Weekend adventure in Monterey, CA

Mignon Dunbar shares her latest!

Monterey is a historic and scenic coastal city in California that is about a 2 hour drive from San Francisco, and a 5 hour drive from Los Angeles.
Start your morning off right with a wonderful breakfast at First Awakenings. The restaurant is located in an indoor shopping center in Pacific Grove, California. The lines can be long, so either get there early, or pack your patience. Your sacrifice will be rewarded with a fantastic breakfast. Their pancakes are huge. I had only one and it filled me up! http://www.firstawakenings.net/restaurant.html    After breakfast, visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is just walking distance away.

When visiting Monterey, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must see attraction! The aquarium provides a thrilling experience for the young and old alike. https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/

For an early dinner, avoid the tourist trap restaurants on Cannery Row and eat where the locals eat. Head two blocks up to Foam Street and find Sea Harvest, a fish market that doubles as a restaurant. The BBQ oysters and clam chowder are fantastic. http://www.seaharvestfish.com/

Take a walk around the city. By being adventurous and exploring any city you’re in, you’ll make long lasting memories and have unique experiences!



Top 3 places to buy souvenirs in San Francisco

#3 Fisherman’s Wharf
If you are looking for the quintessential souvenir, Fisherman’s Wharf is the place to go. From post cards to sweat shirts to shot glasses, this place has it all. While you are there, try the clam chowder in a San Francisco Sourdough bowl.

#2 Chinatown
San Francisco’s Chinatown is the largest and oldest Chinatown in the U.S. It is an excellent place to not only buy souvenirs, but also experience the culture and attractions. While you’re there, don’t forget to sample the dim sum.

#1 SF Art Market
The SF Art Market, just outside of the Ferry Building, is a great place to buy unique souvenirs from local artisans. These handcrafted, unique gifts are sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face. While you are there try some of the restaurants inside the ferry building.
Check out the SF ArtMarket’s website for more information http://sfartmarket.com/

SF Art Market

SF Art Market

Understanding Travel Advisories Before Your Next Trip

These days, you’re probably not planning a trip to Iraq or Afghanistan despite the United States and other developed nations currently advising citizens against all non-essential travel to these countries. But a government travel warning doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad idea to plan a trip to a particular part of the world.

In fact, within the last few years, the governments of the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. have also released advisories about the following countries: Thailand, Mexico, China, and India.

What Is a Travel Advisory?

Governments issue travel advisories to let their citizens know about safety concerns that may affect travel to a particular country or region. In the United States, these warnings are issued by the State Department.

Travel advisories are released for a variety of reasons, including terrorism, natural disasters, political unrest, wars, health emergencies and outbreaks of crime. Travel warnings may also cover areas of the world where a government does not have the ability to respond to the problems of citizens traveling there or example, if the government doesn’t have an embassy in a particular country, or if the functioning of its embassy is threatened by local violence.

Many governments make a distinction between long- and short-term travel advisories. The U.S. State Department issues travel warnings for ongoing problems such as civil wars and unstable governments, while travel alerts cover temporary issues such as natural disasters or election-related demonstrations.

A travel advisory no matter how strongly worded cannot legally stop you from traveling to a particular place. After reading an advisory, it is up to you to decide whether to heed or ignore the advice. While your government will try to help you if you run into trouble abroad, you will always be traveling at your own risk.

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Evaluating Travel Warnings

Not all travel warnings are created equal. When deciding how seriously to take a particular travel advisory, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Is the entire country affected?
  • What’s the danger?
  • How long ago was the warning posted?
  • Is there a safety net?
  • Is travel insurance an option?

Related posts:Hurricane Matthew stops travelers in their tracks

Hurricane Matthew stops travelers in their tracks

Meteorologists have revealed that Hurricane Matthew has gained strength once again as it moves slowly toward the east coast of the United States. This information in important for those seeking to travel throughout hurricane season.

According to NBCNews.com, as many as two million people were evacuated in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina after Hurricane Matthew devastated portions of Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas, leaving 25 people dead and carving a path of destruction across the Caribbean.

The National Hurricane Center stated that Hurricane Matthew could bring tropical storm conditions in Florida as early as this morning. The storm is then expected to take a northerly turn and head up the east coast of the state by Friday, according to Weather.com.


How has hurricane Matthew impacted travel?

In terms of how Matthew is impacting travel, over 1,100 flights have been canceled this past week due to the approaching storm. Most of the airport issues originate from Florida, with 550 cancellations at Miami International Airport, 451 canceled flights to and from Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport, another 220 cancellations at Orlando International Airport and even more delays and cancellations from smaller airports in the region, according to FlightAware.com.

The cruise industry has also been hit hard by shutdowns, as the United States Coast Guard has banned all vessel movements and ship-to-shore operations at all south Florida terminals, including Port Miami, Miami River, Port Everglades, Port of Palm Beach and Port of Fort Pierce, according to CNN.com.

