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Picture Perfect Greek Islands

Saturday, Sep 25 2021 by

Greece, a small county on the southern tip of Europe, is a fascinating place full of history, beauty and lore. It is the birthplace of western philosophy, the origin of democracy, the creator of lasting mythology and lore. As we wind down our summer vacations, let’s take a look at some of the islands of the paradise in the Mediterranean.

Parthenon on Acropolis (StreetView)
Parthenon on Acropolis

Even more, it is a beautiful, charming country rich in culture, with amazing food and stunning landscapes from the most ancient temples to modern buildings, gorgeous mountains and vibrant beaches. Tourists who take time away from Athens and the historical sites there to visit some of Greece’s thousands of islands are rewarded with a trip to paradise complete with pristine beaches, stunning water, amazing weather and generous hosts.

Santorini

Santorini has been voted as the “World’s Best Island” several times, and one look is all you need to know why. Because it was formed by volcanic activity, the island juts out of the ocean at a remarkable rate, and towns and villages are built high up on cliffs and mountainsides.

Santorini (Google Maps)
Santorini

The whitewashed stone structures provide a stunning contrast to the green and brown countryside and blues of the ocean and sky.

Collapsed Caldera of Santorini (StreetView)
Collapsed Caldera of Santorini

The island is known as one of the most romantic getaways in Greece, and has become an international destination for weddings and honeymoons.

Santorini (StreetView)
Santorini

Mykonos

This island is a great tourist destination, and is especially known for its nightlife and being LGBT friendly. Small villages rise almost right out of the ocean, with the whitewashed structures standing out against the blue ocean they border.

Harbor View of Naxos (StreetView)
Harbor View of Naxos

Beaches here are also remarkable, with SCUBA diving and snorkeling and boat tours available for sightseeing and fishing.

Lia Beach (StreetView)
Lia Beach

Because this place is more cosmopolitan than some other islands, it has become a popular destination for celebrities, including the Kardashian clan, who have stayed here for tapings of their television shows.

The Kardashians Mykonos rental villas (Google Maps)
The Kardashians Mykonos rental villas

Kos

If sandy beaches are how you vacation, Kos is the island for you. Remains from ancient Roman settlements and medieval structures are scattered on some beaches and throughout the island, creating a sense of historical significance for even the casual tourist.

Asklepieion (Google Maps)
Asklepieion

Kos has both high end, catered luxury vacations and intimate, low key options available to satisfy a wide variety of tourists, and you can easily get lost on the remote beaches or on the winding alleys of the small villages. Kos is perfect for a summer getaway.

Fortress of Kos (Google Maps)
Fortress of Kos

Rhodes

Rhodes is one of the most important cities of Ancient Greece, and once had the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Built around 300 BC, the 100 foot statue stood watch over the harbor.

Site of The Colossus of Rhodes (Google Maps)
Site of The Colossus of Rhodes

It collapsed in an earthquake not long later and has never been rebuilt, but it is just one of many fascinating things about this island.

226 BCE Rhodes earthquake epicenter (Google Maps)
226 BCE Rhodes earthquake epicenter

There are many historical sites to see, including an ancient acropolis, standing out among the natural landscape and more recent constructions, including beautiful hotels, restaurants, springs and rocky mountainsides. The history and the present are always visible in Rhodes.

Acropolis of Rhodes (StreetView)
Acropolis of Rhodes
The Kalithea Springs (Google Maps)
The Kalithea Springs

Andros

Like other Grecian islands, Andros has the breathtaking vistas, whitewashed villages and stunning beaches. It is famous for the Sariza Springs, as well as great hiking in the rocky mountains and lush valleys.

Agios Petros Beach (StreetView)
Agios Petros Beach

There is even an above-water shipwreck that is visible from a remote beach on Andros. Andros has developed several museums and historical buildings for tourists to learn about and appreciate the island and Greece, their artistry and history.

Shipwreck of the Semiramis (Google Maps)
Shipwreck of the Semiramis

These are just five of the six thousand islands that make up Greece, but they should give any tourist planning a visit to the region a fabulous itinerary. On these islands you’ll be able to relax, enjoy fine dining, party the night away, relax in private, swim, snorkel and sail, learn about ancient history and modern art, all while working on your tan. Opa!

 

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Grey's Anatomy is Back!

Monday, Sep 20 2021 by

Once again, this fall, Thursday nights will be filled with the drama and excitement surrounding the doctors and nurses at Seattle Grace Hospital.

Grey’s Anatomy is starting its 18th season! As we return to watch the full-drama prime time show, it’s fun to look back and see some old familiar faces, and learn about their real lives.

