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Images from Carlsbad, California

Recently, I had a chance to visit Carlsbad, a city about 45 minutes away from San Diego in southern California.

As this was a work trip, I was only able to use a few hours on the last morning there to capture images of the beach and the Pacific Ocean. Once I reached Carlsbad I figured that the city is very popular with family travelers as it is the location of Legoland California, and so there were a lot of families on the beach and a lot of young people learning to surf.

The images do not show the busy highway that was behind me and the loud roar from the  highway’s traffic but nonetheless, seeing the Pacific Ocean with its calm waves on this beach after almost 5 years did make me think, Can I please move here? I will even learn to surf! But, anyway, I did return back to New York with a resolve to explore the California coast more with my travel buddies, Siena and Sachin.

Cadillac Mountain, and our first National Park visit with a toddler.


The view of the Atlantic Ocean from atop the Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, Maine.

We climbed a mountain! We actually climbed a mountain, with our three year old! Okay, in the spirit of full disclosure, we drove to a mountain summit with our three year old properly harnessed in her car seat, but still, as any parent would attest, the fact that we toured a bonafide US National Park and managed to see the views from Cadillac Mountain with our little one makes me very proud and happy!

Cadillac Mountain is one of the tallest peaks on the east coast of the United States and is a part of Acadia National Park in Maine. If you have a small child or children and are wondering if a national park holiday is worth your time, and money, and sanity, there is good news! Acadia National Park is very drivable, and you can soak in a lot of scenic beauty by driving and through small and easily doable hikes.


The many viewing points at the summit.

Bordering the Atlantic Ocean, Acadia National Park gave me the feeling of having left the United States, even though we were very much in it or at least at the very east of it. With sweeping views of waves crashing over a rugged coastline dense with forests of pine, fir and birch trees, Acadia National Park felt remote and a perfect antidote to the busyness of New York.

One of the stops on our road trip in this National Park was the Cadillac Mountain.  While we did not investigate into this, there appeared to be hiking trails that can get you to the summit of the mountain. We took the scenic Summit road though, up to the parking lot at the top, and then explored by foot.  There a 3 or 4 stopping points along the way too, so that if you absolutely cannot resist the urge to take pictures, you can park the car safety and let the camera shutters go wild.


Enjoying family time at Acadia National Park

Once we reached the top of Cadillac, there was little else to do but just enjoy the beauty surrounding us. On the pink granite dotted with shrubs and wild flowers, there is a well marked and long gravel path which let Siena, our little one, also explore the summit safely and easily. The view in front of us was of the vast Atlantic, dotted with numerous Maine islands, including the most popular one, Bar Harbor.


A quite moment to enjoy the beauty of the moment

Stay tuned for more on what we saw and did in Acadia National Park.

Practically speaking:

  • Wear good hiking shoes and carry drinking water (and snacks if you are travelling with little kids). Also carry sunscreen and a sun-hat if you travelling in summer like we did.
  • The daily weather is a tad unpredictable. It might be cloudy in the morning but could get very sunny later in the day.
  • Most definitely carry and apply bug spray when you are out and about in this thickly wooded National Park!
  • Acadia is a very popular tourist destination (as we came to realize), so if you are visiting during a public holiday, expect a lot of crowds and wait times for available spots in parking lots.


Why you should visit Bermuda in December

“This is going to be great”, I thought with giddy relief as we stepped out of the airport into the beautiful Bermuda sunshine, on December 24. The sunny weather, hovering around 75F/ 24C, was nothing short of glorious and a perfect escape from the blistering cold of New York. There had been was a good chance that in late December, we would have encountered cold, rainy and “unbeachy” weather. But it was looking like our roll of the dice would pay off. We were in for a perfect Bermuda Christmas.


The sherbet – colored bungalows of Bermuda add to its charm.

If you live in or near the East Coast of the U.S. and have wondered whether Bermuda in the winter is a good idea, let me put your mind to ease – with less crowds, great deals on airfare and resort stays, and Christmas cheer everywhere, there is no better time to visit Bermuda than Christmas.

Bermuda is a prosperous island in the Atlantic Ocean, and a British Overseas Territory. It is only a 2-hour flight from New York but it is a world apart. Northern than the Caribbean islands, it is surprisingly lush-green. The shimmering Atlantic Ocean peeks through the sherbet colored, almost color-coordinated bungalows, which are surrounded by manicured gardens.


Lush greenery overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

The weather was a sunny mid-seventies which in my book is perfection – not cold but not scorching hot either, and thus we could spend most of our days outdoors. Our grand resort, the Fairmont Southampton was beautifully decorated for the festive season and had an entire roster of festive activities and celebrations for the guests. There would be few more things that would lift your spirits more than the sight of the large Christmas Tree next to the ocean. And since we were outside of the peak tourist season of June through August, everything was more easy, from reservations in the restaurants to loungers on the beach.


A Christmas Tree with a view.


How would you like a beach all to yourself?

On the subject of beach, the famed Horseshoe Beach did not disappoint. The quite beaches, the soft sand and the teal-blue waters were a treat for sore eyes and a sore spirit.


The soft sand and the clear waters of Horseshoe beach.


A happy Christmas morning.

Bermuda has made a fan out of me, and I hope to visit this island once again, in different seasons, but maybe at Christmas time again.



The best sunset I have ever seen.

