Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Seriously

When my kids were little I was a member of a mom's group. I became friends with one of the other mom's whose kids were the same age as mine. Susan was a bubbly, outgoing, fun friend. When she was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 27, we all thought she would beat it. We rallied around her and provided meals and child care while she fought.
She fought a good fight. But it wasn't enough.  Her memorial service was one of the saddest things I have ever experienced. And if I already wasn't obsessed with squeezing every last drop of life out of  every day, then I certainly was now. I became driven to travel as much as my time and budget would allow. I needed to see it all NOW.
Reviewing all the places I've been on this blog isn't for bragging - "Oh, look what I've seen". It's more of a personal travel diary - and recapping trips is enjoyable for me. I also enjoy hearing about other people's travels. I always say that I am the best person to show all your travel photos to. But the main thing I would like to do here is inspire. Inspire you to travel. It doesn't have to be an around the world trip, somewhere that's a 10 hour flight away or even a flight. It can be close to home and somewhere you've been before. Just do it. Eat out of your cooler if fancy meals aren't in your budget. Go tent camping if that's your thing. Just do it.
Your know all those things you've wanted to do. You should go do them.

And the pictures are here just because ....well, a travel blog should always have pictures.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Driving the Outer Banks

We spent a day driving the Outer Banks of North Carolina on a sunny off-season day.
We started the day with a beautiful sunrise. (Photo credit - Mr. UR)

We stayed at the Cape Hatteras motel, a 3rd generation owned motel that couldn't be any closer to the ocean. For the off season rate of $69, we had a room with 2 queen beds, microwave, refrigerator and 2 rocking chairs just outside the door. (In season, there is also a hot tub and swimming pool available)
Our first stop was at Hatteras National Seashore for a view of the ocean and a quick walk on the deserted beach. Ok a very quick walk - like a few steps because it was really windy. Invigorated, we drove on.


We passed the Chicamicomico Lifesaving Station which houses a a museum detailing the lives of the lifeguards who worked these shores. But it was closed so we will have to save that for another time.
Next up was the Pea Island National Refuge which is a nesting habitat for migratory birds. I was surprised so many people out on a cold Sunday morning photographing all the different types of birds here.

We passed the house from the film "Nights in Rodanthe" with Richard Gere and Diane Lane. It is now an inn after being moved from it's spot on the ocean where the erosion was getting the best of it. Next up was Bodie Island Lighthouse which is one of 4 lighthouses in the Outer Banks - Ocracoke, Hatteras, Bodie Island and Currituck.

Jennette's Pier houses a branch of the NC State Aquariums, has a gift shop and hot dog stand and of course, is a very popular place to fish from.

Our last stop was Currituck Lighthouse which was closed for the winter. And then on to our hotel and dinner for the evening topped off by a beautiful sunset over the Pamlico Sound.
I love the Outer Banks - there's just a little something for everyone there!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Breakers

The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida was built by the Standard Oil Company magnate, Henry Flagler in 1896. It burned down in 1903 and was rebuilt in 1926 modeled after the Villa Medici in Italy.


I visited here on a beautiful spring day for a birthday luncheon.


After lunch, we took a stroll around the grounds taking in the aquamarine water views and a wedding party taking pictures.

If you're interested in staying there, the hotel includes a beach club, four oceanfront pools, 25 beach bungalows, two fitness centers, 36 holes of golf, 10 tennis courts and 11 boutiques including Guerlain, Lilly Pulitzer and Ralph Lauren. Prices start at $329 per night for a standard room.



And if you have a very special event to hold, having it in this gold ceiling ballroom would make it extra special!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Olympic spirit

We visited the US Olympic Center and museum in Park City, Utah for the day and had a blast watching the athletes practice, taking in the beautiful views and even doing a little ziplining, or bobsledding.



The athletes were both skiiers and snowboarders practicing freestyle skiing and landing in the pool.

 The museum covers the Salt Lake City Games and you can view medals, hold a copy of the torch and feel how heavy the curling stone is.


Ziplining was next for some of us - and it was too much fun. I wasn't sure I wanted to do it - I am afraid of heights, or as I prefer to say, I am afraid of falling from heights - but I decided to go for it. And I'm so glad I did! (Can you see Mr UR and I in the photo above, in front of the rocky background?)


And then it was time for the boy to try his hand at bobsledding, to which he replied when his ride was over, "What have I been doing with my life? Why haven't I been bobsledding?" I will take that as a sign that he liked it!

Monday, February 3, 2014

City of Fun

New Orleans is one of my favorite cities. I'm just putting that out there right away.




I know alot of people don't like it. Maybe they've had a bad experience there. They feel it's not a wholesome city. Or it's dirty. But I think there is such fun to be had there. Any kind of live music that you want can be found. Good food. No, great food.


We had a beyond delicious meal at this restaurant - everything was made from scratch right on the premises.And that's the norm here.



Not to mention the beignets - with french atmosphere - at Cafe du Monde.




Add beautiful architecture, the Mississippi River setting and friendly people - New Orleans has it all. I've never been to Mardi Gras but it's on my "someday" list. And I can't wait.

Golden

I visited the western-themed town of Golden, Colorado over the holidays.


Our main purpose in visiting Golden, and it's claim to fame, was to visit the Coors Brewery. We walked over to the brewery and there was a sign to go a block over to the parking lot. You are picked up in shuttle buses to take you to and from the brewery. There was quite a line and when the next shuttle bus came we were told that you were not allowed to bring purses - only wallets and you needed your ID no matter your age. Since our car was in town, my son ran to get it so we could put our purses inside and then we had to wait for another shuttle bus.



Upon arriving at the brewery they took a goofy picture of us with beer case cartons on our head (for purchase later) and then checked our ID's. We were told it would be a 45 minute wait. I wasn't very happy! None of the information about what you could bring - or wait times was posted anywhere. I guess Coors assumes that everyone has a smart phone to look it up. So we were there - so we waited.




The tour itself was actually very interesting and our tour guide was great. When it was over you could belly up to the bar and sample 5 different types of Coors beer (if you are of age) and they also had soda samples.

After the brewery tour we walked the cute town




And on to Woody's Wood Fired Pizza for pizza and salad buffet. It appears that Woody's is THE place to eat in Golden and it didn't disappoint. I loved it - try the buffalo chicken pizza - it's delish!