San Francisco’s hidden gem — The Presidio
Batteries to Bluff Trail, Presidio

San Francisco’s hidden gem — The Presidio

We’re hiking the famous Batteries to Bluffs trail in San Francisco’s Presidio, a national park unlike any other, which takes us up and down steps along the western Pacific shoreline, past historic gun batteries, rewarding us with a spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Wow!

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At the Presidio in San Francisco, top chef aims at kids menus
Arguello at Presidio Officers Club

At the Presidio in San Francisco, top chef aims at kids menus

Award winning San Francisco chef Traci Des Jardins wishes American restaurants would take a page—a menu page—from their counterparts in other parts of the world. “The United States is one of the only places in the world that has special meals for kids,” she said. “We are conditioned to teach kids to eat differently than we do and that is a mistake.”

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Cruising on the Seine River – a stop at Monet’s Garden in Giverny
The Japanese Bridge over the pond in Monet's Garden

Cruising on the Seine River – a stop at Monet’s Garden in Giverny

I’m walking in Monet’s glorious gardens at Giverny on sunny day thinking about a little girl skipping over the famous green Japanese Bridges a big smile on her face.

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Time-traveling in Paris — to a tiny hotel in a 17th Century building
Shopping and dining at night in St. Germaine district of Paris

Time-traveling in Paris — to a tiny hotel in a 17th Century building

We’ve moved from the heart of fashionable Paris to the St. Germaine neighborhood on the Left Bank and feel like we’ve time traveled, checking in to the tiny Hotel Verneuil, a 26-room hotel that is housed in a 17th century building.

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Touring the famous Louvre in Paris with a family-oriented guide
Children getting an art and history lesson from a guide in the Louvre

Touring the famous Louvre in Paris with a family-oriented guide

Eighty per cent of her clients are American families. She notes that most guides, while true experts in their field, aren’t often as willing to play to the kids’ interests so when booking a guide, it is key to make sure they appreciate that kids’ may not have as long attention span.

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Two weeks in France visiting Paris, champagne country and Normandy via river cruise
Place des Voges in Paris

Two weeks in France visiting Paris, champagne country and Normandy via river cruise

Arriving in Paris jet-lagged, a quick trip to see Monet's water lillies at the Musee de L'Orangerie was just the tonic. Armed with a Paris Pass, we didn't have to wait in a long line for tickets.

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Snowshoeing – the quieter side of a winter vacation, day or weekend
Skiing in the Northeast US (photo by Tubbs Snowshoes)

Snowshoeing – the quieter side of a winter vacation, day or weekend

You don’t need a gourmet meal to enjoy snowshoeing. It’s fun to take a sandwich and hot cider with you in your backpack; it’s fun just to get out and enjoy the back-country landscape away from the hustle and bustle of a snow sports resort. I try to take a day off from skiing each trip just for the experience.

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