Category

travel

10 Years, 10 Friends, 10 Days: The Mothership

By | friends, guest posts, las vegas, links, memories, milestones, road trips, take me away, the malibu, the places you'll go, travel, what have you been doing for the last 10 years? | One Comment

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Guest post #4 is by my mom. I’m glad she took a little while to elaborate on the series of brief posts I wrote about our cross-country drives back in 2004 because it was the perfect opportunity to post a few more photos from back in the day when blogging pictures was pretty much nonexistent. =) Also, “Blinded by the light.” That is all.

My guest post is about a series of blog posts that Lisa made during January 2004 and April 2004. As I looked over Lisa’s blog, it occurred to me that the posts I should share are those that involved our travels. I love to travel and I hope I passed a little of that gene on to Lisa.

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In January 2004, Lisa decided she would move to Vegas to live with my brother, Frank, his wife, Kim, and their four kids (the little cousins). Of course, she would need her car, so the only way to get there was to drive. One small problem…Lisa didn’t want to drive alone. This began our cross country adventure.

NJ to Las Vegas — Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6 (February 2004)

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We decided we would take Route 40, so we set off making our first stop Blacksburg, VA, to meet up with a few of Lisa’s sorority sisters. We spent five days together encountering rain, snow and fog; we discovered Graceland is closed on Tuesdays and hiked down a canyon in Arizona.

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We shopped for western boots in Texas and travelled a bit of the famous Route 66, stopping at a car museum along the way. Watching the tumbleweeds occupied a lot of our day in New Mexico and Arizona, and finally, we drove over Hoover Dam – a sure sign that we were almost there.

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As it turned out, Lisa spent three months in Las Vegas and said it was time to come home. You know what that meant. Mommy had to drive Lisa and the Malibu back to Jersey.

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Las Vegas to NJ — Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5 (April 2004)

Being one to take every advantage of a situation, I decided we would take a more northern route this time. It was spring so most of the snow in Colorado should be melted. We headed up to Utah and into Colorado. We made our first stop in Vail at the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa. The next day we set out for Pike’s Peak to ride the cog railroad, but the car was having a lot of trouble getting out of its own way at 9,000 feet. We were sure the Malibu was in need of repairs. We departed Vail and while we were doing 45 MPH down the highway, we watched the signs tick off the altitude telling us we were descending to a more oxygen rich atmosphere. We were so happy that the Malibu had enough oxygen to continue our journey.

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Driving along Route 70 in Kansas at night, we hit a piece of truck tire which prompted us to pull into the next gas station and check for leaks under the car. Back on the highway, a huge tumbleweed crossecd the highway and I was sure it was a cow! It was time to stop for the night. We made a short stop in St. Louis to ride the tram to the top of the Arch and took a boat ride on the Mississippi River.
I’m so glad Lisa took the time to document our travels every night. I just read each day’s account and it brought back all those memories.

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Although I have spent more wonderful days with Lisa than I can count, I would have to say that these ten days were among some of my favorites. I’m glad were able to zigzag through some of this country’s beautiful states together!

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Keep travelling, Lisa! It makes for wonderful blog posts! Congratulations on keeping us laughing for ten years! I love you!

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The Road Less Traveled

By | bethany beach, boats, delaware, dewey beach, life's a beach, lifestyle, music, road trips, summer, take me away, the places you'll go, travel | One Comment

I’ve been making the same trek up and down the Eastern Shore for going on nine years now (not to mention all the times my parents drove us up and down that route when I was a kid), and sometimes the drive gets a little redundant. Certain trips stand out more than others — crazy thunderstorms, timing the sunset perfectly at the bridge, a decent soundtrack — but rarely do I ever experience anything new on these little jaunts up and down the coast from VB to NJ and back. Lately, I’ve been taking the ferry (even though it takes a little longer) to break up the monotonous drive. It’s always the same old corn fields, farmer’s markets, run down abandoned houses, and gas station bathrooms.

But this time was a little different.

Of course, I was excited — I’ve got a whole week to relax by my parents’ pool up here, shop my face off, and enjoy the beautiful weather — but as usual, there was a six-hour drive in my way. I managed to snag a 7:45 reservation on the ferry out of Lewes, DE, which brightened my outlook a little — a sunset cruise to NJ for me and my Hyundai Tuscon.

I managed to escape work and VB a little earlier than anticipated, over and under the Chesapeake Bay and well on my way up the Delmarva Peninsula before rush hour*. (*That was sarcasm. There is no rush hour on the Eastern Shore. Only traffic lights.) I had plugged the route to Cape Henlopen Drive into my phone for directions (I still haven’t quite memorized the ferry route because I’ve traditionally gone the way of the Delaware Memorial Bridge), and when I stopped for coffee at the 13/113 fork, I noticed my ETA was well ahead of schedule. So, as I sipped on an icy sweet Dunkin’ decaf, I made the evening-altering decision to re-route and take the long way.

Now, you know me. I typically either refer to Delaware in one of two ways: (1) I think I’m so witty when I rhyme “The First State” with “The Worst State” or (2) I say, “[Whatever weird thing just happened on my drive] and Delaware is in my way.” It’s not that I have anything against Delaware as a state. I’ve just never had any reason to stop there, and so to me, it poses a geographical problem because it takes me two hours to drive through there, and I find it quite boring. (If you don’t understand what I’m talking about, look at a map of Delaware. It’s kind of long and skinny. And there’s not much going on there as far as scenery.)

Anyway, I sat in my car in the sweltering heat, condensation from the air conditioning dripping on my toe, and reviewed the re-routed directions. “Oh, Lighthouse Road?” I said out loud to myself. “That sounds promising. Sold.”

I turned east off the highway about 10 miles sooner than I normally would have. I rolled back the sunroof, put down the windows, and for close to an hour, I wound my way through these beautiful farms and corn fields, over picturesque creeks, and past signs advertising “New Construction: Beach Country Homes.” I could tell I was approaching the beach when the soil turned sandy, and pine trees towered above. The houses on either side of me stood on stilts, so I craned my neck looking for water or beaches, but for another 10 minutes I saw nothing. I made a right onto Garfield Highway, and a sign welcomed me to Bethany Beach. A giant totem pole and a little downtown area lie straight ahead, and then the beach.

I banked left onto Coastal Highway, still making my way north towards the ferry terminal. On my left stood beautiful beach houses in gated communities, glowing in the sun, which had just begun to turn golden over the Indian River Bay. Gorgeous. A bridge took me over an inlet, and then I was driving through Delaware Seashore State Park on a narrow spit of land bordered by sand dunes to the east and Rehoboth Bay to the west. A sign informed me “Turtles Crossing the Road Next 3 Miles”. Kite surfers skimmed the surface of the glittering water to my left. Then I coasted into Dewey Beach, where a mix of sun-kissed beachgoers littered the streets — some just coming off the sand and some freshly showered and dressed for dinner.

“Huh,” I thought to myself. “Parts of Delaware are awesome. Who knew?”

About 45 minutes later, I was boarding the ferry. I believe the Cape May-Lewes Ferry runs a fleet of three ships, and I never realized I’d only ever been on two of them before Friday night. As I stepped aboard the M/V Delaware, I was informed there was a bar(?) and a live band(?) on the top deck? What? Okay. Amazing. As we pushed away from the dock, I sat at the bar, amongst lots of friendly people, sipped an ice cold root beer (two hours left to drive after this), and watched the sun go down as the band struck up the first few chords of “Margaritaville.” Best. Ferry ride. Ever. 🙂

After I slurped down the last of my root beer, I moved to the front of the boat, where I found some lovely wooden lounge chairs, and settled in for a relaxing 40 minutes of reading (Red Right Return by John H. Cunningham borrowed from Amazon Prime on my Kindle). The moon glowed overhead and a warm breeze kept my bangs out of my face for a little while. 🙂

Two hours up the Parkway, and I had finally arrived at my destination. A bit more time in-transit than usual, but totally worth it.

