View of Midtown Manhattan from the Lotte New York Palace.

Lotte New York Palace | Luxury Hotel Review

Palace New York Hotel

Formerly the Helmsley Palace and then the New York Palace, today the Lotte New York Palace, in my opinion, has neglected attention to detail, unlike the previous owners.

Lotte New York Palace Address

The Lotte New York Palace is located at 455 Madison Avenue at 50th Street, New York, NY 10022. Customers can choose between booking rooms or suites in the Palace or Towers.

When we had stayed in the New York Palace and the Helmsley Palace, the hotel lobby and rooms gleamed, and you could usually depend on excellent service.

However, last year at the Lotte New York Palace, I was disappointed when I presented my room confirmation and tried to check-in. The front desk receptionist informed us that she would return, and she exited through a door and closed it. She had left us for about ten minutes.

King Bed Corner Cathedral View Room

Lotte New York Palace Corner Cathedral View Room overlooks St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Though I had booked a corner room for the holiday season two months in advance, the receptionist returned and informed us that the corner room was unavailable because it had water damage. She said that they had another place for us.

When we asked to see the damage, she exited again. She returned and told us that we had to take the room that they offered, though it lacked the view of the one that we had booked.

Although we were disappointed, the management had sent a gift basket to our new room, and we appreciated the gesture.

Lotte New York Palace Towers

Corner Towers suite at the Lotte Hotel

A Towers suite at the Lotte New York Palace offers a Manhattan skyline view.

The next morning, one of the employees admitted that someone had reserved the entire floor that included our confirmed room. They offered to upgrade us to a Towers suite. We felt that they went out of their way to compensate us, and we loved the suite’s extra space.

The Lotte Palace offers upscale amenities.

Lotte Palace offers Morton Brown personal care items.

In December 2017, we revisited the Lotte New York Palace. When I entered our room’s bathroom, I noticed that it smelled sour. I called housekeeping, and when we left for dinner, they freshened it.

View of Manhattan New York from the Palace New York hotel

Corner Cathedral View Room with one king bed overlooks St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Manhattan.

Another disappointment was that while most luxury and non-luxury hotels provide two pillows per guest, housekeeping had supplied only one along with a decorative pillow. My husband and I felt that it made sleeping a little uncomfortable, but we didn’t bother to request more.

Though we have had some issues with this hotel, we still love the Lotte New York Palace because the location is within walking distance of Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s, and the iconic St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

In addition, over the years we have noticed staff members from the previous hotels still working for the Lotte Palace. One employee that we know has been working for the Palace for over thirty years. We think that makes a statement about mutual loyalty.

The Christmas tree at the Lotte Palace is decorated with white lights and red and gold ornaments.

Lotte Palace is decorated for Christmas and the holidays.

Lotte New York Palace Christmas and Holiday Season

People flock to see the Palace decked out in holiday décor. Lighted garland with red ribbons and gold balls frame entranceways and wrap railings. Red and gold lighted Christmas trees are displayed throughout and live classical music drifts through the lobby.

If you are in Manhattan during Christmas or the holiday season, the Lotte is a must-see.Ã

Two Traveling Texans
Rolf's German Restaurant is in Gramercy.

Rolf’s German Restaurant

Rolf’s Restaurant Address

Three of us stood in line to get in Rolf’s German Restaurant at 281 Third Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010, in the Gramercy Park area of Manhattan. Rolf’s is renowned for their Christmas decorations and “October Fest” spectacle.

Rolf’s New York City Christmas

About 100,000 lights are twisted around garland and poles. Thousands of ornaments and icicles hang from the ceiling and walls mixed with Santas, sleighs, angels, and hundreds of dolls.  Its screaming decor creates an ambiance that makes it one of the best Christmas restaurants in New York City.

When Does Rolf’s Decorate for Christmas

Rolf’s Christmas decorations are up from September to the end of May.

Rolf’s New York Reservations

Rolf’s is open every day from 12 p.m. until 10 p.m., and they accept reservations.

Our Experience with Rolf’s German Restaurant

We went to have a drink with our friends who were eating lunch inside. About 20+ people stood in line ahead of us. While we waited, it appeared that more people exited the restaurant than entered.

A man, who was waiting in line, approached the front door and announced that no one seemed to be manning the door and seating people.

Our friends inside noted to the host that a table next to them, that could seat six, was vacant. The host responded that the table was reserved. Ironically, our friends had partied for over 2 ½ hours while the table remained empty.

