Tiberias, Israel Travel Guide

Tiberias is recognized as one of Jewish holy city along with Safed, Hebron, and Jerusalem, a famous base for Christians visiting holy sites, and the venerated Jewish sages’ burial place. Also, it is one of Israel’s most aesthetically challenged resort towns. Its sunbaked lakeside strip is marred by architectural monstrosities. So the kitsch and the sacred – plus ultra-Orthodox population, hot springs, and beaches – coexist side by side in a whirl of hedonism, hawkers, and holiness. Acquaintances of mine that own Albatross Roofing were almost taken a back when they made a pit stop here during their trip through Israel. Here are some of the must-see attractions in Tiberias, Israel.

Usually, it is Israel’s religious and historical significance that draws many visitors, both faith and secular. But the Hamas National Park is a place that brings together moments of cultural significance through its marvelous Severus Synagogue and the natural world via its hot springs bounty. Dating back to almost 230 CE, the synagogue has been renovated several times since then, however, the original mosaics and tile-work are still well-preserved and intact. Once you are done learning about history, take a dip into Tiberias hot springs mineral-rich waters.

Another great way to enjoy your stay in this city is to walk on the beach. Stroll along the Tiberias Promenade, a popular boardwalk. It is understandably thronging with travelers and locals alike. You will be glad for the company as you stroll along with the sound of crashing waves, the sunset, and a breeze from the Sea of Galilee. The promenade features local artists and food stalls. In the evening, you can settle for a multisensory light and music show, complete with fabulous and pyrotechnics fountains.

One of Tiberias’ most frequented spots lies on the Sea of Galilee western shores. Even if you have not heard of the well-known religious scholar buried here, the monument dedicated to him is enough to pique your curiosity and attract your eye. Moses Maimonides’ gravesite has survived since his death around 1204. Apart from Maimonides, this historic place is also the burial site for other major religious figures: Yochanan Ben-Zakkai and Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz.

Mount Arbel isn’t just for climbing enthusiasts and hikers. Scaling her cliffs through the land tracks is for those who can’t resist the old city’s view. The most amazing part about the view from Mount Arbel’s top is the amount of access it gives visitors to the rest of the country; an unobstructed view of Mount Hermon and Golan Heights. The site is the only site in Israel that is state-sanctioned for base jumpers.

Before concluding your visit to Tiberias, make sure you visit the Gai Beach Water Park. This beach park is open to travelers of all ages. Located on Lake Kinneret shores, the park combines children’s play area, wave pools, landscaped and well-maintained area for sunbathing as well as exquisite restaurants.

Ste. Genevieve, Missouri Travel Guide

They came to this place, some drawn to its rich farmland, others driven by adventure. They brought their way of life to the new world and settle here in this Missouri’s oldest town. The power of the Mississippi River shaped this land. French settlers came to live along its fertile banks in the 1740s. St. Genevieve thrived here, a vibrant river town rich with French culture. Today, St. Genevieve’s National Historic Landmark District is considered the finest collection of French colonial architecture in the hemisphere.

The perfect starting point for any tour of St. Genevieve is a visit to the Boldue House Museum. Constructed in the 1790s by a local merchant – Lewis Boldue, this exceptional French Creole home is a National Historic Landmark. The grounds are beautifully maintained with fresh gardens and a functioning herb cottage. In 2005, President Bush recognized the Boldue House Museum with a prestigious preserve America Award.

The interior of the Boldue House is furnished with authentic pieces from the French colonial era including some of Boldue’s original furniture. As visitors walk these floors, they observe life through the eyes of the settlers who came here over 200 years ago. It’s an experience that’s unique to this place. Contrasting with the massive frame of the Boldue House is the modest Boldue-LeMeilleur House. This charming 19th century home has been carefully restored and today serves as a visitor center and gift shop for the bull Duke house museum.

