Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Olympic Christmas

Now that we've had our first snow, icey sleet and salted sidewalks, everyone at Travelink Publishing is getting the festive vibe.

Olympic 'stuff' is around the corner - catch us skating the Richmond Olympic Oval - and stay tuned for what it will be like in the eye of the storm. Our offices are in the Olympic 'red zone' so there's no telling what that actually means once the torch arrives back in Vancouver and security gets hot and heavy. Meanwhile, take note of city streets that are now decorated with decal-flags from each of the participating countries, and making up a flag-walk.

The holly trees have lots of red berries and since that's indicative of a heavy winter to come, the Games should have snow. Thank goodness.

But that's 2010, and we've still to celebrate the end of 2009 ....

So happy holidays from Travelink's scribes, video-masters and photographers all of who have some pretty nifty new ideas to keep you hot-wired to some of the neatest travel experiences.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Olympic Anticipation

When I see my last blog was in the height of summer, and it's now a dark, pouring wet, November afternoon, it's perhaps testimony as to my 'nose-to-the-grindstone' status.
But now, at the end of contributing to the http://www.hellobc.com/ website, updating many of the communities in the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains Region for all those 2010 Olympic visitors, I've come to fall in love with British Columbia all over again. Communities like Delta, White Rock, Port Moody, Hope, Abbotsford and others may seem like quiet suburbs but wow, have they got a lot happening - birding, kayaking, wilderness hikes, fishing, extraordinary dining ... the list goes on.

Be sure to take the time and discover Vancouver's outlying areas. And if you're Whistler bound, drive another 20 minutes and you'll find Pemberton which many say is what Whistler used to be 25 years ago, before urban chic gentrified the mountain resort. From Pemberton, head across to the Fraser Canyon in a circle trip back to Vancouver.

If you're islands bound, tripAdvisor rates the current Frommer's guide to Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and San Juan Islands as among the best resources to pack in your knapsack.

With the Winter Olympics fast becoming a reality; the tempo of anticipation is just now kicking in. It started with the torch relay that's currently criss-crossing the country via canoe, horseback, carriage, surf board - you name it, the flame's travelin' it!

Meanwhile, local mountains have a ton of snow already (in spite of the rain at lower levels); athletes are vying for practice time at the different venues (yes, the USA participants are getting their time alongside everyone else); security manouvers are putting air, sea and ground teams through their paces; transit rehearsals are about to hit the city streets, and everyone's beginning to wave red Olympic mittens with a white Canadian maple leaf emblem in the palm.

It's a whole new interpretation to 'catching the wave'!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


It's been a busy time over the summer, gathering video materials to create travel moments. Check out our (fishyracer) videos on Wolf Creek, Utah; Van Dop Gallery with Chris McBeath; Grouse Mountain with Chris McBeath and others that producer/director Bill Vanderford is whizzing together.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Las Vegas - Gateway to Desert Escapes

My number one ‘back-country’ choice has always been the Valley of Fire – amazing desert canyons with petroglyphs and colors that epitomize the rocky beauty of the desert. See my article on greatestgetaways. And Red Rock Canyon offers panoramic 13-mile scenic drive as well as trails for bikes and hikes.

In my most recent trip to Nevada, however, I’ve a discovered a couple of back-country rivals where you can dump the car and tune-in with a totally different pace.

The first is white-water rafting down the Colorado River, below the Hoover Dam to Willow Beach near Boulder City (the only township in Nevada where gambling is illegal). Black Canyon River Adventures hold the license to manage the limited number of craft allowed to launch at the Dam, and do a crack-up job in maneuvering you through the adventure of riding the gentle rapids. Canyon walls that rise 2,000 feet from the water’s edge. Piping hot mineral spring water. Pretty darn cold river waters – actually a refreshing spray in the high-noon heat. And finding big horn sheep clinging with ease to the vertical rock face.