After 20 minutes in line, we decided to leave. Before we left, I ducked in and snapped a photo. I may be mistaken, but I wonder if Rolf’s German Restaurant keeps a line outside for appearances.

Don't miss the hot chocolate at Squish Marshmallows.

Union Square Holiday Market

Manhattan New York


Union Square Holiday Market

Union Square Holiday Market is an Urbanspace project in Manhattan New York. Vendors sell holiday merchandise including Christmas ornaments, accessories, art, specialty food, and more. Stalls line the stone mortared paths at this world-renowned Christmas market that runs from November 16 to December 24.

Manhattan New York

Manhattan’s Union Square Holiday Market is the perfect place to shop for boutique items during the holidays.

Union Square Holiday Market is a New York Christmas market.

Union Square Holiday Market in Manhattan is an Urbanspace project.

Holiday and Christmas Shopping

Colorful Christmas trees and sculptures are scattered throughout the Union Square Holiday Market.

My daughter and I tried on wool hats and scarves, smelled sprigs of lavender and perfume, handled jewelry and Christmas ornaments, and laughed at the pet outfits on display. Though we bought a few gifts, the vendor that we liked best was Squish Marshmallow, and it wasn’t because of their marshmallows.

Christmas Market un Manhattan

Shoppers choose from a large selection of merchandise during the holidays.

Manhattan New York

This Union Square Holiday Market vendor displays colorful, unique wool hats.

Manhattan New York

Union Square Holiday Market in Manhattan is world renowned.

Christmas Market

German Delights features hot apple cider and German specialties.

 Squish Marshmallow

Squish Marshmallow sells hand torched marshmallows that are tan on the outside and warm and gooey inside. Flavors include gingerbread, jelly donut, peppermint bark, chocolate dipped and more. We tried the chocolate dipped donut flavor that crunched, and the taste reminded us of s’mores. We enjoyed them and liked the unique concept.

But what we loved best was their hot chocolate because it tasted authentic.  It consisted of cream infused with Dutch cocoa and chocolate blended with vanilla and a touch of sugar. The decadent dark drink was bursting with cocoa.

We split one, and it tasted delicious. We passed it back and forth several times, and it lasted only a few minutes. Our gluttony made me forget to photograph the drink. However, you can find Squish Marshmallow in Manhattan’s East Village.

Union Square Holiday Market

Visiting Union Square Holiday Market is an excellent opportunity to find something for everyone. If you didn’t make it this year, put it on your must-see list for 2018.


They offer traditional French cuisine.

Le Bistro Du Village

Restaurant Review

Le Bistro du Village–Formerly Crepe Du Jour

Mt. Washington, Baltimore, Maryland 

The red awning hung over the bright blue and yellow restaurant front. Flower-tiled patio tables equipped with blue chairs lined the sidewalk in front of the entrance like the sidewalk cafes in Paris.

Zagat and TripAdvisor Ratings

The awards and ratings from Zagat and TripAdvisor that decorated the front door beckoned me.

Le Bistro Du Village specializes in French cuisine.

Le Bistro Du Village offers good food at reasonable prices in a casual atmosphere.

French Country Decor

Inside, the French country rust-toned tablecloths topped with bright red poinsettias created an elegant ambiance. A mirror and framed French photos adorned the walls, and tied back drapes made the room feel like home.

The host seated me at a table where I could gaze out on the quiet street in Mt. Washington, Baltimore, Maryland.

Le Bistro Du Village Menu

The menu offered a variety of authentic French food like boeuf bourguignon and coq au vin, but I opted for crepes.

Le Bistro Du Village in Baltimore, Maryland

Le Bistro Du Village in Baltimore serves a fresh tasting salad.


I started with a side salad that consisted of young spinach and red leaf lettuce, a pale tomato, and pieces of sliced onion. Crumbled feta and balsamic vinaigrette topped the greens.

The mescaline mix tasted cold, crisp and fresh. The feta and onion added a bite, and the vinegar gave it a tang. The salad was a good start.

Le Bistro Du Village in Baltimore, Maryland

Crepe Paysanne is filled with chicken and vegetables in a cream sauce.


I ordered the Crepe Paysanne for my entree. The crepe was dense and darker than I expected and slightly tough. It was folded around a concoction that included chicken, mushrooms, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and prosciutto, blended in a béchamel sauce. The mushrooms were cooked perfectly and had a distinct flavor and consistency, and the bite-size chicken tasted tender. The combination was creamy and savory.

Le Bistro Du Village in Baltimore, Maryland

Bananas and coconut mixed in a chocolate sauce filled this crepe.

I finished with a banana, coconut, and chocolate crepe. The pancake was also a little thicker and browner than expected. I sliced the dough and found coconut and banana in a decadent chocolate sauce. The coconut tasted fresh and crunched slightly in my mouth and mixed well with the banana that seemed perfectly ripe, not too firm and not too soft. It was difficult to not devour the entire dessert.

My Crepe Experience

My mother-in-law had introduced me to crepes, and I have also ordered them in Gustavia, St. Barthelemy; Marigot, Saint Martin; both in the French West Indies; and Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris. Those crepes were thin, lightly browned, and fork-tender. My mother-in-law’s crepes rated with those featured in the French restaurants; though she was Irish Catholic.

Despite my disappointment in the crepes at Le Bistro Du Village, I loved the ingredients inside of them, and I would recommend this lovely neighborhood restaurant.

My meal without tip totaled $28. Prices start at $7 for a salad and range to $29 for entrees. They also provide a wine and cocktail list.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Contact: 410-542-9000
Address: 1609 Sulgrave Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21209
Service: Good
Reservations: Accepted
Parking: Street or Valet Thursday to Sunday
Hours: Monday: 11am-9pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 11am-10pm
Friday: 11am-10:30pm
Saturday: 10am-10:30pm
Sunday: 10am-9pm

*           Poor
**         Satisfactory
***       Good
****     Very Good
*****   Outstanding

Mt. Washington in Baltimore

Visitors head to Mt. Washington in Baltimore, Maryland, to shop in a relaxed atmosphere, attend art workshops, and experience fine food.

Locals and savvy visitors stroll the village and duck in boutiques looking for that must-have. Shopping in this genteel town is like a vacation from the city and busy malls.


La Chic Boutique

La Chic Boutique offers consignment clothing and accessories in Mt. Washington in Baltimore, Maryland.

La Chic Boutique

La Chic Boutique sells consignment clothing and accessories including designer brands.

Something Else                        

Check out Something Else for uniques styles and accessories for women.

Pasha’s Hammam Herbal Soaps                         

If you are searching for herbal soaps, oils, cosmetics, shawls, or scarves, Pasha’s is your place.

O’Malley Antiques                                                                       
O’Malley’s Antiques sells beautiful antiques dated from the 18th to the 20th century.

O'Malley Antiques in Mt. Washington, Baltimore

O’Malley Antiques can enhance your home with furniture, ceramics, art, metals, accessories, lighting, rugs, mirrors and more.


Art parties are big in this area. Children celebrate their birthdays creating arts and crafts, and adults attend “girls night out” events and bring their chosen beverage.

The studios run art workshops that accommodate the novice to the artisan. These workshops include painting, glass art, hand building with clay, and using the potter’s wheel. Instructors guide students through steps to create one-of-a-kind pieces.

Art Classes

The Painting Workshop                                                        

The Painting Workshop schedules classes and parties for children and adults.

The Painted Palette in Mt. Washington, Baltimore

The Painted Palette is a studio where students relax and learn to paint.

The Painted Palette                                            

The Painted Palette holds classes for children, but they are billed as “Baltimore’s best venue for art and wine entertainment.”

Baltimore Clayworks                                                

Baltimore Clayworks teaches design, clay building by hand, and the use of the potter’s wheel.

Amazing Glaze in Mt. Washington, Baltimore

Amazing Glaze is a painting studio in Mt. Washington, Baltimore.

Amazing Glaze

Amazing Glaze throws pottery painting parties and workshops for children through adults. They teach glass fusing, canvas painting, and mosaics. Adults can bring their own beverage.


Local restaurants serve Chesapeake Bay seafood and multicultural specialties in a casual atmosphere. Foodies can feast on Creole, Japanese, French, and American selections.

The Nickel Taphouse                                                           

The Nickel Tap House in Mt. Washington in Baltimore

The Nickel Taphouse in Mt. Washington features oysters and craft beer.

The Zagat-rated Nickel Taphouse features pub food, craft beers, and oysters.

Mt. Washington Tavern in Baltimore

Mt. Washington Tavern in Baltimore is a locals haven.

The Mt Washington Tavern                                  

The Mt. Washington Tavern serves lunch and dinner, and the bar is a great place to mingle and grab some oysters, a burger, or a salad.

Woodrows Bar-B-Que                                                           

Woodrows Bar-B-Que specializes in Texas barbecue that is hormone and antibiotics free.

Le Bistro Du Village in Mt. Washington

Le Bistro Du Village in Mt. Washington is owned by a family who had lived in Paris.

Le Bistro Du Village                                                                

Le Bistro Du Village is Zagat rated and family owned. They feature traditional French cuisine.

Ethel’s Creole Kitchen                                                

Ethel’s Creole Kitchen creates Chesapeake Bay,  Louisiana Creole, and Cajun concoctions.

Chiyo Sushi: Japanese Restaurant                                            

Chiyo Sushi offers Japanese specialties like sushi, tempura, and teriyaki.

While in Baltimore, if you have a few hours to spare, take a trip to Mt. Washington. Whether shopping, attending classes, or dining, you will find that the locals make you feel at home.






The Palmetto sculpture honors those that died in the war against Mexico.

Best Activities in Columbia, South Carolina

In Columbia, South Carolina, the pace slows, and the palmettos exude warmth like the locals. Don’t be surprised if you are called mam or sir, especially by someone younger, good manners are the southern way.

In late February, the temperature begins to warm, and trees start to leaf-out and bloom. Purple and yellow pansies brighten the landscape and scent the air indicating that spring is approaching.

After visiting the city several times over the past five years, I listed my favorite things to do and some must-sees in Columbia. For lodging, recently we have stayed at the Hilton Columbia Center in The Vista. We like the location and the Ruth’s Chris Steak House near the lobby.

Things to do in Columbia, South Carolina

Attend a University of South Carolina Football Game at William Brice Stadium

“First you smell it, then you step in it.” This was a local’s response when I asked for directions to Clemson, South Carolina’s arch-rival.

Most Columbians are dedicated Gamecock fans and the school colors, garnet and black, unite the city.

If you tailgate with the students don’t plan on food. However, if you know someone in Cocks Corner, you can party in style with live bands and feast on shrimp, brisket, homemade desserts, and more.

During the game, feel the electricity and pageantry as you watch the USC marching band, Mighty Sound of the Southeast, cover the field and parade to the beat. Listen to them play buoyant fight songs. You are experiencing college football, southern style.

Hold your white towel after a touchdown and twirl it in unison with the crowd to “Sandstorm” while chanting USC! USC!

The University of South Carolina Campus

The Horseshoe at the University of South Carolina

The Horseshoes is the common area at the University of South Carolina.

Tour the University of South Carolina campus and walk the Horseshoe where historic buildings line the permitter and students study or play frisbee in the common area.

Get decked out for the game. Stop in the Russell House and grab a coffee then enter the University of South Carolina Bookstore and shop their extensive selection of Gamecock merchandise including hats, jackets, sweats and more.

Columbia, South Carolina

Gamecocks Hootie and the Blowfish shot their first album cover at Longstreet Theatre.

Check out the Longstreet Theatre where Hootie and the Blowfish, former Gamecocks, shot their first album cover. Darius Rucker is an avid fan, and he had promised free concerts on campus providing the University of South Carolina football team won at least six season games. Last Spring he played at the Colonial Life Arena on April 5.

The South Carolina State House

South Carolina State House in Columbia

The South Carolina State House holds the Governor’s office and the House and Senate.

Throw yourself back in history and tour the State House and the grounds and see the civil war statues and the South Carolina State Flag designed in flowers.

Columbia, South Carolina

The South Carolina State Flag’s white palmetto and crescent are displayed in a bed of blue and yellow pansies.

South Carolina Confederate Relic Room & Military Museum

Explore South Carolina’s military history that starts in the colonies and continues to today.


Transport yourself to the South by biting into a Carolina vinegar and mustard sauced pulled pork topped with coleslaw and pickles sandwiched in a fresh roll. Lean over your plate as you crunch the pickles and coleslaw and the sauce drips from the tender pork. It seems like you can’t go wrong with pulled pork anywhere in the Carolinas, but Palmetto Pig tops my list.

Columbia, South Carolina

Grill Marks serves delicious burgers and shakes.

Stop in Grill Marks for a juicy burger on a freshly baked bun, and a milkshake laden with homemade ice cream. If you choose to add alcohol ask for a“Shaketail.”

The Vista

Peruse The Vista’s boutiques, bars, and restaurants. For upscale dining, though attire is mostly casual, try Cola, a former RC Cola plant that still looks like a brick warehouse until you step inside and think that you had entered an adrenalized New York restaurant.

Another choice is Blue Marlin that has consistently served excellent steaks and seafood. After dinner, stop in the Cupcake Down South on Lincoln Street and choose from their 50 selections of decadent cupcakes, like Southern Red Velvet with cream cheese icing, that they bake daily in three sizes.

Five Points

Try Mr. Friendly’s New Southern Cafe that is attached to Claussen’s Inn. It’s a casual atmosphere with upscale food without New York prices.

Claussen's Inn

Claussen’s Inn was a former bakery that was transformed into a hotel.

Claussen’s Inn was a former bakery repurposed for lodging. Inside, the hallway on the second floor overlooks the lobby from a balcony, like an outdoor motel. In our second-floor room, a spiral staircase led from the living room up to the bedroom.

Columbia South Carolina

Claussen’s spiral staircase in the living room leads to an upstairs bedroom.

However, I felt like I was in “I Love Lucy” when trains chugged by and engineers blared their horns after midnight. I waited for my bed to jump around the room. With that said, I still enjoyed the hotel’s ambiance, and I sadly learned that it’s for sale.

Stop in a Five Points’ restaurant for a beer and a bite and mix with college students. If you wait until St. Patrick’s Day, Five Points throws one of the best celebrations in the country.


Cantina 76

Cantina 76 on Main Street in Columbia, South Carolina offers outdoor dining.

Dine outside at one of the sidewalk cafes. One of my favorites is the Mexican inspired restaurant Cantina 76.

Artistic Steel Drums on Main Street in Columbia

Repurposed material created art and functional steel drums.

Have a seat and play a tune on the transformed artistic steel drums on Main Street that were created with propane tanks and tractor seats.

Stop in the Sheraton’s rooftop bar for a drink and watch one of South Carolina’s renowned sunsets.

Where to stay

Hilton Columbia Center
The Hilton Garden Inn
Columbia Marriott
Sheraton Columbia Downtown

Visit Columbia, South Carolina and experience the warmth.

Related Posts

Best Travel Tip and Trick


I carry a small cross-body-organizer that includes compartments for credit cards and cash, and two zip pockets. One I use for makeup, keys, and sunglasses, and I place my change in the other. My cell phone fits in an outside sleeve where it is easily accessible. When I travel, I toss my purse in my tote to use at my destination.

You can find organizer bags starting for twenty dollars and up at Macy’s, but spending more may ensure that they last longer. Two bags that I recommend are Brighton, that you can purchase at Kokopelli or you can order it online, and the other is a Brahmin. Both wear well.

In the past, I had carried a large bag, but I have found that these organizers are convenient. Though I had bought them for travel, I use them daily.

Our Labrador retriever was a loyal dog.

Funny Dog Story

When I entered the kitchen around 7 a.m., my husband glared at me with bleary eyes  marked with half-moon circles. I poured my coffee and said, “What’s wrong?”

“I was hoping to get a full night’s sleep last night because I have a busy day. Didn’t you hear the dog whine at 4:30 this morning?”

“No, I didn’t hear him or I would’ve gotten up.”

” He whimpered, whined, then he yelped and barked. He needed to go out.”

“So you’re angry that I didn’t hear him.”

“No, I threw on my white terry cloth robe and I couldn’t find my slippers so I put on my flip-flops. The dog tore down the steps to the front door and I followed him and grabbed his leash from the closet. When my flip flops hit the tile foyer, I slid on something slimy and my feet flew up; I landed on my back.

“Are you ok?”

“I’m bruised and tired.”

“What was on the tile?”

“Yellow dog vomit, a big puddle. Don’t worry about cleaning the floor. I had lain there a minute and my robe absorbed it. I rose, and when I opened the wooden entry door the dog pushed the storm door open and ran.”

“He slipped out? We never let that happen. Thank goodness no one was out driving.”

” I walked the neighborhood with nothing on except my robe, underwear, and flip-flops. Clouds had blocked the moon, and I navigated using our floodlights and street lights. I couldn’t find our Labrador retriever, and when I returned home he was standing on the front lawn panting and wagging his tail so hard that his back shimmied. He had stolen six neighbors’ newspapers and scattered them across our front lawn.”

“So, training him to get the newspaper was a success. He must have felt euphoric when he had retrieved the first paper and didn’t know when to stop,” I said.
“I had walked our court with barf streaked down my back and I pitched papers to the homes without them. Some neighbors may be surprised to find a journal on their lawn that they hadn’t ordered.”

” At least the dog seems ok, so we don’t have to take him to the vet. Since we never let him out alone, he shouldn’t be able to nab any more papers.  I’m sorry that your day started at 4:30. On the bright side, the dog helped you relive your youth as a paperboy. But, next time wake me. ”




A Leonberger puppy flying in a Southwest cabin.