The Jean Baptiste Valle House, an 18th century French Creole home was built during Spanish control of the territory. Originally the residents of the region’s last colonial era commandants; this house was the town center of government for many years. The beautifully restored Vital Beauvais House is one of three Vital St. Gemme in St. Genevieve. Although not visible from the exterior, this unique French colonial home was built using vertical logs placed directly into the ground.

The Felix Valle State Historic Site erected in 1818 is operated by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Built of native limestone, its American Federal style contrasts with the older French colonial homes in town. Other unique structures are on the site, including a 19th century brick wash house. The interior living space reflects the wealthy lifestyle of the young couple who occupied this home.

Just across the street is the Shaw House, constructed in 1819 as a mercantile store house. Both homes are managed by the Department of Natural Resources and guided tours are offered year-round. The quaint St. Genevieve Museum located in the heart of town was erected in 1935 as part of the city’s bicentennial celebration. The museum has a varied collection of prehistoric Native American relics, memorabilia from the mid-19th century, and artifacts related to the history and development of St. Genevieve.

Towering over the historic district is the stunning St. Genevieve Catholic Church. Built on the same spot as the original Log Church of 1794, the vast interior of this Gothic church is beautifully adorned with details that range from the delegate to the dramatic. The Guibourd-Valle House, built in 1806 is one of St. Genevieve’s most elegant tour homes. Vibrant walled gardens provide a sanctuary for the home. Once inside, visitors are allowed unique access to its impressive attic.

Picturesque Memorial Cemetery is the burial site for St. Genevieve’s pioneers, a multicultural mix of both ordinary and prominent citizens. A recent restoration project has renewed the centuries-old monuments to their original state. Just outside of the main historic district is the Green Tree Tavern, one of the oldest structures in town. Built in 1790, it has also been used as a tobacco store and the first Masonic Lodge in Missouri. The Baguette Ribault House built in the early 19th century is another one of St. Genevieve’s rare Vital St. Gemme structures. The Home has a classic French Creole style with features like a hip roof and galleries or porches that surround the entire house.

The impressive Bauvais-Amoureaux House built in 1792 is another site managed by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. This home offers visitors excellent views of its Vital St. Gemme construction. The Bauvais-Amoureaux House contains several exhibits related to the architectural history of St. Genevieve as well as an intricate diorama of the town as it was in 1832.

The town of St. Genevieve isn’t known just for its history, unique shops and excellent dining are located within the serene atmosphere of the historic district. St. Genevieve also has some of the most highly recommended bed and breakfasts in the Midwest. The rolling hills of St. Genevieve County are home to a number of distinctive wineries, making it a popular destination for wine enthusiasts. St. Genevieve is a community that celebrates its past and its present.

St. Louis, Missouri Travel Guide

Visit St. Louis and frolic in the unique vibe of the Great Plains’ largest city. Baseball, bowling, beer, are some top attractions, but culture and history, much of it associated with the Mississippi River are an important part of the fabric. And there is also the iconic Gateway Arch that you have most likely seen in many pictures. Several music legends including Miles Davis, Tina Turner, Chuck Berry, and Scott Joplin, all started here and the variety of live music venues have helped to keep the flame burning. Here are the top things to do in St. Louis, Missouri.

Gateway Arch

This 192m long edifice soars over Downtown St. Louis and is easily the city’s most recognizable landmark. Finished in 1967 and constructed from stainless steel, it is America’s symbol of westward expansion offering visitors spectacular lights shows. Highlights at this place include a Visitors’ Center and you can take a tram to observation at the arch’s peak. The views from here are sublime.

Missouri Botanical Garden

Founded in 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden is also referred to as ‘Shaw’s Garden’. It occupies about 79 acres some miles west of the Downtown area of Botanical Heights. It is a great place to spend time, featuring a dome that was the first air-conditioned greenhouse and the Seiwa-en Garden. But there is more to explore, including arbors lined with roses, English woodland gardens, and mazes.

