Wow, did the weekend fly by or what?! Luckily, Monday did too, and we are already well into the week. Before you know it, it will be Thanksgiving then Christmas, and we'll be beginning a new year in no time! I'm not quite ready for the new year though, there is still so much to be done before our babies come, most important being getting moved into our new home. Patience is not my virtue right now, or anytime for that matter. But alas, I must wait. Thankfully, I have plenty to focus on between now & then, especially this little slice of my world. I have so many great posts planned for the blog, and I'm especially excited for today's— itinerary planning tips!
Planning an itinerary for your long awaited trip can seem to be a booger, but with my tips you can have it planned in a breeze. Now remember when you book with me, I do all of the work for you—no headache necessary! But if not or if you love the planning process yourself, here are some tips that can help you take the worry out of planning.
Make a List of Must See/Do
Start by making your list of must see and do places/attractions. Do you want to walk by and see a specific building? Do you want to spend time browsing a renowned museum? Do you want to spend the day seeing as many different beaches as you can? Write them all down!
Put Your List in Order of Importance
Here's where you have to be realistic. List your must see/do list in order of what is most important to you. Will you have enough time to see all of the places on your list? What is the most important to you—what will you regret not seeing? Put those at the top of the list, then work your way down to the "oh that would be nice to see, but I won't be devastated if I don'ts".
Determine Attractions Hours
What are the hours of operation for your must see places? I like to make special note of places that open very early or stay open later in the day. Is that museum you want to check out open later on specific days? I also try to look at what will be the most popular spots, i.e. Pearl Harbor Memorial on Oahu or the Empire State Building in New York, and make those the first stops of the day as they are less likely to be as crowded when they first open.
Arrange According to Location
This step is the most important to me in making sure I get the very most out of my time at a destination. I don't want to waste time walking by the same places more than once or doing too much back tracking. So, I use Google Maps to list my must see/dos in order by location. You can put in more than one destination in Google Maps, and move them around in location order.
Fine Tune & Finalize
From here, I break things down by days, and tweak & fine tune my itinerary. I begin by putting the most popular spots at the beginning of the day, then plan the remainder accordingly by location. Lastly, I fill in any items from the bottom of my must see list that I may happen to pass or might have extra time for.
Most importantly, when traveling enjoy your vacation & be flexible! While you're away, you may realize you didn't allow enough time at certain places or allotted too much time at others. This may result in some things being cut, some extra time for the things at the bottom of your list, OR time for things you hadn't planned at all. Even with itinerary in hand, it is important to keep an open mind, be flexible, and keep your focus on enjoying yourself & your destination!
Sample Itinerary for a Day in New York City
Explore Central Park
Go to Rockefeller Center
Shopping & Lunch in Rockefeller Center
Top of the Rock Observatory
Rockefeller Center Tour
Explore & Tour St. Patrick's Cathedral
Dinner at Rockefeller Center
View the Rockefeller Plaza Christmas Tree
Performance by the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall
Sample Itinerary for exploring beaches in Maui
Drive to Makena Beach (the farthest you can go by rental car)
Explore Makena Beach (Big Beach & Little Beach—if you are brave)
Drive to Wailea
Enjoy relaxing at Wailea Beach
Drive to Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge
Explore the refuge & Sugar Beach
Drive to Kehei
Shop & have lunch
Drive along highway, stopping at various beaches & look outs along the way
Stop in Lahaina to view the harbor and neighboring island
Arrive in Kaanapali & check out the beach
Shop & have dinner at Whaler's Village
Drive to Napili Bay
Relax & Snorkel
Drive to D.T. Fleming Beach for the last stop of the day
I can tell you my itineraries never go 100% as planned, but without them I would be wandering aimlessly wasting too much of my precious vacation time. Hopefully these tips will keep you from wasting time, and help you get the most out of your time on your next vacation!
Happy Sunday! I hope you are having a good weekend. Mine is going by way too fast, but I seem to be getting a lot accomplished. We are working on final touches in our new home, like flooring, door knobs, and hardware, so hopefully it won't be long before we are moving in. I hope once we get to move in I'll start feeling much better, more in control of "things", and have something concrete for my mind to focus on. Tiny house living is definitely not for me, plus all I want to do is nest and prepare a nursery, but that all must wait a few more weeks.