While most folks often gravitate to Lake Mead for the terrific fishing, I suggest you chill out on a Forever Resorts houseboat on Lake Mohave. Although based at Cottonwood Cove Resort & Marina, your floating home-away-from-home can be towed to any secluded spot with a sandy beach and hiking trails into the desert. The craft are geared to comfort – you gotta love the water slide off the top deck, and if you include add-on options such as a water ski boat, you have a zippy run-about to explore the fissured backwaters and coves, not to mention zipping along on a ski run, or being towed in a skimming donut.

Along the shore, you can expect to see Mountain Sheep and wild burros, evidence of desert creatures that awake in the cool of night – cougar, coyote, lizards and snakes, as well as crystal clear waters full of catfish, gar and even soft-shell turtles.

Cottonwood is only a half-hour boat ride from Willow Beach, so transfers from river raft to houseboat are seamless – and that includes any luggage that travels separately aboard by van. And because Cottonwood will also provide a ride back to the airport, the entire backcountry experience is worry-free of nitty-gritty details.

Win or lose in Las Vegas, combining the neon-city with desert waters delivers one of the most textured, sensory, and refreshing Nevada experiences around.

Monday, June 8, 2009

LAS VEGAS - Always In Motion

I’m always intrigued with Las Vegas and while we all know it’s gambling central of North America, I always look for the unexpected -- something to restore balance after the neon-lit, show-time, slot-machine sensory overload. But since it’s the shows, shops and slots that make this over-the-top city tick, here are some must-dos to create that thirst for ‘balance’:
· Catch a Cirque du Soleil show – there are four to choose from including Mystere to the company’s most sophisticated production O. The first exits just in time for Treasure Island’s swash-buckling, street-side Pirate Show; the latter coincides with the night-time spectacular of Bellagio’s musical fountains.
· The Crazy Horse (MGM-Grand) incorporates clever choreography and light combinations for a titillating show of tame eroticism -- a fun tease without any obscenity.
· Make time for comedic magician Nathan Burton (Flamingo). He has a reputation for pulling Houdini-style publicity stunts and the late afternoon show is a terrific transition from day to evening entertainment.
· Ride the monorail to one end of the strip and start the long trail back via all the landmark hotels which are theatre spectacles unto themselves. The Pyramid and Pharoahs at Luxor, Ellis Island rides, the Eiffel Tower at Paris, The Venetian’s Gondolas. And so it goes … with names such as Barry Manilow, Bette Midler, Tom Jones, Donny and Marie, Cher (didn’t she retire?) Come to think of it, aren’t they all getting near the big R? They’re still packing them in, though.
· If you’re a shopper, The Fashion Show is a must-mall (a recent shopping survey noted Las Vegas was the 3rd most popular US city for shopping); if you need a restorative hand, spa out at the Bellagio, Caesars, the Mandalay, or the Venetian as top choices. Wynn has a quality spa, as does Donald Trump’s gleaming gold tower. The Trump, incidentally, doesn’t have a gaming unit anywhere on site which in this town has rather a rogue panache – much like its celebrity owner.

Suffice to say that Las Vegas continues to evolve, grow, and sprawl. Even though current economies have put some expansions on hold, cranes still litter the skyline, traffic is standstill ghastly, and people populate the tables 24x7. Perhaps they’re General Motors executives in disguise – after all, wasn’t it a black jack do-or-die bet that got Fedex airborne? Hmm, it seems more likely that those die-hard players are from government!

Before politics starts to intrude, this blog is done. Catch my next Las Vegas entry for back country options which really are the antithesis of this desert metropolis.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Wedgewood Hotel, one of my city getaway favorites, celebrates its 25th anniversary with 25% discounts off various guest stuff: off website guestroom rates, off Bacchus restaurant and lounge items (this is the BEST place for afternoon tea and a late night tete-a-tete), off spa treatments (it’s one of the smallest, most gracious spas in existence) and even meeting room rentals if gatherings are on your agenda. Offer is good through September 25th, 2009.

