Welcome to Travel Post Monthly

September TPMDear Reader,

This month’s Travel Post starts out in a local, family-owned cafe/coffeehouse with “a small-town vibe” and some unexpected perks, from ice cubes made of coffee to intricate latte art and gourmet baked goods.

“One of the joys of traveling is finding a place so untouched, so empty of human presence that it seems as if you are the first person to have ever witnessed it.” Our writer found such a place in the San Blas Islands.

Every year at about this time a crowd gathers on the grassy hill overlooking Chapman Elementary School on the west side of Portland. Nature — in the form of thousands of migrating swifts — puts on a thrilling show for the spectators, whether they’re enthusiastic birdwatchers or not.

Our next writer traveled to Costa Rica “in search of an exotic place to retire.” He shares how his experiences there stacked up against two other popular retirement choices: Belize and Ecuador.

And finally, you “can’t come all the way to Ireland, all the way to Blarney, and all the way to the top of this castle without kissing the stone.” But kissing the Blarney Stone isn’t as straightforward as you might imagine.

Read these stories — and see the great photos that go with them — below.
Safe travels,

Janette Jones
Editor, Travel Post Monthly

 This Month …

  • Java Point Cafe: Downtown Benicia’s Hidden Gem (9/1/2016) - Java Point Cafe is a local, family-owned cafe with a small-town vibe, a coffeehouse located at the foot of 1st Street in northern California’s first capital, where hand-painted art by locals hangs for sale and the smiling staff know their regulars by name.
  • The San Blas Paradise (9/1/2016) - One of the joys of traveling is finding a place so untouched, so empty of human presence that it seems as if you are the first person to have ever witnessed it. Such places can be hard to come by, yet just six hours away by boat from the southeast coast of Panama lie more tropical islands than days in a year. Over 300 of these islands are uninhabited, allowing travelers to experience true tranquility.
  • Nature’s High Drama Over Portland’s Chapman School (9/1/2016) - Slowly the cast begins to assemble in the skies above. Migrating Vaux’s (pronounced “vox”) Swifts are arriving to spend their night at the school. Every year in the fall when they migrate over Portland, the gray-brown swifts, which look like little cigars with wings, spend the night clinging to the inside of the tall brick chimney that used to service the school’s heating system.
  • Searching for Our Golden Years in Playas del Coco, Costa Rica (9/1/2016) - Playas del Coco is on the beach; however, the mountains and rainforest are less than an hour away for the occasional change of scenery. There are many scenic waterfalls, suspension bridges, and hiking and horseback riding trails. We made a stop at the volcanic hot mud baths and coated our bodies with the nutrient rich warm mud. After showering it off, it was time to relax in the hot tubs fed by natural hot spring water. It was interesting to see frogs living in the natural hot steam room.
  • Kissing the Blarney Stone (9/1/2016) - By Barbara Dodge ITWPA Member I felt like Cinderella riding to the ball at the prince’s castle with my pumpkin carriage and footmen. Actually it was a rented Ford Expedition minivan with my family, but still the thrill was there. I’d always heard about the castles in Ireland and it had been on my bucket […]