Sunday, July 23, 2017

2017 July 21-23: girls' weekend to North Carolina!

Since I had a $500 gift certificate to use at the Biltmore Estate, I decided it would be fun to take the "girls" out for a weekend trip.  So we decided to go to the nearest Wyndham resort to the Biltmore for a weekend and go to the Biltmore for one of those days.  Turned out to be great decision!  Angie had bragged about theWyndham Fairfield Mountain Resort at Lake Lure, N. Carolina every since she and Josh went there last year.   She was right---it's a pretty awesome place!  And it was only about a 3 1/2 hour ride for Angie and me; about 2 1/2 hours for Faith.  But it's a gorgeous ride, so the time went fast.  Not just the ride, but the whole weekend! 

7-21-17 Lake Lure and Wyndham Fairfield Mountain resort

7-22-17 A day at the Biltmore!

7-23-17 boat ride on Lake Lure

It was a great weekend.  Only spent about $350 of the $500, so maybe there will be another girls' trip including the Biltmore in the not too distant future!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

2017 May South Florida 10 night trip:

Since we had airfare credit with Southwest to use before June 9th, we decided to use it to go to South Florida for 10 days.  I was able to pick up 2 nights at the Wyndham Royal Vista and 9 (one overlapping Royal Vista) at the Palm Aire.  It was great going back and playing tourist in the area we lived for a year.

 Day 1 -- travel day : May 13, 2017

Wyndham Royal Vista---2 bedroom deluxe, rm 8814

Day 2---Mother's Day at Butterfly World and the beach  :  May 14, 2017

Wyndham Palm Aire---2 bedroom deluxe, rm 975

Day 3---move to Palm Aire and birding at Wakodahatchee  :  May 15, 2017

Day 4---Happy Birthday to me in Naples  :  May 16, 2017

Day 5----birding at Green Cay Wetlands  : May 17, 2017

Day 6---Flamingo Gardens  : May 18, 2017

Day 7---Loxahatchee wetlands : May 19, 2017

Day 8---the beach, Wakodahatchee, and Green Cay--Yea! :  May 20, 2017

Day 9---the Everglades

Day 10---The beach and Wakodahatchee one last time! 

Day 11-time to go home 

It was another great "vacation"---almost felt like a "stayvacation"!  Went to our favorite spots---the beach, birding parks, restaurants...  .    Only problem was that time went by too quickly.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

2017 Feb. 4-11 Orlando trip:
What do you do in Orlando if you don't go to the theme parks????

Feb. 4---the drive down to Orlando from Atlanta, by way of Silver Springs State Park in Florida.

Orange Lake Resort --- Where we stayed while on vacation:

Feb. 5 --- finding the birds:

Feb. 6 --- hanging around the resort:

Feb. 7th ---   Harry P Leu Gardens:

            and  Part 2, on to Disney Springs:

Feb. 8th --- to Merritt Island and the Cape Canaveral Sea Shore:

Feb. 9th --- the ever popular Lakefront Park!

Feb. 10th --- Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens

             and (part 2) Apopka Lake wildlife area:

Feb. 11th --- back to Atlanta by way of Providence Canyon State Park in Georgia:

Would I have liked to have gone to some of the theme parks---yes, but Ken isn't a fan.  So it's nice to know we can still go to Orlando and have a great time!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

2016 Dec. 4-14 Koningsdam 10 nt cruise (Half moon cay, Grand Turk, Amber Cove, Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba):

On our last cruise (2015 Nov. cruise) we signed up for the future cruise bonus.  The Koningsdam is the newest ship in the HAL fleet and was going on a route we wanted to do.  Didn't know if we'd like being on such a big ship, but it turned out to be great.  We met a lot of interesting people, ate a lot of great food, visited several interesting ports, enjoyed the entertainment; everything would have been perfect----if it hadn't stormed all day in Bonaire.  Oh well, there's always next time!

We tend to base most of our cruises (and most of our land vacations) around beaches and snorkeling.  This one was no exception.  In fact I chose this specific itinerary because it went to Bonaire and Curacao again, plus a couple new ports for us---Amber Cove and Aruba.

