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Summer Vacation Ideas from Our Members

trevi fountain rome Trevi Without the Tourists
"It's late May/early June and the tourists have just started the summer invasion of Rome. As such, the first tip we can provide is to get up early and start your sightseeing no later than 7:30 a.m., or you will be overwhelmed by the tide of humanity that invades the popular tourist sites from about 9 a.m. onwards.

"A prime example: Having arrived at our hotel in Rome early evening, we decided to walk to the Trevi Fountain, which was just one block away. There were what seemed like 10,000 people trying to get a glimpse of and throw their coins into the Trevi, and most were finding it quite a struggle.

"Yet at 7:30 the next morning, there were six of us, and it was truly a personal and magical experience, and one I can highly recommend." -- Rome, the Eternal City by BJC

Music Mania in Seattle
"Not that you need a real reason for visiting Seattle, but we intentionally planned our trip to coincide with Bumbershoot, a four-day art festival featuring live music, visual art, a film festival, food vendors, etc. You can purchase a four-day pass for only $80, which I feel is an incredible deal.

"During our three days, we listened to jazz (Charlie Hunter and Bill Friesel), R&B (Mavis Staples), world music, industrial glam rock (Garbage), 70's glam rock (New York Dolls), Girly Glam Rock (the Donnas), a performance of a folk rock concept album (John Wesley Harding); watched a few chilling documentaries; ate Thai, Greek, Indian, Japanese and Italian food in abundance; and wandered around enjoying the weather and the 'feel good hippie' vibe. It was a delight." -- Seattle: Bumbershoot, Food, Panic Attack by WackyHeathen

Bargain Hunting in China
"Shanghai was a fabulous starting point for a first visit to Asia. Its ultra-modern skyline is like none other in the world. Our agent had arranged a guide and driver just for the four of us for the entire trip, which I highly recommend. We asked our guide to take us somewhere we could buy pearl jewelry and were all very pleased with the place she took us, the Fanghua Pearl store, which was not far from the Wu Gardens. We actually walked there rather than having the driver take us.

"At the Fanghua Pearl store, they will make a necklace or bracelet for you while you wait. You pick out the size pearls you want, and a clasp, and they will string and knot them with the speed of lightning, and in just the perfect length of your choice. I got a triple-strand 6 mm bracelet with a large gold clasp for around $200, which was a bargain. We had all researched the cost of bracelets and necklaces before leaving home, so we'd know what was a good deal." -- Girl's Guide to China by Robin P.

strawberries strawberry new hampshire A Traditional New England Strawberry Festival
"We followed the strawberry season up to New Hampshire, the Granite State, over the weekend. Upon arriving at the inn on Friday night we were treated to fresh chocolate-covered strawberries made from the berries the innkeeper had picked that afternoon for the upcoming Strawberry Festival.

"Strawberry shortcake was to be served on the village green, or village 'Common' as they call them in New England, on Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. It was the weekend before July 4th and American flags and red, white and blue bunting could be seen everywhere you went. If a village wasn't celebrating with strawberry something, they were having a chicken barbecue, a flea market or an antique show. Everyone's gardens were in full bloom. I began to wonder how one garden after the other could be so perfect and beautiful. Anyway, the flags and the buntings were everywhere. New Englanders are very patriotic and were getting ready for the Fourth. Since July 4th fell mid-week this year, this gave everyone a chance to celebrate twice. There is something simple and beautiful about a white clapboard community church adorned at each window with our nation's colors. We meandered through tiny village after village, photographing quaint village commons, window boxes filled with a rainbow of flowers, old and new barns and the mountains." -- Strawberries and Bunting in New England by laurie pitcher

Walking in Wales
"What's it like? The walk? Well, it's a bit rugged. 'Walking, climbing over huge rocks, and hiking up and down massive hills' might be a better description. Some of the ascents and descents are quite steep. We walked through farmers' fields, on paved roads through small villages and along the edge of cliffs. We had the constant companionship of sheep, wild goats, horses and cows. The only time I was truly scared was on the final day when we crossed over our last mountains into St. Dogmaels.

"If you saw the British Open this summer you may remember the 50-mile-per-hour wind gusts they had along the British coast on Saturday. As those winds were howling, we were walking along a path 18 inches wide and only a couple of feet from a 400-foot drop down a slate rock cliff. The pint at the end of this walk was, without a doubt, the best one of the trip." -- Walking in Wales by Bill B.

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