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Sunday, July 5, 2015 -- 11:05 pm
Experience la dolce vita at the pace of a paddle stroke
The Woodinville Weekly - Ah, Italy! Images of famed masterpieces, majestic churches and revered historical sights immediately come to mind. Not to mention the food, glorious food, and wine that seems to run like water in this fabled destination. Most people pinpoint a few notable cities when they talk about Italy, primarily the well-known, "must-see" triad of Rome, Florence and Venice. Such places are typically on every traveler's bucket list and often serve as representative of the country as a whole. After touring these locales, many travelers feel they have seen Italy and opt to move on to the next European hot spot on their agenda. Years ago, when I first went to Italy, I dashed madly from town to town, crossing off sights at rapid speed, then proudly announcing my feat to others. I had "done" Italy...or so I thought. Subsequent trips to this magical destination later in my life fortunately proved this assumption wrong. The truth is that one can't truly appreciate Italy as viewed solely via some frenetic whirlwind city tour. Italy demands time - time to slow down and engage your senses, and to fully indulge in la dolce vita. Walking and cycling through a country are wonderful ways to relax the pace of travel and I have enjoyed both these styles in the past. On my most recent trip to Italy, however, I decided to join a kayak expedition in order to see the country from a different perspective, one paddle stroke at a time. My eleven-day kayaking adventure with award-winning Tofino Expeditions focused on Cinque Terre and Sardinia, two of the most beautiful areas in Italy that also happen to be world class paddling destinations. The trip began and ended in Genova, the capital city of the Liguria region, which is situated around the northwestern coast of the country. Known as the City of the Sea, due to it being a strategic port on the Mediterranean, Genova is also rich in art and history, with a past that dates back 1,000 years. For this reason, some have deemed it the "City of Culture" or the "City of Art." The town's exceptional cultural heritage is displayed in its many museums, opulent palaces and Romanesque and Baroque churches within the Porto Antico, the largest medieval historic center in all of Europe. Narrow streets and ancient alleyways called "caruggi" create a labyrinth for visitors to navigate. Wandering through this maze, you'll stumble upon one historically highlighted building after another, as the city is a renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hillsides surrounding the town are dotted with grand villas, while down on the restored waterfront is the site of one of the largest aquariums in Europe, as well as a maritime museum that chronicles Genoa's history as a sea power. Our group was fortunate to get an insider's tour of the city with a true local, who also just happened to be the fearless leader of our kayak expedition. Though Enrico (picture a gregarious Italian Sean Penn, who is passionate about life, Italy and kayaking) provided much informati Read more...
Wednesday, June 3, 2015 -- 2:33 pm
Take a trip through time on the historic Durango & Silverton Railroad
The Woodinville Weekly - A ride on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is first and foremost about history. It's a testament to engineering prowess, hard work, determination and extraordinary vision. And it all began with the mining boom that struck Southwest Colorado in the late 1800s. Read more...
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 -- 6:30 pm
The indefinable magic that is Cuba
The Woodinville Weekly - Any reason is a good reason to visit Cuba. Maybe it's the island's legendary music that's the allure. Perhaps it's the colonial architecture and wonderfully preserved history that offers the appeal. Or possibly, the country's political situation is of great interest to you. Then, of course, there are the people. Comprised of a colorful melting pot of cultures from Spain, Africa, Asia and elsewhere, they represent diversity at its finest. Read more...
Friday, May 8, 2015 -- 3:14 pm
The Three R's of Kaua'i: Rebalance, Replenish, and Revive
The Woodinville Weekly - At one point during my blissful lomi lomi massage, I actually nodded off and awoke to drool inching down my chin. When I embarrassedly made a comment about it, my therapist Connie kindly complimented me on my ability to drift off, saying that it was a sign of complete relaxation or "malie" in Hawaiian. I, in turn, returned the compliment, noting the expertise of her magic fingers. The tension seemed to just melt away as she worked wonders on all of my body's knots. That, combined with being in a semi-open air treatment room where I could hear the rustling of the palms and smell the perfumed scent of the flowers, made for a heavenly experience. It was one of many I would have during a memorable stay on the Island of Kaua'i. Read more...
