Talk about Travel

The Pitons on the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia (AP/Scott Sady).
Mar 12, 2018

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Past Talk about Travel chats

Hi all, and welcome to Talk About Travel. In this week's section, we explored the culinary delights of Lyon, a city known for it's offal-centric cuisine. Are there adventurous eaters among you? Tell us about the oddest thing you've ever eaten on your travels. Most compelling entree gets a copy of "A Taste of Adventure: A Collection of Recipes From Around the World" from Exodus Travels. On to your questions... 

I missed the March 5 live chat :-( We visited Romania in 2016 and loved every minute. We had no problem finding people who spoke English (true younger more likely than older) at one point in driving between rural villages my cold symptoms were becoming too tiresome so we stopped at a store with a pharmacy/first aid sign. Apparently it is common that rural stores sell both human and other species remedies - which if you know me is the most appropriate thing ever. Anyway I had Google translator all keyed up, but the two clerks were able to easily comprehend what we were looking for and fit us up with decongestants etc. Meanwhile, we also picked up a couple of "babas" hitchhiking between villages, I thought my voice translator would do...but one snatched my phone and randomly poked buttons.

Thanks for your reply -- hope the OP is reading this week! Anyone who missed the story can read it here.

Still there, OP? This is what the story's authors have to say: 

 

Generally, in cities you will do fine with English, while in the rural areas it will be more challenging -- but even there, younger adults and teenagers have surprising foreign language skills. If you know other languages: French is always worth a try, as is German. In any case, folks here are very friendly and will do what they can to help -- for example finding someone in the neighborhood who speaks (better) English.

In general, English is not widely spoken in rural Romania. However, many of the monastery, cabana and park staff spoke several phrases that are key to interacting with English speakers. Our guide for the hike in Cozia National Park spoke good English. Everyone made a strong effort to understand us despite their limited English and my limited Romanian.  

We recommend taking along a list of key phrases, a la the glossary in a guide book. We made as many English-speaking contacts as possible in the places we stayed, so we could make arrangements through them ahead of time.

I'm considering an escorted tour to Uganda as a solo traveler. The itinerary includes several game drives, and close-up encounters with gorillas and chimpanzees. It sounds great, but my knowledge of the country is mostly about the days of Idi Amin and the Entebbe hijacking and hostage rescue. Nowadays, it seems like street crime, rather than political strife, is the safety issue. My tour seems very insulated, with only one night in Entebbe, and the rest in various remote parks. We'll have all of our meals together, and little or no free time to wander around on our own. Do you or any of your chatters have any first-hand experience/opinions about the safety of such a trip?

I visited Kenya last year for a conference and spent a few days in Maasai Mara. It's fascinating and beautiful, but it's not for everyone. From what I know, Uganda is relatively stable, but you should definitely check the State Department Uganda page before you make your plans. Chatters, have you been to Uganda lately? Got any advice?

Last week, a chatter said they were looking for fares for Kansas City. We fly there regularly and anything around $325 or under is generally a good fare. I'm not a teenager but any of the sites that everyone enjoys around town might be enjoyed by teens. Visit the Plaza area (the fanciest area KC has) to shop and eat. If they're into sports, the College Basketball Experience is downtown and allows you to kill a few hours playing games. Go on a BBQ tour - you can't go wrong and ask locals, everyone has their favorite (mine is Jack Stack, and there's one on the Plaza). If you have teens that will tolerate museums, there's the WWI Museum, Negro Leagues Museum, and Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. If they are nearing college age, drive 45 minutes west and visit Lawrence, KS and the University of Kansas, a big state school with a pretty campus and famous college basketball fieldhouse (with a small museum, and James Naismith's original rules of basketball.)

Thanks for the tips!

Hi Nicole, In Sunday's paper there was an article about... well about eating one's way through the city of Lyons. In it the author mentions his friend's family that was studying French in Lyons. Do you know which school the friend was attending? It sounded like the entire family, including kids, were at the school, which makes it sound like a fun and educational family trip. Could you please provide additional information?

I will ask the author, who is in the U.K. If I don't hear from him before the chat ends, check this space next week!

Romanian is a romance language - sort of a hybrid of French and Italian. If you speak either of those you will likely be understood by most people. We managed fine with French.

Good to know -- thanks!

My husband suffered a horrendous lobster-red sunburn on his face during a hop-on/hop-off bus tour of Paris (while I was at a conference all day). He speaks no French whatsoever, but walked into a pharmacy, pointed to his face, and the clerk wordlessly ushered him directly to the section for sunburn soothers, and suntan lotions. Sometimes no English is necessary!

Ha, true, thanks for the visual!

Hello, all! I have never been to an all-inclusive resort but I'm very interested in their impact on the surrounding community. I know these are in areas dependent on tourist dollars and many people are inclined to go especially after a natural disaster to show their support and bring much needed money. But I've always been curious, what is life like outside the resorts? How well are the workers paid and how comfortably can they live and support their families? What if you don't work at the resort? Is your life made any better because of the influx of tourist dollars or do you not see them at all? Income equality is huge in the U.S. and I can imagine it might be worse in, say, the DR, or Jamaica or any other island with resorts and also high poverty rates. I think we should see just how our money impacts the community far from the resort's pool-side bar. Thank you for your consideration.

There are lots of Web sites that have only bad things to say about all-inclusives and their impact on local communities. But they're opinion, not based on any scholarly study. I've yet to find a fact-based report on this topic. I can only speak from experience. Some eight years ago, we went on a family reunion to Ocho Rios. The people who lived around this resort, which has since been sold, were downright hostile, chasing kids, spitting at runners on the road, etc. I started asking staff about the situation, and they explained that the resort had bused in workers from Kingston, who worked at a lower wage than the Ocho Rios locals, causing the hostility. I have no idea how often this sort of situation occurs, but it apparently does happen. There are nonprofits that give out awards to resorts that do more to help the locals, but again, I have not done enough research to ascertain that these awards mean anything. If any chatters have fact-based info to share, please do!

We're a middle-aged couple taking our just-turned 18 year old sister to NYC in April for the first time. We want to go out to a bar or club Sat night, but can't seem to find any in Manhattan that allow 18+. We'd prefer no dress code and no huge lines to get in. Does this even exist anymore? Both gay and straight bars are fine; we just want a scene that would make a Gen Z feel cool and not like she's only hanging with peeps in their mid-30s.

I would check the listings at Time Out New York, which caters to revelers of all ages. Also take a peek at the suggestions from amNY.com. They list some classics, like the Knitting Club and Birdland Jazz Club, as well as cabaret and drag queen shows.

There used to be several direct flights to and from the Caribbean or Bermuda from the Washington area. Now there are a handful of direct flights to select destinations, and no direct return flights. Is there a reason for the change?

Demand, cost and consolidation of airlines, primarily. And please note that "direct" means one stop without a plane change whereas "nonstop" means no stops. Most airlines connect in Miami or San Juan before flying onward to the Caribbean.

For last week's question, one of my employees with a TS/SCI took a Cuba cruise with one the major cruise lines without an issue last year. He got the proper briefings prior, notified his supervisor, and reported in afterwards. The questioner needs to talk with his/her security office, as there were no issues with my employee. All about proper disclosure.

Thanks for the great advice. Hope the Cuba cruiser is on the chat today.

If the teens are interested in history or Presidents (!) drive a half-hour east to Independence, Missouri. Neat to see Truman's Oval Office and the exhibits about his life. On the main square, there's Clinton's, where the teenage Truman was a soda jerk. Have a soda or milkshake at the same marble counter that he wiped down every day...

Thanks!

Our family, which includes two teenage girls, is headed to Key West for Spring Break. What attractions would you recommend for a wildlife-loving family that isn't interested the island's party scene? Is the airboat trip to Dry Tortugas worth the expense? Thanks for any/all tips and insight!