Anyway, I'm excited to start sharing my trip to Memphis, Tennessee from earlier this year, and today I'm starting with an itinerary for visiting this fun & unique city for a weekend trip. We spent 2 full days in Memphis, and though there was still so much more to see, we managed to hit most of our must haves. To make your quick trip to Memphis easy to plan, check out this sample itinerary for 48 hours in Memphis.
Day One in Memphis
Began your first morning bright and early to get a head start on the crowds at Graceland. We spent over half a day perusing the massive compound. We covered every nook & cranny from Graceland itself, the mansion's acreage, the new state of the art complex across the street that houses Elvis' cars, costumes, and more. We even enjoyed lunch at Gladys' Diner, hot PB & banana sandwich of course. After exploring Elvis Presley's Graceland, head downtown to catch the show at the Peabody Hotel. Every morning & afternoon, the famous Peabody ducks make their way from the roof top to the hotel lobby then back up again. Even adults are sure to love seeing the ducks swim in the fountain, then make their grand return to the elevator along their red carpet! Grab a drink at the posh lobby bar & take in all of the beautiful design & architecture while you wait on the show.
To top of the day, head to the alley adjacent to the Peabody, and enjoy charcoal ribs at Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous joint. The building itself is something to be admired, with memorabilia and signed photographs from everyone from the Rolling Stones to George W. Bush, not to mention the amazing architecture. The food itself is some of the best barbecue I've ever had. It is true Memphis style with dry rub so skip the sauce! I will warn you though, you might want to go back again it is so good. Trust me, it is worth the wait in line! Be sure to check their hours before you go. They aren't open everyday.
Close out the night with a stroll down Beale Street, not far from downtown. Enjoy shopping in the odd & end boutiques, delicious drinks, or just take in the various styles of music while you make your way down & back again. Memphis truly is a beautiful place for music. It is the birthplace of Rock & Roll after all!
Day Two in Memphis
After a good nights sleep in your comfy hotel, I recommend The Guesthouse at Graceland for its great location, be ready to hit the ground running for your last full day in town! Continue the Rock & Roll theme from the day before, and start your day at Sun Studio. This legit record studio is still up and running, but also offers tours to the public. Many famous names, including the Million Dollar Quartet made their start here. You'll hear rich history of those famous four, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins, and more during your tour through the studio. They also supposedly have the microphone that Elvis recorded his first song on. Who's to say I really believe it is the one though! At any rate, its fun to think so! I loved hearing stories of days gone by at Sun Records, and hearing how some artists still pop in to record from time to time. Sun Studios is a very fun place that is definitely worth checking out during your visit to Memphis!
After grabbing lunch, head on to the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel. I must say, I was apprehensive about visiting here, but I am so grateful I did! You'll see the very motel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot & killed, the Greyhound bus that was infamously lit on fire all in the name of racism, and Rosa Parks' very seat on the very bus where she changed the world. The photographs, the first hand accounts, the detailings & conspiracy theories of MLK Jr.'s assassination are all worth learning about. Though I cannot fathom what people of color have endured and continue to endure in our country, I walked out of that museum with a clearer understanding of the problems of our nation. I highly recommend taking the time to visit this incredible museum. You will not regret it!
For dinner, we actually made our way to Dale's in Southhaven, Mississippi. It was less than a 3o minute trek from Memphis, and we were so glad we made the journey! Dale's Restaurant is the epitome of southern cooking. Fried chicken, turkey & dressing that tastes like grandmas, and oh the incredible, just like Nana made it banana pudding! Dale's will be on my radar when I get the chance to return to Memphis!
To end the trip, check out what is showing at the Orpheum Theatre. We were luckily enough to catch the Broadway musical Beautiful: The Carole King Musical for the low price of $30 each during our visit! The show was a last minute, day of pick, and boy were we in for a treat! Concerts and Broadway shows are a regular occurrence at the theatre, so I recommend checking out their schedule for your visit. The theater itself is worth checking out. It boasts beautiful architecture, stunning chandeliers, and marquee signs to boot!
With this quick itinerary, you're sure to squeeze in all of the hot spots in Memphis. What else would I have loved to have done? Exploring historic cemeteries, a visit to St. Jude's Research Hospital, and a ride on the mighty Mississippi in a famous Memphis riverboat. Perhaps you can squeeze those into your visit, but, for me, they'll be waiting for that next trek to the birthplace of Rock & Roll!
Hey there! I'm excited to wrap up our trip to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada today!
If you remember, we visited there for a quick 24-ish hour trip from Seattle, Washington. We took the Clipper Ferry passenger ferry from the U.S. to Canada, and thoroughly enjoyed the scenic boat ride. We hit the ground running when we arrived with a boat trip out to the San Juan Islands, which are actually in the U.S., for orca whale watching. We were not disappointed there! We saw puffins flying over the water, a bald eagle on guard, sea lions piled high, and orcas abound! That was one of the most amazing experiences of my life!
Once we arrived back on dry land, we popped into Nautical Nellies for a delicious dinner. Then decided we'd had a long enough day, so we settled into our hotel suite at the Chateau Victoria Hotel. Our room was amazing and we hated to leave the posh hotel the next morning, but we had another full day planned!
We started out with a scenic drive out to Butchart Gardens, and spent a beautiful morning exploring the stunning grounds. After, we made our way back into town, and found ourselves at Craigdarroch Castle. We loved touring this amazing property, and I was especially fond of the stained glass. From there, we headed towards the harbor to check out Fisherman's Wharf where we had the most amazing shrimp, actually prawn, of my life!
We wrapped up our visit with a horse drawn carriage ride around the beautiful Parliament Building, and bit of a walk back to the ferry. All and all, we had an amazing time in Victoria, and I would love to visit again someday! It is the perfect stop for a day trip on many Alaskan cruise itineraries, so hopefully we'll get the chance.
I hope you've enjoyed my sharing our time in Victoria. You can check out all of the posts from our visit below as well as a few more photos of the fun sites we saw. Have a great evening!
24 Hours in Victoria, BC
Ferry Ride from Seattle
Orca Whale Watching
Talley Ho Carriage
The Empress Hotel
Happy Sunday! I hope you're enjoying a nice leisurely day. I'm loving the cooler weather that blew in, and have enjoyed having the windows up and sitting outside. I'm excited to be back today to share our last adventure in Victoria, British Columbia.
Butchart Gardens was one of the highlights of our trip. It's just a little ways outside of Victoria, and the drive is beautiful so it is worth the time to make your way out there. Since we visited in late Spring, the gardens were in full bloom, and we were given quite the show! We spent about half a day strolling around Butchart Gardens, and probably could have spent longer. The flowers, the trees, the vines, so many beautiful plants to explore. We also enjoyed perusing the shops, and taking home a few trinkets. I had quite the time taking photos in every nook and cranny of the gardens, and I came home with many prized photographs and memories! Butchart Gardens is also a popular attraction for a shore excursion on Alaskan cruises, so I highly recommend that if you get the chance! Thank you so much for stopping by today. I hope you've enjoyed traveling to Victoria, British Columbia with me. Tomorrow I'll share a wrap up with a last few pictures, and a spot to find everything in one place. Have a great rest of your weekend!
Hey there! Hope you are having a great weekend. I'm excited to see that cooler weather is coming to Texas tomorrow. I can't wait to wear sweaters, sip hot chocolate, and crunch the leaves as I walk! I just hope the cool days stick around a little longer this go round. Anyway, let's get to it! Today I'm sharing from our visit to Victoria, British Columbia, and our walk around The Empress Hotel overlooking the harbor.
Along with the Parliament Building, The Empress Hotel greets you as you pull into the harbor at Victoria. It's stunning architecture and sweeping vines really make it stand out against the crowd of smaller buildings. We didn't even step foot inside, as the beautiful grounds kept us plenty intrigued, but I would have loved to have ventured in for their famous high tea. I'll save that for a later trip. However, we loved strolling around the outside, admiring the stone & brick facade, gorgeous copper roof tops, and absolutely beautiful gardens. Our favorite were the wisteria bushes cascading down from wooden pergolas. They made for great photo ops! This is the perfect attraction to visit during a cruise stop on the way to Alaska. If you get the chance I recommend checking out The Empress and venturing in to check out the inside. I'm sure it will be a treat for you!
