alaska' Inside Passage.
The Passage is mesmerising, the longest such stretch of protected fjords, thick forest, and myriad islands in the world. And to sail it by ferry, with whales for company in the water, and locals to spend hours chatting with up on deck, stopping off at small settlements as you go, is simply the best way to experience southern Alaska in its rugged finery. If you are young enough you might even try braving nights in a sleeping bag up on deck.
The EMP is a remarkable place where the most famous musicians from the Pacific Northwest area (Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain) are represented alongside other important but less commercially successful artists such as Sleater-Kinney. There are also exhibits offering a more general overview of the history of music and lots of interactive exhibits - including real musical instruments with tutorials!
Admission is usually $15 but they hold an 'all access' evening every month which is free and also features local live bands.
325 5th Avenue North (at the bottom of the Space Needle), Seattle, WA 98109
A neighbourhood that's just a short streetcar ride from downtown Portland with beautiful old wooden houses, eclectic independent shops and lots of bars and restaurants. Spend the morning looking around and then visit McMenamin's Blue Moon Tavern (432 NW 21st Street) to enjoy some of their own-brand Ruby Ale.
NW 21st Street, NW 23rd Street
Take the Streetcar to N.W. 21ST & NORTHRUP
In many respects it's quite an ordinary farmers market but Olympian's are incredibly friendly and take their local produce very seriously. Grab a coffee and a gigantic slab of cake from the Marketplace Bakery, enjoy some random conversation and watch great local bands.
700 Capitol Way N, Olympia, WA
I was in Vegas a few weeks ago and I stayed in Harrahs Hotel. It's right in the middle of the Strip, has a monorail stop, is cheaper than some of the other hotels nearby yet is still excellent.
Also www.lasvegasculture.co.uk/ is a new site on Vegas and has some good info added daily.
Harrah's Las Vegas
3475 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Two ideas to budget in NYC on holiday:
1. You can get tickets to see TV recordings for free i.e. for Ricki Lake. You need often to apply early though.
2. On the same day, head down to Time Square and the TKTS booth and get theatre tickets half price.
TKTS Booth, 46th st & Broadways
A short sightseeing cruise by this vessel called Minneapolis Queen really helps you understand what Minneapolis means.
Upper St, Anthony Lock and Dam is a unique experience and do not miss it when you visit Minneapolis.
Minneapolis is well connected and St Paul is its international Airport.
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