Vegan Travel: Vegan Meals and Biblical Sights in the City Of David – Jerusalem

I awoke bright and early in my Old Jaffa hostel during my first full day in Israel! Since my tour guide would arrive by 7am, there was no time for me to get breakfast at a local restaurant. The seasoned traveler in me understood that it was imperative for me to pick up a breakfast meal option during the previous evening. Thus the prior evening, I had purchased a halwa pastry at vegan-friendly bakery “Piece of Cake” (Piece Of Cake Bakery). The sales staff are familiar with which items are vegan. Some vegan items are on the shelves, while others are kept in the glass display case. My halwa pastry was wonderful! The sweet treat was a nice size portion.


En route to Jerusalem, our tour guide brought us to an interesting cafe for mid-morning snacks and beverages. The Elvis Inn (Elvis Inn Cafe) is a popular tourist stop. The restaurant offers freshly made sandwiches, beverages, and snacks. The sitting area is surrounded by Elvis Presley memorabilia. I settled on a falafel and hummus sandwich with several toppings(salsa, greens, veggies) in a pita bread. The falafel and hummus were really tasty! The pita bread was amazing: much fluffier and fresher than in our own supermarkets abroad!

We arrived in Jerusalem within a couple of hours of leaving Tel Aviv and the highway restaurant snack stop. Our guide led us to the top of the Mount Of Olives to experience the panoramic view of Old Jerusalem and what a spectacular view it was! The incredible vista includes the Temple Mount of the Old City. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have roots here. The golden Dome of the Rock is where Jesus was presented as a baby in the temple. Arab tradition states that this commemorates prophet Mohammed’s ascension into paradise. The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism where God’s presence is revealed. The first temple built by King Solomon is thought to have resided here, then demolished by the Babylonians. King Herod re-constructed the Temple. During the Second Temple period, it functioned as an economic center of the city. The Mount is significant to Christians because Jesus spent time in the Temple as a boy, spoke out against corruption of those who used it for their own monetary gain, and prophesied its destruction in the year 70. History holds that it stands between the biblical mountains Mount Moriah (where Abraham almost sacrificed his son Isaiah) and Mount Zion(where the Jebusite fortress was founded). The Jebusites had settled the city prior to the conquest of King David and thus the city was originally known as “Jebus”.

Moving on from the Mount Of Olives, our group left the tour van and proceeded to walk into the Old City Jerusalem. From a distance, we could see the Church of All Nations. The location is believed to be built over the rock where Jesus prayed in agony before he was betrayed by Judas and arrested, on the night before his crucifixion. The church, completed in 1924, is the third one erected on this site. Adjacent to the church on the foot of the Mount of Olives, is the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus went to pray with his disciples, the night before he was crucified.

The Church of the Dormition is thought by Christians to be the location where the Virgin Mary “fell asleep”. A Byzantine church built on this site was destroyed by the Persians in AD 614. The current church was constructed in the year 1910.

Our guide pointed out the Jerusalem Archaeological Park to our right. The exhibit contains a wealth of archaeological artifacts from the period of the first and second temple such as giant stones that fell from the Temple Mount during the destruction of AD 70, the original steps of the 2,000 year old gate, and the Herodian street. Even Bronze Age Canaanite structures are found in the park.

King David’s Tomb was the next stop on our agenda. His tomb is located on the first level of the building, while the Room of The Last Supper is located on the second level. David is noted for being the second king of Israel and according to Scripture, the Messiah would be descended from him. Christians, Jews, and Muslims rever David and Jesus.




Outside of the building, stands a golden statue of King David playing an instrument. He was also a distinguished warrior, poet, and musician, who composed many of the psalms.

We made our way through Old Jerusalem’s Zion Gate into the Jewish Quarter. Winding alleys and narrow streets with white stone facade homes and businesses greeted us with every step.




Lucky us! A Bar Mitzvah procession was making its way through the streets! Leading the way were the musicians.

Next, the young man celebrating his Bar Mitzvah walked under a white awning, surrounded by family and friends, some bearing desserts.

As we wandered through the streets and narrow alleyways, we noticed that many homes and businesses bear a “hamsa”symbol plaque or carving. The outstretched hand symbol signifies protection against evil.

Remains of prosperous aristocratic and priestly residences are found in the Upper City of Jerusalem. This is where we next visited. Because of its lavishness, it was named the “Herodian Quarter”.

Original stone walls, tiled floors, and intricately detailed pottery are exhibited, showing the glory of the time period’s aristocratic elegance.


Burnt fragments of the house roofs are displayed within a glass case. The timeframe is from the destruction of the Second Temple period.

Another home with clearly defined rooms comes into view at a lower level of the excavated park.

Quite a few glass cases display pottery, tools, and crafts from the Herodian Quarter period.

Upon exiting the archaeological park, we strolled by a lovely outdoor cafe in the Old City Jewish neighborhood. A Hasidic Jewish gentleman in traditional attire walks by us.