MDW 2013

By | boats, holiday fun, life's a beach, lifestyle, memories, new jersey, photography, road trips, spring, style, summer, the places you'll go, travel, weather | 4 Comments

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Greetings from the Jersey Shore! I’m up here on a sort of half-vacation this week, spending time with my brother before he moves to Jacksonville and leaves for his first six-month deployment on the USS The Sullivans.

This is the first Memorial Day weekend I’ve spent in NJ since 2006. It’s actually been seven years to the day that I took this somewhat infamous photo of my favorite little boats in the Belmar Marina (above). I can’t remember exactly what we were doing or where we were going, but I ordered my dad to swerve off Rte. 35 into the marina parking lot, so I could snap some pictures of the sunset. It was a gorgeous night. I ran around taking as many photos as I possibly could and lucked out with this one. It’s been a favorite of mine ever since. It later served as a Christmas present for my dad, and it now hangs framed in my parents’ entryway with a little note on the mat:

Dad,
Thanks for stopping.
Love, Lisa

I got on the road as the sun was coming up yesterday morning. Mine was the only car in sight all the way across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, and I made such good time that I was able to catch the 9:15 ferry leaving Lewes, DE, rather than the 10:15 I’d been planning to take. I spent late morning sipping a Bloody Mary, catching up with some of my Virginia Beach friends in Sea Isle City. We had lunch of sauteed vegetables and braciole on the deck, followed by a stroll through some of Sea Isle’s poshest little boutiques and possibly the best French vanilla milkshake I’ve ever had.

I departed Sea Isle and made my way north to Atlantic City, where I spent an hour browsing the outlets and the Pier Shops at Caesar’s before I met my parents for dinner at the brand new Margaritaville entertainment complex at Resorts. Little did I know that the player’s card I signed up for three years ago would save me $5 on parking, which I promptly spent on Parrothead sunscreen in the gift shop. Not to worry, though. I kept my AC winning streak alive by scoring $55 from a Triple Diamond slot machine.

My plans for the rest of the week include some time at the spa, working from my parents’ patio, a day in NYC, catching up with friends and family, reading about seven magazines I haven’t had time to look at, and a graduation/bon voyage party for my brother Saturday night. Oh, and some shopping. (I may have already done a little of that.)

Anyway, I’m glad to be here. The weather’s not quite as summery as I remember last year’s was, but today was a perfect day to cook out, and it’s supposed to warm up this week. I hope everyone had a lovely Memorial Day weekend and took some time to remember those who have lost their lives serving our country.

48 Hours in Nashville

By | birthdays, boat drinks, lifestyle, nashville, partying like a rock star, restaurants, the places you'll go, travel, winter | 4 Comments

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My friends have sort of a love/hate relationship with my photography skills. They love the fact that I take all these wonderful photos when we’re together, but I’m pretty sure they all hate that it takes me four months to go through them, clean them up, edit them, share them and post them anywhere. Oops. =)

Back in January, we took a quick little weekend trip to Nashville to celebrate Tina’s 30th birthday. It was 48 hours of eating, drinking, singing, dancing, and exploring. It went a little something like this: We arrived, we checked in, we ate lunch, we drank whiskey, we had an amazing dinner, we bar hopped downtown. We woke up, we hit up the farmer’s market, we ate some kettle corn, we rented bicycles, we got lost (oops), we turned around, we rode through Printers Alley, we toured Ryman Auditorium, we bought some Hatch prints, we drank some a lot of margaritas, we went to Tootsie’s, things got a little fuzzy after that. We woke up again, we had an amazing breakfast, we checked out, we took a cab 16 miles out of the way to get ice cream (it was worth it), we peaced out.

Not the most descriptive travel post I’ve ever written, but I’m afraid people will stop posing for my photos if I keep procrastinating on this one. If I linked to anything above, I’m recommending you check it out. =)

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Pensacola Flashback

By | boat drinks, catch a wave, florida, food, life's a beach, lifestyle, memories, navy, pensacola, pineapples and palm trees, ruling at life, summer, take me away, the places you'll go, travel | 2 Comments

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What with Friday being National Margarita Day and all, I couldn’t help but take some time to finally go through my photos from last summer’s stay with my family at the Margaritaville Beach Hotel. I treated myself to first class seats on the two flights down (totally worth it), and set myself up for the most relaxing weekend I remember having all year. The real reason for our little reunion in Pensacola was to see my brother graduate A-School at Corry Station, but I’m not gonna lie — the salty, sandy days that followed were the highlight of our trip.

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Stephen’s graduation ceremony was early enough in the morning that we were able to spend a few hours exploring the National Naval Aviation Museum and the Pensacola Lighthouse before heading down to Pensacola Beach for a weekend of fun in the sun.

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Pensacola Beach is situated on the barrier island of Santa Rosa. It’s bordered to the south by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by the Santa Rosa Sound and Pensacola Bay, and to the east and west by Gulf Islands National Seashore.

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It’s no secret that I’m a huge Jimmy Buffett fan, so there was no question about where we were going to stay. The Margaritaville Beach Hotel is gorgeous — stately, even. The decor is inspired by a combination of Jimmy’s music and the ocean, and the overall effect is unquestionably elegant.

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The rooms were decorated in hues of blues, teals and greens, and the bed was the most comfortable one I’ve ever slept on. Our balcony offered us a view of the turquoise Gulf and the softest, whitest sand I have ever seen.

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Once we unpacked, we immediately headed down to the beach for relaxing, relaxing, and more relaxing.

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I lost track of time in a hammock strung between two palm trees on the sand, which was, quite possibly, the best place I have ever spaced out.

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I collected seashells at the water’s edge — something I haven’t done in years.

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I spent an afternoon soaking up the shade on a teak lounger under an umbrella, reading my favorite magazines and catching up with my brother.

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And then I indulged in an oh-so-refreshing shower and these lovely Tocca products, compliments of the resort.

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There was also drinking, drinking, and more drinking. Margaritas by the pool…

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Mimosas at breakfast…

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Landshark in the water…

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Mudslides on the beach…

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Champagne with dinner…

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Boat drinks with my dad…

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A little water to recover…

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And, cheers. =) I think you get the point.

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Then there were the Gulf shrimp. So delicious. I think I ate shrimp with every meal I had in Pensacola.

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Colossal Shrimp Cocktail (above) and Wild American Shrimp & Grits (below) @ The Grand Marlin. The shrimp cocktail is self-explanatory, but the Wild American Shrimp & Grits consisted of chipotle seared shrimp and local boursin cheese grits surrounded by an andouille sausage tomato stew. Amazing with a bit of a kick to it.

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Lava Lava Shrimp @ Frank & Lola Love Pensacola Café. Shrimp breaded and fried then tossed with an Asian aioli sauce. So good.

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World Famous Grits À Ya Ya @ The Fish House. Spiced Gulf jumbo shrimp top a sauté of spinach, portobello mushrooms, applewood-smoked bacon, garlic, shallots,and cream over a heaping bed of smoked Gouda cheese grits. Incredible.

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Our balcony was the perfect place to watch a storm roll in…

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…and roll out. (After a quick nap.)

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We spent a drizzly evening walking along the Portofino Boardwalk. It was a bit deserted because of the weather, but seemed like it would have been bustling on a nicer night.

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After we checked out Sunday morning, we drove east (or maybe that was west?) through the Gulf Islands National Seashore.

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Despite the clouds and kicked-up breeze, it was actually a beautiful, warm day.

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We spent about an hour walking along an empty expanse of soft, white sand with hardly anyone else in sight.

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We snapped a bunch of photos here as our weekend on the Gulf drew to a close.

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These three particular shots (below) are a reminder that these pictures don’t even do it justice. =)

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There wasn’t anyone around to take a photo of the four of us, so I Photoshopped my brother and I into a photo of my parents (below) to give to my mom for Christmas. =)

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And that’s about it. Perfect long weekend.

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Hey, Dad…can we go back? Like tomorrow? =)