Vacation with Doughnuts and Share a New Age Taste Experience.

Every year for the last seven decades National Doughnut Day has been celebrated on the first Friday in June. This year is no exception. June 5 will be celebrated by doughnut lovers everywhere. Given the dramatic, inventive, creative happenings in the craft doughnut world paying homage on only one day a year doesn’t seem like enough.

You deserve a donut in Tampa.

Nicola’s Donut Shop in Tampa makes decadent donuts for dessert.

Therefore I am suggesting that family vacations include at least one doughnut day along with a bookstore visit of course. Just for the record I am not a habitual donut eater mostly because I ate way too many Krispy Crème Donuts when I was at university. But times have changed and five-star urban eating experiences often include doughnuts or donuts if you prefer.

In the last year I have visited several remarkable establishments and sampled outrageous doughnuts. While cake or raised, powdered or glazed is still the starting point, doughnut makers (many of them chefs) are creating flavorful often decadent options. New age choices include bacon and pineapple, gingerbread and caramel, sea salt and cardamom to some baked with artisan chocolates, and doughnuts topped with Oreos, Peebles, or Gummy Bears. Much like in an ice cream store the choosing may take some time. Add to the mix tasty gluten free and vegan choices and there is really no excuse not to celebrate any time especially on vacation.

Beiler’s Bakery Nutella ‘n Crème Doughnuts

Beiler’s Bakery in Reading Terminal Market serves Nutella ‘n Crème doughnuts. No more explanation is needed.

I am impressed with the amount of creative effort focusing on doughnuts. I am not describing all of my favorite selections but I am providing a nudge by naming a few of the very best doughnut spots in the country and thus reason to add a doughnut experience vacation plans.

Beiler’s Hand Rolled Doughnuts in Philadelphia – Vanilla glazed donuts topped with M&M’s or Gummy Bears.

Firecakes in Chicago – Maple-glazed doughnuts with pineapple & bacon.

Hypnotic Donuts in Dallas – The first “Evil Elvis” yeast donut with peanut butter, bacon, banana and honey.

A Baker’s Wife Pastry Shop in Minneapolis – Delightful classic cake doughnuts and exceptionally good American tea cakes.

Revolution Doughnuts & Coffee in Atlanta – Salted caramel doughnuts topped with bits of charcuterie bacon.

Donut Bar in San Diego – Home of the famous “Big Poppa Tart” donuts and  made-to-order cinnamon French toast donuts with custard.

Nicola’s Donuts in Tampa – Rocky Road, Brownie Brittle or decadent PB&J donuts for dessert.

National Doughnut Day hoices

National Doughnut Day is all about personal choice.

YUM YUM Donuts in Playa del Rey.  Topping off the baker’s half dozen, cinnamon crumb donut holes and freshly squeezed orange juice.

You deserve a doughnut any day but let’s celebrate National Doughnut Day this Friday for the fun of it. Make mine lavender glazed with sea salt.

In the meantime if you have your own favorite doughnut (donut) shop or have discovered an outrageous new age flavor, please let me know.

Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files.


Share the Best Tastes of Philly with Kids.

This is not about Philly cheese steaks although the hearty sandwich was first served in the city. It’s about Philadelphia for foodies with kids. During a recent trip to the city I had the opportunity to make my own list of family-friendly spots.

Capofitto Pizzaria & Gelateria in Philadelphia

Capofitto Pizzaria & Gelateria in Philadelphia must for gelato lovers of all ages.

When time is the only place to go is Reading Terminal Market. Located at the heart of the city, it is an awesome food bazar and one of America’s oldest farmers’ markets with more than 80 vendors spanning almost two acres. In spite of its size the atmosphere is festive and the patchwork of aromas defining each aisle most enticing. The vendors love to talk about food and many engage young foodies with samples. It is the place to find giant jar breakers, ginger cookies, petite apple pies, soft baked pretzels, heritage preserves, homemade waffles, oodles of chocolates including  chocolate covered onions (who would have thought?), and beautiful artisan cheeses.

This is the place to sample Pennsylvania Dutch preserves, dine at the counter of the Dutch Eating Place and order Shoofly pie. Bassett’s Ice Cream counter serving ice cream since 1892 is still located at Reading Market. The Market is also the place to watch donuts and fritters being cut and baked plus if you are lucky, cheese being made.

Beyond the Market, Philadelphia is the place to sample authentic Sicilian tomato pie at Marchiano’s Bakery. The best gelato served outside Tuscany is at Capofitto Pizzaria & Gelateria on Chestnut Street and their most filling Neapolitan style pizza cannot be beat.

One uniquely Philadelphia tradition, Shane Confectionary in Old Town. It is the oldest operating chocolate factory in America and any visit will be rewarding if chocolate is your thing because their chocolates are both beautiful and scrumptious.

Philadelphia’s Chinatown is not as expansive as New York or San Francisco but it does offer an array of shopping and eating possibilities. I suggest a low key dim sum eating adventure at I Green Asian. The owners have young children themselves and so they understand about family dining. And their hand-pressed noodles will delight even snarky little eaters.

When do we eat?

Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files.



Sharing Pie on Pi Day.

It is a fortunate coincidence that Saturday is not just Pi Day but also Albert Einstein’s birthday. Museums and destinations across the country have created terrific ways for families to celebrate with pi parades, Albert Einstein look-a-like contests, pie eating contests, and interactive numbers games.

