The Dragoon Mountains

There is nothing like it elsewhere – the ancient energy of these mountains have drawn me to them, several times. Either East or West, one cannot go wrong – though be careful, this place deserves respect, and brings about a quietness in the soul.

There is not really much to say – they must be experienced on one’s own.

The west side of the mountains.
The west side of the mountains.

Close by are the Kartchner Caverns, which I have heard are lovely, though I didn’t see them – the Colossal Cave was where I went instead, with broken stalactites and luminescent rocks, some of which also chimed if struck – and of course the Saguaro National Park is full of stunning views, and magic.

The Chiricaua National Monument is by far the most peaceful place I have ever been, with the footprint of the Native world still fresh in memory.

Washington, DC

Washington D.C. is known for its prominence in the world’s political affairs, however, it is also a very cool place to visit.

Any walk along the promenades in Washington D.C. is worth it, because of the architecture and street cafes, and the ease with which you can get around the city and see the Capitol buildings, tour an art museum, and look at the Mall from the lawn.

There are bikes which are available to ride, which you can take around the city, biking from one place to another, which was a nice way to see the landmarks in the city.

Smithsonian Castle
Smithsonian Castle
The Capitol Building, from the lawn.
The Capitol Building, from the lawn.
A reflecting pool - the Washington Monument in the distance.
A reflecting pool – the Washington Monument in the distance.


The Shenandoah National Park has beautiful forests and hiking trails in Virginia, only about an hour and a half away.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

The Luray Caverns are also not to be missed. They are in Shenandoah, as well.


As always, all opinions are my own.

Louisville, KY, Corydon, IN, and Nashville, IN

The Red Tree shop, KY
The Red Tree shop, KY

On a day trip to Louisville, if you are heading south and have the time, stop in Corydon to visit the former Indiana state capital. There is a quaint coffee shop there in the town square and the highway may take you through Amish country, if you so choose, which is a sight in itself to see the different ways of life.

The Red Tree gift shop is a wonderful place to go to find eclectic artwork and design that combines art and furniture in Louisville on Market Street and is worth a visit.

Nashville, Indiana is also a pleasant place to visit in the winter, with its small, quaint village atmosphere and the small eateries and gift shops that provide a different world of sorts within it. The Faerie Apothecary and the Hen House Cafe were among two of the most quaint.


That ends travel for the year of 2021. Happy 2022, and Happy New Year –  safe travels.




November in Red River Gorge, KY

Another short weekend trip into the misty woods of Kentucky’s Red River Gorge. This time, the trees were starting to look bare, without the foliage they had before, and in the morning, it was much colder, although it was still warm with sunshine in the afternoon. In the cold air, the sunrises and sunsets appeared even more striking. Back in Indiana, the leaves had started dropping, too, and looked mostly completely bare.

Woods in November, Indiana
Woods in November, Indiana

On the Safari

Within Ohio is a safari, little known to many outside of the state, which houses many animals that are in need of habitat, or have been neglected by their own countries. The Wilds is the largest conservation area in North America for animals, and as such, has an area where visitors can go on a tour of their dreams: a safari.

In this open air tour, through the duration of two and a half hours, you will see many species that are non-native to the United States, and some that are, such as groundhogs and geese. On tour, which showed me the importance of restoration of our forests and natural world, I saw giraffes, zebras, ostriches, rhinos, the Sichuan Tonkin, and many more species, including blue gill and parakeets.

Many may not know that The Wilds is built on a strip mine, and the 10,000 acres of reclaimed land go to research for colleges, and the housing and protection of wildlife.

I thoroughly enjoyed my tour of the safari, and thank the tour guide Bob and the many wonderful staff who work there that made my visit, among the others, so educational and enjoyable. Thank you to The Wilds for making this journey possible, and if you, too, want to go on an open-air tour, visit

On the way back, while in Columbus, Ohio, there was time for a brief tour of the Colombus Museum of Art, which houses collections of some of European’s finest masters, Monet, Matisse, and Robert and Sonia Delauney, although many exhibitions showcased unknown artists from various backgrounds, those of women and black artists. There were several art galleries in the block, making a walking art tour possible, if one had desire.


