Deirdre Childress Hopkins explores the world, entertainment and sports

Archive for June, 2013

Syracuse plus a few years

Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse is a must do. You can skip the one in NYC.

Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse is a must do. You can skip the one in NYC.


Syracuse was the mecca for a period of my life that started when I attended Colgate University and continued for about three years until I fell on the ice twice. But the springtime and summer in Syracuse are a different story.
Syracuse is where I had my first apartment – unsupervised by parents or school authorities – you can read between the lines on that!
It’s also one of the friendliest places, maybe the friendliest place, I have ever lived.
Once when I moved within the Westcott community, I recall that almost every sports writer at the Post-Standard assisted my sister, nephew and I with hauling our boxes, assorted furniture and beds. And they did all of the work and they did it for just a thank you and a six-pack. Yup, it is hard to have those kinds of friends in many cities. I thank Syracuse for letting me experience these folks. You know the ones, if you need them, they are there.
It was a college graduation that brought me back to the area in May. My sister graduated from Syracuse University and it was party time.
And this is where the BBQ at Dino comes into play. Sitting down and enjoying a sweetheart meal for two is a unique experience. I have no problem convincing my husband to indulge in ‘Q as he and my daughter would eat BBQ in some form every day. Give her a burger, hand him a rib.
And while you are there, pop into the legendary Carrier Dome, home of the Orangemen. If you love roundball, it is the place to see Carmelo Anthony’s jersey. (Love him!)
And if you like the Eagles you can recall the career of the man who is still in the team’s top five best quarterbacks, Donovan McNabb, who contributes to his alma mater – now my sister’s alma mater as well.

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Ahhh – Chumash Casino and Spa!

Very relaxing afternoons can be spent in the hot tub and pool at Chumash.

Very relaxing afternoons can be spent in the hot tub and pool at Chumash.


The best part of travel is experiencing a hidden gem.
That is my experience at the Chumash Casino and Resort which is tucked into the Santa Ynez mountains north of Santa Barbara and near Solvang.
I loved it.
And what I loved the most was the experience for the price – just $23.50 for a day pass!
This spa offered an outdoor pool, hot tub, sauna, a relaxation room of soothing tea and snacks, showers with conveniences plus various treatment rooms.
The afternoon began with my sisters and bestie celebrating a special birthday. We went upstairs to the bar which features specialty cocktails infused with what else – Tequila – a Southern California staple.
Then we each signed up for casino cards which gave us a $1.50 off the spa’s regular pass price of just $25.
We luxuriated in the pools, laid in the sun, munched on snacks, sipped complimentary water and enjoyed a day in the California sun.
This experience is HIGHLY recommended.
And I am now a spa convert – on the lookout for similar deals!