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The Pfister Hotel: Milwaukee's Grande Dame Hotel

I feel fortunate to have stayed in the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, three times. I, of course, am not as well-known as other guests such as Elvis, Jack London, William McKinley, or Luciano Pavarotti; however, I imagine I enjoyed it as much as any of those famous celebrities.

This 1893 hotel is now back to its former grandeur after a multimillion-dollar restoration. It has hand-painted murals on the ceiling, ornate marble columns, terra-cotta angels guarding a turn-of-the-century fireplace, & brass and gilt chandeliers just in the lobby alone!

The hotel has 307 rooms, all with a marble bathroom. There is brass and mahogany everywhere. I always stay in the older part of the hotel, but some people prefer the newer tower.

The rooms have at least two telephones, hair dryers, two televisions (a mini one in the bathrooms!). In the Pfister Tower (1966), you do have great views of Lake Michigan.

In the hotels English Room, I experienced a grand hotel dining experience...once at the lavish Sunday Brunch and once for a romantic dinner.
This is a culinary delight with such offerings as breast of pheasant prepared with a peppered game sauce and celery chips or suteed twin tenderlins of beef with roasted garlic potato puree and grand mustard sauce. The waiters are all dressed in Tuxedoes.

Once my daughter Jill and I had massages on the 23rd floor in front of ceiling to floor windows overlooking the city. It was a "trip"!

When in Milwaukee, be sure to stay at the family-owned Pfister Hotel.

The lobby and second-floor mezzanine have the largest hotel collection of Victorian art in the world, and it's a treat to see it all displayed in such an elegant spot.

The hotel has a glass-encased, 23rd floor swimming pool for laps with sweeping panoramas of the city.

We also loved the lobby's historic fireplace that was rediscovered during restoration. It's such a delight.

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: Architecture, Historical Travel, Food and Dining
  • Written March 25, 2005
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Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin


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  • Reviews: 620

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Bryce Canyon Lodge: Another option at a National Park

I realize that not all people like to camp, so while we were at most of the national parks we visited, I went in to the lodges and hotels to look around. Also, in 2 of the cases, the girl I was traveling with had worked in them.

The Bryce Canyon Lodge is beautiful, but most lodges in National Parks are--and the scenery you're staying in can't be beaten. This particular place was built in the 1920's and has been rennovated to maintain the atmosphere of the time period. You can definitely feel comfortable here...I didn't stay, but I could have.

You have your choice of a Western Cabin, a hotel room, a Lodge Suite or Studio. These vary in price, but not by too much. There's also a restaurant and a gift shop on site and lots of sightseeing tours from which to choose--so you do actually get to experience the park.

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: National/State Park
  • Written May 31, 2004
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Bryce Canyon Lodge


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  • Reviews: 620

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Old Faithful Inn: Old Faithful Inn

This is someplace I would definitely stay! It's beautiful...a national historic landmark and one of the few remaining log hotels/inns in the nation and among the biggest log inns in the world. It was built in 1904 (just celebrated its 100th anniversary) and some of the orginal furniture pieces still exist. When you walk in the front door, look up. It's pretty incredible. The old Faithful snow lodge, which is pretty close to the inn is open all year, while this place is closed in the winter

This place would be beautiful overlooking a landfill, but the fact it faces Old Faithful basin, makes it probably one of the most incredible Inns in a National Park (The Ahwahnee in Yosemite is just as striking, but more expensive) Additionally, there's a bar, restaurant and plenty of other things to do and see in the area.

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: National/State Park
  • Written June 5, 2004
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inside the lobby


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Alma de Sedona Inn: For Poolside Sunset Views...

Alma de Sedona Inn is a wonderful place to stay while visiting Sedona, Arizona. It's a romantic inn with natural beauty surrounding it (can be seen from the rooms) and its beautiful interior designs where each special room has a fabulous name. Here, you have privacy, a fireplace, a delicious breakfast, and you are pampered.