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 -- 7:17 pm
Family-friendly Kaua'i is a kid magnet
The Woodinville Weekly - Choosing family vacation destinations can be challenging, especially when you have kids of varying ages and interests. It's hard to please everyone and invariably someone will complain - loudly and frequently - causing everyone else to suffer. Often the dissatisfaction is due to the fact that there are just not enough activities available or those that do exist are not geared towards children. On the Island of Kaua'i, however, boredom is not a state of mind your kids will ever experience. Read more...
Monday, March 30, 2015 -- 4:26 am
WHS baseball: Skyline gets offensive, beats Woodinville in KingCo opener
The Woodinville Weekly - The Skyline Spartans pounded out 9 runs on 13 hits, scoring runs in four consecutive innings, to defeat the Woodinville Falcons 9-3 last Friday night at Woodinville High School. It was the KingCo conference opener for both teams. Woodinville pitcher Connor White started out strong with two shutout innings, before running into trouble in the top of the third. Read more...
Monday, March 30, 2015 -- 4:15 am
WHS boys soccer: Tensions flare as Falcons and Vikings play to a draw
The Woodinville Weekly - If one thing's clear after watching Woodinville and Inglemoor play soccer last Tuesday, it's that these two teams dislike each other. Woodinville's Trevor Dickie scored a first half goal, Inglemoor's Jacob Kavanagh countered in the second half with one of his own, and this pre-season game concluded in a 1-1 tie. Woodinville left with an overall record of 3-0-2, while Inglemoor was at 2-1-2. Read more...
Monday, March 30, 2015 -- 4:08 am
WHS Track and Field: Falcons shine bright on sunny day
The Woodinville Weekly - The Falcon track team basked in glorious sunshine and warm temperatures last Thursday in their meet against Issaquah at Woodinville High School. Jordan Markezich stood out with a strong performance in the 3200m, dropping 38 seconds off his previous personal best. "We've been working on training faster rather than longer and it paid off," Woodinville distance coach Sandy Laurence said. "Dropping that much time for an experienced athlete is unheard of. Wow!" Read more...
Sunday, March 22, 2015 -- 9:33 am
WHS fastpitch: O'Farrell's blast lifts Falcons past Jackson
The Woodinville Weekly - Alyssa O'Farrell hit a mammoth two-run homer in the third inning to rouse the Woodinville Falcons to a 3-1 victory over Jackson last Wednesday evening at Woodinville High School. Woodinville's Alena Jones added a sacrifice fly in that same inning that scored freshman Erin McGrath. This was all the run support the Falcons (2-0) would need, as Taylor Rhinehart and OIivia Riener combined for a 3-hitter. Read more...
Sunday, March 22, 2015 -- 9:10 am
WHS girls tennis: Lady Falcons off to fast start after beating Mountlake Terrace
The Woodinville Weekly - With intermittent raindrops peppering the tennis courts, Woodinville stayed focused to beat Mountlake Terrace 6-1 last Thursday afternoon at Mountlake Terrace High School. The non-conference victory gave the Lady Falcons a 2-0 record to start the young season. Read more...
Sunday, March 22, 2015 -- 9:07 am
Woodinville varsity lacrosse opens season with 3 wins; Montana State High School champions here Saturday
The Woodinville Weekly - On Sat., March 14, the Sehome-Bellingham Warriors traveled down I-5 to play Woodinville.   While the JV game was a Woodinville romp 18-0, there was no certainty of such an outcome for the varsity squad. Woodinville has a new coaching staff and a bevy of starting sophomores while the Warriors are coming off an undefeated league season in 2014. Laxpower ranked Sehome-Bellingham 12th in the state and Woodinville far below at 22nd. The Falcons however, started out fast. Read more...