Shonda Rhimes, Los Angeles, CA

Without Shonda Rhimes’ creative genius, and drive to create the show, Grey’s Anatomy would never have become the long-standing success that it is. She’s become a powerhouse in Hollywood, directing and leading several incredibly successful series.

In 2014, Shonda bought an LA-area home for $8.8 million, and worked for years to renovate and upgrade the structure. In July 2021, just as she finished a $100 million deal with Netflix, she put her estate on the market for $25 million.

The 100-year home has 11,700 square feet, seven bedrooms, even more bathrooms, a pool, outdoor fireplace, landscaped garden, and a fountain for good measure. With a separate guesthouse and a cabana, it’s sure to be a great purchase for someone who has that kind of money.

Shonda Rhimes' House (Birds Eye)
Shonda Rhimes' House

Ellen Pompeo, Los Angeles, CA

Ellen bought this house in 2009 with her husband Chris Ivery. Together, they set about renovating the 1930s Mediterranean mansion in the Los Feliz area of LA. After years of hard work, the now-16,000 square foot dream home is perfect. It’s even been featured in high-end magazines!

The couple renovated the home down to its bones: widening windows, upgrading finishes, expanding the square footage, and restoring it to its old Hollywood beauty. The focal point of the home is the living room, with 11-foot iron and glass doors, big windows, and hand crafted original furniture.

Ellen Pompeo's House (Birds Eye)
Ellen Pompeo's House

Patrick Dempsey, Malibu, CA

Patrick Dempsey starred opposite Ellen Pompeo for fifteen seasons, as her boss, lover, and husband. Even though he left the show a few years ago, he’s still one of the most memorable, and influential, characters from the entire show.

Filming took a large toll on his family and marriage, so he and his wife separated in 2005. But he chose to leave the show, and and he and his wife reconciled. The reunified couple bought a new home in Malibu in 2016, for $6.4 million.

The one-acre property has a pool, cabana, tennis court, and landscaped gardens. The 4,400 square foot home has four bedrooms, four baths, and lots of space for the race car driver worth $80 million to relax and enjoy his wife and family.

Patrick Dempsey's House (Google Maps)
Patrick Dempsey's House

Sandra Oh, Los Angeles, CA

Sandra Oh starred for ten seasons on the show, cementing her reputation as an incredible, tough-as-nails actress. She left the show on her own terms, ready to move on to new projects in Hollywood.

The incredibly private actress lives in Los Angeles, in the home she bought in 2002 forĀ  $800,000. Even though she’s worth more than $25 million, she is down to earth and enjoys her home, and her lifestyle, that she has established since arriving in Los Angeles.

Sandra Oh's House (Birds Eye)
Sandra Oh's House

Justin Chambers, Los Angeles, CA

Justin Chambers is another private cast member who rose to fame and fortune starring in Grey’s Anatomy. He left the show after 17 years, wanting to move on in his acting career to new and different roles. When he left, he was making $350,000 an episode!

While his on-screen character was a playboy, immature doctor who took forever to grow up and settle down, Justin settled down early. He married his wife Keisha in his early 20s, and the couple have five children.

He and his wife have a nice home in Los Angeles, and have managed to stay out of the spotlight in spite of him starring on one of the longest-running, most popular shows of all time.

Justin Chambers' house (Birds Eye)
Justin Chambers' house

Camilla Luddington, Sherman Oaks, CA

Camilla Luddington joined the cast of Grey’s Anatomy in 2012, and quickly went from recurring member to full cast member and fan favorite. She was born in the UK but her character is clearly American, which displays her great acting chops.

Camilla and her family had a gorgeous 3 bedroom bungalow in Sherman Oaks, but they put it on the market in late 2020, asking $1.45 million, after buying it in 2017 for $1.2 million. It’s not clear where she and her family will go next, but since she’s a star on one of TV’s most popular shows, it’s a good bet they’re getting an upgrade.

Camilla Luddington's House (StreetView)
Camilla Luddington's House

These are just some of the many, many stars and characters from Gray’s Anatomy over the years. The show has become a legend, and the actors and creators of the show are just as legendary, and they have the amazing real estate to prove it.

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Deep Dive into History: The Death of Grace Kelly

Tuesday, Sep 14 2021 by

Grace Kelly was a beautiful, famous and successful movie star who seemed to turn a fairy tale into real life. She met a charming, handsome prince and fell in love. Soon, she was married in the most-watched ceremony in the world, and followed with attention and admiration for the rest of her life.

Her life, however, did not end happily ever after. On September 14, 1982, she passed away at 52, after being in a car crash the day before. It was a sad, early end to a beautiful life. On the anniversary of her death, let’s look back on her life and legacy.

