Santa Barbara's Sunny-Side Celebration

The summer solstice has a special meaning for my husband and me. It’s the day we chose to marry seven years ago.More than just a convenient way to remember our anniversary date, we love long summer days. But maybe not as much as the residents of Santa Barbara.

Every year since 1974, this coastal community has celebrated the event with its Summer Solstice Parade. It actually began as a birthday celebration for a popular artist and mime named Michael Gonzales.Today, about 100,000 gather over the weekend to watch the spectacle unfold.

Bubbles, steam-snorting dragons, Carnival-style dancers and psychedelic fish lined State Street and proceeded to mesmerize the crowds. The 1,000 parade participants delivered and excelled on this year’s “creatures” theme.

How nice of Santa Barbara to make our anniversary extra memorable.

The summer solstice has a special meaning for my husband and me. It’s the day we chose to marry seven years ago.

More than just a convenient way to remember our anniversary date, we love long summer days. But maybe not as much as the residents of Santa Barbara.

Every year since 1974, this coastal community has celebrated the event with its Summer Solstice Parade. It actually began as a birthday celebration for a popular artist and mime named Michael Gonzales.

Today, about 100,000 gather over the weekend to watch the spectacle unfold. Bubbles, steam-snorting dragons, Carnival-style dancers and psychedelic fish lined State Street and proceeded to mesmerize the crowds. The 1,000 parade participants delivered and excelled on this year’s “creatures” theme.

How nice of Santa Barbara to make our anniversary extra memorable.

- See more at: http://snapshottraveler.com/#sthash.VaRvuZYI.dpuf

The summer solstice has a special meaning for my husband and me. It’s the day we chose to marry seven years ago.

More than just a convenient way to remember our anniversary date, we love long summer days. But maybe not as much as the residents of Santa Barbara.

Every year since 1974, this coastal community has celebrated the event with its Summer Solstice Parade. It actually began as a birthday celebration for a popular artist and mime named Michael Gonzales.

Today, about 100,000 gather over the weekend to watch the spectacle unfold. Bubbles, steam-snorting dragons, Carnival-style dancers and psychedelic fish lined State Street and proceeded to mesmerize the crowds. The 1,000 parade participants delivered and excelled on this year’s “creatures” theme.

How nice of Santa Barbara to make our anniversary extra memorable.

- See more at: http://snapshottraveler.com/#sthash.VaRvuZYI.dpuf

Central Park Amusement

There’s no place quite like Central Park. It’s a must-see every time we’re in New York City.

This priceless acreage sculpted by granite rocks, lakes, meadows, trees, bridges and pathways is such an oddity surrounded by Manhattan’s skyscrapers. While it offers a respite from the quick pace of the city outside its perimeter, its New York-bred commercialism is evident as street vendors and performers hustle to make a living.

Checking out The New York Public Library

Was it the word “tour” or “library” that left my husband scratching his head as I explained my plan for our next grand adventure.

We had three nights in New York City and I wanted to make the most of our short stay. A few years ago on a family trip, I had a glimpse of The New York Public Library Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42ndStreet. I remember how the experience left me wanting more. In my travel language, “more” translates into “tour.”

We joined about 20 others on a one-hour jaunt through this transporting place. Tours are offered at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 2 p.m. on Sundays, except when it’s closed on Sundays in the summer.

Finding our castle in the desert

The legend of Walter “Scotty” Scott might not be fodder for conversation today, but it churned in the Death Valley rumor mill during the Roaring 20s. 

After all, Scotty is responsible for luring Albert Mussey Johnson and his wife Bessie to Death Valley in hopes of striking it even richer through their investment in his faux gold mine. While the “mining operation” may have been a bust, the resulting Spanish-Mediterranean spread in the middle of the desert was a godsend.