Category Archives: Hotels

Continue Alabama Rising Part 2

American Press Travel News–Part 2 of Alabama visit by Bob and Barb Epstein “On The Road Again”–After a great dinner at Lulu’s-owned by Jimmy Buffet’s sister. Lulu’s restaurant has become an iconic emporium of drink and vittles, and the place was a real happening for families and anyone wanting to visit an American Caribbean spot full of fun and frivolities.
Last month’s article ended with a trip out on the Gulf for red snapper with Captain Randy Boggs of Distraction Charters. Fishing was excellent and we caught and released several fish in the 3-6 pound class with a couple even larger. No, we could not keep any fish for dinner, but the catch and release that Captain Boggs believes is important for the future of the fishery and was A-OK with us too! Do I recommend this Captain? Absolutely! Beverly Hogg really enjoyed herself hauling in these strong-pulling red snapper.
( Give Boggs or Captain Troy Frady a call at 251-975-8111 These guys are terrific at what they do. Their mate, 39-year old Ken Wright had the right stuff too!
After the fishing we headed out on an informative nature cruise with Sailaway Charters-we eased our way through the estuaries and backwaters of Longs Bayou and Wolf Bay. We learned about oystering techniques, crabbing and shrimping which is big business in this area. We checked out the various sea-birds and had dolphin (major residents and fishers) come over to inspect us several times. For more information, visit
The next day we headed for Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research and Education Center- we meandered along a 5,000 foot elevated boardwalk that winds through 6,000 acres of coastal habitats and wetlands, including a protected estuary.

 Knoxville Tennessee


American Press Travel News–Feb. 28th, Crossville, TN. “Bob and Barb On The Road Again.”–An hour’s drive on I-40, from Crossville, sitting on the shores of the Tennessee River, and surrounded by some of the most scenic lands and lakes that Middle Southern America has to offer, Knoxville, Tennessee is as gracious a host as you’ll find anywhere. Stop anyone and ask them about Knoxville, and then be prepared to listen up and smile. “People are very friendly. We like “friendly.”

Several main highways bisect, or are very close to the city. I-75 from S.W. Florida through Atlanta and Chattanooga, I-81 that links the northeast with the southeast, and I-40 that cuts across from Memphis west to the eastern corridor to Asheville, and links up with I-95, the eastern seaboards main highway from the Florida Keys all the way to N.Y., and the north east.

With world class museums, antique shops, and quaint boutique shops that you can shake a credit card at, great accommodations, and really fine cuisine, Knoxville offers something for everyone, and on everyone’s budget too.

Sounds like a Chamber of Commerce ad, huh? Well, no not from me, I call it as I experience it!

Bet you didn’t know that Knoxville is and was home to the Blues phenomenon. Music does take center stage here.

We checked in to the excellent Disney-like, pyramid Hotel Knoxville, with soaring floors open to a courtyard grand space, and a restaurant. The hotel was so conveniently located, that many of the great restaurants and locations (such as the Basketball Hall of Fame) and the Sun sphere left over from the Knoxville, Worlds Fair we visited, were in walking distance.

For a walking tour, we found Paula. Paula A. Johnson created her own business: “Knoxville Food Tours.” Her tour incorporates the history food and fun that Knoxville has to offer for a very reasonable fee. She took us for tastings (yes, its always lunch time for Paula’s guests) to Oliver Royale, Bistro at the Bijou, Dazzo’s, Coolato Gelato, and a for great juice bar on the square. She gave a us a running history of these, and other restaurants, as well as a fine taste of what Knoxville was, and is today in the arts, music, craft beer and food scene.

Paula also has published “The Lost Restaurants of Knoxville.” A great historical read! For reservations, go: and give Paula a call at (865) 201-7270. Paula A. Johnson is a great personality, adding to the terrific personality of Knoxville. She helped make our visit “excellent.”
The next day we attended a early dinner aboard the big Star of Knoxville, on Neyland Drive. This paddle boat is the queen of the Tennessee Riverboat Company, docked at the Volunteer Landing on the Tennessee River. We and other visitors were serenely and quietly paddled past great landscapes, and architectural glimpses of the Knoxville area. We enjoyed a nice meal, great local company, and views of a green land that just wouldn’t quit. (865) 525-7827

Becky Hancock, Executive Director, toured us through the restored Tennessee Bijou Theatre, the official state theatre of Tennessee. $23-million was spent in the restoration of this former 1928 Spanish-Moorish style early movie palace. They even did over a mighty Wurlitzer organ, and some the interior details included Czechoslovakian crystal chandeliers, and Asian influenced carpets and drapery patterns that hung over and around Italian terrazzo floors in the Grand Lobby. Give a call for information: 865-684-1200

The Knoxville Museum of the Arts was especially delightful. Their permanent collection exhibits could keep one enthralled for an entire day, all by themselves.
On Gay Street, we stopped in to The Blue Plate Special; a daily live traditional music performance that was broadcast on historic WDVX Radio. The live broadcasts allow everyone to just come in, sit down during the broadcast, a local and tourist treat since it started in 2005. We enjoyed several sets of great country and bluegrass from well-seasoned musicians.

Today, there’s a place for you genealogical minded folks-the Calvin H. McClung Historical Collection at the Museum of the same name. It is an affiliate of the Family History Library in Salt lake City, Utah, and one of the south’s best genealogy research facilities, as well as the Knox County Archives established in 1792 and virtually intact. This museum is also a Smithsonian affiliate, and it emphasizes archeological research in the Tennessee Valley Region with an award-winning permanent exhibit “Archeology and The Native Peoples of Tennessee.

We visited the Ijams Nature Center on 2915 Island Home Ave. (865-577-4717) For a 108 years, the Nature Center is a renowned bird sanctuary on 275-acres, and it has played an important role in the environmental education and outdoor movement in East Tennessee. The Ijams legacy is largely untold in a historical perspective, but it includes Girl Scouting, horticulture, ornithology and hiking-all encouraged by the Ijam’s by example and design. The Center has a Lost Species Exhibition exhibit, and is well worth visiting. Remember, we all live downstream and “A day going down stream puts your head firmly into upstream of life!

Key Largo & Islamorada Birthday Trip Via The Blue Chip 2 Sportfishing Adventures

American Press Travel News-Jan 26th–Key Largo and Islamorada, Florida Keys-“Bob & Barb On the Road Again” and “Stopping to Smell the Roses & Admiring the Hibiscus Flowers.. So our son David had his 50th Birthday and was spending his day on the Charter Craft, Blue Chip 2 with veteran Captain Skip Bradeen, his mate David and my sons friends John ElKoury, Billy Pope and Dave a;l part of Coastal Reality of the Florida Keys, Allan Pope owner of Keys Life Magazine, Eric Dyer another of David’s childhood and lifelong friends and Captain Key Largo; my younger son Brian Epstein who runs his backcountry boat out of Key Largo and who knows where the big ones lurk and jerk the lines.
The day was blustery, but on the Blue Chip 2 we caught fish, the heck with the wind and swells. Everyone caught dinner sized yellowtail snapper and some tuna including bonita and down deep Mutton Snappers. It was a great day and it finished with a special fishing and boating themed and decorated cake, too! At the end of day yours truly went on Capt Skips Radio Show to talk about the day and my published Keys themed books. We ate yellowtail of the day and at least one beer at the Moose Club. Kona Kai 800-365-STAY—In Key Largo, fish here, eat here and love here!!!

Entrance to Kona Kai Resort and Gallery. Where we stayed during Dave’s birthday sportfishing bash.
Kona Kai Pool and hot tub.
Left to right Birthday Boy Dave, Captain Skip Bradeen, Captain Key Largo, Brian Epstein and David the Blue Chip 2 Mate.

Fly buddy out to say Hi to the birthday boy, Dave.

Fly buddy out to say Hi to the birthday boy, Dave.
We kept enough yellowtail snapper for all of us to have a fresh filet of fish dinner.
Realtor, John ElKoury, a veteran and a great Islamorada resident!!



Harbor Place in Port St Lucie, Florida

American Press Travel News-January 15th,—Harbor Place an Independent and Assisted Living Community–“Bob and Barb On the Road Again” visited!

When the folks from Harbor Place made their presentation at our bagel breakfast, Justin Shaun Iscra, their Dining Services Director was introduced. We decided to meet him at Harbor Place for dinner. Iscra has been with Harbor Place for six and half years. He creates 3-meals per day, 7-days per week. Everything prepared is homemade and we had a chance to enjoy a steak and an Asian themed stir-fry. We finished our meal off with very, very good New York Cheese Cake and coffee. The First course of Chicken and rice soup was like momma would make it. The rolls and salads were first rate. As we eat out nearly every day and evening for our columns in, we know good when we find it! Harbor place meals, as we also noticed the other diners were enjoying, were very good!

Harbor Place 3700 SE Jennings Rd
Port Saint Lucie, FL 34952
Phone number (772) 398-1786