Tracking Down Prehistoric Dolmens in Wales

Pentre Ifan has a capstone that rests on the tips of three standing stones

Some of the world's most impressive ancient burial chambers, or dolmens, stand in the green fields and copses of Wales. On a recent trip, my husband John and I tracked down several of these prehistoric sites, and each time I felt the eery sense of an ancient past brought into the present. The dolmens, which date from Neolithic times, have been thoroughly investigated and are protected as national ... Read Full Article

Hiking Ireland’s Scenic Gap of Dunloe

The Wishing Bridge spans the river running by the Gap of Dunloe road.

The Gap of Dunloe is a  narrow, scenic mountain pass in County Kerry, a perfect seven-mile walk for those who want a close-up look at western Ireland's green beauty. It's nothing short of entrancing, and I'm grateful to our Irish friend Dan for arranging an outing through Gap of Dunloe Tours. My husband John and I had visited Ireland, but this was our first time at the Gap, which lies between ... Read Full Article

Three of Ireland’s Best Hotels

Adare Manor's Library Room.

Three of Ireland's best hotels have just one thing in common: superb hospitality. Otherwise, they're as different as chalk and cheese, as the saying goes. These are upscale lodgings with highly individual character. Ireland's Best Hotels The Falls Hotel and Spa The Falls Hotel and Spa just outside the village of Ennistymon in west Ireland's County Clare, stands on 50 wooded acres above ... Read Full Article

Loire Valley: Ladies, Leonardo and Sleeping Beauty

Chenonceau Chateau in the Loire Valley

France's Loire Valley is renowned for its magnificent chateaux. Scores are scattered over the landscape and choosing which to see is a challenge. On this leg of our journey, John and I rented a car and made our home base in the quiet village of Chenonceaux, staying in a hotel just 300 meters from the chateau. Chenonceau Chateau is one of the most visited sites in France for good reason. ... Read Full Article

National Museum of Scotland Displays The World

Ancient Roman cameo glass, 'Portland vase'

Scotland has scores of museums, all of them interesting, but the National Museum of Scotland, in Edinburgh, is truly exceptional. Its collections of thousands of objects cover natural history, world cultures, geology, archaeology, science and technology, and of course the entire story (pre-history included) of Scotland. The museum is set in the heart of the city, on Chambers Street near the George ... Read Full Article

Hotel or Apartment? How to Choose

Small balcony off Paris apartment kitchen

After you've decided where to go and how you'll get there, the big question is where to stay. A hotel is still the most popular choice, but there are other options, and plenty of savvy travelers are choosing to rent an apartment or house. My recent trip to France is a good example of the pros and cons of hotels vs apartments; my husband, John, and I stayed in two of each. Our one-bedroom, ... Read Full Article

The Loire’s Castles and Gardens

Chateau Villandry

Touring in the Loire Valley means you don't have to travel far to see the grand chateaus and pretty villages that dot the landscape. John and I stayed in one place, Chenonceaux, and found a multitude of treasures on short day trips along and over the rivers that wind through this green, broad valley. The farthest we drove was to Fontevraud Abbey. Fontevraud was high on my list because I'm ... Read Full Article

Montmajour, the Oldest Abbey in Provence

Montmajour Abbey

  Vincent Van Gogh visited Montmajour Abbey at least fifty times, he wrote, just to look at the view across the plain.  Today's visitors to Provence, France, are drawn to the abbey for the same reason and to see the impressive old ruin in stone, a French historical monument and the oldest abbey in Provence. It was a significant site from the time construction began in the tenth century, ... Read Full Article

Favorite Villages in Provence: Eygalières and Mausanne-les-Alpilles

La Maison Sucrée, a creperie in Eygaliéres, France

Dozens of  inviting villages are scattered throughout sun-drenched Provence, in southern France. Two of my favorites, perhaps because they're lesser known and have such unpretentious charm, are Eygalières and Mausanne-les-Alpilles,  in the Bouches-de-Rhone region. Both lie near the Chaine des Alpilles, a low east-west range of limestone peaks that rise steeply from the Rhone River valley. ... Read Full Article

Following the Footsteps of Cezanne in Aix en Provence

Paul Cézanne Mt. Ste. Victoire

  Paul Cézanne was devoted to his hometown of Aix-en-Provence, in southern France, and it's easy to see why. More than a hundred years after the great artist's time, it's still a lovely, livable city. “When you're born here,” Cézanne said, “nothing else is good enough.” He was fascinated by the light of Provence and painted the region's landscapes over and over—some 60 versions of Mt. St. ... Read Full Article