Welcome to Technogypsie Reviews! When we visit somewhere that made an impression on us, we want to share our experience whether good or bad as a guide for people who might also want to visit the same place, dine, visit, or use such services. Social networking of our experiences help people with limited time, resources, or patience figure out if a location is for them or not. Enjoy our reviews.
one star: * = Poor, not recomended.
two star: ** = Fair. Not the top quality.
three star: *** = average, middle of the road.
four star: **** = very good. Recommended.
five star: ***** = top quality, highly recommended
The iconic “Main Street” that most think of when thinking of the center of Denver. This foot traffic and shuttle bus strip dotted by upscale stores, chain restaurants, and entertainment avenues is one of the hotspots for tourism to Denver. It is a central drop off location for those staying downtown. It offers a lot of activities for its patrons and visitors. It is a central location for entertainment, festivals, fairs, shows, events, flash mobs, street performances, and zombie crawls. It boasts a free transit mall ride or shuttle bus called the Free MallRide. I’ve had many memories of this place from the Denver Freeze to the Denver Zombie Crawls, to late night and daytime activities. During the summer, the center strip was dotted with free pianos to play, lounge chairs, games, chess, bean bags, rolling chairs, and local performances. ~ Leaf McGowan. Visited 8/5/17 – 5 stars out of 5
The tree-lined pedestrian and transit mall runs approximately 125 miles across downtown Denver from Wewatta Street at the historic Union Square to the Civic Center Station at 16th and Broadway. There are over 300 stores dotted along the corridor ranging from chains to locally owned shops. As costs become over the top, more chains have replaced local businesses through time. There are over 50 restaurants and the Denver Pavillions Mall. The Mall opened in 1982 as a pedestrian strip running from Market Street to Broadway but has since expanded to Wynkoop Street in 2001 and to Union Station in 2002. It was designed by Pei Cobb Freed and Partners.
Directory of Services: Please visit web site linked above. As we review various places and events, they will be linked here in the near future.
Mario’s Two Fisted Pizza Parlour 1626 Market St, Denver, CO 80202
One of my favorite Pizza joints in Denver, Colorado. Mario’s Two Fisted Pizza is conveniently located next door to the infamous Double Daughters Salotto that is by far one of my favorite bars. Back in 2005-2012 when I lived in Colorado … Double Daughters and Mario’s were amongst some of my usual haunts. I unfortunately haven’t had the chance to visit again since 2012 (partially because my life doesn’t support eating out anymore). But from memories … Some of the most superb pizza around. As they are open to 2 or 3 am most nights, great place to grab a slice after clubbing or bar brewing. Rated: 5 stars out of 5
Located along the shores of Lake Loveland, near Highway 34 is a beautiful tranquil sculpture garden that is free and a public park for all to enjoy. A popular tourist destination to stop at on the way to the Rocky Mountains and other activities in the area located in the heart of Loveland.
The garden is a unique showcase of local sculpture art that has been displayed here since 1985. It is also the location for the annual “Sculpture in the Park” festival held by the Loveland High Plains Art Council. There are over 154 sculptures in the park on permanent display created by world renown artisans encompassing over 10 acres with foot paths, sidewalks, benches, restrooms, and picnic areas.
It has been cited as being one of the “200 most important modern and contemporary art sites around the world”. It is open year round with no admission fee except during the festival. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Visited 6/1/17.
Garden of the Gods is a unique natural geological park that is located in Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs … and is a Registered National Natural Landmark. It’s open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. in the summer and 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the winter. The park boasts over a million visitors a year or more.
History and Mythology
Where the Great Plains grasslands meet the low-lying pinon-juniper woodlands of the American Southwest at the base of the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains a geological upheaval occurred along the Trans-Rocky Mountain Fault system creating these spectacular features over a million years ago. Horizontal ancient beds of sandstone, limestone, and conglomerates were pushed and tilted vertically when the tectonic plates pushed together. Glaciations, wind, and water erosion shaped the features over hundreds of thousands of years.
This geologic feature was seen as sacred grounds by the original inhabitants of the area, potentially visited and used for spirituality possibly over 3,000 years ago to present. As early as 1330 B.C.E. evidence of human occupation has been found from petroglyphs, fire rings, pottery, and stone tools have been left behind. The Ute Indians claim that their people always had lived where Garden of the Gods Park now stands and their people were created there and around Manitou.
The Kiowa, Apache, Shoshone, Pawnee, Cheyenne, and Arapaho also claim their peoples visited or lived here. It was known as a pivotal crossroads and meeting place for many indigenous peoples and nomadic tribes gathered together for peace. Rivaling tribes were said to even have laid down their weapons before entering the shadows of the sandstone features.
Two sets of petroglyphs were found here – the first hidden in a crevice on the east side of South Gateway Rock depicting a circular shield-like figure divided into four parts with a rain cloud terrace image, a Thunderbird image, zigzag lines, and image of wheat or corn and a faint flower-like image with a dozen dots forming a semi-circle over its top which some experts said was done recently in the last 100 years copying Indian designs from a book. The other petroglyph is pecking in the rock discovered in the 1980’s and estimated to date to 1500 C.E. most likely an Ute Indian design potentially depicting a deer, a third of a buffalo head, and maybe a stone tool seemingly telling a story.
Alleged Native American legends of the site have been told, their authenticity unknown. Marion E. Gridley wrote in “Indian Legends of American Scenes” telling a tale about a great flood that covered all the mountains nearby Pikes Peak. As the waters receded, the Great Spirit petrified the carcasses of all animals killed by the flood into sandstone rolling them down into this valley as evidence of the Great Flood.
The second was written by Ford C. Frick saying “… in the nestling ales and on the grassy plains which lie at the foot of the Great White Mountain that points the way to heaven lived the Chosen People. Here they dwelt in happiness together. And above them on the summit of the Mighty Peak where stand the Western Gates of Heaven, dwelt the Manitou. And that the Chosen might know of his love the Manitou did stamp uon the Peak the image of his face that all might see and worship him … but one day as the storm clouds played about the Peak, the image of the Manitou was hid .. and down from the North swept a barbaric tribe of giants, taller than the spruce which grew upon the mountain side and so great that in their stamping strides they shook the earth. And with the invading host came gruesome beasts – unknown and awful in their mightiness – monstrous beasts that would devour the earth and tread it down … and as the invading hosts came on the Chosen Ones fell to the earth at the first gentle slope of mountain and prayed to Manitou to aid it. Then came to pass a wondrous miracle, the clouds broke away and sunshine smote the Peak and from the very summit, looking down, appeared the face of Manitou himself. And stern he looked upon the advancing host, and as he looked the giants and beasts turned to stone within their very steps … “
If this site was in Australia or Europe, it would be named castles and fortresses associated with Gods, Deities, Spirits, or Faeries.
Westerners first discovered the features in 1859 by two surveyors who were here to build Old Colorado City. M.S. Beach, one of the surveyors thought it would be a great location for a beer garden. The other surveyor replied to him stating “A Beer Garden? Why this is fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it Garden of the Gods”. General William Jackson Palmer who was known for his contributions of building Colorado Springs convinced his colleague Charles Elliot Perkins to buy the 240 acres embracing the features. In 1909 his children donated the land to the city of Colorado Springs.
The original family that donated the land to the public required that it would always remain free, and that is what it remains today. Garden of the Gods stands as a great park for hiking, walking, bicycling, rock climbing, picnicking, special events, and weddings … The park has it all … protected as 1,387 scenic acres … and presents itself as a unique tourist / information center, with a theater and gift shop near the entrance. Within are 15 miles of trails ranging in various levels of difficulty from beginner to advance for hiking and exercise.
A historical video greets you at the welcome center and tells the tale that began in the 1870’s when the railroads carved westward, when General William Jackson Palmer founded the city of Colorado Springs and upon discovering this natural beauty, urged his friend Charles Elliott Perkins, the head of Burlington Railroad, to make his home where the park now stands. He lived there until he finished his railway from Chicago to Colorado Springs. His railroad project wasn’t a success and never made its destination in the springs.
His homestead eventually became his summer home in 1879. He purchased 480 acres and never actualized building on it, leaving the land in its natural state and for the public. When he died in 1907, he made arrangements for the land to be a public park, and this was enacted by his children in 1909 forever as the Garden of the Gods “where it shall remain free to the public, where no intoxicating liquors shall be manufactured, sold, or dispensed, where no building or structure shall be erected except those necessary to properly care for, protect, and maintain the area as a public park.” That is exactly what they’ve done …. and its a beautiful place to be.
We did a 7 night on the Carnival Splendor. Just before sailing there was an engine fire. We were told the day of our cruise that the itinerary changed and we would be offered an incentive to sail anyway. Don’t ever do that either. Learn from our mistakes.
Without the engines functioning fully, there was little power for the ship. The first time we saw the fun shops open was on the 3rd day of our cruise. My boyfriend forgot his sunglasses so we had really been looking. By that point we’d bought a new pair in Nassau. Most of the ship wasn’t open at any given time.
For the first few days, they could run the Lido buffet OR the main dining room. If you wanted to eat during dinner time you had no option but to dress up. The food was not good. Tasted like food Ihop and Dennys wouldn’t even serve. After leaving dinner hungry the first couple nights we started ordering room service.
Their free items were very limited. Things like grilled cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. By the 4th day we’d tried all the paid items and most of the free ones. For $5 you get a tiny basket with 6 (burnt) fried shrimp, each smaller than my thumb, and a small hand hand full of (soggy) french fries.
Since we’d exhausted all our food options on the boat we tried to investigate the ports. It was actually (no joke) $20 for the small nachos with chicken. I’m sorry, it was $19.99. I don’t want to exaggerate. We trudged back to the ship, and decided to see if there was anything we hadn’t tried yet.
By the 5th day we just wanted to go home, and so did everyone else we talked to. At that point my bed had been set with dirty sheets, stains larger than my outstretched hand where my face would have been. Our mattresses were on a flat smooth platform. When my boyfriend or I moved to the middle of the bed they would slide to the sides. It left a 2 foot gap in the middle every morning, and we flipped the mattresses a bit trying to get out of bed.
I’ve complained several times to Carnival, included pictures and descriptions.
At Guest Services on the ship they said “something would be done.” and did nothing.
On the phone to the complaints department, they said my issues were “subjective” and they couldn’t help me.
When I sent a message to their Facebook page, they gave me a place to e-mail them.
As of 2 weeks from sending that e-mail, I’ve received no response.
Honestly, just please don’t sail with Carnival. They don’t care about their guests. I typically don’t complain about anything, one of those people to be ok with eating the wrong meal just because my waiter made a mistake. I was ok with the itinerary change. I’m not ok with how things went once I was in their custody and had no other choice.
The Orient Land Trusta.k.a. “Valley View Hot Springs” firstname.lastname@example.org, olt.org * PO Box 65, Villa Grove, CO 81155-0065 * 719.256.4315 * 9 am – 10 pm. Open to the public 7 days a week – closed December 1st – 28th.
This fantastic Land trust is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources, wildlife habitat, open space, historic and geologic features of the northern San Luis Valley for the enjoyment of current and future generations. The OLT protects a humongous bat colony, hot springs, alternative energy use, and is well known for its high altitude dark skies for astronomy, exposed active geological fault, limestone caves, numerous trails, historic buildings, town sites at an abandoned iron mine, and a working ranch. The OLT is a naturist community (clothing optional) with 24 hour access to the hotsprings when camping or renting their rustic lodging cabins. They limit the number of visitors based on space availability and environmental impact. For current pictures and views … visit their web site, linked above. The entire grounds are clothing optional – while the majority of the guests tend to swim and soak without swimsuits, there is no pressure either way. The OLT welcomes a diverse clientele of couples, singles, and families from all walks of life – children are always welcome, though require supervision. They offer camping and cabins, their indoor lodging have heat and electricity, though there are no telephones, clocks, radios, or tvs in any of the rooms. All of the ponds and pools are outdoors – there are no private pools or hot tubs – there are four natural ponds with temperatures ranging in the 90’s, an 80′ long spring-fed swimming pool (no chlorine) in the high 80’s, and a heated hot pool around 105 degrees. Our visit to this fantastic resort was over the weekend of 11/10-11/11. A must visit for any hot springs or naturalist enthusiast. Rating 5 stars out of 5.
One of my favorite parts of Colorado is its great diversity in the ranges of the Rocky Mountains. One of those hotspots of “oddity” is the vast Sahara-like desert of sand dunes in the San Luis Valley. Of course California, New Mexico, and Arizona has tons of sand dunes – but Colorado’s is very unique, especially at the foot of snow-covered mountain peaks and being the tallest dunes in the United States. This geologic feature extends 5 x 7 miles with a grand height of 700 feet above the valley floor (over 7,600 feet above sea level). As early as 440,000 years ago, the dunes were formed from the Rio Grande River’s and associated tributaries flowing through the San Luis Valley. Over a period of several thousand years, and continually growing today, the westerly winds blow the sand over the Rockies and down along the river flood plain, collecting sand, and depositing them on the east edge of the San Luis Valley before the winds rise up and over the Sangre de Cristo mountain range shaping these huge stable dunes. There are also some parts of the dunes where patches of black sand can be found made up of magnetite deposits as crystalline iron black oxide. Medano Creek winds through the dunes as it is fed by melting snow from the mountains. It extends roughly 10 miles, flowing from spring and early summer from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and disappears into the floor of the valley. An unusual feature of the creek is that it never finds a permanent and stable streambed causing small underwater sand dunes that act like dams are continuously formed and destroyed, causing what seems like “surges” with “waves of water” flowing downstream with intervals of a few seconds to a few minutes, and can appear as large as a foot in height with an appearance of an “ocean wave”. The geological area is known as a “High Desert” with summer temperatures not typical of normal high desert lands, varying from high and low temperatures of exceedly cold nights (even below zero). There are also alpine lakes and tundra in the park, with six peaks over 13,000 feet in elevation, ancient spruces, pine forests, aspens, cottonwoods, grasslands, and wetlands. The park is also notated as being the quietest park in the United States. The park, is managed by the National Park Service, and has been a place of enjoyment under their reigns since November 2000 with over 85,000 acres. In 2004 it became known as the “Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve”. It can be reached west from Mosca along country road 6 North, or from the south along CO road 150. The park hosts a great visitor center, a campground, four wheel drive trails, restrooms, and picnic areas. The park is great for hiking, wading, sand castles, sandbox play, sunbathing, sand sledding, rough play, skimboarding, photoshoots, and ATV sports. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Visited 7/12/2008. 2/16/2017. Review by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Leafworks and Technogypsie Research/Review Services.
An oddity overlooking the village of Manitou Springs, Miramont castle is a manor house, museum, and tea room that was originally built in 1895. It was the private manor house for french born Catholic priest Father Jean Baptist Francolon. He later donated his home to the Sisters of Mercy for use as a sanitarium for those seeking healing from the magical waters of Manitou’s springs. The Sisters of Mercy set up the sanitarium in 1895 as a house to heal tuberculosis. They expanded the building in 1896 to take care of additional patients. The sisters were known for their motherly care, cleanliness, and excellence. They not only cared for patients, but contributed to the town’s culture, offering piano, violin, mandolin, guitar, and banjo lessons for the towns folk. The castle fell vacant from 1900 to 1904. The Sisters were urged by Dr. Geierman to purchase the castle for use with workings and healings achieved by German priest Sebatian Kneipp who initiated a water therapy system involving drinking prodigious quantities of Manitou’s healing waters as well as bathing in them several times a day. The Castle experienced a devastating fire in 1907 caused by an electrical fire, destroying part of the Montcalme sanitarium. Patients were relocated to the Castle for the next 20 years. In 1928 the Castle and sanitarium experienced financial difficulties so the sanitarium was converted to a boarding house for the wealthy and tourists, retreat for clergy, and eventually closed. It remained empty until privately purchased in 1946. The castle has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 and has achieved national landmark status. Built by Father Jean Baptiste Francolon in 1895 with an eclectic style blending various architectural styles from Byzantine to Tudor styles. It today stands as a great example of Victorian Era design. The museum is fully accessible for tours and events. There is a climbing staircase as well as two chairlifts within. The castle is rumored to be haunted with numerous ghosts and poltergeists. Visitors can view all 42 furnished rooms, the gardens, and the tea room. Rated 5 stars out of 5
White Eagle Hotel and Pub ~ 836 N Russell St, Portland, OR 97227
Phone: (503) 282-6810 ~
Another McMannamin’s favorite tourist destinations, the White Eagle is more of a hostel than it is a hotel. It is located in one of the micro-brewery destination neighborhoods of Portland, Eliot in North Portland with a style of a hotel in glamour of rock n’ roll themed lodging and saloon. The building dates back to 1905. The basic rooms are located above the pub and individually furnished, has free wi-fi, and wash basins. Some rooms have bun beds. There is no air conditioning and the bathrooms are shared between rooms. The bar has a artsy feel, with rock-n-roll and odd sideshow decor, with a beer garden and nightly live music. The establishment lacks in parking, although it has a very small lot. While we have yet had a chance to lodge in this hotel, we did eat and drink at the pub in the beer garden. Service was friendly, albeit moderate in speed. It was overall a good experience. Rating: 3 stars out of 5
We stopped at this Pacific Northwest Bakery chain while waiting to meet some friends. It had some tasty chai and great cross buns for the Easter holiday season. It was originally created by Gwen Bassetti at Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square, locally owned chain dedicated to artisan baking. An assortment of breads, baked goods, sandwiches, soups, teas, coffees, and juices can be found here. Her original sandwich start started in Seattle’s newly refurbished Grand Central Hotel Building where it changed names from Gwen’s roadside farm stand on Lopez Island in the 60’s to the Grand Central Bakery in 1989. Famous for her Como loaves. Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A great little motel/ motor inn at the heart of the Dalles downtown. Comfy, friendly, and affordable. Its conveniently located to most hotspots for tourists such as being a three minute walk to the Old St. Peter’s Landmark Preservation area or 5 minutes to the Columbia Riverfront Trail. The rooms have views of the Gorge, free WiFi, cable TV, microwaves, antique bathrooms, free coffee in the lobby, on-site parking, and mini fridges. We had a great restful stay. Rated: 3 1/2 stars out of 5
Trick or Treating Celebration ~ Parker, Colorado ~
Each year, downtown Parker Colorado puts on a street block event along mainstreet closing off the streets for vendors and local businesses to hand out trick-or-treating treats and candies from their booths to the local kids and attendees of the fest. They have a mini-corn maze, performers, actors, music, and information/goods from the businesses in the area. Its a free event with a great attendance. My son came home with a bucket load of treats. Good times and a nice scenic downtown sector. This year (2016) was held on Halloween itself (10/31/16). Rating: 3 stars out of 5
– Denver Museum of Natural History and Science – Denver, Colorado
One of Denver’s star attractions, the Museum of Nature and Science is a hallmark of the area, and an informal science education center for the Rocky Mountains. It hosts a variety of exhibits, programs, and activities for visitors to embark and learn from about the history of the Earth, the world, and most specifically Colorado. The building is roughly 716,000 square feet housing more than a million objects in its collections covering anthropology, archaeology, paleontology, geology, art, and the universe. It is also a repository for an incredible archives and library. The museum is independent and a non-profit with over 350 full time and part time staff, over 1800 volunteers, and a board of trustees with 25 member. It is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is a affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. There are six main areas in the museum – (1) The Exhibitions, (2) IMAX films, (3) lectures, (4) classes, and (5) programs based around anthropology, geology, health science, paleontology, space science, and zoology. They receive well over 300,000 students and teachers every year just in school groups alone.
The museum spread from the Edwin Carter Log Cabin Naturalist Museum in 1875 that was the private fauna collection of Colorado species gathered together by Edwin Carter from Breckenridge Colorado. In 1892 a group of Denver citizens declared interest in his collection to be moved to the capital for all to enjoy, and Carter sold it to them for $10,000. They added another collection of butterflies and moths as well a some crystallized gold. This combined collection became the Colorado Museum of Natural History and was incorporated in 1900. The Museum finally opened in 1908. By 1918 it opened another wing. In 1927 one of its teams discovered two stone projectile points embedded in extinct species of Bison in Folsom, New Mexico putting the museum in the spotlight.
There are several permanent areas of the museum, these are:
Discovery Zone – a hands on educational center for kids allowing them to build, learn about water, make crafts, and excavate dinosaur bones.
Egyptian Mummies – an exhibit with two mummies and their associated artifacts, depicting life in Ancient Egypt and an introduction to their belief systems.
Expedition Health – teaches museum patrons about the human body and the science of taste.
Gems and Minerals – welcomes visitors into a cavern of gems and minerals, both local and globally.
Native American Indian Cultures – an exhibit exploring the original inhabitants of North America.
Prehistoric Journey – a journey into paleontology with fossil collections and skeletons of great magnitude.
Space Odyssey – a collection and exhibit about space, exploration, and the universe.
Wildlife Exhibits – animal dioranams showing scenes of life of various animals on the planet, focused on Colorado as well as globally.
The museum also houses a large 50,000 plus object collection of anthropological, archaeological, and ethnological artifacts from North America. They also house over 800 items from an ethnological art collection, archival photographs, and documents. The Earth Sciences Collection contains six main groups of fauna, flora, and mineral components such as vertebrate paleontology, paleobotany, invertebrate paleontology, minerals, meteorites, and micromount. The Health Sciences Collection has rare an unique human anatomy specimens as well as pieces of medical importance. The Space Sciences Lab houses the museums Scientific Instruments Collection.
the Department of Space Sciences maintains a large digital collection of images and multimedia assets for space. The Zoology Collection houses over 900,000 specimens of species and creatures from around the globe. The
Bailey Library and Archives focuses on anthropology, archaeology, earth sciences, health sciences, space sciences, zoology, the Rocky Mountain West, and museum studies with over 53,000 publications, 2,500 rare books, and 9,000 volumes of scientific periodicals. Various temporary exhibits come in for a wide variation of subjects and collections. The Phipps IMAX Theater was built in 1940 originally used for concerts, films, and lectures. Then it was re-opened in 1983 as an IMAX Theater primarily.
The museum actually has various secrets as there are hidden paintings located throughout the museum such as Kent Pendleton, one of the diorama painters, placed eight elves hidden in his art for visitors to find, as well as some Star Wars related pictures by the IMAX lobby. Rated 5 stars out of 5
A great little pizza parlor, with an amazing all you can eat pizza buffet at a great price. Trendy decor with an 80’s outlook, good service and friendly staff, the pizza is delicious and plentiful. We really enjoyed our lunch here (3/22/16). They’ve been serving slices here since 1995. They also offer pasta, sandwiches, hamburgers, wings, chicken, deserts, and a salad bar. For the sports enthusiasts, there are large screen TV’s for game time. The kids can get lost for hours in their game room. Owned and operated by Lloyd Burleson of Ephrata, Time Out has a family feeling. Good times! Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
A great lively artistic place in the small town of Ephrata. It is a compact cozy old-time theater with ability to eat food, drink, and dine while watching new releases on the big screen. The Pizzeria and concession stand has a great selection of food to dine on. the Seats are comfortable and the staff friendly. Great place to watch a film! Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
Days Inn – Federal Way 34827 Pacific Hwy S, Federal Way, WA 98003– Federal Way, Tacoma-Seattle, Washington
Right near the King County Aquatic Center, WIld Waves Theme Park, and close proximity to the Sea-Tac Airport, the Days inn at Federal Way is a comfortable rest stop off Interstate 5. The hotel offers a free continental breakfast, parking, free wi-fi, and late checkout. It is across the street from a shopping area with sushi, fast food, and other shops. The hotel also has a 24-hour business center, free coffee/tea, and a 24 hour front desk. There are approximately 54 rooms in the hotel all with wifi, coffee makers, free local calls, ironing boards, desks, and TV with satellite. We enjoyed our stay for two nights. It was a rest away from home well needed. Rated 4 stars out of 5.
I was first introduced to In-and-Out when I was living in Los Angeles as a paid audience member and extra for Hollywood, needing fast food, “in” and “out”. I was introduced to their un-advertised attraction, the leaf wraps. Those were back in the days when I had no problems with fast food or the health consequences of having that kind of diet. I have since made motions to thin out (and someday totally eliminate) fast food from my diet. Me and my wife are on the gluten-free path, so the idea of a leaf wrap sandwich when there was no other open food options sounded perhaps ‘healthier’ than some of the alternatives. While ditching the gluten by skipping the bun, it still was a mild option to the the extremes that is fast food. Traveling through the American Southwest we were curious to give it a gander. Personally in terms of fast food, its not much different than the others, though the quality outside of the lettuce was good tasting but same as most fast food. We were surprised they didn’t advertise the lettuce wrap option on their menu and that its more a “word-of-mouth” item, especially since its an element that makes them stick out from the others. The In-N-Out Burger chain is regional, with locations throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Texas. It was founded by Harry and Esther Snyder in Baldwin Park, California in 1948. Their grandchild Lynsi Torres currently runs the operation. It is not franchised nor public, and has distribution centers in California; Phoenix, Arizona; Draper, Utah; and Dallas, Texas. They have not changed this practice in order to maintain quality and customer consistency. They are one of the few fast food chains in the U.S. to pay their employees higher than the state and federal mandated minimum wage guidelines. They offer three burger varieties – hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and the “Double-Double” (their trademarked double meat, double cheese). They also sell french fries, milkshakes (vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry), and typical fountain drinks. Burgers come with lettuce, tomato, optional onions, and their special sauce (like McDonald’s, a variant of thousand islands dressing). They do however have a secret menu available at most In-N-Outs. These can be found on their web site. These include a 3×3 (three patties, three slices of cheese), a 4×4 (four patties and four slices of cheese), 20×20, Neapolitan shakes, grilled cheese sandwich (no meat, two slices of melted cheese), Protein style (wrapped in lettuce – all ingredients of a burger just no buns), and Animal style (animal style: burger cooked in thin layer of mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickles, grilled onions, and extra spread – hot peppers option. Animal fries come with two slices of melted cheese, spread, and grilled onions on top). Their decor is red, white, and yellow branding – white building exterior and uniforms, red for the roof and aprons/hats, yellow for the roof’s decorative band and iconic zig-zag in the logo. They also plant palm trees often to form an “X” in front of the restaurants. One problem with In-N-Out is its secret proselytizing of Christianity. They print discreet references to Bible verses on their paper containers such as the Double-Double burger wrapper and the drink cup. These consist of the book, chapter, and number of the verse not the actual text of the passage. This came into play during the 1980’s when Rich Snyder was president, as a reflection of the Christian beliefs he held. Because of their fundamentalist Christian practices and the fact that the food is not healthy (not company specific – fast food overall), I will no longer frequent this company. For those of you desiring junk food and not minding the Christian fundamentalism, enjoy your GMO beef. Rating: 2 stars out of 5.
Chocola Tree Organic Eatery * 1595 West Hwy 89A, Sedona, Arizon 86336 *
As I try to live the healthier lifestyle, incorporating more vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free into my diet, we were very happy to see a gluten-free vegan restaurant in Sedona. Though “Sedona” being “Sedona” amped up in price tags taking advantage of alternative travelers and tourists I met with what I expected – HIGH priced menu items for unforgivable quantity, quality, or measure. I’m not sure why these trendy spots feel they need to over-charge people who want to be healthy as it seems counter-productive to what the movement stands for in my opinion. New age is new age, and this would be one of the classic hotspots for that kind. Don’t get me wrong, the food was decent, but the manner of delivery is not. First off, everything was way over-priced – and would have been a place I normally would not even give a moment of my time. I was however with a group that wanted to try their food, so in we went. I figured I’d try to be minimalistic with price so was going to go for the coconut curry soup. But the waiter says “its cold – is that ok?” I said, “cold? can’t you heat it up?” and he said “No that’s how its served, we don’t have any way to heat it up here, we don’t use microwaves and we don’t have a stove top”. Okay, being health-conscious I get the “no microwave” but really? A restaurant without a stove top? really? In addition, the soup would not come with bread, even though the bowl of soup was in the $8-10 price range. Really? If I wanted some bread, I’d have to order it separately and it would cost $4-8. I was sickened with the concept. So I went with the Gluten-free waffles. They were good, the middle part. The edges were a bit hard. If they don’t have a stove top, I suppose it was done in a waffle maker. Anyhow – neo-hippie decor with southwestern style, staff was friendly (though full of themselves), and it was crowded. If you’ve a lot of money to toss out the window, into the New Age lifestyle, this would be the perfect place for you – I’m sure the minimalistic food would be perfect for your palate. Not mine. Will never return. They claim 100% organic and/or wild-crafted produce with a 95% seasonal menu. They state they use artesian spring fed source free of chlorine or fluoride water in their cooking and serving. Rating: 3 stars out of 5. Visited 11/24/2013.
Hadley’s Fish and Chips * 11 Bridge Street Whitby, North Yorkshire YO22 4BG, United Kingdom
01947 604 153 *
In the heart of the Yorkshire coast, in the little historic fishing village of Whitby, I couldn’t think of a better place where I’d crave fish n’ chips than this location. There were many places to choose from for such a scrumptuous meal … and i settled for Hadley’s Fish and Chips. I’m glad I did, as I was quite pleased. Fast service, quick turnaround, friendly staff, clean restaurant, and a delicious meal. Even came with a cup of tea and a slice of toast? Nonetheless, I was happy. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
1780 Bar and Restaurant * 167 Rose Street, Edinburgh EH2 4LS, Scotland * 0131 255 1446 *
The five of us – one American, four Germans … on day 1 of exploring Scotland together were already at a quick start to disagree where to eat. Thai, Japanese, Irish, Mongolian, Indian … many choices, but no mutual agreement. So as we were wandering down Rose street at a time while most restaurants were already closed for lunch, we settled in on the 1780 Bar and Restaurant. Much to the advice of a patron at the restaurant across the street that closed the kitchen and went to only serving brews … recommended it for good eats. It was an interesting experience. I dined on the fish n’ chips with mushy peas … and thought it was mediocre. Bulmers cider was served up to us nice and cold, beers and ales for the others seemed to satisfy. Me, a silly American, expecting the Scottish to be as crazy about Pimms as the English, since it was my first trip to Scotland coming directly from England, I got a glare from one of the bartenders off-duty as I was ordering it with him mumbling “you couldn’t pay me to go through making that” but was countered by a lovely lady who knew how to make them, and damn good one at that. I quickly learned through that experience here, it wasn’t a Scottish choice. We sat out on the patio, and service was slow. Not sure I’d eat here again. I might pop in to taunt ordering a Pimms … Rating: 2 stars out of 5. Visited 8/2/2011
Berkeley Springs West Virginia is noted for its special healing waters which the town is based around. In 1784 A Gentleman’s Bath House was built atop these springs which are now the Roman Bath House. It is one of the oldest structures in the state park. The original house had 5 bathing chambers that were 5′ x 18′ and accompanying dressing rooms, but this has been dwarfed through time. Not much is known of its history outside of a 1787 diary of James Rumsey. Others claim the house was built in 1815 or 1816. The baths currently are just heated “baths” or “pools” in a purported “Roman bath” style. The baths are open to the public daily, and for a nominal fee, can be used for bathing from 10 am until 5 pm fed by naturally warm mineral waters coming out of the springs behind the building, with an heating adjustment up to 102 degrees where there are 9 5×9′ and 4′ deep tiled swimming baths in private rooms. These are rented by the half hour for a individual, group, or couple. It was a nice road trip visit for a nice warm bath, but not like typical hot springs or competing bath houses. The waters did feel magical and special. Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
World Cup Cafe * 102A Paseo Del Pueblo Sur * Taos, NM 87571 * 575-737-5299 *
A great little coffee shop in the heart of Taos‘ City Center / Plaza, in northern New Mexico. While parking is not all that convenient, finding a space is worth it for a cup o’ joe here. The Italian soda is nice, the chai spicy, and the drinks good. Service is average, and prices are fair. World Cup has its own charm … Rated: 4 stars out of 5. Visited 11/22/2013.
* 1405 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte, El Prado, NM 87529 * (575) 758-5683 * (Located outside of Taos, New Mexico)
This cafe was a delightful gem as we pulled to the plaza in which its buried behind a few stores in as a “last chance” food stop heading from Taos towards the Rio Grande Gorge and Bridge. A snowy cold afternoon, we were surprised to find a gluten-free, free-range, organic bakery / cafe / restaurant with offerings to our required palate. I was a bit hesitant at first as the meal took a bit longer than I’m used to waiting for, but I was very pleased with the masterpiece we received. The food was delicious, wholeheartedly healthy, and satisfying. In addition we were blessed with the ability to meet the owner, and she graced us with a gift of some home-made flan since we had been waiting a bit. Definitely a location we’ll be dropping by in our future visits to Taos area. With offerings for vegans, vegetarians, free-rangarians, and the gluten-free crowd, you can’t go wrong with this farm-to-table venue. They also offer free wifi, outdoor dining, private party space, and a great cafe to read, relax, and socialize in. We were on-the-go, so were taking out so next time will definitely stay awhile.
According to taos news in their article about this new cafe to Taos, Micah Roseberry, the owner opened on August 21st of 2013 as she had been farming in Northern New Mexico for over 25 years and wanted to bring the farm directly to the table, and therefore Farmhouse cafe was born. All of the produce comes right from the farm outside of the restaurant or from her farm up in Cerro, as are the flowers, and those that do not come from her farm are delivered via organic free-range farms from the local community. She’s into community and building a local food system as her non-GMO organic market. They serve breakfast and lunch as well as a farmer’s market where locals can sell their produce every wednesday from 3-6 pm.
Our first visit awards this great cafe a 4 1/2 stars out of 5. 11/22/2013.
Roswell UFO Museum and Research Center * Roswell, New Mexico *
A whirlwind of change since the days when I grew up in Roswell, as quickly as I moved out of town the city was infected with an alien craze over the legendary UFO crash that took place there in the 40’s. The Center throws an annual UFO convention as well as talks, workshops, archives, and resources that attracts over a million tourists a year to this small little town. The Museum has a pretty complete archive of all UFO crashes, sightings, and investigations in the area as well as an extensive reading library for any visiting researchers. The Center focuses on solving the mysteries of all things alien and extraterrestrial. The admission is rather steep for the size of the museum, but is worth a gander for any alien enthusiast. The gift shop has expanded since the last time I visited, but the shops along main street have more souvenir offerings than the museum does. Rating: 3 stars out of 5. ~ Thomas Baurley.
One of my most favorite festivals, Starwood is billed as the world’s largest Pagan / Magical / Consciousness gathering in North America and potentially the world. It began for me when it was at the awesome Brushwood Folklore Center campgrounds in New York, but have moved away from that location and is now held at the Wisteria Nature Sanctuary in Ohio. I remember fondly the days when Timothy Leary, Terence McKenna, Oberon Zell, Isaac Bonewits, Louisa Tesha, and many other famed authors and writers would hold workshops. Rituals were numerous and fantastic. This year was a bit different as it was my first time at the event held at Wisteria, albeit my 7th Starwood in my life (the other 6 were in New York). Starwood holds classes and workshops by local and internationally acclaimed artists and authors. Its known for its ecclecticism and diversity, great concerts, performances, dancing, drumming, film, rituals, and poetry. It is a one stop shop for a diversity of faiths and beliefs, religions, alternative belief systems and lifestyles. I’ve been introduced to Voodoo, hoodoo, Druidism, Wicca, Shamanism, Ceremonial Magic, and the Church of All Worlds during my times at this festival (and much more). Seven days of exploring the mind, body, and spirit with over 20 various performances of music, drumming, dance and theater on its four stages. In the clothing optional nature sanctuary of Wisteria, the landscape couldn’t be better. There was over 150 different classes, workshops, and ceremonies offered. Family friendly camping event with hot showers, hiking trails, swimming, co-op child care, kid village, multimedia shows, social events, parades, jam sessions, merchants, parties, giant puppets, all-night drumming, and a giant bonfire. This year was a combination of wet and wild, hot and relaxing, humor and weather. We merchanted the event so missed many of the workshops, but those we were able to make were fantastic. Vending selection was fabulous as was the food. The end bonfire was ecstatic and fun-filled, the drum circle momentous. It was our son’s first Starwood and found him addicted to drumming. A great place for all. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.