Northern California’s Sonoma and Mendocino Coast

imageIf California ever breaks off and falls into the Pacific we’re going to lose some outstanding oceanfront property, especially along that hidden gem of a coastline that stretches 120 miles north of San Francisco along curvy Highway 1.

While not remote, it’s off the beaten path and laid back in that unique California way. And compared to any stretch of jagged cliffs, hidden coves, deep green pastures and pristine sand beaches in North America, the Sonoma and Mendocino coastal region is sublime; it is highly romantic. It is stunning.

My first recollection of the wind-battered hills took place on a cloudless day in July a few years ago. The fog had lifted, the sun was bright and shining and the sky was deep blue, though not as blue as the white-speckled ocean that sprawled to the distant horizon.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Cross-Country Wine Lovers Tour in New Zealand

imageIt has been said that if you know a country’s wine, you know the country. Spending time in one of New Zealand’s ten major wine growing regions allows visitors to learn a great deal about the country, the people and, of course, the wine!

Wine tours in the land of the long white cloud are highly popular and with boutique wineries found on both the North and South Islands, you’re never far from a good glass of wine. Wine growing regions in New Zealand include Northland, Auckland, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Wairarapa, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson, Marlborough, Canterbury/Waipara Valley and Central Otago.

By Travel New Zealand - Friday, April 16, 2010

Where “Little Hollywood” Meets the Coral Pink Sand Dunes

imageDue to Kanab’s convenient location as a central hub, if you plan to visit the north rim of the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and Lake Powell, you should consider making Kanab your home base like many visitors from across the globe have done over the decades. With ample lodging, wide tree-lined streets, stately brick dwellings and friendly residents, recently “discovered” Kanab caters increasingly to the tourist and is decidedly unpretentious. It’s the real deal - a conservative slice of the authentic republican West built on a strong Mormon heritage, like much of rural Utah.

Isolated in the southwest corner of Utah’s red rock country, Kanab’s placid demeanor and impressive Old West architecture do little to convey its storied past as Utah’s “Little Hollywood.” The drive-by tourists headed for the big parks have little reason to suspect that roughly 300 mostly-western motion pictures and television shows were filmed in and around this small town of 3,800 from the 1920s to the present.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Sunday, April 11, 2010

Zion National Park

imageThe great 19th century French novelist Gustave Flaubert, who wrote that “the three most beautiful things ever created in this world are the sea, Hamlet, and Mozart’s Don Giovanni,” had obviously never been to southern Utah because if there is a paradise on earth, this place is a top contender with its many parks, monuments and fertile desert wild lands. And of all those red-rock gems, Zion is the most visited.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Sunday, March 28, 2010

Know your rights before booking travel online

In today’s increasingly tech-savvy world, booking travel online may be a convenient option for some. According to the Travel Industry Council of Ontario however, knowing what your rights and options are before booking is an important and often overlooked step.

By Guest Column - Friday, March 5, 2010

Murder on Main Street

imageI flinched. The gunshot was much louder than expected and launched a sharp echo careening off the ancient wood buildings that line main street in this craggy old town. I did not know the man who fell dead right before my eyes. Middle-aged, tall and sporting a dirty-white flowing beard, he dropped with a stunned, graceless kerplunk. And then another shot ripped through the quiet, and a second man lay sprawled on the asphalt face down in the dusty, sun-drenched afternoon. An awkward silence fell over the crowd of onlookers. No one called the police, no one interfered with righteous indignation. We just stood there, staring.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bandelier National Monument

imageOne of the most unusual and highly-popular archeological attractions in New Mexico is the 33,000 acre Bandelier National Monument about an hour’s drive northwest of Santa Fe and a mere 15 miles from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where they developed the nuclear bomb. You’ve probably heard of Bandelier and have most likely seen images on television of the towering columns of smoke associated with it because the monument nearly burned to the ground in 2000 during the infamous 48,000-acre Cerro Grande fire.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sedona Arizona

imageAs things go in a subjective world, the editors of USA Weekend Magazine might have hit the nail on the head when they named Sedona the most beautiful place in America. But this crowning was no doubt a bittersweet accolade for some of the 16,000 residents of this picturesque Arizona town who probably let out a collective groan at the prospect of even more tourists descending on their squeaky-clean fair haven.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Friday, January 29, 2010

Death Valley California

imageDon’t let the name stop you from visiting one of the most remarkable desert wilderness parks in North America.

From soaring snow-covered peaks down to the blinding-white barren salt flats at Badwater 282’ (86m) feet below sea level, this vast 3 million acre heritage epitomizes the most rugged terrain that the American southwest deserts have to offer.

This is a land of contrasts with extremes of light and color, wet and dry, the vertical and the horizontal.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Thursday, January 14, 2010

WestJet limits carry-on baggage for U.S.-bound guests

Due to the new, increased security measures imposed by the Canadian and U.S. transportation authorities, flights to and from the United States continue to be affected by significant delays and in some cases, cancellations. In addition, some domestic flights have also been adversely affected due to late arriving aircraft from the U.S.

By Guest Column - Monday, December 28, 2009

Joshua Tree National Park California

A welcome reprieve from the urban insanity of southern California, Joshua Tree National Park is a sprawling and remote high desert anomaly full of delightful surprises.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Most Canadians won’t cut travel budget in 2010

TORONTO, /CNW/ - Despite the tough economy, 73% of Canadians say they plan on spending as much or more for their next vacation as they did for the last one, according to an Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of cruise vacation site In terms of dollars, 58% of Canadians plan to spend a minimum of $750 per person on their next holiday, while 21% plan to spend at least $1,500 per person.

By Guest Column - Friday, December 18, 2009

Jerome, Arizona

Perched on Cleopatra Hill 2,000 feet above the Verde Valley floor with grand vistas of Sedona’s red rock country 35 miles distant, Jerome reminds me of the old country, Europe.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Saturday, December 12, 2009

New Zealand stars in hit movies

- Ruth Atherley

Movie fans have always wanted to know more about the making of their favourite films. In New Zealand, there are many movie themed activities and tours that take fans behind the scenes and showcase some breathtaking locations while providing some insider scoop about the making of the films.

By Travel New Zealand Ruth Atherley- Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Alabama Hills

No, the Alabama Hills are not in Alabama but are sprawled at the foot of the eastern Sierra Nevadas in California; large rounded boulders clustered like a spilled sack of potatoes at the foot of jagged Mt. Whitney (14,505’) and Lone Pine Peak. A perfect complement of mountain and desert landscapes, this hidden geologic wonderland begs for purple prose because the scenery will drop you to your knees and take your breath away.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wupatki National Monument

imageIn the long run maybe it’s good fortune that the Wupatki National Monument northeast of Flagstaff, Arizona resides in relative obscurity, never given a second thought by the millions who race north on 89 to crowd shoulder-to-shoulder and stare into the Grand Canyon.

Their loss is our gain because infrequent visitors means peace and quiet out on the wide open desert expanses and allows you to stroll unhurried through the splendidly preserved 800 year-old ruins that once marked a cultural hub, a melting pot of ancient Sinagua and Kayenta Anasazi, and to a lesser extent Cohonina and Hohokam peoples.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Friday, November 6, 2009

Ghost Town Sleeps in the Shadow of Zion National Park

imageMost visitors lured to Zion National Park in southwestern Utah by the sheer towering walls of red sandstone, narrow slot canyons and shady cottonwoods that line the Virgin River have never heard of Grafton. They are unaware that a few miles before the park’s southern entrance, on the south side of the river tucked behind the trim and proper rural enclave of Rockville lie the remnants of an historical gem that has earned its place on the National Register of Historic Sites, and for good reason. Not only is it one of the most photogenic relics of pioneer heritage, but its history and the sweat and tear-soaked tale of struggle that Grafton’s hearty settlers endured is the stuff of Hollywood movies.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Thursday, October 22, 2009

Close Encounters

imageAmong my life’s fondest memories are hiking innumerable miles through alpine tundra and deep evergreens of the Rocky Mountain high country. Usually it was just me, the love of my life, Maya, and day dreams that mountain meandering invariably conjures up.

By John Treadwell Dunbar - Saturday, October 17, 2009

Deduct Your Travel Expenses

When it comes to deducting travel expenses, make sure you understand all of the rules before you even begin the process.

By Inst. of Chartered Accountants - Sunday, June 28, 2009

Financial Tips for Travellers

Travel is calling your name – how can you make sure you’re not cut short financially?

By Inst. of Chartered Accountants - Sunday, June 28, 2009

10 New Zealand students ‘likely’ have swine flu

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand said Sunday that 10 students “likely” have swine flu after a school trip to Mexico, as governments across Asia began quarantining those with symptoms of the deadly virus and some issued travel warnings for Mexico.

By Travel New Zealand - Sunday, April 26, 2009

Travel advisory warns of severe respiratory illness in Mexico

Canadians who have recently returned from Mexico should be on alert for flu-like symptoms that could be connected to a severe respiratory illness, federal health officials said Thursday in issuing a travel advisory.

By News on the Net - Friday, April 24, 2009

Airport Wayfinder Arrives in Toronto - Travel Just Got Easier

Have you ever planned out your business trip or vacation down to the very last detail - with the best deals on hotels and flights, even great ideas of where to eat and what to do - only to get to the airport and have all the excitement come to a crashing halt when you can’t find your departure gate?

By Guest Column - Thursday, May 8, 2008