Monthly Archives: April 2013

North To Alaska Part 3

Lodge property

Continuing where I left off a few weeks ago, here’s Part 3 of my adventures in Alaska.

The next stop on the journey was Denali National Park and on this day I was celebrating my birthday. More on that later.

Lodge property          Teddy at Denali

Lodge room          Lodge

TEDDY’s RATING: 

http://www.princesslodges.com/denali-lodge.cfm

The drive from Mt. McKinley Princess Lodge to the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge was about 2 hours.  Our room was wonderful, with a view of the river below.  This is supposed to be the largest hotel in Alaska. Like the Mt. McKinley Princess Lodge, the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge, though affiliated with Princess Cruise Lines, is not exclusive to the cruise line.  You can stay there even if you’re not booked on one of their cruises.  It’s a vast piece of property with the hotel, restaurants and shops.  This is where I took the Gravatar photo of me in the fur coat!

Denali Park Sign

TEDDY’s RATING: 

http://www.nps.gov/dena/index.htm
http://www.denali.national-park.com/

The Denali Natural History Tour started at 2:30pm, so we had a great lunch at the King Salmon Restaurant. We boarded an old school bus for the tour of the park. At the park’s front entrance, we saw a moose with her babies and there were plenty more moose to see along the way. Of all the animals that are abundant in Alaska, I saw more moose than anything. Not any bears, a few sheep, but lots and lots of moose. Thirty-nine species of mammals make their home in Denali along with about 170 species of birds, 10 types of fish and one amphibian, the wood frog.

Denali National Park and Preserve is, of course, named after the centerpiece of the park, Mount McKinley. Mount McKinley is also called “Denali,” which means “The High One” in the native Koyukon Athabaskan tongue. The park will be celebrating its 100th birthday in 2017. There are six million acres of land, but there’s only one road through it.

Denali National Park          Alaska Salmon Bake

For dinner that night, my birthday dinner, I had totally yummy elk sliders at the world famous Alaska Salmon Bake restaurant. You can eat exotic in Alaska without eating salmon. As you know, I’m not a fan of seafood.  On my birthday this year, 2013, it will be 100 years since the first man reached the summit of Mt. McKinley’s South Peak.  He was a native Alaskan named Walter Harper.

The following day we would board the train for the 10 hour journey down to the port of Whittier where we would embark on the next leg of the tour aboard the Island Princess cruise ship.

Dates of Visit:  June 2011

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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Categories: Eat, Sleep | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Psychedelic Donut Delights

Peace Love Ext

TEDDY’s RATING: 

As I’ve written before, I always like to promote small businesses. And when a small business is really worth promoting, that makes it all the better. Not only are the donuts at Peace, Love and Little Donuts delicious, but the owner has such enthusiasm for his business and his product, you can’t help but promote both.

Peace Love DonutsPeace, Love and Little Donuts is located in Naples, Florida and is owned and operated by a part-time private pilot, Mark Couch. When I told Mark about my blog, he was very interested in finding out my thoughts on his donuts. He was super friendly and told me all about the business and why he started this venture. (He’s a Gulf War veteran who was looking for a career change.)

These donuts are smaller than your average donuts, about two and one quarter inches in diameter, so they’re a bit expensive for their size. But what you’re paying for are the unusual flavor combinations.

There are 32 different flavors, but not all are available every day. Prices range from $0.85 to $1.29 per donut depending on the toppings, or lack thereof. The donut flavors are inspired by desserts and other sweet treats: apple pie, blueberry cheesecake, banana split, s’mores, Nestle Crunch, strawberry shortcake and pina colada. There’s also raspberry Peace Love Donutslemonade, lemon ginger, chocolate coconut, Boston crème, chocolate pretzel with sea salt and Devil’s Food.

If you read the reviews on Trip Advisor, Urban Spoon and Yelp, you’ll see people raving about the maple bacon donuts. I love maple, bacon and donuts, so I gave this one a try. It was an interesting collection of flavors, definitely worth trying. Not that I’d eat a dozen of them, but really good. I also tried the apple pie and raspberry lemonade, both of which were quite yummy.

I’m not a coffee drinker, but there are people who rave about the coffee served here. It’s called “Intelligentsia” and apparently isn’t served in very many establishments.

The only negative I have to say about the place is that it’s hard to find. Your GPS will tell you that you’ve arrived, but if you didn’t know that the place was part of Wayne’s World BP gas station, you wouldn’t see it. There are no large signs near the road because businesses in the area are restricted as to what signage they can post.

The Naples location has a Facebook page, but no website. You can read more about Peace, Love and Little Donuts on the website for the three Pittsburgh locations.

http://www.peaceloveandlittledonuts.com/home.html

Dates of Visit:  January 2013

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: Eat, Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Paradise at Naples Botanical Garden

Naples Botanical Garden

TEDDY’s RATING: 

There’s nothing more relaxing on a beautiful day than strolling through a lovely, peaceful garden. And one of the most lovely that I’ve been to so far is the Naples Botanical Garden in Naples, Florida.