Former Keys resident here. You'll definitely want to take one of the dive boats out to go snorkeling or diving. That's probably going to be the highlight of your stay if your kids are into nature. Spring break can be a challenging time to be in Key West. It's a little bit of a scene. I love the Dry Tortugas day trip -- it's a nice escape from the party. Chatters, what would you recommend?

Please recommend your favorite retirement destinations (city, state, country), foreign or domestic, based on your travels, and why. Thank you, you all are the best!

Difficult one to answer, as much depends on budget, lifestyle, interests, etc. What would work for one person would be a failure for another. For me, I'll need fine weather, a beach and a nice historic area. Maybe St. Augustine in Florida would work. Chatters? 

Chatters share their adventuresome food experiences:

I went to stay with a friend in Geneva who was working for the UN so "Mr. Sophisticated". We took the bus to Annecy for dinner and Mr. Sophisticated ordered for both of us. I ended up with veal kidneys, identified by their distinct anatomy. I moved them around the plate for a bit and then went for dessert.

I will definitely try almost anything once. I've eaten street food in China, including whole roasted birds with heads still attached. Though, the most adventurous thing I've probably eaten was suckling pig's ear served with snails at a small restaurant in Madrid. I also ate calf's brains and callos (tripe stew) at the same restaurant. It was all very delicious. I went back twice.

I'd say I'm a fairly adventurous eater - have had and enjoyed sweetbreads, duck tongues, rabbit kidneys, monkfish liver, snail "caviar", etc. Have eaten tripe and brain but not such a fan. My boyfriend happily dined on andouillette in Lyon - did you know there's an organization in France that certifies the best andouillette (look for "AAAAA")? I still remember the smell... Maybe one of the more unusual things I've eaten is raw jellyfish in Japan, it was served with seaweed and very crunchy, though didn't really taste like anything.

The weirdest thing I've ever eaten on my travels was cooked pigeon in China. It didn't taste like much (probably just like chicken) but I most remember one of my fellow travelers eating the neck that still had the head with eyes attached, and the restaurant workers were "No, nobody eats that!"

Food is pretty much the reason I travel, so if it's put on my plate, it's going in my mouth...at least once. So far, the oddest food I've eaten was at a fish market in Seoul where we were served octopus so freshly killed it was still moving on the plate. The tentacles, which had been chopped up and tossed in some sort of acid, were still moving so much that a few managed to scooch off the plate while were chatting. Our hosts advised us to chew quickly and thoroughly as you risked a tentacle trying to suck its way back up throat. While I didn't enjoy the sensation of my food sucking on the inside of my mouth, it was pretty tasty and surprisingly tender!

At times like this I'm so glad to be a vegetarian! I've never faced much worse than a few tofu-based dishes.

Any suggestions for a combined visit to these destinations during the summer? Looking to plan a vacation that will satisfy both city- and beach-lovers. Thanks!

Summers in Savannah can be hot and humid. You'll probably want to confine all of your outdoor activities to early morning and evening.  Fortunately, Savannah has several excellent museums, which will keep you occupied during the heat of the day. Note that the closest major beach to Savannah is Tybee Island. If you want to keep things easy, you can rent a place on the island or just visit the beach during your stay. Chatters, any other tips?

Today's code is TT5305. It expires at midnight, so be sure to enter it on Monday to get credit for participating.

The SO and I are planning a trip late June and have decided to let the budget decide where we go. Can you recommend any website/agent that has last minute deals where the airlines dump tickets at a deep discount? We'd also read about services/travel agents that provide a "surprise" itinerary at the airport when you arrive for your trip. Thoughts on this? Or are we crazy to even try for cheap travel in June? Many thanks in advance.

You're not crazy. Sales happen every month of the year, although they're less common in June. Sites like Priceline and Hotwire will offer a wide selection of available last-minute inventory, but these days you can find sales on virtually every major travel site. The real trick is being able to pivot quickly when a deal comes up. For example, you might find a deal to place that's not typically known as a summer travel destination (like Kansas City or St. Louis). If you're adaptable, you can make it work.

I just returned from a trip to Kenya and met several people that had come from trips to Uganda. They all said the trips had been fantastic and were not worried about safety. They did mention the trips were physically stressful, with the altitude and all.

Thank you.

Asked a question last week, but maybe too late for any responses. Any recommendations for off-the-beaten path adventures in Cartagena and Bogota? Leaving Sunday, yay!

I visited Cartagena about two years ago (loved it!) but spent most of my time in Old Town and at the beaches within walking distance of the main commercial area. We did take a bus to Totumo Mud Volcano, but I am still not sure if I enjoyed myself or not. You need to be really smart about traveling around Colombia. The country is much safer now but still has several safety issues, such as robberies at ATMs. If  you are an animal person, I suggest reaching out to Cartagena Paws and volunteering for the day, or sign up to be a flight volunteer for a rescue dog. Here is my piece on flying back with Charlie, now a resident of Texas.


Chatters, any advice?

I'm thinking about a possible trip to Colombia. Probably Bogota, Medellin, Cartegna. I'd appreciate any suggestions, recommendations or personal experiences.

I just replied to another chatter about Cartagena, so check the posted responses.

Chatters, any advice for Colombia travel?

My family would probably like to spend 2-3 nights at one of the Maryland or Delaware beaches this August. I say "probably" because I'm expecting Baby #3 in April and I'm not 100% sure I'll be up for a beach trip by then. When we travel we prefer to rent either a small house/apartment or a hotel suite with two separate rooms, and we are definitely closer to the "budget" than "luxury" side. My husband is convinced that we need to book lodging right now, but I'd really prefer to wait and book the trip in late May or early June once the baby has been here for a few weeks and we have a better sense of how we are all adjusting. His fear is that if we don't book something right now there will be either no availability left at all, or that any hotel room or house rental that is still available will be incredibly expensive, very far away from the beach, or both. Is the demand really so high that we have to book a trip 5 months in advance? We have no real preference on town and will go anywhere on the eastern shore: Rehoboth, Bethany, Ocean City MD, etc. Alternately, are there places that let you book now and cancel without losing the deposit if you change your mind?

It'll be very difficult, no matter how far in advance you book,  to find a house or condo that will rent for just two or three nights in high season plus refund your money if you change your mind. I'd concentrate on hotels, or wait till the last minute to see if you can snag a condo. Late August is better than early August, as some school districts are already in session then (since Maryland changed its law, requiring schools to open after Labor Day, not as big a factor).  You will pay more for a hotel booking with a flexible cancellation policy. But you can keep husband satisfied by locking in a hotel rate with that type of flexibility now, even if you have to pay more, and then, as the time gets closer, keep checking all your options, and act accordingly. 

I'll have a chance later this year to visit a family member who will be living on Maui. What things should I not miss? Is it easy to visit Honolulu? Is it worth the cost of the flight? Should I take the ferry to Lanai? Thanks!

Maui is fairly laid back. Outdoor activities, such as snorkeling, hiking, golfing, whale-watching and surfing, are big. Take a tour to the Haleakala Crater. And yes, the ferry to Lanai would be fun.  If you are a history buff, like shopping or just generally prefer more action, Oahu may be worth a visit. Depends on how much time you have to spend. Airfares are not expensive -- usually about $70 each way. 

I took a few tours last year where the tour guide also served as the driver. In every case, the guide/driver mentions something about working long hours and being low/underpaid. They always recommend tipping about $20/pp. Is this a case where they don't make at least the federal minimum wage?

It depends where you are. In the United States, minimum wage laws would apply to your driver. Outside the country, there may or may not be laws to ensure your driver gets paid a fair wage. I've written two recent Navigators on tipping -- one on the spread of tipping and one on mandatory gratuities. They may be helpful as you contemplate your next tip.

