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Exploring Nova Scotia’s Small Seaside Towns

Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s unique treasures. It is where rocky shores meet sandy beaches while low mountain ranges stand by. There is something satisfying about watching fishermen unload their catch from bobbing wooden boats. The province’s small seaside towns are as charming as they are quirky. Brightly painted houses line the waterfront while eccentric shops and cafes invite all who pass to enter. These picturesque hamlets will enchant those who linger, enticing them to return again and again.

Digby

Digby is one of those towns tourists tend to overlook as they hop the connecting ferry to Saint John, New Brunswick. They shouldn’t. The quaint fishing village is well known worldwide for the large, sweet scallops harvested from its local waters. Those visitors who take the time to wander the streets of Digby are rewarded with a delightful array of cheerful storefronts and restaurants offering breathtaking views of the sun setting over Fundy Bay. Digby was established in 1783 and still maintains much of its old world charm but there is no time like the present to visit here.
You can book a stay at the Come From Away B&B Inn, a historic Edwardian home on the waterfront, where you can watch Digby’s famous high tide in the Annapolis Basin ebb and recede. The inn is central to everything so you can take a stroll to Crooked Timber Books for something to read or learn about Digby’s maritime history at the Admiral Digby Museum. Later you can treat yourself to lunch at the Sydney Street Pub and Cafe. Of course, you will want to try some pan-fried local scallops while you’re there along with a cold local craft beer and live music.

Lunenburg

Lunenburg is the home port of the majestic Bluenose II tall ship, a fitting presence in a town with such a rich heritage and a vibrant streetscape. It is an art and culture mecca blending the glory of the old town’s UNESCO world heritage status with modern industry and creative amenities. Narrow roads meander through a maze of quaint shops, grand old homes, and colorful eateries. The fabulous Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic offers interactive tours which provide a close-up look of life at sea through theater and live exhibits.
You can stay at The Mariner King Inn in the heart of the old town for the best in hospitality and comfort. The inn celebrates its historic past while, at the same time, providing first-class contemporary lodging. You can spend a dreamy day browsing through the many small shops including Mosaic where treasures and gems can be found. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you might want to grab a wharfside table on the Old Fish Factory’s patio. You might fall in love with the locally-sourced seafood chowder or let yourself splurge with a steamed lobster entree.

Mahone Bay

Mahone Bay will have you imagining you walked into a picture postcard with its olden wooden churches and stunning architecture. The town was settled in 1754 and thrived as a shipbuilding hub and mariner’s destination. Today it is an idyllic respite scattered with artisan studios, boutique shops, and friendly pubs. The natural beauty of the area encourages outdoor adventures when the weather permits. The peaceful waters of Mahone Bay are made up of several islands. South Shore Boat Tours offers exciting trips around them where, if you are lucky, you might just see the dolphins frolicking in the bay.
Check in at the Fairmont House Bed and Breakfast Inn for scenic water views and pet-friendly accommodations. Once a shipbuilder’s residence, the inn is homey and welcoming with easy access to all Mahone Bay has to offer. The town’s seaside setting has attracted artists and creatives to the area for years. A once-vacant boathouse on the South Shore is now home to Amos Pewter Designs, a community icon of craftsmanship and well worth a visit. You can end your day of exploring at The Mug & Anchor Pub where you will find delicious pub food, maritime music, and unusual craft beers.

Yarmouth

Yarmouth still boasts the largest fishing fleet in Canada’s Atlantic Ocean waters. The port town is admired for its grand old homes many featuring widow’s walks where captain’s wives could watch for the return of the ships carrying their loved ones. The 175-year-old Cape Forchu Lightstation is ideal for hiking, picnics, and for enjoying glorious vistas of the surrounding sea. The traditions of Arcadian culture are an integral part of the flavor of Yarmouth and visitors should not leave without trying Rappie pie, unique and savory meat, onion, and potato dish topped with molasses.
The Lakelawn B&B and Motel is an affordable and pleasant place to hang your hat. It was once a wealthy shipbuilder’s mansion home where celebrities were entertained with elegant parties. Now it is a clean and comfortable refuge complete with its own cafe and hearty breakfast menus. Head into town for a busy day of antique shopping and maritime-inspired gift buying at one of the artisan shops. Rudder’s Seafood Restaurant and Brew Pub is a favorite gathering place for locals and tourists alike offering live entertainment seven nights a week. You will be glad you stopped by.
Nova Scotia is everything you could want in a coastal destination. Its proud history and pristine bays are only a small part of the province’s lure. You might want to take a slow drive through its countryside stopping often to admire the craggy shoreline and bays dotted with sailboats and seabirds. Nova Scotia hosts over 550 festivals and events throughout the year bringing music, comedy, food, and fun to town. You can share some laughter at the Halifax ComedyFest or nurture your artful side in Peggy’s Cove at the Festival of the Arts.
Outdoor adventures are never too far away anywhere in Nova Scotia. Well-maintained hiking and biking trails are plentiful and golf courses seem to pop up where you least expect them. Those who prefer more high adrenalin activities won’t be disappointed either. The Atlantic School of Skydiving offers a guided tandem skydive experience and Anchors Above Zipline in Pictou County will let you soar the skies. There is something for everyone in beautiful Nova Scotia. It is no wonder it is nicknamed Canada’s Ocean Playground.

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How to Eat Like a Local in Ethiopia

Feast Through Ethiopia

Here is some practical advice on how to blend in and eat like a local and several popular restaurants and cafes you should visit while you’re in Ethiopia’s capital.