This 170-acre site is located between the 26th latitude north and the 26 latitude south allowing it to showcase some of most diverse plants from around the globe, including those from Asia, Brazil, the Caribbean and, of course, Florida. And throughout the gardens, there are some amazing sculptures done by a native from Zimbabwe.

Naples Botanical Garden          Naples Botanical Garden

The garden is comprised of 7 areas.

In the Children’s Garden, kids can interact with the environment, water plants, play, and explore the incredible Butterfly Garden.

Teddy at Botanical Garden          Naples Botanical Garden

The Brazilian Garden, with its bold colorful flora, pays tribute to Roberto Burle Marx, known internationally as the “father of modern landscape architecture.”

Naples Botanical Garden          Naples Botanical Garden

The Caribbean Garden features tropical forests, exotic plants and even cactus.

The Karen and Robert Scott Florida Garden displays sabal palms, bougainvillea and silver palmettos, as well as Florida’s grasses, wildflowers and citrus trees.

Naples Botanical Garden          Naples Botanical Garden

The Lea Asian Garden is divided into several different “rooms” depicting the cultural diversity of that area of the world. It’s not just rice paddies and coconut groves. You’ll find ferns, palms, hibiscus and bamboos throughout this area.

Naples Botanical Garden          Naples Botanical Garden

Cross the boardwalk over the Water Garden and see water lilies, lotuses and papyrus.

And The Preserve is a 90-acre nature sanctuary that is home to pines, oaks, marshes, mangroves and hundreds of animal species from eagles to otters, bobcats to tortoises.

Naples Botanical Garden          Naples Botanical Garden

There are also 2.5 miles of walking trails on the property where you can lose yourself in the peace and quiet beauty. It’s also a perfect place for weddings or other events.

The Naples Botanical Garden is open 9-5 daily, 8-5 on Tuesdays.

Dates of Visit:  January 2013

http://www.naplesgarden.org/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: Florida, Play | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

North To Alaska Part 2

Mt. McKinley Princess Lodge sign
The second leg of our Alaska cruise-tour didn’t start off all that well, but it ended up being great. We were told that the bus would pick us up to take us to the Mount McKinley Princess Lodge at 10am. Well, were waiting in the room and got a call at 9am asking where we were! We were told the wrong time. Luckily, we were ready to go and ran down to get the bus.

It was a three hour drive from Anchorage to Mount McKinley. Of all the sites and experiences I had in Alaska, seeing Mount McKinley is one of the best. We were very fortunate to have had a crystal clear sky, no fog, no clouds obstructing the view of the very top of the highest peak in North America.

Teddy at Mt McKinley          Mt. McKinley

Here are some facts about Mount McKinley:

Mount McKinley is also called “Denali,” which means “The High One” in the native Koyukon Athabaskan tongue. It is the centerpiece of Denali National Park and Preserve.

The summit is 20,320 feet above sea level.

The first recorded attempt to climb the mountain was by James Wickersham in 1903. He climbed the Peters Glacier and the North Face which is now known as Wickersham Wall.

The first ascent of the main summit was on June 7, 1913. And the first man to reach the summit was an Alaska native, Walter Harper.

In 1947, Barbara Washburn became the first woman to reach the summit. And her husband, Bradford, became the first to reach the summit twice.

The first solo ascent was by Naomi Uemura in 1970. Sadly, she died upon returning in 1984 to make the first winter solo ascent.

Mt. McKinley Princess Lodge

TEDDY’s RATING: 

http://www.princesslodges.com/mckinley-lodge.cfm

The Mt. McKinley Princess Lodge, though affiliated with Princess Cruise Lines, is not exclusive to the cruise line. You can stay there even if you’re not booked on one of their cruises. (But I’ve read that you get a better room with a better view if you are.) The rooms were nicely appointed and large, but the property is so big you have to take a shuttle from the main building to many of the outer buildings where the rooms are.

When we arrived we had a nice lunch at the Grizzly Bar which had a great view of the mountain. Then we walked around a nature trail on the property.

Teddy-McKinley window          McKinley Room

We had booked a horseback riding excursion at 5pm. We were picked up at the hotel and taken to the horseback riding place. Our guide was Laramie – what a character! We were the only two on the trail ride and he told us some colorful stories about his life as a rodeo performer. He was only 26 and already had an artificial hip. The trail ride lasted about an hour and we got even closer to Mt. McKinley. The view was like something from a John Wayne movie.

Horseback Riding          Horseback Riding

For dinner, we ate at the 20,320 Alaska Grill, named after the height of McKinley.

The next day we would be exploring Denali National Park.

Dates of Visit:  June 2011

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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