Passports with Purpose: Alderbrook Resort helps Africa

Monday November 25, 2013 at 9:09 PM | 4 Comments

Alderbrook Resort

Alderbrook Resort & Spa

Imagine sitting on the deck, a glass of wine in hand, while watching and eagle catch thermals above the canal.

With your $10 donation, you could be kayaking on Washington’s Hood Canal, enjoying dinner at The Alderbrook Restaurant or relaxing at the Alderbrook Resort & Spa. This is just one of  the travel prizes up for grabs at this year’s Passports with Purpose.

Passports with Purpose is celebrating their sixth year of fund-raising for a cause. I’m pleased to say that this travel blogger has supported Passports with Purpose from the start and I continue to be involved in 2013.

Last year we raised $100,000 for to fund five water wells in Haiti.

This year, close to 150 travel bloggers from around the world will participate in Passports with Purpose 2013.

Together with your support, the money will fund buildOn to help construct three primary schools and fund three Adult Literary Programs in the Sikasso Region of Mali, Africa.


Building schools in Africa with buildOn

Passports with Purpose Prizes

To see a list of prizes on the Passports With Purpose website check here. Each donated prize will link back to a full description of the prizes on the blogger’s website.

Your purchase of a $10 raffle ticket will help support Passports with Purpose and ultimately build three primary schools and several Adult Literacy Programs in Mali, Africa. For each $10 in donations that you make to Passports with Purpose, you will be entered to win a prize (or prizes) of your choice. The fundraiser begins on November 26th and closes at midnight on December 9, 2013. On Monday, December 16, 2013 Passports with Purpose volunteers will notify prize winners. All proceeds go directly to buildOn.

Alderbrook Resort & Spa, located a convenient two hours from Seattle on Washington’s Hood Canal,  is donating a one night stay in a Canal View guestroom, a $50 dining credit at The Restaurant at Alderbrook and $50 spa credit at The Spa at Alderbrook.  The suggested retail value of this Alderbrook Resort & Spa package is $385. Thank you Alderbrook Resort & Spa  for your generous donation.

Certificate is based on availability
Valid Sunday through Friday
Not valid on holiday weekends
Certificate includes resort fee and applicable room tax
Promotional Certificates are not replaceable if lost or stolen

Article written by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip

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Passports with Purpose 2010

Passports with Purpose 2009

Eureka! Where Beer, Whiskey and Burgers Come Together

Friday November 22, 2013 at 6:06 AM | 3 Comments

Eureka restaurant, Berkeley

Eureka! restaurant review, Berkeley, California

The new Eureka restaurant in downtown Berkeley is riding triple waves of popularity for artisan burgers, craft beer and American-made whiskeys. The canny owners only started the Eureka! group in 2009, and now have 10 locations throughout California with another set to open in Seattle.

Eureka! in Berkeley

The newest, on Center Street in Berkeley, California, beckons with inviting, contemporary décor. From the street, it looks too upscale to be a burger joint, and Eureka! is no joint at all, and it imbues its casual food and drink with creative twists on classic American favorites – beer, burger, fries and salads.

The burgers are built from 100% vegetarian-fed, hormone-and-antibiotic-free beef, and French Fries are hand-cut from fresh Kennebec potatoes, which many chefs maintain make the best fries because of their negligible water content and superior taste.


Eureka whiskey bar

Flight of whiskey at Eureka restaurant

Eureka! Whiskey bar and craft beer

There’s a full bar, but Eureka focuses on craft beer and whiskey – all American-made.

You can sip whiskey cocktails or discover small-production whiskeys in a flight of four pours. Craft beer comes in those flights, too, and you can get a half-whiskey, half-beer flight.

Pairing beers with the different dishes has been carefully thought out. If this feels like virgin territory to you — don’t worry, the staff has plenty of suggestions.  I would never have ordered a beer accompaniment to my dessert of butterscotch pudding, but the combo of the pudding with a rich Old Rasputin Imperial Stout was sublime.


Eureka jalapeno egg burger

Eureka! Jalapeno egg burger

American food discovered at Eureka!

Besides the quality of the food, there is a great choice here: the dozen or so types of burgers can be ordered with patties of beef, turkey, or vegetarian protein. They can be on a bun, in a wrap, between crisp Iceberg lettuce cups or “naked” on a bed of dressed arugula. And it’s not all burgers: crab cake sliders, grilled chicken breast sandwiches and seared salmon, among other dishes, are available.

My table tasted two burgers, the Fresno Fig Burger ($11.25) and Jalapeno Egg Burger (11.50). Fig marmalade, soft goat cheese, thick-cut bacon, tomato, onion, and arugula in a spicy porter mustard melded together beautifully and, surprisingly, did not detract from the thick, juicy meat. A perfectly-cooked fried egg atop that same juicy burger with melted cheddar, bacon, chipotle sauce, and jalapeno peppers had many flavor components happening without over-powering the burger.


Eureka watermelon salad

Eureka! restaurant watermelon salad

Eureka! appetizers

Among the appetizers I tasted were Lollipop Corn Dogs ($7.50) made from all-natural Polish sausage and served with three tasty sauces; Osso Buco Riblets ($8.95), wine-braised pork riblets coated in a “fire cracker aioli,” that tasted like a creamy Buffalo sauce.

You wouldn’t normally expect a place that specializes in burgers to do a good job with salads, especially delicate ones, but the Watermelon Salad ($11.25) was a lovely, cool antidote to the heartiness of the rest of the food with its quinoa, mix of diced raw vegetables, walnuts, cranberry, and watermelon spears drizzled with balsamic dressing. The salad is garnished with feta cheese, but hold the feta and it’s a vegan dish.

As a side dish salad, the Pacific Coleslaw ($3.50) with a sprinkling of peanuts, was yummy.

Less successful were the King Crab Cake Sliders ($14.95) – not bad at all, but a little ho-hum on a menu with more interesting flavor combinations. Golden Sweet Potato Fries were not a favorite, either, because of the added sweetness of drizzled honey and cinnamon. If the goal was to taste like a Thanksgiving side dish, it works, but it’s not something I want to accompany my brawny burger.

Eureka hoppy hour

Eureka! hoppy hour

Insider Tip

Hoppy Hour takes place from 2-6 p.m. daily with $1.00 off draft and bottled beer and $2.00 off all wine and certain vodkas. Appetizers are discounted, as well.

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter and follow @EurekaBurger on Twitter.

If You Go:

Eureka! (510) 809-8282

2068 Center Street, Berkeley, California 94704

This is a guest post by Janice Fuhrman who was a guest of Eureka. All photos courtesy of Nancy D. Brown.

Related Post

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Botetourt County: History, Nature, Wine Tasting in Virginia

Friday November 15, 2013 at 6:06 AM | 15 Comments

rocking chairs at Ikenberry Orchards store

Step back in time at Ikenberry Orchards store in Botetourt County, Virginia

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

When I have a visitor from out of town the first place they want to see is Roaring Run, but I also take them to Historic Fincastle – for a more local, authentic experience.

When I want to escape the tourists, my favorite place to visit is Appalachian Trail.

If this is a romantic trip, I recommend The Blue Ridge Parkway for kissing with a view.

The best place to walk the dog is Greenfield Park.

Museums are wonderful, but if you are traveling with kids, you’ll want to visit Roaring Run Day Use Area. I recently had a hip replacement and was worried about the level of fitness needed for this hike. It was an easy, glorious 3/4 mile hike along Roaring Run Creek.



Fall in Botetourt County, Virginia

Apples, pumpkins and wine grapes are plentiful in the fall in Virginia’s Botetourt County.

Food in Botetourt County:

If you are looking for typical Botetourt cuisine, I recommend Town Center Tap House or Three Li’l Pigs- both in Daleville, or Maw & Paw’s in Eagle Rock, Virginia.

The best place to go for coffee & a breakfast treat is Land of A Thousand Hills coffee shop (1 of 3 open nationwide) – great house blends or local Mill Mountain Coffee – great scones. Both places are located in Daleville, Virginia.

Looking for cheap food in Botetourt County? Try North Star Restaurant in Buchanan, Virginia or The Greenwood Restaurant in Troutville.

For an expensive, yet quality meal, go to Pomegranate Restaurant in Troutville, Virginia.


tractor, Fincastle Vineyard

Go wine tasting at Fincastle Vineyard & Winery in Virginia

Outdoors in Botetourt County

Seeing a lot of Botetourt County? Botetourt is best known for great hiking trails and convenient river access. Don’t forget Ikenberry Orchard’s, a 5th generation, family run store. My visit was timed in the fall, so local produce featured dozens of types of apples and plenty of pumpkins.

When you come to Botetourt County, get your picture taken at Kelly’s Real Deals on Route 11 or Troutville Town Park by the Old Red Caboose.

The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of Tinker Mountain.

The Upper James River Water Trail offers great views and is the best place to watch the seasons change or experience Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s also fun to watch fireworks from the Buchanan Carnival on and around July 4th.

In this part of Virginia, outdoor enthusiasts will want to hike Tinker Cliffs or Appalachian Trail, bike Patterson Creek or Bike 76, horseback ride at Apple Orchard Falls and walk Troutville Town Park or Cherry Blossom Trail.

Roaring Run Falls, Botetourt County, Virginia

Roaring Run Falls in Botetourt County, Virginia

Looking for a little exercise? Walk along the Roaring Run Creek or Cherry Blossom Trail at Greenfield.

If you are a museum lover, Botetourt County’s best museum is Botetourt County Historical Museum in Fincastle, Virginia.

What about night life in Botetourt County? Go dancing at Pomegranate or Daleville Town Center (Spring-Fall) for live music.

The Fincastle Herald & The Botetourt View will keep you posted on what’s happening in and around Botetourt County in Virginia.

You can tell a lot about Botetourt County from visiting artist studios or Buchanan and attending Open Studios – Botetourt or Friday Night Drive-In event.

In the spring you should attend Buchanan’s Civil War History Weekend (held the last weekend in April.)

In the summer you should attend The Buchanan Carnival (around July 4th) and float on The Upper James River Water Trail.

In the fall, go wine tasting on the Wine Trail through Botetourt County, Virginia. Blue Ridge Vineyards is one of the state’s first vineyards, while Virginia Mountain Vineyards is surrounded by the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains. Then end your day at Fincastle Vineyards & Winery, another small producer featuring Bordeaux blends.

historic iron furnace, Virginia

Visit the historic iron furnace at Roaring Run in the Jefferson National Forest

Historic Botetourt County

Did you know that Botetourt County once stretched all the way to the Mississippi River and that Fincastle Historic District was named to the National Register of Historic Places and The Virginia Landmarks Register in 1969? Plan a visit to Historic Fincastle in the Fall and run in the Bank of Fincastle 5K/10K or plan to attend Open Studios-Botetourt, a free, self-guided tour to artist’s homes around the county.

Come to Botetourt County for The Historic Fincastle Home Tour and Candlelight Christmas Home Tour in Buchanan in December.

Insider Tip: Check out the often over-looked Gene’s Old & New Antiques & other antiquaries in Botetourt County.

I’ll bet you didn’t know that just outside of Botetourt County, you can visit three of the largest single track trail systems east of the Mississippi – Carvins Cove, Mill Mountain & Explore Park in Virginia.

Have you traveled to Virginia’s Blue Ridge? What are your favorite things to do in Virginia? For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer @NancyDBrown on Twitter and @Botetourt.

Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. For additional information on Botetourt County, Virginia, visit