Instead of making a ridiculously long blog, I'm supplying links to the ship, ports, and sea days individually.  

The Koningsdam

Dec. 4---embarkation day

Dec. 5---Half Moon Cay

Dec. 6---Grand Turk

Dec. 7---Amber Cove

Dec. 8---1st sea day

Dec. 9---Bonaire

Dec. 10---Curacao

Dec. 11---Aruba

Dec. 12-14---sea days and disembarkation

I'd read a lot of complaints about the Koningsdam---no library, walking was hard on the promenade deck, lines were bad in Lido, not enough elevators,  more places to nickel and dime you, and more that I can't think of right now, but none of that bothered us.  We loved the Koningsdam.  But then, we've loved every ship we've been on.  This one was different from the other HAL ships, but I kind of liked that.  Shows they're trying to grow with the times.  I especially loved the digital daily Navigators, the Lido movies, the New York Deli, and the World Stage.  I wouldn't hesitate to cruise on the Koningsdam again.

Friday, October 7, 2016

2016  Sept. 20-23 quickie trip to Margaritaville, St. Thomas!

What do you do after 4 weeks in Hawaii and about 18 hours of travel to get home?  Rest for a couple days then fly to St. Thomas for 3 nights!!! 

Click on the links to see our fun!

Where we stayed--- Wyndham Margaritaville

Sept. 20th--- travel day and settling in to our 3 bedroom Presidential Reserve unit!

Sept. 21st--- ferry to St. John for some fantastic snorkeling, then back to St Thomas for some more!

Sept. 22nd--- snorkeling Cowpet bay and Secret Beach

Sept. 23rd--- snorkeling Bolongo bay and time to go home--- again!

What a great time I had!!!  May have to do more of these little short trips, too!!!

Friday, August 19, 2016

2016---Aug. 18 - Sept. 14 Maui and Kauai trip

This was our 3rd time to Maui (my 5th, but Ken's and my 3rd together); followed by our 15th trip to Kauai.  Originally I booked award travel for the usual time we go to Hawaii---Feb.  It's a nice escape from the St. Louis winters.  But little did I know when I made the reservations that in Feb. 2016 we'd be living in South Florida!  No need to escape that weather!!!  So I paid the exchange fee and changed it to Aug/Sept out of Miami.  Again, little did I know that when Aug. 2016 rolled around, we would be living in Atlanta!  Another exchange fee and rebooking (loosing a day of our Maui vacation in order to get the award travel again)!  This time we left from Atlanta.  And this time we spent 2 weeks on Maui, then another 2 weeks on Kauai!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Everglades from the Ernest Coe entrance in South Florida

Jan. 13, 2016---THE EVERGLADES!!

Finally, we get to play tourist again---thanks to Josh going out of town and Angie suggesting we go to the Everglades.  To my surprise, even Ken went along.

Anyway, it was a beautiful day to head to the Everglades---about 65, dry but cloudy.   There are 4 entrances to the Everglades from South Florida, we went to the main one by the Ernest Coe Visitor's Center which is farthest South, near Homestead.  I had been there once back in about 2003 after Dad tried to drown himself on a cruise and we ended up in Fort Lauderdale for a few extra days, but we didn't do much in the park other than walk a bit of a boardwalk.  So it was time to get back there and see what else we could find.

The drive from Coral Springs to Homestead took about an hour.  It was all toll road, so the drive was easy---especially since I didn't drive.  Once we passed Miami, much of the views from the road were of farms.

 One of the first signs we saw as we entered the park!  Since Ken went, we didn't have to pay the $20 entrance fee.  He has the Old Age pass (forgot the official name for it).  
 We skipped the Ernest Coe center and went straight to the Royal Palm Visitor Center about 4 miles into the park.  It was established in 1916 and later became the nucleus for Everglades National Park.  We were surprised when we pulled into the parking lot and saw all the tarps on the cars.
 Then we saw the sign explaining why they are here.  Turns out the vultures like to eat the rubber around the windows and windshield wipers.