Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Horses of Central Park

New York's love affair with equine beauties 
continues into the 21st century

AAA Home and Away Magazine, Southern Pennsylvania and online
- June 25, 2014

What would New York's Central Park be without horses? Many of the park's 40 million annual visitors would never guess that horses have played a major role in the history, art and culture of the park and that they continue to do so today.                      
Contact Debra for more stories from New York City

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Memories Made of Ice
Canada's Lake Louise allows wintertime travelers to live life in the moment


AAA Home and Away Magazine, Southern Pennsylvania and online
- November, 2014

Every January, a palace of ice rises on the frozen glacier waters of Lake Louise to signal the start of the Ice Magic Festival in Banff National Park, Alberta. Surrounded by the knife-edged peaks that mark the Continental Divide in the Canadian Rockies, Lake Louise has always been known for its spectacular beauty in summer, but when the trees put on their white sweaters and powdery snow covers the ski hills and mountain trails, Lake Louise becomes a magnet for those who crave the exhilaration of the outdoors in winter.                      
Contact Debra for more stories from Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise.
Rhumba beats and good eats

The Vancouver Courier
- August 22, 2014

You're going to Cuba? Great! Take food. That was the advice from friends when I told them about our upcoming trip. There was universal agreement that if we were going to survive for a whole week, my suitcase had to be half full of cereal, dried fruit and granola bars. Of course, this was a challenge in the making.  Forget the groceries, I ramped up on research instead.

We built a Cuban sandwich of our own - a spicy weekend in Havana stuffed between four days at a luxurious all inclusive in Varadero.  Add a helping of history, a pinch of the mystical and a dash of neighborhood dance party and we had a tempting trip so good we could taste it.           

For more stories from Cuba, contact Debra at
Romancing the stone
Love and care go into designing a custom ring

The Calgary Herald and - June 7, 2014 

When Jim Bell decided to surprise his wife Marilyn with a custom ring for their 10th anniversary, he took his design to his favourite jeweller 10 months ahead of time.  He wasn't worried about how long it would take; he was looking forward to the experience.

Jim and Marilyn had designed her wedding bands, based on her vision of a piece of lace set with a yellow diamond, as well as other pieces over the years.

According to Peter Kangas, of Kangas Diamonds and Custom Jewellery, most people who are looking for custom rings are not young newlyweds, they are couples like Jim and Marilyn, who have been together for more than a few years.  They usually have a design in mind and are looking for something distinctive and unique from jewellers like Peter, who can, as Jim says, "Draw out of you what you would like to see."                   
Duelling Coasts
These five fabulous harbours will have you loving all of Canada

The Calgary Herald and
- November 9, 2013

"Psst!  Wanna buy a fish?" The peaceful dock at Quadra Island, B.C., was the last place I expected to be approached by a malnourished fish dealer with a nicotine habit. When he sidled up to me, the word "fish" was about the last thing I would have expected to hear. All kinds of questions sprang to mind. What kind of fish? Was it legal? If so, why the shady inquiry? If not, did I look like I needed an illegal fish? By the time I decided to ask, he had vanished.  

On a whirlwind 10-day trip to meet and reconnect with our extended families living on the Atlantic and the Pacific coasts, my partner and I felt like we were on our own version of The Amazing Race - Canada. Here are the highlights of the five harbours we visited - Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, New Brunswick; Victoria, British Columbia; Nanaimo, British Columbia; Quadra Island, British Columbia. 
Island sounds uplift the spirits
Music abounds on Maui, if you know where to look

The Calgary Herald and
- October 5, 2013 

The ukulele, the slide guitar and Maui - put them all together and the music of Hawaii will embrace you, enchant you and it might even make you fall in love.

Maui has an astonishing number of talented musicians who make sweet music from brunch till dusk and then play late into the night at kanikapila, the Hawaiian equivalent of kitchen parties.  International acts visit often and Grammy-award winning local artists and world famous rock stars make Maui their home.  You'll find everything from rock to jaiwaiian - if you know where to look.                     

For more stories from Maui and Hawaii's Big Island, contact Debra at 

Monday, May 13, 2013

5 Secret Spots in Maui

WestJet's up! Magazine
- April 2013 issue

Add a few extra miles to your scenic Maui drives and say aloha to these hidden treasures.  Most of them are cheap or free - great for families on a budget.

For reprints or more stories on Maui's hidden treasures, contact Debra at

Friday, July 20, 2012

Plantation Reality - Two Classic Homes a short drive from New Orleans

The Calgary Herald - Saturday, June 23, 2012
Rebellious teenagers, helicopter parents, conspicuous consumption, civil unrest, social upheaval and economic collapse - sound familiar? - welcome to Plantation Reality.  On the south bank of the muddy Mississippi you can find two very different plantations, one Creole and one American.  Each one is a fine example of antebellum Louisiana and you can easily visit both of them on a day trip from New Orleans.            

Laura Plantation is one of the few remaining examples of the raised cottage style that defined Creole architecture.  While touring the fully furnished house, gardens, outbuildings and slave cottages on a 90 minute walk, you'll be entertained by enthusiastic tour guides.  They've dug up the dirt on four generations of stong willed businesswomen, their scheming relatives, rowdy young sons, defiant daughters and saintly aunts.  This is also where you'll hear in depth stories about the lives and living conditions of the slaves.  Lonely Planet calls this the "best history tour in the USA". 

For more stories from New Orleans contact:

Keeping time in New Orleans

The Calgary Herald - Saturday, June 23, 2012               

Morning in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  The cool breeze from the river has pushed aside the humid blanket of the night before and the streets are freshly washed and shining.  Overhead, coloured shutters with their eyelashes of lacy cast iron have slept in their makeup and are still closed.  In the shadows under the balconies, rivulets escape into the gutters, avoiding the arrival of the noonday sun.  The smell of coffee and flowers wafts from sidewalk cafes along with the sugary aroma of warm beignets (New Orleans' version of little tiny donuts, only here they're airy pillows with a gentle dusting of icing sugar).  Just for the record, if you play your cards right, everything you're going to eat in New Orleans will taste better than it does at home.  Places you discover will have a hundred years more history than you're used to.  You'll also fill your soul with music along the way.  This is a generous, big hearted city. No flood can ever change that.  

For new stories about New Orleans contact Debra at: