Category Archives: Lodging and Overstay

The Orient Land Trust, Villa Grove, Colorado

Orient Land Trust / Valley View Hot Springs

The Orient Land Trust a.k.a. “Valley View Hot Springs”
info@olt.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.

Additional Visit: 1/24-1/25/09. 2/16/17-2/18/17. Excellent visit.

Orient Land Trust / Valley View Hot Springs (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=164); near Moffat, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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Rodeway Inn, Alamosa, Colorado

Rodeway Inn, Alamosa, Colorado

Come back soon. Article expected to be published by February 20, 2017.

Rodeway Inn, Alamosa, Colorado ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=30445); New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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Wanapum State Park (Washington State)

Wampum State Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25965). Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 28, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Wampum State Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25965).

Wanapum State Park
http://parks.state.wa.us/288/Ginkgo-Petrified-Forest, https://washington.goingtocamp.com/WanapumStatePark ~

Settled next to the Ginkgo Petrified Forest state Park, Wanapum is a state run recreational area located just along the Columbia River with little beaches and panoramic views. The Petrified Forest is 7,470 acre large and Wanapum is the designated camping area for the park. With over 27,000 feet following the shoreline of the Wanapum Reservoir along the Columbia River, it is a popular location for fishermen, boaters, and water recreation, as well as geologists, paleontologists, and tourists. The campground has 50 full hook-up sites with two rest rooms. While geared for RVs, tenters are permitted but have to pay full hook-up fees. The campground is subject to high winds due to location on river, so tenting should have deep stakes and secure placement. This is a popular camping spot during the concert season at the Gorge. While windy, it was a great time camping. Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Wampum State Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25965). Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 28, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Wampum State Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25965). Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 28, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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White Eagle Hotel and Pub, Portland, Oregon

White Eagle Hotel and Pub:  http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25907. Life in the Gorge: Chronicle 22 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  The Gorge/Columbia River, Oregon-Washington. Photos taken March 27, 2016.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan,  and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
White Eagle Hotel and Pub: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25907.

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

White Eagle Hotel and Pub:  http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25907. Life in the Gorge: Chronicle 22 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  The Gorge/Columbia River, Oregon-Washington. Photos taken March 27, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=17903.  Hood River: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23683; The Dalles:  http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24107; White Salmon:  http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23677; Husum: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25039; Portland:  http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=281.  To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
White Eagle Hotel and Pub: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25907. Life in the Gorge: Chronicle 22 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. The Gorge/Columbia River, Oregon-Washington. Photos taken March 27, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=17903. Hood River: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23683; The Dalles: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24107; White Salmon: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23677; Husum: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25039; Portland: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=281. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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Oregon Motor Motel (The Dalles Oregon)

Oregon Motor Inn, The Dalles, Oregon. Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 28, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Oregon Motor Inn, The Dalles, Oregon.

Oregon Motor Inn
~ 200 W 2nd St, The Dalles, OR 97058 ~ (541) 296-9111 ~ http://www.thedallesmotel.com/ ~

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

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Days Inn, Federal Way, Seattle Washington

Days Inn ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28459), Federal Way, Washington. Exploring the Olympic Peninsula. Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 24, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Days Inn ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28459), Federal Way, Washington. Exploring the Olympic Peninsula. Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 24, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

Days Inn – Federal Way
34827 Pacific Hwy S, Federal Way, WA 98003– Federal Way, Tacoma-Seattle, Washington


+1 800-329-1992

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.

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Ala Cozy Motel, Coulee, Washington

Ala Cozy Motel (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28293), Coulee, Washington. Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 22, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan,  Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Ala Cozy Motel

A LA COZY MOTEL
9988 US-2, Coulee City, Washington
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ala-Cozy-Motel/111716628866097 * 509-632-5703

A great Mom and Pop motel near the shores of the Coulee, in the heart of Coulee City. Great parking lot with room for RV’s, trailers, and boats. This little hole-in-the-wall, mom/pop family run motel has comfortable rooms with free WiFi, cable, fridge, microwave, and coffee makers. Very simple style and decor it is one of the few places to lodge in town. We lodged there for several weeks doing survey work in the area and it was quite satisfactory with comfort, cleanliness, and friendliness of staff/owners. Will stay again. Rated 4 stars out of 5.

Ala Cozy Motel (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28293), Coulee, Washington. Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 22, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan,  Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Ala Cozy Motel (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28293), Coulee, Washington. Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 22, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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Fort Worden, WA

Fort Worden ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26407), Port Townsend, WA ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26403). Exploring Olympic Peninsula - Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Fort Worden ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26407), Port Townsend, WA ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26403). Exploring Olympic Peninsula – Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

