Honshu – Japan’s Main Island

Honshu – Japan’s Main Island

Our next destination is Japan. And, more specifically, since Japan is made up of four main islands as well as several chains of smaller islands, we will focus only on the main island of Honshu this time around. Honshu is the seventh largest island in the world and second only to the Indonesian island of Java in population. It makes up sixty percent of Japan’s land area and is home to 104 million people. It is where most of the…

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Wild Boar, Chestnuts and Corsica Cola – An Exploration of Corsican Food and Drink

Wild Boar, Chestnuts and Corsica Cola – An Exploration of Corsican Food and Drink

Corsica’s shared history and proximity to Italy is evident in the country’s cuisine. The common use of the chestnut goes back to a decree issued in the year 1548 during the Genoese Republic that each Corsican landowner must plant at least one chestnut, mulberry, olive and fig tree. A later decree, in 1619, upped the planting requirement to ten chestnut trees every year. This resulted in quite a number of chestnut groves and forests and secured the chestnut’s place in…

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Things to See and Do in Corsica

Things to See and Do in Corsica

With over 1200 miles of nature trails, over 600 miles of stunning coastal scenery, including long stretches of white sand beaches, glitzy seaside towns, fortified cities built atop cliffs and hills and ancient villages dotting the mountains of the interior, Corsica promises to deliver much to the visitor or adventurer. From the sea to the snowcapped mountains, Corsica’s wide variety of landscapes knows few rivals. Almost half of the island is part of a nature preserve – the Parc Naturel…

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A Short History of Corsica

A Short History of Corsica

Corsica’s location in the Mediterranean Sea has blessed it with unusual rugged beauty and more sunshine than almost anywhere else in Europe. Its location has also guaranteed lots of fighting, conquest and bloodshed as various powers sought control of this beautiful, yet strategically located place. For much of its early history, one power after another arrived, seeking to overthrow the previous one. In fact, when Corsica declared independence in 1755 under Pasquale Paoli, it had never been a nation of…

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Corsica – The Isle of Beauty

Corsica – The Isle of Beauty

Our next destination at island profiles is Corsica. This fourth largest of the islands in the Mediterranean Sea is the equivalent of a mountain in the sea. Two thirds of the island is a single chain of mountains which reach as high as Monte Cinto at 8, 878 feet. It is an island of jagged peaks, sparkling bays, and sophisticated towns and cities. Palms, olive and orange groves and vineyards dot the low areas by the sea, giving way to…

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Nantucket Things

Nantucket Things

Today we take a look at some of the things most unique to Nantucket. Baskets, shorts, chocolate, bay scallops and sailboat races are on the agenda, followed up by our monthly celebratory cocktail. There is an entire museum dedicated to the baskets that originated on lightships in the 19th century. The lightships were floating lighthouses that provided much needed light to ships navigating the Nantucket Shoals. The shoals, which have caused numerous shipwrecks, are areas of shallow water which lie…

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Beaches, Lighthouses, Sights and Festivals – Nantucket Highlights

Beaches, Lighthouses, Sights and Festivals – Nantucket Highlights

A visit to Nantucket is very much like stepping back in time to a quieter, simpler existence. The relative isolation of the post whaling days left the island protected from encroaching commercial development and left original architecture intact. The iconic gray shingled houses, brick sidewalks, cobblestone streets and electrified ‘gas’ streetlamps lend emphasis to the atmosphere of bygone days. Although a year round destination, the island’s cranberry bogs, heathlands, moors, bike paths and limitless public beaches are more comfortably explored…

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Wampanoags, Whalers and the Wealthy – Some Nantucket History

Wampanoags, Whalers and the Wealthy – Some Nantucket History

The first sighting of the island of Nantucket was reportedly in 1602, when Captain Bartholomew Gosnold of England sailed past it. He did not stop there nor even set foot upon the island. If he had, he would have found about 1600 Wampanoag inhabitants. The Wampanoags were able to live on the island undisturbed until 1659, when a group of English settlers arrived on the island which had been purchased by merchant and missionary Thomas Mayhew in 1641. When the…

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Nantucket

Nantucket

This month we will spend a little time exploring the small island of Nantucket. The name, which is said to be a Native American word meaning ‘That Far Away island”, refers simultaneously to the island, county and town.  Located about 30 miles south of Cape Cod, it is part of the state of Massachusetts. Once considered the whaling capital of the world, the island had a booming economy in the 18th and early 19th centuries until a fire, which started…

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Eating and Drinking the Samoan Way-The Food and Drink of the Samoan Islands

Eating and Drinking the Samoan Way-The Food and Drink of the Samoan Islands

It’s time to wrap up our exploration of the Samoan Islands with a look at the islands’ traditional food and drink. First, we will start with some terms. Fiafia is a word that means get-together or celebration. At many of the hotels, guests may participate in a fiafia night, which involves a large buffet of traditional foods followed by entertainment. Story telling, dancing in traditional costumes (may include fire knives!) and singing are all part of the evening that celebrates…

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