St. Louis Zoo

This premier family attraction is also located in the St. Louis Downtown area. Built after the World Fair of 1904, this zoo has a narrow-gauge steam railway navigating through attractions like the River Edge, Caribbean Cove (where you will encounter sharks and rays), the primates, penguins, and bears of The Wild.

Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

Close to the Zoo, you will come across the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis’s beautiful exterior. Completed in 1914, this Catholic Church was built to replace the older cathedral. Once you step inside, you are in for a treat with the Basilica’s incredible set of mosaics. Depicting historical and biblical scenes and partly designed by Tiffany, the mosaics stretch here to cover up to 7,700 sq.m, making it the world’s largest.

City Museum

Located in the center of the city, this museum sounds like it should be a solemn collection of dinosaur bones and sculptures, but it is far from that. It’s actually a Downtown playground that is made from objects reclaimed from a shoe factory. Child-friendly, entertaining and wacky, the City Museum features a circus school, skateboard ramps, “Enchanted Caves”, pinball machines and vintage arcade games.

Sonoma Travel Guide

Sonoma is a county and city of extensive beauty and history. It is also the closest wine region to San Francisco. Sonoma is the ideal weekend destination in Northern California for exploring, eating, and relaxing. Here are the top places to visit in Sonoma, California.

Sonoma Plaza

To start your time in Sonoma, head downtown to the Sonoma Plaza. This area which has been here for over a century was the start of the Bear Flag Revolt which led to the Mexican-American war. This area is also home to the northernmost Spanish California mission, Mission San Francisco Solano. In recent years, Sonoma Plaza has become a haven in the valley for shopping, food, and wine. There are over a dozen stores around the plaza ranging from kitchen appliances and olive oil tasting to a cheese shop with free samples and my favorite store tiddlywinks vintage five-and-dime.

Lodging

For hotels, Cottage Inn and Spa is hard to beat. Located right behind the mission, this hotel is walking distance from the plaza, has an amazing fireplace lounge, and brings you hand-delivered pastries every morning. The city has a bunch of great restaurants; for breakfast head over to the Sunflower Café. It’s quick, easy, and there’s enough bacon for everyone. If you are here on the weekend, stop by the Eldorado kitchen for brunch. For lunch, head over to Hot Monk Tavern. It has a great vibe with live music on the weekends and tasty pub food. Lastly, the Girl and the Fig is another great place to eat. The French-inspired food is always top-notch especially the decadent duck confit and the warm fig bar for dessert.

Top Wineries in Sonoma

There are a lot of great wineries in Sonoma, here are a few to check out. Madrone Estate Winery is located a little off the beaten path but it is worth the effort. Upon arriving, you are greeted with a beautiful tasting room with stone walls and an open layout. The highlight is the stunning back property that has bocce, tables to relax at, and an amazing spot for weddings.

Buena Vista is California’s oldest winery and is a must-visit in Sonoma. It houses an impressive tasting room. A tasting room for Lake Sonoma Winery is located in Sonoma Plaza and has a casual layout with lots of great wines to try. If you are a fan of the outdoor seating with a fire pit and Jenga set, this is a great place to visit.

If wine is not your thing head over to Sonoma Springs Brewery. It has a casual tasting room with a good selection of beers and is a great place to watch the game with friends. If you are looking to relax, head over to MacArthur Place and Vista spa for aromatherapy massage or detox in the steam room. Don’t forget to play a little outdoor chess while there.

Jack London State Park

The historic Jack London State Park is a great place to hike in the Sonoma area. There are lots of great trails, tons of history, and the best hike is a short mile walk to the Wolf house. On the way out of Sonoma, you have to stop at cornerstone Gardens. It is the home of the Big Blue Chair which is now orange and there are dozens of gardens all with their own unique artistic twist. There is also the wishing garden where you can write a wish and you add it to the thousands of others already there. There is also a really nice place for a meal here called Park 121, the chef uses locally sourced ingredients for their mini fresh dishes.