A Cruise on Lake Michigan with Blount Small Ship Adventures

Milwaukee Art Museum Glass Sculpture 198x300 A Cruise on Lake Michigan with Blount Small Ship Adventures

Milwaukee Art Musem

The captain had some bad news. The Grande Mariner, our cruise ship, was not going anywhere today. Docked at colorful Navy Pier in Chicago, and ready to head out on an adventure on Lake Michigan, it was stationary for the day and would remain so. The lake was apparently experiencing weather far out beyond the shores of Chicago which was keeping us moored a little longer.

In all our years of cruising we’d never experienced a cruise that was grounded because of weather but Blount Small Ship Adventures was determined to still make this experience memorable. They immediately made plans for a cruise of the harbor on a large sailing ship in the morning and offered an architecture cruise of the city on the Chicago River in the afternoon, at no cost to the passengers.

It was really pleasant to return to the Grande Mariner though, after a day of adventures in Chicago. It was our home away from home and quite comfortable. The ship holds only 98 passengers and although the cabins are comparatively small, they’re well designed and have plenty of room for two large bags. Our cases slid easily under the bed, a plus when you’re in a cabin for a week and don’t relish tripping over them the entire time.

Read the rest of this article on Travel Squire HERE.

Pin It
Categories: Blount Small Ship Adventures, Cruises, Travel Squire | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Never Gonna Let You Go – 7a Crescent Royale Condos, Siesta Key

beach 300x139 Never Gonna Let You Go   7a Crescent Royale Condos, Siesta KeyHosted Accommodations

 

 

It was the porch that we fell in love with.

Everything from the state-of-the-art kitchen to the two full master bedrooms to the proximity of the powder soft sand of the beach on Siesta Key at 7a Crescent Royal Condos was completely fabulous in every way but the porch.

The porch.

The porch has glass sliding doors by the screens that allow you to control the use of the area as the doors can be open to let in the tropical breezes or closed allowing the lanai to be opened to the living room area to expand the air-conditioned living area. It was quite simply marvelous and we loved it.

Porch 765x1024 Never Gonna Let You Go   7a Crescent Royale Condos, Siesta Key

The Porch!

Sign Never Gonna Let You Go   7a Crescent Royale Condos, Siesta Key

Entrance to Crescent Royale.

Read more »

Pin It
Categories: Accommodations, Beach, Cities, Condos, Countries, Florida, Girlfriends Getaway, Sarasota, United States | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gorgeous Gulf Coast of Florida

images The Gorgeous Gulf Coast of FloridaBeach loving travelers all have their favorite beaches and I have visited plenty of them. Green or black sand beaches in Hawaii, pink sand in Bermuda, tan sand in California, and the many hues and colors of the Caribbean islands. But none truly compare to the beautiful beaches which line the Gulf of Mexico in Florida.

Pure, sugar-white sand and warm water which ranges from the palest Peridot to the darkest Lapis Lazuli, these beaches are a joy to just look at, but with an amazing variety of accommodations, great seafood restaurants serving locally caught shrimp and grouper, tons of shopping opportunities, and great fun activities, you will also find plenty to do. This coast is the perfect choice for a getaway for any size group.

One of several beaches sprawling along the Gulf Coast in what is commonly known as “The Panhandle” because of the resemblance to a frying pan handle on the state of Florida, Destin has a number of hotels and resorts to choose from. But I have stayed numerous times at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and it’s a wonderful place for families, couples, or girlfriend getaways. With plenty of houses, condos, and hotel rooms, Sandestin offers a wide choice of accommodations, many right on the beach. The sprawling, 2400 acre resort is a great place to ride bikes with wide, tree-lined paths wending through the resort from the bay side to the gulf side. Some accommodations come with bikes provided but, if not, it’s easy to rent them for a very reasonable rate from the bike rental shop at the marina.

Read the rest of this article on Travel Generation HERE.

Pin It
Categories: Accommodations, Beach, Cities, Condos, Countries, Destin, Family Travel, Florida, Girlfriends Getaway, Panama City Beach, Resorts, Sarasota, Travel Generation, United States | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Butchart Gardens, Vancouver Island

Garden The Butchart Gardens, Vancouver Island

Hosted Activity

 

 

We actually visited The Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island near Victoria last spring about this same time of year when we were on our fabulous Un-Cruise Adventure in British Columbia.

