Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires fountain

Buenos Aires, a gem of a city in the Western Hemisphere’s Down Under, captivated us with its gorgeous architecture,  bustling streets, cafe culture, and sophistication. While the city is enormous, we thought that five days was enough to see most of the major attractions and get a feel for what the city has to offer.  Red wine and meat lovers will revel in the endless selection of restaurants serving top-notch fare at ridiculously low prices due to the weak Argentinian […]

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Great Falls, Potomac MD

Great Falls Potomac MD 2

I drove out to the Maryland side of Great Falls on a Saturday to hike with my dog along the Billy Goat Trail, one of the DC area’s best hikes. Of course the day I chose to go out there, the trail was closed due to flooding. So, I settled for the easy walking path that skirts the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath, which is a point of interest unto itself I parked in a lot off MacArthur Boulevard and […]

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Princeton, NJ

Princeton University New Jersey

Even though I grew about one hour from Princeton, I had only set foot in the city once, when I went for my interview for a service academy nomination at Senator Bill Bradley’s office. On a recent drive up to NJ, I decided to take a detour to see the campus. I love the design and style of American college campuses, especially the older ones in the Northeast. Princeton is the quintessential American university campus. Neogothic buildings abound. The quads […]

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Ecuador

Cotopaxi Ecuador wild horses

Ecuador is a beautiful country with varied landscapes ranging from dense Amazonian jungles to snowy peaks topping 20,000 feet. Its cities are museum pieces in themselves, reflecting the ingenuity of their indigenous founders and their Spanish conquerors, who fashioned little bits of Europe all over the Andean highlands. If you’re looking for a 5-6 day itinerary, you can’t go wrong by following this one: Day 0 and 1: Quito Quito’s airport is really far away from downtown. I bet it […]

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Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens NE DC

Just when I thought I was running out of things to see in Washington, DC, I discovered this place. It’s located on the far east side of the diamond that Washington DC’s borders form on a map, so I don’t normally head out this way. The park is actually in a run down area of DC; I was not even sure I was going to the right place when I turned off the highway. But I thought the trip was […]

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Antietam National Battlefield, MD

ice cream dog in Sharpsburg Antietam

As I wrote in my Gettysburg post, Washington DC might be the best place in the country for visiting Civil War battlefields. Because the Civil War armies were essentially jockeying the whole time to take control over the federal capital, it follows that most of the battle sites would be located around the DC. I’m lucky in this respect, having been a resident of DC for the last six years. I have made trips to Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, and now Antietam. […]

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Road Trip from DC to Detroit

Detroit graffiti

Cities visited: Cumberland, MD; Fallingwater, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Toledo, OH; Detroit, MI; Dearborn, MI; Akron, OH; Kent State University, OH; Hagerstown, MD Last fall, when I was still a U.S. government employee, the government shutdown kept me at home for two weeks. Rather than just sit at home and wait for the call to come back to work, I decided to get off the couch and embark on road trip to a city I had heard so much about but […]

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Budapest, Vienna, and Bratislava

Széchenyi budapest bath

Though I lived in Germany for almost four years, I never made it to this corner of Central Europe. My friend and I visited three European capitals in this one-week trip:  Vienna, Budapest, and Bratislava. All are within a couple of hours of each other via rail or riverboat on the Danube. We began our trip in Budapest, the edgy Hungarian capital with great restaurants and cafes, un-renovated buildings from the 1800s and a more “foreign” feel than Western European […]

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Vietnam

As a U.S. Army veteran, part of the reason I wanted to go to Vietnam was to experience in a way some of what our soldiers experienced being deployed to a mysterious country 12,000 miles away, a country so foreign in every way possible, from the weather to the language, food, terrain, etc.  On our 12 day trip, we flew into Ho Chi Minh CIty, saw the central part of the country next, and then flew to the northern part. […]

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El Salvador and Honduras

La Libertad beach sunset in El Salvador

El Salvador has one of the highest murder rates in the world. It has earthquakes, volcanoes, the fresh memories of a vicious civil war. Who goes there on vacation?  But my friend and I saw through these scare points and assessed our risk levels rationally, and decided that this beautiful little country no bigger than the state of Massachusetts was too good to pass up. Day  1: San Salvador J and I checked into the Courtyard Marriott San Salvador, a […]

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