The Chattanoogan Hotel

Chattanooga Sign 300x262 The Chattanoogan HotelHosted Accommodations

There were a great number of things we liked about the Chattanoogan Hotel in Chattanooga, TN. The beautiful lobby, the sunning terrace, our comfy room. But by far our favorite thing was the amazing meal we had at The Broad Street Grille, one of the restaurants in the hotel. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

But let me back up.

We had just spent a week at the Gulf coast and were heading back home but we like to break up our road trips and take leisurely drives, especially if it means we can visit an interesting location to write about. I looked at a map of our route, noticed Chattanooga was situated just right, and we ended up at the Chattanoogan Hotel. Just long enough for us to realize that we need to make a return trip to Chattanooga because it looks absolutely charming and all we had time for was a drive through on our way home.

Hotel Sign The Chattanoogan Hotel

The hotel is beautiful as we noticed when we drove past the street entrance to I guess what is technically the main entrance in a shaded area in the back.

Street Entrance The Chattanoogan Hotel

Pretty front entrance.

Entrance The Chattanoogan Hotel

Even prettier back entrance.

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Categories: Accommodations, Chattanooga, Cities, Countries, Hotels, Tennessee, United States | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Eco Boat Tour with Taking Off Hot Air Balloon Company and Boat Tours

boat 250x300 An Eco Boat Tour with Taking Off Hot Air Balloon Company and Boat ToursHosted Activity
 
 
The boat slipped away from the dock into the muddy water of the creek silently, with only the sound of warbling birds and chirping insects to accompany the start of a coastal ecology tour with Taking Off Hot Air Balloon Company and Boat Tours.

Although this company offers hot air balloon tours of the Gulf coast, we were here for one of their boat tours; specifically the 2-hour tour of the Magnolia River, Fish River, Weeks Bay and part of Mobile Bay.

From the website: You will see some magnificent homes from the water that you would never get to see otherwise. You will also see the mail boxes on everyone’s piers. We are one of the last places in America to receive year-round mail by boat. Magnolia River is one of the most beautiful in the state and is only the 5th in the state to be designated an “Outstanding Alabama Water”, the states highest environmental designation. The town is so proud to have one of our most important natural resources protected. The river is very important to the whole community.  We can pick you up at several locations including Big Daddy’s or Jesse’s.  Plan your trip so that you can have lunch before or after your cruise! 

We opted to meet our tour guide at their private dock and were a little taken aback when we arrived at the address to find a church, day care center, and absolutely no sign of any water, dock, or any sort of boat. Luckily, someone finally appeared and opened a gate to what looked like a farmer’s field but ended up leading us back a country lane to what indeed turned out to be a dock and body of water. We boarded, plunked ourselves down onto some pretty comfy bean bags, and set out on our adventure.

Leaving Dock1 An Eco Boat Tour with Taking Off Hot Air Balloon Company and Boat Tours

Heading out on our adventure.

Leaving Dock2 An Eco Boat Tour with Taking Off Hot Air Balloon Company and Boat Tours

Pulling away from the dock.

Leaving Dock3 An Eco Boat Tour with Taking Off Hot Air Balloon Company and Boat Tours

Heading up the creek.

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Sunshine in Gulf Shores, Alabama – Fabulous Beach House

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This is a story about these two.

In Front of House Sunshine in Gulf Shores, Alabama   Fabulous Beach House

How they loved every single, solitary moment of their honeymoon in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

From the amazingly lovely beaches.

On the Beach Sunshine in Gulf Shores, Alabama   Fabulous Beach House

 To the fabulous mac and cheese at the Cayman Grill.

Mac and cheese Sunshine in Gulf Shores, Alabama   Fabulous Beach House

Seriously. Amazing mac and cheese.

To lounging in one of the pools in the Morgantown neighborhood where their beach house was located.

In the pool Sunshine in Gulf Shores, Alabama   Fabulous Beach House

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Why choose a bed and breakfast location?

cottage Why choose a bed and breakfast location?Hotels of all shapes, sizes, and price ranges exist all over the world. You can have privacy, room service, an amazing array of amenities, and the convenience of never having to clean your room. Restaurants, shops, tours, transportation are all available right outside the lobby door, so why in the world would you choose to stay in a Bed and Breakfast?

Because a Bed and Breakfast location can also offer those same bonuses along with a truly amazing and historical place to stay – not to mention a fabulous breakfast included in your rate. We have stayed in Bed and Breakfast locations all over the United States and find that we often enjoy them much more than a hotel stay. Here is an array of vastly different locations we have visited that you might want to add to your travel bucket list.

The Villa D’Citta in Chicago, Illinois

A lovely, historic greystone mansion located in the prestigious Chicago neighborhood of Lincoln Park which has been remodeled and furnished like an elegant Italian villa, this Bed and Breakfast is truly one of the most luxurious places we have ever stayed. With a beautiful, outside grotto and large hot tub, they have plenty of room for relaxing and even host cookouts in the summer. The back door leads into a nicely furnished and very comfortable lounge area with a fireplace which adjoins the dining area and the large, state of the art kitchen. The beautifully decorated living room is furnished with comfortable furniture for guests to gather and get to know one another. The Grand Tuscan Suite, where we stayed, is over 1,000 square feet and offers a flat screen television, fireplace, French doors out to a tiny but perfect terrace, and lovely hardwood floors. In addition, there is a huge bathroom with twin sinks, a marble soaking tub and a full steam shower. There is also another small bedroom with two twin beds which would be perfect for kids or another couple.  Of course a full, hot, and delicious breakfast is served every morning and fresh fruit and freshly baked cookies are available every day, but the kitchen is also kept stocked for guests and you are free to help yourself. The fridge is full of cold tea and lemonade, as well as the makings for paninis, pizzas, and waffles. A Panini maker, pizza oven, and waffle maker are just part of the incredible service here. You are also free to use the kitchen to prepare meals or to store takeout in the fridge. It’s the perfect place to stay when visiting Chicago.

Read the rest of this article on Travel Generation HERE.

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Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa

golfer Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & SpaHosted Accommodations

 

 

We don’t play golf.

Never have, never will.

However.

We are huge fans of the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa which is one of the resorts on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Comprised of several fabulous resorts with world-class golf courses, staying at each of these resorts is a dream trip for any golfer. But, as we learned during a recent visit, you don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy these resorts.

The Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa is a four diamond resort  built in 2005 and the area has an interesting history. In the mid-1800s, James Taylor Ross allowed the Confederate Army to build a bridge on his land which allowed the Confederacy to transport munitions from the Oxmoor furnaces through Brock’s Gap to the railroad on the other side of Shades Mountain. The bridge stands today a short walking distance from the resort, which I did not realize until I researched this article. Only thing to do is return so we can see the bridge! The land owned by the Ross family is now a luxury golf resort which I’m sure the Ross family could have never conceived in their wildest dreams.

Pull up to this luxury resort located right outside Birmingham, Alabama and you might think you have arrived at a castle in Scotland, complete with turret rooms and green, rolling hills. So Scottish that they actually have a guy who wanders around in the evening playing bagpipes.

Front of Resort Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa

Front of the Resort.

The grounds are beautifully landscaped with fountains and flower gardens everywhere.

Fountain Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa

Beautiful fountains and flowers.

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Islands of New England: Heading Out with Blount Small Ship Cruises Again

small cruise ship Islands of New England: Heading Out with Blount Small Ship Cruises AgainPress Trip

 

 

We could not be more excited about visiting New England with Blount Small Ship Adventures on their Islands of New England cruise for the very first time.

Well.

There was that time we had one day we docked in Portland, Maine on a big cruise ship and took a lovely foodie tour. But that was just one day, it was rainy and rather unpleasant, and we made our way back to the cruise ship as quickly as possibly for a nap. So. Not that great an experience.

This one will be much, much better.

We love Blount Small Ship Adventures. A family business founded back in the 1940′s, Blount is still run by family and they go “where the big ships cannot.” We enjoyed our cruise last summer on Lake Michigan even though there were some complications and we were not able to get to quite as many destinations as planned. In fact, that cruise and they way they handled the problems really impressed us with their professionalism and the way they strive to keep their customers happy.

So we are thrilled to be cruising on their Islands of New England cruise in July. We chose this particular cruise because we were really interested in seeing this part of the country and we could drive to it pretty easily from our home in Kentucky. We also really liked our cozy cabin on the Grande Mariner and this cruise is on the Grande Caribe, her sister ship, so we are going to feel comfortable and know our way around as soon as we step aboard.

Grande Caribe Islands of New England: Heading Out with Blount Small Ship Cruises Again

The Grande Caribe. Photo courtesy of Blount Small Ship Adventures

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Girlfriends Getaway to Florida’s Emerald Coast

Sterling Shores 300x251 Girlfriends Getaway to Floridas Emerald CoastSand so blindingly white you have to see it to believe it. Water so many astonishingly beautiful shades of green and blue, you feel like you have arrived on a Caribbean island. Luxurious resorts, fabulous shopping, great dining – the Emerald Coast of Florida truly has it all. The unofficial name of this gorgeous stretch of beach communities on the Gulf of Mexico from Pensacola to Panama City Beach, the Emerald Coast is also truly an apt moniker for this lovely location. Located in the middle of this heavenly destination is Destin, the jewel in the crown because of everything it has to offer.

Where to Stay

Tucked away at the very end of Scenic Highway 98, which runs right beside the beach, is the idyllic Henderson Park Inn. They truly boast the best beach location in all of Destin because they are situated right beside Henderson Beach State Park. This means that guests have access to some of the most unspoiled views on the Gulf and miles of beach where you can plunk down your chairs and be the only residents except for the seagulls. Henderson Park Inn is actually designed for romantic getaway for couples since each room accommodates two but it works just as well for a girlfriends getaway if you book a couple of rooms. I had visited the Henderson Park Inn previously and was anxious to share this wonderful location and its great amenities with my two girlfriends. I had a great room with a queen bed and a nice balcony with an ocean view and my two girlfriends shared a perfect suite with a king bed. The Henderson Park inn has a wide variety of room sizes and types which include the Presidential Suite with a separate living room where we stayed on our last visit.

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

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Paradise in Gulf Shores, Alabama – the Grand Paradise Beach House

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Sign Redone 300x201 Paradise in Gulf Shores, Alabama   the Grand Paradise Beach HouseWhat really bothered me about the Grand Paradise beach house in Gulf Shores was that it was so fabulously, magnificently huge.

Wait.

Let me rephrase that.

What really bothered me about the Grand Paradise beach house in Gulf Shores was that it was so fabulously, magnificently huge and we did not have our entire family with us.

Seven bedrooms, enough for our entire family + my brother’s family. Check.

A completely wonderful bunk bed room with a loft equipped with its very own television and bean bag chairs that the cousins would adore? Check.

Right on the beach. Literally. Like you step out the door onto sand. Check.

This did indeed bother me but it did not keep us from enjoying every single minute of our stay.

Not at all.

We knew in advance that the place was going to be completely fabulous. We just didn’t realize quite how fabulous it would be. We arrived in the evening so it wasn’t actually until the next morning, when I stepped out onto the deck overlooking the beach that I realized that fact.

Beach View Paradise in Gulf Shores, Alabama   the Grand Paradise Beach House

The beach view.

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How to Travel Stress Free

Relaxing by the pool 224x300 How to Travel Stress FreeTravel is completely fabulous in every way. Except when it isn’t. When you are uncomfortable, can’t relax, feel homesick or are just plain stressed out, you can’t enjoy even the most wonderful destination. Even the loveliest beach resort in Hawaii can make you long to be home in your bed if you are stressed to the max. So how to truly enjoy that next trip and experience stress-free travel? Here’s a few tips to remember.

1. Travel with someone you like. Travel is not the time to test that brand new friendship or relationship unless you are pretty darn sure you are simpatico in most ways. You just found the most darling Coach purse EVER at the outlet mall and he scolds you for spending too much money? (which my husband would NEVER do, by the way) Stressful. You want to hike the rainforest while your new friend prefers to spend the entire vacation sprawled on the beach? Stressful. Choose your travel partners carefully as they can make or break that trip of a lifetime. Bad travel partner = stress.

Read the rest of this article on Travel Generation HERE.

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Photo Friday: Beach at Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores, Alabama

As far as I am concerned, after years of visiting the Gulf of Mexico coast as a kid, vacation = beach. So I was overjoyed to spend a week at the beach recently at Fort Morgan in Gulf Shores, Alabama. We had an amazing beach house, Grand Paradise, and I’ll tell you all about it in another post. But here is the view we enjoyed every morning. Fabulous!

Beach at Fort Morgan Photo Friday: Beach at Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores, Alabama

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