Several concerts and college football games scheduled for the impacted states throughout the weekend have also been canceled to ensure people make it to safety.

Monitoring the hurricane

If Matthew makes landfall as a category 3 storm or higher, it will be the first major hurricane to hit Florida since Wilma in 2005 and the first to hit Florida’s east coast since Hurricane King in 1950.

As of Thursday morning, Hurricane Matthew remained a category 3 storm and had sustained winds of 115 miles per hour. With meteorologists finding that the storm was reorganizing and the eye reestablishing itself, the hurricane is actually growing in intensity instead of dissipating as storms typically do.

“Strengthening is expected during the next 24-36 hours,” the National Hurricane Center said in a statement. “When you get storms in the Caribbean late in the season, the Caribbean is very warm. And if you can get the wind shear and the pressures and the other patterns correct, you can get these types of very intense storms.”



For more on travel updates and destinations, visit mignondunbar.net

3 Things to do in San Francisco (Again!)

If you live in the San Francisco area, then you know that there are tons of things to do! From going to the beach on a hot summers day, to taking a ride on the trolley, San Francisco has a lot of things to offer.


Whether your from the area or not, here are three things to do in the area.

Explore Chinatown

San Francisco is home to the largest Chinatown in all of North America! Check out their site to learn more about the various attractions and restaurants you can visit. You could easily spend an entire day wandering around Chinatown, so either carefully plan your visit or give yourself lots of time to meander.


 Take in the skyline at Grizzly Peak

Hike up to the top of Grizzly Peak, located right behind UC Berkeley’s campus. You’ll be treated to a stunning view of San Francisco. And, if hiking isn’t your forte, you can easily access the peak by using the Grizzly Peak Boulevard.

Visit the Tadich Grill

Head to Tadich Grill for a meal. It is California’s oldest restaurant, located right in San Francisco. The Tadich Grill is a great place to experience authentic San Franciscan cuisine, whether you’re a tourist or a local. The restaurant specializes in seafood, and has for nearly 200 years. Take a look at their menu before you stop by!

Cookbook Generators for Every at Home Chef: Part 2

If you read part one of my series on some the great cookbook generators for every at-home chef and loved it, then you will  definitely enjoy part two!

If you haven’t tried some of the sites listed on part one of “Cookbook Generators for Every at Home Chef”  then give the ones on this list a spin.


Blurb produces many types of books that can be customized based on customer preferences. However, users must first download Blurb’s free BookSmart software to start designing their cookbooks.

blurb photo

With Blurb, books can be up to 440 pages with a soft or hard cover. The program also offers a lot of creative options for layout options and designs. Although this service does not offer stock photos, you can simply upload images from your computer to your account.


With a play on words, Bookemon has numerous size and style options for every professional at home cook. They provide over 150 color choices for text and background as well as 20 different fonts to match.

bookemon photo

Recipes can be scanned, pasted, or typed and pages can also be rearranged in order to give your cookbook the perfect look. Bookemon works can range in length from 30 to 420 pages. If you’re looking to create a larger than life recipe book than Bookemon may have what you’re looking for.

Whether you’re starting off small and creating a book that can be passed down throughout your family, or enjoy creating projects related to cooking, each of these services listed is unique in its own way.

Want to give one of these services a try? Follow me on Twitter @mignon_dunbar and let me know how your DIY cookbook project turned out.  

For more content on recipes, travel, and related topics, visit my Cooking and Traveling blog

Cookbook Generators for Every at Home Chef: Part 1

Believe it or not, customized cookbook publishers have existed for years, but most have a large minimum number of orders and are best bets for fund-raising events. Today, a crop of publishers let home chefs inexpensively design and create a single book online for their personal use.

For those of you who enjoy “DIY” projects like myself, I wanted to create a series of some of the best cookbook generators that will allow your creative juices to flow.

Launched in 2007, TasteBook is unique from many other DIY companies because it allows users to fuse their own recipes with recipes from other online sources. This site has more than 100,000 recipes to browse as well as books that will make your cookbook project complete!

tastebook photo

When it comes to making the cover, there are more than a hundred choices of photos, ranging from tables filled with platters of attractive looking food to a chocolate cake souffle. You can also upload your own photos at no additional cost.

Create My Cookbook
In mid-2008, Create My Cookbook was created as an alternative for personalizing cookbooks to customers liking.

This publishing service offers customers two options for books that are up to 100 pages. Of course the cost increases for books of greater page length but for beginners this site may be just what you’ve been looking for.

Mignon Dunbar blog post on CreateMyCookbook

Want to give one of these services a try? Follow me on Twitter @mignon_dunbar and let me know how your DIY cookbook project turned out.


For more content on recipes, travel, and related topics, visit my Cooking and Traveling blog.