Great Things To Do...





Taking a cruise on one of the many ocean liners is an experience that you really can't fathom. Someone telling you about it will not really preparing you for what you will witness. There are so many things to do aboard a Carnival cruise, here is my short list…





In Amsterdam there are so many things to do, you could stay busy for weeks. You could just blend in with the locals and enjoy the markets and the parks or the many museums. Well, this is my own “great eight” things to do in Amsterdam.





Atlanta has been called “the city too busy to hate” and since relocating here in 1985, I too believe that motto. Atlanta is full of history, dating back to the Civil War and through the Civil Rights movement. 





Miami is the land of sun and surf, while the downtown area pulsates with activity as commercial, cultural and leisure pursuits come together. 





When you travel to Paris you will want to take it as much as possible. I have put together a list that will keep you excited the entire trip.





New York is one of those places where you could spend long days into the night and still want to see and do more...they say this city never sleeps!

Great Things To Do...


Shopping the Markets in New York City

Shopping the Markets in New York City


There are so many things to do in Toronto. The city is full of culture, diversity, food and areas for just hanging out. You will no doubt have to plan what you will want to do as well as when. I have put together some of the coolest things I like to do while in Toronto.

Shopping the Markets in New York City

Shopping the Markets in New York City

Shopping the Markets in New York City


For some reason being in New York is just plain magical around Christmas time. As a child I watched the movie "Miracle on 34th Street" every year and dreamed of what it would be like to visit this bigger than life department store.

Now I am all grown up and still like to go that huge store on 34th Street but I have found some really fun and unique places to shop while in New York City.  These markets are for the New Yorker looking for that special gift or the tourist strolling and enjoying everything that is New York!

Atlanta, Georgia

Things To Do In Atlanta

Atlanta has been called “the city too busy to hate” and since relocating here in 1985, I too believe that motto. Atlanta is full of history, dating back to the Civil War and through the Civil Rights movement. But this city did not stop making history, it became the place to be if you were pursuing a music career in the 90’s and even to this day Atlanta is making its mark in the movie and television world. A label that has recently been tagged to Atlanta is “the Hollywood of the South”.Atlanta is full of intriguing museums and cool things that will capture your fascination. A ton of festivals and free pulsating music venues all over the city and all year round. The concert scene in Atlanta is live and well, with top named performers holding sold out show in a variety of locations. Live plays from local theater troops to Broadway productions gracing stages all over the metro. You can choose a different restaurant each time you eat out and will never run out of new and different places to sample some good food.Atlanta is a mecca; people from all over world call this great city home. With a culture so divesrted as Atlanta, you will find festivals celebrating all types of backgrounds and ethnicity groups.There are so many things to do and this is my “Great Eight” interesting things to do in the city of Atlanta. The best thing about this list is that all of these things are within a three-block walking area.Great Eight things to do….

  • CNN Center
  • Centennial Olympic Park
  • College Football Hall of Fame
  • World of Coke Cola Museum
  • Georgia Aquarium
  • Sky View Atlanta
  • The National Civil and Human Rights Museum
  • The Observation level at top the Westin Peachtree Hotel

Visit Atlanta and you will also feel that it is “the city too busy to hate”, and we love it!
Norman L Payne/Up up up and Away!

Downtown Atlanta, Georgia

Downtown Atlanta, Georgia

Miami, Florida

Things To Do In Miami

Most people visit Miami to bake in the sun all day and party late into the night but there is a lot more to this Florida destination. In Miami you will find fine dining, ballet, art deco museums, and indulgent spas along with high-end department stores and boutiques that offer a big city shopping experience with a cosmopolitan flair.  My list starts off with tours that take you all around Miami, only to get your engines going for what is in store for you. Miami has so much to do and this only gives a sneak peek of what to expect.  

  • City Sightseeing Tour; this boat tour takes you around Miami Aboard the Island Princess. You will view Miami world-famous skyline as only can be seen from the bay.   The tour takes you towards the Venetian Islands, where many luxurious mansions are located. Many celebrity homes from the past and present reside on this island. You will depart this cruise appreciating the city from a totally different vantage point. You will also understand why it is a vacation spot for millions and the home to the rich and famous.​​​  
  • A day trip to Key West; is a must do if you travel to Miami, it only makes sense to journey to the southernmost point of the continental United States. Take in some spectacular views from the Overseas Highway on your way to exploring Key West. Visiting Key West is extra bonus for coming to Miami. With its own identity, Key West is full of museums and historical landmarks. It’s flavor runs over into the bars, shops and restaurants.​  
  • The Big Bus Tour; this is “hop on/hop off” tour. Which means you can check out Miami at your own pace, enjoying what ever area you want, for as long as you want. Visit South Beach or Little Havana. There are two routes to choose from, a city route and a beach route. I suggest going on both routes, you will not be disappointed but only wished you had gone on the other one also.   
  • Vizcaya Museum & Gardens; is located right on Biscayne Bay, on the south side of Miami. This 34-room Italianate mansion, built in the 1910s, will take you back to a time of old Miami. This mansion is surrounded by acres of European-style gardens with fountains and statuary, some of which date back to 1917. Right in the bay is a Venetian barge, carved out of Florida limestone. This is a great backdrop at sunset in Miami.   
  • Versailles; this is what Little Havana is all about…a Cuban restaurant that serves up authentic Cuban food. But it not just the food that draws the upscale folks and the blue-collar workers to this Cuban eatery in the heart of Little Havana, it is the coffee! Order a café cubano for a true experience but be warned, this stuff is strong. One of these espresso and refined sugar drinks will beat all energy drinks.   
  • Aventura Mall; is the largest mall in Florida and considered a shoppers paradise in any state. The Mall features 300 unique retail stores from your well-known department store names with just about every label you can think of, to your upscale European names. One visit and I am sure you will be packing something extra in your suitcase when you leave Miami.   
  • The Freedom Tower; known as the “Ellis Island of the South” for being a process center for Cubans escaping Fidel Castro’s regime 1962. During that time, until it closed in1974, almost 450,000 Cuban refugees passed through The Freedom Tower’s doors. The Mediterranean style skyscraper was once the tallest building in Miami. Today the Freedom Tower is a memorial to Cuban refugees with educational and cultural centers operated by the Miami Dade College. It is a part of Miami’s history that cannot be over looked.   
  • Miami Beach; was once considered a winter playground, that has become a sophisticated community that’s full of visitors no matter the season. With world-class accommodation, museums and a 360-degree views of the Atlantic Ocean. You can relax during the day or got out to party at night, Miami Beach has both. The seafood scene is one of the best in the world, with fresh seafood caught daily. From beach-town to big city Miami Beach has it all.  

Norman L. Payne/Up up up and Away!/August 16, 2015

Downtown, Miami, Florida

Downtown, Miami, Florida

Paris, France

Things To Do In Paris

  • Arc de Triomphe, this popular attraction is located in the world’s largest roundabout. It is the worlds biggest and tallest triumphal arch, it stands 161 ft.’ high and 144 ft.’ wide and it sits in the middle of the well-known and extremely busy Place Charles de Gaulle. Take a walk to the top of the arch to see the twelve avenues that go in and out of this incredible roundabout. Please do not try to cross the square in order to reach the arch; it is very dangerous or simply impossible. Instead, you can reach the arch by an underground passageway that is the safest way to beat that roundabout traffic.  

     Cost: €5 euros or $10.49 USD

  • The Eiffel Tower, without saying, its a “must do” if you are in Paris. Not only is it the most recognizable monument in Europe, it can be seen from anywhere in Paris. The fame of the Eiffel Tower can be compared to the Statue of Liberty in New York, Big Ben in London and the Taj Mahal in India. The Eiffel Tower is a part of Paris’ beautiful and famous skyline and can be enjoyed as a daytime icon or a beautiful spectacle at night. The Eiffel Tower standing 1050 ft.’ tall is a very dreamy place in this extremely romantic city. 

     Cost: €13.40 euros or $14.80

  • Rodin Museum is officially a museum but there is a garden that you could easily confuse as a park. The Rodin Museum holds the works of the father of modern sculptures, Auguste Rodin. The well-known sculptures you will find in the garden of the Rodin Museum is “The Kiss” and “The Gates of Hell” and of course the most famous of them all is the “The Thinker”. Out in the garden you can relax under a tree and have someone serve you food and drinks from the Café` du Muse Rodin. Eat, drink, relax and enjoy! 

       Cost: €4 euros or $4.42 ​  

  • The Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris is considered to be one of the top ten attractions in Paris and it is the most visited site in the city. The Notre Dame cathedral sits on the Seine River and considered to be a gothic architecture masterpiece. This is not the oldest or even the largest cathedral but it stands alone when it comes to beauty and architectural harmony. I advise you to walk around this landmark to fully appreciate the architectural design. It took 300 years to complete this masterpiece; it must not be taken for granted. Viewing this marvel in the day is wonderful but it has a totally different feel at sunset, so plan to visit and catch the sunset at the Cathedral.   

Cost: Free

  • The Louvre Museum is the largest art museum in the world, not Europe…the World! What makes this a great museum is the two famous women that reside there, Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa. But these are only pieces in the 30,000 exhibits displayed here. The Louvre Museum spans almost a half of a mile. The entrance to the museum is equally as famous as the pieces inside. The glass pyramid entrance is one of the most distinct symbols in all of Paris. If this was not enough The Louvre Museum has a gallery dedicated to only Michelangelo. To view the original Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo and see a collection of Michelangelo’s work, is enough to for a visit to Paris.   

    Cost: €16 euros or $17.68 USD

  • Wine Tasting at O Chateau, it is not possible to be in France and not drink wine. France is known for the fine wines that it produces. And some of the top quality champagnes and Bordeaux in all of Europe. This wine tasting will educate you and teach you everything you need to know about the local wines. Of course this is a tasting so be prepared to sip a little wine! It is fun with a slash of education. Cheers!   

    Cost: varies ​  

  • Sacre Coeur Basilica, is a historic church located on the highest point in the entire city of Paris on top the Montmartre. The architecture of this building will leave you stunned, knowing that it’s design was in 1870. The detail and craftsmanship is amazing. You can climb up to the inner dome and get a remarkable view of Paris. If you don’t want to go to the top of the dome, then take in the view from the front stairs it is still breath taking.   

     Cost: €6 euros or $6.63 USD

  • River Cruise, this cruise will take you up the majestic Seine River. If you take this cruise you will experience the bridges and monuments of Paris in a way you could have never from the land, it is a hidden view of this spectacular city. After experiencing a cruise down the river you can better understand the geography of the city. Take this opportunity to see the city from a new perspective and take in the beauty of Paris. There are so many different river cruises to choose from, afternoon and lunch cruises, dinner cruises, and even a Champaign cruise. It doesn’t matter which one you select, I know it will be memorable.   

      Cost: varies 

           Norman L Payne/Up up up and Away!/July 3, 2016

The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

New York City

Things To Do In New York City

Times Square a major commercial intersection in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Time Square is located within the boundaries of Broadway and Seventh Avenue, and from West 42nd to West 47th Streets. They call it the Crossroads of the World.

Central Park A 843 acres park located in the central part of Manhattan, New York City and designated a National Historic Landmark.

The Statue of Liberty stands on Liberty Island. She was a gift to the United States from the people of France in 1886. The statue is an icon of freedom and of the United States: a welcoming signal to immigrants arriving from abroad.

Rockefeller Center is a complex of 19 commercial buildings covering 22 acres between 48th and 51st streets. Built by the Rockefeller family, it is located in the center of Midtown Manhattan, spanning the area between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue. It is also a National Historic Landmark.

Grand Central Terminal (GCT) is a commuter railroad terminal at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. Grand Central covers 48 acres and has 44 rail platforms, this more than any other railroad station in the world.

Bryant Park a 9 acre privately managed public park by the Bryant Park Corporation and located between Fifth and Sixth Avenues and between 40th and 42nd Streets in Midtown Manhattan. The main building of the New York Public Library is located within the park.

One World Trade Center the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere and the fourth tallest in the world at 104 floors and 1,776 feet tall is open to the general public. There is a 360-degree viewing platform, pinned One World Observatory. The observatory is split on floors 100 through 102 with an upscale restaurant on the 101st floor.

Empire State Building a 102-story skyscraper located on Fifth Avenue between West 33rd and 34th Streets in Midtown Manhattan. The Empire State Building derived its name from the nickname for New York, the Empire State. It stood as the world’s tallest building for nearly 40 years, after it opened in 1931.] The Empire State Building is currently the fourth-tallest completed skyscraper in the United States (after the One World Trade Center, the Willis Tower and Trump International Hotel and Tower, both in Chicago), and the 25th-tallest in the world.

Norman L Payne/Up up up and Away!/September 11, 2014


New York City Holiday Markets

Shopping the Markets in New York City

Grab your Metro Card and put on your walking shoe and lets go.

Union Square Holiday Market  November 16-December 24, 2017 (closed Thanksgiving Day). Located in Union Square (14th to 17th Street between Broadway and Park Ave South), this outdoor market has over 150 vendors. It includes an array of gifts, from jewelry to leather goods.

Columbus Circle Holiday Market  November 28-December 24, 2017. This market is similar to the Union Square Market. (It's ran by the same people.) This location is at the southwest entrance to Central Park, so it could be done in conjunction with a trip to Wollman Rink! This market is slightly smaller than its downtown counterpart, with about 100 stalls.

Bryant Park’s Winter Village  October 28 to January 5, 2018. This market actually has temporary shops put up for the season. There are over 125 offerings, from apparel to accessories to local restaurants. Combine this with a trip to the Bryant Park ice rink! This pop-up outdoors market is full of art work by local artist and delicious food.

Chelsea Market(15th Street at 10th Avenue). It is the creation of a Brooklyn-based husband and wife team, who carefully selected over 30 local artists and craftsman to display their work. For some funky, well-crafted and truly unique gifts, check out this market! They also now have locations in SoHo and Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Grand Central Holiday Fair  November 13-December 24, 2017.  This market is located in Vanderbilt Hall (inside Grand Central Terminal) and offers over 70 vendors, with things that you can’t find anywhere else in New York! (Past items have included hand-painted table linens and mosaic mirrors). Hours:  Mon-Fri: 10am-8pm;  Sat 10:00am-7:00pm; Sun 11:00am–6:00pm; Closed Thanksgiving; Christmas Eve open 10:00am-6:00pm.