How to Eat Ethiopian Food Like a Local

There is one thing you should know before you go to an Ethiopian restaurant in Addis Ababa: many locals don’t use silverware. Ethiорiаnѕ prefer to eat with their bаrе hаndѕ. Although silverware may be available in some establishments if you ask the waiter, you should bid farewell tо trаditiоnаl cutlery like knives and forks if you truly want to eat like a local during your vacation.
Ethiopian diѕhеѕ are traditionally ѕеrvеd to individual guests on a Mеѕоb, which iѕ a colorful tabletop stand made out of woven ѕtrаw. The server will remove the Mesob’s lid once your food is ready to uncover your meal inside. You can also order everything family-style, so the food is served to everyone on one big community platter or plate.
Meat is usually reserved for special occasions in Ethiopia. Restaurants usually buy meat from nearby farms and use fresh, locally sourced vegetables. Many Ethiopian meals are served with injera, a popular bread made from fеrmеntеd teff flour. The main ingredients of your meal are usually ѕеrvеd on tор оf the spongy injera bread. All you have to do is tear off a рiесе of Injera and use it to scoop up the food in the center if you want to start eating. Your ѕеrvеr will also probably рlасе some extra fоldеd injеrа in a small basket next to thе serving trау or Mesob so that you won’t run out.
It’s also custom for you to scoop up ѕоmе fооd and fееd it to a loved one if уоu are оn a date. Known as “gursha” in Ethiopian culture, feeding someone is considered an act оf kindnеѕѕ аnd demonstrates your deep sense of rеѕресt for the оthеr person.
Remember to wash your hands beforehand since you’ll be using them as utensils. Certain restaurants may also bring out a bаѕin of wаtеr and ѕоар so you can clean them at the table and won’t have to bother to get up and go to the bathroom.
Now that you’ve learned how to eat like a local, here are several Ethiopian restaurants and cafes you should visit while staying in the capital:

Moyos Cafe

Do you get cranky in the morning without coffee or breakfast? If so, you should consider stopping by Moyos Cafe to enjoy some Ethiopian coffee, freshly squeezed juice and pancakes smothered in strawberries to start your day. Other breakfast items include omelets, fruit cups, waffles, and French toast. Since Moyos Cafe is a favorite among the locals, try to get there as early in the morning as possible.

Effoi Pizza

Effoi Pizza specializes in cooking Italian Ethiopian cuisine, which means that each gourmet pizza pie has a unique blend of Italian pasta sauce and tasty Ethiopian spices. Their most popular dish is a vegan pizza with roasted eggplant and toasted zucchini with pesto and cheese. Meanwhile, meat lovers prefer their Tsedei pizza since it has ground beef, salami, and spiced sausage as toppings. In addition to serving Italian beverages, Effoi Pizza also serves traditional Ethiopian drinks like Tej (honey wine) or Suwa beer. The restaurant has been serving the local community since 2007 and has four locations throughout the country. If you make an effort to visit Effoi Pizza during your trip be prepared to wait for a table since it’s one of the most popular hangout spots in Addis Abba.

Mama’s Kitchen

If you want to catch a live show while you’re in town, head to Mama’s Kitchen. The glamorous and upscale restaurant, located in the heart of Addis Ababa, is a favorite among music lovers since they have live music and entertainment every day. The modern restaurant serves everything from traditional Ethiopian food to shish kebabs and BBQ. There is also a beer court and cocktail bar happy hour specials and specialty house cocktails if you want to relax and have a drink while listening to the music. Make sure that you check out their sophisticated VIP lounge, complete with red leather couches and gold accented decor. We recommend that you look up the restaurant’s event schedule and make an online reservation so that you can check their availability before leaving your hotel.

Dashen Traditional Restaurant

Are you traveling in a large group? If so, you should visit Dashen Traditional Restaurant. The casual venue has an outside garden terrace and bar that is the perfect place to eat with a group of friends. They serve traditional Ethiopian meals on Mesobs and large community platters. Their most popular dish is beef tongue and chicken stew. Dashen Traditional Restaurant also features live musical acts several nights a week.

Brundo Butchery Bar and Restaurant

Brundo Butchery Bar and Restaurant is famous for its fresh meat. Their most popular dish is kitfo, which is raw ground beef that is mixed together with a blend of different spices and butter. If eating raw meat doesn’t interest you, you can always order kitfo leb leb since it’s the same type of meat but fully cooked. Another favorite among locals is the cooked beef tips. Brundo Buthcery Bar and Restaurant also has several varieties of Tej beer and fermented honey wine.

Kategna Restaurant

One of the first things you will notice when you step inside Kаtеgnа Restaurant is the delicious smell of fresh spices and herbs. Although the restaurant has a contemporary decor, don’t be fooled. Kategna specializes in serving traditional Ethiopian meals with injera bread. They also host elaborate coffee ceremonies for guests during the day. The restaurant draws both a local and international crowd due to its proximity to several high-end hotels, so be prepared to make friends from all over the world when you dine at Kategna Restaurant.
Regardless if you want to try Italian Ethiopian pizza or eat kifto with injera bread, there are various dining options for you to choose from in the city of Addis Abba. After all, we can’t think of a better way for you to explore the Horn of Africa than by sharing several flavorful meals with your friends and family members.

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Visit These Tibetan Monasteries On Your Next Trip To China

China is home to a rich and multi-layered culture textured with breathtaking vistas and complex intricacies. One of the most intriguing areas of the country is the often romanticized and always mysterious region of Tibet. It conjures up images of a deeply spiritual mountain land where robed monks keep vigil, and a higher uncomprehensible consciousness exists. The beautiful monasteries of Tibet uplift the travelers who dare to seek them out. It is a journey well worth taking. You can visit these spectacular Tibetan monasteries on your next trip to China for a one-of-a-kind experience.

Ganden Monastery

Ganden Monastery lies on the southern banks of the Lhasa River and is one of the earliest monasteries built in Tibet. Its towering location on Wangbur Mountain offers visitors a panoramic view of Lhasa Valley and the Shannon countryside. Ganden is the primary monastery in the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism and remains an important example of Gelugpa tradition. The architectural integrity of the monastery’s buildings and cultural centers are intact and, in themselves, well worth exploring.
The many chapels, shrines, and pagodas are adorned with colorful murals with historical relics remaining inside. You will want to wear your walking shoes and take advantage of the one hour Kora monastery tour. It is a steep slow walk around the grounds rewarded by the sight of prayer flags blowing in the wind and the sound of chanting monks at prayer. Your camera will get a workout trying to capture the spectacular scenery around every corner and the unique cultural symbols encountered along the way.
You can stop for lunch at the Ganden Monastery Restaurant after the tour where they offer both vegetarian and non-vegetarian choices. The Ganden monks grow a special herb called Ganden Khempa which is blessed by the monks and made into incense available for purchase as a souvenir. It is believed this natural product possesses a variety of health benefits when burned. You can get a peaceful night’s sleep once the day is through at the posh St. Regis Resort in nearby Lhasa.

Jokhang Temple

Jokhang Temple is the oldest and holiest of all the monasteries in Tibet. It sits in the heart of old town Lhasa drawing pilgrims and scholars from all over the world to its architecture and the secrets within. Jokhang Temple’s history is colored with fantastical legends adding romance and intrigue to its majesty. The original temples were built over 1400 years ago by King Songtsen Gampo to house the statues of Buddha gifted to him as a dowry from his new wives.
There is much to see and appreciate at Jokhang Temple including the incredible life-sized statue of Shakyamuni, a brilliant-colored icon of Buddhist imagery. As you make your way among the labyrinth of small chapels in the monastery complex, you will be mesmerized by the hundreds of Buddha statues surrounded by votive candles. It is an atmospheric, moody experience and one you will likely not forget. Climb the steps to the golden rooftop, and you can overlook the square where pilgrims gather below in ceremonial worship.
The multicultural streets of Lhasa are bursting with vibrant eateries, the spicy aromas sure to entice you in after a day visiting the temples. You might want to try the Tibetan Family Kitchen for local cuisines including momo dumplings and sweet rice. The friendly staff speak English and are happy to treat you like family. You can relax later at the Zhaxi Quta Style Hotel with its classic, spacious rooms, free buffet breakfast, and WiFi. The hotel is centrally located and in walking distance to many of Lhasa’s attractions.

Potala Palace

Potala Palace has been the renowned winter residence of the Dalai Lama since the 7th-century and still stands as a symbol of traditional Buddhism. This castle-like structure reaches over 12,000 feet above the town! The palace is a Tibetan architectural wonder with golden roofs visible from miles away and a regal presence even among the other monasteries. It is an iconic tribute and mecca to practicing Buddhists from all over the globe, and many devotional events are held there each year.
The interior of Potala Palace is a rich combination of decorative stone and wood with exquisite carvings as well as artwork depicting Tibetan history. There are more than a thousand rooms showcasing a variety of murals, painted scrolls, and statues made of jewels and gold. Photographers can ascend the winding path up Chakpori Hill beside Potala Palace for a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape and a rare opportunity to capture an image of the palace as the sun rises or sets. The resulting photos will be worthy of hanging on your wall.
Once you have had your fill of all that wonder, you can wander down Lhasa’s Bakuo Street until you come upon another of its landmarks, the Makye Ame Restaurant. Its bright yellow facade will draw you in, and you will be greeted by a homey atmosphere and live Tibetan music. You can sip on freshly-brewed local barley wine while enjoying a feast of leafy greens and yak-inspired main courses. The Four Points by Sheraton Hotel is the perfect place to reflect on your day and rest in luxurious comfort and tranquility.

Considerations

Tourism in Tibet is strictly regulated, and foreign travelers are required to arrange their visit to the monasteries through a tour company. There are many reputable tour operators to choose from including WildJunket, a young-at-heart guide company for adventurous travel. Additionally, Tibet is known as the “roof of the world” because of its high altitude so some visitors might require a day or two to adapt to the change.
Visitors are not allowed to take photographs inside shrines and chapels or of people without asking for permission. Much of the food will be unfamiliar, and goat and yak meat are commonly on the menu though vegetarian dishes are delicious and plentiful. Tibet is an ancient, exotic land and one of China’s most remarkable destinations. You just might have the time of your life!

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5 Reasons Why Dubai is More than Just a Business Destination

“Dubai is a city of world records. It has the largest man-made island, the largest indoor amusement park, the largest building in the world, 163 stories to the top. Now it’s aiming for its most audacious ambition: The booming desert city that a decade ago had the world’s largest environmental footprint wants to become, by the year 2050, the most sustainable city on Earth.”
– Daniel Stone, National Geographic
It is no secret that Dubai has become one of the top meeting destinations for the world’s leading businesses. However, Dubai has become much more than a choice location for professional meetings, trade shows, and expos. In 2017, nearly 16 million people visited Dubai, a figure which includes business professionals and leisure travelers alike. This record-breaking tourism has positioned the city as one of the top travel destinations in the world for all types of travelers. Below are five reasons why Dubai has become so much more than a business destination for vacationers and travel aficionados.

1) Enjoy a view from the world’s tallest building

Dubai is home to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. People travel from all corners of the map to enjoy a breathtaking view from the Burj Khalifa. With over 160 floors, the building has two main observation decks, which are located on the 125th and 148th floors. You can purchase your tickets upon arrival or save money and time by booking them online in advance. During your visit, you can have refreshments at the SKY Lounge and participate in a variety of interactive activities available to guests. Following your visit to the top of the Burj, you can relax and watch a captivating water performance held at the Dubai Fountain. Shows are free of charge for onlookers, who often gather outdoors to have dinner and watch the show from a table at one of the many fountain-side restaurants at the Dubai Mall.

2) Snow ski in the desert

Located within the confines of Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates, Ski Dubai is one of the only desert-based ski resorts in the world. With an indoor ski area totaling 22,500 square meters, Ski Dubai boasts a 25-story high mountain with five slopes of varying difficulty. The resort opened in 2005 and featured the world’s first indoor black diamond run. Skis, jackets, and equipment are provided with your ticket, or you can bring your equipment if you wish. If you grow chilly or are ready to switch gears, you can simply exit the resort and spend the remainder of your day shopping in the Mall of the Emirates. With over 700 stores and services, the Mall of the Emirates is among the largest malls in the world.

3) Ride a Camel!

Dubai is famous for its camel racing and even has a television station devoted exclusively to camels and racing. The camel plays such a key role in Dubai’s rich heritage that Dubai is now home to the largest, most impressive camel hospital in the world – the $40 million AED Dubai Camel Hospital in Marmoun. While taking part in an official camel race might be tricky, you can enjoy a leisurely ride on a camel on one of Dubai’s beautiful beaches or even arrange a full day desert safari that features a camel ride and professionally guided tour of Dubai’s desert terrain. Safaris typically begin during the middle of the day and end with a dinner that features local cuisine and entertainment. If you do not have several hours available for a safari, you can enjoy a short camel ride on Jumeirah Beach.