Childhood Home, Philadelphia, PA

Grace was born in Philadelphia, and raised in an affluent, important family. Her dad was a Olympic athlete-turned construction company owner and local politician. The 6,000 square foot family home was bought by her son in 2016.

Prince Albert II paid about $755,000 for the home, and restored it to its original splendor. The home is now used for local business for the Princess Grace Foundation, and other programs run by the royal family.

Grace Kelly's Childhood Home (Birds Eye)
Grace Kelly's Childhood Home

Intercontinental Carlton Hotel, Cannes, FR

Grace was a famous Hollywood actress, and favorite of director Alfred Hitchcock. In 1955, she filmed To Catch a Thief on location in the French Riviera. Some filming took place at the famous Intercontinental Carlton Hotel in Cannes, France.

While she was in staying at the Carlton Hotel during theĀ  the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, she participated in a photo shoot with Prince Rainier III, the ruler of Monaco, a “microstate” next to France, to promote the festival.

Carlton Hotel (Birds Eye)
Carlton Hotel

Prince’s Palace, Monaco

Grace met Prince Rainier on May 6 at the Prince’s Palace, the official residence of the sovereign of Monaco. Portions of the castle date back to 1191, when it was built as a fortress on a high point jutting out from Monaco.

Over the centuries, the palace has been enhanced and renovated, but it has always maintained its fortress structure. Because Monaco is a small but coveted principality, it has been critical to protect the royal family and center of power for the principality.

Also, because the city-state is so small (smaller than Central Park in New York City!), there was never enough room for a second palace.

This palace was where Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier were publicly married, in one of the most-watched events in television history.

Prince's Palace of Monaco (StreetView)
Prince's Palace of Monaco

Monte Carlo, Monaco

When Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier III, she became the Princess of Monaco. Monaco, a tiny strip of land sandwiched between France and the Mediterranean Sea, is the second-smallest sovereign state in the world, the most-densely populated, and one of the wealthiest in the world.

A large reason Monaco is so wealthy is because of Monte Carlo, a district within the principality, that has attracted high-stakes gambling, international investment as a tax haven, and wealthy tourists. The district is famous for its luxurious vice, and is featured in many films, like James Bond, and more.

Monte Carlo (Google Maps)
Monte Carlo

Monaco Grand Prix

Adding to the allure of Monaco is the annual Monaco Grand Prix, a Formula One race that takes place every year in early summer. It is one of the most important and most well-regarded events in racing.

Drivers race through the tight, winding streets of Monte Carlo and Monaco, up and down the hilly streets. It even includes a tunnel, making it more challenging than other races because of the change in light while navigating a serpentine course.

Monaco F1 Grand Prix Pit Lane (Birds Eye)
Monaco F1 Grand Prix Pit Lane

Villa l’Aiglon, France

Grace Kelly was very involved in promoting the development of Monaco, as well as raising three children to be leaders of Monaco and influential citizens. Her personal property included a villa in France, close to Monaco, where she could go as a retreat when needed.

The Villa, known as Villa l’Aiglon, was for a time home to Josephine Baker, the American-French dancer, in her later years. Grace was a friend of Josephine, and supported her personally and professionally.

Grace Kelly's Villa (Google Maps)
Grace Kelly's Villa

Accident Site, France

On September 13, 1982, Princess Grace was returning with her daughter Stephanie to Monaco from a retreat at a family estate in France. While driving on the winding, narrow road, Grace suffered a stroke and caused a car crash. While Stephanie sustained several significant injuries, Grace was gravely injured. She was pronounced dead the next evening, at age 52.

Princess Grace of Monaco accident site (Birds Eye)
Princess Grace of Monaco accident site

Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate, Monaco

On September 18, Princess Grace was laid to rest alongside other Grimaldis in the Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate, which is sometimes called Saint Nicholas Cathedral. Many heads of state and celebrities attended her funeral, including Cary Grant, Princess Diana, Nancy Reagan, and others. When he passed in 2005, her husband Prince Rainier III was laid to rest by her side.

Monaco Cathedral (StreetView)
Monaco Cathedral

Memorial Rose Garden, Monaco

In 1984, Prince Rainier officially opened a memorial rose garden in her memory. The garden is part of a community park, and is open to the public daily. A special rose created in her memory grows at the park, along with 4,000 other rose bushes, and a statue of the Princess.

Roseraie Princesse Grace (Birds Eye)
Roseraie Princesse Grace

While her life ended too soon, her memory has endured, both through her memorable film legacy, and through her role as a kind, charitable leader of a small but influential principality. Thirty nine years after her death, she is as loved as ever, and her memory will endure.

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