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July 4th in Myrtle Beach

July 13, 2017 in Trips in Eastern United States

Myrtle Beach vacation for July 4th

Myrtle Beach is about 9 hours away from where I live – and lucky for me I have fabulous relatives that live there.  My fiance, his son, and I took a little road trip there for the week of July 4th and as always, we had a great time – even on a tight budget.  We are in the process of putting money toward our wedding, so times are tough.  Having a place to stay for this little vacation was huge in helping us do just that.

Ever since my trip to Vermont for July 4th a couple of years ago, I always wonder how I can TOP that experience.  The professional fireworks show in Burlington was the best I had ever seen!  Myrtle Beach may not have topped the show overall – it definitely came as a close 2nd.

It is legal to buy fireworks in South Carolina, making them easy for anyone and everyone to access.  Because of this, we knew we were going to see a show and we didn’t have to go far to do it.  We sat on the beach at 77th Street (in front of Grande Shores) as the evening progressed.  Armed with our beach chairs as the night fell, fireworks began blasting off all around us.  People were only feet away from us setting off fireworks – and I was sure someone was going to get hurt at some point!  Fortunately, it seemed as though everyone left without a scratch, despite the dangerously low displays.

Fireworks could be seen all over the long stretch of coastline and the beach was packed with people.  We had a truly fantastic time and would highly recommend a visit to Myrtle Beach for an amazing and memorable Independence Day.

Myrtle Beach Fireworks Myrtle Beach Fireworks

a girl and her travel bug photo


July 14, 2015 in Trips in Eastern United States

This past 4th of July was especially unique for me because I was able to spend it in Vermont.  In fact, this was my first time experiencing the New England area at all.  My boyfriend and I made the trek after work that Thursday evening and arrived at our destination (Charlotte, VT) around 3:30am the next morning.  By the way, the buggy got me from Westminster, MD all the way to Charlotte on a single tank of gas.  Am I bragging a little?  Maybe…..  😉

Charlotte, VT

Charlotte, VT

I was surprised by how beautiful Vermont actually was.  I’m an avid fan of mountainous terrain and scenic open spaces, probably because they remind me of the time I’ve spent out West.  Vermont had this “West-type” of beauty, in my opinion.  The massive amounts of rain we’ve acquired here on the East coast have also made their way to Vermont, allowing for beautiful lush green mountains and offering a perfect display of scenery for a Vermont newbie.

Charlotte is a very small area.  Then again, from what I’ve been told (and seen), it is a pretty desolate state anyway.  Despite its small size, there were plenty of beautiful surroundings.  There wasn’t much in the area, but there was a cute little market that people seem to frequent.  The Old Brick Store is small but carries the essentials.  My favorite part was that they had a little cafe where sandwiches and various drinks could be purchased.  However, the service was meh and sometimes it felt like I was standing there for an eternity before someone would acknowledge my existence.  When I was finally able to order, however, the drinks were wonderful.  Many of their items were organic, which was a plus in my book, but also quite pricey as many organic items are.

Charlotte, VT

Charlotte, VT

One of the cooler parts is Charlotte’s proximity to the Adirondacks.  As a matter of fact, this small part of Vermont is nestled between the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks, so each way you turn there is a beautiful view in the distance.  The drive in and out is quite scenic and incredibly beautiful.

Charlotte sits close to Vermont’s biggest city (although it isn’t a very big city at all), Burlington.  Our travel time from Charlotte to Burlington was about 20-25 minutes tops.  I have to admit that I loved Burlington!  It was such a vibrant and artsy city with beautiful old architecture.  We walked Church Street, a pedestrian-only road lined with boutique shops and local restaurants with a few chains mixed in.  The best part?  People are not allowed to smoke on Church Street!  Oh, and did I mention L.L. Bean offers free wi-fi for those perusing?  Yeah – pretty cool.

Church Street - Burlington, VT

Church Street – Burlington, VT

During our Church Street experience we checked out Red Onion, a little sandwich shop.  They even make their own bread there.  I opted for the spinach melt, which turned out to be fantastic!  It was probably one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had – no joke.  I highly recommend it.  Nonetheless, this place was nothing fancy.  Just a small restaurant with outdoor seating for the warmer months, making it perfect for people watching.  We also checked out Lake Champlain chocolates (the store) and Uncommon Grounds Coffee & Tea, inc.  Anyone who knows me well enough will tell you I’m a nerd for lattes, and Uncommon Grounds had one that certainly didn’t disappoint.  Being in Vermont, I had to try their Maple Latte.  It was SO good!  Vermont won extra points that day for all the amazing foods/drinks.

Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory - Vermont

Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory – Vermont

After Church Street we headed over to the Lake Champlain Chocolate factory.  For a broke chocolate addict, this is a way better option than going to the store.  Here you can buy the factory seconds, which are cheaper due to packing errors and such.  Lake Champlain Chocolates aren’t the cheapest in the world so purchasing the factory seconds will help keep a broke traveler from breaking the bank, but still able to indulge in their chocolate addiction.  The factory features a large window showing workers actually making chocolate too.  Unless you end up there on their day off….like me, you’ll get a “tour” of the factory for free.

The fireworks in Burlington were the best I have ever seen.  It was as if the finale was erupting the entire time!  They exploded from a barge on the water with an enormous crowd of viewers spread out all over Waterfront Park.  And people are serious about their fireworks there!  The crowd was far from silent throughout the display.  It was a great time!  Take a look at my video of the fireworks by clicking here and see how amazing they were for yourself.

On our last full day, we all drove to the mountains and hiked a couple of miles from our parking spot to Sterling Pond.  Sterling Pond is the highest trout pond in the state of Vermont and an unexpected reward at the end of a relatively steep hike.  It attracts many people, but it’s a beautiful spot at the top of the mountain.  From here, we hiked over to Smugglers Notch, a ski area with a great view.  It felt like we were entering an old abandoned ski resort, seeing the lifeless lifts and empty buildings.  The view from there was exquisite though, and most definitely made it worth the hike.

Hiking to Sterling Pond

Hiking to Sterling Pond

Sterling Pond, Vt

Sterling Pond, Vt

Our last stop was the Ben & Jerry’s factory, a must for anyone visiting Vermont for the first time.  We didn’t have time to do the tour, but we made sure to hit the shop to grab some ice cream.  I recommend getting the cookie cookie sundae!  It was heavenly!  While I generally try to eat healthy, I have a sweet tooth I can’t deny. We checked out their gift shop, which had some neat items, ate our fattening treats, and called it a day.

We crammed a lot into such a short trip but enjoyed every bit of it!  Hopefully we can make the 9 hour drive again soon and spend even more time there.  Thanks for a great time Vermont, and thanks to my friends Isreal and Julie for hosting us and giving the quick tour!

Smugglers Notch

Smugglers Notch

Us at Sterling Pond

Us at Sterling Pond


Happy 4th of July!

July 4, 2015 in Trips in Eastern United States

Happy 4th of July everyone! I thought I would show you a video from the amazing fireworks display in Burlington, Vermont last night.  Seriously, they were the best ones I’ve ever seen. 

The trip has been a blast here and I only wish I had longer.  Be sure to follow my adventure on Instagram and Twitter using @jenstrvlbug 

Have a safe and happy Independence Day! 



June 27, 2015 in Everything Else / Trips in Eastern United States


There are so many exciting things happening on the 4th of July that choosing one can be hard to do!  Here are a few ideas for the East coasters to help narrow down your decision this holiday!

Concord Point Lighthouse July 4th Celebration

Concord Point Lighthouse July 4th Celebration – Havre De Grace, MD

1. Havre de Grace, MD

You may have already seen the photo, but I went to Havre de Grace last year for the 4th of July fireworks and couldn’t have loved it more!  Not only are you on the beautiful waterfront, but if you’re sitting in the park, the fireworks explode beautifully behind the Concord Point lighthouse.  Not only are there fireworks, but you can also enjoy the little carnival set-up, great food, and more.  Best of all, they celebrate for multiple days!  Click here for more information.

2. Washington, DC

Of course, Washington DC puts on a great fireworks show to celebrate America’s independence.  There is so much to do in DC anyway, that during the day you wouldn’t be bored waiting for the main event.  You’ll also see parades, music, and so much more for the 4th of July.  Click here to see more information.

3. Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia has more than just cheese steaks.  It is also the nation’s birthplace.  For Independence Day, there are tons of events such as free movie screenings, block parties, parades, and of course – excellent fireworks.  Get your cameras ready and take a look back at history in Philadelphia.    Click here for more information.

4. Baltimore, MD

It might be because I live in Baltimore, but I think there are so many great things to do here for the 4th of July!  Get a spectacular view of the fireworks from any angle, whether you’re up high in the World Trade Center or floating on a boat in the Inner Harbor.  Click here for more information.

5. Atlanta, GA

Georgia has so much going on – from road races to pub crawls, you’re sure to find something exciting  this holiday!  And once again, what would an independence day celebration be without the awesome display of pyrotechnics?  Click here for more information.

New Year's Eve in Gettysburg, PA


January 6, 2015 in Trips in Eastern United States

My boyfriend and I have made a tradition out of spending New Year’s Eve in Gettysburg, PA.  It might seem a bit random to spend it there of all places, but it really is a great time!  This year I brought my Nikon D700 along with a handy 50mm prime lens.

New Year’s Eve in historic Gettysburg is a lot more eventful than one might think.  It takes place in Lincoln Square, right smack in front of the beautiful Gettysburg Hotel.  The festivities begin around 9pm on New Year’s Eve and keep on going until about 12:30am.  It starts with a band (or DJ – it can vary) performing on a small stage.  Throughout the night there are small events such as a funny hat contest and even a baton twirler.  Shortly before midnight, the countdown begins and once the clock strikes midnight, an incredible fireworks show explodes into the sky!

Not only do these fun activities take place, but many of the surrounding bars and restaurants are packed with celebrations of their own.

Since we live over an hour away, we tend to get a hotel nearby so we don’t have to make the hike home so late.  There are tons of inexpensive options within minutes of the square.  This year we stayed at the Hampton Inn in Gettysburg (it was maybe a 5 minute drive from all the festivities) and it turned out to be an excellent choice.  Click here to check out my little review of the hotel.  

If you live in or near PA and are looking for some family fun on New Year’s Eve, be sure to check out what Gettysburg has to offer!

You’ll probably notice the noise on the photos taken with my Nikon – I had the ISO cranked up to 6400!  I don’t typically like to push it that high, but there wasn’t a lot of light to work with.

Click Here for the Gettysburg Hampton Inn

New Year's Eve in Gettysburg, PA

New Year's Eve in Gettysburg, PA

New Year's Eve in Gettysburg, PA

New Year's Eve in Gettysburg, PA

New Year's Eve in Gettysburg, PA

New Year's Eve in Gettysburg, PA

New Year's Eve in Gettysburg, PA

New Year's Eve in Gettysburg, PA

New Year's Eve in Gettysburg, PA

New Year's Eve in Gettysburg, PA

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