Thanks for stopping by today. Check back tomorrow. I'll be sharing our last adventure from Victoria!
I'm back again spewing more random thoughts with y'all. I hope you'll stick around to listen as this is a subject I'm super passionate about!
If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen that we are going on a grand new adventure! This time to a destination called parenthood! We are ecstatically awaiting the arrival of our TWINS early next year! We hope to teach our new little loves all sorts of things, especially the joy of travel. However, sometimes life & traveling can be scary, particularly with recent events like the shooting in Las Vegas. You may have seen this post I shared after learning about the horrific events in Vegas. And today I want to expand on that blurb, and share what I hope to teach our new additions and how traveling can help!
One of the most important lessons I hope to teach our babies is to live fully & wholeheartedly even when life is hard and the world is scary. I've heard a lot of people say they want to lock their kids away in these recent times. When we lock ourselves away, we are doing the world a disservice. We have to teach them good, and set them out into the world to make it a better place and to find the good that is out there. By pressing through the hard times and bringing out the best in ourselves and the world, we can make it a much better place. On that note, we have to go out and live fully and do good for those who lost the chance far too soon.
Secondly, not to contradict what my dad has always said, but the world is full of such good! I spent my teen and early adult years thinking the world was far to bad to take the risk of exploring it. But once I let go of that fear, I realized that if you set out to find good, you'll find good! Sadly, the opposite is also true, so for me I choose to look for the good in the world. To build upon that, I do my best to share that good with others. Whether it is highlighting something wonderful I see on social media or volunteering or donating to worth causes, doing and sharing the good are oh so important. I firmly believe that we should use our gifts for the greater good. I share my love & passion for travel to contribute to the greater good of the world.
I could go on and on about the things I hope to teach our children, but I'll end with this: Even in the face of danger, we are protected. Deuteronomy 31:6 tells us "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." We must learn to live freely in the Lord, while still staying aware of the evils around us, and I firmly believe that traveling helps teach us that. It has me anyway. I've also come to learn that you get the most out of life by actually LIVING IT! Not hunkered down in fear, but by living!
I hope to teach our babies this and more, and I know we can do so largely with the gift of travel. I hope you'll consider the same, even when the world can be a scary place. Just go out there, and find the good. I have a sneaky suspicion that if you seek you will find.
Indulge me today, will you? I have some random thoughts to share about why I love being a travel agent, and why I want to share the world with you.
Awhile back on Instagram I came a cross a post from Jessa Connolly about business. She shared a something that she'd heard, and it really struck me. "It's a business, but is a front for something much bigger." Now, Jessa's business is devoted to sharing the word of God, and that sounds like far from what I am doing here. However, I AM in the business of sharing the world of God!
One of my main reasons for becoming a travel agent was to share this great big beautiful world that God created for us. The more I've traveled myself, the more I've yearned to see more. I truly believe that God gave us this Earth to explore, and it is one of my greatest joys to share that, encourage others to travel, and show people that it is possible & attainable to travel.
And so, that is what this business is, a front for something so much bigger. It is not only my calling, my passion, my purpose, but it is my way of sharing God with others and leading them closer to the Lord. I know that since I have been blessed to travel more of this world, my relationship with God has strengthened & flourished. And that is my hope for others in traveling and making this my life's work.
Again, I thank you for indulging me in "listening" to my random thoughts. I hope you have a wonderful Sunday evening!
Hey y'all! I'm back again to share more from Victoria, British Columbia. Just a few more attractions, and we'll be wrapping up with this great city. Today, I'm touching on our visit to the beautiful Craigdarroch Castle!
This stunning Victoria-era castle was built in the late 1800s as an estate. Much to our benefit, it was later turned into a museum. I hadn't seen or thought much of the castle when planning our trip, but my mother-in-law mentioned it might be fun, so we made sure to fit it into our visit. Boy, am I glad we did! The wood work & stained glass within the castle are absolutely unbelievable!
As you can see from the incredible staircase, which you may recognize from movies such as The Boy, the castle boasts several floors to explore. Even though the castle is large, your intrigue is kept throughout exploring. At every turn there is incredible wood work, like serpent staffs, beautiful furniture, including a Steinway Piano, and beautiful stained glass. One of my favorite features was a curved door leading into one of the turrets.
