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travel guide

Travelling to Perth? Read this first.

1024px-South_Perth_Foreshore_gnangarra

Perth is having a moment; there’s no way to deny it.

From the local brews to the hipster central hotspots, Perth is Australia’s new must-see destination and it’s not hard to see why. Awesome barrier reefs, expansive desert landscapes, wine country, white sand and blue water beaches, creative little creatures, and more are all rolled into one fantastic hotspot on Western Australia’s Coast and it’s a great place to vacation.

While I tend to take the road less travelled—beer tours! music festivals! fancy eats!—there’s a guide to getting the good stuff like a local as well, and this one is it. So sit back and relax; I’ve got suggestions to where to stay, where to play, and where to shop in an ultimate guide to living it up in Perth.  

Where to Stay

Perth is bursting with things to excite someone who really loves finding their niche in the travel market through accommodation; from great Airbnb rentals to state of the art boutique hotels, there’s plenty to excite a person who prides themselves on making a particularly excellent choice.

For lovers of the quiet B&B atmosphere I suggest Pension of Perth in Northbridge; with it’s classic, rustic-chic bed and breakfast style, it’s perfect for a couple taking a romantic getaway or for a writer’s retreat that ends with you writing the next screen adaptation for Australia. There’s private rooms and a townhouse, and it’s all minutes walk from Perth Central without being in the middle of the hustle and bustle—this means you get to eat, drink, be merry, and then come back home to relax.

Anywhere I go, I always suggest checking out Airbnb, especially if you’re looking for a local experience, or plan on going with a lot of people. There are some really great finds, from chic, luxe getaways close to the city and the beach, to huge Fremantle palaces to bring the whole family along, it’s hard to find something that won’t fit. Plus, you’re benefitting from the locals who are always inclined to give you good recommendations for eating, playing, and beaching!

And my ultimate recommendation for accommodation comes from personal experience at COMO The Treasury, and I’m fairly sure it’s the best place I’ve ever stayed (and there’s a lot of great options in Perth). Stark, modern interiors, specifically crafted restaurants and cafes, and a storied past (it used to be a government building), COMO by far is the coolest digs in Perth. If you’ve got the extra pocket change, splurge for a room here with modern art made by local and international artists on the wall, a meal at their rooftop hangout Wildflower, or a lazy day hanging around their in house library. Can you imagine anything more sumptuous than that?

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What to Do

Do. There’s plenty to play with in Perth; from the Kings Park (the largest city green space in the world) to Cottesloe Beach, taking a tour of Perth’ must-sees are super fun, sometimes off the map, and impossible to miss. For a look at the native creatures up close, check out Perth Zoo. For an overlooking view that makes for great panoramic shots, go with the Lotterywest Federation Walkway. For a history lesson, The Perth Mint is the oldest functioning mint in the world and the Old Mill is a quaint relic of life in the mid-19th century.

  1. Think Perth is just about the wine tours in Swan Valley? Think again. The microbrewery revolution in Perth has hit its stride and spending an afternoon tasting all the hops is certainly a great way to taste the flavor of WA. Check out favorites like Mash Brewing, Colonial Brewing Co., and Indian Ocean Co. for classic tastes that are always good, or strike out and make a date with Cheeky Monkey Brewery and Cidery and Feral Brewing Co.—either way you roll, you can’t go wrong.
  2.  Perth has a great many music festivals (that also happen to be conveniently located on their stunning beaches) that shouldn’t be missed. Sets on the Beach is Perth’s hottest beach party, both literally and figuratively. Featuring both local and international talent, Sets fest banks on the beautiful summer weather and killer beach sunsets, not to mention it’s awesome lineups,  to give you the best time around. For urban and underground music, check out The Origin (it’s Perth’s answer to the growing hip hop scene), and try St. Jerome’s Laneway for an international fest that hits up locations all over Australia and Southeast Asia, bringing some really big acts and a whole lot of jamming fun.
  3. Do you consider yourself to be a bit of a foodie? Then Perth is going to be your taste bud heaven. From one of a kind gourmet grilled cheeses at Toastface Grillah to streetside food trucks offering excellent bratwurst at Run Amuk, you’re going to go hungry and come back really full, really satisfied, and really in love. Hit up La Veen for a flat white, The Raw Kitchen as an ode to the clean living revolution, and Lot Twenty for some great outdoor vibes. For dinner, make sure you don’t miss No Mafia’s Australian-Italian menu or The Old Crow for a 5-course style eatery that mixes authentic gastronomy with local favorites and trendy dishes.

What to Buy

Anything Quokka. This fluffy marsupial always wears a happy smile and has been deemed the happiest animal on the planet (truth is, if I were this cute I’d be perpetually happy too), and is a much smarter find than going for the run-of-the-mill kangaroo. While we love our two-legged pouch friends, the quokka is the younger, more adorable cousin that makes for a perfect stuffed animal to take home to just about anyone. Don’t miss your chance, these furries are one of a kind.

Aboriginal Art. How can you go into a cultural mecca and not partake in the local arts? So when in Perth, grab some great Aboriginal pieces that won’t only be a talking point for all those dinners but also will enrich the community and keep the incredible artistry alive. Hit up galleries like Japingka and Creative Native Perth for some clever finds.  

  1. As a colony of Britain and just excellent located for some international trading, antiques are not hard to come by in Perth, and spending a day searching for treasure might just be your perfect answer for a rainy day plan. From awesome furniture finds to old fishing equipment, even if you don’t plan on taking anything home, it will certainly make you feel like you’ve just encountered old pirate’s booty after a day in Curio Warehouse or Bluebird Vintage.
  2. Okay, maybe this one is a bit of a stretch if you’re imagining the airfare it would take to book an extra street just for your new favorite instrument, but there’s no harm at all in going to Didgeridoo Breath and trying one out on your own. Grab a picture (and maybe a tiny souvenir from the shop) and turn that moment into a great postcard from Postagram or a magnet from Sticky9. It’s going to be way better than anything you imagined picking up at one of those tiny tourist shops.  

Any additional places, things, eateries, or stays that I missed in my list? Let me know what makes Perth your favorite place to visit, and I’ll be sure to check it out next time I’m there. Until then, bon voyage!

Featured image credit: Gnangarra…commons.wikimedia.org [CC BY 2.5 au (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/au/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

First image credit: Greg O’Beirne (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Historic Homes in Washington DC

Washington DC

Historic homes in the DC area

Washington DC, for an east coast city, is a fairly new place. The city plans weren’t even laid down until 1790, when the district was approved as the newly centralized site of the new federal government. And yet in those 222 years is packed a significant amount of history as befitting the capital of a rapidly growing, changing, dynamic republic, and the city is dotted rather liberally with homes of special significance. Many of these houses are still in regular use, and sit side by side in inconspicuous, stately neighborhoods that belie their true status.

Located near the heart of the old city in Historic Anacosita, Cedar Hill is the famous former home of freed slave and early civil rights advocate Frederick Douglas. He purchased the home in 1877, and lived there while US Marshal for the district. The home offers stunning views of the nearby capital and mall. The home is now a National Historic Site and pays homage to his life and accomplishments.

The historic Carlyle House is situated in Old Town Alexandria, across from city hall. Completed in 1753 by a wealthy merchant for his wife, the home soon became an important center for the social and political life of the area. British General Braddock made the house he’s headquarters during the French and Indian War. The home remains as the only stone 18th century example of Palladian-style house in the region.

Tudor Place Historic House and Garden was originally owned by Martha Custis Peter, Granddaughter of Martha Washington and influential social matriarch of early DC. Located in Georgetown’s Historic District and now open to the public, Tudor Place houses a fine collection of over 8000 pieces of art from the 1750s through 1983. Some consider this site to be one of Washington DC’s true hidden gems.

Ranking as the oldest known private home in Washington, Old Stone House was built in 1765. Nestled in the heart of Georgetown, this modest stone cottage is now maintained by the National Park Service and is now open to the public. The interior is now kept with era specific furniture and fixtures, showcasing the everyday lives of ordinary citizens from so long ago.

Richard Bland Lee was Virginia’s first representative to congress, as well as uncle to famed Civil War general Robert E. Lee. His home is also now on the National Register for Historic places, and a fully interactive museum that highlights the Lee family, tenant farming, and the role slaves played in the region’s history.

There are literally hundreds of historic homes still to be found in the Washington DC area, and they are almost hidden around every corner. The Best way to find them is to simply start looking!

Ed Michelson blogs for We Buy Ugly Houses, a national real estate company which buys and sells homes throughout the US.

Horse Riding in Norfolk – Five Best Bridal Routes

Horse Riding

Norfolk has many attractions and welcomes visitors from all over the UK. Norfolk is ideal for people who enjoy outdoor activities such as cycling, walking and riding. Norfolk is considered a beautiful county on the east coast and famous for its broads, however, Norfolk also has some beautiful bridle paths that bring arresting scenery, forests and coastline that is breathtaking. There are numerous riding schools in Norfolk and it is not only famous for its water holidays. There are various bridle routes that can be downloaded online and riders are advised to check with rangers that all routes are accessible.

Peddars Way

This ancient route is challenging and offers mixed ground with some climbs that are moderate in places. The route runs from Knettishill to the coastline and riders will be rewarded with stunning scenery. The route touches on the edge of Thetford Forest and most of the route is off-road and is also open to cyclists and walkers. The full route is over 60 miles long. This ancient bridle way offers two routes, one being the National Trail and is probably the most famous bridle way. This route skirts the borders of Suffolk and is combined with the Norfolk coastal path which is stunning and with low cliffs and miles of sandy dunes, riders will not be let down. There are routes to other bridle paths from Peddars Way and it is wise to have a bridle route map which will give you a detailed guide.

Thetford Forest

This is heaven for horse riders, giving free access to riders to the majority of the forest. Covering around 60 miles of forest, this route will enable riders to experience wildlife and the true beauty of this pocket of Norfolk. Unsullied by humans, it truly is a rider’s paradise.

Hockwold cum Wilton

This route is approximately ten miles long and and mainly on tracks with some grassy ground. Cowles Drove features on this route with a lovely ride along the Ouse River.

Massingham

Massingham is around 15 miles long and some of the route crosses with Peddars Way. This ride gives superb views over the valley to Great Bircham. To see colonies of grey squirrels, cross to Grimston Heath and watch the little families in action. Pass through the village of Little Massingham and through conifer plantations to Grimston Heath.

Swaffham

This route is mainly on soft grass paths with some minor roads and passes through the market town of Swaffam. Riders will be able to take arresting scenery of the west Norfolk hills and riders can link to Peddars Way from this route.

There are many routes which divert from Peddars Way. The Norfolk coastline offers ample riding routes, such as Holkham Bay which has a sandy stretch of beach that goes on for miles and ideal for a great gallop. Norfolk has a great expanse of land meaning riders have plenty of opportunity to gallop through this stunning corner of Britain.

Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.sxc.hu
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.sxc.hu
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.sxc.hu

Written on behalf of the Norfolk family holiday providers, www.pottersholidays.com

Keti Koti In Amsterdam 2013

Keti Koti Amsterdam

The festival, which goes by the name of Keti Koti is held every year in order to keep the memory alive in regards to the end of slavery in Holland.
A more meaningful celebration
Because it’s the 150th edition the event will be even more special than in the last years. On the evening of July 1st each canal house will have candles burning in order to highlight the bonds between the city and its canals and the history of slavery. On top of that the 23H Amsterdam will take place in Noord, thus fabulously tying in with the Over Het IJ festival.
If you will visit the city in order to witness these amazing events you should ensure that you book a place to stay several weeks ahead of your departure. You can always check out the internet for websites like http://www.getreadyamsterdam.com in order to find the right place to stay.
Cultural highlights
On July first next year, people of Holland will celebrate one hundred and fifty years since the Dutch slavery in the former colonies of Dutch Antilles and Suriname was abolished. Amsterdam seems to have played a major role in all of this and that is why its citizens want to draw attention over the events that happened back then.
Among the many events taking place in the same or around the same day is the twentieth edition of Amsterdam Fashion Week which will also connect with the four hundredth celebration of Amsterdam’s canals. It’s a great chance of getting to know the city in a different way compared to visiting it in any other time of the year.
The Canals and Archaeology exhibition
The list of events keeps going strong and on the thirteenth and fourteenth of July 2013, the Canals and Archaeology exhibition is 1 of 4 that will present archaeological findings from the city, a very special event that is held and organized by the City Archives of Amsterdam. Don’t miss out on the Amsterdam Heritage Days as well, because in this time you will have the chance of visiting special monuments that open only in this time of the year.
The World Interiors Salon opening
Don’t think that you’ll ever find a moment to get bored while visiting Amsterdam, because on July 20th 2013 you will be able to witness the World Interiors Salon’s opening in the Beurs van Berlage. It’s a marvelous chance for you to witness the presentation of Holland’s best designers and the Dutch industry. You will be able to thus explore interior architecture from plenty of perspective, more specifically economic, artistic, cultural and historical. The event lasts for 2 days, so on July 21st you should have visited and seen everything the event has to offer.
The summer festival
Lastly, on the 28th of July you can attend to the Summer Festival in Zaandvoort, but don’t forget that a very special attention is going got be paid to the one hundred and seventy fifth anniversary of the Artis Royal Zoo, too.
As you can see, there are plenty of things you can see and do at the Amsterdam events in July 2013. Be sure you get there in time and don’t forget about booking early a place to stay. Have fun!

News and tips about Amsterdam by Get Ready Rentals. www.getreadyamsterdam.com