Puppy Escapes in Airplane

When I learned about the Leonberger dogs’ loyalty to their owners and fondness for children, I convinced my husband that– it was not a bean-brained-paid boondoggle– it was worth flying to purchase a Leonberger puppy because none were available near us when our Labrador retriever passed. Anyway, we had sufficient airline points to pay for our flights.

I joined the Leonberger Club of America and found a breeder in Seattle, Washington, who had mated her female. Prospective buyers were often selected when the vet confirmed the bitch’s pregnancy. I submitted an application, and the breeder approved it, convinced that I would train the dog and not return him when he weighed 140 pounds.

The puppies were born, and the breeder picked mine based on temperament, knowing that I had two young children. Though some in the dog business ship puppies in cargo, I felt that it was cruel.

My daughter, who was nine, and I flew to Seattle to pick up our new family member the weekend that he turned eight weeks old; a pet can fly on a plane if it can fit in a pet bag under the seat in front of yours.

No one had told me how to fly with a dog. While I anticipated the adventure, “what if scenarios” revolved through my mind like a spinning top. I learned that traveling with a pet causes perspiration. Though we had flown out to Seattle with the Sherpa bag under the seat, I wondered what would happen if Fido was too tall or bulky to fit. Would they confiscate him and send him to cargo?

When we picked up our puppy from the breeder in our rental car, my daughter held him on her lap and spoke softly as she ran her hands through his coat. Separation anxiety caused him to yelp and yap during the forty-five-minute drive to the airport.

Though I paid his air fare, I worried that passengers might suffer from dog allergies or complain to the airline personnel about traveling with a pet in the cabin.

After passing through airport security, we took Fido to the restroom and filled his water bowl. He wouldn’t drink, and we headed to the gate that was two gates past our boarding zone, hoping to hide him. We placed his carrier on the floor, and high-pitched screeches erupted from within. I unzipped the top so that Fido could stick his head out. We slipped him ice cubes and puppy kibble from between our fingers; his teeth pricked our hands like tiny thorns. We hoped that food would distract him, and the breeder’s soft blanket, scented by his littermates, would soothe him.

Eight-week-old Leonberger puppy is on his way to his new home.

Leonberger puppy rests in a Sherpa Pet Carrier.

He was asleep when they called our flight, and I had slung the bag over my shoulder and placed my hand over the black mesh end to prevent anyone from seeing the contraband. Only the airline staff knew I lugged invaluable loot. We boarded, and I slid the sack under the seat in front of us. When the plane departed, I took a deep breath and exhaled. I celebrated with a glass of wine.

The aroma of chicken and beef drifted through the cabin and Fido stirred.  When the stewardess served our dinner, my daughter had taken her retainer out of her mouth and rolled it in a napkin placing it near her plate, After eating, the flight attendant removed the tray, and five minutes later, my daughter noticed that her retainer was missing. We jumped out of our seats and hurried forward to alert the attendant, who pawed through the trash with plastic-gloved hands and found it.

When we returned, I checked the pet bag and noticed that the zipper was open; Fido had crawled out of his prison. I heard the lady behind me say, ” Where did you come from cutie?” I knew where the fugitive had fled.

I rose and edged sideways out in the aisle, and I turned around and grinned at the woman behind us who had an escapee sprawled across her Nikes gnawing her shoestrings.  She picked up the dog, petted him and handed him over. I apologized and returned to my seat. When I placed the absconder back in his bag, his soprano shrieks pierced the cabin. Sweat beaded my hairline. I wasn’t allowed to remove Fido, so I brushed my foot against the side of the canvas and hoped that I could calm the criminal.

The grey-bearded man who sat next to me crossed his arms over his potbelly and said, “I had no idea that you had a dog in there, what kind is it?”

I flashed a smile and said, ” He’s a Leonberger puppy.”

“Hamburger? Hamburger puppy? I eat those especially if they are noisy when I am trying to rest.”

I twirled my hair around my index finger and placed it behind my ear and said, “Sorry.”

The man leaned back and closed his eyes. A few rows behind, a baby screamed. I watched the hamburger-eating man open one eye and furrow his brow.

Though I had regretted disturbing everyone around us, I learned a valuable lesson on that flight: We had traveled six thousand miles in two days to discover that Fido didn’t fit. We changed his name to Harry as in Harry Houdini.

Though it sounds bazaar to fly cross-country to purchase a dog, I wouldn’t trade the two days that I had spent with my daughter exploring Seattle, or our decision to adopt Harry. He was great with children and became one of the best dogs that we have ever had.

Leonberger Puppy with child

Our Leonberger puppy and our children grew up together.






Giant dog sits in a SUV waiting for a command.

Tips and Tricks for Traveling with a Dog

Travel pet bowls are a a necessity for your pet's comfort.

Traveling With Pets 

Puppy in the car for the first time

Take your puppy on short trips as soon as possible, and he will learn to love it. If your young dog has never ridden in the car, it’s not too late. Take him or her for rides with family members or friends. Ask them to offer treats and pet the dog ensuring that he has a good experience.

Dog Travel Gear

If your dog uses a crate, put it in the car and place familiar toys in it. His favorite toys offer more security in a strange environment than new ones.

Take a water bottle and treats.You may need to put some treats in the crate or car to encourage the dog to jump in.

Buy a blanket with Velcro edges to protect your car and ease the dog. This blanket protects the sides and bottom of an SUV. You can purchase seat covers too.

Use Common Sense and Don’t Leave Pets in Hot Cars 

Walk and water the dog before entering the car.

Blast the air conditioner ten minutes or so before you and your pet get in. If you have air-conditioning in the second and third rows, turn that on too.

If you are traveling alone, opt for drive-through restaurants. If you need a restroom, park in the shade, open the windows enough for air and safety. Don’t dawdle.

Never leave your dog in a hot car, even if it’s 70 degrees and you cracked the windows. Researchers at Stanford University School of  Medicine had discovered that a car’s temperature can rise 40 degrees quickly and become lethal.

Dog Obedience

For safety reasons teach basic commands like down, sit, stay, and come. If the dog stands while you are driving, he should respond to “down.” The dog should know “stay,” because when you open the car door or lift the hatch, the dog shouldn’t jump out until you hook the leash on his collar and he hears a command, like “ok.” If he jumps out before you attach the leash, and he doesn’t respond to “come,” offer him treats to get his attention. Learning these commands could save your dog’s life.

Warning: Dangerous Prong Collars, Slip Collars or Choke Collars

I never put my dog in the car or leave him alone wearing a prong collar or a choke collar, also called a slip collar. I only use them to control him during walks.

As a puppy, his slip-collar Loop became lodged between two deck boards. I heard whimpering and saw him jerk his head up and down trying to escape as the metal choke collar tightened, strangling him like a noose. I pried the collar over his head while my husband raced for the wire cutters. Consequently, I will never leave him unattended wearing one of those collars. He wears a buckle collar at home and in the car. When driving with him, I keep the prong collar in the front seat.

I hope these tips help ensure a happy and safe trip with your pet.

The Breakers Palm Beach, Florida

The Breakers Palm Beach

A List of Interesting Facts About The Breakers, Palm Beach 

Henry Morrison Flagler opened The Breakers in 1896, and his heirs still own and run the hotel.

The Breakers Had Burned Down Twice

The Breakers, formerly the Palm Beach Inn until 1901, burned down in 1903 and 1925. The first fire ignited during renovations to expand the building, and the second fire originated in a room where a curling iron was supposedly left on by the Chicago Mayor’s wife.

The architects of the Waldorf Astoria in New York also designed The Breakers that opened in 1926, that we know today.  They based their plan on  Villa Medici in Rome.

The Breakers Palm Beach Lobby

Crystal chandeliers hang in The Breakers lobby that is 200 feet long. (Photo by dorothyadele)

The Breakers Palm Beach Lobby Ceiling

Seventy-five Italian artists painted The Breakers vaulted ceiling. (Photo by dorothyadele)

Famous Guests

In the early 1900’s, guests included the Rockefeller’s, J. P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, and the Vanderbilts to name a few. Today, presidents, nobility, businessmen, politicians, and movie stars still visit the world-renowned hotel.

While dining or sipping cocktails at the oceanfront Seafood Bar, unsuspecting patrons may flinch when they get the Impression of something sliding under their plate or wiggling beneath their drink. The bar is a saltwater aquarium that contains marine life including fish, eels, sponges, coral and more.

Seafood Bar at The Breakers Palm Beach, Florida is an aquarium.