4) Book a room at the famous Burj Al Arab

“Shaped like the sail of an Arabian dhow ship and built for $1 billion, the hotel is full of extravagances like a Rolls-Royce chauffeur, a 14-piece set of Hermès toiletries, personal butlers — Burj says the staff-to-guest ratio is 6:1—and 24-karat gold everything.”
– Harrison Jacobs, Business Insider
Shaped like a beautiful sailboat, the Burj Al Arab is one of the world’s most luxurious hotels. The hotel was built in 1998 to accommodate the world’s most discerning guests. From marble staircases to 24-karat gold furnishings to private butlers, Burj Al Arab offers an unforgettable experience to guests. If you cannot afford to part with $1,500 for a night’s accommodations, you can make reservations to dine at the hotel’s famous Al Mahara restaurant. With its underwater theme, the restaurant features spectacular sights and seafood dishes prepared by award-winning chefs. The wall to ceiling aquarium in the restaurant provides a fascinating environment to enjoy a five-star dining experience.

5) Check out Dubai’s Most Famous Souks

Dubai is internationally known for its awe-inspiring souks. Commonly known in America as marketplaces or bazaars, souks are often located in outdoor areas and are often the heartbeat of the neighborhoods where they are located. Among Dubai’s most impressive souks are the Gold Souk, the Spice Souk, and the Textile Souk. Each of these souks is located in a different region of Dubai, enabling visitors to become familiar with some of Dubai’s local neighborhoods. If you plan to visit one or more of Dubai’s souks, be sure to wear comfortable shoes, as it is easy for visitors to spend the better part of a day at one souk alone. Also, be prepared to negotiate with vendors, many of whom welcome the opportunity to engage with prospective overseas buyers. Finally, plan to bring a spacious bag, as you will likely run across many local treasures and souvenirs that are hand-crafted by the area’s most talented artists, craftsmen, and chefs.
Dubai is more than just a convenient meeting location for the world’s top leaders and executives. Dubai is an award-winning destination for business professionals and leisure travelers alike. From breathtaking views to innovative fairs to stellar shopping, it is no surprise that more people are traveling to Dubai than ever. And with a first-class international airport, Dubai is easily accessible for prospective visitors in virtually every region of the world.

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A Taste of the French Canadian Cuisine in Quebec City, Canada

Feast Through Quebec

With French Canadian heritage and local ingredients, some of the most talented chefs in the city create mouthwatering recipes that will leave you wanting more. From breakfast to the last bite of dessert, Quebec City is home to restaurants that will have you savoring every bite.

Légende

Légende is a restaurant that features the most delectable seasonal dishes. A place that truly captures the culture of Quebec City, Légende has a charming and rustic environment that is as warm and welcoming as the food itself. The culinary story passes from each guest to the next and lives strong in the hearts of the locals. Dishes are meant for sharing, and there is also a tasting menu. Food offerings such as Venison Carpaccio will enchant your taste buds, and there is an extensive wine list from which you may choose. The menu changes frequently due to the availability of local ingredients, so you will find different delicious choices each time you visit. Eat indoors and enjoy the quaint surroundings, or outdoors as you admire the sights that the city has to offer. While you may not know precisely what meal is in store for you until you get there, one thing is for sure: it will be one of the best meals you have ever enjoyed!

Le Continental

When you are looking for savory French cuisine to complement the culture of Quebec City, Le Continental is the perfect place. The upscale atmosphere speaks for itself, and the food is prepared tableside for an experience you won’t soon forget. Start with an appetizer such as Garlic Snails in Shells, Ravioli of Sweetbreads with Truffle Oil, or Slices of Smoked Salmon, Capers, and Chopped Red Onions. Soups include selections such as Cognac flavored Lobster Bisque and Onion Soup with Gruyère Gratin. When it comes time to choose the main course, you’ll find choices such as Snow Crabs and Hollandaise, Sautéed Veal Chop and Fresh Thyme Juice, and much more. The plate of cheese served after the main course is just delightful! Each cheese is made with local raw milk for a taste that you will love; you’ll enjoy goat cheese and an ever-changing variety of other cheeses. Save room for dessert, because specially prepared treats are the perfect ending to a wonderful meal. There is no better place than Le Continental to enjoy the ambiance of Quebec City.

La Planque

This amazing gastropub is the perfect way to relax after a whirlwind day of sightseeing in Quebec City. Serving plenty of New Canadian fare, this restaurant is a quaint hideout for tourists and locals alike. With a rustic environment, you’ll feel right at home in comfortable surroundings. You’ll feel as if you stepped into another world as soon as you walk in the door of La Planque, where everything tastes delicious, and everyone is there to serve you! The staff believes in making each customer smile with excellent service and top-quality food. Music is always playing to add to the feel-good environment. You won’t want to miss out on appetizers such as Foie Grass, Canadian Oysters, and Gravlax of Salmon. Dinner is equally as delectable, with offerings that include the Play of Beef for two, Turlo Pig, Supreme of Pintade of Cape St – Ignace, and much more. Desserts are mouthwatering, with options including Chocolate and Cranberry Brownies, Caramelized White Chocolate Cake, and Financial with Amenlanche and Zestes d’orange.

Buffet de l’Antiquaire

Buffet de l’Antiquaire is a diner-style restaurant serving some of the traditional food for which Quebec City is famous. Everyone is considered part of the family at Buffet de l’Antiquaire, and the ambiance is friendly and inviting at all times. The restaurant has been catering to tourists for more than four decades, and the staff loves answering questions about the history of the establishment, so ask away! Whether you come in for a quick coffee break or to enjoy a full meal, you do not want to leave Quebec City without visiting this charming spot. Stop by for breakfast and enjoy the Pain Dore or perhaps a perfectly prepared omelet. Later in the day and in the evening, satisfy your hunger with Poutine, Galvaude, or Spaghetti Au Smoked Meat. Looking for just a hot, soothing beverage and a pastry? The menu includes espresso, chocolat chaud, cafe au lait, and everything in between. For dessert, choose from options such as Shortcake aux Fraises, Crepe Dessert Fourree a la Creme Glacee a la Vanille, Fraises Et Chantilly, or the Dessert du Jour. You’ll love every last bite!

1640 Bistro

If you want to enjoy the view of Quebec City along with world-class cuisine, 1640 Bistro is the perfect place. You can sit on the terrace overlooking the magnificent city as you gaze at Château Frontenac and savor the quality time with your company. See live musicians and enjoy chef created plates that are a mix of French cuisine and European culture. From morning to evening, guests are always welcome. Come for breakfast and enjoy dishes such as La Poutine Matinale, and L’Assiette Brunch. If you prefer to stop by for lunch or dinner, selections include Charbroiled Quarter Chicken, Tagliatelle Pasta with braised pork and spinach, Duck Confit Poutine, and much more. This is the perfect place to get in touch with the atmosphere that Quebec City has to offer. Come with your significant other and feel like you are falling in love again over your romantic meal. The dessert menu will make you swoon, as the offerings include delights such as Caramel Cheesecake, Apple Tatin Tart, and a daily dessert that makes for a pleasant surprise. The service is nothing less than impeccable, making you feel at ease and right at home.
Now you know the best places to go for a delectable meal when you plan your trip to Quebec City, Canada. The city has a somewhat enchanting feel, making you feel as happy and special as possible! There is no better place to enjoy the French, Canadian, and European cuisine than this over the top, amazing city.

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3 Magical Towns in South Africa For Art Lovers

African Towns For Art Lovers

The bigger cities are cultural meccas of colorful creativity, individual expression, and vibrant invention. Many wanderers have been stopped and enthralled by the treasures found there, yet artists are often drawn to smaller towns where the quiet calls and even the skies seem airbrushed by a painter’s hand.

Clarens is Playful

Clarens is often referred to as the “Jewel of the Free State,” but those familiar with the enchanting town know it as the ultimate artist’s hideout. It rests comfortably beneath the Maluti mountains, a craggy range that embodies the American West. Multi-colored sandstone formations and pristine rivers and streams dress up the landscape. Nature here is canvas enough for outdoor enthusiasts to take advantage of trout fishing and white water rafting on the Ash River. Scenic cycling trails and bird watching adventures also await.
The town of Clarens is an eccentric town full of quirky character that is just a few hours from both Johannesburg and Bloemfontein. The village square is bustling by day with over fifteen unique art galleries, charming antique stores, and cafes. You may want to check out the Robert Badenhorst Gallery where both emerging and established fine artists are showcased. Stop by the Highland Coffee Roastery for a cup of heavenly coffee. Clarens is a friendly and walkable community, so you can take your time and explore.
In the evening, Clarens transforms from lively to subtle, quietly enticing the romantic and hungry to experience fine dining. You can reserve a table at Clementines with its upscale country menu and relaxing ambiance, or keep it cozy and casual at The Artist’s Cafe. There are several lodging options in town when you are ready to call it a day. You can sleep in style at the Mont d’Or Hotel, a luxury boutique hotel with all the frills, or opt for a quaint B&B like Patcham Place in the heart of the village. Self-catering cottages are also available.

Prince Albert is Crafty

Prince Albert in a hidden gem in the Karoo Desert where craftmakers, photographers, and story-weavers animate imagination. The picturesque Swartberg Mountains in the distance frame a living gallery bursting with cultural pride and rich history going back to the year 1762. Be sure not to bypass the Fransie Pienaar Museum where you will be mesmerized by the extensive collection of earthenware, fossils, and olden musical instruments. An onsite distillery produces local moonshine, called witblits, available for tasting and purchasing at the museum’s shop.
The off-the-beaten-path town of Prince Albert is alive with an artistic vibe spanning the creative genres and straining the poetic norms. Karoo Looms is not to be missed on a visit to town. The weavery was established in 1983 and has since delighted all with its highly-skilled spinning and weaving of beautiful mohair rugs. You can take a stroll down Kerkstraat (Church Street) with its quaint woodworking and pottery shops as well as outdoor cafes.
Dining choices are plentiful in Prince Albert, and a slow relaxing dinner with a glass of local wine at the Gallery Cafe is the perfect way to close out the day. Owner Brent Phillips-White uses ingredients from local sources including those from his own garden, planted to supply the restaurant. You might want to try the black wildebeest fillet for an authentic South African experience. You can stay the night at one of the community’s unique lodging establishments like the historic De Bergkant Lodge. The tranquil Cape Dutch homestead offers comfortable, spacious suites with elegant features and cool antique accents. Large swimming pools and natural green terraces invite peaceful relaxation.

Nieu Bethesda is Dynamic

Nieu Bethesda is mostly known for The Owl House, a tribute to outsider art by Helen Martins. The friendly, small village is also home to a growing number of creative types who appreciate its serene lifestyle and breathtaking vistas. The gurgling of fresh spring water running through the town’s working furrow system serenades while Compassberg, the Eastern Cape’s highest mountain, keeps vigil over the idyllic setting. You can take a leisurely donkey cart tour with Jakob van Staden who cheerfully shares his extensive knowledge of his hometown and its history.
Nieu Bethesda may appear to be a sleepy village at first glance, but the interesting and talented characters who have gathered there bring a colorful animation to the area. Charmaine Haines, an acclaimed South African ceramicist, was inspired by the natural environment and chose to open her studio in the village as did renowned sculptor, Frans Boekkooi. The Bethesda Arts Centre is an incredible testament to textile arts celebrating Bushman mythology through vibrant tapestries crafted by the indigenous artists of ǀXam descent. You might also want to check out Dustcovers Bookshop for rare books sourced from all over the world.
The Brewery and Two Goats Deli is the ideal spot to enjoy a delicious lunch and a cold glass of ale in the shade of pepper and pear trees. The almost-hidden rustic pub makes its own cheese, hand-roasts its coffee, and brews its own craft beer for a fresh and authentic experience. Dinner at The Tower Restaurant finds you comfortably seated in a quaint old tower with a pleasantly mysterious ambiance. The menu is varied and includes Karoo Lamb, Cottage Pie, and vegetarian dishes. Accommodations in Nieu Bethesda are homey and sometimes quirky. Self-catering cottages like Murrayfield Guesthouse and Rustpunt Cottage are clean and affordable options for a one-of-a-kind South African adventure.
South Africa has much to offer both travelers and residents, from its rich diversity to its awe-inspiring landscape. Cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg exude cultural charm and modern amenities, but sometimes it’s a good idea to take the roads less traveled. You never know what treasures you may find there.