Meanwhile, the Four Seasons has just unveiled its $20 million renovation which revamped the restaurant – the new YEW is very contemporary and very chicly urban, its 372 guestrooms and the meeting areas.

And thirdly, the St. Regis Hotel, has added an artsy touch. The Hotel re-opened early this year after a ginormous renovation that turned the heritage Edwardian hotel into a hip and happening place. The collection comprises 22 pieces from five different artists that blend Native, Hispanic, Asian, Irish and American influences. Eclectic? Yes. Does it work? You be the judge!

Friday, April 17, 2009

LOVE the Loden Vancouver

When it opened last year, Loden Vancouver was set to rival Opus for trend-setting chic. Well, Loden has just won a greatly coveted International Star Diamond Award so it's mission accomplished!

The Award is the most prestigious emblem of achievement offered by New York based American Academy of Hospitality Sciences (AAHS). Loden Vancouver is the only hotel in Western Canada to receive this award, and joins the Diamond ranks of worldwide properties including: Hotel Plaza Athenee, New York; Le Place D'Armes Hotel & Suites, Montreal; The Dorchester, London; The Ritz Carlton, Hong Kong. That’s pretty good company by anyone’s standards.

Congratulations to the Loden Vancouver team; I know them to be among the most professional in the business. The award is well deserved. Check them out the next time you’re in Vancouver (604-669 5060 or toll free 866- 332 1673).

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Vancouver's new convention centre has WOW factor

If you're looking for WOW factor, the just-opened, phenomenally designed, expansion of the Vancouver Conference and Exhibition Centre has it in spades! The "sails" of the original centre are still an iconic city landmark, but its sparkling new, all-glass sister takes your breath away.
It may have arrived on the scene waaaay over budget and almost 10 years later than first planned, but Vancouverites should be deservedly proud of this spectacular addition to an already beautiful city.

The building rises three storeys high, topped with a living garden, complete with beehives, and floor to ceiling walls that are angled so that the views of the water below are as dramatic as the mountains beyond. The interior design features natural BC woods, the best of high-tech gadgetry and one enormous reflective orb, representing the earth, that spins slowly above the exhibition foyer. Oh yes, did we mention we're talking about one million square feet of event space?

An adjoining tunnel links the two centers and outside, each structure has a perimeter promenade that either takes you almost half a mile out into the harbour or down and around to the water's edge, and continues on all the way to Stanley Park. So even if you're not delegate at an official meeting, both buildings invite exploration, especially if you're a photographer.

It's little wonder that the various world media are already bargaining hard for broadcast spots when they arrive to cover the 2010 Winter Olympics. Every one of them wants that mountain skyline as a backdrop to interviews.

With the waterfront so much more accessible, you'll need to add a couple of hours wandering time to any itinerary you might have been planning. But, with the new Canada Line (rapid transit) set to open in September, three months earlier than anticipated, you'll probably want to add at least a day to your visit because more of the city will be so much more accessible. Check out greatestgetaways.com for places to stay in Vancouver, and beyond.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spring is in the air!

True to the adage, March came in like a lion and today, is going out like a lamb. The flowering cherry trees have been hunkering down beneath the cold, cold temperatures but, if the sunshine continues to warm the air, the streets of Vancouver will very soon be lined with magnificent blossoms. This is the prettiest time of year to visit Vancouver. Besides, with so many locals in shorts, t-sirts and running gear, you can even make believe that summer really is around the corner. Already, sidewalk cafes are packed with folks sipping lattes and nibbling through organic granola bars. It's as if the city is coming alive ..... That's because Spring really is in the air!

And, just as Spring celebrates fresh starts, what better time to reintroduce you to Travelink Publishing's new website design and content. Check it out: you'll discover a thriving company that represents the very best if writing, writing services, travel, and much more.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Welcome to my blog where you can catch up on my news and find out the latest up-to-date insider scoops on my travel destinations.

If you are looking for great places to visit, you can also take a look at my travel web site, Greatest Getaways and if you want to find out more about me - it's all at another of my websites, Travelink Publishing.