There is nothing better than getting away for the weekend to have some family time and relax. So this past weekend my family and I headed up to Gatlinburg, TN to enjoy the peacefulness of the mountains and spend the weekend at the brand new Margaritaville Resort in Gatlinburg.
The staff was great during our entire stay and genuinely eager to help with anything that we needed. The rooms were nice and spacious with fun, relaxing decor. We opted for a double queen room which is the perfect size for a family of 4.
For those of us that need a little extra help relaxing or just want to pamper themselves. Margaritaville St. Somewhere Spa provides just that. The aromatherapy as you walk in the door immediately relaxes you. Plus, they offer a variety of services for you to choose from, including: massage, facial, manicure, pedicure, waxing, spray tan, hair cut/color, make-up, and more.
We were in St. Louis for my 34th Birthday this week (it was the 13th)! I have not been down to the Gateway arch in nearly 10 years but I am loving what they have done with the National Park area! There is so much green space to enjoy a stroll!
Did you know that the Gateway Arch is only 4.5 hours from Chicago? It also is the tallest Arch in the world as well as the tallest man made monument in the United States!
Last time we visited SOBE Miami, we had the pleasure of experiencing Drinkhouse Fire & Ice, an awesome bar that indulges your senses with both a room made of ice and also a room with fire dancers. If you are looking for a unique date night we highly recommend giving this place a try, you will not be disappointed!
First you will bundle up with a fur coat and boots to visit the arctic bar where you can drink out of glasses made entirely of ice and sit on a throne fit for Jack Snow himself!
After you have the opportunity to warm yourself in the main bar area with a variety of exciting elixirs and entertainment.
Many of you Walt Disney fans may know that trains played a very big role in Walt Disney’s life, hence the trains in the parks. But did you know that Mickey Mouse was in fact created by Walt while he was on a train from New York to Hollywood after he lost the rights to his character, Oswald? Yep – it’s true! After finding out that he no longer owned the rights to Oswald, he sent a telegram to his brother, Roy Disney, letting him know he was headed back and all was OK (which wasn’t true, they were about to lose everything), and then came up with what is now one of the most famous characters of all Disney characters, Mickey Mouse! After this, Disney’s life changed forever, and it is now a household name most love and cherish. So, if you’ve ever heard the quote, “I hope that we never lose sight of one thing – it was all started by a mouse,” you now know what it means (if you didn’t before).
Anyway, I think I derailed on my story a bit – see what I did there? I’m so punny :-P
On our second full day in California, we left Los Angeles early in the morning and caught the Amtrak train to Anaheim. We went a little bit “fancy” and took business class, which I have to admit was really nice. This was my very first train experience, and I have no idea what coach is like, but we had free WiFi, coffee/water/OJ, and snacks. Our suitcases were checked (included) and we had lots of legroom; something you rarely see when traveling these days.
Taking the train was a very neat experience, one I hope to do again in the future, perhaps cross-country. It was a great way to see the beautiful mountains and the areas we passed, such as Glendale and Downtown Los Angeles.
I’m back from California and WOW what a trip it was! On the first day of John and my anniversary trip, we spent the day with John’s sister, exploring Los Angeles, CA. This was my first visit, so I was very excited to see all the sights and spots I always hear about in movies/TV – such as Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Hollywood sign, Santa Monica Pier, etc. I decided the best way to make sure I see everything in our one day in town was to take a Starline Tours Hop On Hop Off bus.
If you have never taken a Hop On Hop Off Tour bus, you are missing out! In the past, I took a similar bus tour in Vegas and San Francisco, and it really allowed us to see and learn SO much. They have multiple tickets, but a 24-hour ticket allows you on any of their bus routes in a 24-hour period (if you have more time, I suggest the 48-hour ticket so that you can see and do even more!). We did the red and yellow routes on our visit.
We started our day around 11am in Hollywood, first checking out Grauman’s Chinese Theater, taking pictures of some of the stars on the Walk of Fame, and getting a glimpse of the Hollywood sign from the Hollywood and Highland Center.
From there we grabbed our first Starline Tours bus. When you get on the bus (it’s a double decker!), you are given headphones and then you chose your seat. I suggest grabbing one of their maps, so you can plan out where you want to get off and sightsee. I always go for a seat up on top so that I don’t have any windows blocking my view. Once seated, I plug my headphones in so that I can listen to their audio tour guide and learn all about the area I am visiting.
On this tour, we got to see all sorts of places, including famous buildings, restaurants, streets, and beautiful views of the mountains. We saw the coveted “Beverly Hills” signs, Rodeo Drive, the hotel made famous by the movie “Pretty Woman”, the SAG building, the Tar Pits, LACMA, etc. We hopped off and on, grabbing some ice cream at Salt & Straw (delish!), exploring Melrose, and shopping at the famous Farmer’s Market, just to name a few.
Totally missing all of the fun in Jamaica today, ESPECIALLY the cliff diving at Ricks Cafe, Negril!
If you are heading to Jamaica anytime soon we defiantly recommend this as a day trip, good for young and old people alike! Insider tip: The sunset is where it's at with this hot spot, plan on coming with time to dive or swim but staying long enough to catch the beautiful sunset.
I was given the opportunity to attend a trip to explore Santa Rosa County for Housewives in the City, and I honestly had no idea what to really expect. I grew up in Florida and my family took yearly vacations around the state. We visited Daytona, Cocoa Beach, Ormond Beach, Palm Beach, the Keys, Sanibel Island, Cayo Costa (see a pattern here… we love the beach!), and many other destinations in Florida. However, I had never heard of Navarre Beach or Santa Rosa County. I’d heard of the amazing beaches along our Emerald Coast in the Panhandle, but the closest I ever came was a quick stop in Destin during college.
After the stress of the spring, I was secretly dreading the trip. I didn’t know anyone else who would be there, and I’d be leaving my family but bringing plenty of mom-guilt along with me. What I didn’t know was that Navarre Beach claims a status as the “Florida’s Most Relaxing Place,” and I’m here to tell you, it’s true. I spent two days reconnecting with nature and found myself completely relaxed and at peace.
THINGS TO DO
Visitor Center and Butterfly House
Navarre’s Panhandle Butterfly House is exactly the type of quaint attraction that forces you to slow down and look around. I’ve visited a number of butterfly gardens at museums or other attractions, but I’ve never seen as many butterflies as I did in Navarre’s Butterfly House. Admission is by donation, and in addition to the butterfly garden, the building has an amazing collection of gorgeous butterflies that are preserved and labeled.
Adjacent to the Butterfly House is the visitor’s center, complete with a playground and splash pad for the little ones. This would be a great place to take the kiddos in Navarre!
Address: 8581 Navarre Pkwy; Navarre, FL
ANTIGUA YACHT CLUB, PIGEON POINT BEACH & FALMOUTH HARBOUR
We spent the afternoon wandering around the east side of Falmouth Harbour, discovering Flatties Flame Grill (the burger here was amazing! Sorry we ate too fast for pictures!), Grabbed a cold one and some chief supplies a.k.a. Citronella candles and matches at English Harbour Gas Station and made sure to wander around the pier at Antigua Yacht Club Marina.
After time well spent exploring we headed a few minutes walk to Pigeon Point Beach. This beach is lined with trees, some of them poisonous but don’t worry they have signs pointing them out. As you walk through the trees you will come to a small beach with beautiful sand and stunningly clear waters that is surrounded by hills that beg for an Instagram shot. We very much enjoyed our time in the water here, the beach is peaceful and tucked away, perfect for a romantic afternoon.
Meeting new friends as an adult can be a struggle. Other times, it’s like you’re meant to be! Mandy and I met on a media trip last year to Sawgrass, and we are bonding this year as she launches the new Ft. Lauderdale Housewives in the City! When she decided to join the HITC family, she decided it was a great time for her and I to get away together for a few days. It was like an HITC training intensive while also learning about some amazing places in Orlando.
We had a fabulous little work-cation (working while on vacation!) and I’m excited to share some of the fun we had.
The newly updated DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando provided everything we needed for our stay. We were able to tour their amazing new event space, spend time on their redesigned lawn and event area, dine in their restaurant, and relax by the pool. Since Mandy and I have kids, we made sure to tour the kids' areas to plan our return trip. From the arcade, play room, ping pong, bean bag toss, pools, and daily activities, this hotel is great for families!
Given our close proximity to SeaWorld, we made sure to enjoy an afternoon there. We were treated to the Dine with Shamu buffet lunch that included a wealth of information from their trainers to explain the impressive efforts that SeaWorld offers its animals. Their orca show will be discontinued this year, but they shared information about their care of these animals. Animal experts at SeaWorld have helped more than 31,000 animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned and/or abandoned – for more than 50 years. More information can be found at SeaWorldCares.com.
Yesterday John and I made the short trip from Orlando to Tampa to explore another theme park this area has to offer – Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Most of you know already that John and I are originally from Virginia, so Busch Gardens Williamsburg was always our “go-to” place for fun growing up; I was an annual passholder for most of my life. I had visited the Tampa location a few times when I was vacationing in Florida as a child, but that was a long time ago. John had never been to the Tampa location, so I was very excited to bring him with me and experience the fun together!
For those of you that don’t know the difference between the two parks, the Williamsburg, VA location is themed as European countries (imagine a European Epcot, if you will). The Tampa, FL location is themed as Africa, and has tons animals!
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