Each of the 12 rooms offers a king-sized bed, gas fireplace, telephone & answering machine, cable TV, CD player, hair-dryer, coffee-maker, private entrance, private patio, plush robes, non-smoking environment, candles & bath salts, and eleven of the twelve rooms have two-person Jacuzzi tubs!

I loved most, the views of the Sedona red rock formations. Some of the names of the rooms that I remember are: Athena, Journey's End, Casa Blanca, American Generation, and Del Sol.

They range in price from $180 to over $300 dollars. We stayed in Mary's Room with an iron bed; color scheme of blue, beige, and gold with a loveseat, fireplace, and super views.

They offer late afternoon appetizers, and it's a good time to join other guests and share ideas. The Pool is excellent and is also a super spot to watch the incredible sunsets.
They do not serve any alcohol (state law), but you are allowed to bring your own.

The breakfast is really something with fresh juices, hot-brewed coffee or tea, granola, yogurt, and a special main course that changes each day. Recipes are shared if you wish.

Splurge this once, and you won't regret it, and it will be a memory of the USA that you'll never forget!

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: Eco-Tourism, Hiking and Walking, Adventure Travel
  • Written February 18, 2005
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Red Rocks of Sedona


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The Gold Coast Guest House, Chicago, Illinois: A Rare Find: A Bed and Breakfast in Chicago

I never thought I'd see the day when there would be an elegant, affordable Bed and Breakfast in the heart of Chicago. But, thank goodness, there is: Gold Coast Guest House Bed & Breakast

To top it off, it's right near the "Magnificent Mile"! Located in the very heart of the Gold Coast (Chicago's most exclusive nighborhood), there's a restored 1873 brick townhouse, one of five historic buildings that used to line this portion of Elm Street (now there are only three).

I was surprised when I saw the inside because it was very contemporary with fine antiques to spice it up. Bedrooms offer the best of both the classic and the contemporary designs. There's a winding spiral staircase to the upstairs. My favorite room is on the second floor and has a big bay window that overlooks the street. It has art deco furniture and the original brick fireplace. It also has an in-room whirlpool.

Of course, with my love of gardens, I was impressed with the private garden (walled-in) that guests are welcome to use.

Breafasts are taken in the second-floor dining room that is kind of like a balcony overlooking the gathering room below. We had fresh bagels, English muffins, cold cereal, yogurt, & juices.

We had access to the refrigerator and could get sodas, wine, snacks, or beer when we wanted.

It was a nice five minute walk to the shops on Michigan Avenue and to the Oak Street Beach.

This was originally a three flat, and Sally Baker, the owner, has been renovating it for ten years. She used to be a travel guide based in London so she knows what travelers want.

There are only four rooms so reserve well in advance.

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Related to: Historical Travel, Architecture
  • Written March 25, 2005
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Gold Coast Guest House Bed Breakfast in Chicago


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DeSoto House, Galena, Illinois: Once Billed "the Largest Hotel in the West"....

The DeSoto Hotel is a massive 1855 structure that opened during the period when unprecedented lead-mining profits transformed Galena into a trade & commerce center that actually rivaled Chicago. Recently, more than 8 million dollars was poured into the hotel's restoration.

For our 40th Wedding Anniversary in August of 2003, Allan and I stayed one night at the famed hotel in the heart of Galena. Once we walked in the door, we knew that we had stepped back in time, and we understood why such famous guests as Abraham Lincoln (he spoke from the balcony of the hotel in 1856), Ulysses S. Grant, Mark Twain, Teddy Roosevelt, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Susan B. Anthony had stayed here too.

When it was built, it cost $85,000.00, and can you believe that at first, only men were allowed to enter the Hotel through the front door from Main Street! The "Ladies Entrance" was at the side of the Hotel.

The tin ceiling, stained glass windows, and the curved staircase are all original. Despite economic famine, fire, and floods, the DeSoto House has survived and is doing well today. It's certainly a reminder of days gone by.

The rooms are oversized with high ceilings, beautiful decor, and antique furniture.

We ate breakfast at The Courtyard Restaurant which is a lovely four story atrium; we ate dinner at The Generals' Restaurant, which is named in honor of Galena's 9 Civil War Generals.

Allan and I stayed under a deal called Memories are Forever which included the room (we stayed in the Ulysses S. Grant Room, which was a corner room with windows all around), dinner for two in Generals' Restaurant, two DeSoto House Champagne Glasses, DeSoto House Champagne, a long-stemmed red rose with baby's breath, breakfast, and Galena Chocolates!

Needless to say, it was a remarkable package deal. We loved every minute of it because the room was huge with a lovely up-to-date bathroom; service was fantastic, & the food was delicious. It made our 40th anniversary quite special.

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Romantic Travel and Honeymoons, Architecture, Historical Travel
  • Written March 25, 2005
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Allan inside DeSoto Hotel celebrating our 40th !


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  • deecat profile photo deecat
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The Southern Hotel, Ste Genevieve, Missouri: Finest Accommodations Between St. Louis & Natchez

The old hotel's saloon now acts as a guest parlor. It still has the swining doors.

The innkeeper told us that in the 1820's, the Mississippi River was about four blocks away; the hotel hired a young slave to sit in the belvedere atop the house to watch for steamboats . If he saw one, he would run across the street to the stables & get a wagon to meet the hotel guests.[ I think that kind of information is priceless.]

The Southern Hotel fell into ruin in the mid-1980s; the grounds became a junk yard. I sure would not have guessed that by looking at this stately structure and yard now. The rooms have a combination of country Victorian furnishings & excellent folk art; there are only eight rooms.

The Japonisme Room, of course, has an oriental influence. The River Room has a headboard of "Old Man River" carved out of Missouri cedar logs by a local artist. Cabbage Rose is romantic and has a carved Victorian headboard, white lace, and elegant wallpaper. The Wysocki's Room has a most unusual bed with a 3-dimensional folk-art headboard that depicts a village.

We stayed in the Cabbage Rose room. (romantics at heart)
The location is perfect; within walking distance to everything.

The "summer kitchen" behind the hotel has been restored into a craft boutique that features works of local artisans. Be sure to check it out...I think you'll enjoy it.

I was especially charmed by the wonderful gardens and the incredible food. The kitchen is decorated with handsome rosemaling (Scandinavian folk art).

The breakfast is truly gourmet. It might include strawberry soup, banana bisque, freshly baked croissants, fresh juices, chocolate-tinged coffee, various quiches...a delight, indeed.

All 8 rooms have private baths and air conditioning, which is needed in the humid summers.

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Related to: Historical Travel, Food and Dining, Architecture
  • Written March 25, 2005
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The Southern Hote, Ste Genevieve, Missouri


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  • PA2AKgirl profile photo PA2AKgirl
  • Reviews: 620

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Lieber State Recreation Area, Indiana: In the heart of the heartland

We drove from Syracuse, NY to this place on day #1 of our road trip. We had aimed for Indianapolis and this is between that city and Terre Haute. No offense to anyone, but Indiana isn't the most exciting state to drive though so we weren't expecting much. However, this place is VERY nice--there's a lot of campgrounds and SHOWERS! (this becomes a very important feature of a campground)
But, we were banished to the most out of the way and muddiest campsite because we annoyed the ranger. I made the mistake of saying something to jeanette that caused her laugh uncontrollably. We couldn't complete the registration in a composed manner, so I'm sure the ranger thought we were messed up. There were very few people camping...we were the only tent...putting us in that site was just to be mean...we are lucky we got out alive...

The reason I say that is because of the giant owl. We were drinking a little bit before going to sleep...had the tent up, everything was wonderful when we hear this robotic shrieking. Almost like a laugh...something from a video game back in the day. Anyway, I grabbed my flashlight and see 2 huge eyes reflecting in the beam so I backed up to get a better view and it was this giant owl. Beautiful, but i've never heard anything make that noise. Later, we were laying down and we heard coyotes (are there really coyotes in Indiana??) ---I just read there are 16 different kinds of coyotes from Central America to Alaska, from Maine to California...so, yes, there are plenty of coyotes in Indiana.
So, just beware of the giant owl. It's scary stuff. And the mean ranger--she's also a little on the scary side.

