Entries in ‘Travel’ Journal

U-Dig Fossils: Well Worth the Drive in Utah

Wednesday March 18, 2015 at 8:08 PM | 0 Comments

Digging for trilobites at U-Dig Fossils in Utah

Digging for trilobites at U-Dig Fossils in Utah

A few years ago, before our dinosaur bone digging days, an episode of Cash and Treasures on the Travel Channel peaked my interest in digging for trilobites. The episode took place at U-Dig Fossils in Utah, and since we were heading through Utah anyway, I talked my husband into the detour.

It is a detour.

A roughly 52 miles west of Delta type of detour. Plus, the last twenty miles to get to the dig site is on a dirt road. If you’ve ever thought, “I’m in the middle of nowhere,” you need to verify by heading here. That said, a trip to U-Dig Fossils is splendid indeed.

A digging for trilobite demo

A digging for trilobite demo

Located in a landscape of limestone shale, U-Dig Fossils is on a 40 acre site that was once  inhabited by marine life 500 years ago. Trilobites, hard-shelled creatures that trolled the bottom of the sea, have turned into excellent fossils that aren’t hard to find if you know just how to crack open flat sheets of shale. If you don’t have a clue–we didn’t, the folks that who work at U-Dig Fossils are happy to help by demonstrating how to get the best results. This means uncovering trilobites that are intact and not broken in half by a sloppy chisel and hammer technique. Within a few hours we found several trilobites of various quality.

  It just seems like it's in the middle of nowhere.

It just seems like it’s in the middle of nowhere.

Along with spending quality time with each other, my family (a teen, a pre-adolescent, and my husband) enjoyed the company of other fossil diggers. While we are casual fossil diggers, there are some folks who are serious about their efforts. These folks are an encylopedia of other sites in the U.S. that offer a bounty of prehistoric goods.

If you do go in the summer like we did, head out early. If you don’t, plan to swelter in the sun like an egg frying on a sidewalk. Seriously, it gets hot.

  • Bring a lot of drinking water and snacks.
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses, or at least sunglasses.
  • Expect that your car will get dusty on the outside from traveling along the dirt road. There’s a car wash in Delta.
  • Stay overnight in Delta, although we stayed overnight in Filmore further away because rooms in Delta were booked. Staying somewhere close by will ensure you can get an early morning start to avoid the heat of midday.
An uncovered treasure

An uncovered treasure

If you go during cooler months, bring a lightweight jacket. If you don’t have equipment, you can borrow some, although it’s recommended that you bring a lightweight gardening gloves. Safety glasses are also recommended. Because you will find trilobites, bring a container to bring them with you.

U-Dig Fossils provides the chisels, hammers and a bucket for collecting what you find.

The cost depends upon length of time of your dig and your age. There are 2 hour, half day and full day prices.  Ages 7-16 pay $16 for 2 hours to $42 dollars for all day. Adults, age 17 and older pay $28 for 2 hours to $70 for all day.

We were there for 2 hours. The site opens for the season March 20.  Check the U-Dig Fossil website for specific dates and hours and for exact directions on how to get there.

Post and photo courtesy of Jamie Rhein

Things to Do in Door County, Wisconsin

Friday March 6, 2015 at 6:06 AM | 0 Comments

Are you visiting Door County, Wisconsin for the first time? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in “The Door.”

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

Downtown Sturgeon Bay. Photo © 2015 Nancy D. Brown


When I have a visitor from out of town, the first thing I have them experience is a fish boil and a visit to Peninsula State Park, but I also take them to Newport State Park for a local, authentic experience.

When I want to escape the crowds/tourists, my favorite place to visit is Washington Island.

If this is a romantic trip, I recommend Eagle Harbor in Ephraim at sunset for kissing with a view.

Stavkirke Church, Washington Island

Stavkirke Church, Washington Island © 2015 Nancy D. Brown


Traveling with your pooch? The best place to walk the dog is Sister Bay Dog Park.

Museums are wonderful, but if you are traveling with kids, you’ll want to visit Hands on Art Studio. This place is amazing for the DIY craft person or jewelry maker. If I lived in Door County, I’d be coming here with girlfriends for an afternoon of creative self expression. Way cool!

cocktail, Sister Bay Bowl

Cocktails at Sister Bay Bowl. Photo © 2015 Nancy D. Brown


Door County food:

If you are looking for typical local cuisine, I recommend one of the many wonderful Wisconsin supper clubs in the area – The English Inn, Greenwood Supper Club, Sister Bay Bowl, or Mr. G’s Logan Creek Grille.

The best place to go for coffee & a breakfast treat is Door County Coffee and Tea. These folks are very friendly and serve the best local coffee.

Looking for cheap food in Door County? Go to Wilson’s Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor or Julie’s Park Café.


Parador is the spot for late night dining. For an expensive, yet quality meal, go to Inn at Kristophers, Alexanders, Villagios, Mission Grille or Bluefront Café.

Seeing a lot of cherry trees? Door County is best known for growing the delicious Montmorency tart cherry and was once the largest producer of the crop in the US.

cherry pie, Inn at Cedar Bay, Door County

Cheery pie from Inn at Cedar Bay © 2015 Nancy D. Brown


When you come to Door County, get your picture taken at the top of Cana Island Lighthouse.

The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of Eagle Tower in Peninsula State Park.

Cave Point County Park offers great views and Sister Bay Bowl is the best place to watch or experience the annual goat parade in Sister Bay.

In Door County, outdoor lovers will want to hike along the shoreline of Lake Michigan at Whitefish Dunes State Park, bike the Sunset Trail at Peninsula State Park, walk along the working waterfront and through the quaint downtown of Sturgeon Bay.

Looking for a little exercise? Walk along the shore at Egg Harbor or the Hemlock Trail at Potawatomi State Park.

After a day of adventure, The Spa at Sacred Grounds is the best place to go for a spa treatment.

Door County Maritime Museum, Wisconsin

Door County is known for ship building © 2015 Nancy D. Brown


If you are a museum lover, Door County’s best museum is the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay. (Even if you aren’t a museum lover, this place is packed with history.)

Looking for exciting night life? Go dancing at Kitty O’Reilly’s Irish Pub or Husby’s for live music.

The Peninsula Pulse will keep you posted on what’s happening in Door County.

You can tell a lot about Door County from visiting and watching Pumpkin Patch in Egg Harbor, an annual fall festival. In the spring you should visit Door County during the Cherry Blossom Bloom. In the summer you should attend Fyr Ball in Ephraim.

Did you know that Door County is known for ship building? Yet another reason to visit the Maritime Museum.  It’s also known for performing arts. Nearly a dozen performing arts companies call Door County home. I had the pleasure of watching the Door County Pickers jam at Door County Auditorium.

Door County Pickers, Wisconsin

Door County Pickers. Photo © 2015 Nancy D. Brown


Plan a visit to Peninsula State Park in the fall for beautiful fall foliage.

Come to Door County for a sleigh ride, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and romance in the winter.  If you dare, try the Jacksonport Polar Bear Plunge in the winter.

Insider Tip: Check out the often over-looked Ridges Sanctuary in Bailey’s Harbor.

sleigh ride, Door County

Take a sleigh ride. Photo © 2015 Angie Gary.


I’ll bet you didn’t know that Door County is part of the Niagara Escarpment, which extends in a huge crescent up into Canada and back down to Niagara Falls.

Just outside of Door County you can visit the Green Bay Packer’s Lambeau Field and have lunch at Curley’s Pub in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

fish boil, White Gull Inn

Fish boil. Photo © 2015 Nancy D. Brown

What are your favorite things to do in Door County?
For additional insider tips follow Northern California Travel Writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter and @mydoorcounty.
Article, photos and YouTube video by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Door County.

Travel and Adventure Show 2015

Wednesday February 11, 2015 at 6:06 AM | 1 Comment

Now in its fifth year, the Bay Area Travel and Adventure Show attracts people from around the greater San Francisco Bay Area. This was my first time attending the two-day show. With over 500 exhibitors, the Santa Clara Convention Center was buzzing with travel enthusiasts learning the latest travel trends and destinations and shopping for travel apparel. Here are five things that I learned at the Bay Area Travel & Adventure Show.


Winery San Francisco, wine, travel & adventure show

My custom blend from Winery San Francisco. Photo © 2015 Nancy D. Brown


I. Wine tasting on San Francisco’s Treasure Island
Did you know that you can go wine tasting on Treasure Island? The Winery San Francisco offers California wines paired with some of the Bay Area’s best water views. I had the pleasure of creating my own custom wine blend using three varietal wines (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre) on tap at the travel show. Guests 21 and older were offered a special wine pairing and tasting session (for an additional fee.)

bay area travel show

Bay Area Travel Show. Photo © 2015 Nancy D. Brown


2. Travel experts share their secrets
Travel experts such as Samantha Brown, Rick Steves and Peter Greenberg share how travel has changed, smart European travel tips and what the airlines don’t want you to know. Of course, there are plenty of opportunities for snapping the ultimate travel selfie at the show without setting foot at the airport.
3. Travel apparel
If you travel as often as I do, you become an expert at how to pack light. With 18 tech-ready pockets, I’m a fan of the Scottevest for my equestrian travel. A new find for me this year was Clothing Arts and their Pick Pocket Proof Pants. Founded by Adam Rapp, the clothing company offers more items for men than women, but he’s working on introducing clothing beyond the women’s travel pants. Stay tuned.

"Safari Endeavour" Alaska

Safari Endeavour for the noncruiser. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


4. Crusing
Alaska cruises are still on the hot list for 2015, but have you considered a cruise in Costa Rica, Panama or the Galapagos? Closer to home, UnCruise Adventures offers “edutainment” cruises with crew dressed in period costume on the Columbia and Snake River.
5. Exploring California
Living in California, we don’t have to travel far to experience something new. This year I look forward to exploring Amador, Calaveras and El Dorado counties, in addition to a stay at The Heritage House in Mendocino county. Where will your travels take you?

Korea tourism, travel & adventure show

Meeting new friends from Korea.


Insider Tip:

travel channel, San Francisco travel showTravel & Adventure Show app
The Travel & Adventure Show offers a free downloadable app. TAS Trip Finder features a schedule of events, floor plan, exhibitor list, social news and all the information a person needs to keep organized during the show.

If You Go:
Travel & Adventure Show http://www.travelshows.com/sanfrancisco
Santa Clara Convention Center
5001 Great America Parkway
Santa Clara, California 95054