Fort Worden, Washington

Right in the heart of Port Townsend is a historic US Military fort turned into a State Park. It resides along the Admiralty Inlet that flows by Port Townsend. The fort property, now owned by the National Park Service consists of 433 acres, originally as a US Army base to protect Puget Sound from invading forces from 1902 to 1953, named after U.S. Navy Admiral John Lorimer Worden who commanded the USS Monitor during the American Civil War. After it was decommissioned in 1953 and purchased in 1957 converted to a juvenile detention facility, and then turned to a State Park in 1973. Because the Admiralty Inlet was a strategic defense location for Puget Sound, three forts were built along the shores – Fort Worden, Fort Casey, and Fort Flagler creating a “Triangle of Fire” with huge guns thwarting any invasive force coming from sea. The forts were never used for war and never fired a shot. During World War I the guns were removed and used in Europe. It was primarily a training base for military applications. During World War II it became the headquarters of the Harbor Defense Command and jointly operated by the Navy and Army in a team effort. The artillery units were disbanded after World War II and gun batteries dismantled. During the Korean war a 2nd Engineer Special brigade was stationed here before being ordered to Korea to reinforce the Far East Command. After this, in 1957 the fort was in the hands of the state of Washington for diagnosis and treatment of troubled youths. Remnants of various batteries litter the landscape, some of which are open to explore by park visitors. The park also houses the Puget Sound Coast Artillery Museum, a balloon hanger used by airships, three 3-inch anti-aircraft gun emplacements, several restored quarters on Officer’s Row, Point Wilson lighthouse, a campground, Port Townsend Marine Science Center, and lots of beaches for recreational use. In 1983 the movie “An Officer and a Gentleman” was filmed here. In 2002 the movie “The Ring” was also filmed here.

Fort Worden ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26407), Port Townsend, WA ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26403). Exploring Olympic Peninsula - Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Fort Worden ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26407), Port Townsend, WA ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26403). Exploring Olympic Peninsula – Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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Sol Duc Hot Springs, Olympic National Forest, Washington

Sol Duc Hotsprings (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26101); Olympic National Park (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26099), Washington. Exploring Olympic Peninsula - Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Sol Duc Hotsprings (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26101); Olympic National Park (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26099), Washington. Exploring Olympic Peninsula – Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

Sol Duc Hotsprings and Campground, Olympic National Forest, WA
http://www.olympicnationalparks.com/lodging/sol-duc-hot-springs-resort/

As opposed to the rustic natural state of the Olympic Hot Springs, Sol Duc is the developed National Park Service hot springs resort in the Olympic National Forest. We wound up going here when we found out the road to Olympic Hot Springs had been washed out (March 2016). Sol Duc is well known for its pool, soaking tubs, and camping. It lies off the natural springs dotting the Sol Duc River. The original inhabitants of the area – various Native American tribes who frequented the Springs, believed them to be healing and therapeutic. Euro-Americans took over the area in the 1880’s as usual pushing out the aboriginal visitors. They opened a resort in 1912 here but it was burnt down in 1916. It was rebuilt in the 1920’s with less scale operating until the 1970s until problems with the spring occured. After the problems were resolved it was rebuilt again in the 1980s operating since. The current Springs are operated and managed by the National Park Service, open for visitors from March 25 until October 30th each year. The pools can be accessed from 7:30 am until 10 pm daily. Cabins and campsites are available for overnight lodging. There are 32 cabins that sleep 4 each, dining facilities on site, gift shop, store, a river suite that sleeps 10, 17 RV sites, and a primitive campground. There is no wifi, telephones, television, or radios offered. There are three modern pools, regulated and cleaned daily to soak within.

Folklore: Native American lore talk about two dragons who lived in the adjoining valleys who often would fight together. Their fights would be so fierce that the trees in the mountain’s upper realms would be destroyed so badly they would never grow back. The dragons experienced a even match each fight, and never able to prevail against one another. After years of struggling they each retired to their own valley, living under the earth, and it is their hot tears that feed the waters of the springs creating the hot springs – the Olympic Hot Springs and Sol Duc.

Geology: The springs are located on or near the Calawah fault zone extending from the southeastern Olympics to the northwest into the Pacific Ocean. The water is vented from a hot spring caused by geothermal heat coming up from the Earth’s mantle by geothermal gradient with water percolating up after contact from the hot rocks. Because the hot water dissolves solids, high mineral content is mixed in the waters ranging from calcium to lithium even radium causing healing effects on bodies soaked in them. The Springs are managed by Olympic National Park.

Sol Duc Hotsprings (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26101); Olympic National Park (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26099), Washington. Exploring Olympic Peninsula - Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Sol Duc Hotsprings (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26101); Olympic National Park (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26099), Washington. Exploring Olympic Peninsula – Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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Inn of the Mountain Gods, near Ruidoso, New Mexico

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Inn of the Mountain Gods
* Mescalero Indian Reservation near Ruidoso, New Mexico * http://innofthemountaingods.com/ *

Fond childhood memories of this resort as it was a place that my mom and dad took us to often when we were children. I supposed when dad wanted to go skiing, gamble, or golf was when we lodged here before he built a cabin in Ruidoso. It is highlighted as one of New Mexico’s premier mountain resorts. It is located just outside of Ruidoso, New Mexico near Mescalero and harnesses picturesque mountain surroundings, views, and clean mountain air, snow capped mountains, lake and championship golf course. They boast easy access to the Ski Apache Sierra Blanca ski resort, a golf course, and a scenic lake. The prices were good and discounted when we arrived, and we even stayed a 2nd night as they offered it half-price of the discounted rate as was. We however were surprised of a $12 resort fee they snuck on the bill. The lobby is large, warm with fireplaces, and modern Native American art displayed. (it does lack history) A very modern lodge and casino, with 273 luxury rooms and suites, with all you can eat buffets. They offer 40,000 square feet of meeting spaces, a 38,000 square foot casino, non-smoking poker room with 9 tables for play, a indoor pool, large hot tub spa, gym, gift shop, Starbucks kiosk, discounts and shuttles to the skiing and snowboarding sites, an 18 hole championship golf course, big game hunting, skeet shooting, horseback riding, fishing, and gondola rides. It is owned and operated by the Mescalero Apache tribe. Kid friendly. We certainly had more fond memories of the resort as kids, but found it comfortable and a pleasant stay. Visited 11/19/13-11/21/13 – Rated: 4 stars out of 5.

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Sandia Peak Inn, 4614 Central Ave SW, Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Sandia Peak Inn
* 4614 Central Ave SW, Albuquerque, New Mexico *
A Route 66 styled Inn/motel in Albuquerque, I was a bit hesitant at first with its location as finding it in the darkness was a little un-nerving. It however turned out to be a wonderful inn, with artistic stylized decor, comfortable amenities, and great service. The style was charming with Southwestern flair, and was at a decent price. Beds were comfortable and rooms had flat screen tv, fridge, microwave, free wifi, and the usual amenities. A small continental breakfast with a good selection was free in the morning, and they had a nice indoor pool. Rating: 4 stars out of 5. Visited 11/22/13.

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Wisteria Campground (Pomeroy, Ohio)

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Wisteria Campground
* Pomeroy, Ohio * http://www.wisteria.org/ * * info@wisteria.org * 740-742-4302 *

I remember the first time I ventured into the fabled lands of Wisteria. That was for Pagan Spirit Gathering held by Circle Sanctuary back in 2002. Alas, Pagan Spirit Gathering is no longer held here. But just as Starwood was akin to Brushwood, Starwood is now held (and for quite some time) at Wisteria. Wisteria is a great place for nature lovers, naturalists, Pagans, earth spiritualists, and alternative campers. It is also a fabulous site for festivals and events as acclaimed by the infamous festivals held on its grounds. It is a great place for large gatherings or small get-togethers, weddings, music festivals, and spiritual events. They are equipt to handle small groups of just a handful upwards of several thousand participants. Wisteria is set with a grand stage, bonfire circle, hiking trails, a faerie shrine, sacred sites, stone circle, an ancestor mound, a turtle mound, sweat lodge, workshop sites, the permanent setting of Caffeina’s Cosmic Cafe Restaurant and Coffee House, The Green Man Tavern, a swimming pond, a merchant loop, a playground, shower house, and wifi. Groups can rent space in the campground or hold private camping events. Wisteria is managed by itself as well as services of the site to make it an easier place to hold events by organizers. Wisterians are open-minded, professional, and very experienced with events large or small. They will custom tailor their event services to the festival organizer’s needs.

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Brushwood Folklore Center (Sherman, New York)

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Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman, New York

Brushwood Folklore Center
* http://www.brushwood.com/ * * 8881 Bailey Hill Rd. * Sherman New York * 14781 * 716-761-6750 * camp@brushwood.com *

One of my favorite campsites and festival grounds is Brushwood Folklore Center, nestled in upstate New York. A rustic wooded retreat on over 180 wooded acres outside of Sherman, New York in rural Chautauqua County. A clothing optional campground and resort focused on creativity, community, and spirituality. A great place to relax, become one with nature or with others, or to be part of the fabulous festivals held year round including bonfires, drumming, dancing, swimming, and soaking in the hot tub. The grounds are full of lots of temples, sanctuaries, altars, and sacred spaces where various groups host numerous rites and rituals every year. Family and community run since 1970, Brushwood is a family and community oriented campground.

070113-089
Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman, New York

The campgrounds have seasonal campground sites, co-ed showers, flush toilets, a swimming pool, and two hot tubs. There are three covered pavilions near main camping, lots of outdoor space for workshops, lectures, ceremonies, and performances. An heated indoor lodge for year-round use and heated indoor sleeping areas for over a dozen visitors. Camping fees are only $10 /night (2013 rates) with day passes at $6/day until 6 pm. The heated indoor lodging (dorm-style trailer) is $15/night – all per person. On occasion, potluck dinners are held to promote opportunities for community to meet and share meals together. Home to numerous annual festivals, some of the famous festivals like Starwood in the past, now Summerstar, Sirius Rising, Wellspring, and many other events each year. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

070113-046
Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman, New York

070113-040
Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman, New York

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The Thunderbird Inn (hippest hotel in Savannah)

Thunderbird Inn

* 611 West Oglethorpe Ave * Savannah, Georgia 31401 * 912.232.2661 * www.thethunderbirdinn.com *

Turned on to this fabulous overnight stay in historic Savannah Georgia by attending the infamous 2012 Savannah SantaCon who had a special santa’s discount for those bar-crawling joyous red-donned hipsters who enjoy unwinding each year before going to work down chimneys delivering toys. The Thunderbird Inn broadcasts itself as “The hippest hotel in Savannah” which isn’t completely true – they are most likely the “hippest” and we had a fabulous stay in town, but its not a hotel, its a motel – which is my preference anyway. Greeted with oddity and 60’s/70’s sheek decor, the front desk delivers free lemonade/hot chocolate, popcorn, or a mascot sock monkey to go travelling with you about. The art-deco rooms have RC colas with moonpies atop them awaiting your arrival. Comfortable rooms, beds, and amenities … fridge, tv, hundreds of channels, makeup mirror, iron, ironing board, coffee pot, and mucho shampoo/soap/conditioner in a tiny tiny bathroom. We highly enjoyed our stay and will definitely be visiting this “hotel” many more times. Fabulous Thunderbird! Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Fontana Village Resort

Fontana Village Resort
Fontana Village Resort

Fontana Village Resort
* http://www.fontanavillage.com/ * Fontana Village Resort | 300 Woods Road • P.O. Box 68 | Fontana Dam, North Carolina 28733 * Phone: 828.498.2211 *

We were seeking an escape to the mountains and while this time of year the blue ridge parkway had segments shut down, we ventured via main roads to the Smoky Mountains National Park. On advise from a co-worker, we settled in on the “Fontana Village Resort” which was running a special lodging rate, and decided to check it out. We checked into the “Willow cabins”. Nothing more than manufactured houses in cabin style, with a porch and rocking chairs, a nice living room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom … we settled in for the afternoon. Check-in was easy, and it was peaceful and quiet for the stay. The resort was pretty empty, as winter was upon us as well as the holidays calling others to family gatherings. Still there were families out venturing to collect firewood. Our cabin however did not have a fire place. no phone, just basic tv. While it didn’t advertise a wifi signal, one drifted in and out sporadically for us to stay in touch with the outside world. Given it was winter, the resort had many of its facilities shut down … including the convenience store (only open 9 am til 1 pm – and we arrived at 4 pm), grocery store, and other restaurants except for the main lodge. Closest grocery run was a town 30 minutes drive each way. With the rain that hovered over us, we couldn’t participate in many of the outdoor activities the resort offers – but it looked like a great array of choices to choose from. We just enjoyed the solitude. We’d stay again for sure. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

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Black Swan Pub and Folk Club, York, England

Black Swan Pub

* http://blackswanyork.co.uk/ * Peasholme Green * York, England *

One of York’s haunted locales, this is also one of York’s more authentic pubs. In medieval style and decor, this timber framed house holding a pub and folk club retains classical 17th century interior decor. Within is a large stairway leading off to a main passageway, another room hosts a roasting pit, and another smaller room has a giant open fireplace. Originally built in 1417 as a family residence of the Bowes family (1417/1428 Lord Mayor of York), gable ends were added in the 16th century, and main structural alterations made in the 17th century for it to be open for business as a pub. There is evidence that there was a secret passage leading from this residence to St. Cuthbert’s church, and a secret room once believed to be used for cock fighting. The parents of General James Wolfe lived here from 1724-1726. Many reports of apparitions, noises, and ghostly tales take place here … one is of a chalinesque figure wearing a bowler hat wandering aimlessly through the rooms, a beautiful young ghostly woman wearing a long white dress has been noted distractedly staring into the fire her face hidden by her long black hair. Others talk of a pair of male legs seen walking around in the landlord’s accomodation. Pub fare is offered as well as a wide selection of ales, beer, and other drinks. Folk music takes place on thursday as well as other clubs and associations holding special events, classes, and discussion groups.

Photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission of authors Tom Baurley or Leaf McGowan. Photos can be purchased via Technogypsie.com at Technogypsie Photography Services for nominal use fees. Restaurants, Businesses, Bands, Performances, Venues, and Reviews can request a re-review if they do not like the current review or would like to have a another review done. If you are a business, performer, musician, band, venue, or entity that would like to be reviewed, you can also request one (however, travel costs, cost of service (i.e. meal or event ticket) and lodging may be required if area is out of reviewer’s base location at time of request).

These reviews and/or research articles are done by the writer at no payment unless it is a requested review and the costs for travel, service, and lodging was covered – in which case, expenditure reimbursement will not affect review rating or content. If you enjoy this review and want to see more, why not buy our reviewer a drink to motivate them to write more? or help cover the costs they went through to do this review?






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Guy Fawke’s Inn, York, England

Guy Fawke’s Inn
* http://www.gfyork.com/ * York, England *

In the heart of York lies a little hole-in-the-wall now inhabited by a pub and inn commemorating the exact spot where Guy Fawke’s was born. Infamous for “Remember, remember, the 5th of November, gunpowder treason and plot …”, Guy Fawkes was notoriously known for his 1605 attempt for blowing up parliament. It was here that he was born in 1570 and baptised in the church across the street. In his birthplace, a traditional British pub offering a wide selection of ales, beer, and drinks as well as standard pub fare in the ambiance of a historic building with a fated history, timber floors, and gas-lamps as its decor. It is one of York’s popular pubs.

Photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission of authors Tom Baurley or Leaf McGowan. Photos can be purchased via Technogypsie.com at Technogypsie Photography Services for nominal use fees. Restaurants, Businesses, Bands, Performances, Venues, and Reviews can request a re-review if they do not like the current review or would like to have a another review done. If you are a business, performer, musician, band, venue, or entity that would like to be reviewed, you can also request one (however, travel costs, cost of service (i.e. meal or event ticket) and lodging may be required if area is out of reviewer’s base location at time of request).

These reviews and/or research articles are done by the writer at no payment unless it is a requested review and the costs for travel, service, and lodging was covered – in which case, expenditure reimbursement will not affect review rating or content. If you enjoy this review and want to see more, why not buy our reviewer a drink to motivate them to write more? or help cover the costs they went through to do this review?






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Busáras Luggage Storage (Dublin)

Busáras Locker Storage – Dublin
* Busáras * 1 Store Street * Dublin, Ireland *

With terrorism paranoia on the rampage in this world, one of the biggest side effects is the diminishing options for storing your luggage when travelling, especially as a backpacker. (Though internet cafes and hostels pick up some of that slack) Luckily, if you’re a backpacker in Dublin, there is a centrally located locker depot in the Busáras station in the heart of Dublin with decent rates. Its only a few minutes away from O’Connolly Street. Storage lockers are in the basement.

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Couchsurfing.org


Couchsurfing
* http://www.couchsurfing.org * Facebook * Twitter *

I’ve been a member of couchsurfing.org for over 5 years now, and while I’ve done alot of couchsurfing in my life, most of it was done with friends or friends of friends. But this year, I had to try it out directly from the site when visiting Australia, and it was none other than a most excellent experience. Since then I’ve couchsurfed in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Australia, and the United Kingdom. I personally believe its a brilliant network and an amazing experience. My interest in couchsurfing was as a budget tourist looking for ways to cut the costs of the high costs of travel. In addition, i was very excited at meeting new friends, learning about different ways of life, and getting to see the places i was visiting from a local’s perspective. Being a member of various alternative special interest groups and communities, such as Burning Man I often never have a problem finding a friend or a friend of a friend in a city where I’m travelling who offers a couch to crash on. Australia was different though, as I didn’t know anyone there and I was truly a “stranger in a strange land”. (Of course shortly after I started to network with couchsurfing hosts, a friend of a friend offered me comraderie and lodging in Canberra – which I did travel solely to just to meet him and take a holiday; and towards the end of the journey, met up with Burning Man community who offered me places to stay where I was at home with like-minded kindred) The several people I hosted with however as strangers from the network Couchsurfing.org were amazing, friendly, hospitable, and great hosts. I had never felt more at home with complete strangers than during my trip to Australia. Because of Australia, I’ve continued to add couchsurfing to my itinerary whenever I’m travelling as its a fantastic way to visit a city and make new friends. Couchsurfing is easy … you join the site for free, you register, you can get validated if you’d like by donating to the company who mails you a postcard back to verify you are a real person, and you create a profile similar to one you have on any other social networking site. When travelling to another area where you’d like to couchsurf, you look at potential hosts you share things in common with, contact them to see if they have availability or interest, and set up the stay. They often describe the space they are offering for free whether its floor space, couch space, an extra bedroom, or a caravan in the driveway. Many times they offer to pick you up from the airport or station, shuttle you around, and one of the greatest activities … cooking with each other – or taking turns sharing food, tales, and sightseeing together. Every host I’ve stayed with has gone way-out-of-their-way to make me feel welcomed, looked after, and feel at home. All hesitations I’ve ever had about the concept, disappeared with that trip Down Under. Couchsurfing.org has millions of members worldwide in over 230 countries and territories around the world. They are a community, a network, and a “gifting” movement (similar to that found at Burning Man). The pros: free lodging, sometime free meals, hospitality, new friends, tourist advice, events, networking, and fabulous experiences. The cons: You are staying with strangers – your hosts may not necessarily have personalities that merge with yours, there is an obligation of spending some time together – so if you’re a tourist trying to get work done or specifically trying to see alot in a day – couchsurfing properly can be difficult. You are putting your safety and personal belongings in the hands of a stranger (as they are with you). So common sense, as with anything you do, especially social networking, needs to be at play at all times. All on a sidenote, in my personal experience, couchsurfing is an amazing experience and highly recommended for anyone who likes social interaction, learning about cultures, and ready to make new friends. In addition, Couchsurfing can be a meeting place for other like-minds. There are local communities on the site where people can network about things they are interested in together such as music, art, theater, hobbies, and special interests. Special interest groups or member groups organize trips such as bar crawls, meetups, camping trips, and outings. Lodging agreements are always free for the host and the visitor, food is sometimes provided for free or for a fee or not at all, though never expected. Homestays are consensual between the host and the guest, with rules agreed upon before coming together, such as duration, nature, or expectations. The project was founded by Casey Fenton in 1999. Launched in January of 2003, the site took off like wildfire. By the end of 2004 it had 6,000 members, by end of 2005 it boasted 45,000, and by 2011, it has over 3 million members. Their motto and mission is as follows: “At CouchSurfing International, we envision a world where everyone can explore and create meaningful connections with the people and places they encounter. Building meaningful connections across cultures enables us to respond to diversity with curiosity, appreciation and respect. The appreciation of diversity spreads tolerance and creates a global community. Since 2006, Couchsurfing collectives sprung up to bring together Couchsurfers in chosen cities to develop and improve the project, they also exist to manage the website. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

Similar networks are:

