On to Agra: the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri and Chand Baori stepwell

By Sandra Hutchinson

This is my third blog post on the trip my husband and I took in January, 2017 to northern India.

The Taj Mahal — termed one of the “wonders of the world,” and probably India’s most famous structure, is actually a marble mausoleum that was constructed by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan after the death of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Completed around 1653, it is perhaps the best example anywhere of Mughal architecture. After this “monument to love” was constructed, one of the emperor’s sons murdered his three elder brothers and overthrew his father to acquire the throne. Shah Jahan was imprisoned at Agra Fort, with a view of his beloved wife’s tomb, until he died. He is buried alongside his wife in the Taj Mahal.

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A Week in Delhi, India

By Sandra Hutchinson

This blog post is my second about the trip to northern India that my husband and I took in January, 2017. My first post covered our nonstop round trip flights between Newark, NJ and Delhi on United Airline’s new Polaris class. (See my personalized tips at the bottom of this post for some quick Delhi travel ideas.)

Delhi, a region encompassing New Delhi, the capital city of India, is teeming, crowded and polluted. One of the most densely populated metropolitan areas in the world, figures vary on how many people live there. Over 25 million people are believed to live within the region, with many thousands of people entering Delhi every day from outlying regions and other parts of the world.

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Fun at Sagamore’s Glacier Ice Bar on Lake George

By Sandra Hutchinson

Having heard a lot of buzz about the “Glacier Ice Bar” and all the associated wintertime activities at the Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing on Lake George, a few of my best friends from childhood joined me in an overnight at the iconic hotel in January, during one of the two “Ice Bar” weekends. Turns out, there’s a whole lot more going on than just chilling out with a cocktail while standing around some blocks of ice.

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Front view of Sagamore Hotel, on a wintry January morning

Although the Sagamore’s foray into the “ice bar” only began several years ago, it has turned into a phenomenon, drawing huge crowds to the hotel on two weekends in January, a time when the hotel has in the past been closed. A number of other bars and restaurants in the region have followed suit, creating their own happening spots and events with the idea that people will stand outside in the cold to drink cocktails and beer if the mood and music is good, the fires are burning, and your friends show up. Continue reading

Should your dog wear a winter coat?

By Sandra Hutchinson

When the mercury outside begins to drop, my thoughts turn to couture — canine couture, that is.

Some people may think it’s ridiculous to dress a dog in a coat or sweater, but as it turns out, there are sometimes very good reasons for doing so.

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Our two Wheaten Terriers don’t seem to mind wearing their L. L. Bean field coats with plaid flannel lining. There’s even a pouch on the back to hold treats! As a bonus, the human can wear a matching field coat.

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Fear of falling firs

By Sandra Hutchinson

By this time, less than a week before Christmas, most people who are going to have a Christmas tree in their home have already set it up and decorated it. But if you are one of those folks who follow the Old World tradition of not putting the tree up until Christmas Eve, or if you’ve had a disaster befall you similar to the one I’m about to describe, I would like to offer some hard-earned advice on the importance of an extra-sturdy, heavy-duty tree stand.

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2016 Christmas tree at New York Public Library’s main branch, Fifth Avenue, NYC—undoubtedly securely anchored!

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