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 -- 8:26 pm
Cloudcroft, NM - 9,000 feet above stress level
The Woodinville Weekly - If things go bump in the night during your stay at The Lodge Resort & Spa, not to worry. It's most likely Rebecca, the friendly and mischievous ghost that wanders the hall of this historic hotel in Cloudcroft, New Mexico. She's a popular legend in these parts, whose tale is one of passion, betrayal and unrequited love. A beautiful young chambermaid with striking blue eyes and long red tresses, Rebecca mysteriously disappeared from her quarters after her jealous and enraged lumberjack boyfriend found her in the arms of another. That was a century ago, yet there are those who vow that Rebecca's spirit is still present in the hotel today. Some have seen her apparition in mirrors; others note such unexplained incidents as ashtrays sliding across tables unassisted, doors opening and closing for no apparent reason, lights turning on and off by themselves and even fires that have spontaneously ignited in the lobby fireplace. Over the years, both guests and employees attribute these odd happenings to Rebecca's ghost, who many believe is in search of a new lover or friend who might appreciate her playful and flirtatious nature. Rebecca is not the only famous person attributed to The Lodge. Among the notables who have stayed at this grand dame of a property include Judy Garland, Clark Gable, Pancho Villa and every New Mexico governor since 1901. Originally built in 1899 as a residential hotel for timber cutters working for the Alamogordo and Sacramento Mountain Railway, the property opened to the public in 1906 and became known as the "Queen of the Mountain." It was subsequently destroyed by fired and rebuilt five years later at its current location, where it has since been in business as an upscale, mountaintop lodge, complete with its own observation tower. Though the property has been refurbished inside and out, it still retains its historical bones and is a testament to a bygone era. Old photos, newspaper clippings and various factoids line the walls, giving visitors a snapshot of the hotel's storied past. Each of the resort's 47 rooms are decorated with a unique Victorian flair. There are several types of accommodations, including romantic Parlor Suites, family-friendly Guest Rooms and even a Honeymoon Suite that's a treat for lovers of all ages. And of course, there's the famed Governor's Suite, fit for royalty with its four-poster bed, intimate sitting area and elegant foyer. Nearby, the Lodge also offers its Pavilion Bed & Breakfast Rooms - ten cozy rooms with knotty pine walls that provide rustic, yet quaint quarters. Then there's also The Retreat Suites, which house four private luxury suites that share a common area with kitchen and conference facilities, making it the ideal setting for small company meetings or family reunions. A massive copper fireplace is the focal point of The Lodge's spacious lobby. Folks often congregate here in the evening before or after eating a sumptuous meal in the hotel's restaurant, which is named in honor Read more...
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 -- 11:51 am
Bothell struck twice by racist vandalism last week
The Woodinville Weekly - On the morning of Feb. 15, two similar incidents of vandalism were reported in Bothell. The outside wall of the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center had been graffitied with a swastika and the words "GET OUT." At Skyview Junior High School, graffiti was discovered on the exterior of buildings showing a swastika and reading "Muslims get out" and "Muslims be gone." Read more...
Thursday, January 22, 2015 -- 8:18 pm
Antarctica - Beyond Expectations
The Woodinville Weekly - I didn't think the day could get any better as we witnessed a pod of magnificent Orcas gliding by our ship along with dozens of Painted Petrels riding the waves amid ice sculptures that could have been made by the likes of Michelangelo himself. But, it did as soon as we stepped foot on land and were greeted by a welcome committee of thousands of Adelie penguins dressed in their finest tuxes. The creatures paraded all around us as they headed to and from their nests on the rocks to the sea on a well-trafficked path, commonly referred to as the "penguin highway." Most waddled in perfect linear formation, one after another, though occasionally a few would opt to slide down the hills in an effort to take a short cut to their destination. Consummate entertainers, they provided endless amusement and Kodak moments for their enthralled human audience. Read more...
Monday, December 22, 2014 -- 5:12 pm
The arts and crafts heritage is alive and well in the Smokies
The Woodinville Weekly - It takes Pastor Jimmy Morrow about three hours to make one of his famous kudzu baskets. Watching him wind this tough and stringy plant's vine over and around countless times is a hypnotic experience. Listening to him tell tales of Appalachia, on the other hand, is an insightful journey into one of the most fascinating regions in our country. Morrow is a multitalented man - an author, historian, artisan and snake-handling pastor - who is a well-known figure in the Smoky Mountains. His family dates back to the Civil War era with roots in Morgan Gap, deep in the heart of East Tennessee. Pastor Morrow's primitive art paintings tell both historical and religious stories, and his folk art dolls of corn husk are portrayed as characters within these accounts. He's one of many residents in the Smokies doing their part to keep the Appalachian arts and crafts heritage alive. Read more...
Wednesday, December 3, 2014 -- 4:11 pm
Making family memories in the Smokies is easy as pie (pecan, preferred!)
The Woodinville Weekly - It's impossible not to have fun in Gatlinburg. Activities abound in this quaint Tennessee town, as well as in its neighboring burgs, from a variety of thrilling outdoor adventures to an array of exciting indoor attractions. And lest we not forget, Gatlinburg is the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the most unique and special wilderness areas in the country. With its extensive lodging, dining, shopping and other services available, the city is the ideal host community for many of the park's millions of annual visitors. Read more...
Monday, November 3, 2014 -- 11:48 pm
Tigers and monkeys and mongoose, oh my!
The Woodinville Weekly - Svelte and graceful, the lithe tigress made her way through the tall grass, her movements barely making a whisper. She had come to check on her three cubs, who were playfully engaged in some sort of comical roll-over game with one another. As soon as her presence registered, however, the cubs stopped their antics and began to dutifully follow their mother. We watched in awe and wonderment as this elegant creature in all her glorious stripes crossed the road in front of our safari jeep. Though we knew the tigress was fully aware of us, she never glanced our away, preferring to remain aloof and distant. The cubs trailed after their mother, one at a time, closely adhering to her path. Two of the trio made it to the other side; the third became wary and then balked, choosing to retreat back into the grass. It only took a moment before the tigress realized the situation and quickly headed back over the road to retrieve her skittish young'un. It was a privileged moment for our group and we reveled in the good fortune and timing that had allowed us to witness this amazing scene at Ranthambore National Park in northern India. Read more...
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 -- 6:16 pm
Bern is a city of superlatives
The Woodinville Weekly - If there were a beauty pageant for European capitals, Bern would get the crown. This well-known Swiss city oozes with cosmopolitan charm, history and culture, and consistently gets high marks from visitors. They extol its accessibility, unique attractions and impressive Alpine views, as well as its ample shopping and dining options. Read more...
Tuesday, August 5, 2014 -- 4:01 pm
You don't have to be a celeb to enjoy the star-studded Swiss cities of Lausanne and Montreux
The Woodinville Weekly - It's hard to imagine what a noted British poet, a famous film actor, a celebrated French fashion designer and the lead vocalist of the rock band Queen could possibly have in common. Yet, each of them - Lord Byron, Charlie Chaplin, Coco Chanel and Freddie Mercury - all resided, at one point in their lives, in and around the French-speaking region of Lausanne and Montreux, Switzerland. After visiting this vibrant and alluring locale, I understood why these celebs and others have chosen to call it home. Read more...
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 -- 3:02 pm
Searching for Mrs. Conda; first name, Ana
The Woodinville Weekly - I was a woman on a mission when I set out on my Peruvian Amazon riverboat adventure with International Expeditions. Like most of my fellow passengers, visiting the Amazon was a bucket-list destination, one that promised to be a significant and momentous travel experience. My objective was to learn firsthand about this unique environment and its diverse wildlife, as well as about the people who inhabit its lush and verdant rainforests. I had another goal, though, which was to see an Anaconda snake. Odd, I admit, but for some reason, this creature has always held a curious allure for me, after having heard tales of its almost mythical proportions and surreptitious existence. In the wild, an Anaconda spends most of its time hanging out in rivers hunting for food. A solitary snake, it is somewhat shy and not easily seen due to being camouflaged in the swamps and bogs in which it thrives. The Amazon is the Anaconda's home and I knew this trip represented the best opportunity for me to finally come eye-to-eye with this storied reptile. Read more...

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