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Insider’s Tips On Exploring The Caribbean City Of Cartagena

Often when people imagine of the beautiful Caribbean Sea, those sun-drenched coasts and stunning shorelines, they seldom picture the gorgeous and historic city of Cartagena. Nowadays, some people are more likely to associate this area with a string of successful Disney pirate movies or even the eighties cinematic classic “Romancing The Stone” supposedly set in Colombia but filmed mostly in Mexico. Moving past some of these family-favorite flicks, there are plenty of reasons to visit the amazing town inside one of Colombia’s signature and most populous cities. Located on the shores of a bay bearing the same name, Cartagena is a spectacular destination that needs to be put on every traveler’s bucket list.

The Heroic Walled City

Way back in ancient history, Cartagena was a popular port for the actual pirates of the Caribbean looting this wealthy, emerging city while trekking their way through this tropical and profitable sea. Tired of being a constant target of medieval marauders, the existing government enlisted their growing military and townspeople to construct a multitude of towers, huge stone walls and well-armed fortifications to protect their precious town from robbers and continuous invasion attempts. Many of these long-lasting landmarks are still standing today, and this is how Cartagena garnered the nickname of the “walled city.”
Today’s natives of this historic region are extremely proud of their national heritage, and the bloody battles once raged to ultimately gain their independence from an overbearing Spanish rule. Currently, Cartagena remains the busiest port in this South American country, and with over a million residents, its shiny, modern skyscrapers are towering over cobblestone streets, shadowing ancient castles and bestow beautiful colonial architecture making it a truly unique destination for voyeuristic travelers.

The Best Bay View And More

If you’re looking for one of the absolute best views of the Bay of Cartagena, look closely at stopping for dinner (or drinks) at the Cafe del Mar. Located atop one of those remaining relic forts, this remarkable restaurant is home to a priceless view of the city’s skyline either by day or night. Most prefer viewing the sunset from this rooftop restaurant after seeing all the sites during the daylight hours. But if you plan on watching the sun dip down just before dark, be sure to arrive early to this popular destination for the best seat.
Aside from the unbelievable ambiance at this extraordinary eatery as seen both inside and out, it’s also highly acclaimed for their fantastic food, appetizers, full bar, dancing to a DJ spinning tunes seven nights a week. They also have a great calendar of events lasting throughout the year. From an annual New Year’s Eve party to Independence Day celebrations, they also host a variety of native talent shows and festive Full Moon Nights. You’ll find a delightful blend of both locals and tourists mingling at this Cartagena hot spot.

Cruising The Caribbean In Style

Along with the majority of peso-based purchases in Cartagena, almost everything in Colombia is surprisingly affordable especially renting a boat or even a yacht. That’s right chartering a private yacht is within many traveler’s budgets. While they are plenty of traditional tourist-trap options puttering around the bay, instead of being crammed into a smaller tour boat like a sardine, water wanderlusts can captain a vessel by renting their cruiser. For those unfamiliar with the bay, a better option is booking a yacht complete with a Captain and small staff including a knowledgeable, friendly First Mate available with many of these packages.
With plenty to see in The Bay of Cartagena including dozens of islands and archipelagos, local pilots of these smaller ships know these waters like the back of their hands. They’ll take you to remote locations where passengers will enjoy being pampered while viewing magnificent marine life, all the fantastic flora, fauna, exploring sensational scuba and lesser-known snorkeling sites without dealing with crowds.

A Floating Party On Cholon

If partying like a rock star floats your boat, then be sure to set a course for the island of Cholon where there’s a literal floating party happening practically every day. Not just on the weekends or other red-letter days, a mostly college-aged crowd sets sail to this isle located about 45-minutes off the shores of Cartagena where boaters gather to party hearty on board their watercraft.
Even if you’re not into hanging with a younger crowd, prepare for locals catering to your needs when mooring your vessel near the shores of this trendy location. Many natives will swim or row out to your to your boat to deliver the freshest seafood, sensational cocktails, favorite local cuisine and more. Food and beverage vendors on the shore also set up tables in the shallow, warm tropical waters for visitors to enjoy their dishes and beverages closer to the beach.

All Aboard Romantic Shores

One of the best ways to see the sites of this city is via a horse and carriage ride through the old town section of Cartagena especially if you’re vacationing with your significant other. Even if you’re touring with friends or family, riding in the back of one of these open-air carriages on the cobblestone streets of the historic district offers stunning views and a unique way to explore this stunning part of the city.
With miles of shoreline near the city along with and dozens of islands scattered throughout in the bay, strolling on sandy, white beaches in and around Cartagena is pastime enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. So opaque are some of these shores, there’s even a place called Playa Blanca which translates to “white beach.” Located on Isla Baru, about an hour’s scenic boat ride from the city and also accessible by land, this is also a popular location for snorkeling, fishing, and even skydiving. Often crowded with tourists during the populous afternoon hours, once the vast majority of foot traffic has returned to the shores of Cartagena, those spending the night or with their transportation often enjoy moonlit walks on the beach after dark underneath the star-studded stars.

Cultural Coastal Cuisine

Similar to most coastal cities, Cartagena is world renowned for its wide selection of some of the freshest seafood and ceviche is a popular choice. To experience the real crème de la crème of this sensational seafood classic, be sure to visit the namesake La Cevicheria restaurant since they snagged the bragging rights for this sensational seafood stew. You’ll also find ceviche being served all over the streets of this town including those prepared by local food vendors, served in sidewalk cafes and offered by street peddlers. A couple of other excellent eateries worthy of visiting to taste regional treats and experience the unique cultural, Caribbean cuisine of Cartagena include the upscale Marea Restaurante by Rausch with delectable downtown views and Restaurante Paco’s closer to the historic district.
In conclusion, when placing a Caribbean locale in your plans for a future getaway, be sure to put the quaint and charming Colombian city of Cartagena on your travel calendar for a truly magical and memorable adventure. Don’t worry about booking during a certain season since the temperatures are tropical year-round. While light rains typically fall mostly during the months of October and November, this is not a monsoon region, so chances are the weather will be gorgeous during your stay.

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Traverse City: An Amazing Blend of Award-Winning Wines & Foodie Delights

Feast Through Traverse City

Dig a little deeper though, and you’ll discover that you’re just as likely to find a vintage glass of one-of-a-kind wine as you are to enjoy a bottle of pale wheat ale or imperial stout. The up-and-coming Traverse Wine Coast is home to nearly 40 wineries, thanks to a stroke of geological luck that it shares with some famous wine regions of Europe. Not to mention an expert group of innovative farmers, cultivators, and producers who love creating prestigious wines that add a singular culinary ‘spark’ to this food-friendly region.

