A view of Light Field at Freedom Plaza. Photo by Valérie Blanchard
Travel Reviews
Valerie Blanchard

The Light Field at Freedom Plaza

In Freedom Plaza, artist Bruce Munro crafted a Light Field that is a gentle pageantry of glowing synesthesia enveloped by buildings on three sides and open to the expansive view of the East River. Walking calmly through this window box of light and hope, one imagined a beautiful garden with tall flowers reaching upwards to the clear sky. At the same time, one sensed a serenity gleaned from a cambric of fond memories cradled in this dreamy, sumptuous chiaroscuro celebrating those who have gone before us.

An artistic depiction of guests at the 18th-century Mount Vernon Hotel in New York City. Photo by Valerie Blanchard
Museum Reviews
Valerie Blanchard

Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden

Just north of the Queensborough Bridge in Manhattan I recently discovered the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden while hurrying to an appointment on East 68th Street. Once I saw it, I stopped and could hardly take my eyes off this cozy, charming, well-maintained, 18th-century hotel. Its locked gates and imposing stone wall were mysterious, and I knew I must get inside to see the gardens and building.

Tea Around Town (photo from
New York Restaurant Reviews
Sora Vernikoff

Tea Around Town

The other day, I joined a group of friends to experience Tea Around Town. We met the Tea Around Town bus across the street from 11 West 42nd Street on

From Petra to the Dead Sea. Photo by Sora Vernikoff
Travel Reviews
Sora Vernikoff

From Petra to the Dead Sea

The last leg of my Jordan trip was from Petra to the Dead Sea. We stopped in Madaba and Mount Nebo on our drive to the area. Madaba was our first stop, and famous for its beautiful mosaics. Or, instead, the Madaba mosaics are famous. This small town in Jordan, nineteen miles southwest of Amman and on the King’s Highway, houses one of the oldest maps of the Holy Land, built out of two million pieces and embedded in the floor of the Saint George Greek Orthodox Church.

The old and the new in Petra Jordan. Photo by Sora Vernikoff
Travel Reviews
Sora Vernikoff

Wow! to Petra, Jordan

On my trip to Jordan, after my one night in Wadi Rum, it was off to Petra, Jordan. I had yet to learn what Petra was about, but knew it would be very interesting. By the time we got to Petra, about a 3-hour drive plus lunch, we got to Little Petra. Little Petra is an ancient city like the famous Petra (which we’ll soon talk more about), but only on a much smaller scale. Although this site looks similar to Petra (which you’ll soon see), its purpose is slightly different. Historians believe this place was built during the 1st century when the Nabatean city thrived, and Little Petra was a type of suburb. Thus, you will not find tombs here but houses used by rich citizens or travelers arriving in Petra for their lucrative trade business. Here is an image of Little Petra, and you’ll soon see how similar but much larger Petra (the city) is.

Saraya Rum Private Luxury Camp. Photo by Sora Vernikoff
Travel Reviews
Sora Vernikoff

Saraya Rum Private Luxury Camp

We took in more of Amman the next day, and it was time for an even more exciting adventure at Saraya Rum Luxury Camp. It was off to Wadi Rum, which took about 4 hours. Wadi Rum, also known as The Valley of the Moon, is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in southern Jordan, near the border with Saudi Arabia and east of the city of Aqaba.

The Roman Theater in Amman, Jordan. Photo by Sora Vernikoff
Travel Reviews
Sora Vernikoff

Amman Jordan

I arrived in Amman, Jordan, on a tour two days before the war between Israel and Gaza broke out. You can imagine the shock that I was in when I got news of it.

Brazilian Jazz at Le Bab Ilo in Paris


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