  • Hospitality Club, which is an international, internet-based hospitality service like Couchsurfing, that boasts over 300,000 members in 226 countries. Like couchsurfing, membership is free by registering on the website, and centers around the free gift exchange of accomodation, no guests or hosts exchange money for the lodging. Duration of stay, whether food is provided for free, for a fee, or not at all, is up to the parties involved to decide. Like couchsurfing, this is regulated by comments and reviews on the user’s profile page. Its motivation is the idea of bringing people together and fostering international friendships that will increase inter cultural understanding and strengthening peace in the world.
  • Tripping.com, which is also identically styled after couchsurfing.org is a global community of travelers who believe in making the world a better place through cultural exchange, exchanging travel tips, making friendships, and offering homestays in over 175 countries. It also offers the widest selection of local home rentals in these kind of networks. It was founded in 2009 by Jen O’Neal and Nate Weisiger.
  • Servas Open Doors is an international, non-governmental, interracial hospitality association present in over 125 countries and run mostly by volunteers. It’s purpose is creating a non-profit, worldwide, cooperative, cultural exchange network bringing people together to build understanding, tolerance, mutual-respect, and world peace. Like other hospitality organizations, it promotes world peace by encouraging individual person-to-person contacts through social networking on the site, meeting in person, get-togethers, and homestays.
  • Global Free Loaders: Another alternative network, as an online community to bring together people from all walks of life by offering free lodging around the world. Membership is free.
  • Be Welcome: another cross cultural network introducing hosts and visitors offering free lodging, social activities, and travel advice. It is a free network to join, non-profit and operated by volunteers in a open, transparent, and fair way.

As with any network, common sense should be used before entering a stranger’s home or inviting a stranger into your home. Couchsurfing is a brilliant way to make friends, travel affordably, and network. But we live in a world that has many problems as well as negative people, criminals, stalkers, predators, and people wanting to take advantage of others. Just like with any social networking, common sense is key. Get to know your host, get to know your visitor. Check their references. Talk to their friends. Meet in person before offering or accepting lodging if you have any doubts, red flags, or intuitive questions. Out of 5+ years of being a member, I’ve never had a negative experience with couchsurfing, but others have as can be found on sites like Bad Experiences with Couchsurfing: The Dark Side, Opencouchsurfing.org, The Truth About Couchsurfing, A Travelers nightmare couchsurfing in New York, and Criticism of Couchsurfing and Review of Alternatives. Threats to the safety of travelers exist everywhere whether they are couchsurfing or not. In a given year example, 1.25 million stays have been organized through couchsurfing since 2004. About 99.6 percent of users considered their experiences as positive. The latest statistics show that out of 2,554 real-life introductions in a given day, only two people viewed their experience as negative. [stats from this article].

    Bibliography:
  • Couchsurfing.org: Web Site. Site referenced in December 2011. http://www.couchsurfing.org.
  • Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. “Couchsurfing”. Site referenced in December 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CouchSurfing.

Photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission of authors Tom Baurley or Leaf McGowan. Photos can be purchased via Technogypsie.com at Technogypsie Photography Services for nominal use fees. Restaurants, Businesses, Bands, Performances, Venues, and Reviews can request a re-review if they do not like the current review or would like to have a another review done. If you are a business, performer, musician, band, venue, or entity that would like to be reviewed, you can also request one (however, travel costs, cost of service (i.e. meal or event ticket) and lodging may be required if area is out of reviewer’s base location at time of request).

These reviews are done by the writer at no payment unless it is a requested review and the costs for travel, service, and lodging was covered – in which case, expenditure reimbursement will not affect review rating or content. If you enjoy this review and want to see more, why not buy our reviewer a drink to motivate them to write more? or help cover the costs they went through to do this review?






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Canberra YHA

Canberra YHA
* www.yha.com.au * 7 Akuna Street *Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia * (02) 6248 915 *

For a night into town for exploring the nightlife of Australian’s Capital Territory center, I stayed at teh Canberra City YHA which is centrally located near all the bars, clubs, museums, and activities that Canberra has to offer. It is also only a 5 minute walk from the Interstate bus terminal. Very sleek, top of the line, YHA – with a pool and whirlpool with spa and sauna in the basement, wired for wi-fi throughout the building, fully equipt kitchen, rooftop BBQ areas, TV/game rooms, an underground bar, and cafe. I thoroughly enjoyed my cost-effective stay that opted me a chance to see the local arts, and imbibe in the nightlife without having to worry about late night transportation home. Great hostel: 5 stars out of 5. Visited 4/22/11.

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Narooma YHA



Narooma Motel YHA
* http://www.yha.com.au/hostels/nsw/south-coast/narooma/ * 243 Princes Hwy * Narooma * New South Wales, Australia

I was a little hesitant when I saw this Motel converted into a YHA Hostel, but was remarkably surprised at how nice it was. Still had the flavor of a beach front motel, (though not beach front … a few blocks from the beach) and was surprised to glory that each room had its own ensuite – shower and bathroom. We were almost lucky enough to have the room all to ourselves, but we loved our french roomie. Nice communal room, extremely friendly and helpful staff that made you feel like family, and a great deck and garden perfect for BBQ and social activities. Very quiet, low-key hostel, so no parties to be found here. They had DVD’s you could watch, good parking, and a courtesy van to run you into town for free. Narooma is an amazing place. Will definitely be staying here again. Narooma is great for whale watching from September through November, summer has lots of swimming, surfing, fishing, and diving, and wildlife viewers get to see lots of seals, rays, dolphins, and penguins. Oyster fests happen in May and a treasure trove of seafood awaits. Rated: 5 stars out of 5.


community room, Narooma YHA, Narooma, Australia

Photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission of authors Tom Baurley or Leaf McGowan. Photos can be purchased via Technogypsie.com at Technogypsie Photography Services for nominal use fees. Restaurants, Businesses, Bands, Performances, Venues, and Reviews can request a re-review if they do not like the current review or would like to have a another review done. If you are a business, performer, musician, band, venue, or entity that would like to be reviewed, you can also request one (however, travel costs, cost of service (i.e. meal or event ticket) and lodging may be required if area is out of reviewer’s base location at time of request).

These reviews are done by the writer at no payment unless it is a requested review and the costs for travel, service, and lodging was covered – in which case, expenditure reimbursement will not affect review rating or content. If you enjoy this review and want to see more, why not buy our reviewer a drink to motivate them to write more? or help cover the costs they went through to do this review?






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Bittangabee Bay/Ben Boyd National Forest

Bittangee Bay/Ben Boyd National Forest
New South Wales, Australia

A refreshing break from the metropolis of Melbourne, me and my travel mate Sir Bluey, headed off for some camping along the infamous “Bittangee Bay” in the Ben Boyd National Forest. A unpaved dirt road led us to this amazing campground overlooking Australia’s rugged South Coast. In fact, we had quite an adventure with it that you can read about here. This small picturesque bay is located on a remote rugged coastline just south of Eden in New South Wales of Australia and is one of the few safe harbours in the area between Twofold Bay, Mallacoota Inlet, and Eden making it a popular night stopover for boaters travelling inbetween for the night. The campground is rugged as well to match the Bay in its entirety. The campground is serviced by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The Bay is also home to the “Bittangabee Bay Ruins” which the campground is above. The Bay and the camping area was once used by the Yuin Nation and the Thaua people as a important camping and teaching grounds for indigenous “secret business” and was seen as a “men’s area”. On the other side of Green Cape to Bittangabee Bay was believed to be the resting place of the Rainbow Serpent. They utilized the area for over 6,000 years until the Europeans started taking over the bay for construction of the lighthouse, fishing, and industry. At this time, the Bay was known as “Pertangerbee” and by European occupation with constructions of the the storehouse in 1844, was later called “Bittangee Bay”. The Campground also has a nice hiking trail to the Green Cape lighthouse as well as down along the beach of the Bay. Lots of wildlife in the area – our 24 hour visit blessed us with seeing kangaroo, wallabee, wombats, and oppossums. Highly recommended place to camp. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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Boscastle YHA

Boscastle YHA
* http://www.yha.org.uk/find-accommodation/south-west-england/hostels/boscastle-harbour/index.aspx?hostelid=000026 * Palace Stables * Boscastle * Cornwall, United Kingdom * PL35 0HD *
Tel: 0845 371 9006 * Fax no: 01840 250977 * Email: boscastle@yha.org.uk *

A nice little YHA is the Boscastle Harbour, nestled right in the fishing village central of the heart of North Cornwall’s amazing coastline. Its a break from technology as it has no internet accessibility within the hostel and is a warm family-atmosphere retreat. Located right next to the Museum of Witchcraft, this is the place to stay for any researchers of the odd and unknown. It is also a great stop-off for hikers and Cornwall coastline footpath walkers. The hostel was quite affordable (at £10.00 per person/day (2011)) and you’re left on your own much of the time visiting. Great self-catering kitchen and cozy recreation room/lounge. The hostel operates from April through November. Reception is open from 8 am until 10 am, 5 pm until 10 pm daily. No onsite parking available. I strongly enjoyed my visit and hope to visit again. Rating : 4 stars out of 5. Review by Tom Baurley 7/18/2010.

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Albury YHA

YHA Albury/Lavington
* http://www.hihostels.com/dba/hostel003034.en.htm * 372 Wagga Road * 2641 Lavington * Tel. +61-2-60402999 * albury@yhavic.org.au *
Albury, New South Wales, Australia

An oddity in the YHA hostel world – a small top floor hostel set of rooms atop a Caravan Park’s restrooms and pool changing rooms/showers. Located in a caravan park, this hostel goes for about 36 Australian dollars a night per bed and is located in the Albury/Wodonga warehouse district, near the Hume Weir, Ettamogah Pub, and the Jindera Pioneer Museum. It is close transit from Mt Buffalo, major ski resorts, and Falls Creek. It is also located near the River and harbour. The Caravan park has free wifi/internet access, a swimming pool, a TV room, a self-catering kitchen, and a basic store. I found the hostel was not atypical of standard YHA layout, with dank dark rooms, and not much to do. A really nice self-catering kitchen was poolside with some areas to leisure. It was very basic and high priced for what was offered. However, the staff was friendly, helpful, and attentive. Rating : 2.75 stars out of 5. Review by Tom Baurley.

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Leatherbarrel Creek

Leatherbarrel Creek
Mt. Kosciouszko, New South Wales, Australia

Along the highway of “Alpine Way” heading from Thredbo to Albury lies a nice little picnic and camping area called “Leather Barrel Creek”. It hosts over 10 campsites and is accessible by sealed roads. GPS: Latitude 36° 31? 32.52″ S; Longitude 148° 11? 34.8″ E. Nice wading stream, great for fishing, and some hiking. Camping at this site is a first come, first serve basis and is a “free” camping site. ($16 vehicle cost to enter the park) The site is located in a lovely little valley along the creekside. Toilets are available, as well as picnic tables. There are no showers or drinking water accessible on site. Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5.

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Bimblegumbie


Bimblegumbie

* http://www.bimblegumbie.com.au/ * 942 Alpine Way | Crackenback, Thredbo Village, Kosciuszko National Park 2627, Australia *

Bimblegumbie is a eco-resort in the heart of the Snowy Mountains near Thredbo, Australia. It is an award winning location for its gardens, known for its bush walking hikes in the mountains, and is a pet-friendly estate. Whether summer tourism or snow skiier, its a reputable place to stay while visiting these unique Australian mountains. Nestled in the foothills of Mt. Crackenback, surrounded by eucalyptus gum trees, and a bountiful garden – this retreat was established in 1976 as a home away from home when skiing at the Skitube or hiking in Thredbo. For an environmentalist it is working on becoming self-sustainable with its energy saving rooms, composting, recycling, solar hotwater system, and mountain retreat setting. The retreat is named after the aboriginal word “Bimblegumbie” for “Spear Whistle”.

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Snowy Mountains Backpackers (New South Wales)

Snowy Mountains Backpackers
* http://www.snowybackpackers.com.au/ * 7-8 Gippsland St. * Jindabyne
New South Wales, Australia * 2627 * Telephone: 1800 333 468 * backpack@snowy.net.au *

A precious gem found in the heart of the Snowy Mountains right in the town of Jindabyne and down the road from the infamous Kosciuszko National Park. A popular lodging stop-off for backpackers, skiiers, water recreationists, hikers, bicyclists, and fishers. The hostel has 50 beds available in an assortment of settings from singles, doubles, dorms, and family rooms. A restaurant is downstairs, Ski and snowboard hire is available to the guests as well as massage therapy. The hostel as internet access, laundry facilities, secure ski / luggage storage, 24 hour security access, off stree parking, and disable access with facilities. Balconies with barbeques, a tv room/lounge, common areas, and self-catering kitchen. We were blessed with a low attendance the night we stayed so me and my travel mate had a dorm room all to ourselves. It was comfortable, safe, clean, and hospitable. Good times! Rating : 4.5 stars out of 5.

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Brisbane City YHA

Brisbane City YHA Youth Hostel
* http://www.yha.com.au/ * http://www.yha.com.au/hostels/qld/brisbane-surrounds/brisbane-yha-backpackers-hostel/ * 392 Upper Roma Street * Brisbane 4000 * Phone: (+617) 3236 1004 * Fax: (+617) 3236 1947 * Manager: Tim Hardidge * brisbanecity@yha.com.au *

One of Australia’s most popular “hostel” hotspots is the “Brisbane City YHA” in the heart of the bustling metropolis of Brisbane. With state of the art accomodation in a “hostel way” that serves the 21st Century backpacker’s needs. Nestled on High Roma Street, overlooking the river, the hostel is a multi-story building that offers safe lodging, affordability, sustainability, and amenities for the world travelling backpacker. Recipient of the “2010 Best Backpacker Accomodation” with the Queensland Tourism Awards. The hostel is decorated with Australian themes and floors, with the main lounge/dining area opening to a rooftop patio with a nice swimming pool. Overlooks of the city skyline, the Brisbane River, and the other hostels in the surrounding hood – next door is a cafe/bar, and numerous community rooms on the floors with group accomodations, TV lounges, game rooms, and lounges. Wireless internet throughout the building, secure parking in the back, and a group luggage storeroom with individual lockers/cabinets in the rooms. The hostel has air conditioned multi-share, twin, double, and family rooms many with ensuites. The staff is super friendly and helpful. My stays at the Brisbane Hostel was entertaining, fun, and exciting. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

During the recent floods, this Hostel opened their doors to Brisbane Flooding Volunteers to assist in the recent floods in Southeastern Queensland.

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Millenium Biltmore Hotel (Los Angeles)

Millenium Biltmore Hotel
* 506 South Grand Avenue
* Los Angeles, California * 90014 * +1 (800) 245 8673 * http://www.millenniumhotels.com/millenniumlosangeles/ *

Conveniently located in downtown Los Angeles, the “Millenium Biltmore” bills itself as the “premier choice for celebrities, presidents and dignitaries for over 85 years” claiming “historic grandeur” and “modern luxury”. It is located within walking distance to the cultural and financial districts as well as the Staples Center, NOKIA Theater, Music Center, Ahmanson Theatre, Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Dodger Stadium, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. The hotel is upperscale decor with classic European style hosting over 683 rooms and suites. The indoor swimming pool and health club has a Roman-style decor, but is rather small and the jacuzzi even smaller. Plush hotel, but the rooms are basic though comfortable. Rating: 3 stars out of 5.

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Farrington’s Pub of Temple Bar (Dublin)

Farrington’s Pub of Temple Bar
* 28 Essex St E * Dublin 2, Co. Dublin, Ireland * 01 671 5135 * http://www.thesmithgroup.ie/farringtons/index.html *

A late night meal with some friends after a crazy road trip around Ireland found fellowship, cheers, and relaxation at the Farrington’s Pub in Temple Bar. Even though we arrived late to the upper restaurant/bar and was just about the cease food serving, they found patience to take care of us as most of our party settled in on the Traditional Irish breakfast for dinner. A very pleasant pub mixing style of a Victorian bar with elements over 120 years old downstairs and a modern comfortable lounge on the 2nd floor, this unique pub is located in the heart of Dublin’s Temple Bar district and is named after the character “Farrington” in Jame Joyce’s “The Dubliners”. The pub is open mondays through thursdays from 10:30 to 23:30, and fridays and saturdays from 10:30 until 2:30, and sundays from 12:30 until 23:00. In addition to pub dining, they have luxury accommodation available in 5 ensuite bedrooms upstairs.

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