Destination Washington, D.C.

D.C is probably and hopefully one of the top places on your list. If it is not I hope this may bump it up on your list. As many of you know upon my return from your Europe trip I went home and packed my bags again, and set off the very next morning. Yes it sounds crazy but literally one of the most fun adventures I have had. We only had two days, so we hit the ground running. Literally starting at the Capitol on day one and ending at the Lincoln Memorial on day two. Now it is a lot of walking but ubers are also not that bad in pricing as well. D.C. is not only rich with history but also culture and we soaked up every second.

Washington DC 5So sadly because like I said we only had two days, we didn’t tour a lot of inside of places. But we did go inside a few Smithsonian’s, the National Archives, Ford Theatre, and the house where President Lincoln was declared official dead. Great story about that when we get to that part of the adventure. As you can clearly tell we began at the Capitol, yes the lines are clearly long but all the ones we ventured in moved fairly quickly. After exploring the Capitol we walked down past the library of Congress. Then went into the Air and Space Museum, it was amazing. We learned so much, and it was so interactive for your younger ones. I would highly recommend it.

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The next stop was the big one that everyone thinks when D.C. is even brought up in a sentence. The White House, its cool to look at and we wanted so badly to go inside sadly we didn’t get to get the tickets in time. If you go in summer time they had a nice grassy area that provides great shade, and of course people watching is guaranteed. Now if you want people to think you went in, I do have a secret for you. Across the street there is a souvenir store if you spend like I can’t remember like 15 bucks they will send you around the corner. Where they have rebuilt the Oval Office and the press podium and the pictures don’t look that fake. I mean obviously you are not in there but hey it’s fun to take the cheesy photos.

The National Archives are also a must see. There are a lot of people but they actually make it easy for you to view all the documents in a timely manner without having to fight and trip over people. They line you up in rows of three then they let you go for about ten, fifteen minutes then they send in the next group. Now you need to watch for the engraved titles vs. the regulars (regulars are fake) engraved in the wall its the real documents. As our day winded down we ended our days events, with the Washington Monument. It was incredible to see up close. Most definitely worth a visit.

Day two: Woke up early to go tour the Ford Theatre. Tickets like most everything in D.C. are free but they will always take donations to help preserve the history. It is a great tour and they also talk to you as if you were there the night of horrible event that took place. They take you through there entire day the planning on John Wilkes Boothe part and unsuspecting on everyone else’s. It so scary to think to about how easily it did happen. Just awful to be truthful with you. You can’t physically go in the booth, but they do have a replica down stairs.

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Next we went across the street to the house where it all quickly became apparent President Lincoln was indeed assassinated. Now you go through a time frame of the events then this is where the story gets interesting. We are the only people in this part of the house at the moment beside the security officer who was actually wasn’t paying anymore attention to us then we were to him. The room was cold as ice and the lights started flickering. Then as you look around you see a sign room where Lincoln was pronounced dead. It was creepy. We quickly continued the tour, and moved on to our next stop.

The Natural History Museum Smithsonian, it was so cool. Tons of animals and really cool exhibits I’d go again tomorrow. They do constant research to keep the people up to date with the latest information. In fact they had a few parts of the under the sea exhibit closed to get better information. I mean I think that stuff is cool. They also have one of the larger exhibits is all these animals. It is crazy to see them. It is amazing it’s like a huge zoo of knowledge.

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Of course we had to get a picture with the Meg. Lol

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After that began our final adventure the National Monument Mall. It’s a bit of a hike but it is amazing. I can’t describe to you how cool it is. So definitely clear a good part of your day to see all of them. It is so hard to get a picture with Lincoln though. We had to fight for a spot and let me tell you there are tons of people that sit there on the stairs, in the middle of course. So watch out. But let me tell you the view across the pond of the Washington Monument reflecting on the water just gorgeous.

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Well thanks for traveling to this part of the map with me. When you get to Washington D.C. vote for us.

Destination Universal Orlando, Florida!

So as the commercial says the older kid vacation, and yes it is! I’m still a Disney lover but yes Universal is so much fun. We rode almost every ride, and of course as you have probably read from my other blogs, I’m a legit Potter geek so of course most of our day spent in Harry Potter. So tips to the wise get the connecting park tickets so you can ride the Hogwarts express between parks. BEST MONEY YOU WILL SPEND AT THE PARK. It is a lot of walking, not even kidding then there it is ready to take you across and off your feet. Plus it has a few surprises in store.

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We had three days of course three parks, so I’ll start with day one Universal Studios. Home of Simpsons, Diagon Ally, Jaws (pier), Mummy and much more. It will a jam packed day of fun. We started out with the Simpsons, air with caution I don’t get motion sickness but on some of the rides I actually came close. We ate a café of Jaw’s Pier which was pretty good. I would suggest if you don’t have lunch plans that’s where I would check because it’s all combos so drink, fries food all one price. Sadly they don’t have the Jaws ride anymore. I was very sad one of my favorite movies.

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Here it is Diagon Ally! So Potter geeks tune in! They have everything from Ollivanders to Gringotts. Borgan and Burkes down Knockturn Ally. Make sure you know your spells, your wands will make you or break you through out the park. Also keep a close eye on the dragon, you never know if he will strike.

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Volcano Bay day two. Pack your swim suit you will be wet within seconds. They have tons of rides, and the best part virtual line waiting. Check in with your wrist band and go lay out, swim, eat whatever. Then it beeps and you go get your spot in line. Sounds cool right. Again we rode almost everything, I’m going to tell you right now stairs upon stairs. We had to take several breaks, I mean its a climb. Sadly the Volcano ride was shut down so no to that but everything else. We took on like champs. I have to say check out the not so lazy river its so much fun. But where your life jacket you will get swept away quick.

Or you can work on your tan in the sandy beach area. Whatever you do, It will be a great day of fun in the sun. Make sure you rent a locker they may look small but you can get a lot in. But the cool news is make friends with your neighbors and watch out for each others seats that way you feel a little bit safer with what you don’t put in your locker. I mean come on now you will want photos. They take them but I prefer my own. Lol

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So last day Isle of Adventure, despite our faces we were sad. YES before you even question the castle was AWESOME! Inside and out upon entering the section of the park you can choose Hogsmeade or Hogwarts. It legit feels like you are in the movie. It is so cool, but ok moving on the other parts of the park.

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If you read Destination Hawaii, you also know I’m a Jurassic nerd. But Marvel land was also extremely cool. Plus Transformers and parades and so much just packed in. It is so much fun. Please just go, just go!! It is amazing! You are missing out, and oh yea did I mention the Minions. I stinking love Minions! There is a adventure waiting around every corner for any age.

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Well thanks for traveling to this part of the map with me. Whatever your movie is there is a adventure waiting for you to take in Universal, GO!

 

 

Destination Orange Beach, Alabama!

So for my Southern states followers, you may know this beach incredibly well. For all my around the world peeps I’m here to show you a great place to visit, relax, and the best part is this annual thing called Mullet Toss! Yes you actually through fish! Ha! It is insanely fun. So let me start by saying sorry its taken to weeks to get back to you all as most of you read in my last post I was leaving for Italy which then ventured into Greece and England but that blog is coming soon I promise. So here’s to Mullet Toss Adventures beginning or continuing for anybody.

So for any and all ages, big or small, strong work out everyday to people like me who are like I’ll go to the gym “tomorrow” this event is TONS of fun! So if you read my Egypt adventures you are update with me because I left for this trip two days after I returned home (yes jetlagged and all) but here’s one part I prayed most people wouldn’t notice I was sick as a dog upon returning. I had actually developed walking pneumonia. But three things gave me the strength A) It was my best friends birthday weekend and come on how do you celebrate without your best friend by your side? B) The best beaches were back together and C) I had made a promise to be there and by God I was.

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Now if you read this and you are like ehh not for me that’s fine too because any other time you can relax next those turquoise waters and soak up the sun. Every visit I have made their we have stayed in one of the multiple Phoenix hotels and condos. Very nice, spacious, fairly cost effective and my personal favorite directly on the beach. Mullet Toss occurs every year around the last weekend of April.  These are my mullet toss crew. They introduced Becks and I to the fun.

Left to Right:

Me, Matt, Brandi, Becks, and Trevor.

But as you can see most every one puts up a tent or Ez-up and hangs out for the fun. They have three days of competition. One a day per age group then the finals of the day. You can win great prizes and for throwing hey you get a free t-shirt I mean come on now.

