Angkor Wat in Cambodia

Seated at the heart of Angkor, Cambodia (specifically in the Siem Reap provine) is the Khmer architecture of the World’s City Temple --- the Angkor Wat. Since 2004 and 2005, the Angkor Wat is now a major tourist destination by all avid travelers in the world. The estimate figures went up from 561,000 to 677,000 visitors and still counting for more. 

A Brief History

The construction of Angkor Wat began in early 12th century during the rule of Suryavarman. That time, the Angkor Wat was known as the king’s state of temple in the capital city. As many historians believe, the Angkor Wat was owned by the traditional enemies of Khmer after the death of Suryavarman. 

Since then, the temple was abandoned but thanks to the Western visitors as they decided to restore the real beauty of the temple in 1586. Yet, the restoration was stopped due to civil war and caused destruction to various Angkorian statues.

Angkor Wat: The Reconstruction

Years passed by and the construction of Angkor Wat continues. Even its conservator by the name of Maurice Glaize pointed out that Angkor Wat should be preserved due to its balanced elements and its proportional arrangements of the towers. 

When the construction in placed led by Archeological Survey of India in 1886, the Angkor Wat is now a classic style of galleries that extends from the entrance to the west and east side of the pillar. The outer wall was 1024 x 802 m and 4.5 high below the ground.

The central structure of the Angkor Wat is made up of three rectangular galleries dedicated to Brahma, the moon and Vishnu. The gallery is structured with columns that connect the second encoluse to the west side part of the temple.  The second and inner galleries are internally connected with each other following three sets of steps on each side leading to the corner towers and into the innermost gallery of gods known as Bakan. 

Decorations inside the Angkor Wat are extensively adorned with scenes from the Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata.  The western gallery shows the Battle of Lanka while the eastern part of the gallery shows Churning of the Sea of Milk. On the northern part of the gallery lies the scene of Krishna’s victory over Bana. 

All in all, the whole mood of Angkor Wat is truly an ornate and complex architecture but still one of those important religious centers in the world.

Visiting Angkor Wat

One can visit Angkor Wat anytime of the day. Midday is the part of the day where there is less crowd times at the temple. In fact, touring the vast land of Angkor Wat takes four to five days and be sure not to ignore the highlights of this attraction. The highlights are Angkor Thom, Banteay Srei, Phnom Bakheng Hill and the Tonle Sap Lake. 

Hotel bookings and affordable packages are offered online to get the best experience one can have while in the perimeters of Angkor Wat. 

We Will Miss Tom's Tavern in Wrentham, MA

Article by Eric H.

Tom's Tavern, a long-time favorite local restaurant in Wrentham, MA, for the past three decades, closed its doors last Saturday, according to the Attleboro Sun Chronicle.

A classic roadside restaurant/bar, Tom's Tavern looked slightly menacing from the outside -- with its dive-like, rather drab look and motorcycles out front -- but once inside, everyone from the drinking crowd to families coexisted peacefully with the very friendly staff. Fresh seafood and a good variety of beer were signatures at Tom's Tavern, along with the knack of making a fantastic burger. It appears that the closing had more to do with management and debt conflicts rather than a poor economy, according to the Sun Chronicle. Tom's still drew a great crowd despite the recession.

We will miss this great local restaurant and bar -- and the air hockey game, too! Thanks for all the years of dining excellence, Tom's Tavern.

Experience Magic at Hong Kong Disneyland

Just ten minutes from Hong Kong International Airport lays 310 acres Hong Kong Disneyland. This extraordinary park houses four theme-parks such as Main Street, USA, Adventureland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Each of these parks has designated Disney characters to welcome your visit.  To name a few, Mickey and Minnie Mouse are in Main Street; Goofy and Cinderella in Fantasyland and Buzz Lightyear in Tomorrowland. 

Two of the most famous events during the daytime activities are Disney in the Stars and Disney on Parade. Disney in the Stars features breathtaking nightly fireworks while an orchestra plays A Whole New World (at other theme parks) while Disney on Parade allows you to explore nine spectacular floats of some selected Disney characters such as Chip ‘n’ Dale, Alice in the Wonderland, Disney Princesses etc. During special occasions, there are events like A Sparkling Christmas and Disney’s Chinese New Year.

Due to criticisms from various legislators, future expansions are to be made and currently, these twelve hectares new locations can be viewed while at the top of Tarzan’s Treehouse in Adventureland. Phase two and three are still in progress. 

Hong Kong Disneyland is in fact the smallest Disneyland park in the world but with the various constructions going on and five-star Disneyland Hotel in the Harbor, your stay will still be a blast. The Victorian-themed Disneyland Hotel features 400 rooms and international cuisines at the restaurants. Three ballrooms are situated in the convention center, the largest being the Cinderella Grand Ballroom. 

Traveling to Hong Kong Disneyland is easy. Transportation services are available by MTRC-Disneyland Resort Line Trains, bus, by private cars, by urban or nearby-territory-taxis and by scheduled ferry. Tickets and reservations vary in prices and booking in advance is highly advised to avoid disruption in your magical experience.

Eight Quick-facts about Taj Mahal

  1. With Ustad Ahmad Lahauri as the chief architect, the construction of Taj Mahal began in 1632 and ended in 1653 in memory of Emperor Shah Jahan’s favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. This wonder is located in Agra, India. 
  2. As the finest Mughal architecture in the world, Taj Mahal combines Persian, Ottoman, Indian and Islamic styles in one.
  3. Amanat Khan designed the white marbled calligraphy found in Taj Mahal large pishtaq. In plain English, the various themes written in the calligraphy are about: The Sun, The Purity of Faith, Daybreak, Morning Light, The Fig, The Solace, Ya Sin, The Folding Up, The Cleaving Asunder, The Rending Asunder, The Evidence, Dominion, Victory, Those Sent Forth and The Crowds.
  4. The tombs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal were situated at the center interior region of Taj Mahal and both were elaborately designed with precious and semiprecious gems
  5. The Garden of Paradise located outside Taj Mahal measures 300-meters-squared, which signifies the perfect garden of abundance due to its four flowing rivers in four directions: north, west, east and south.
  6. During the on-going construction of Taj Mahal, more than one thousand elephants were used to transport equipment and materials. 
  7. During the 1965-1971 India-Pakistan war, the Indian government created temporary platforms suspended from the top peak of Taj Mahal to mislead bombs. 
  8. As the seventh wonder of the modern world, the grounds of Taj Mahal are open from six in the morning until seven in the evening during weekdays except Fridays. Fridays are reserved for prayers at the mosque from twelve noon to two in the afternoon.

Getting Around the Taj Mahal

It will absolutely be a rewarding experience to visit Taj Mahal. As you enter the forecourt, you’ll the Islamic decorative walls of Taj Ganj. Inside the gatehouse, you’ll be ready to go forward the Celestial pool of abundance where you can just sit and reflect the beauty of the place. On the left side of the pool, you are seeing the Paradise Gardens where sixteen parterre, flowerbeds, trees and fountains are laid. 

Moving along at the front of the Chhaka is the entrance of mausoleum. Here, you’ll see the unique stokes of calligraphy and inscription in the walls. Then, as you enter the orbital-shape jail entrance, prepare yourself to meet the cenotaphs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz. If you walk straight from the cenotaphs, you’ll see the interior octagonal room filled beautiful inlays, chambers and dados. At the rooftop of Taj Mahal, you can clearly see the fantastic view of River Yamuna. 

On the left side of the mausoleum is the reflecting pool by the Mosque while on the right side lies the wide terrace of Chameli Farsh.

Unusual, Offbeat Looking Restaurants in New England

Article and Photos by Eric H.

If you're tired of dining at those box-shaped restaurants that all look the same (and often offer the same tasting things), then we suggest taking a look at some of the photos below. Every once in a while, there's a restaurant that stands out from the others -- unique in appearance and usually with an endearing gimmick. Before briefly describing each restaurant, we present to you the photos:

Prince Pizzeria, Saugus, MA

Beef Barn, North Smithfield, RI

Tex Barry's Coney Island Hot Dogs, Attleboro, MA

Milk Bottle Restaurant, Raynham, MA

The Traveler Restaurant, Union, CT (look at all the books!)

The Lyndon Freighthouse, Lyndonville, VT

The Western Hotel, Harrisville, RI

The Prince Restaurant, in Saugus, MA (517 Broadway, Route 1 South, Tel., 781-233-9950) with its "Leaning Tower of Pizza" structure, features some wonderful Italian-style pizza and pasta with homemade sauce. The Beef Barn, in North Smithfield, RI (1 Greenville Rd., Tel. 401-762-9880), showcases a huge silo just minutes from the City of Woonsocket, brings back dining prices from 20 years ago and specializes in delicious roast beef. Tex Barry's Coney Island Hot Dogs, in Attleboro, MA (31 County St., Phone: 508-222-9787), is quite noticeable with its giant hot dog sign (seemingly larger than the tiny restaurant) and some amazing, low-priced hot dogs. The Milk Bottle In Raynham, MA (785 Broadway, 508-822-6833), is famous for its towering milk bottle structure, some very friendly service and excellent lunches and breakfasts. The Traveler Restaurant in Union, CT (Rt. 84, exit 74, Union, CT. Tel. 860-684-4920), looks rather generic from the outside, but inside, the booths and tables are surrounded by a virtual library of books. Each customer is allowed to take home a book after dining at the Traveler! The Lyndon Freighthouse, in Lyndonville, VT, (1000 Broad St., Tel. 802-626-1400) is a full-service restaurant (excellent organic breakfast, lunch and dinner selections), gift shop, railroad museum, coffee shop, ice cream parlor and information center, all set within a historic, former freight house! The Western Hotel, in Harrisville, RI (610 Douglas Ave., Tel. 401) 568-6253), is a former 1700s stagecoach stop and looks like something out of the wild west -- they happen to serve great Rhode Island clam chowder, steaks and bar pizza.

Four Nicest Attractions at Guadalajara

Tagged as the second largest city in Mexico, Guadalajara is a distinct place of solace and comfort due to several tertiary activities that are focused on tourism growth. As you tour the city, tourist attractions are everywhere.  To mention a few attractions of the many are:

The Cathedral 

The Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady is the first minor basilica built in 1541 and has already undergone major constructions for many times. However, the Cathedral remains strong and until now, it still is the wonderful structure in the city. Inside this basilica lay the two of the notable pieces in history like the largest organ in Mexico and the mural of the Assumption Blessed Virgin Mary. 

Degollado Theatre

Looking forward to watch theatrical plays? The elegant hall of Degollado is the place you’ll want to be. With its European Opera Houses, chandeliers, frescoes and red velvet seats in all four levels of balconies, watching Mariachi Galas can be a rewarding experience can’t be forgotten.

Rotonda de los Hombres Ilustres

Built by Former President Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada in 1872 to remember those people who gave honor to their Nation, the Rotonda is definitely a circular room you must explore with great enthusiasm. When you are in this place, you’ll be surrounded with respected people who contributed pride and honor to Mexico’s history. Naming a few people are David Alfaro Siqueiros, the painter; Eligio Ancona, the historian philosopher; Mariano Azuela, the writer and Calixto Bravo, the Coronel.

Instituto Cultural Cabanas
This orphanage has become the neo-classical landmark in Guadalaraja since Jose Clemente Ordozo began to adorn it with beautiful murals and exhibitions. The Plaza Tapatia is a stunning water mirror inside the institute that surely makes you react in disbelief as you stand on the edge portion of it. For those artistic minds, Orozco’s masterpiece, Man on Fire, is absolutely the piece of art to see.

Exploring Attractions in Mexico City

Touring Mexico City is fun! Food is no problem due to various restaurants and cafes all around the corner. The Café Popular permits you to have a full meal priced at twenty five pesos only. At La Casa del Pavo, this small but unique restaurant gives you delicious entrees with charcoal-roasted turkey drumsticks at affordable prices ranging from 20-40 pesos.


Apart from food, Mexico City is also the land of fantastic landmarks, parks and museums. The Plaza de la Constitucion, being one of the largest squares in the world is a centerpoint of historic buildings you want to go and if you are a pious Catholic, you should see the Basilica de Guadalupe. The Basilica is referred to as the holiest place in America and the home of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Other noticeable landmarks in Mexico City are Torre Mayor, Coyoacan, Ciudaddela Crafts Market, Latinoamericana Tower and the city’s main campus, Ciuded Universitaria.


There are three national parks in the city namely the Chapultepec Park and Zoo, Xochimilco and Plaza Garibaldi-Mariachi. In Chapultepec, there are educational museums around niching in technology, history, arts and anthropology. The Xochimilco has big waterways and flower gardens to offer and since 1987, the park is included in the UNESCO world heritage. The Plaza Garibaldi-Mariachi centers on bars and restaurants, especially to the supporters Mariachi Bands.


Did you know Mexico City is the nest of largest number of museums in the world? If sculptures, jewel and handicraft interest you, go to National Museum of Anthropology. Modern and colonial of Colombian architecture, the museum is called Plaza de las Tres Culturas. Rufino Tamayo’s paintings, explore his museum situated in Chapultepec Park and Zoo. Historic arts and sculptures of Mayan and Aztec--- go to Anahuacali Museum.

Food, culture and fun; Mexico City offers you with something at affordable budget.

Unforgettable Tourist Attractions in Cancun

Referred to as the Mexican Carribean with an approximate population of sixty thousand is the coastal city of Cancun and has only begun its tourism trade in 1970. Viewing from an aerial view, Cancun is definitely a lovely city of wonder and pristine beauty. There’s no problem to where to stay for beachfront hotels are all around this seven-shaped city.

Most visited attractions in Cancun are Xel_Ha and XCaret. These places blew you away with their natural reserves of marine life. Here, one can hike the mysterious marks in eco-jungles, get wet and swim the depths of their sparkling beaches and just be completely spellbound by the stretching coastlines around.
The Hotel Zone of Cancun in a fourteen mile long island definitely grabs your attention in a puff. These hotels are widely-known for its wide and inexpensive rooms to stay in. In fact, most of these hotels offer time-share condominiums and for those non-timeshare hotels, they all offer various range of accommodations including unlimited breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinne, Jacuzzi, spa, sports, clubbing and lounging; all these pure-fun activities are all here. There’s also forty percent discount to tour the Maya Ruins in Yucatan Peninsula.

The best fine dining and steak houses are in Cancun. Leonardo Cuisine, Frida Cuisine and Miyako Cuisine serve Italian dinner, Mexican food and Oriental dishes, respectively. Life is truly at its great circle when you eat delicious delicacies and attend live entertainments at night life bars after a thrilling adventure at the Maya Ruins.

As your final destination in Cancun, staying at Kabah is a perfect destination. The Kabah Parque is an oasis eco-park for the whole family. Kids and kids at heart can surely enjoy the playground, the wildlife zoo, the clean and a must-explore trail road, the green and great picnic area and the historic collections in their museum. Everyone is welcome in this park and entrance is absolutely for free!

Pure Adventure and Fun in Acapulco

Situated in the Western Coast of Mexico is the beautiful city of Acapulco. Like the Philippines, the climate here is tropical all year round. There are also winter seasons but most of the time, it’s dry. That’s why; this is definitely the hot spot for vacation escapades for several rich people in Europe and in America.

Brief History

Flashing back the history a little, Acapulco was only a small harbor for fishing. Acapulco started to become the center of attraction when Miguel Aleman Valdes, the president of Mexico in 1946-1952, transformed his creative visions and ideas into reality. In 1968, Acapulco was the host of yachting in Summer Olympics and from that moment onwards, it became the “Mecca Jet Set” of all the avid travelers around
the world.

Exploring the Best

La Quebrada is truly an iconic place for awesome adventure, where one experiences the jump of a lifetime. Just imagine if you are standing in the middle of this majestic cliff and dive into the deep waves of Pacific Ocean. But beware, diving must be only done at the perfect timing due to the unpredictable dangers you can face below the water. For those people who are scared to jump, there is a restaurant in one side of the cliffs and see how those large pelicans hunt for fish.

Other exciting attractions to chill in Acapulco are Acamar Beach Resort, Radisson Resort Hotel, Qualton Club, Romano Palace Hotel 7 Suites and Hotel Casa Inn. Three of the five mentioned are five star hotels that surely give you the glow and pleasures not found at the comforts of your home.

Shopping is also a grand activity in Acapulco. Among the various malls in the city, the most well-known is probably the La Gran Plaza. This mall is known for its affordable prices in all leather products. In fact, this two-level Plaza with 135 stores including Mexican Cuisines and Restaurants is easily tracked just by riding a taxi. If you are looking for great gifts and souvenirs like snacks, meat and cheeses, handicrafts, jewelry and textiles at low prices, try shopping at their municipal market, the Mercado Central.

Other department chains in the city are Avenida Costera Miguel Aleman, Artisan Mall across Plaza Bahia, Zocalo and Acapulco Cultural Center.

Special Tourist Attractions in Russia

Russia is a large transcontinental country occupying Eastern Europe and North Asia and traveling here can be memorable due to its rich history and breathtaking landmarks. The following are the nicest attractions in Russia:

The Red Square in Kremlin

What’s special with this place is its courageous and religious beginnings and impressive walls that are originally built from white stone. There are magnificent buildings all around the Square. Some of those are the Lenin’s Mausoleum, which lays the tomb of the Soviet Union Founder, and who can forget the elegant architecture of the Saint Basil’s Cathedral. On the eastern side is the GUM Department Store, probably the ideal spot to hang-out after attending mass service in Kazan Cathedral, just few steps away from the store. The Red Square also boasts its sculptured bronze monument of Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky. These were the people who stopped Polish invaders.

Victory Park

Opened in 1995 and by reading its name, this history park is about triumph, courage and hope. If you visit this park, you’ll surely be left in awe when you see the Memorial Complex, Orthodox Church and the Central Patriotic Museum that reminds you of Russia’s victorious fight over the Nazi in World War II. This is simply the place to bond while recalling the past.

St. Isaac’s Cathedral

It took forty years before the construction of this golden dome was completed and was popular due to its circular observation deck. This is situated in St. Petersburg.

The Tauride Gardens

A perfect recreational park for the whole family landscaped in Romantic architecture. Opened to public and no fee for admission, children can play football, older men get hook in chess and sweet couples can walk around with their dogs in the lead. The Tauride Gardens is located near the Smolny Cathedral in St. Petersburg.

The Peterhof Palace

Tagged as the city’s greatest pride, the Peterhof Palace is an extravagant place of elegance, of glitters and of ceramics, also in St. Petersburg. The Grand Cascade next to the garden is a must-see. You’ll surely be mesmerized with 150 fountains and statues, located just below the grotto. One of the fountains, the Samson Fountain, depicts the historical victory of Russians over Sweden during the Great Northern War.

Grand Hotel Europe

Another great attraction in the heart of St. Petersburg to explore is the Grand Hotel Europe. With its charming architecture, this five-star hotel can be the fantastic ground for business and leisure activities while enjoying the range of great amenities such as sauna, spa, lounges, health clubs, air-conditioning rooms with satellite televisions and more. Check rates as of the moment is $ 465.

Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

Another work of impressive Neoclassical art situated just few blocks west of the Kremlin is the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. As what the name stands, the goal of constructing this masterpiece is to give thanks to the Divine Providence for all the blessings He showered to Russia and for you to know; it’s the tallest Eastern Orthodox Church in the world. In 1990, the Cathedral undergone a renovation and on the groundfloor lies a hall for church assemblies.

Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery

The oasis of peace and tranquility worth exploring, this monastery is the place you’ll want to be--- allowing you to see the memorable graves of those famous names such as Nikolai Gogol, Anton Chechov, Chaliapin the singer and the former Soviet leader, Nikita Krushchev.

Glinka State Central Museum of Musical Culture

This museum has six branches and was named after the great composer, Glinka. It is situated in Moscow. Inside, you will scan the various personal belongings like sculptures, articles, instruments, recordings, books, paintings and musical masterpieces of other unforgettable composers.

Tsar Cannon

Visiting Russia might be incomplete without seeing the Kremlin’s Saviour Guide, the Tsar Cannon. This beast cannon approximately weighs forty tons and 5.3 meters in length. This is definitely the reason why Guinness Book of Records called it the largest cannons ever made by human.

The Wealth of the Newport, RI, Sea at Ocean Drive

Article and Photo by Eric H.

Newport, RI, is best known for its spectacular mansions and, to an ever-so-slightly lesser degree, shopping, waterfront dining and lodging, the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals, and the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

I'll take the Newport sea any day, however, especially where the Narragansett Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean on Ocean Drive.

Driving the several miles of winding roads on Ocean Drive, affording spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, reminded me of the innate purity of Newport -- the reason so many wealthy New Yorkers flocked here in the 1800s to connect and relax by the magnificent ocean.

Rhode Island is the country's smallest state, but more significant is its nickname, the "Ocean State." Here on Ocean Drive, the enormity of the sea elevates this tiny state to an incredible, although familiar discovery: big things come in small packages!

Whether a spectacular sunset, a breezy spring or summer day, or a clear, crisp chilly fall day (and let's also add a stark, gray New England winter day to the mix), Ocean Drive represents the best of New England coastal travel. Additionally, don't forget to visit Brenton Point State Park on Ocean Drive with more spectacular Atlantic Ocean views and the chance to fish, hike, picnic. It's a beautiful place. Gooseberry Beach is also another ideal Ocean Drive travel destination with its family-oriented swimming beach open to the public during the summer.

Of course, just driving this stunning stretch is enough to fall in love with the Rhode Island sea, with many eagerly-awaited happy returns in the near future.

Rating Barbecue Restaurants in Eastern Massachusetts

Article and Photo (of Memphis Roadhouse) by Eric H.

Recently, featured an interesting post on the best barbecue restaurants in eastern Massachusetts. Readers could not come up with many quality places, although a few dining spots really received high honors.

I concur with much of the City-Data feedback, and came up with a ranking below of barbecue restaurants. My criteria for a great barbecue restaurant is that "barbecue" is the specialty of the house, that they slow-cook the food to bring out the best flavors, that there's kind of a dusty, rural informal feeling to the place, and that the chefs try their best to recreate what Memphis, Kansas City and other famous barbecue city and town destinations do so well. Not that I've been to these famous barbecue places out west or down south, but as one who always asks questions, I have been able to ascertain through people in the business and those who have been to Memphis, Kansas City and other barbecue havens what makes an authentic barbecue restaurant.

Here is the list in order of quality, from best to just "OK," largely based on barbecue chicken and ribs:

1. Blue Ribbon Barbecue, Arlington, MA (910 Massachusetts Ave.
Arlington, MA 02476. Tel. 781-648-7427)

2. Memphis Roadhouse, South Attleboro, MA (383 Washington St.,
Attleboro, MA 0270. Tel. 508-761-5700)

3. Firefly's, 350 E. Main St, Route 20, Marlborough, MA 01752-5422. Tel. 508-357-8883)

4. Redbone's, Somerville, MA (55 Chester Street, Somerville, MA 02144 Tel. 617- 628.2200)

5. Clyde's, Walpole, MA (642 Providence Highway, Route 1, Walpole, MA 02081. Tel. 508-660- 2206)

Note that there's a real drop-off in quality after Firefly's. While Redbone's and Clyde's are capable of creating a good dish or two, the overall experience -- including some inconsistent service -- results in these two dining spots faring nowhere as well as the top three. Blue Ribbon is far and away the best of the bunch, creating slow-cooked barbecue dishes over oak and hickory hardwoods that people I've talked with say rival the best of Memphis. It's the smallest-sized restaurant of the restaurants mentioned here -- almost more of a take-out place -- but who cares when you have what has been called by some as the best barbecue food north of the Mason Dixon line? The Memphis dry-rubbed ribs, North Carolina pulled pork, the Texas brisket and Kansas City burnt ends are simply amazing!

The Memphis Roadhouse (an independently-owned restaurant) fares quite well, too, a notch below Blue Ribbon, with a large Outback Steakhouse-like dining room and a real wood fire pit that turns out some superb ribs and chicken. Firefly's is very good, too -- the winner of many barbecue awards, but my taste buds tell me that the food is not quite up to par with the Blue Ribbon and Memphis Roadhouse. The loud and cramped Redbone's used to be right up there with Blue Ribbon, but the dried-out chicken I had the past few times suggests this once terrific place is resting on its laurels (and perhaps Hardys). Clyde's is merely average -- there's really no hint of a slow-cooked barbecue meal here, at least not the way Blue Ribbon does it.

Of course, my favorite barbecue restaurant in the northeast is a big, loud fun family-friendly place in Oneonta, NY, called Brooks' House of Bar-B-Q where the barbecue chicken and St. Louis ribs are phenomenal. Brooks' also features, reportedly, the longest indoor barbecue pit in the country at 38 ft. in length!

Visiting the Best Attractions in Canada

As the second largest country in the world, Canada is divided into nine popular cities. These cities are Ottawa (being the capital), Winnipeg, Vancouver, Toronto, Quebec, Montreal, Halifax, Edmonton and Calgary. In fact, Canada is the home of major business industries and great tourist spots in the world.

Ottawa as the real transport system in Canada is also referred to as the home of museums and galleries that are free of admission during Canada Day on the first day of July. The Parliament Hill, situated in the middle downtown area, is the most attention-grabbing attraction in Ottawa. Apart from its Gothic style of architecture, this is also the center point of political hub wherein multiple tours are allowed upon early reservation. Other than the excellent museums (Science and Technology Museum, Museum of Civilization and National Gallery of Canada) around the city, there’s this fantastic nightspot they call Byward Market Area. Various delicious foods can be bought here in reasonable prices.

Also a significant center of trade and tourism is in Calgary, the fifth largest city in Canada. There are several tourist attractions both in the city and in the suburban areas of Calgary. The largest city park is Prince’s Island Park and is the host of annual festivals such as Calgary Folk Music Festival and Carifest. Other special attractions in the city are Devonian Gardens, Chinatown and Glenbow Museum. In the suburban area, the Canada Olympic Park is a must-see. This was the host of 1988 Winter Olympics and when you’re here, you’ll surely be in cloud nine when you do the ski jump and skiing.

Canada’s sixth largest city is Edmonton. It is the capital city of Alberta and the home of largest shopping mall in North America--- the West Edmonton Mall. The mall has eight hundred first-class stores like Abercrombie and Fitch and Urban Outfitters. If you want to side with luck, seven thumbs-up casinos are all around; Enoch Resort & Casino, Casino Yellowhead and Palace Casino to name a few.

Halifax is referred to as the largest city in Atlantic Provinces of Canada and one of the nicest spot to hang-out is probably the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, just situated in the downtown waterfront. Inside this museum are the collection and artifacts of the sinking ship, Titanic. Other spots to explore in Halifax are historic waterfront--- the Pier 21, Victorian park--- the Public Gardens and the fort in the harbor--- the York Redoubt.

Montreal is an inviting city where several historical and ancient museums stood. The Fonderie Darling is probably the unique one due to its long history of national comedy for the whole family. For the animal lovers, the Parc Safari is the place for them, housing seven hundred species and there is also amusement park alongside.

Quebec is the home of several Haute-Ville and Basse-Ville. The architecture designs of these buildings are popular due to its walls built in stones. Chateau Frontenac is called as the Quebec City Icon and the most photographed Haute-Ville in the city. The Place-Royale is tagged as the beautiful public square and probably the most well-known Basse-Ville in Quebec due to classical construction made by French explorer, Samuel de Champlain.

As the largest city in Canada, Toronto is the land of the tallest free standing structure in the world, the CN Tower. When you reach the observation level, you can see the breathtaking view of the whole city all the way to Niagra Falls, when the weather is fine. For a new level of food and dining, visit their revolving restaurant and wine cellar.

Another destination in Canada to hop is Vancouver. Vancouver is without a doubt one of the best cities to live in. Coming to Qualicum Town is a delight. Their community museum houses collections of eye-shocking artifacts and paintings that are all worth remembering to. Also in Qualicum is the Old School House Center. Exhibitions, classes and special events are held here. Don’t fail to visit the Milner Gardens and Woodland just situated on the seaside garden of Qualicum Beach. Its four hectares green and blossoming rhododendron, cyclamen and trilliums is synonymous to living in a fantasy island.

Like in other major cities, historical buildings are also common landmarks in Winnipeg. Modern and ancient architecture are all in good hands and visiting them in Winnipeg Art Gallery, Promenade de Riel, St. Bonifacio Cathedral, Confederation Life, Ashdown Warehouse and The Grain Exhange is surely a splashing experience to be kept in your memory.

Delicious Dives: Tee T's Restaurant and Lounge in Walpole, MA

Article and photo by Eric H.

Everyone is an expert on life at Tee T's restaurant and lounge in Walpole, MA. Customers and staff talk about the economy, politics, social issues (mostly women), sports, and the direction of their hometown, sometimes with more clarity and sincerity than your local radio talk show host. It's a place where one can talk about the good old days of playing sports at Walpole High School while wearing your now tight-fitting varsity or junior varsity sports jacket.

The conversation flows as well as the beer. The news on the television further elicits strong comments about our society where some Tee T's customers pointedly talk back at the television. Tee T's is indeed Moe's Tavern (from the Simpson's) come to life. And without the music ever playing, you can hear "Glory Days" by Bruce Springsteen blaring in your head as the unofficial soundtrack for Tee T's.

On one visit, three older men talked about their health woes, one, unfortunately, having recent bypass surgery. They talked about trying to become healthier, and then proceeded to order burgers, fries and beer. What's more, it always seems like there are as many people smoking outside the restaurant as those inside eating and drinking.

Tee T's ambiance is low on the HGTV decor chain with one long, narrow worn-out bar and one long, narrow worn-out dining room separated by a long, narrow, worn-out thin wall, Tee T's will certainly never be mistaken for your trendy, upscale dining spot with an attitude. Oh, you do get some attitude here, but it's mainly in the form of a gruff but sincere "What would you like, honey?"

It's nice when real people serve real food -- like oversized meatloaf dinners, prime rib, chicken sandwiches with mounds of cheese, burgers, perfectly done french fries, and, somehow, a very good iceberg salad. Of course, beer is a signature item at Tee T's. You won't find anyone drinking Romanee Conti Red Burgundy here.

I usually dine at Tee T's when my car is being fixed (so, lately, I've been going to Tee T's more often). The result is always good, as I leave with a satisfying all-American meal and a taste of Walpole in its true "townie" form.

Tee T's
943 Main St
Walpole, MA 02081
(508) 668-9855

Abbott's Frozen Custard is the Cream of the Crop

Article and Photo by Eric H.

Great Plain Ave. in Needham, MA, has brought a very flavorful touch of Rochester, NY, to southwest suburban Boston, with the recent opening of Abbott's Frozen Custard.

Abbott's, with its tasty concept initiated in 1902 and first store established at Ontario Beach in Rochester in 1926, enjoys legendary status in the "Flower City" with its phenomenal frozen custard. Richer and creamier than your typical soft serve ice cream, Abbott's custard also has less air than soft serve and self-proclaimed "special recipes" that clearly place its frozen custard in a class of its own.

The 30 flavors change daily and include chocolate, vanilla, chocolate almond, blueberry, strawberry cheesecake and peach cobbler. I recently sampled the chocolate frozen custard -- absolutely superior to soft serve ice cream!

The proof of Abbott's greatness is in its continuous business expansion, with stores in Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts and New York state. The Needham store is very small, has a outside walk-up window and a small inside where we imagine it will be absolutely packed in the summer!

To slightly twist a few famous Abbott and Costello lines: Hey Abbott's, now we know 'Who's on First" when it comes to great tasting frozen treats!

Abbott's Frozen Custard
934 Great Plain Ave.
Needham, MA 02494
Tel. 781-444-9908

Memorable Tourist Destinations in Asia

Asia is divided into six regions and my purpose in writing this article is to tell you the most unforgettable attraction you can find in each region. Let’s begin in Central Asia.

The Central Asia consists of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Due to its location, temperature fluctuates all the time and agriculture is expectedly difficult in this region. Yet, recent reports say that Kyrgyzstan is now an interesting destination to hop in. The Lake Issyk-Kul is probably the best place for a getaway. This 6,336 km² salt-lake is situated in the northern part of Tian Shan Mountain and bathing on its spring and mud shore is a perfect spot for rejuvenation.

The East Asia covers a twenty-eight percent of the continent and is embracing a total of seven territories in all. These are mainland China, Macau, Taiwan, North and South Korea, Mongolia, Japan and Hong Kong. Without doubting, the most awesome destination in East is the Great Wall, which extends from the east to the west. The most special thing about Great Wall is probably its history and background. The fact that Ripley’s Believe It or Not tagged it as the “mightiest work of man” that’s only made up of tiles, tiles, bricks and stone, you simply can’t wait how it feels when you are already standing tall in the heart of this majestic masterpiece.

Russia is the only transcontinental country found in the North Asia. The weather is apparently freezing here and for this, the only fascinating tourist spot is the Trans-Siberian Railway. I’m sorry for using the word”only.” I just can’t stand in cold areas but I enjoyed the whole trip in the railway. It normally takes eight days to cross Moscow to Nakhodka and the trip sails through the vast forests, steppes and fanciful villages.

The Southeastern Asia is the flagship of several wonderful beaches, monuments and temples in eleven countries. Angkor Wat in Cambodia, breathtaking Ko Samui in Thailand and the legendary Ha Long Bay in Vietnam to name a few bests. Yet, one of the world’s great wonders is found in the Cordillera, Philippines. The Banaue Rice Terraces are probably the most picturesque view of end-to-end mountain steps that extends four thousand square miles and entirely crafted Ifugaos using only their bare hands.

Of the nine countries namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the central and major attraction in South Asia is probably being the Taj Mahal in Arga, India. Like Great Wall, this mausoleum had juicy historical background that combines four architectural styles in one, which are Ottoman, Persian, Islamic and of course, Indian. For the record, this jewel masterpiece attracts more than two hundred thousand foreign tourists worldwide.

The West Asia or may also be called as the southwestern part of Asia consists of several mountains, desserts, grasslands and rangelands. Dubai in UAE has always been the popular tourist destination in this region and their economy flourish as time flies by. Shopping malls are everywhere, the largest being the Mall of the Emirates. Everything seems to be marvelous in Dubai, especially the Burj Al Arab Hotel second talent building therein.

A Beacon of Shopping Fun at the Lighthouse Depot in Wells, Maine

Article by Eric H.
One of the bright lights in southern coastal Maine shopping is the Lighthouse Depot on Route 1 in Wells, Maine. To no one's surprise, the theme here is lighthouse gifts, including clothing, lamps, furnishings, rugs, books, prints, kitchen accessories, dinnerware and collectibles. If you like lighthouses, the place is absolutely fascinating, fun and sometimes even downright educational; you're almost sure to find a lighthouse gift amongst the hundreds of lighthouse items sold in this two story building. Every time we shop here, it brings a smile to our face, and a validation of our love of lighthouses.

Visiting the Lighthouse Depot is a wonderful travel destination set within the heart of a region with myriad fun things to see and do -- beaches, lobster dinners, and oh yes, lighthouses!

The Lighthouse Depot
U.S. Route 1 North, 2178 Post Rd., Wells, Maine
Tel. 1-800-758-1444

Eight Best-not-Forgotten Tourist Attractions in United States of America

USA, this is the land of the free and the home of the brave. This is also the home of the most powerful icons both in the entertainment and sports industry such as Bill Gates, Oprah, Michael Jordan, Pete Sampras and Serena Williams. But there’s more to that, the USA is also the homeland of great tourist attractions in the world.

For the record, USA covers a vast land area of 9.6 million square meters and this only means, numerous attractions are spread everywhere. Let’s start with…

The Empire State Building

Who doesn’t want to be at the top of this second tallest skycraper in the country? This empire has eighty-six floors all in all and once you’re on top, you can immediately feel the breathtaking look-over scene of the NYC. There’s no need for you doubt, NYC has became one of the popular cities in the world because of the empire state. This empire is a must-see and being here is surely a grand experience you can never forget.

The Grand Canyon

This majestic valley that stands nearly over seven thousand feet and whatever season it may be, winter, spring summer or fall, the Grand Canyon is the place for mouth-watering adventures. Here, you can hike, raft, bike, fly-tour, star-gaze, sky-dive, and more. In fact, there are two ways to approach the longest canyon in Arizona. You can take the remote areas of the North Rim (Average Elevation is 8000 feet) or be with the crowd on the South Rim (Average Elevation is 7000 feet). Temperature here changes all the time and it might be a good idea if you consider visiting the canyon at its best climate hours. For tourist stops and reservation, you can contact a number of companies near the Grand Canyon such as the Grand Canyon Tours or Discovery Treks.

Walt Disney World

Apart from its awesome beach resorts, Florida is also known as the home of the Walt Disney World. Visiting Disney World is like having the fantasy island you always dreamed of. Fun, entertainment, thrill, excitement, these are all here. The Magic Kingdom is the one to explore as this is the core landmarks of Cinderella’s Castle. Are you for technological innovation? Go to Epcot. The Epcot is the educational park of the Disney Empire where numerous cultural seeds are realized. There’s also the Disney’s Hollywood Studios where you see the attractive themes in television and movies and the Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Two waterparks are also around the corner: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.

Traveling to Disney World does not require too much planning. You can get there by foot, by bus, by monorail, by boat and by car. In fact, all transits are wheelchair-accessible and absolutely free of charge.

Niagra Falls

The Niagra Falls is a huge waterfall found within the borders of Canada and New York. It’s reported that Niagra Falls is divided into three sections: the Canadian, the American and the Horseshoe Falls. Whichever view you are in, it might still be the best to see all three sections to experience the breathtaking scene. Traveling here is easy. You may want to take charter flights from the Niagra Falls International Airport.

Yellowstone National Park

This is one of the oldest national parks in the world which is situated in northwest Wyoming and extends in Idaho and Montana. Various geothermal features such as hot springs, glaciers and mud spots are found here and the largest will be the grand geyser, which emit boiling water 150 feet in the air. Yelowstone is also the home of the temperate zones in the ecosystems. Within its borders, you will see several wild animals such as grizzly bears, elks, deers and etc

Apart from the never-ending adventure you can have inside this 8,987 km² historical park, temperature drops to freezing cold most of the time and it is advisable to wear warm clothings even during the summer. Transportation may go rowdy sometimes and you might need to book a private vehicle to get inside the park peacefully.

Golden Gate Park

San Francisco is known for its diversified cultures. Lots of memorable museums and mountain ranges are here and it’s not enough to explore just one place. But the one you don’t want to miss out while in San Francisco is the Golden Gate Recreation Park. This hub is referred to as the largest urban park in the world and the home of the most awesome attractions you can’t deny want to see. These include flower museum, classic-art museum, Japanese tea garden, polo field and more fine dining restaurants.

Mesa Verde Nation Park

Amazing parks are all over the country that’s why; most of them made it on my best eight list and of course, the Mesa Verde National Park at Colorado is not forgotten. With its well-reserved cliffs dwellings and desert landscapes, this is synonymous to temple of a four-season park. Some services are only available during April till October while the places like Chapin Mesa, Spruce Tree Terrace and Spruce Tree House are opened all-year round.

The Arthur Ashe Stadium

Are you a tennis enthusiast? Even if you’re not, going around the city of New York without dropping by at Flushing Meadows – Corona Park seems useless. Named after the African-American tennis player, the Arthur Ashe Stadium is the largest outdoor tennis venue in the world, which covers 24,000-seats and has a deco-turf concrete surface. Including its brother stadiums and other sidecourts, the whole stadium can accommodate more twenty thousand people and other special features such as ninety luxury suites, five restaurants and lounges for professional tennis players. Watching tennis matches here every August can really be a rewarding experience, especially if you see your bets are winning.

Review of Boston Magazine's Best Places to Live 2009

Article and Photo (Scituate) by Eric H.

Boston Magazine recently published its Best Places to Live 2009, including lists for "10 Recession-Proof Towns," "10 Spots Holding Steady" and "Top Burgs for Bargain Hunters." All in all, we felt Boston Magazine's evaluations were spot-on, especially the bargain section that focuses on Norman Rockwell-types towns that we personally like: Medfield, Scituate, Easton and Westford.

The "10 Recession-Proof Towns" section includes more personal favorites like Hingham, Lexington and Winchester, while the "10 Spots Holding Steady" section includes more fine towns like Arlington, Duxbury and the underrated Merrimac.

We heartily recommend reading the Boston Magazine article for the well-written and researched specifics!

We'd also like to add a few of our personal favorites that weren't listed in the Boston Magazine article:

Walpole, a southwest Boston suburb, with a lot of community spirit, close-knit neighborhoods, strong schools (90 percent of grads go onto college) open spaces like the 89-acre Bird Park and 250-acre Adams Farm, homes with good-sized lots, and a real downtown (although too many empty storefronts, at this point). It's generally affordable, with some starter homes available at $350,000.

Maynard, a western Boston suburb, that is small, safe, and has a great Mayberry RFD-like downtown (with the legendary Maynard Outdoor Store as the unofficial anchor). The downtown features several restaurants and even has a movie theater! The schools are good, the overall feeling of the town old-fashioned, and like Walpole, close-knit. Also like Walpole, nice starters homes can be bought around the $350,000 range.

Holliston, a Metro West Boston suburb, features beautiful tree-lined neighborhoods and a small but quaint downtown with a general store, gift shop, independently-owned market and several small-town service-oriented stores. The high school is amongst the best in the region, we've been told many times by several people. Solid, basic homes can be bought in the $350,000 range.

Additionally, we, at, have a popular section called "Best Places to Raise a Family in the Boston Area," that should give you additional insight on affordable places to move in the Boston area if you have a family.

Best wishes in finding the right town for you!

Yunnan: A Major Tourist Destination In China

Yunnan is a province in China which is located in the far southwest portion of the country. Due to to its eye-catching landscapes, gentle climate and its colorful ethnic minorities, Yunnan is considered as one of the country's major tourist destinations. The word “Yunnan” literally means “Beautiful Clouds in the South”.

The natural beauty of Yunnan truly defies description. In here, you will find beautiful farmlands, alpine landscapes, mountain rivers, snow-capped mountain ranges and glaciers, lakes, hot springs, valley streams, deep virgin forests and enormous skies with fascinating clouds.

Great tourist spots in Yunnan include Xishuangbanna (a resort known for its natural and cultural attractions); Dali (famous for its historic sites and the “Foreigner's Street” that features music, western-style foods, as well as English-speaking business owners); Stone Forest (famous for its karst features and landscapes); Shangri-La County (known for its nearby Gandan Sumtseling Monastery, Tiger Leaping Gorge and Pudacuo National Park); Yuanyang (Hani minority settlement well-known for its spectacular rice-paddy terracing); Lijiang (an old town known for its orderly system of waterways and bridges); Jinghong (which features botanical parks and gardens); and Chuxiong (with beautiful and scenic skylines and sunsets seen over the mountains).

Some of the places of interest in Yunnan are the Erhai Lake (whose lakeshore can be explored by hiking); Black Dragon Pool (famous pond in the scenic Jade Spring Park); Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (mountain massif whose view from the gardens of the Black Dragon Pool is considered as one of China's finest views); Three Pagodas (a group of three independent pagodas arranged on the corners of a symmetric triangle); Yunnan Provincial Museum (which provides an exhibition focused on the province's ethnic minorities, plus a collection of artifacts from tomb excavations); and the Yuantong Temple (a famous Buddhist temple).

Siem Reap: Cambodia's Booming Tourist Attraction

Siem Reap is Cambodia's booming tourist spot visited by many tourists around the world. Located in Cambodia and just a bit south of Bangkok, Thailand, Siem Reap is a place where lots of businesses have been centered and focused on tourism. In Siem Reap, tourists will find a wide variety of hotels; ranging from 5-star hotels and chic resorts to guesthouses suit for the budget.

Many tourists visit Siem Reap to see the Angkor Wat temple, a temple containing the splendid remains of the Khmer civilization, and its rising five towers finishes in an impressive central tower symbolizing Mount Meru, a mythical mountain. Angkor Wat however is just one of the magnificent attractions in the place.

Other attractions include the Angkor National Museum (a newly constructed museum demonstrating the Khmer Kingdom's Golden Era with the use of state-of-the-art technology, for visitors to easily understand the legend's story); Cambodia Landmine Museum (located in the direction of Bantay Srei and owned by Aki Ra, it was originally the owner's garden turned into a museum of mines and other artilleries); Psar Chaa (a market in the city which offers Khmer antiques, souvenirs, and a variety of Cambodian cuisine); Angkor Thom (known for its temple grounds and towering southern gate, this is where visitors will find the “Face-tower of the South Gate” depicting the carved face of Avalokiteshvara, and the Bayon Temple, among other attractions); Central Market (a place where visitors can find jewellery, food and clothes); and also Phsar Leu Thom Thmei (located 2 kilometers from the town of Siem Reap, it is a very popular marketplace rebuilt from the wood to the stone structure).

Siem Reap has responded to its visitors as it built out all the necessary resources, while preserving much of the place's true beauty.