Franklin Institute Pie on Pi Day

Pi Day at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia includes numbers games and scrumptious pie.

I think Mr. Einstein would smile at the assorted events created to honor the most memorable number sequence on the planet. If you are not following me, pi usually recognized by the Greek letter “π” is the symbol used in math to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter which is 3.14159265358…. and on it goes. The following events prove math can be fun for everyone and who doesn’t love pie.

Princeton, New Jersey is hosting a string of crazy events including an Einstein look-a-like contest and a Dinky Train ride with reenactors playing Einstein, his mother and their good friends.

Naturally MoMath, the National Museum of Math in Manhattan will begin the day’s festivities begin at 3/14/15 at 9:26 with a scavenger hunt through the exhibits and oodles of pi puzzles to be solved.

Any day at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia offers exceptional rewards for families but the Museum’s National Pi Day celebration will add extra geekiness with pi reciting contests and a pie launch competition

Adler Planetarium’s daytime Pi Day activities include a pie eating contest, a parachuting pies challenge, and pie-in-the-sky solar observations.

At San Francisco’s Exploratorium the day begins at 9:26:53 and includes pi processional, light circles and pizza pie dough tossing.

If none of these work for you there’s always the excuse to bake a pie and do your own calculations per serving.

For the latest family travel news follow the Family Travel Files on Twitter (@FamTravelFiles)

Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff

California: San Jose, Family Vacation Ideas – NASA, Raging Waters, and STEAM.

San Jose Obon FestivalSan Francisco’s South Bay area is the ideal spot to share fun and learning. From lively festivals and events to inspirational theater and live music, the area is loaded with ways to share fun with kids.

Here’s the scoop. When I think of Mountain View I think of Stanford but the San Jose area offers dozens of opportunities for young families to share fun and learning including watery adventures, shopping, and ways to interact with science and nature. From the tranquility of the Japanese Friendship Gardens or shopping excursions at San Jose’s Santana Row to discovering mammoth bones at the Children’s Discovery Museum or watching movies taken of Mars, there’s something for everyone. For planning purposes I have assembled a list of sure bets – some of them free and the rest worth the coins.

Continue reading Showcases The Best Places To Combine Family Fun and Learning.

School breaks and spring family vacation time provide the perfect chance to take a break, have fun, and share a learning experience with your children.GatlinburgZiplines

The Spring Break folder at is loaded with ways to create and share unique learning experiences. From stargazing and living history to tide pools and animal encounters the possibilities are endless. Trying something new in a new place may be just what everyone needs or returning to a favorite museum and a comfortable pastime may be even better.

“I have always looked at learning opportunities as an added family vacation value because learning together makes all the difference in how successful your children will be in their studies,” according to Nancy Nelson-Duac, Editor of the popular family vacation planning website. She goes on to say, “The trick is to find places and activities of interest and share the discovery with your kids or grand kids.”

The top 10 choices for exceptional family learning experiences include not just museums, aquariums and zoos but also energizing activities in nature.

  • Dallas: The Perot Museum – Dinosaurs, gigantic gems, and a leap frog forest.
  • Long Beach: Aquarium of the Pacific –Touch tanks and Free Shark Lagoon Nights
  • Oakland: Chabot Space and Science Center – Bill Nye’s Climate Lab discoveries.
  • Atlanta: Fernbank – See Extreme Mammals: The Biggest, Smallest, and Most Amazing.
  • West Virginia: Bridge walks and mountain biking.
  • Tennessee: Ziplining and rope antics in Gatlinburg.
  • Seattle: EMP –Celebrating Jimmy Hendricks with outrageous outfits, and rare concert footage.
  • Space Coast: Kayak at the zoo and walk through the tree tops.
  • Virginia Beach: Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center – Boat excursions and behind the scenes encounters.
  • Orlando: Forever Florida – Treetop EcoSafaris and horseback adventures.

Checkout more than 300 Spring Break family vacation ideas which feature ways to combine learning and fun.

About Founded in 1998, is one of America’s top-rated online family travel resources offering more than 1000 pages of timely family vacation ideas and trip planning information. The website specializes in displaying family vacation ideas, destination information for adults planning family vacations, advice about family trips, and family travel deals. To assist in narrowing searches, colorful vacation idea folders are visible throughout the website.

Lisa A Duac Publisher (813) 968-4799 or
Nancy Nelson-Duac (817) 573-6920 or

Ireland: Dublin – Getting to Know the Capital of the Emerald Isle.

(Written by my youngest daughter – Jule Nelson-Duac)

My daughter Jule and I are all smiles by the Liffey in Dublin.

It’s Sunday – my first day in Dublin on my own. I have my Lonely Planet (guidebook), my city map, and I just purchased a ticket to the hop-on-hop-off tour. 23 stops in total- sounds excessive but how else am I going to get the lay of the land? As I stand at the starting point or should I say one of the starting points a large Viking ship shaped bus drives past me full of screaming laughing tourists wearing viking hats. Yet another way to see this historical city. Continue reading

Scotland: A Delightful Winter Getaway for Families

View from a Scottish Hillside (Photo taken by my daughter Amanda)

Scotland is one of our family’s favorite destinations – it’s a truly astonishing place, with majestic glens and spectacular lakes, as well as some of the warmest and most welcoming people on any continent. Our family last visited Scotland in the winter and took advantage of the great winter festivals and events that take place every year across Scotland, so we wanted to share some of the details of our favorite Scottish events. Continue reading