Lunch time had arrived for our tour group. Fortunately for me, the Quarter Cafe Restaurant (Quarter Cafe Restaurant) where our tour guide brought us for lunch was vegan-friendly. Diners select items from a cafeteria-style buffet. Prices are reasonable. The manager at the restaurant was very familiar with the vegan diet requirements. I feasted on falafel, homemmade Jerusalem hummus with whole chickpeas, tabouli salad, Israeli salad with tahini, carrot and sesame salad, cabbage salad, and wheat bread. A refreshing strawberry, banana, and apple juice accompanied my meal. My vegan lunch meal was really delicious! Nothing beats fresh, homemade food in its region of origin! The Jerusalem hummus version consists of whole chickpeas on top. Another plus was that the dining area overlooked a breathtaking view of the Temple Mount!

After a hearty and tasty meal, we headed to our next destination. The Wailing Wall is a small part of the western portion of the walls surrounding the Temple Mount. This western segment of the wall is the holiest site in Judaism, outside of the Temple Mount itself. King Herod The Great is believed to have built it. Jews come here to pray.

Religious Jews and tourists alike leave prayer notes in the wall crevices.

The excitement was building as we headed towards our next destination! Our group arrived at the gates of the much anticipated “City Of David” underground tour in Old Jerusalem. King David left Hebron about 3,000 years ago to arrive at Jerusalem.

Excavations have uncovered what is believed to be King David’s palace. Several rooms of various sizes were found.


What appears to be a column from his palace, has also been found during excavation.

On the hill outside, remains of period homes are visibly apparent.

To the lower right side of this two story stone home, one notices an ancient toilet.

Pomegranate trees still bear fruit here, as they did all those centuries ago.

A sign notifies us that we are about to encounter Hezekiah’s Tunnel as we progress further below ground level.

We descend down into the underground City Of David on a narrow stairway.

We encounter multiple cave rooms and tunnels. Eventually we arrive at a darkened small nook with flowing water. We have reached Gihon’s Spring! This was Jerusalem’s main water source for over 1,000 years. King Hezekiah’s 2,700 year old water tunnel was an impressive accomplishment.

We exited the massive underground city and headed back to our point of origin in Tel Aviv, as our day’s sightseeing tour had now concluded.

My day was far from done! The evening was beckoning me to explore Old Jaffa Port and then proceed to central Tel Aviv for more vegan food encounters! First up was a local juice cafe in Jaffa. “Juicy” (in the Jaffa Flea Market area) displays colorful and plentiful fruit selections. I opted for a smoothie with mango, melon, pineapples, and dates with soymilk. It was wonderful.

The Old Jaffa Flea Market is a popular activity for locals and tourists alike. Antique shops, art galleries, clothing and jewelry boutiques and cafes line several of the neighborhood streets.


On Jaffa’s main street a clock tower proudly stands, surrounded by shops and restaurants. The tower was built in the early 20th century to commemorate the silver jubilee of Ottoman Sultan Abd al-Hamid II’s reign.

I proceeded to make my way towards the oldest and most historic neighborhood of Old Jaffa, making a brief stop at the stunning beach. Speaking of Jaffa’s port location, Every child knows the bible story of “Jonah and the whale”. This one of the reasons for which Jaffa is recognized.

One of the first landmarks that presents itself in Old Jaffa is St. Peter’s Church. The towering brick facade and belfry makes this the largest and most unique structure in Jaffa. The church was built here because of Jaffa’s significance in the bible. Saint Peter raised Tabitha (one of Christ’s followers) from the dead in Jaffa. Thus the church is dedicated to him.

I encountered a labyrinth of biblical period stone walkways and alleyways before me.

Finally, I found what I was seeking in earnest; the house of Simon The Tanner! Apostle Peter was staying at Simon’s house in Jaffa and received a prophetic vision to preach to the gentiles.

I continued to meander through additional lovely stone passageways.

From an overlook vantagepoint, I gazed upon Adromeda’s right to my furthest left. Mythology claims that Andromeda was chained to a rock as a sacrifice to a sea monster, but was saved by Perseus.

Evening was turning into night as I headed back to the “newer” neighborhoods of Jaffa. The beach with its skyline yet again looked beautiful in the glow of the lit buildings.

Thanks to outstanding public transportation, it was convenient and cost-effective for me to take a city bus into central Tel Aviv for dinner. Restaurant dining for dinner meals seem to occur at a late hour in Israel. It is not uncommon to find diners eating between 10pm and midnight. Taste of life (Taste Of Life Restaurant) is a vegan restaurant offering organic, homemade, natural, low sodium meals by the Hebrew Israeli community. The meal prices are quite reasonable. Menu items include comfort foods such as pastas, veggie burgers, quiche, and stir fries.

On Thursday evening, jazz musicians perform. This evening that I visited, a gentleman was playing soft jazz on the keyboards.

My vegan dinner entree was the potato casserole with soy cheese , potatoes, and dried dill; with a small salad. I really enjoyed each flavorful bite!

A chocolate and vanilla shortbread cookie was my dessert of choice. This tasty treat satisfied my sweet tooth cravings!

Before going back to the hostel, I had to make one more stop. The staff of Village Green Restaurant(Village Green Restaurant) had kindly offered to prepare a couple of breakfast items for me, so that I would have something for to eat prior to the next day’s early morning tour pickup time. The restaurant had asked me to arrive by 10pm to pick up my pastries. The all vegan restaurant is a popular breakfast spot. I purchased a carrot muffin and savory spinach and cashew cheese pastry with two spicy sauces for my next day’s breakfast.



What an exciting first full day I had in Israel! I enjoyed my tour of the underground excavations at the City of David; Old Jerusalem’s Jewish, Muslim, and Armenian Quarters, the Christian biblical sites, the Wailing Wall, and my time exploring Old Jaffa. Israeli’s fairly recent declaration of vegan-friendliness was definitely living up to its reputation! I called it a night and waited in eager anticipation for the following day’s tour of Christian biblical sites in Old Jerusalem and more vegan-friendly dining!

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Vegan Travel: Day#1 in Israel – Sightseeing and Vegan Food in Tel Aviv

I recently returned home from the vacation of a lifetime! I had always wanted to visit the Holyland of Israel but fears for my safety had kept me away. This year appeared to be a fantastic time to visit, since safety concerns in the country had not been in the international spotlight for quite some time. So off I went to finally visit this exciting biblical destination! Much to my delight, during the past year, I had been reading that the vegan dining scene has been growing by leaps and bounds in Israel. I was eager to experience this for myself, as well.

My dinner meal on my Air France flight was a tasty black bean patty, a side of sauteed spinach, and stewed carrots. The entree was accompanied with a salad and mixed fruit. A multigrain bun was provided with vegan buttery spread. As usual, Air France knows “how to do vegan right”! The meal was really good.

The next morning, the airline provided a vegan breakfast for me. A sesame bagel, banana, and orange juice satisfied my hunger pangs.

During the connecting flight from Paris to Tel Aviv, lunch was provided. My vegan entree consisted of zucchini, cauliflower, and peppers over pilaf rice and a flatbread sandwich made of diced vegetables in an olive oil dressing. My snack was an applesauce cup. This was yet another good meal from Air France.

By early evening, I had arrived in Tel Aviv, Israel! This would be my home base for the week from which five day tours would originate. I purposely booked my hostel accommodations in Old Jaffa Port,a neighborhood of Tel Aviv. This historic port with its coastal beach, narrow cobblestone streets and ancient buildings was just the atmosphere that I was seeking. The exterior of my hostel was lovely with its intricately detailed wrought iron gates and pinkish facade. The interior of the Old Jaffa Hostel was quite charming, as well.

It was too late in the evening for touristy sightseeing, but not to late to start exploring the vegan dining scene. I set out with my food-centric itinerary in my hand and hence I went off into the sunset to find these vegan eatery gems!

My first stop of the evening was a vegan-friendly bakery called “Piece of Cake”(Piece Of Cake Bakery) in downtown Tel Aviv.

I purchased a halwa flavored pastry which would be perfect for breakfast the following morning before my 7am Jerusalem tour began. The pastry was delicious.

Next on my list was a stop at the vegan “Seeds” deli and bakery(Seeds Bakery). They offer both sweet and savory vegan treats. The owner showed me each area of the shop and described each of the items for purchase in the fridge and displaycases. This is a well-stocked bakery with a nice variety of vegan baked goods.

The baked goods run the gamut from all kinds of cakes to sweet and savory pastries.

Fancy cupcakes with sprinkles met my gaze through the door of a refrigerated unit. They looked amazing.

Cake pops, truffles, and chocolate pieces were showcased in another fridge.

On the savory side, the local bureka pastry was offered on the menu. I purchased a bureka made of spelt flour, filled with cashew cheese, and topped with sesame seeds in the pastry. It was really good.

I also purchased a slice of a chocolate “Roulatta” cake. The chocolate cake was layered with swirls of chocolate cream filling and topped with a chocolate piece. It was absolutely scrumptious and flavorful!

My final purchase at Seeds was a Krembow. The local sweet treat is basically a cookie with vanilla cream inside. The delish snack was indeed a good choice.

Israelis eat dinner late at night, thus I did likewise. After the bakery visit, I headed to a vegan restaurant for my dinner meal. HaSchwarma HaTivonit(“The Vegan Shwarma”) (The Vegan Shwarma ) is a fast food restaurant that offers Israeli, American, and Mid-Eastern food. Since shwarma is all the rage in this part of the world, I desired to try its vegan version. The signage on the building is written in Hebrew, so its important to look for the address and go inside.

My shwarma sandwich was made of seitan slices with vegan cheese topping in a pita bread. This authentic taste of Israeli food was quite good, especially with the yummy local pita bread.

After dinner, I was excited to visit one of the plentiful vegan-friendly ice cream shops in Tel Aviv. Fortunately, “Gala Gelateria” (Gala Gelateria) was located closeby, on the same street at Seeds Bakery and The Vegan Shwarma restaurant. The vegan-friendly gelateria offers several vegan flavors, including some unique ones.


I opted for one of the unique flavors:lotus. This soy-based ice cream flavor was delicious!