If you are in the area, these amazing gardens are absolutely worth a visit. Since it was early spring, I don’t think we even saw them in their full glory but it was astonishingly beautiful, so the area is probably truly breathtaking in the summer. You will see every color of flower imaginable, beautiful fountains, and shaded walking paths that wend through the whole area. Allow plenty of time as you will want to stroll along and just enjoy everything.

Admission is pretty reasonable and well worth it. We were lucky enough to have afternoon tea included in our experience and I absolutely recommend this as the food was quite simply wonderful. It broke our hearts that we had to leave some of it behind but, since we were on a small yacht in a small cabin, there was just not room to store any of the lovely, tiny sandwiches or delightful little desserts.

So sad.

Also sadly, in my excitement and eagerness to consume as many tiny sandwiches and desserts as I could poke into my mouth, I neglected to take any photos of the food, so you will have to take my word for their fabulousness.  However, Tom did take dozens and dozens of lovely photos. So many photos that I decided not to choose but instead put them into a video so you could appreciate the beauty of this location. Un-Cruise Adventures is offering a similar cruise this spring and you should absolutely consider taking it as it was one of the best cruises we have ever experienced. In the meantime, check out the video.

Yes.

It’s just that pretty.

Full disclosure: Our cruise and our admission to the gardens was provided by Un-Cruise Adventures but as always, we will share my honest opinions about any travel experiences we have.

Un-Cruise Adventures
888-862-8881
Sales@Un-Cruise.com

http://www.un-cruise.com/

Pin It
Categories: British Columbia, Canada, Countries, Tours | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photo Friday: Jacaranda Tree

My sister told me recently that these are considered terrible trees for landscaping because they are so messy, but we just thought they were absolutely beautiful when we saw them in Carlsbad.

Jacaranda Trees Small1 Photo Friday: Jacaranda Tree

 

Categories: California, Carlsbad, Photo Friday, United States | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise

River Chicago Architecture Foundation River CruiseHosted Activity

 

 

Now that spring is springing and folks may be planning summer getaways to Chicago, I think it’s finally time I get around to telling you about the fabulous Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise that we took last summer. I had been meaning to do this but when we were in Chicago recently and they dyed the river green for St. Patrick’s Day, it reminded me that I had never written here about the tour which was truly amazing.

Crazily, the Chicago River is dyed a very bright green in observance of St. Patrick’s Day and we were lucky enough to see it this year. This tradition actually came about by accident when the river was dyed green to trace illegal sources of pollution but soon became a tradition. They now use powdered vegetable dye which does not pollute the river and takes days to dissipate although we thought the green faded amazingly fast.

Chicago River St. Patricks Day Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise

Green Chicago River!

The Chicago River was a perfectly normal color when we took our tour on a bright, sunshiny July day last summer. Famous as one of the reasons Chicago became a huge metropolis, the river is immortalized on the Chicago flag with two blue stripes.

Flags Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise

U.S. flag, Illinois flag, and Chicago flag.

Read more »

Pin It
Categories: Chicago, Cities, Countries, Illinois, Tours, United States | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Girlfriends Getaway to Hilton Head Island

girl on beach Girlfriends Getaway to Hilton Head IslandBeautiful Hilton Head Island, South Carolina is a barrier island tucked neatly up so closely against the South Carolina coast that it is just a short drive over a marsh-lined causeway to get there and a short drive from both Charleston and Savannah, yet a whole world away in the relaxed, island vibe that greets you.

Your first glimpse of the lush foliage and the beautifully designed businesses and resorts which are hidden away, well back from the road, gives you your first clue that this not your typical island getaway. The island’s Natural Resources Division enforces the Land Management Ordinance which minimizes the impact of local development and even governs the style of buildings and how they are situated among the native trees. You won’t recognize the McDonald’s and Wal-Mart here; they are small, built of materials which blend into the environment, and surrounded by trees.

The beach at Hilton Head is absolutely huge with hard packed sand for bike riding and beach strolling. At low tide, tide pools form and attract local birds which forage for tiny fish and crabs trapped in the pools. Most of the island is sublimely private, located inside gated communities and resorts but there are also several public beach access points along with plenty of hotels, shops and restaurants.