The islands of Hawaii have stunning coastlines, beautiful beaches, lush green mountains,  volcanoes and craters, but a place of pride belongs to the sunsets.


Sunset on Kaanapali beach, Maui, Hawaii

Enjoying sunsets is a bit of a ritualistic community activity in Hawaii, where everyone stops what they are doing and head to the beach or the lanai (Hawaiian for balcony)  or the edge of their infinity pool to see the sun melt in the horizon.


Where have you seen your favorite sunset or sunrise?

Reviewed: Very Hungry Caterpillar Show


The stars of Very Hungry Caterpillar pausing for pictures and applause.

From the notoriously hungry caterpillar to the lit up firefly, from the ten itinerant rubber duckies to the large brown bear – watch these characters, immortalized by Eric Carle in his much loved toddler books, come to life in Very Hungry Caterpillar Show.

The show, which is currently running in New York, is the narration of 4 Eric Carle’s books with the help of large animal puppets which can only be described as magical.

Published between 1969 and 2005, these books with their simple stories and colorful collage style illustrations, hold timeless appeal for little inquisitive minds. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? makes a journey through the colorful animal kingdom. 10 Little Rubber Ducks recounts the different adventures of ten rubber ducks who  fall overboard a cargo ship. The Very Lonely Firefly has a firefly looking for and finally succeeding in finding its firefly friends. The star of the show is clearly the caterpillar from The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which is the delightful tale of a caterpillar eating his way through a whole range of foods before becoming a mighty butterfly.


The stage displaying Eric Carle’s book as we wait for the performance to begin.

The show is playing in a cozy theater near Union Square. As we entered the foyer with our 3 year old girl, we were comforted to see that the audience was largely made of 3 – 6 year olds and their parents. The foyer area also has a small table and chairs with coloring sheets (illustrated with the Hungry Caterpillar of course) and crayons, for some pre-show coloring tail-gate. You would think that with such a large toddler crowd watching a 55-minute long show, there would invariably be sounds of tantrums, but we only heard laughter, squeals of delight and children guessing out loud which puppet was going to make an appearance next.


Siena getting ready for the show to begin

The stories were narrated by three very talented narrators cum puppeteers. All the animal puppets and other props are crafted beautifully, and maneuvered brilliantly. The uplifting sound track accompanying the stories and the light effects add to the wonder. While the stories are for kids, there are plenty of spell-binding moments for adults too. The large brown bear entering the stage in the beginning of the show, a grand whale serenading a rubber duck with its whale sounds, a group of lit up fireflies, the simulated lights and sounds of fireworks, a moon smiling in the backdrop of the night and the caterpillar covering itself in a cocoon are just a few of them.


All smiles at Very Hungry Caterpillar Show

The only thing not great was that you need to pay for premium seats to get a picture of your child with monsieur caterpillar and other puppets. Oh well.

If you live in New York, or are visiting, CHECK out this show! This would be the perfect introduction to theater for your budding theater lover.

Some tips before you go:

  • There are plenty of promo codes on the internet where you can get $ 49.5 tickets for $ 34.5. While the seats were not in the first 4 – 5 rows from the stage, they still provided our 3 year old with a good view of the performance.
  • Carry some snacks and water for small fidgety hands. Food and drinks are not sold at the venue.
  • If you haven’t read the books, borrow them from the library and read them to your kids a couple of times before the show. They will enjoy the show more as a result!

Sharing some New York moments

As if I don’t do this enough already but this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge – Tour Guide, specially calls for it – show what you love about where you live.

Even though I yearn for more greenery, I love this melting pot called New York. Here are some of my much loved moments in New York in 2017.

Have you been to New York? What did you like most about the Big Apple?

The Christmas Tree at the Rockefeller Center:


The American Art wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art:


The Pulitzer Fountain outside the Plaza Hotel:


The Ramble at Central Park:


Downtown Manhattan as seen from Governors Island:


St. Patrick’s Cathedral:


The fairytale garden at Tavern On the Green:


Colorful in Copenhagen


Colorful townhouses line the canal in Nyhavn in the scandinavian city of Copenhagen.

For more “variations on a theme”, click here.

Silence amidst chaos – Central Park in Fall

IMG_4131The silence of cold days in Central Park is not the lonely kind. It is the serene and peaceful kind, where you can hear your own cold breath, the distant clip-clop of horse carriages, a brave artist playing the violin or saxophone and the intermittent chatter of other people. If you can weather the winds, it is an excellent refuge from the city’s busyness.


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To be enthralled by some amazing blogging talent, look at the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge – Silence.

P.S. – Every year, I take a solo walk in Central Park to take pictures of the fall colors in relative peace and quite. Click here for more of my labor of love.

My most memorable photo of 2017

While WordPress’s final photo challenge of 2017 calls for going through the photo archives for all of last year and selecting and showcasing the favorites to bid 2017 a fond goodbye, due to lack of time I am posting the one that comes to mind as the most meaningful:

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It is no surprise that as a mom of a pre-schooler, most of the cherished photos taken include this little girl, and it is very hard to get her to pose. Here, Siena was playing in the lawn at the Battery in Charleston in May 2017. Charleston as a short spring vacation destination was good to us. This photo captures her happy, mischievous and always curious essence.

And if you have stopped by to read this post, wish you a great 2018 full of good health, happiness and new adventures!

For more entries, click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Ascend


Dallas, Texas – a patchwork of lights, as the plane ascends.

(WP WPC – Ascend)

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