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Flora-Bama. This bar is the staple to this entire thing. They are a bar located on the boarder of Alabama and Florida hence Flora-Bama. If you can get here early enough you can park at this bar for the weekend to hang out for the Mullet Toss or you can park at your condo and past that you are on your own. Be cautious and aware we saw tons getting towed last year. Like any bar they are open late with great bands that come sing and of course serve great drinks and food. To reserve your spot at Mullet Toss you must go through them, to purchase one day or all three or two or whatever your plan is. So from my point of view and suggestions from many others I would book early, its worth attending at least once in your life.

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So being at the end of April the water is still pretty cold. But if you are like the best beaches and just want to have fun jump in for a swim. Its a great cool off to the hot sun and excitement of Mullet Toss action you also can get some great people watching in. Just saying. But clearly the best beaches love the beach and Mullet Toss.

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Another good idea to attend is, if you can’t get a beach spot and have a boat or know people with a boat go ahead and pull up to shore. As you can clearly see behind us several did. It’s a great idea pull up swim in. Sounds pretty good to me. But lets also take a moment to take about this water and the clarity of it. Is it not just ahh! Freezing yes, but if you haven’t figured out I prefer to stay all day in the water. LITERALLY. Now I will warn you this clear of water does draw in wildlife such as string rays and jelly fish so just be on the lookout like you would any time anyway. Funny story about this picture I had actually stepped on a string ray right before it was taken. It quickly swam away and it was completely my fault it was a true accident. But some don’t see it as a accident so just be watchful they can and will sting if they feel threaten.

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So next April if you have some time, head on down to Mullet Toss. You might even see me!

Thanks for travelling to this part of the map with me. Remember toss mullets not feelings in Orange Beach.

 

Destination Boone, North Carolina!

Have you heard of Boone? Well I had always heard of it but never had all the up most desire to go. Until it was one my best friends birthday and we decided to get away for the weekend. The original plan was to go snow tubing and skiing, but sadly it was more hot then cold so we changed our plans and made it even more adventurous and memorable. So if I have already caught your attention, really consider it. If not keep reading the best is yet to come.

We were able to a huge mountain cabin for extremely cheap. Two stories, full kitchen and dinning room, down stairs bonus room and a hot tub. It was awesome and all for like three hundred dollars for the weekend. Now I will warn you the drive is steep, but like any steep thing it is worth more. The views were unbelievable. Pictures just do it justice.

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Wake up and explore. Our first stop of the day was the local town called Blowing Rock. Adorable little town, so quant and little different places to grab a bite or take a stroll down the main strip. We ate the local Mellow Mushroom it was so cool inside, but very good great place to eat and plan the rest of your day. It may be a little country town, but sometimes they hold the best treasures of all.

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Next part of our day climb Grandfather Mountain. One of the most popular mountain’s in North Carolina.

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Pretty tall isn’t it? Yea we climbed all that! Ha just kidding not in jeans and jackets. Actually we did climb a portion of it but you drive up most of it. I know that’s cheating and if are a real mountain climber I completely have the upmost respect for you. Like I wish I could. It was the most amazing view I have ever seen. It is a treacherous climb but you can go as far as the top or stop closer to the bridge. Oh yea did I mention their is a hanging bridge? It is pretty awesome.

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Told you! Even you have a extreme fear of heights, still try and go. I may be scary to look down but when you make it across you will be like oh my gosh I was scared but now I’m in aww. So despite it being hot up until this weekend we left, it was positivity freezing. Runny noses and cold chilly winds were not stopping us though. When adventure is on the line the elements add the spices of fun.

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Helloooo from the mountain top! Yes we were freezing can’t you tell by my lovely Rudolph nose. But I didn’t care it was exhilarating! Since of accomplishment and adventure make you have all sorts of different feels. We ended up spending most of our day, here on the mountain. They have a lovely café, and several animal exhibits. Great for all ages to explore. But if their is snow on the ground please remember the golden rule don’t eat the yellow snow. We sat there and watched this angry child shovel it in his mouth. Wasn’t my child, wasn’t my place to say anything. So don’t get any ideas I’m that person. Lol

Sadly the next day was our last day before we headed home. So we decided to venture out and go the under ground caverns, not visited much but really cool. Please be respectful of the bats, they are getting woken up and even worse diseases from people being careless with them.  These caverns are naturally made, and are still expanding and growing. So they ask that you please don’t touch them, the oils from that body creates will stop the rock growth. It has a natural spring with fish, sometimes otters, and of course bats! Which I use to be scared of them but they are actually super cute. Of course from my previous blog postings you can tell I love wildlife. Also be mindful theirs this huge rock titled “Headache Rock” lets put it this way, I now understand why its called that.