My first night in Israel had come to an end. The quaint old port of Jaffa will definitely be a location to explore further during the week. The Tel Aviv food scene was indeed living up to it’s online reputation of being a vegan haven. It was time now to get some sleep, in order to be alert and energized for the following day’s sightseeing in Jerusalem’s underground City Of David and more vegan dining!

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Unique Attractions and Vegan Ice Cream Across New England!

The six northeasternmost states of the USA are known collectively as “New England”. This region that I call “home”, offers scenic beauty during every season. Because the earliest settlers in the country inhabited the area, historic residences and museums abound here as well.

Fortunately, more and more places across the New England states are offering vegan ice cream options nowadays! My experience devouring incredible vegan ice cream varieties in this region is worthy of sharing, so that other vegan travelers will enjoy it as well!

In addition, I would like to share some noteworthy sightseeing options in the region. I have written in the past regarding the typical sightseeing that a tourist in New England seeks: the stunning coast with its lighthouses, the idyllic lakes, and the majestic mountain ranges. This time, I would like to mention some of the region’s “unique gems” or ‘hidden treasures” that travelers would enjoy visiting.

Maine is by far, the largest of the six New England states. The town of Freeport is home to a little known attraction called the “Desert of Maine”. An ancient glacier arrived in the state 11,000 years ago and left sand and mineral deposits, forming this small desert, surrounded by a pine forest. Tours are offered today explaining its history.


Further up the highway, in the central Maine region, is the city of Augusta. A special site there is the “Old Fort Western”. This Revolutionary War fort is the oldest surviving fort in the United States. Visitors are invited to climb the watch tower and see the soldier’s quarters.

Speaking of “unique” and “noteworthy” places in Maine, I found a special ice cream shop in the town of Brunswick. Gelato Fiasco(Gelato Fiasco) is a gelato shop that offers several flavors of vegan sorbetto. The sorbetto actually tastes like gelato. I opted for the four flavor combo dish of strawberry, chocolate, mango, and banana. I absolutely enjoyed the gourmet-like sorbettos! The price is reasonable. Another location is found in the city of Portland.

While visiting a city where no vegan-friendly ice cream shops can be found, sometimes vegan restaurants may offer a couple of flavors on their dessert menu. Indeed in the city of Portland, the vegan restaurant “Little Lad’s” (Little Lad’s Vegan Cafe) included a cherry pie topped with vanilla vegan ice cream. My dessert was great.

Likewise at vegan-friendly Silly’s restaurant (Silly’s Restaurant) in Portland, where diners may choose a vegan ice cream sundae or a pastry drizzled with chocolate sauce and a side of vegan ice cream. This dessert was awesome.

New Hampshire:
Adjacent to Maine, in the state of New Hampshire, more “hidden gems” are found, in its picturesque outdoor allure and in wonderful vegan ice cream!

Each June, the small town of Sugar Hill celebrates the “Lupine Festival”. These slender purple flowers are found in the fields across the Franconia Notch region. While many travelers are well aware of the breath-taking landscape of the Franconia region, this “hidden gem” of Sugar Hill’s lupine fields are worth a visit as well! Craft vendors display their goods in tents throughout the festival grounds.

I was absolutely thrilled when I discovered the vegan ice cream shop “Rock Salt Creamery”(Rock Salt Creamery) in the small town of Sanborton, just south of the Franconia Notch/White Mountain region! They serve up ice cream bars and pints of hard ice cream.

One freezer contained pints of hard ice cream flavors.

A freezer display case contained bins of the vegan ice bars offered for that day.

The owner put together a display tray of the various ice cream bar flavors, so that I may see them up close without the wrappers. What a colorful and lovely display it was! Each yummy flavor caught my eye and peeked the interest of my taste buds! Raspberry, maple nut, chocolate, strawberry, and more tempting flavors provided many options for vegans to savor.

I selected the strawberry cream ice cream bar(made with cashew milk) dipped in chocolate and topped with pecans. It was so delicious!

My second purchase was a pint of the vegan peppermint stick ice cream. Each and every spoonful was decadently flavorful! Visitors to New Hampshire have got to try the yummy vegan ice cream here!


Another visit to the state brought me to the Lakes region. Lucky for us vegans, Sunapee Harbor has a market in town that includes vegan sorbet on its menu. Marzelli’s Deli ( Marzelli’s Deli) offers a strawberry sorbet that is vegan. I enjoyed the refreshing taste on a hot summer evening.


Vermont provides such stunning vistas with its Green Mountains and forested terrain. However, one attraction that may escape many visitors is its quarry in the small town of Dorset. The quarry is the oldest one in the United States. Shimmery waters reflect off the brilliant green tree leaves surrounding it. It presents an opportunity for many a weary tourist to take a refreshing swim or to simply walk along its perimeter and enjoy the views.

Ben and Jerry’s(Ben and Jerry’s) ice cream headquarters in the city of Burlington, offers a sorbet that is vegan. My raspberry sorbet was a tasty treat for the day.

Those visiting the state of Massachusetts are aware of Boston’s historic tourist attractions. I offer up a suggestion to take a drive to the neighboring town of Concord. The town is home to many accomplished authors of yesteryear. Tourists may visit the homes of Louisa May Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

The Alcott’s Orchard House gives a glimpse into her life and writings. Travelers can see the desk where she wrote her novel “Little Women”.

Quite a few ice cream shops in Massachusetts offer the gamut of vegan ice cream, sorbet, and frozen yogurt. The northern town of Gloucester is a scenic coastal getaway in the northeastern tip of the state. Bishco’s Cafe(Bishco’s Cafe) in the downtown area has a homemade, soy-based frozen yogurt on its menu. The owner makes it himself and will mix it with fruit upon request. I opted for the strawberry flavor. It tasted really yummy! They serve large portions at a good price.

Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts has a couple of options for vegans. The J.P. Licks ice cream shop (J.P. Lick’s Ice Cream ) offers usually two flavors of soy or coconut milk ice creams per week. I enjoyed their coconut almond lace flavor in a vegan sugar cone.

A few streets away, I strolled into Lizzy’s Ice Cream(Lizzy’s Ice Cream) on Church Street for some tasty chocolate Tofutti ice cream in a cup.

Central Square in Cambridge is home to the vegan diner “Veggie Galaxy” (Veggie Galaxy). They offer vegan ice cream scoops, sundaes, and banana splits with multiple toppings. The ice cream is made by the local vegan ice cream shop “Fomu”.

I enjoyed a delicious sundae with vanilla and strawberry ice cream, chocolate sauce and vegan whipped cream.

My next sundae was drizzled with a fruit topping.

Yet another visit enticed me to eat a scrumptious banana split with all the fixings: bananas, cherries, chocolate sauce, vegan whipped cream, and a couple of ice cream flavors.

Speaking of Fomu Ice Cream shop (Fomu Ice Cream) in Boston’s Allston neighborhood, I purchased an apple cider donut flavor ice cream. It was really delicious! Their ice cream is mainly coconut milk-based, with a few flavors offered that are nut milk-based. Two of my favorites are the avocado and the mint chocolate chip ice cream. The all vegan ice cream shop offer many flavors.

Heading to Cape Cod for the day, I first made a stop in the southern Massachusetts town of Duxbury. Most travelers are familiar with Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts as the site of the first Pilgrim colony. However, a little known fact is that after Pilgrim John Alden and his wife Priscilla left Plimoth Plantation, they built a home in Duxbury. The stone foundation of this homestead is visible after its excavation.


Several hundred yards through the woods, another Alden home is located. The Alden’s son resided here. John Alden may have spent some time here while visiting his family. Some of his belongings were excavated as well. A display case shows his personal belongings such as shirt buttons, tweezers, and other items.



Making a stop in Plymouth, I visited the Jabez Howland House. He was the son of Pilgrim John Howland. It is thought that the elder Howlands lived here for a while. Several of the senior Howland’s belongings are displayed within a glass case on the first floor level of the home.


Cape Cod attracts many visitors each year for its gorgeous coast and beaches. I am thrilled that vegan ice cream is now an option in several towns, along the upper and lower Cape region!

In Falmouth, Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium (Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium) offers a couple of vegan soy gelatos. I opted for the strawberry flavor. It was quite good.

My most recent find was a vegan-friendly ice cream shop in downtown Hyannis. Katie’s Ice Cream (Katie’s Ice Cream ) offers a couple of vegan ice cream flavors and vegan frozen yogurt. I selected a chocolate ice cream (coconut milk based) topped with walnuts, in a sugar cone. It was wonderful!

Further up the highway in Orleans, the Ice Cream Cafe (Ice Cream Cafe ) offers a couple vegan ice cream favors and vegan soft serve. I chose a vanilla and chocolate twist soft serve ice cream. It was incredibly delicious!

I returned again for another treat! As of summer 2015, the Ice Cream Cafe is offering vegan sundaes! I enjoyed an absolutely delicious hot fudge sundae with vegan salted caramel ice cream and toasted coconut ice cream scoops, hot fudge, strawberry sauce, and nuts.

The furthest town at the tip of Cape Cod is Provincetown. A local cafe “Grab N Go” (Grab N Go Health Bar) offers vegan soft serve ice cream. My vegan vanilla flavor was awesome.

One of the best summertime experiences in the state is a visit to the island of Nantucket, located off of the southern Massachusetts coast. Much to my delight, the extremely popular Juice Bar (The Juice Bar) started offering vegan ice cream in the past couple of years. I really enjoyed the yummy chocolate flavor topped with walnuts.

As of summer 2015, Nantucket has a new, vegan-friendly cafe called “Lemon Press” (Lemon Press Cafe). The cafe offers vegan frozen yogurt on their menu, available for the first time ever on Nantucket! I really enjoyed my delicious coconut froyo topped with strawberries and sliced almonds!

The Barker Character, Comic, and Cartoon Museum resides in Cheshire, Connecticut. This unique museum is well worth a visit. Curious tourists may peruse the museum’s collection of cartoon memorabilia from several decades or gaze at the fanciful cartoon character cutouts upon the grounds.


Manchester, Connecticut is home to Divine Treasures chocolate shop (Divine Treasures). In addition to creating chocolates, they offer vegan ice cream. My chocolate ice cream with chocolate sauce and caramel sauce was really yummy.

I returned yet another time to enjoy a vanilla and chocolate soft serve hot fudge sundae with sprinkles! Yummy!

Sweet Claude’s ice cream (Sweet Claude’s) in Cheshire offers several Tofutti favors. I chose a cup of the vegan cookies and cream ice cream. It was delicious.

I ate dinner at an award winning gourmet vegan restaurant in Branford, Connecticut one evening. G-Zen (G-Zen) is an exquisite, upscale, vegan restaurant that also offers desserts. The evening that I dined there, their menu included a wonderfully unique vegan gelato ice cream. My vegan gelato was a lacuma(Peruvian fruit) flavor with a cashew milk base, topped with fresh mint. It was absolutely delicious!

Rhode Island:
While many tourists are familiar with the striking mansions of Newport, Rhode Island; less have heard of Blithewold Mansion located in Bristol. Equally as charming, it makes for a wonderful day trip by the coast. The property is a 33 acre estate in Narragansett Bay. It became the 19th century summer home of coal mining businessman Augustus Van Wickle and his wife Bessie. The property boasts of having one of the top public gardens in the country.

The elegant mansion contains many large rooms, a patio overlooking the bay, and a gorgeous public garden.



Rhode Island is home to an all vegan ice cream truck! The “Like No Udder” truck (Like No Udder) is found throughout the streets of Providence, as well as outdoor festivals. They offer vegan soft serve. I savored the great taste of the vanilla and chocolate twist flavors topped with chocolate sprinkles, in a sugar cone.

Cool Bob’s (Cool Bob’s) is a vegan ice cream cafe within a juice bar. I enjoyed the mint flavor topped with chocolate sauce and nuts.

The vegan-friendly restaurant “Crazy Burger”(Crazy Burger) resides in the coastal town of Narragansett. They have amazing vegan sundaes with vanilla ice cream, sliced bananas, nuts, and raspberry drizzle sauce.

As you can see, a visit to New England’s “hidden gem” attractions, followed by a visit to one of the many vegan ice cream shops will make for an interesting and happy summer vacation or day trip! I hope every vegan visiting New England will enjoy these itinerary suggestions and wonderful vegan ice cream options!

No trip to New England would be complete without a visit to the region’s spectacular mountains and magnificent beaches.


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Vegan Travel – My Weekend in Arizona Part#2- The Grand Canyon and Sedona

On day two of my Arizona adventure weekend, I awoke bright and early. My tour guide and group would arrive around 6:45am. As a well-prepared traveler, I had purchased my breakfast the previous day and stored it in my hostel room. My breakfast from the vegetarian/vegan-friendly Bragg’s Factory Diner(Bragg’s Factory Diner) in downtown Phoenix was a delicious Spiced and Sliced Almond French Toast with cinnamon-ginger spiced citrus. After eating my fabulous vegan breakfast, my tour van had arrived and I was on my way to a day tour of Sedona’s Red Rocks and The Grand Canyon!

As the tour van made it’s way from Phoenix to Sedona, we passed through ever-changing terrain of the Senora desert that included single and multi-pronged cacti, mountainous regions, small rounded brush, a forested area with trees, and rocky ledges.


We arrived in Sedona during the mid-morning hours. The Red Rocks were stunning to say the least! Their red color is caused by iron oxide. Massive formations of rocks in varying hues of orange and red greeted us, as we drove through town and then later made a stop at an overlook to admire their majestic size and beauty! Each rock pattern in the red sandstone canyon is unique in shape, with each of its jagged edges and pointed peaks.





Next on our agenda was a visit to the downtown Sedona’s shopping district.

On the opposite side of our overlook stop, behind the main shopping road, we noticed some additional and unique red rocks formations.

This particular rock formation resembles Snoopy with Woodstock bird on his tummy.

After purchasing some souvenirs in town, I decided upon the “Wild Berry Vortex” juice at “Canyon Breeze Juice”(Canyon Breeze Juice). The raw juice was a tasty blend of apples, oranges, strawberries, and blueberries.

Our time in the gorgeous Red Rocks had ended. Our tour van passed through the scenic Oak Creek Canyon and the ponderosa pines of the Coconino Forest on the way to the next stop on our itinerary: The Grand Canyon!

After a brief drive, we arrived at the South Rim of The Grand Canyon.

The tour company had arranged for each of us to received a picnic lunch sandwich, which our guide picked up during our time in Sedona. He had confirmed with the “Wildflower Bread Company”(Wildflower Bread Company) that both the bread and the sandwich itself was indeed vegan. My vegan lunch meal was a roasted sweet potato sandwich with fig confit, tomato, roasted potatoes, arugula, marinated fennel and balsamic vinaigrette on herb focaccia.

Now it was time for the “Piece De Resistance:The Grand Canyon”! I strolled along the South Rim of the Canyon to admire the breath-taking views. The canyon and its deep valley floor displayed a wide range of geological forms and color schemes from its history of erosion. It was quite stunning!






The El Tovar Hotel resides on the South Rim of the canyon. This grand historic hotel first opened in the year 1905, was designed to cater to the elite at the time. The upscale accommodations include a full concierge service, dining, and a gift shop.


Across the walkway from El Tovar is the Hopi House. It was built as a market for Native American arts and crafts. The local Hopi tribe were the designated in-house artisans and thus the building was designed to resemble a Hopi pueblo.

The interior shops offer pottery, jewelry, and other local crafts for purchase.

Prior to alloted pickup time from our tour guide, I spent the remaining few minutes walking about the South Rim canyon views from the opposite side of the Hopi House.



Onward we went to drive for several miles along the East Rim of the canyon for some additional vistas. Each one was equally as spectacular.


Our final Grand Canyon stop of the day, was the infamous Watch Tower.

FRom outside its perimeter, I gazed upon the geological rock formations, flowing river streams, and native plants.






I entered the first level of the Watch Tower and found myself surrounded by indigenous carvings, colorful drawings, and intricately detailed paintings on the interior walls and ceiling.




A winding staircase brought me to an upper level. More colorful paintings of local characters and animals decorated the walls. Each expressed a story that was told among the local tribes people.

Upon climbing the staircase to the top, I peered through the glass windows for a closer look at the canyon panorama at this uppermost level.

Our day at the magnificent Grand Canyon had come to an end. We had more more stop on our day’s itinerary. The drive took us to the Navajo Nation, with distant views of the Painted Desert, as well as the Colorado River Gorge along the way. The popular trading post at the Navajo Nation gave us an opportunity to purchase some crafts made locally by the Navajo people and other Native American groups. Pottery, jewelry, and indigenous folk art were among the items offered for purchase here.



When we arrived back in Phoenix, it was dinnertime. I decided to dine at a popular vegan restaurant downtown. Vegan House Restaurant(Vegan House Restaurant) is a vegan restaurant serving Thai food on their menu.

I opted for the dumpling curry. My delicious vegan dinner meal included vegetable dumplings in a green curry sauce, served over rice.

Back at the hostel, I only had a few hours to take a nap. My early morning flight was scheduled for 5am. For breakfast, I enjoyed the yummy peach spice scone and strawberry mini-poptart I had purchased the day prior at Treehouse Bakery (Treehouse Bakery). This all-vegan bakery offers baked goods such as coffeecake, scones, cupcakes, pies, and more.

My flight departed Phoenix and we arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina for a brief layover. That gave me just enough time to eat lunch at the Charlotte airport before my connecting flight back home. Genghis Grill (Genghis Grill Restaurant) offers healthy bowls. I dined on the Buddha Bowl of veggies and tofu with a spicy sauce. My lunch was filling and flavorful.

As my connecting flight was taking off, I pleasantly reminisced about my wonderful vacation and the amazing sightseeing I encountered in Goldfield Mining Town, Sedona Red Rocks region, and the spectacular Grand Canyon.

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Vegan Travel: Weekend in Arizona Part#1-Goldfield Ghost Town

Every Memorial Day weekend, I enjoy traveling to a part of the USA that I have not seen. Thus last week I spent the long holiday weekend in the state of Arizona. My limited time permitted me to visit two destinations: the Goldfield Ghost Town and the Grand Canyon region.

The evening flight time allowed me to grab a bite to eat at Boston’s Logan Airport. Fortunately, Au Bon Pain now offers a vegetarian sandwich that can be made vegan without the cheese. The veggie and hummus wrap contains hummus, cucumbers, roasted tomatoes, carrots,chickpeas, romaine, field greens, basil pesto, and balsamic vinaigrette in a whole-wheat wrap. The 12 veggie soup was vegan, as well. My vegan dinner was satisfying.

Upon arrival in Phoenix, I took the airport super shuttle to the Phoenix Downtown Hostel: my accommodations for the next three evenings. Since the time was close to 11:30pm, it was time to call it a night. Bright and early the next morning, my goal was to eat breakfast and also to purchase a breakfast meal for the following two days, since there would be no time to do so before the next day’s tour or Monday’s return flight home.

With directions and restaurant names in my hand, I quickly made my way into the downtown area. The atmosphere was clearly Southwestern. Beautiful palm trees lined the streets.

Cacti of every shape and size dotted the residential and commercial parts of the city.

Nami, an all-vegan restaurant (Nami Restaurant) in downtown Phoenix, offers wonderful vegan breakfasts and brunches.

The cozy restaurant also provides vegan baked goods such as cakes, donuts, and cupcakes.


For my breakfast, I decided upon the Country Breakfast Burrito. This absolutely delicious meal was an organic tofu scramble, organic tempeh “bacon”, sautéed peppers & onions, a drizzle of pure maple syrup, melty vegan “cheddar cheese” & breakfast potato hash in a toasty flour tortilla with a side of namibertos salsa. A freshly squeezed orange juice was my morning beverage. The burrito was amazing beyond words: one of the best breakfast meals in all of my domestic travels!

