Tap-Tap-Tap. Hello? Are you still there?

I took a deep breath and swallowed easily. What a lovely feeling! I couldn’t imagine how long it had been since I  had been swallowing so easily but I had a feeling it had been quite a while. I sat up and noticed my husband dozing in the chair beside my hospital bed and love for him filled me up until it forced some tears out of my eyes. I wondered how long he had been sitting there while I was lying in bed.

I didn’t find out until much later that he had been with me the entire time I had spent in that bed and in the hospital. He had called the front desk at the hotel when I passed out, drove to the hospital after loading up the truck with all our stuff, waited while they worked on me, then spent the next few months waiting for me to recover. Days, weeks, months, he waited patiently for me to finally wake up, remember where I was and what was going on, and then gingerly took me home after I finally remembered everything up to the point where I passed out.

I was shocked that so much time had passed – 5 months had slipped by in the blink of an eye – and I  had lost a ton of weight. Not the best way to lose weight though. I was down to what I had weighed right before I got pregnant and that was years ago! I didn’t remember anything about the time I was out of it. Who had come to see me, getting up out of bed to walk and get exercise, every little thing that happened every day.

I looked at the pictures Tom had taken and had no memory of any of those events. My wonderful family, my children, and friends had been to vist numerous times, brought me presents, stayed to visit and talk, and then returned to visit again and again. I had no memory of any of their visits but I appreciate every one. How could I not?

They actually loved me and appreciated me so much that they came to the hospital again and again while I was in there to let me know how much they appreciated me and were waiting for me to get better and come home. Once I was actually home and comfortable, they came to visit, to bring me treats, to talk and visit, and to just enjoy being together. It was the best part of coming home.

Having all my family and friends excited about me being there.

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Kentucky’s Top Boutique Hotels

fountainPhoto by Melissa Miller via Trover.com

Thoroughbred horses, bourbon, and plenty of history abound in the beautiful and scenic state of Kentucky. Keeneland Race Track in Lexington and Churchill Downs in Louisville, where the famous Kentucky Derby is run, are just two of the race tracks in the state. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail runs across the state and encompasses a variety of different bourbon distilleries, some of which have been in business for over 200 years. Kentucky is proud of its history and the men and women who helped settle the frontier. Check out these hotels in Lexington and Louisville for the ideal Kentucky experience.

Keeneland Race

Photo by Michael Shuier via Trover.com

Hilton Lexington Suites in Lexington: Located adjoining the charming Lexington Green mall which includes such high-end shops as Chico’s and White House/Black Market, and the waterfront Palmer’s Fresh Grill, this hotel has comfortable rooms complete with mini-bars, refrigerators, and luxury linens, along with an outdoor pool and fitness center. The hotel is only about 8 miles from the beautiful Keeneland Race Track. Races are run in October and April but the track is open all year round to tourists who can stroll the gorgeously landscaped grounds, watch the horses exercise, and have a meal in the track kitchen.

Kentucky Horse Park

Photo by Ann Russell-Vargas via Trover.com

The Campbell House in Lexington: This historic hotel is a beautiful, antebellum-style location with a two story lobby, breathtaking architecture, and timeless beauty and charm. An indoor pool, 24-hour fitness center, and two in-house restaurants make this a great choice for a visit. Arrange a tour with one of the local bus tour companies which will include the history of Lexington and visits to one of the many area horse farms.

William T. Young Library

Photo by Hyelsinta via Trover.com

University Inn Hotel in Lexington: The comfortable rooms at the hotel include complimentary Wi-Fi, and some rooms have kitchenettes with refrigerators. The hotel also offers a free shuttle to nearby hospitals for families visiting loved ones, free self-parking, a complimentary continental breakfast, and many area restaurants will deliver directly to the hotel. The campus of the University of Kentucky is within easy walking distance and provides access to a variety of sporting events, museums, libraries, and tours of the charming and historic university.

Churchill Downs

Photo by Marty Biscan via Trover.com

American’s Best Value Inn in Louisville: A complimentary daily breakfast adds to the charm of this hotel, along with a 24-hour fitness center, complimentary Wi-Fi in the rooms, and 32-inch flat screen televisions with satellite channels. The hotel is located less than five miles from Churchill Downs so it’s a great location for the Kentucky Derby. Even if it’s not time for the Derby, you can visit the nearby Kentucky Derby Museum, take a tour of Churchill Downs, or spend time exploring the riverfront city of Louisville.

Bourbon Barrels

Photo by Russell Hewatt via Trover.com

Red Roof Inn Louisville Expo Airport: Newly remodeled rooms include complimentary Wi-Fi, flat screen televisions with premium channels, plush, high-end bedding and blackout curtains for a great night’s sleep. Free self-parking, complimentary tea and coffee in the lobby, and coin-operated laundry facilities make this a great hotel for families. This hotel is the perfect place to begin the Kentucky Bourbon Trail experience. Just stop in at Bulleit Experience at Stitzel-Weller to pick up your Bourbon Trail passport and begin visiting distilleries and tasting their products!

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5 Fictional Destinations You can Actually Visit

As an avid reader, I would love to check out every one of these sites. They look amazing!


This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s  Tailwind blog on November 11, 2015.

There’s something magical about seeing the real life setting of a beloved fictional world. These destinations draw travelers to places they might not otherwise go for the pleasantly jarring sensation of finding Tatooine in Tunisia or Narnia in Norway. Here are five of our favorite places that serve as intersections of invention and reality, mixing the familiar with the surprising.

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Mdina, Malta: King’s Landing (Game of Thrones)

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Great Foods to Eat When Visiting Chicago That Aren’t Pizza

We only discovered Chicago recently, even though it’s just about six hours from our home. This was the place we experienced the phenomenon that is deep-dish pizza for the first time and it’s amazing! On our next visit, we will to try some of these options as well!

This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s  Tailwind blog on November 9, 2015.


Chicago may be synonymous with “deep dish,” but there’s more to this city than thick crusts and mounds of cheese. In addition to striking architectureand gorgeous sunsets, the Windy City boasts a smorgasbord of good eats.

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Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center for Families

Hotel Exterior

Photo courtesy of the resort.

Hosted Accommodations

I have stayed at a lot of hotels. Pretty fabulous places all over the world with great amenities, amazing views, fabulous food, and awesome rooms.

But the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center is still one of my very favorite places to stay.

With 9 acres of lush gardens, trees, and a charming, shallow river inside the hotel, it’s truly one of the most unique places I have ever stayed. I have visited this location several times on girlfriend getaways, and visits to the city of Nashville and loved every minute. So when I headed south this summer with our daughter and nine-year old grandson, I decided to make a stop in Nashville on the way to the beach so they could experience this fabulous place for themselves and see if it was just as wonderful for a family getaway.

And it is.

It’s an amazing location for a family. Not only is the resort located in Nashville, where there are tons of things for families to enjoy, the resort itself is an attraction that you might never want to leave.

I didn’t tell our nine-year old grandson anything about the hotel as I wanted him to be surprised by the whole inside and his reaction was definitely worth it. I have never been to a hotel that is so amazing on the inside. You can quite literally wander around for hours (and you might do so unintentionally if you are direction-impaired as I am) enjoying the lush foliage and dozens of scenic waterfalls and pools, the many different restaurants, and the darling shops.




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Categories: Accommodations, Cities, Countries, Nashville, Resorts, Tennessee, Travel with Children, United States | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Keep Clothes Clean While Traveling Abroad

We didn’t even think about trying to do laundry when we were in France recently; we just planned to take enough clothes to make it through the time we would be there. So these tips would have actually come in handy.


This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s  Tailwind blog on October 10, 2015.

It’s an age-old traveler’s dilemma: How do you to keep clothes clean while traveling around the world? Clean clothes may be easy to maintain if you’re visiting popular U.S. tourist destinations like Disney World or Washington, D.C., but laundry can be considerably less accessible (or more expensive) in places like Budapest or Addis Ababa.  Here’s how to keep clothes clean no matter where travel takes you.

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Dining Our Way Around Adventures on the Gorge

Buffalo Chicken Dip at Adventures on the GorgeThere is a long list of reasons why you should visit the amazing Adventures on the Gorge.

Located in the startlingly beautiful New River Gorge in the Appalachian Mountains of southern West Virginia, which is part of the New River Gorge National Park, it’s not only in a uniquely beautiful location but also offers an astonishing array of adventure activities, including whitewater rafting, which is the iconic reason the resort began in the first place.

The New River Gorge National River is still somewhat of an undiscovered paradise and was designated part of the United States National Park Service in 1978. It spreads out for 53 miles along the New River, and includes some of the most prime white water rafting territory in the United States. The river flows north through deep, scenic canyons, is one of the oldest rivers on the continent, and the park itself offers over 70,000 acres of land available for world-class rock climbing, hiking, zip lining, a bridge walk above the river, and plenty of other water sports in addition to white water rafting. Adventures on the Gorge is the perfect place to experience this area and all it has to offer.

This is not your average vacation or even your average resort; rather, it’s a completely unique adventure resort – and we loved every minute of our recent visit, including a visit to charming, nearby Fayetteville, West Virginia with interesting little shops and restaurants. Everything from the amazing array of accommodations, to the hospitality of all the employees, to the activities from relaxing by the beautiful Canyon Falls Swimming Pool to rafting your way down the New River, white-knuckled and soaked, make this a great destination.

But one of our very favorite things on a recent visit turned out, quite surprisingly, to be the food.

The resort has three restaurants each of which offers great, friendly service, fabulous views, and really, really good food. Most of the meals in the restaurants are buffet-style or casual dining like pizzas which makes sense when you consider that most everyone at the resort is participating in incredibly active activities and is starving! However, they also can provide some pretty darn fancy meals as well, which is nice since they also do weddings. One nice thing about all the restaurants is that they are super casual so you certainly don’t have to worry about dressing up for a meal.

Read the rest of this article on Epicurean Traveler HERE.

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It’s Not Too Late to Book Your Holiday Flight

We normally stay home during the holiday season but that’s because we are fortunate that our family all live nearby. Here’s some tips for those of you that have to travel during this time.


This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s  Tailwind blog on October 20, 2015.

If you want to fly this holiday season but fear that airfare is already too steep, Hipmunk says travelers who book by the week of October 26 may still be able to avoid stiff price hikes.  We examined flight booking data from 2014 and 2015 to predict flight price patterns for the busiest travel period of the year. Here is what we found:

Based on 2014 data, consumers can avoid significant flight increases by booking December holiday travel before October 31. The data suggests that earlier booking is better: we predict steady price increases starting the week of October 26 through December 21.

“Early” Procrastinators won’t be punished. Booking the week October 26 will only bump prices 3-4 percent over the last week of September, which was the best time to lock in the lowest rates. But if you really, really procrastinate, that will cost you. We expect that the week of December 21 airfares will be 44 percent higher than the week of October 26.

Good news. There’s one more travel day in the 2015 holiday season, and that means one more option for departures and one more day to potentially save, even though we expect booking patterns to be similar to 2014.  Airfares are down this year. For now. Overall, people who booked flights this year between Saturday, December 20 and Sunday, December 27 saved 3 percent versus the equivalent days last year ($361 versus $372 in 2014).  Finally, if you are looking to save even more on your airfare, don’t fly December 23 when prices are 5-6 percent higher than those on December 24. Try heading home to Santa on Christmas Eve day instead.

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The Fabulous Forrest Hills Resort

ecologia1Hosted Accommodations

We had been to Dahlonega, Georgia before; in fact, that’s how we learned to actually pronounce the name of this charming town because, until right before we arrived and made complete fools of ourselves, we were pronouncing it like Talladega. Luckily, we figured out before we arrived that it’s actually pronounced duh-lon-uh-guh with an emphasis on the second syllable.

When Tom and I were there a couple of years ago, we learned a little about the gold mining history of the town, just enough to learn that gold was actually discovered here first, not in California(!), and that we needed to return with our grandson, who would love the old gold mines and panning for gold.

It’s truly a delightful place, with a lovely downtown area, lots of interesting little shops, and fabulous restaurants.

Downtown Dahlonega. Photo courtesy of Forrest Hills Resort.

Downtown Dahlonega. Photo courtesy of Forrest Hills Resort.

This past summer, I managed to return with our grandson and our grown daughter, and were thrilled that they loved this wonderful mountain town as much as we did. We had a great time in Dahlonega, but what I really want to tell you about in this article is the beautiful and amazing Forrest Hills Mountain Resort & Conference Center.

Forrest Hills Resort Sign

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A Multi-Generational Family Trip to Cincinnati

CincyThe “Queen City” of Ohio is a beautiful location on the banks of the Ohio River with a wide variety of family-friendly attractions – from a zoo to an amazing aquarium to a major league baseball park and a football stadiums – that everyone, including the grandparents, will enjoy.

Check out these great spots on your next family visit to Cincinnati.

BB Riverboats. The best way to see Cincinnati with kids is on one of the riverboats that cruise along the charming Cincinnati riverfront area as your whole family learns the history of these river towns and the impact the river had on their development. The riverboats are large and comfortable, with plenty of seating for grandparents, snacks available for purchases and no worries about seasickness! Plan for a lunch, dinner or just sightseeing cruise, or go on one of the special themes cruises available like a pirate cruise! These are perfect multi-generational experiences as they are enjoyable for all ages.

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

Categories: Accommodations, Cincinnati, Cities, Countries, Family Travel, Hotels, Minitime, Ohio, Travel with Children, United States | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment