Travel Books



November 10 (Veterans Day)

National Museum of African American History & Culture, Washington DC

Time: 3 - 5pm

Place: Oprah Winfrey Theatre (I get goose bumps just writing this..)

Remembering World War I—Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light. This screening is the third in the museum's series of seven Military History Centennial of World War I public programs to commemorate the participation of African Americans during the Great War.


Paris Noir focuses on African Americans in Paris (and Europe) during the post World War I period. The film explores the intellectual and cultural impact African American and French people had on each other in the areas of literature, music and the arts, as well as how certain geographical areas of Paris were influenced.

The screening will be followed by a discussion including filmmakers
David and Joanne Burke, Julia Browne, founder of Walking the Spirit Tours, Black Paris & Beyond,

Brent Edwards, Ph.D. Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University.

Dwandalyn Reese, NMAAHC Curator of Music and Performing Arts will facilitate the discussion.

Tickets: Entrance is free but you must register online. Click here for full details Tickets are going fast.

5 Ways to Travel Solo Without Going It Alone

By Elizabeth Avery 

Solo travel has become a hot topic. Unlike "single(s)" travel, it is a broader group. It can include those who are single, married or have a partner/significant other. It may be a business person looking to add a leisure weekend or extension to a trip for work. Two stumbling blocks to solo travel can be: I. whether it is lonely to vacation as a "party of one" and ii. whether eating alone, especially dinner, is really uncomfortable.

Now having visited 68 countries and all 50 states, I have found 5 good ways to go alone without feeling you are "going it alone".

1. River Cruise and Small Ship Cruises

I highly recommend river cruises and small ships. They are especially a good fit for a first time solo traveler. However, they are also great for well-traveled solos in two cases. That is where destinations like Cambodian boat villages are not otherwise easy to reach. Secondly, they work well in places where security is an issue.

Here are the key advantages of such river and small ships for solo travelers, they:

-Give you time alone but a group for tours and meals

-Can be competitively priced when compared to a piecemeal approach

-Make unpacking a one-time chore

-Work well with land packages

-Often have discounted package pricing including flights

2. Select your own lodging, and take day trips.

Here are the key advantages of this independent approach, it:

-Affords you the opportunity to select your own interests and travel style.

-Provides more opportunity to interact with local residents.

-Gives you a "day-off" when you need it.

-Works with a range of budgets.

3. Combine both of the above approaches.

I really favor this approach when I travel. On solo travel for 17 days at New Year's, I toured Southeast Asia. I started with a private taxi tour in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I then joined a top Mekong River Cruise on to Vietnam. On the last leg, I had five days in a 5-star hotel in Bangkok. In my last stop, I tried all 3 ways of sightseeing: 1. A large bus tour 2. A private guide and 3. Self-directed subway tour.

This blended approach puts you in the driver's seat and:

-Will let you set your own course while being free to pick and choose

-Gives you a part-time group of travel mates but also time alone

-Makes it possible to follow a budget (or splurges) tailored to what works for you

4. Sign up ahead for a class abroad.

This has become very popular now for cooking classes in France and Italy. However, for decades, language classes abroad have lured students for short-term or full summer programs. Add to that options for photography classes, skiing and scuba diving.

Here are the key benefits to this approach.


-Provides you with a ready-made group

-Gives you a local contact to hear what not to miss off the tourist path

-Make it possible to connect with classmates for meals or sightseeing

-Results in providing local contacts in an emergency

5. Join a volunteer group or exchange program.

I have done this twice. My first trip out of the US was at 18 joining 5 other girls on a summer YMCA project in Trinidad and Tobago. It was the best way to learn about day-to-day life in another country and participate in community activities.

The benefits were endless. They included:

-Meeting local residents outside of the typical tourist path

-Seeing distant and often more unusual destinations

-Providing volunteer efforts to communities than may have experienced natural disasters or other hardships.

If you are new to solo travel, take a look at each of these options. You will be surprised how fast solo travel gives you the chance to make new life-long friends from around the world so that you feel you are solo to more!