A Unique Twist on Classic Winemaking

Midwest Magazine has named Traverse City among the Top Five Food Towns for two years running, and this genuine love of creating spectacular food and drink is part of the reason why the region has produced such a wide variety of internationally-acclaimed wines for pairing. The unique geographical conditions are another factor in the region’s success. Many of the vineyards front to the 100 miles of coastline that make up Traverse Wine Country’s two main peninsulas: The Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail. Lake Michigan and the bay both offer a protected environment for the grapes to grow, and cool air and nutrient-rich soil add to the high-quality yields.
In fact, The Traverse Wine Coast is situated on the 45th parallel, which is exactly the latitude at which the world-renowned Bordeaux and Piedmont districts of France and Italy sit. This ideal locale has created a thriving center of viticulture, with nearly 13,000 acres of grapes and proud bragging rights as the 5th leading grape producer in the United States. The area’s top selections include Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay, as well as Cabernet Franc, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Grigio. These premier Northern Michigan wines can be easily recognized by their well-balanced, fruit-driven flavors that are crisp and clean, allowing for the perfect pairings with a diverse range of culinary dishes.

The Vineyards of Traverse City

‘Must See’ Vineyards of the Old Mission Peninsula

Chateau Grand Traverse

Just eight miles north of Traverse City sits a world of its the Chateau Grand Traverse Estate. It is Northern Michigan’s oldest winery, having opened its doors in 1974. Sitting on 122 prime acres of land, the winery has its own contemporary wine tasting room and production facility. Visitors here are among the lucky ones to taste the superbly-blended MichMash line that’s only available in-state. You can also enjoy the O’Keefe family’s generosity with a free wine tour of the vineyards and winemaking facility, including a presentation of the growing and production process from ‘vine to glass.’ Their mouthwatering house-made delicacies include smoked paprika almonds and hand-crafted crackers with fresh fig jam.
The vineyard also boasts a 6-room Inn where you can take in amazing views of the rolling vineyards, Traverse Bay sunsets, and the beautiful Bowers Harbor Park. The vineyard’s generosity continues with a complimentary bottle of their finest signature wine for overnight guests on a private balcony surrounded by serene woodland landscapes.

Mari Vineyards

Michigan native, engineer, and Oak Island star Marty Lagina was determined to plant “grapes that wouldn’t grow” in the region to create wines that honor his Italian heritage. Successfully cultivating the Old World varieties of Sangiovese and Nebbiolo grapes took lots of hard work, some innovative technology, and a bit of a rebel spirit, but today you can literally enjoy the ‘fruits’ of his labor with his award-winning lines of Pinot Bianco and Merlots blends.
Mari Vineyards offers you the chance to take a tour of the 3,000 square-foot wine cave that’s buried 10 feet underground as you hear the inspiring true story of the vineyard’s signature ‘Row 7’ origins. They also offer a newly completed, two-tiered tasting room that provides three unique seating options including an outdoor patio. Here you can savor an incredible selection of their citrus, berry, apple, peach, nut, and chocolate-infused selections. The vineyard sits on 60-acres of breathtakingly scenic land and is conveniently located just off of the main thoroughfare of Center Road.

‘Must See’ Vineyards of Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail

Laurentinde Winery

The husband-and-wife team, Susan & Bill Braymer, have taken a lifelong passion for visiting some of the country’s most epic vineyards and turned it into a world-class boutique winery on the shores of Lake Leelanau. Named after the glacier that helped form this grape-loving landscape over 10,000 years ago, Laurentide Winery focuses on fabulous food pairings with its distinct selection of 14 varietal wines, including the region’s first estate-grown, award-winning Sauvignon Blanc.
Here you’ll find amazing culinary creations paired together with Gold Winning blends such as the 2018 Harvest Stompede Sausage, Peppers, & Onions with 2016 Emergence White. Besides their family-style fireside or outdoor patio tastings at their on-site facility, the dynamic duo also gives educational tours of the vineyard and have an attached public wine library that’s open to everyone. Visitors can also take in the captivating artistic displays spread throughout the winery that help supports the local artistic community. Laurentide is part of the ‘Sleeping Bear’ Wine Loop that starts at southern Lake Leelanau and runs north across the namesake Bay.

Tandem Ciders

You can enjoy a taste of Michigan’s ‘other’ prize-winning fruit-forward artisanal drink at this unique stop along the North Wine Loop that showcases some of the region’s most acclaimed hard ciders. Tandem Ciders was born out of a cycling trip across England taken by another husband and wife team, Dan Young and Nikki Rothwell. The couple fell in love with the country’s amazing apple concoctions. With a focus on supporting regional growers, all their fruit is locally sourced, and the rustic-style tasting room is housed in a big white barn that encourages community socializing.
Tandem’s signature ciders feature a diverse array of top regional apples including Red Delicious, Cortland, Rome, McIntosh, Granny Smith, and Winesaps. Ciders such as the ever popular ‘Smakintosh’ and British-inspired ‘Scrumpy Little Woody’ are served up fresh with a tasty menu of eclectic area favorites, including the Black Truffle Fromage Blanc, Raclette Cheese Fruit Plate, and the ever-popular Pickled Eggs with a side of Great Lakes potato chips. Tandem’s fun community vibe encourages camaraderie and helped win it a spot on this renowned Midwestern wine trail.

Most Popular Wine Tastings & Festivals

The wineries of Old Mission Peninsula and nearby Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail each feature many popular tastings that showcase fresh and fabulous regional and international food and wine pairings along with fun social scenes. Winter Warm Up takes place each January along the Old Mission Peninsula and features unique wine and comfort food pairings from 9 vineyards, plus a commemorative souvenir mug. Leelanau Peninsula answers back in February with its winter wine tasting extravaganza, Taste the Passion, which includes 40 tastings for just $40. In June, Old Mission helps kick off summer with Rosé Between the Bays showcasing a diverse range of delicious pink wines.
One of the best things about the region is the fun wine-centered festivals that occur throughout the year. The most famous of these is the month-long Traverse City Uncorked that includes an incredible array of special tastings, tours, and springtime celebrations in May. Late June sees the launch of the Traverse City Wine & Cider Festival at the historic Village at Grand Traverse Commons, where great music, spirits, and artistry mix in a vibrant celebration of the creative arts. September’s ‘Harvest Stompede’ features a fun-filled vineyard race followed by wine and food tastings at 22 Leelanau Peninsula wineries, where owners have been known to throw in a few extra complimentary tastings! True to its reputation as a foodie paradise, Traverse City has created a celebration that features a friendly competition for the best wines and most beloved comfort foods at November’s Great Mac N’Cheese Bakeoff.
With most wineries open year round, The Traverse Wine Coast makes a spectacular destination for wine, food, and cider lovers alike. Whether you’re looking for a romantic wintertime getaway or a singular summertime sojourn, consider a journey into the land where the lakes conspire to create some of the most exceptional wines on the planet.