  • Opinion of Price: least expensive
  • Related to: Budget Travel
  • Written May 28, 2004
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We were banished to Rabbit Avenue


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  • PA2AKgirl profile photo PA2AKgirl
  • Reviews: 620

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Pinyon Flats at Great Sand Dunes, Colorado: Great Camping at Great Sand Dunes

We got to Colorado on Tuesday. The original plan was to go up to Denver, but while driving through Kansas, we decided to head south and take back roads to the Great Sand Dunes National Monument. The best part of this was that we didn't get to see what the campsite looked like until morning because we set up around 11pm. But it was beautiful:) The campsites are in plots--developed, but no hook ups if you want to take your RV.

There aren't showers here, but it's a self pay deal...you can come in at any time, fill out a registration and put your money in an envelope and take it up to the stake right at the end of your site. The mountains are beautiful here--the stars are also incredible. The park in general is in a remote area of the San Luis range, so it takes awhile to get here, but it's well worth it. I'll talk about the park specifically in a "must see" tip

  • Opinion of Price: least expensive
  • Related to: Budget Travel, Road Trip, National/State Park
  • Written May 28, 2004
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view from campsite


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  • Reviews: 620

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Bear Paw Fishing Resort: Panguitch Lake cabins

The girl I was traveling with used to work here, so when we went up to visit, they put us in a cabin (free of charge!) for the night. I'm used to pretty rustic cabins, so this was a wonderful surprise when I got inside. They are spacious, furnished, a nice bathroom and shower, kitchenette, card table, extra heater...The whole resort is beautiful--situated at 8,400' on Panguitch Lake, they claim to have some of the best trout fishing you could possibly find. You're about 1/2 hour from Bryce Canyon and a short distance from Zion National Park as well.

Given what the cabins are like, this place is CHEAP! There is a great restaurant, a lodge, a post office, store, lodge, phones...it's really a beautiful place. The family who owns it is very nice as well:)

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Fishing
  • Written May 29, 2004
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Cabins on the lake


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  • deecat profile photo deecat
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Boone Tavern Hotel of Berea College: Staying in a Tavern on a College Campus?

Ironically, Berea is a dry town. Richmond, Kentucky (15 miles away), is the nearest place to purchase liquor. It is ironic because the hotel where we stayed is called Boone Tavern Hotel of Berea College.

It's a comfortable, but old hotel, and it's been a tradition in Berea since 1901. From the photograph, you can see that it has stately columns in the southern tradition, & the southern hospitality is also quite evident.

The guest rooms have been newly decorated, & what is so neat is that the furniture is handcrafted by the students who attend Berea College.

This town has a wonderful reputation for its folk arts and crafts where you will see marvelous woodwork, weaving, ceramics, broomcraft, and wrought iron. All year long, there are at least 100 artisans selling their work in 40 galleries within the town.

But, the real heart of Berea lies in historic Berea College where the students continue to learn the traditional Appalachian crafts. Although Berea College is quite small, it ranks among the very top liberal arts colleges in the South. It opened way back in 1855. Many poor whites came here and were able to sell their Appalachian handcrafts to pay for tuition. To this day, all the students are on full scholarship, & they work ten to fifteen hours per week in the crafts areas .

I bring all of this up because at Boone Tavern Hotel of Berea College, you see the students working. This hotel was built in 1909 and here you sit on student-made cane-bottomed chairs, eat meals in the elegant yet casual dining room, and are served by students.

You are fortunate to stay at Boone Tavern Hotel of Berea College because you'll be sure to eat at the restaurant. It's a wonderful place to find such fare as "chicken flakes in a bird's nest, Jefferson Davis pie, &, my husband's favorite, "spoon bread".