AARP and the like usually suggest college towns as great retirement destinations. (Can you tell we have been paying attention???) Reasons are that they are often smaller towns, but have great variety for culture, i.e., museums, theatre, concerts and more. Think Ann Arbor, which sounds great. Personally, however, I will be looking for a college town with warmer weather.

Makes sense. I know that Charlottesville (UVA), for example, has become a popular retirement community.

I went to Charleston/Kiawah Island last August thinking since I was a DC native, I could take the heat down there. NOT! As soon as I set foot outside of the airport, I knew I was in for a rough time. I managed a horse-drawn carriage tour in downtown but couldn't handle being outside more during the day so need to go back there in another season. And the beaches are more silty than sandy down there so you can't see your feet when you're in the ocean.

Thank you for the advice. Yes, it can get really uncomfortable. I would not go out during the heat of the day unless you're acclimated to the high humidity.

I'm going to Paris in May and want to know if I can bring my IPad on the plane (vs in my checked luggage). Thanks so much!

Yes you can. Electronics are permitted on the plane. You will just have to place it in the tray at the TSA checkpoint.

I visited the National Aviary near Cartagena last fall on a cruise stop. It is a wonderful park well worth the price and the time.

Thanks!

I'm headed to the UK in June for a friend's wedding outside of Nottingham (flying into Manchester) and then headed to Aberystwyth to catch up with some study abroad friends. After that I have a few days free. I'm pretty positive I want to go back to the Brecon Beacons (the bookstores in Hay-on-Wye alone could convince me!), but I also want to be as flexible as possible with my plans (hence the car). Do you think the Brecons would be too crowded in June and I need to book my hotel far in advance, or could I wait until friends have more firm schedules for visiting?

I recently started researching hotels for my trip to Ireland in September, and was surprised to find out that many of my first-choice hotels were already booked. So I'd begin researching now to get an idea of whether lodging is wide open or difficult to get. Start with the tourism's Web site

The Post's own "Fix" Amber Phillips returned from vacation in Colombia last month, and raved about her stay at the end of her subsequent Tuesday chat.

Thanks for the tip. After our chat, go check out Amber's chat.

Im in the middle of planning my 8-day trip to Greece in April. I have been recommended Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes and Crete islands and of course Athens for the Acropolis. What other places/restaurants/attractions should we check out? Any standout, can’t miss experiences? We want to have a relaxing time but still feel like were experiencing enough of the culture.

Never been to Greece.


Chatters, any advice?

I am solo traveling to Edinburgh in late May for 4 days and then have 17 days to explore the rest of the UK. Do you recommend definitely seeing Isle of Skye (and is that possible without a car as a solo traveler) while I am there. I would really like to head South to London, see Stonehenge and maybe do a day trip to Paris. Am I being too ambitious to add England & France onto my Scottish travels in terms of time?

According to Visit Scotland, you don' t need a car to reach the ferry port: A CalMac ferry runs from the port of Mallaig to Armadale on the south of Skye. You can get to Mallaig by road or train. The Skye Bridge is connected to Scotland's rail network and Kyleakin on Skye. Buses go directly from Glasgow and Inverness to the island, too.

On the island, you can get around by bus, foot and/or bike. You can also sign up for a day bus tour to get a greater lay of the land. Islanders also hitchhike, if you are comfortable with raising a thumb.

If you love nature and adventure, I would also suggest visiting the Channel Islands in the English Channel. You can fly from Southampton to Guernsey or Jersey and then island hop by ferry. On the smaller islands, you don't need a car -- in fact, some of the islands don't have cars.

With 17 days, you can definitely squeeze in England and France. I wouldn't get too ambitious, though. Pick one or two cities or villages and spend quality time in each location.

More of your food (mis)adventures:

My colleague returned from Arkansas last week. Said she had the best possum she's ever tasted. ;-)

We tried plenty of new to us food over a two month camping trip in Sub-Saharan African countries. We tried grilled beetles at a restaurant buffet in Harare, Zimbabwe. They tasted like a thick sea salt potato chip. Hopefully we got a good protein boost from that appetizer.

Had I known what it was, perhaps I'd have found a way not to eat it. But I was a visitor in his country and he was a government official who'd invited me to eat and he said I absolutely must try this traditional dish, a specialty of the restaurant. Esquimole or escamole, I don't remember exactly. Either way, it sounded like it should be good. Tasted like sauteed onions mixed with something crunchy, like Rice Krispies. Thank heavens for the onions: When I'd had a mouthful, he told me -- Those crunchy things, were ant larva.

The most adventurous I've gone is pigeon in Morocco (stuffed with egg- it was delicious)! But my father used to eat anything and everything served to him, often to the delight of his hosts in foreign countries. Camel hoof is the one I remember him most talking about- it was too gelatinous for his taste.

I spent Christmas week in the Loire valley in France two years ago, as a guest of my son's in-laws and their extended family. Because of the holiday, every lunch and dinner was like a Thanksgiving meal. There were only two food items served that I couldn't eat more than a bite or two: escargot (snails), and blood sausage. You're supposed to suck the mushy contents out of the blood sausage, but I found the texture very unappetizing.

I find it hard to find articles on a given destination. Any tips on how to search the travel section to find the info I need? The NYT had (might still have) a search by destination function, any chance WaPo could get something like that? Similar to the Food section's ingredient search but for cities and countries.

We'd like that, too, but unfortunately it's not a possibility with our current operating system. I'd recommend a Google search for "Washington Post Travel [Place You Want to Go]."  

This isn't the worst time to find travel deals. Depending on how far into June you go, it's just getting out of shoulder season and not quite the height of summer travel. Even July 4th has good deals to international destinations. Winter destinations will be a good bet probably. Places like Miami or the Caribbean get cheaper in the summer. And hey, I just booked $600 flights to Paris Memorial Day weekend (there were some great deals to Iceland too)!

Thank you. June is tough, no question about it.

Does anyone have any experience with CheapFareMart?

 Two people submitted complaints to the Better Business Bureau about the company, but the complaints did not seem very valid.

Chatters, any experience with Cheapfaremart?

As an avid viewer of "The Durrells in Corfu" on PBS, I'd love to see the island (off Greece's west coast, up near Albania). The scenery on the series (which is shot there) is like another one of the characters.

Thank you and PBS.

It has been a while but Uganda was the most stable and least crime risk to tourists of all 15 or so African countries I have visited. I was a solo woman traveler and never felt harassed or unsafe-the opposite-as I had lots of families and business travelers make sure I was paying the right price and helping with onward travel. Go-seeing gorillas in the mountains is a breathtaking experience.

Thank you for the feedback.

I'm heading to Long Beach with extended family from Montana. Do you have ideas for things to do and places to eat that would please a group of teenagers and vegetarian adults? We won't have a car and don't want to spend too much on Ubers, so looking for nearish stuff (also be open to doing the light rail). Other than a day trip to Catalina and a visit to the aquarium, I'm stumped. Also, which beach would you recommend for getting a quintessential California vibe?

Long Beach without a car has challenges. There are a couple of art museums, but you need a car to get to many of the area's attractions. Long Beach City Beach is the closest beach, but I'd recommend heading farther south at least to Seal Beach. Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve is worth visiting, but it's in Huntington Beach. Long Beach does have lots of good restaurants, and is getting a reputation for good Cambodian food. Try Cambodian Town

Andrea has said that she pre-plans and pre-pays for as much of her travel as possible. Does that reduce opportunities for spontaneity? I've always felt that part of the excitement of travel is NOT being locked in to a schedule and itinerary, and being free to see and do things I might not even have known about before I arrived somewhere. You're a more experienced traveler; am I doing it wrong?

I think it all depends on the individual, and I do leave a lot of free time for wandering and spontaneous discoveries. However, for major reservations, such as hotels, train tickets and car rentals, I will book ahead. But some people like to just show up at the train station and book the next departing train. Or arrive in a new town and look for a hotel.

It's a very personal choice!

 

I have done 3 trips there in the last 4 years. I recommend Jardin and the coffee region about 3 hours south of Medellin-that is by far my favorite spot. If you are seeking an isolated beach, consider Isla Tintipan-there is one hotel and there is a direct boat service from Cartagena for a nearby hostel in the sea which I could not imagine staying at but I'm not 18. Colombia is fantastic and I'm considering it for retirement.

Wonderful tips! Thank you.

A few final foodie tales: 

My parents are immigrants from South America, I've eaten enough pigs feet, tripe, brains, blood sausage, tongue, etc. to last me a lifetime. That being said - we were at my mom's cousins house in Brescia (north of Milan) for a party and they had this cool electric rotisserie. The meats on it turned out to be: rabbit (the same cute ones I'd admired in the barn the week before) and tiny birds, heads and all. It was pretty good.

I saw that during recent Olympics coverage. The reporter was offered several still-moving tentacles by whoever was showing him around and told to eat one. He did. The Koreans around him smiled. He may have tried to.

I’ve been lucky to eat lots of weird and wonderful foods along the way, from suckling pig in Madrid, grilled foie gras in Budapest, to sweetbreads in my hometown of Baltimore (all delicious). Have really only discovered one food I intensely dislike: escargot. Some of the oddest foods I’ve eaten on our travels all came from a tour of southern Africa. Many times we were offered a starter of a scoop of large, grilled beetles. But my absolute favorite was warthog ribs at a pub in Cape Town. They were so good that I returned and ordered them again later in the week!

If you can get them at the local supermarket in DMV, as you can brains & kidney, that means they are not exotic. Both have been around for hundreds of years--one relative has kidney for his birthday--his wife really loves him-- but kidney doesn't do it for me. Brains I have cooked myself. Coming from German ancestry, all parts of the animal are used.

The high season for travel in Canada doesn't begin until July 1. We had a great time on Prince Edward Island the last week in June one year, and the weather wasn't too hot (for those of us who hate high temps and humidity with a passion).

Great suggestion. Thanks!

Perfect for summer is Bay View, MI, which is a historic landmark of about 400 Victorian-style cottages on Little Traverse Bay, many of which can be rented by the week or longer at very reasonable rates. This is a Chautauqua with a fascinating history going back to the mid 1870s. It is usually wonderfully pleasant weather due to being further north and right on the Lake Michigan bay. There is a 9-week season for the program of music (summer music college on campus with high-quality students from all over the country), recreational activities (boating, sailing,, swimming, tennis, lawn games, etc.) and education (free weekly lectures, classes) but activities extend beyond and before the season, too. It is only about a 30-minute drive to Mackinac Island and there are the wonderful resort towns of Harbor Springs, Charlevoix and Petosky nearby for other activities, art fairs, and dining. Very family-friendly, too, with a Tot Lot and Boys and Girls club sessions available during the season for extended family/grandchildren to also come and join you if so desired! The website is a good resource for finding out more about this best-kept secret destination.

Thanks for the suggestion!

Looks like our time is up -- thanks for chatting today, everyone. Snail caviar consumer, drop us a line at travel@washpost.com to claim your prize. And join us again next week for more Talk About Travel!

In This Chat
Nicole Arthur
Nicole Arthur is the Travel editor.
Carol Sottili
Carol Sottili is a former Washington Post travel writer, specializing in travel deals.
Andrea Sachs
Andrea Sachs is a staff writer for Travel.
Christopher Elliott
Christopher Elliott writes The Navigator column. He is also National Geographic Traveler magazine's reader advocate.
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