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The Best of Camping and Hiking in Portland, Oregon

You may come to Portland, Oregon for the unique culture, but you’ll want to stay for the breathtaking scenery. Not to mention top-notch camping sites and many hiking hot spots that plunge through some of the most awe-inspiring wilderness of the Pacific Northwest. Portland is one of the very best cities in the U.S. for mixing outdoorsy adventures with urban delights. It is an ideal getaway that captivates travelers from all over the world. With so many great options to choose from in the Greater Portland area, read on for some camping and hiking musts that you will want to consider on your trip to Rose City.

The Many Escapes of Forest Park

One of the reasons Portland’s iconography tends to be on the green side is because of Forest Park. Forest Park is a sprawling, 5,100-acre urban oasis only a quick 20-minute drive upriver from the trendy Pearl District. Within the park, the hiking opportunities are as diverse as they are exhilarating. For those looking to recharge, try Ridge Trail. Hikers here treck down a narrow path cut into the pristine wilderness and emerge overlooking St. John’s Bridge and the majestic Willamette River. For more visual extravagance, the Lower Macleay Trail is a relatively light hike filled with moss-coated hemlocks, towering firs and ferns, and Portland icons like the old Stone House and Victorian-era masterpiece Pittock Mansion.
While there are more than a few options for the less seasoned hiker, those looking for a more strenuous workout won’t be disappointed either. The Tolinda Trail offers a steep climb to the locally famous Leif Erickson Drive, with beautiful scenery along the way. Although it can be a little bit on the muddy side, the trail–generally about three miles roundtrip–is a terrific option for the adventurous hiker or anyone looking for a great workout.
The most famous of them all, however, is the Wildwood Trail, which is a series of different trails rolled into one. It is known for being loaded with wildflowers during the summer bloom. Along the Firelane 15 section in the northwestern portion of the trail, you’ll escape the crowds and find a blissful refuge in a region of the park. Known for its mossy scenery, grassy knoll (near Kielhorn Meadow), and potential for an elk or mountain beaver encounter, this trail is tough to beat. Though many of the best parts of Wildwood Trail require a short trip in the car, you can take the light rail from the city’s center to the beginning of the trail in Washington Park. All in all, the Wildwood Trail has 40 miles of hiking, with 27 miles of it resting within the limits of Forest Park.
Additional tips:
Hiking in Forest Park is optional year-round, but some additional preparation might be needed if you go during the winter or following a rainstorm. Many locals are not bothered by hiking during a rainstorm. A rain slicker and some good hiking boots can be the key to a true Oregonian adventure at Forest Park. Because Forest Park has about 70 miles of trails overall, checking out the park map and exploring on your own can be the best way to go.

Camping in Greater Portland

One of the go-to campgrounds for Portlanders is at Beacon Rock State Park, a preserve located along the gorge just north of the Columbia River. Although technically in the state of Washington, Beacon Rock is only a 45-minute drive east from central Portland and offers a range of tent-camping options surrounded by nature. Hikes overlooking the river and the spectacular greenery of both Washington and Oregon are on full display.  Come see local icons like Rodney Falls, Hamilton Mountain, and Hardy Creek’s Pool of the Winds. Although the park doesn’t take camping reservations, it does have a 200-site group campground in addition to a 26-site main campground.
Heading west to the edge of the wondrous Tillamook State Forest, the Gales Creek Campground offers another terrific experience along with direct access to some of the best natural features in the Pacific Northwest. Loaded with sky-reaching alders, maples, and Douglas firs, Gales Creek Campground is known for its serene and peaceful setting. Visiting Tillamook State Forest has even more options for exploring the Oregonian scenery, including a temperate rainforest that is one of the wettest spots in the U.S.
If you’re in the area, you may find your way to Mt. Hood National Forest, located about an hour southeast of Portland. At the Riverside Campground, you can enjoy amazing views of the Clackamas River as well as hiking and biking in the national forest. Although the river tends to be extremely cold in most parts, those with an adventurous spirit can journey to the south end of the campground for a dip in the crisp waters of the Clackamas during the summer. With its natural seclusion, undeniable beauty, and advantageous location, Riverside remains a favorite for locals and visitors alike.
Also consider:
For a less adventurous wilderness escape, the family-friendly Jenkins Camp-Estate Rivendale is known for its balance of modern lodging and its vast estate containing many outdoor activities. Looking out over the Tualatin Valley, the Jenkins grounds are not lacking in beauty, especially during the late spring and early summer.

Underrated Hiking Gems

Just across the Columbia River from Beacon Rock State Park–on the Oregon side–lies the Eagle Creek Trail. Here, you can make your way along the river toward the thunderous Tunnel Falls. Especially breathtaking in the winter months, the 12-mile roundtrip Tunnel Falls portion of the Eagle Creek Trail can be a transformative experience, showcasing both the unbeatable scenery of the area as well as the region’s raw natural power.
For those looking to stay closer to the city, meanwhile, the Marquam Trail is tough to beat. Less than 10 minutes from Downtown Portland, Marquam Trail picks through lush green spaces to Council Crest, the highest point in Portland. From Council Crest, you can expect to see magnificent views of the city along with glimpses of Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier, and more. The Marquam Trail to Council Crest is particularly great for having a scenic picnic during the warmer months of the year.
Although you could have a great time skipping about Portland’s many outstanding microbreweries and famous eateries, the pure magic of the area is in the region’s natural offerings. With abundant options for hiking and camping in Portland, there are few places in the U.S.–or elsewhere–better suited for exploring the best features that nature has to offer.