Map of the Markets



Things To Do In Amsterdam

In Amsterdam there are so many things to do, you could stay busy for weeks. You could just blend in with the locals and enjoy the markets and the parks or the many museums. Well, this is my own “great eight” things to do in Amsterdam.

Liedseplein(or Leided Square spoken in English) is the transportation hub of the city. You can catch several different Trams here in the square, giving access to the city's nightlife and shopping districts. Leidseplein is also known as the "entertainment square". You can are likely to find street performers in the square entertaining the tourist. There are a variety of restaurants and even a Sunday Brunch with live jazz at Café` America. Along with everything else going on in the square, there are the flagship stores for Apple and BMW. Take a stroll inside both stores and enjoy the distinctive interior design. Cost: FREE

The Van Gogh Museumis the largest collection of Vincent Van Gogh’s artwork and the most popular art museum in the world. This museum is a set of two buildings that are connected by an underground tunnel. You will be exposed to four floors with different delights on each one. There is a floor dedicated to a chronological look at Van Gogh’s work, and gives us an inside look at how he evolved. Along with some great artwork, the museum also has a gift shop and a café. Since this is a popular place expect the lines to be long so preplan your visit. Cost: 13 euros or $14.71 USD

The Anne Frank House, one of the most famous and chilling houses in the world. Anne Frank along with 7 other people from 3 different families hid in this house and remained in hiding for two years. Anne wrote while living in this small refuge about her personal feelings, the war and the relationships she developed while in hiding. After two years, the Nazis revealed their hiding place and sent the group to a concentration camp. This camp is where Anne and the rest of the group would die, survived only by Franks father. This is an experience that you will not quickly forget after visiting this house. Cost: 8.5 euros or $9.62 USD

Dam Squareis the biggest outdoors meeting place in Amsterdam. Dam Square is full of food stands, shops and trendy restaurant. With Dam Squares collection of bars and Cafés it is always full of people all of the time. In the summer months street performers fill the square to entertain you while you are relaxing at the cafés. In the middle of it all is the Royal Palace, a former home of the Dutch Royal family.  This is a great place for you to people watch and socializing. Dam Square is where everybody crosses in Amsterdam. Cost: FREE

Rembrandt House Museum, this famous house is where Rembrandt once lived. His house is directly connected to the building where much of his work is currently on display. It is an extensive collection from one of the most famous Dutch painters in the world.  Even though Rembrandt made lots of money from his extensive works, he made some bad investments and ended up owing lots of debts. Rembrandt loved to spend money, but he spent too much, he would eventually go bankrupt and all of his possessions auctioned off. Cost: 12 .5 euros or $14.14 USD

The Skinny BridgeIs an Old Dutch design wooden bridge known as a double-swipe drawbridge connecting two sides of river Amstel. About every 20 minutes the bridge opens, as the bridge master lets boats through. Old stories about this bridge goes,that the bridge was named after the sisters Mager, who were supposed to live on opposite sides of the river. They are said to have had the wooden bridge built to make it easier to visit one another. However it appears more likely, that the original bridge acquired the name from being so narrow (mager means skinny in Dutch), that it was hard for two pedestrians to pass one along another. As traffic along the river Amstel increased, a wider bridge replaced the narrow one in 1871. At night many lights illuminate the bridge, then it becomes a very romantic place, popular with lovers and photographers. This will not be the only bridge you encounter in Amsterdam because there are 1500 bridges connecting 90 islands. Cost: FREE 

Heineken Experienceis a historical brewery where you can tour and learn about, yes you guessed it…Heineken beer! You can get educated on the Heinekens process for brewing beer and also learn about how this fairly insignificant family turned the name Heineken into an international brand. This is a good exhibit just because they connected history to beer but it is educational! Don’t leave without creating your own bottle of beer! This is a really fun attraction and is not to be missed. Cost: 15 euros or $16.98 USD

Vondelparkis the largest park in Amsterdam and it is also the most famous park in all of the Netherlands. Its presence is known as Central Park is known in New York. You can enjoy free concerts at the open-air theater or lunch at the parks restaurant or at the many sandwich or hotdog stands throughout the park. This is a great park to sit, have a picnic under the trees and enjoy the simplicity of Amsterdam. A large statue of the famous Dutch poet Joost van den Vondel stands in the park. On the Main Street that runs through Vondelpark, Vondelstraatt  you can see many old and beautiful Dutch houses lining this well-known street. Cost: FREE