Read the rest of this article on girlsgetaway.com HERE.

Pin It
Categories: Accommodations, Beach, Cities, Countries, Girlfriends Getaway, Girlsgetaway.com, Hilton Head, Resorts, South Carolina, United States | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photo Friday: Lily Pads in Forest Park, St. Louis

We were amazed at Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri. It’s the seventh largest urban park in the United States – larger than Central Park! Tom got this great photo of some lily pads.

Lily Pads in Forest Park Photo Friday: Lily Pads in Forest Park, St. Louis

Pin It
Categories: Cities, Countries, Missouri, St. Louis, United States | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Inn at Aberdeen, Valparaiso, Indiana

b b The Inn at Aberdeen, Valparaiso, Indiana

Hosted Accommodations

 

We didn’t actually intend to stop in Indiana on our whirlwind “Searching for Snow” trip this winter. We thought we would visit Wisconsin and Michigan where we knew we could find plenty of snow and snow adventures. But being the geographically impaired individual that I am, I had not taken into consideration the fact that Wisconsin and Michigan are, although both on Lake Michigan, technically on opposite sides of Lake Michigan.

And it would be quite a trek to get from one side to the other. This required a little finagling with our driving trip plans and required a stop somewhere in the middle. Somewhere in Indiana. Somewhere like.  Hmm. Valparaiso.

This ended up being not a problem at all, in fact just the opposite as this allowed us a night at the quite, quite lovely Inn at Aberdeen. We always enjoy a stay at quaint and interesting B & B locations and this beautiful, historic home tucked away in Valparaiso fit our needs very nicely.

Front of the Inn The Inn at Aberdeen, Valparaiso, Indiana

Front of the Inn. Photo courtesy of the Inn at Aberdeen.

Of course, it looked a little different when we were there! But that made the fireplace in our room that much more welcome.

Entrance The Inn at Aberdeen, Valparaiso, Indiana

Snowy, cold day!

The Inn is an 1850′s home that was completely remodeled in 1995 into 11 fabulous suites with king or two queen beds, two person Jacuzzis, fireplaces, patios or balconies, large private baths, and free wi-fi. They even have a kitchenette suite available for longer stay which you might consider since beautiful Indiana Dunes on the lake is right nearby. We strolled there in the snow but I think it would be much more enjoyable in the summer! Here’s a more detailed history of the house which is very interesting.

Read more »

Pin It
Categories: Accommodations, Bed and Breakfasts, Countries, Indiana, United States | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Three Last Minute Spring Break Destinations.

bike riding Three Last Minute Spring Break Destinations.

You really don’t forget!

So Spring Break is rapidly approaching and you have made no plans whatsoever? And your family is clamoring for a beach getaway? No problem. The Gulf Coast of Florida awaits in all its magnificent sugar white sand and turquoise water splendor.

Although people have their favorite beaches and I have visited plenty of them, none compare to the gorgeous beaches which line the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. With plenty of family-friendly accommodations, great seafood restaurants, lot of shopping opportunities, and great fun activities for families, this coast is the perfect choice for a spring break getaway.

Check out these locations, pick up the phone and make a reservation, then announce to your family that Spring Break is now planned!

1. Destin.One of several beaches sprawling along the Gulf Coast in what is commonly known as “The Panhandle” because of the resemblance to a frying pan handle on the state of Florida, Destin has a number of hotels and resorts but I have stayed numerous times at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and it’s a wonderful place for families. With houses, condos, and hotel rooms, Sandestin offers a wide choice of accommodations, many right on the beach. The sprawling, 2400 acre resort is a great place to ride bikes with wide, tree-lined paths wending through the resort from the bay side to the gulf side. Some accommodations come with bikes provided but, if not, it’s easy to rent them for a very reasonable rate from the bike rental shop at the marina.

Read the rest of this article on Travelhoppers HERE.

Categories: Accommodations, Beach, Cities, Condos, Countries, Destin, Family Travel, Florida, Girlfriends Getaway, Panama City Beach, Resorts, Sarasota, Travel for Boomers, United States | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment