England, Penny Lane and Dove Cottage

Several years ago I went to England and as we made are journey from the City of London   via CIE tour we stopped at Liverpool.  Liverpool is the birth place of Paul McCartney.  It is obvious where the song “Penny Lane” came from.  We visited the home of Paul McCartney and were only allowed to see the outside.  It was kinda cool to see where one of the members of the “Beatles” had lived.

I found the next stop to be very familiar and heart warming (even though I had never been there before). Walking along the grounds and witnessing the beauty in the trees, flowers and nostalgia of the stone buildings was nothing short of breath taking.   As you can see from the picture below it is called “Wordsworth Country.”  Wordsworth lived and wrote in this area.  He was a poet and born in 1770.    My thought was “Wow If this is only the beginning of our 2 week tour I cannot wait to see what else is in store for us!  IMG_1599.JPG

Saint Margaret’s Chapel, Edinburgh, Scotland

I had the privilege of visiting Edinburgh, Scotland with a friend over the past 2 years.  We decided not to go this year but I am reminded of the beauty, fun and eloquence of visiting The Royal Mile.  Edinburgh Castle sits on volcanic rock at the top of Royal Mile.  I was out of breath when I reached the top of the Royal Mile, even though I did not walk a mile!  St. Margaret’s Chapel is the oldest building in Edinburgh.  It was first built in the 12th century and was not used after the reformation.  Fortunately, it was restored in 1851-1852 with the support of Queen Victoria.  Interesting to note that the style of architecture was during the reign of David.  I thought that was pretty cool!

Cliff House in Maine

I recently spent several days at the Cliff House in Maine.  I have been wanting to go there for some time now.  Many people have told me how much they love that area (Maine that is).  I can definitely see why they would!  The Cliff House is literally on the edge of a cliff with the view of the vast Atlantic Ocean.  I could sit for hours staring at the water and rocks.  We dined at “The Tiller Restaurant and “Nubb’s Lobster Shack.  Both were good.  I also was favored with a beautiful view of the Ocean from my room.  I found it to be very calm and relaxing.  A indoor and outdoor pool along with a jacuzzi where also on the grounds.

Not far from where we were was many restaurants and hotels. We ate at a place called “Anchorage by the Sea”  looking out into the Atlantic Ocean.  Below is a picture of it. IMG_7338The last night we listened to a “solo” guitarist reminiscing to songs by the “Eagles” and many other artists.  If your looking for a get-a-way and want to enjoy beauty this is one of my favorites!

My trip to Ireland!

Ireland has always had a stronghold upon my heart and I suppose it has to do with my ancestral lineage and my father has always been obsessed with Ireland!  He also owned an Irish Pub in upstate NY called “Carnsie’s”.  My maiden name is Carns but according to my Dad the original spelling is “Cairns”.

I have been to Ireland twice over the past several years and the beauty is breath-taking.  My favorite visits have been to Dingle Bay and the Cliffs of Moher (picture above).    The feeling was as if I were at “home”.   The water, green grass and the cliffs are nothing short of amazing.  The Irish are simplistic and kind.  The food, currents, and soups were amazing.  There “soups” were pureed in every restaurant I ate in.  Eating breakfast reminded me of eating brunch at my Grandmother’s on Easter Sunday.  Chopped fruit, bacon, eggs, toast and soda bread.  They did offer baked beans for breakfast so my grandmother did not have it down pat!!

Before I went to Ireland I did research on my Grandmother’s side.  Her name was Clara Farrell and she was from County Clare.  Knowing this gave me much comfort and interest in my lineage in County Clare.

Another favorite place that I visited is Blarney Castle.  The first structure was built in the 10th century.  The Castle was surrounded by beautiful gardens and trees, below is a pic of a tree on the grounds.


Over the course of my 2 visits I visited  Blarney Castle, Dingle Peninsula, Cliffs of Moher, Dalkey Village, Dublin, Clonmacnoise(a monastic settlement), Connemara (Hills of potato ridges) and Kylemore Abbey and impressive mansion.  Ring of Kerry tour mountains and Atlantic Coastline and the famous waterford Crystal Collection.  It is true that the “Irish” love to tell tales and sing.  I witnessed this when visiting the pubs.

If you have any interest I would highly recommend it and you will not be disappointed.  Ireland is a piece of “Heaven” on this earth!


Tower Of London



Day 3 – June 11, 2016 – Tower of London & City Sights

Tower of London was one of my favorite sites to visit during my 2 week tour.  I was overwhelmed by the enormity of it.  It is a City in of itself!  I always thought the tower was fictional….boy was i wrong!!!!!   When I stepped foot on the land I couldn’t wait to see what this tower was all about.  I was in shock and excited all at once.   I wanted to know why this tower still stood after 100s of years, and yes my friends what happened there was real.

I love taking photos of doors and I was in the right place to witness these old doors.  The picture below is called “Traitors Gate.”

The gate was built by Edward I.  This gate was a water gate to provide entrance to the Tower.  It provided additional accommodation for the royal family. … The name TraitorsGate has been used since 1544 or sooner.



Above is the armor and weapons that was used 100’s of years ago.  This is only a snapshot of the gallery.

History of  Tower of London:

  1.  Located in Central London
  2.  Housing the Crown Jewels.  Crown Jewels are the most popular attraction.  The Jewels include the crowns worn by the monarch at coronation and at the opening of Parliament.  Unfortunately, most of the Royal regalia was destroyed in the mid 17th Century.
  3.  Records office
  4. Barracks and armory for troops
  5. Royal residence
  6. Prison
  7. Museum
  8. 900 year old Castle
  9. It was a place where wild animals were kept for 600 years.  Elephants, Ostriches, Lions, Polar Bears etc.   The animals where given as gifts to the monarch during that time.