During the brief time I was in Ohio, along the way there, there was time to visit the Sunwatch Indian Village, the Indian Mounds at the Hopewell Culture National Historic Park, and Old Man’s Cave and Ash Cave in the Hocking Hills State Park. All were different, yet instilled a sense of peacefulness and serene reverence, especially in the Indian mounds preserve.

The beauty of Hocking Hills cannot be explained, although if I were to choose words, one could say it is like stepping in an enchanted forest, where one could spend hours with no time outside passing, and indeed, it is important we preserve our natural world for years to come.

As always, all opinions are my own, and now, time for some photographs.

The bridge at Old Man’s Cave, Hocking Hills State Park
The Scioto River in Columbus, Ohio, that is very reminiscent to Dublin's river Liffey and bridges in Ireland
The Scioto River in Columbus, Ohio, that is very reminiscent to Dublin’s river Liffey and bridges in Ireland
One of the resting bucks along the Safari tour at The Wilds
One of the resting bucks along the Safari tour at The Wilds, a Bactrian deer
The Persian onagers at The Wilds, standing at pasture in the rolling hills
The Persian onagers at The Wilds, standing in pastures
A Greater One-Horned Asian Rhino and her two week old calf
A Greater One-Horned Asian Rhino and her two week old calf
Grevy’s Zebras
A female Ostrich
Giraffes feeding and Scimitar Horned Oxes together, in the same pasture
Giraffes feeding and Scimitar Horned Oxes, together in the same pasture
A Pere David's deer buck
A Pere David’s deer buck
The open-air safari buses, which show the attention to detail that the Wilds has shown to providing an authentic safari tour
The open-air safari buses, displaying The Wilds’ attention to detail in providing an authentic safari tour, similar to what one might find in the African continent

Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, and the Keys

Among the most beautiful beaches in the world, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, and parts of the Keys offer stunning white sand beaches and waters that offer a sense of paradise. The beaches of Ft. Lauderdale On-The-Sea’s were very pleasant and relaxing. During the brief stay there, I also walked through Miami’s most famous Espanola Way and Lincoln shopping center, which is lined with all the most expensive brands, and spent a short but beautiful day in Islamorada, which one can see, is truly one of the most beautiful places to go on seaside vacation, although there are many in the world, of course.

While I was there, I visited the Islander Girl resort in Islamorada, an island strip between the keys. The snorkeling tour took about two hours, and offered plenty of coral reefs and colorful fish to look at underwater.

If you like art, do not hesitate to visit any of Miami’s art galleries, particularly the exhibitions at Superblue Miami, which have rooms of art combined with technology, making the experience change as you walk through them.

As always, all opinions are my own, and as usual, time for a couple photographs of Islamorada, and one of an exhibition.

Below, the Islander Girl resort, with beautiful, serene vistas in Islamorada, in the Keys.

IMG_7259 IMG_7263

An exhibition at Superblue Miami featuring colorful umbrellas that seem to breathe, opening and closing, and changing colors from light to dark.



North American Castles

Recently, I discovered there are quite a few stone castles in the United States that look authentic, very like those one would find in Europe. Given the pandemic of coronavirus, the idea of traveling overseas for leisure or tourism has changed drastically, and I wanted to see if one could have a similar experience within the United States itself.

It turns out, one could! There are many castles, in fact, across the United States, some of which are museums, wineries, or bed and breakfasts, or even residences or Airbnbs, however, they are there, and beautiful a sight to behold and look at during a visit.


Below are two of the recent castles I have found, including a third, which is a seminary, in Indiana. There is also a castle in Ohio that is close to southern Indiana!

Metamora Castle, Indiana

I do not recommend going to this castle! It is hard to access, the path rutted out, and the gate typically closed. However, while I was there it was open, so I took a photograph and left. The atmosphere was a little haunted, and I have read elsewhere accounts of supernatural activities rumored on that site.