Elizabeth Avery, and the "Solo Travel Pricing Tracker". Our free patent-pending software connects individuals with top providers linked by destination, trip type and no to low single supplements. In addition, we connect those traveling alone with well-priced global tours and over 800,000 lodging options from budget to luxury properties with solo travel reviews. Take advantage of our frequent new offerings and weekly blog updated tips.

Five Romantic Getaways That Will Put The Spark Back In Your Relationship

By Morris Raymond

There are a number of prominent cottage industries out there with the express purpose of taking our relationships to new levels. Even though the gimmicky stuff tends to get the biggest amount of attention, putting a little "oomph" back into your relationship can be as easy as taking a few romantic getaways.

It makes sense that getting away from things for even a short time can be a real blessing for your relationship. Our lives are so busy, with work weeks easily lasting sixty & seventy hours. You also are contending with your loved one's own long hours, and don't even mention the overabundance of activities your kids are involved in. It's no wonder that finding a little bit of time to simply cuddle on the couch & watch a cute rom-com is nearly impossible.

To be honest, the idea of the romantic getaway isn't anything new. If you're a fan of television sitcoms, you'll recognize the idea of a weekend trip serving as a relationship testing ground. Combine this with the nearly dizzying amount of trip options, and you'll see why many couples just decide to stay home & think of something else.

Don't do this! You owe it to yourself & your special someone to make the effort to get that spark back. Sure, sometimes it just takes a sweet look or even a nice evening out on the town, but sometimes that spark needs some serious kindling that can only be had by getting the heck "out of Dodge".

Here are a few romantic getaway ideas that are sure to appeal to you & your sweetheart:

Staycation - OK. Yes, you can leave town, but think about all of the things you haven't done in your own backyard. What's more, you can even book a sweet hotel in town & really live it up.

Wine Tour - Over the years, various regions of the U.S. have become leaders in the domestic & international wine scene, and wineries everywhere love welcoming visitors, even offering on-site lodging & romantic meals.

Food Tour - Maybe you & your partner are self-described foodies. Why not take your love of food on the road for any number of food festivals? You could even run a checklist of little holes-in-the-wall that are famous for certain roadside fare.

Road-trip and B&B - In order to get to these cool little restaurants, you need to hit the road, so make it a full-fledged road-trip. Put the top down & just surrender to the road. Before leaving, make reservations to a local B&B you'll be passing.

Big City Outskirts - It can be tempting to head out to a big city for your trip, but you'll be contending with traffic, high populations, and even other tourists. Rather than contend with these distractions, remember your reason for the getaway & stay on the outskirts of town. Smaller towns not only offer great little inns for your stay, but these small towns maintain a lot of their charm, and a recent trend is that they, too, are bringing in more of a chic, metropolitan feel.

Romantic getaways are meant to do one thing really well and that's to get you & your special someone to take the time to appreciate each other. So, no matter where you go, just keep in mind that so long as your holding hands & smiling at one another, you can be just about anywhere.

Contact Fredericksburg Inn & Suites in Fredericksburg for your next romantic getaway!

The Secret To Cheap Airfare

By Nick S Curtis 

Most of us love to travel and discover our inner explorer. How many times have you seen a breathtaking photo on Instagram of some idyllic island resort or a lazy European city cloaked in early morning fog, with the hashtag #Wanderlust beneath it? And seeing that we go 'man I wish I could visit', but more often than not our pocket doesn't permit us to travel. All of us want to, but weighing the costs, we feel we shouldn't. Granted some people travel the world as a hobby but most of us can't. Airline tickets make up a significant portion of travel costs, and these are one of the primary reasons we keep putting off our dream trips. Well once you have read what we have to say, you'll be traveling wherever you want as we'll be giving several tips on how to acquire cheap airline tickets.

Firstly, planning is key, and that means booking your ticket at least six weeks in advance. Data has shown that tickets can be bought for at least 7 percent below the average price if booked 6 weeks in advance. Besides this, you should always be on the lookout for deals, airlines post limited offers quite frequently, and these can include major cuts in prices. Check their websites, or better yet call them to see if they have anything on offer.

Second, there's always a good time to fly. And this is normally the weekdays, if you fly on weekends, the prices go up as more customers are flying. The difference is substantial, by shifting your flight a couple of days early or late, you can expect to save a lot of money. For example, if you fly in the days leading up to Christmas the prices are sky high, but if you fly on the day immediately after the 25th, they're almost down 40%. Of course sometimes you have to fly before certain holidays, in that case just book them months in advance. If you're flexible with your schedule check which day is cheapest.

There's also a cheapest time to fly. And that usually is in the early morning, meaning you'll have to wake up around 4:00 a.m. Check for flight times which are the earliest, you may find a discount as less people are willing to fly out that early in the day.

Lastly, join a frequent flyer program. It does not cost anything (the basic version at least) and it earns you valuable points for flying. These accumulate and can be exchanged for tickets. The art of airline miles is a tricky one but once you get the hang of it, it can get you those tickets for free, especially if used wisely. Be sure to compare which frequent flyer program suits your needs - not all of them are created equal.

And of course in today's web-driven world, you can easily compare and find cheap airline tickets online through a myriad of websites devoted exclusively for this purpose.



State of the Black World Conference
TBD; location TBD;

Dates: November 11- 19, 2017

Where: Miami - Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades) to Grand Turk, La Romana, Dominican Republic, Curacao, Aruba.

Cruise Dates: November 15th – 20th 2017
Port Of Embarkation: Miami
Ports-of-Call: Miami to Jamaica

When: November 13-17 2017
Place: Fort Lauderdale - Montego Bay, Jamaica - Ocho Rios


Kwanzaa Celebrations
12/26-01/01 in cities across America;

Kwanzaa Celebrations
12/26-01/01 in cities across America;

National Girls Self-Esteem – NUTCRACKER IN OAKTOWN
TBD; Oakland, CA;



Hubbard Mansion
DESCRIPTION: Don Hubbard presents a fabulous Greek Revival house filled with intergenerational wonders and Victorian antiques; beyond the wrought iron gates, the home flaunts a four-column ivory portico preceding seven-foot windows and balconies that overlook the Avenue; magnificent foyer and spiraling staircase, private quarters reveal king-size legacies of perfection, imperial mahogany beds and regal armoires with matching chaise lounges compliment hardwood floors blanketed by oriental rugs; marble whirlpool, carriage house, living and dining areas, fully-furnished kitchen, washer and dryer and 2 1/2 baths are featured as well

BREAKFAST: Deluxe Continental
PRICING: $150-$350 per night, two nights minimum
ADDRESS: 3535 St. Charles Avenue  MAP
PARKING: on premises
TRANSIT: St. Charles Streetcar is in front
PHONE: 504-897-3535


Martha's Vineyard Inn
DESCRIPTION: Within walking distance to the center of Vineyard Haven and West Chop; when you enter the 5-room inn with spa, you are greeted by an old trunk in which you leave your old stresses. Wake up for breakfast and then unwind in our relaxing hot tub; find Victorian furnishings, fine paintings, and hardwood floors; our living room is designed for with a high tea server in the afternoon; enjoy natural spa treatments such as massage, yoga, sauna and mineral baths

ADDRESS: Vineyard Haven
PHONE: 800-595-9996 or 508-693-0001

East Marion, NY

Quintessentials Bed & Breakfast and Spa
DESCRIPTION: Started in 1994 by Jamaican, Sylvia Daley as the first bed & breakfast and full-service spa on the North Fork, Long Island; a romantic, 1840 Victorian inn, Quintessentials blends Caribbean flavor with European style, featuring deluxe suites and rooms with gas fireplaces, private sundecks and whirlpool baths; a full-service spa, personal image development service in relaxing, elegant surroundings in Long Island Wine Country; indulge for an hour or a day in stress-relieving treatments from a relaxing hot stone massage, reflexology, effective, results-oriented skincare, steam room, Reiki energy balancing, or their signature marine and vino therapies that incorporate wine, grape seed, seaweed, Caribbean herbs and essential oils; many patrons also enjoy the spa parties and wine tours on the East End and Hamptons