William the Conqueror started the Tower in the early 1080’s.  The Tower was continuously being built into the 16th century.  It was built to signify Norman Power.  The tower encompasses over 12 acres.  Monarchs and common criminals were imprisoned in the tower.  Sons of Edward the 1V were killed there (2 Princes) and Henry the 8th wives – Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard were both imprisoned and executed.  In the late 18th & 19th centuries, the tower was used less for prisoners.


The White Tower:



My Adventure in England, Scotland, & Ireland

Day 2-June 10, 2016: Arrived in London 

Before we took our tour we checked in at Park Plaza Hotel Riverbank London.  We walked to pick up our bus and it felt like I was in a different land.  The right lane traffic was headed towards me.  I didn’t know whether to turn right or left.  It was a little off-putting at first and it kept me on my toes!  We arrived in central London to visit the famous landmarks and I must say it was absolutely perfect to ride the panoramic bus on Day 2 – due to the fact I was a little tired.  I was over-whelmed by the enormity of the city and buildings.  History spans back 1000’s of years.   We saw Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus, The Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, and many other buildings that would be impossible to name.

Below is a picture of St. Paul’s Cathedral.  The interior was spectacular and inspiring.  The current Saint Paul’s Cathedral was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, previous building was burned down in the Great Fire of London in 1666.  Since AD604 this Christian Cathedral dedicated to St. Paul as been located in the City of London.  Below is a picture of the building.  My only regret is I did not utilize good time for pictures.  Sleepiness took over!



Best Retreat in Portland, Oregon

I had the opportunity to travel to Portland, Oregon in the Spring of 2016.  I went there for a retreat for 5 days with a beautiful community of people.  It was a retreat given by Matt Kahn and Julie Dittmar.  I have been following Julie and Matt for several years now.   They are spiritual teachers whose humor and grace will capture you unwillingly.  I felt totally loved and nurtured the entire time I was there.  Not only by Julie and Matt but everyone at the conference.  My barriers came down whether I liked it or not.  I also felt I was in a safe place to allow my emotions to surface.  Imagine being in the company of 330 or more people!  Knowing that the person sitting next to me was probably going through the same thing I was gave me such relief and comfort.    By day 5 I was lighter, happier, confident and radiant.  Would I do it again?  Absolutely!  I have been to a lot of retreats and I would say this was one of my favorites.


The retreat was held at the “World Forestry Center” in Portland Oregon.  I was captivated by the beautiful trees which surrounded the center.  It was a hop skip and a jump from where I stayed.  I stayed at the Marriott Center in downtown Portland.   I was surprised of the short distance from the Marriott to the Forestery Center.  I took the Max Light Rail Terminal.  It was less than a 10 minute walk from the Marriott to the terminal.    Food in downtown Portland was delicious and fresh.  I don’t remember the names of the places I ate at but I can reassure you it was delicious.  One of my favorite dishes was a blend of rice, vegetables and sauce ( I wish I remembered the name of this place).  I ate there more than once and I found it soothing on my digestive tract.   The breakfast at the Marriott was good and the staff was very accommodating.  Can it get any better than eating breakfast and viewing Mound Hood.  I found Portland to be very clean and nourishing.  I was surprised of the amount of homeless people.  On my last day I was gifted with meeting several homeless people.  It’s hard to put into words how I felt.  My heart cracked open and I found the 2 men to be very wise souls.  Looks can be deceptive!  If you ever have the opportunity to travel I would highly recommend Portland, Oregon.  There was nothing I did not like about it!

Traveling Abroad, England, Ireland & Scotland

Recently I had the opportunity to travel to the UK and Northern Ireland with a group of wonderful people from the East Coast on a Tour with CIE.  I hesitated doing a tour knowing how much I like to be in control…but knowing I did not have to make any arrangements such as booking hotels and places to visit was a big relief.  My 2 week agenda was all taken care of and so was my breakfast and dinners.

Our first stop was in London!  I had the opportunity to ride on a Panoramic Bus to visit famous landmarks in Central London. Taking pictures was not a problem because of this.     What I liked most about this City Tour was the history and the buildings dating back to the 1080’s.   I was awestruck!  My favorite sight was the “Tower of London” ~  The Tower was started in the early 1080’s by William the Conqueror.  As time went on Palace buildings were being added into the 16th century.  Check out the picture below and know that is only a snapshot of the enormity of it.   Over the years so much went on in the castle such as keeping prisoners, executions of 3 english Queens , Coins were made there for England and so much more.  I definitely would go back for their was so much I did not see.

“Tower of London”


Our tour came to a close in Liverpool, England where Paul McCartney and John Lennon lived.  We were able to tour their homes AND Penny Lane is a real Street.

I was surprised that we ate the same food for breakfast in England, Ireland and Scotland.  Sausage, bacon, eggs, bread and baked beans were the staple items.  I loved the Irish Stew in Ireland and skipped out on “Haggis” in Scotland.  Hotels and accommodations were excellent.  Everything ran so smoothly.  There was not one hiccup.  If your itching to go “Just Do It”.

Scotland was one of my favorite places in the UK.  The mountains, villages, Castles and hills are something to marvel at.  It really is as beautiful as it looks on television.   A second trip is on my agenda.  Ireland was beautiful as well.  There was no place where I did not see beauty!  The Cliffs of Moher will put you in “awe” and the grounds where the Blarney Castle nestles was jaw dropping.  Ireland really is an historic place.  History goes back to the Roman times and the Castles are still standing. I would go back just to visit the Castles in a heartbeat.



“The Cliffs of Moher”