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wineries

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE – Alan Doyle is mugging for the audience at the Jackson-Triggs Ampitheatre on a warm summer night under a full moon. “I started playing this one when I was touring with Great Big Sea, back in 1951,” he says with a laugh. His new band, The Beautiful Gypsies, immediately launches into a frenzied, Newfoundland-meets-Nashville tune with powerful guitars, a splendid violin and a swirling accordion backed by drums and bass. Doyle has perfected the “aw shucks” Canadian approach, and it suits him well. Toss in a generous dash of Maritimes/Newfoundland music with lyrics about lost fishermen signing their goodbyes ... continue reading →

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OAKLAND – My sister and I are sitting outside a trendy lunch spot in the Temescal Alley area of town with my Dad and his lady friend, Lucy. We’ve just picked up our fried chicken sandwiches with jalapeno cole slaw at Bakesale Betty, a small shop on Telegraph Ave. at 51st St. and Telegraph Ave. in north Oakland. Instead of inside tables, we find the only seating is out on the street on dark stools. And instead of actual tables, folks rest their sandwiches, soft drinks and Betty’s homemade cookies on rickety old ironing boards in shades of blue and ... continue reading →

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World class wines in an area that resembles the Napa Valley of California. Fabulous lodges with great food. And kayaking in deep blue waters that feel like the Gulf Islands of British Columbia. I arrived in the Marlborough region of New Zealand, the far north end of the South Island, knowing I’d be tasting some of the world’s best – and most popular – Sauvignon Blanc. Somehow I didn’t realize the area had such jaw-dropping scenery, as well. Upon arrival at the small airport in Blenheim, my guide from Marlborough Tours and I motored over to Fromm, an old-school style ... continue reading →

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Had a chance to catch up with the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, while he was in Toronto yesterday talking up his great state, which technically is known as a Commonwealth and not a state. Just so you know. It was quite a hoot, actually, as he’s a hugely entertaining fellow who tells a good story and has got a lot of get-up-and-go. “Last year we had 40 million visitors. We shattered our old records last year in the Commonwealth. We noted the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War this year. Right now as we speak we ... continue reading →

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CARMEL, CALIFORNIA – Most travel stories focus on one particular destination. Nothing wrong with that. The trouble is that some people like luxury hotels and some like to save money. Some folks love to swim, others like to hike. Some folks drink beer, others prefer wine. So here’s the first of a story format I call “Two Ways.” It allows me to give more information to you, the reader, thus allowing you to make more informed decisions about where to spend your money. For my first “Two Ways” feature, I’m focussing on the gorgeous Monterey Bay area of Northern California; ... continue reading →

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