It's hard to believe that this some 25,000 square foot castle was once a home, but I'm so glad it was well kept long after changing owners several times. They just don't build things like that anymore! This along with Butchart Gardens, which I'll share about next week, are my must see places in Victoria. Be sure to add them to your itinerary!
To read more about Craigdarroch Castle, visit thecastle.ca/. See you back this weekend for some special posts on my current thoughts & happenings.
Happy Tuesday! I hope you had a great weekend. Mine went by entirely too fast, so I'm already counting down to another. I've got a full to do list to work on this weekend, but we've also got some fun planned. I'm always trying to keep a good work/life balance, but that's always tested on the weekends. At any rate, I do my best. But let's get to it. I'm excited to share another spot from Victoria, British Columbia.
Let's chat about Fisherman's Wharf. This is a fun little spot along the harbor in Victoria with restaurants, shops, and stunning floating houses along the docks. We enjoyed a couple of hours here during the second part of our stay. We enjoyed walking along the docks, seeing the boats & even seaplanes coming in, seeing wildlife, seagulls, geese, & otters, and eating some of the best seafood we'd ever had!
We enjoyed an amazing lunch at The Fish Store, enjoying our meal at a picnic table on the docks. I tried prawn for the first time, and oh my was it delicious! I fussed at the price at first, but, after tasting my husband's, I had him order more! I highly recommend it if you visit. We enjoyed Jackson's Ice Cream for dessert while strolling around the boats.
We'd hoped to see the famous sea lions at Fisherman's Wharf, but we were a little early in the day to catch them. If you visit Fisherman's Wharf in Victoria in the mornings or late afternoons, you're bound to see the wild sea lions that come by daily to be hand fed! What a treat that would've been, but we saw them during our whale watching in their true natural habitat.
Fisherman's Wharf was definitely a great spot to visit, especially on a day with amazing weather. If you visit Victoria, British Columbia, you'd love making a visit to this fun spot. Who knows, maybe you'll catch a glimpse of those sea lions!
Hey there! I'm back to continue in sharing our venture to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Just to recap, we visited this sweet little town for a quick overnight trip. We took a passenger ferry from Seattle, and had the best experience! One of the fun things we did that we hadn't planned on was a horse drawn carriage ride around part of the town.
We took our ride with the Talley Ho Carriage Company, the longest running carriage company in Victoria. We had a wonderful guide who took us around, giving us history lessons about the small city along the way.
We began the ride just outside the Parliament Building, looping around to the neighborhoods behind Parliament. We strolled by beautiful churches, colorful homes, and lush parks like, Beacon Hill. We looped back to the Parliament building, passing the back which is actually the front, and ended right back where we starting facing the harbor. The 45 minute ride was a fun rest while still learning and seeing more about Victoria. We explored areas we hadn't in our own, adding to our interest. The Talley Ho Carriage would be a perfect addition to a quick trip to Victoria for anyone.
Have you taken a horse drawn carriage ride? What did you love most, the ride, seeing more of your destination, or the history lessons?
You saved every penny. You worked every extra hour. You worked hard to plan & execute. And you are oh so proud. But are you afraid of being that person? You know the one who shares their perfect vacation on Facebook making all of your friends insanely jealous. I'm here to tell you why you wouldn't be wrong to share your vacation joy!
1. You worked extra, made financial sacrifices, and pinched every penny to make your vacation dreams come true. You should be incredibly proud of yourself. Share how hard you worked, and encourage others to do the same. After all, money spent on memories made are far better than things that break.
2. What do proud parents do when their children accomplish something great or head out on grand new adventures like summer camp or college? They create a beautiful post on social media to share that joy. Why wouldn't you do the same for your own great adventure!
3. Traveling is exciting! Experiencing new things & places is one of the greatest joys of life.
4. Feels good. Why wouldn't you share that feel good feeling? We share when we buy a new car, build a new home, create something great, or welcome a new child. Let's share all of the joys of life, including family vacations.
5. By sharing, you can inspire others to save & jump in to going on their own great vacation. Wouldn't this be the ultimate travel joy? To inspire someone else to go after their own dreams. Sometimes people just don't know how feasible travel is, and by sharing you may inspire others to have these same great experiences.
Of course sharing, and even social media, isn't for everyone, but, before I made travel my job, they helped me make sense of whether or not I wanted to share our adventures. For me the top driving force was to inspire others and make them see that travel CAN be and IS possible.
I hope you'll consider these basic thoughts the next time you travel, and are on the fence whether or not to share that joy with others. Have a wonderful day!
Hello again! It has been awhile, but here I am. Back and ready to share so many wonderful adventures & tips.
Today, I'm picking back up where we left off in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. If you arrive in Victoria by boat, you'll be greeted by a beautiful harbor surrounded by stunning buildings, one of the most prominent being, the Parliament Building.
Being apart of the Commonwealth of England, each Canadian province has a parliament building. Lucky for us, the one in Victoria, British Columbia is stunning! We arrived and left on weekend within a 24 hour period, so we weren't able to tour the inside of this stunning building, but the grounds were gorgeous! You can find tour information here. Since the building was not open, we took advantage of walking around the grounds. There was a gathering of some sort the afternoon we were strolling around, but it ended in time for us to not intrude in getting a closer look at the building's stunning stone work. The beautiful lawn even seems to be the perfect spot for a picnic. Here you can see a nearly 200 year old Sequoia tree, a statue of Queen Victoria, incredibly detailed stonework, and a beautiful lawn with side areas shaded by canopying trees.
The British Columbia Parliament Building is definitely worth checking out, if only from the outside, when you stop in Victoria on your next adventure to Canada or on your Alaskan cruise.
Today, I'm celebrating my 30th birthday!
I'm celebrating life, love, and all that I have accomplished!
I created a 30B430 list about 8 years ago, and truly NEVER thought I'd mark off all that I did. Since today id my 30th, I thought I'd share one final update on the list. You'll notice, the list is actually 40 items, mainly because I am indecisive, but that didn't stop me from marking off many! I was only short on marking off 8 of the 40, and I am SO proud of that. When I created that list, I'd never flown on a plane, didn't have the greatest self-esteem, and rarely tried new things, but this written list changed everything! It inspired me, pushed me, and motivated me. I believe writing down my goals and keeping an on going list, along with so many people routing for me, really kept me going with the list. Do you have your own written bucket list? If not, I encourage you to write down those goals & dreams, keep them where you can see them, and just keep swimming!
We'll see if I come up with another list for before 40! If so, I plan on carrying over the goals I didn't hit onto the next list. Plus, I have some additional goals & dreams in mind. Hope you have a wonderful day & stay inspired!
Hey there! I hope Monday has been good to you, and that you had a great weekend. Mine went by way too fast, so I am already on the count down to this weekend. :) When are they going to change the norm, and make the week only 2 days and the weekend 5 days?! #iwish Anyway, I'm excited you're back, I'm going to share more on our weekend trip to Victoria, BC. It's going to be a short and sweet post, but I think you'll enjoy it!
Today's post is on Thunderbird Park near the harbor in Victoria. This sweet little park is chock full of beautiful totem poles to peruse. I spent about an hour walking around the beautiful grounds admiring the artwork and taking photos. It was a great stop along the way to many spots such as the harbor, dinner, or the Empress Hotel. If Victoria is on your vacation list, hopefully you can catch some great weather to look around Thunderbird Park!
Hey y'all! I hope Monday was good to you and Tuesday was kind. We are nearly half way through the week already, and as much as I've accomplished, it feels like it should at least be next week by now! Ha! Anyway, I am excited you are here today. Like yesterday's post, I'm including this with Seattle + Victoria, because you can take this tour from both locations. Today's post is all about my absolutely favorite bit of our Seattle + Victoria trip--orca whale watching!
Yes, you read that right, we went killer whale watching! And NOT at Sea World, but in the wild! Along with whale watching in Maui, Orca Whale watching in the San Juan Islands was one of the most amazing experiences I've had in my life. To see these majestic animals in their natural habitat is nothing short of magical, and a true pinch me moment.
For our whale watching excursion, we left from Victoria shortly after arriving on our ferry, so from one boat to another. