Cyber Monday Hotel Deals

Hotel across the Unites States are promising big discounts for visitors booking on cyber Monday.  If you are looking for a inexpenisve travel destination in the Unites States now is your chance to book.  Hotels offering discounts range from the New York Palace on Madison Avenue to the Market Waterfront Resort in Key West.  For a list of hotels, discounts, and booking information check out the Rachel Lee Harrris’ New York Times article at


Miami Marketta, #1 Stop for Street Food

IMG_6557If you’re looking for some good food and a good time, the Miami Marketta in Australia’s Gold Coast is the perfect place for you. Every Saturday the Marketta hosts a food festival with authentic, traditional, and global foods, as well as a dessert hall, beer bar, and wine and cocktail bar. It is the perfect place for a fun night out. The Marketta is also home to live music from local bands. On Saturday, head down to 23 Hillcrest Parade, from 4-10 to experience it for yourself.

“Why do you go away?”


“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”

– Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

50 Killed by Suicide Bomber in Norther Nigeria

A suicide bomber disguised as a student detonated a bomb at a boarding school in northern Nigeria.  The bomb killed approximately 50 boys who were between the ages of 10 and 20.

The bomber was wearing the school uniform when he appeared at the morning assembly at the school.  When asked why he was not wearing the school’s badge, he knelt and detonated the bomb.

Northern Nigeria has been under attack by Islamist insurgents, and the group Boko Haram has targeted non-Quranic schools. Monday’s bombing is one of the worst attacks so far.

Small Town Roots

031505_Divinity_Library_57It is a rather small building, a humble one story white house, but it is perhaps the most important building in our town. The Grafton Community Library is a historical site that holds some of the town’s most valuable treasures; but, many of Grafton’s residents have no idea the significance this small building really has. I have been going to the Grafton library for as long as I can remember, and throughout the years it has helped fuel my love for reading and has opened my life up to many new possibilities. Although it is a small library, there is something there for everyone. I began volunteering at the library during my senior year of high school and working there has showed me there is so much more to it. It provides community services that are above and beyond those of other libraries. When I began going to school at Catholic Central in 2005, the library served as an after school activity for me and my sister. I have seen firsthand how the staff at our library strives to make it a place where everyone is welcome and comfortable. The library’s patrons vary in age, come from all walks of life, and have diverse interests, yet, there is an activity that everyone can get involved in. There is a children’s sing along group, a quilting organization, a summer reading program, and even a meeting room available for community events. Spending time at the library has made me curious about its origin …
The Grafton Free Library was established in 1945 by the Grafton Community League, formally known as the Grafton Defense Council. The council served as a watch guard in the area and was the head of the civilian defense activities to help benefit the war effort. When these activities became negligible and the council was no longer needed, the council disbanded and became the Grafton Community League. This league supported all community activities, including the publishing of the town’s local newspaper, The Defender. Perhaps the most important special project of the group was the establishment of a community library. Initially the library was housed in the parsonage of the Methodist Church, and the library’s first collection was funded by donations from many residents including Granville Hicks, Grafton’s most famous resident and renowned literary critic. Granville was the leader of a small group that was fighting with the town in order to open up a community library. In 1946, Granville and his wife Dorothy became fed up with the board’s postponement of the creation of the library, and bought the small lot that the library is currently built on. The land was originally known as the Nathan Hakes House and the site of the very first Grafton town board meeting in 1807. The Grafton Defense Council was able to raise enough money to fund the library through food sales, talent shows, dances, bingo parties, plays, and many other events. Many hours of volunteer labor went into the building of our town library. When the library was completed in 1954, it was decided that it would be dedicated to the men and women who had served in World War II, including the three Grafton natives that had died in combat. Granville Hicks continued to be an active participant in all of the library’s volunteer operations, until in failing health, he moved to New Jersey in 1975.
In 1993 the Grafton Community League and the Grafton Free Library consolidated into the Grafton Community Library, and shortly after the library received its provisional charter from the New York State Board of Regents. At this time, the library also began a rehabilitation project that expanded the building to its current state and made it fully handicapped accessible. The rehabilitation project was funded by a grant from the Howard and Bush Foundation of Troy and matching funds from the New York State Education Department. On April 30, 1998, the library began circulating online and initiated an important step forward in the modernization of the library’s system.
Today the library has a collection with thousands of items and has completed renovations expanding from its original size. The collection is home to not only books, but also DVDs, VHS, audiotapes, CDs, and periodicals. In the past couple of years the library has upgraded their Internet to a wireless high-speed connection that is available for all members of the community twenty-four seven. Even though I do not visit my hometown library as much as I did in high school I will never forget my small town roots and the lessons that Grafton has taught me. The library has fueled my love for reading and exploring the world. I know that the Grafton Community Library and all the resources it has made available to me has had a major impact on my future and will continue to impact my life.

My Travel Bucket List

Pyramids-in-egyptThere is so much of the world that I have left to explore and see. I am already contemplating my next trip!!

1.  The Great Pyramid of Giza: The Egyptian pyramids are one of the most widely known ancient structures in existence. They were built to match the geographic directions of the compass, which is pretty amazing to think what ancient man could so. I have always been fascinated by Egyptian culture, which lands these pyramids on the top of my bucket list.

2.  The Taj Mahal: The Taj Mahal is a huge mausoleum that was built in the 1600s. It was built by a Mughal emperor in memory of this third wife. The large white dome is a renowned landmark, however its ornate decorations are what make it truly breathtaking.

3.  Easter Island: Easter Island is home to many 13-foot tall statues that line the island. Not much is known about why or who created them. The mystery that surrounds these statues makes Easter Island third on my bucket list.

4.  The Great Wall of China: The Great Wall is the first structure ever constructed by man to be visible from space. It is just over 5,000 miles long, and it is amazing to think about how much human labor went into the construction.

5.  Sagrada Familia: This large Roman Catholic Church in Barcelona, Spain was designed by architect Antoni Gaudi. Although incompete, te church is a UNESCO World heritage Site and was consecrated by Pope benedict XVI. It’s anticipated completion date is 2026, the centenary of Gaudi’s death.

Gate with Natzi Slogan is Stolen from Concentration Camp Memorial Site

A metal gate bearing the Nazis concentration camp slogan, “Arbeit Macht Frei,” Work Sets You Free, was stolen this weekend from the memorial site at the old Nazi camp of Dachau, outside of Munich.

It was discovered early Sunday morning by Dachau security. Official records suggest the theft occurred between midnight and 5:30 am. Police suspect that at least two adults were involves, and estimated the piece weighed around 225 pounds. Gabriele Hammermann, who has headed Dachau since 2009 said, “It was a terrible shock. This is the most important symbol of the concentration camp.” Dachau was the first camp opened by the Nazis after Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, and was originally used to incarcerate political opponents. The site imprisoned about 200,000 people over 12 years and an estimated 41,500 people died there.

5 Australian Must Sees!

When traveling in and around Australia, there is so much to see and do it can be overwhelming.  To help you out, I put together a list of my 5 Australian must sees!


The Great Ocean Road – The Great Ocean Road is a scenic drive approximately 150 miles long on the coast of Australia. The road offers panoramic views of the ocean and cliffs, and it winds its way through cool climate rain forests. There are many beaches that you can stop and swim at along the drive, and also opportunities for hiking and other attractions.

Sydney- Sydney is an iconic feature of Australia. There is plenty to see and do in Sydney apart from the well know attractions of the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, and Bondi/Manly beaches. Sydney is home to the great Taronga Zoo, there are festivals on all year long, and it is steeped in Australian pioneering history.

Byron Bay- Located in New South Wales, just south of the Queensland border, Byron Bay is popular with not just international tourists, but is also a favorite holiday destination of Australians. There is plenty to do and the kilometers of pristine beach, the weather, surfing, scuba diving, and other attractions will ensure that Byron Bay remains one of Australia’s top tourist destinations for years to come.

The Great Barrier Reef- Stretching for approximately 2,300 kms, it is home to a vast wealth of rare, endangered, and unique animal and plant species. It’s hard to recommend one particular area of the reef to visit, but most people agree that the Whitsunday Islands are absolutely stunning. With snorkeling and scuba diving areas literally everywhere you are bound to experience wonders that will stay with you for the rest of your life!

IMG_0599Morton Island- Morton Island is the third largest sand island in the world. Breathtaking scenery, massive sand dunes, glassy lakes, rocky outcrops, wild forest, beautiful beaches and a lighthouse are some of the unique features you can explore here.

Recharge Your Inspiration

I’ve been feeling a little uninspired, so I decided to put together some of my favorite quotes to get me back on track!images

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” ― Mark Twain


“Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you’ve never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground.”― Judith Thurman

“Our lives are not as limited as we think they are; the world is a wonderfully weird place; consensual reality is significantly flawed; no institution can be trusted, but love does work; all things are possible; and we all could be happy and fulfilled if we only had the guts to be truly free and the wisdom to shrink our egos and quit taking ourselves so damn seriously.” ― Tom Robbins

How should the U.S. handle the Ebola outbreak?

The Obama administration laid out new guidelines to monitor travelers exposed to Ebola. They are calling for voluntary isolation and monitoring. These guidelines came after numerous states created their own rules with how to deal with the outbreak. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration, imposed mandatory quarantines last week, and held a nurse in a tent in a Newark hospital for several days before allowing her to be privately transported to her home in Maine. Kaci Hickox, returned to the U.S. after working with Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leone. Christie was unapologetic saying, “I understand that she didn’t want to be there, she made that very clear from the beginning, but my obligation is to all of the people of New Jersey, and we’re just going to continue to do that.” With the panic of an Ebola outbreak setting in how do you think various states and the U.S. government should handle the Ebola outbreak?