Archive for the ‘United States’ Category

What to do in Houston, Texas? Look for the Red Cat Jazz Cafe!

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

Houston, Texas Downtown Buildings by Sheree Zielke

At first blush, I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to be “going back to Houston,” like the old pop song advocates.  This massive city struck me as cold and impersonal, and sadly lacking in human energy.  Houston, we have a problem.

But that was before I found the Red Cat Jazz Cafe.

Read on . . .


San Antonio – An Awesome Value Vacation Especially After Labor Day!

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Yellow Rose Named Leonardo

San Antonio, Texas is, simply put, one heck of a great vacation destination.  It is family-friendly, it is easy to navigate, it offers many activities and adventures, and there are no crowds right after Labor Day.   But even when there are crowds (like on the Labor Day weekend), San Antonio is a must-see.  And, a caution here, a couple of days just won’t be enough time.

Read on . . .


Hurricane Gustav has its perks! You could wind up in San Antonio!

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Mission San Jose by Sheree Zielke

(An early morning view of the beautiful Mission San Jose in San Antonio’s Missions National Park.)

Thank you, Hurricane Gustav.  We are sitting high and dry in one of the loveliest cities in North America, San Antonio. We are supposed to be in New Orleans. But thanks to a little convincing by Gustav and American officials, we changed our plans.

On the day we were set to arrive in NOLA, evacuation orders forced nearly two million folks to leave the southern seaboard.  We had planned a holiday riding the rails, the Amtrak rails, but the trains were needed to take people out of New Orleans, so Amtrak cancelled our reservations.

We were in Houston (another area slated to be hit by Gustav) so we had no choice but to rent a car and head north to San Antonio.  In fact, on our way, we passed a convoy of 2 dozen buses that were heading south on a rescue mission.  Later, on TV, we watched as an endless line of buses, filled with those folks escaping the storm, headed away to safer zones like Dallas and Houston.

Now we are watching as the eye of Gustav makes landfall — the good news, maybe, for New Orleans, is that the eye will be passing farther to the west than expected.

But in the meantime, we are in San Antonio, where we have rented a comfortable house, we have walked the famous Riverwalk, we have ridden the canal boats, we have paid homage to the Alamo, and we have made an early morning trek to the old Spanish missions.  What a joy!

Read on . . .


Get off the Strip – Visit Old Downtown Las Vegas For a Really Good Time!

Friday, August 1st, 2008

Plaza in Las Vegas at Night by Sheree Zielke

My husband and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary yesterday.  Our formal plans had us dining at a very cool eatery called “The Bootlegger Italian Bistro,”  in South Las Vegas. We had eaten there when we first arrived in Vegas and thought it would be a nice place, with its classic old gangster ambience, to have our anniversary dinner.

But our plans changed.  Vegas has a way of doing that to plans.  So, we cancelled our reservations in favor of another place.  And we are so glad we did.  We had one of our best times yet in Las Vegas.

Read on . . .


Vegas is Hurting! Time to Book Your Hotel for Cheap!

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Venetian Hotel in Vegas by Sheree Zielke

I rode the Las Vegas monorail today; it runs along the backyards of Vegas’s giant hotels, all the way from the MGM to the Safari.

From its windows, you can see things you wouldn’t ordinarily glimpse from the Strip, like pools, and lounge chairs, and tanned bodies in tiny swimsuits, and white towels, and — wait a minute! — why are so many of those lounge chairs EMPTY?

Come to think of it, the traffic on the strip seems much lighter than I remember.  The casinos seem quieter and less crammed.  And the buffet restaurant lines are shorter, or even non-existent.

Where are the people?  It’s the middle of summer.  Shouldn’t this top American vacation destination be overflowing with visitors?  I am curious, so I ask around.

Read on . . .


Las Vegas, Nevada: Insight and Quick Travel Tips

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Las Vegas Old Sign by Sheree Zielke

Are you planning a trip to that Mecca of Nevada: Las Vegas?  Maybe you have never visited this city of bright lights and money-grabbing  slots, or maybe you haven’t been there in awhile. 

The good news?  Many things haven’t changed. 

The better news? Many things have changed.  Especially at the airport and at the car rental building. 

Read on . . .


Take a Trip Back to Yesterday: Travel the Historic Route 66 for a Magical Adventure!

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Blue Car in Seligman Arizona by Sheree Zielke

There are almost no words to describe traveling an authentic portion of Route 66.  If time machines exist, then this is one of the finest. 

There is an ambience of days gone by, the good old days, when Mom and Dad packed up the old Chevy with 3.5 kids, a dog, a cooler, Dad in his best driving hat, and Mom in her finest traveling clothes, and hit the road in search of adventures, or maybe a new life on the other side of Amercia.

The atmosphere, the sense of nostalgia along “The Mother Road” is so poignant, so acute, that it will bring tears to your eyes.  At least, it did, to mine. 

My husband and I set out yesterday in search of Americana history.  We left Vegas about 7 AM and reached Kingman, Arizona about 3 hours later.  With a few stops in the desert along the way, we had set up the perfect photo safari.  But we had no idea just how perfect our day was going to be.  Because the adventure that is Route 66 still lay ahead of us.

Read on . . .


Las Vegas Neon Museum – A Photographer’s Dream Location!

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Golden Sign by Sheree Zielke

There is a place in Las Vegas that very few visitors know about.  Even fewer will ever see it. It is a place called, “The Boneyard,” and it is a photographer’s dream, even if all you can get is a glimpse through the thick mesh and wire fence surrounding the compound.

The Boneyard is aptly named as it is a sanctuary for old Las Vegas neon signs – the bones of historic Vegas, if you will.

Read on . . .


The Best Show to See in Las Vegas? The “V” Show!

Monday, July 28th, 2008


I’m jaded when it comes to variety acts.  I have owned an entertainment company for more than a quarter century, and there really isn’t much out there that turns my crank. I have had my fill of jugglers, magicians and comedians.  I am married to a magician, and I still teach interactive comedy theatre, so, it is with great pleasure that I can say I have found a really good variety show in Vegas that’s not only fresh and exciting — it’s actually fun.

Read on . . .


Las Vegas Side Trip: Mojave Desert, Ghost Towns and the Historic Mother of all Roads: Route 66!

Friday, July 11th, 2008

Motel Sign in Las Vegas, Nevada by Sheree Zielke

Planning our next trip is nearly as much fun as taking the trip itself.  Well, nearly.

My husband and I are bound for one of our favorite hot spots, and I mean, hot! Las Vegas, Nevada.  But we aren’t really into the Strip; we tend to tool around in other parts of Vegas, spending most of our time off the Strip, visiting spots like the Nevada Atomic Testing Museum.

But we have gotten the Route 66 bug, so we’ll go further afield this time.  Also, known as the “Mother Road,” Route 66 is just barely visible on modern maps, but a little research shows parts of the roadway can be reached in just under a two-hour drive from Vegas.  But it’ll be one hot drive, since we’ll be headed right into the Mojave Desert, at the height of summer heat.  But the photo opportunities are just too hard to resist.

Read on . . .