The bar at The Breaker’s Seafood Bar teems with life. (Photo by dorothyadele)

Seafood Bar, The Breakers, Palm Beach, Florida

An eel forms a heart in the aquarium in Seafood Bar in The Breakers, Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by dorothyadele)

The Seafood Bar in The Breakers Palm Beach

Customers sometimes jump when something moves in the bar in Seafood Bar restaurant in The Breakers Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by dorothyadele)

The Breakers is detail oriented:

    •  In the Palm Courtyard, orchids are attached to the trunks of palm trees and appear to grow from the bark.
    • Palm Courtyard at The Breakers

      Colorful cushions and flowers brighten the Palm Courtyard in The Breakers Palm Beach. (Photo by dorothyadele)

      Palm Courtyard at The Breakers

      The Palm Courtyard in The Breakers Palm Beach, Florida, is a perfect place to read a book. (Photo by dorothyadele)

  • Crystal chandeliers hang in the lobby as well as the hallways.
  • The receptionists and concierge wear Lilly Pulitzer making a tropical Impression.
  • Fresh flowers adorn the hotel rooms.
  • Flowers grow and bloom on The Breakers’ seawall.
  • The Breakers Palm Beach Seawall

    The seawall lines the walkway at The Breakers Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by dorothyadele)

More Interesting Facts

In 2009, a trapper stole Amazon parrot chicks from The Breakers resort. When he failed to sell them to a pet store, he abandoned the unharmed chicks at the store, and the owner called the authorities.

Pine Walk at The Breakers Pam Beach, Florida

Amazon parrots thrive in the trees along Pine Walk at The Breakers Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by dorothyadele)

The  Egyptian Goose is a combination of duck and goose. Many of them live on the Breakers’ property.

Egyptian Goose at The Breakers, Palm Beach, Florida

The Egyptian Goose is native to Africa. (Photo by dorothyadele)

The Breakers accommodates children with a family pool, camps, and a Family Entertainment Center. Also, the staff keeps a supply of stuffed animals at the lobby entrance.

The game room at the Family Entertainment Center in The Breakers Palm Beach, Florida

The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida has a game room in the Family Entertainment Center. (Photo by dorothyadele)

Hotel activities including visiting the spa, tennis, golf, nature walks, biking, fitness, water sports, shopping, dining and more. Visit their website for the latest offers.

The Breakers Palm Beach

Rincon, Puerto Rico

Most Frightening Trip Ever — Hatillo, Puerto Rico

The most frightening trip I have ever experienced was driving through Hatillo, Puerto Rico on December 28, 2008.

Our family flew to San Juan and rented an SUV for the 2 1/2 hour drive to Rincon. The trip took us 4 1/2 hours, and one of those hours was the most frightening in my life.

We began our trip cruising west along the north shore, as we caught glimpses of the lapis Atlantic Ocean through the windows of our green Ford Explorer, our excitement increased.

When we approached the seaside town Hatillo, we hit traffic congestion and a confusion of color, and cacophony pierced our eyes and ears. Sirens screamed, horns blared, and men garbed in garish, fluorescent clothing and bizarre, grotesque masks guzzled liquor and beer while riding in the back of colorfully painted trucks and parade floats.

As we entered Hatillo we were in gridlock and the town was bedlam, with groups of men staggering in the streets swilling alcohol. We closed our windows, locked our doors, and peered at the insanity. Unfortunately, we became their target.

We feared for our safety

Men swarmed our SUV, shook it, and shot it with Silly String. I hoped that they wouldn’t overturn it. Metal boomed, as they pounded their fists on the hood, roof, ​​and windows, and I wondered if the glass would shatter. Police, who were outnumbered probably 100 to 1, ignored the pandemonium, and we knew if the crowd became violent, we were in trouble. I was mostly worried about the children in the back seat, who ranged from 9 to 15 years old.

Our jeep crept​ at about 2 mph for about an hour, and we cringed and gaped as some of the men became falling-down drunk.

Eventually, we spotted a cross street about four blocks ahead. Without coaxing, my husband drove over the curb, and on the sidewalk, and we passed the gridlocked cars. When we turned on the open street and accelerated, we high-fived and laughed from relief.

Mascaras de Hatillo or Hatillo Mask Festival

We learned that the locals were celebrating the Hatillo Mask Festival or Mascaras de Hatillo. It appeared to me, that for some, it was an excuse to get drunk and terrorize anyone caught in the gridlock, though the festival is legitimate.

Mascaras de Hatillo, Puerto Rico

Mascaras de Hatillo, Puerto Rico (Photo credit: enlacepr)

It commemorates when King Herod ordered soldiers to kill little children after Jesus was born to prevent Jesus from becoming king. The gaudily clad men represented these soldiers.

I suspect if we visited the lovely seaside town Hatillo on another day, we would have found it charming not alarming.

Two Traveling Texans