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Well thanks for traveling to this part of the map with me. Have fun becoming a mountain climber, cave crawling Boone goon!

Destination Gatlinburg, Tennessee!

Remember how I said I was from a small town? Well Gatlinburg is about four hours from so we visit quite often. Its one of the most fun towns, to visit! Plus, Pigeon Forge and Seville are fun too! All right their jam packed with one another. It’s a good vacation no matter which season you plan to go. But be careful you never know when their will be a bear sighting they are so notorious for bears. Spring, Summer, Winter or Fall your family, friends, and all will have one of most treasured memories to return home with. This time we went that I’m going to show and talk about with you was over Christmas time. I have two best friends that are from England, and are pursing their dreams of being American Nannies so of course we invented them to spend Christmas with us as a whole family.

Gatlinberg 5Down town, tons of cute shops, and candy stores, mini golf, and little places to eat. One in particular which arrive EARLY and prepare to wait. It is called Pancake Pantry and oh my goodness some of the best pancakes you will ever eat and I mean EVER! They also hand make taffy for you to watch. You can visit the local candle store and dip a few candles or play mini golf and laser tag right on the strip. It is incredible all that is has to offer.

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Another awesome part of Gatlinburg is you can stay on the strip or like we did rent a big mountain chalet. We choose this one in particular because we could have a tree. Tree’s are on my biggest things about Christmas. So of course we were going to have to have one. Now the mountain roads are tracheas and steep but like any climb once you are at the top it was all worth every second. Plus despite the fact you may be scary the views on the way up or down are gorgeous. Defiantly suggest trying to go in Fall at least once watching the leaves change to all the bright colors ugh so pretty.

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Told you the views were worth every second. Lol so clearly since we were up on the mountain the only way back down was to ski so grab your gear and get going. HA totally joking. We actually did go skiing though so much fun. But we will get to that in a bit, this was actually taken of the kitchen balcony from our cabin. Fabulous isn’t it, especially when you get up early in the morning and the clouds are clearly and the sun has just risen. It’s like everything has stopped and stood still just for you to take it all in and view.

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So if you are from the south you know that Gatlinburg went through a terrible, terrible devastation two years ago this December. Some young people thought it would be cute or funny to set a fire. What was a small flame to them, quickly elevated in to a huge out of control wild fire. Thus #GatlinburgStrong was formed. Many lives, homes, business were lost so many animals couldn’t escape the flames. They were so many heart breaking videos of them running out of the forests with burns. The smoke took over everything and caused just as much damage as the flames. Man wide searches were set for those who were on top of the mountain and couldn’t make it down. Their was actually a 911 call released and she said very calmly drive down the mountain as quick as you can don’t look back don’t stop just keep going. I hope to be as strong as not only those people in life, but to always be able to remain calm and continue to help others.

So many great people came forward and helped Gatlinburg at this time because for so many of us that was childhood, or a great family vacation. Memories that we will always hold. One in particular was a lady named Dolly Parton. This lady is beautiful inside and out and one our most treasured people of Tennessee. She matched thousands, donated to homes, businesses, held fundraisers, I mean she was and still is a true blessing from God.

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So remember how I said all seasons are great to visit, and yes they still are. But me personally is winter with all the Christmas lights about it’s like taking a stroll through the North Pole. Every one shopping and buzzing about Christmas. Oh it is wonderful, we actually plan on attending again this year for Christmas I truly can’t wait. So back on the down town subject, they have a moon shine still for all my adults. They also have earthquake ride, and Ripley’s literally believe it or not.  Strolling through everything and just looking around like its a winter wonderland. So much fun!

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One of my ultimate favorite stops of all time is Ripley’s Aquarium. I could spend all day and go back again. There is so much to do give yourself plenty time to get it all down. They have exciting exhibits each all from different regions of the world.  They have a huge shark tunnel and a glass bottom boat tour that goes over the top personally i like the tunnel i think seeing their world from below is so interesting. Also they have lots of cute photo opportunity’s and a giant jungle gym for the kids. Upon coming to the end they have a special room that will change out every so often this last time I went it Pearl Harbor themed. Which was super cool to compare because as you read we visited their last June. (See Destination Hawaii) but its very historically accurate, really cool.

Gatlinberg 3So back on the views if you don’t want to drive, you have other options you can hike, take a tram or sky lift. All three are great we in this particular day took the tram up to Ober where you ski. You pay for your lift passes/ski passes and they rent you boots and skis for free. I would suggest bringing your own ski clothes but you can also rent some there. They also offer free ski school which we took no shame. Lol for those who don’t need it they have everything from low to high runs and a few black diamonds to choose from. It’s a great, fun day or several days if it was up to me.

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We only fell like once and skied like professionals lol ok maybe not that great but hey we did it. For me especially I’m the literal definition of clumsy. Lol

Well thanks for traveling to this part of the map with me. Watch out for bears, they like your trash so my saying was ” you can have the trash that’s fine” have a great time in Gatlinburg.

Destination Key West, Florida!

Story time about Key West, so get comfy along this will be a short blog it will be a interesting story. So in my previous blog I mentioned we were boarding a ship the Rhapsody (see Destination Tampa Bay) well because something went wrong somewhere our entire cruise ship schedule get messed up. So what was suppose to be a full day of snorkeling Key West’s gorgeous reefs. Well we actually ended up only being in Key West for three hours. I was pretty mad I actually wanted a photo with the Mile Zero sign so I will be returning at some point in time. So we rode a train, a uber, walked, and ate and that was it.

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So when you think Key West, you may also think Mile Zero, Florida Keys, and to be perfect honest some people aren’t even aware that it is part of Florida. Despite the fact on half sits in the Gulf of Mexico, and the other in the Caribbean and one of the islands boarders the Atlantic. So I feel you it does get confusing. So photo above was the train ride it was called the Conch Train. It actually takes you to all the great places like Hemmingway and Sloppy Joes but since the screw up they kindly drove the passengers to and from the boat. But the town was so cool you can literally walk almost everywhere which brings us to the Uber. So since we had literally no time we decided to do the one thing that most everyone does go to the famous Sloppy Joes Key West. Food was awesome we even got souvenir t-shirts. So we hailed this wonderful Uber driver, to carry us to the is place because we had never been here we didn’t know. Yall it was the next street corner and that wonderful man didn’t even charge us. Like how sweet was that?! Thank goodness we had some cash because we left a good tip.

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So no we didn’t get to explore like we had hoped or snorkel which I heard it’s incredible by the way. Have you been? Write in to me. Please, help a sister out. We made great memories just had to be rushed.

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May not have gotten our way but the very ending was incredible this view was breathe taking sadly this picture or any pictures for that matter won’t do it justice.

Well thanks for traveling to this part of the map with me. I hope you make it to the Mile Zero sign while in Key West.

Destination Tampa Bay, Florida!

Hey all you crazy bloggers, coming to you from Destin. It’s been a long day, but don’t think i have forgotten about yall. So tonight’s topic is lovely Tampa Bay, or some may call it Clear water. Let me be the first to tell you absolutely gorgeous! We we’re only their for what us cruisers call a pre-night. For all that are not yet cruisers its a night prior to departure that the cruise line that gives you a great discount.

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Upon arriving we explored the local town, and found this awesome restaurant called Bahama Mommas. CHECK IT OUT! It is some great food, and pretty awesome scenery. We got around on uber mainly. We also ate a great lunch at the Crab Trap. It is so mouth watery good.

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After exploring the town we did what most tourist do the aquarium. I have a thing to watch the behavior of sharks. Truly interesting that and weather give me either and I’m so content that I will sit for hours on hours trying to solve the puzzle. The aquarium was probably one of the better ones I have been too. You see I enjoy exploring zoo’s and aquariums that’s one of my favorite hobbies. Among many other things. They have divided up to several different exhibits so each one has a new place to discover and explore.

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Another cool part of Tampa for you more laid back people that enjoy a cold beer and few good people is Ybor. It is a awesome little town right outside of Tampa. They have a street full of bars, shops, little local restaurants. Makes for a great day trip. Whether you explore, or you want to sit and sip on something good. They also have this great place right on the corner that makes home made popsicles. I mean like legit fruit, candy, whatever ingredient you so desire. Defiantly worth checking out.

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Finally it was time to board our ship Rhapsody of the Seas. It is a smaller ship but a lot of jam packed fun stay tuned as I tell you about our week long adventure onboard and at ports. Are you a cruiser? Are you interested? Write to me! Tell me about it!

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Well thanks for traveling to this part of the map with me. So whether you swim, sail, drive, fly, or even teleport get to Tampa!