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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


November 12, 2015 in Travel Quotes


Gettysburg Winter Fun


February 10, 2015 in Everything Else / Reviews / Trips in Eastern United States

A Girl and Her Travel BugI don’t know about you but when I think about Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, I immediately envision Civil War reenactors and battlefields – a history buff’s paradise!  While these attributes may ring true to the area, we quickly discovered that there is more to Gettysburg than meets the eye – especially in the cold winter months!  Here is how my boyfriend Brandon and I enjoyed our Gettysburg Getaway on a cold January weekend.

Gettysburg Heritage Center

Gettysburg Heritage Center
297 Steinwehr Avenue, Gettysburg, PA 17325
(717) 334-6245

We started our adventure at the new Gettysburg Heritage Center.  The Heritage Center is a small museum that focuses on educating people about the war from the perspectives of locals living in town at the time.  There are plaques filled with informational readings as well as authentic artifacts.  We loved that many of the exhibits required the usage of 3-D glasses, supplied by the Heritage Center.  If you are a visual learner (much like myself), this museum is a great way for you to better understand everything that took place during the war.  There are videos displaying real photography, and some of it is rather graphic, but of course that was the reality of the war.  My favorite part of the center was the theater on the way out.  There is an educational video that explains the strategies used by the soldiers.  The center of the theater displayed a mocked-up battlefield of fighting soldiers that lit up at times during the video.

Gettysburg Museum of History

The Gettysburg Museum of History
219 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325
(717) 337-2035

Perhaps one of my favorite discoveries was the Gettysburg Museum of History.  We stumbled upon this gem while we were looking for open shops (many places don’t open until 11:00am or so in the winter) and this was one of the few that was open early.  This tiny museum is free to the public and has been featured on a number of television shows such as American Pickers and Pawn Stars.  They carry a large private collection of fascinating relics.  You’ll see everything from Elvis Presley’s hair brush to writings by John F. Kennedy, and even ancient Egyptian mummy heads!  For such a small museum, there is no shortage of amazing exhibits.  This is a place you can’t miss during your next Gettysburg visit.

48 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325
(717) 334-2700

By the time we finished looking around the museum, we were ready for lunch.  We headed to Café Saint-Amand, a little French inspired restaurant within minutes of the museum.  This is a family friendly little bistro with great service and yummy food for every appetite.  I tried the ham and cheese crepe and it was VERY good!

Reid's Orchard & Winery

Reid’s Orchard & Winery
400 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325
(717) 334-7537

After lunch we made our way to Reid’s Orchard and Winery Tasting Room.  I have to admit, I have been to Gettysburg quite a few times before and this is  a place that I had never even noticed until this trip.  The place was a bit busy when we arrived so there was only one person (Nick) behind the bar at the time.  Apparently there is typically more help there but something came up that day, keeping staff a bit tight.  Despite this, we were able to try some delicious wine and we learned about how Gettysburg is carving a pretty significant niche in the East Coast wine world.  We learned a lot from Nick and he made some great wine suggestions to suit our tastes!  I recommend the Abe’s Army Apple wine!

Gettysburg Day SpaGettysburg Day Spa
730 Chambersburg Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325
(717) 334-8423

Our next stop was a great way to cap off the day – a trip to the Gettysburg Day Spa!  We were greeted by very friendly and enthusiastic staff upon our arrival to this beautiful spa.  Shortly after, 2 massage therapists escorted us to a quiet area in the back of the building (which is larger than it looks, by the way) and we were on our way to a relaxing couples massage.  My massage therapist was very knowledgable and did a fabulous job.

Appalachian Brewing CompanyAppalachian Brewing Company
70 Presidential Circle, Gettysburg, PA 17325
(717) 398-2419

We ate dinner at the Appalachian Brewing Company that evening.  This bar/restaurant is tucked between a couple of hotels and a movie theater, making it a convenient hot spot for travelers staying nearby.  This is the perfect place for the beer lover looking for a casual atmosphere!  While we both opted not to drink (the wine earlier was plenty!) we heard many positive things about their popular beer sampler.

THE SWOPE MANOR B&BThe Swope Manor Bed & Breakfast
60 York Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325
(717) 398-2655

We eventually checked into the Swope Manor Bed & Breakfast for the night.  It was a beautiful and elegant home in the heart of Gettysburg, just a short walk away from the square.  We absolutely loved this place!  Van and Bruce treat their guests like family and create a comfortable environment.  Each room is unique and meticulously maintained. We stayed in Miss Dorothy’s Suite, a suite dedicated to the previous owner of the home, and we couldn’t have been more pleased with the accommodations.  We wouldn’t hesitate to go back!


Swope Manor RoomSWOPE MANOR Gettysburg, PA

Ski Liberty – Snow Tubing
78 Country Club Trail, Fairfield, PA 17320
(717) 642-8282

The next morning we drove to Ski Liberty, which was about a 25 minute drive from Gettysburg.  Even though we made it there around 10am, the parking lot for tubing was full.  We had to find a place in the main lot and be shuttled up to the tubing part of the mountain.  We waited a little while since time slots filled up incredibly fast, but we had a blast when we finally got to start tubing!  If you go, be sure to get there a little early to ensure you get a good time slot.  Take a peek at the video below I took using my GoPro Hero 3 Silver.  You can practically experience it for yourself…..

IMG_1004Adams County Winery
251 Peach Tree Road, Orrtanna, PA 17353
(717) 334-4631

Adam’s County Winery was probably my favorite stop on this weekend adventure.  When we arrived, the manager Dan was kind enough to give us a tour of the facility and some background on how the machinery works.  We were then taken into a room where they were holding their first Sweet Sunday event of the month.  In this particular event, they were pairing wine with dessert.  We could choose from 3 kinds of cakes and a variety of wines on the list.  I tried the coconut cake and Moscato, which was a delicious pairing.  We then sampled a few of their other wines.  Dan was extremely knowledgable about wine, and it turned out to be an educational experience for us (Since we are hardly wine connoisseurs!)  There wasn’t a single “bad” wine that we tried.  I may even go as far as saying that they had some of the best wines I’ve ever tasted.  Particularly, if you are a fan of sweet wines, you have to try some of theirs!  I highly recommend trying Tears of Gettysburg, one of their popular award-winning white wines.

The Ragged EdgeThe Ragged Edge Coffee House
110 Chambersburg Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325
(717) 334-4464

Our last stop before departing back to Baltimore was the Ragged Edge.  This was not our first visit to the Ragged Edge, but we hadn’t been there in a while.  We’ve always enjoyed stopping in there. It is a super artsy coffee-house with great coffee choices and a cozy atmosphere.  It has 2 floors, a warm fireplace, books to read, and a piano upstairs.  It’s also a great place to watch local musicians play.


Bran and I had a GREAT trip that weekend.  You could also say it was very eye-opening, as it included things we may not typically consider while visiting Gettysburg.  We found it to be a fun winter destination for couples, families and solo adventurers alike.  When you’re considering your next winter trip, consider visiting Gettysburg.  Now is the perfect time because there are many specials and packages being offered.  Click here to see the specials that you could enjoy this weekend!

Turtles at Le Meridien Bora Bora

Experiencing Tahiti: A Vacation in Paradise – GUEST POST

January 27, 2015 in Guest posts / Trips outside of the U.S.

Article by Norah Martin

Norah Martin has fallen in love with Tahiti and its colors, and is already planning her second trip to the islands. In the meantime, she keeps boring everyone with turtle stories, and is researching other sanctuaries to visit.

If you feel tired and overrun by boring obligations, and your everyday surroundings don’t make you feel secure but drive you mad, maybe it’s time you went on vacation.  When it comes to vacations, the best possible locations are the ones that make you feel alive, make you look around in amazement and make you pinch yourself to make sure you are not dreaming. One such place is Tahiti, rightfully called “a paradise on Earth”.   Even though just standing with your feet in the sand and your eyes on the water will make you feel completely rejuvenated, there are a few things you should definitely see and try before you go back home.

Visit the turtle sanctuary on Bora Bora

The Bora Bora Turtle Centre is a unique and special place: a sanctuary for green turtles and other endangered species.  Tourists are allowed to swim with the turtles and observe them, but they cannot touch them.  This is because turtles are very delicate and the natural acidity of our skin could seriously harm them.  Nevertheless, these lovely creatures are very curious and often swim near people, under the watchful eye of biologists.  It is difficult to describe the feeling of peace and serenity these wonderful animals seem to emit. They’ll truly teach you a valuable lesson about the circle of life and man’s place within it.

Tahiti Photo

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Try Tahitian cuisine

As you already might have guessed, Tahitians eat a lot of seafood and are known for adding coconut to their dishes.  Coconuts are present everywhere, and one of the best things to bring you back to life after a long day in the sun is coconut water.  Tahitians prepare their food in underground ovens, called himas, where dishes are placed into baskets made of banana leaves and baked on hot stones inside them. If you have a chance, try raw red tuna in coconut milk and lime juice, their national dish.  Octopus, barracuda, mahi-mahi, parrotfish, and river prawns are always fresh and delicious.  There are numerous restaurants serving local dishes you can try, all serving only the freshest catch of the day.

Feed the sharks (and live to tell the tale)

You simply cannot leave Tahiti without participating in the shark feeding- the most thrilling event you can possibly experience.  After you get into the lagoon, you will stand in several feet of clear water and see with your own eyes how the guide hand-feeds a shark.  Sharks usually stick to the bottom of the seabed in order not to attract too much attention, so you will have to dive in if you want to see them better.  Depending on the island you choose, you will be able to see gray sharks, lemon sharks, white tip or black tip sharks. The diving guides will listen to all of your fears and concerns and will make sure you are completely prepared for what awaits you in the depths.

Tahiti Photo

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Visit the pearl farm on Manihi

The South Pacific has farms too, but not quite like the ones tourists have in mind.  More than sixty farms produce pearls on Manihi island, where the waters provide the most perfect conditions.  If you choose to visit this beautiful island, you will be able to see how the locals extract the pearls and craft them.  What is more, you will be able to buy freshly caught pearls!

The islands of Tahiti offer numerous holiday packages you can choose from, and truly cater to everyone’s tastes.  The breathtaking sunsets on the white, sandy beaches will restore you to a completely rested self, and you will once again be ready for everything life throws at you.  The beauty of this place will stay with you forever, and I guarantee you will plan to come back!

Santa Cruz, CA Monarch Butterfly Trail


November 24, 2014 in Trips in Western United States

Last week during my stay in Santa Cruz, I visited the Monarch Butterfly trail at Natural Bridges State Beach.  I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised to find hundreds of beautiful butterflies flying above me!  Some of the tree branches held so many butterflies that you would have thought they were leaves!  It was certainly a worthwhile experience.  If you are hoping to see the butterflies, be sure to visit in the fall starting in early October as they are migrating to sunny California from colder climates.

Park Address:  2531 W Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Santa Cruz, CA Monarch Butterfly Trail

Santa Cruz, CA Monarch Butterfly Trail

Santa Cruz, CA Monarch Butterfly Trail

Santa Cruz, CA Monarch Butterfly Trail

Santa Cruz, CA Monarch Butterfly Trail

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