I strongly suggest that if you are ever in the Cumberland foothills where Kentucky's bluegrass grows, you should stop at this little town called Berea and stay at the Boone Tavern Hotel of Berea College

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Related to: Food and Dining, Historical Travel, Architecture
  • Written March 25, 2005
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Boone Tavern Hotel of Berea College


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  • deecat profile photo deecat
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Sweet Basil Hill Farm, Gurnee, Illinois: A Great Bed and Breakfast in Gurnee, Illinois?

Less than two miles from my house is a remarkably wonderful Bed and Breakfast called Sweet Basil Hill Farm Bed and Breakfast Inn.
This is a country inn that is cozy and comfortable.

It's nestled on a hilltop amid seven and a half wooded acres, just six miles west of Lake Michigan and about half way between Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Chicago, Illinois.

The Inn has English and American country antiques and gleaming wood floors, wicker rockers, and Shaker chairs.

The hosts are Teri and Bob Jones who personally welcome you. I was enchanted by the groves of fruit trees, all the flower gardens, and the walking paths.

If you have children, they will love it here with the farm animals, the sheep, the llamas, and a potbellied pig. I don't remember the names, but each animal has its own name.

It reminds me of an Inn we stayed in while in New Hampshire. It has English pine antiques and handmade reproductions. All the guest rooms are different with every detail just perfect.

The common room has comfortable seating around a wood burning fireplace. There are games, books, and a video collection for guests to use. Complimentary hot spiced cider or strawberry lemonade, cookies, popcorn, coffee, and tea are always available.

There are two 2-bedroom suites, one single room, and one separate 2-bedroom guest cottage with a kitchen, dining room, living room with fireplace as well as bath. All rooms have private baths, are air conditioned and either Queen or twin beds.

Rates range from $95.00 to $175.00

A generous breakfast from a menu is offered each morning. We had fruit, eggs, cereal, freshly baked breads/muffins/cakes plus coffee or tea. You are able to decide when you wish to eat, and that is real special.

It's not real obvious that it is a Bed and Breakfast from the road. You have to look for a small Sweet Basil Hill sign and a short white fence. Then you drive up the gravel road to the second building. Ring the Visitor's Bell right outside the Inn.

I tell you that you will not regret staying at this enchanting country inn.

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Food and Dining, Architecture
  • Written March 25, 2005
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Room in Sweet Basil Inn in Gurnee, Illinois


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  • cachaseiro profile photo cachaseiro
  • Reviews: 1924

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ocean beach international hostel: my favorite hostel in california

in san diego i stayed at the ocean beach hostel.
it's a very funky and freindly place with very good staff and management.
it's also the cheapest hostel in san diego.
it's right next to the beach and some good bars.
the street where it's located is probaply the nicest street in san diego.

  • Opinion of Price: least expensive
  • Related to: Budget Travel
  • Written February 25, 2004
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the hostel


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  • cachaseiro profile photo cachaseiro
  • Reviews: 1924

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campsites: state beaches and state forests.

there are lot's of state beaches and state forests scatterd along the pacific coast.
they are very cheap (2 dollars a night) to stay at if you come by foot or bicycle.
they usually have a little corner of the campsite reserved for hikers and bikers.
that is also a great way to meet fellow travellers.

  • Opinion of Price: least expensive
  • Related to: Cycling
  • Written January 20, 2004
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fellow cyclists around the campfire


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  • Reviews: 2338

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Best Western: Best Western

I have stayed at a Best Western on two occasions. The first time was a business trip to Emporia, Virginia in January, 2001. The second was when Lee and I went to Covington, Virginia for a tournament of the baseball team he coaches in May, 2006. On restaurants, I expect a lot, but I'm not picky on hotels. All I need are a clean room, a clean loo, a comfortable bed and a telly. My only quibble with the Covington property was the air conditioning unit was so noisy.

It has that and more. Besides the pictured pool, it provides registered guests with certain things like toothbrush, toothpaste, and other things commonly forgotten. That really came in handy when I forgot my toiletry bag.

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: Business Travel, Road Trip
  • Written March 6, 2004
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Best Western: Emporia, VA

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