Next, I headed to Bragg’s Factory Diner (Bragg’s Factory Diner) for a takeaway breakfast that I could store in my room until the next morning. I selected the “Spiced and Sliced French Toast”. This tasty meal was made with almond French toast with cinnamon ginger spiced citrus and a side of eggplant “bacon”.

The vegetarian/vegan-friendly restaurant also has a baked goods for purchase. All of the pies in the displaycase are vegan.

Their bathroom wall showcased artwork that truly represents the region: a painting of a smiling cactus! I just had to capture it on camera!

Outside the restaurant, I couldn’t help but notice the funky and colorful artwork that was created upon the tree trunks and sidewalk.

As I walked further up the road, a colorful “Historic Grand Ave” emblem graced the pavement.

My final food stop of the morning was Treehouse Bakery (Treehouse Bakery ). This vegan bakery offers baked goods such as scones, pies, cupcakes, coffeecake, and more. I purchased a peach spice scone and a strawberry mini poptart for Monday’s breakfast before my 5am flight back home.

Mission accomplished finding yummy breakfast foods for the entire weekend! My next feat was to rent a car for my drive to Goldfield Ghost Town. As I walked down the street towards the light rail, my eyes gazed upon the spectacular large cactus and vibrant red flowering bushes that crossed my path.


A quick 40 minute drive brought me to Goldfield Ghost Town. The old mining town originally sprung up in 1892 when high quality gold was found in this hilly region between the Superstitious Mountains and the Goldfield Mountains. A post office, saloon, boarding house, general store, school, and blacksmith shop took root in the small town of 1,500. When the ore supply started to fizzle out, the miners moved on to other ventures. In 1898, Goldfield became a deserted ghost town. In 1988 after purchase by a local couple, the old mining town was re-created with authentic-looking buildings and a re-constructed mine to the delight of tourists.



Visitors may take a narrated twenty minute ride around the perimeter of Goldfield Town, aboard the historic locomotive. I decided to do so myself.

The Superstitious Mountains provided the backdrop to the first portion of our train ride. The mountains got their name from locals who would hear tales of strange happenings from the indigenous tribes. Legend has it that The Lost Dutchman’s Mine is located somewhere within the range.

Underground mines of yesteryear, with rusty mining equipment outside, can be seen along the train route.


Desert flora and fauna exhibit proudly along the dusty trails. Massive cacti of the singular and multi-branch types may be viewed throughout the fields.

As we head around the curb, the locomotive chugs by the back of old Goldfield Town’s buildings, with the Superstitious Mountains in clear view behind.

Typical desert brush and the region’s short white flowering tree are seen towards the end of our train ride.

After the conclusion of the locomotive ride, I walked to the center of Goldfield Town. The apothecary, shops, restaurants, and other town businesses gave a sense of a true 19th century town.

I peered into the window of the old re-created jail.

A metal art shop nearby displayed tools and equipment utilized for artistic endeavors.

An old water tower contained stacked up buckets that would supply the town’s water.

My favorite activity of the day was a tour of the underground mine. An animated guide brought a large group of tourists to explore the mine’s secrets and passageways. He shared tales of how the miners excavated for gold and precious minerals. The guide explained how the equipment we saw, was used for mining purposes. The dark long tunnel finally gave way to stairs that led outside.


Adjacent to the mine was a gold panning shack where visitors could learn how to pan for gold.

You can’t visit such a fascinating attraction without purchasing some souvenirs! So of course, I paid a visit to the mercantile shop! The old time shop housed 19th century memorabilia.

I then strolled around the remainder of the town center. An old time saloon, gift shops, and an art gallery appeared to my left and right.



A large building Was home to a history museum. Old west artifacts such as Indian pottery, mining equipment, and even Doc Holliday’s outfit were showcased.




In the town square, one can find a piece of equipment that was used to lower men into the mines.

A large green building housed many 19th century business including a brothel, a post office, and shops.

At the end of the main street, a lovely chapel overlooked the town, with a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains and valley.

My time in old Goldfield mining town was fun. It was time to head back to Phoenix for some great vegan dining!

Green Vegetarian (Green restaurant) in downtown Phoenix is a completely vegan restaurant.
I started with a strawberry lemonade beverage.

For my appetizer, I chose the Spicy buffalo wings with vegan cucumber ranch and celery sticks.

My dinner entree selection was the Kung Pao bowl with organic brown rice and mock chicken, in a spicy ginger and garlic tamari sauce with crushed peanuts. The entire meal was delicious!

After dinner, I strolled over to Nami next door. Their vegan ice cream “Tsoynamis” are quite popular! I chose the Rocky Road flavor consisting of vegan chocolate soft serve ice cream with organic walnuts, organic chocolate chips, organic chocolate sauce, and Ricemallow fluff. What an incredibly tasty treat!

My first day in Arizona had come to an end. The historic sights in old Goldfield and the wonderful vegan dining in Phoenix made for an amazing experience! I looked forward to what experiences the next day would bring as I visit the Grand Canyon and Sedona.

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