PRICES: $250-$300 per night
ADDRESS: 8985 Main Road (Route 25A)  MAP
PHONE: 800-444-9112 or 631-477-9400

Newport News, VA

Divine Alkhemi Wholistic Skincare Boutique
DESCRIPTION: Malikah Divine first began her natural beauty experience at the age of 21 when introduced to the world of natural skin care by a beautiful West African woman in Harlem by the name of Folasade', the owner of Sade Skin Care; her skincare boutique located in Historic Hilton Village; provides natural skin care to treat and prevent skin disorders and to maintain the skin of men, women and teens; other clients use their service for special occasions such as weddings, fashions shows and photo shoots; spa treatments and packages, catering to pamper parties, bridal parties are available; the retail shop features deluxe, handcrafted skin care products

DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 11a-6p; Sat by appt only
PRICES: begin at $10-20
ADDRESS: 10202 Warwick Blvd  MAP
PARKING: free behind the boutique
PHONE: 757-246-2324

Beverly Hills, CA

Lady Dee's Day Spa & Skincare Studio
DESCRIPTION: Founded in 1988, Lady Dee offers a wide range of services and packages to treat clients spirit and physique; the spa feature 11 relaxing parlor rooms in a 3,000 square feet spa and a well-stocked gift shop; her spa specializes in treating all skin types and hyper-pigmentation caused by child birth, sun damage and birth control pills; Lady Dee was mentored by Dr. James Fulton who cleared up her severe acne problem in college; services include chemical peels, waxing, electrolysis, facials, body wraps; the massages will make you a repeat patron – they are really good; Black celebrity clients include Angela Bassett, Courtney B. Vance, Lonette McKee, Nancy Wilson, Nia Long, Toni Braxton, Chris Tucker, Tommy Davidson, Eddie Griffin, Kenny Lattimore and Natalie Cole

DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 9a-9p, Sat 9a-5p
ADDRESS: 155 South Robertson Blvd  MAP
PARKING: street
PHONE: 800-6LADYDEE or 310-659-7082

New York, NY

Sugar Hill Harlem Inn
DESCRIPTION: Located on Sugar Hill, high on the cliffs overlooking Harlem in a limestone townhouse renovated in 2001; the area known as Sugar Hill is steeped in the history of the Harlem Renaissance; Sugar Hill Inn is focused on this history and all of their terrific non-smoking rooms are dedicated to the many great artists and civil rights leaders who were associated with this area; celebrity-themed rooms were meticulously designed and decorated by Carol Donawa, a graduate of the New York School of Interior Design

PRICES: $125-$275 per night
ADDRESS: 460 West 141st Street  MAP
TRANSIT: near 1, A, B , C & Dsubway lines
PHONE: 917-464-3528

Pampered Man Pampered Woman Spa
DESCRIPTION: Walking through the doors is like entering your own private sanctuary filled with relaxing sounds of instrumentals, the gurgle of water flowing over polished stones in a copper-bowl fountain and a gracious smiling staff; offers facials, natural nail care, therapeutic massage and a variety of body treatments while strongly reflecting the flavor of Oakland -- a lobby display features hair and beauty products manufactured in the city;; by spa standards, prices are affordable, particularly combination packages; one excellent value is the 3-hour long Completely Pampered Man or Woman package, which includes a 30-minute massage, a spa pedicure, a pampered manicure and an express facial

DAYS & HOURS: Tue-Wed Noon-7p, Thu-Sat 10a-7p
PARKING: on street
ADDRESS: 458 Perkins Street, Suite 104  MAP
PHONE: 510-418-2252