The Bed and Breakfast, Clayshire Castle, in Indiana

Some say this castle, an estate designed by Lord Doug and Lady Mary Jo Smock, is not designed to detail, due to the windows on the ground floor, for example, however, I enjoyed visiting this place and found the grounds fun (there is a giant chess set, like in Alice in Wonderland, perhaps), and have heard there are gatherings here where you can dress in hand sewn medieval garb by the owners, themselves, and there is an annual festival in September where Shakespeare plays are held and jousting, feasts, and archery is displayed on the lawns. A good place to get married or hold a party of friends, perhaps, so I have heard.

Clayshire Castle Bed and Breakfast
Clayshire Castle Bed and Breakfast
A replica of "Godspeed," a painting by Edmund Leighton, about a knight who goes to war and has to leave behind his beloved.
A replica of “Godspeed,” a painting by Edmund Leighton, about a knight who goes to war and has to leave behind his beloved.


The Chateau Larouche, or the Loveland Castle, in Cincinnati, Ohio

The castle was built by hand, stone by stone, lugged up ton by ton from the Ohio river, by Harry (later Sir Harry) Delos Andrews, who built it over the course of his life in the 20th century, with the help of the Boy Scouts the Knights of the Golden Trail, his troop. Together they built it and guard it and to this day, it is willed to the knights. It costs $5 to visit and is a museum with grounds that are also beautiful and accessed.

The Loveland Castle, or Chateau Laroche
The Loveland Castle, or Chateau Laroche




The Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary


This is a really peaceful place. It is a seminary now, however, until as recently as 2008 nuns lived and prayed in the castle-like structure, designed like a real 15th century medieval castle, and one can still feel the weight, and blessing, of their prayers on the grounds. A sacred space, and healing to those who seek wisdom no matter what your religion.

The Historical District of Louisville, Kentucky

The architecture in the historical neighborhood in Kentucky, which sits right next to its Central Park, is a destination that is worth a visit to see alone, even if you do not go anywhere else in the city.

Below, some of the houses that you will find if you walk, too, into the twilight of the 18th century….and find some beautiful Victorian-era homes.

The canal also lends some views of the city skyline, and if you go to the Falls of The Ohio State Park, you can see the river, with the city behind it, and enjoy the peace there.


An old home in the historical district in Louisville, KY.
An old home in the historical district in Louisville, KY.
A view along one of the alleys in the historical district, in Louisville, KY.
A view along one of the alleys in the historical district, in Louisville, KY.
A boulevard through a little alleyway in the historical district in Louisville, KY.
A boulevard through a little alleyway in the historical district in Louisville, KY.
A view of the bridge from Jeffersonville, IN.
A view of the bridge from Jeffersonville, IN.
An old home with two redwood, or sycamore, possibly, trees on either side!

The Great Smokey Mountains National Park – Gatlinburg, TN

The blue ridge mountains – a sight one should see once in their lives.

There is something about the rolling Appalachain mountain range, the blue ridges, stretching into the distance for miles and miles on end, that is quite moving.

Desolate, beautiful, timeless, yet fragile – these mountain ranges were once civilized, in places, and still, less than a century later, they are forested again in regions where farmhouses once stood.

That is not exactly what you would think looking at out at the ridges now, for here, it looks as though time stood still and the trees forgot their own names, or, we forgot the meaning of natural beauty.

As for trails, there is a beautiful short trail nearby the Sugarlands Visitor Center that is paved, only 0.5, however it is very beautiful, and not to be missed if you have the time. Laurel Springs, a short 2.0 mile round trip hike from the road, is also very popular and worthwhile, because of the beautiful falls at the end of the journey before the turn-around. Anywhere is worth going, as long as you remember to return on the journey home.

Don’t forget to check out the Appalachian Trail. It has beautiful vistas in rugged places, although the scenic drives to Cades Cove or up to see the mountains from Newfound Gap and Clingman’s Dome are worth it, too. Of course, a drive through Gatlinburg and over to the Fontana Dam will yield some pretty, if packed, sights, if you go! The mosquitos and bugs are out in the summer months, so be prepared.

Time for the photos! As always, all opinions are my own.

Clingman’s Dome
A spider web hangs through the sunlit trees on a quiet walkway.