Have you ever considered staying in a tiny house in Michigan? Imagine it with me. The weekend hits, and you pack your car with your coziest knit sweaters, a bottle of wine, your swimsuit, and some board games. Then, you hit the road and head up north. In Michigan, this means driving through highways lined in pine trees. When you crest a hill, a turquoise blue Great Lake stretches out before you. Finally, you arrive at your home for the weekend: A tiny wooden cabin nestled in the forest. It’s simple, but it’s all you need.
Le Monastere des Augustines stands tall in the heart of Old Quebec City. Here, guests sleep in a 17th-century monastery and hospital turned luxury wellness hotel. A few days here is not only a check on a bucket list, but has the potential to be a life-changing wellness retreat.
Chances are if you are traveling in Maine, you will pass through Portland, the state’s largest city. But is it a good place to stick around if you are gluten free? This was my third visit to Portland but my first in the eight years I’ve been gluten free! I have to say, the gluten free Portland Maine scene totally surpassed my expectations, and months later I still dream of some of the meals I had here.
South India is known as the gluten free friendly alternative to North India. I’ve always loved Indian food and often find it’s a safe harbor of gluten free options wherever in the world I’m visiting. So I was very excited to try out real Indian cuisine when I visited South India! Part of my trip was attending my friend Vaish’s week-long wedding extravaganza in Chennai, so I was particularly comforted that I’d have someone local to help guide me through what was (and wasn’t) safe to eat.
One of my favorite small series on this blog is my travel impressions. For a moment we forget the tips, the advice, and the SEO and hone in on the essence of travel: it’s images, emotions, scents, and memories. For no place could this seem more fitting than chaotic Chennai India.
After exploring misty tea country in Ella, Dan and I wound our way down to Sri Lanka’s southern shores, and to arguably the hotel we were most excited about: Jasper House Sri Lanka. Don’t get me wrong, we loved the lavish Indian wedding we attended in Chennai, followed by the clattering 10 hour train from Colombo that wound its way through Sri Lanka’s hills. And we adored everything about Ella, especially each sweaty hike to epic viewpoints. But were we exhausted? YES. A few days of utter relaxation at Jasper House in Hiriketiya is exactly what we needed.
It was a simple photo of a blue train that first sparked my dream of visiting Sri Lanka. It was five years ago, and I had discovered a summer volunteer program in Sri Lanka. I remember spending that spring looking through all the program materials. I lingered over photos of the volunteers’ weekend trips into tea country, whipping through the countryside on the iconic blue trains.
Galle was the final stop of our Sri Lanka itinerary – a route that looped us through the island’s southern sites, from Ella’s lush tea country to Hiriketiya’s offbeat surf culture to, finally, the sunny ramparts of Galle. There are so many things to do in Galle, even though the walled fort area itself is only 130 square acres.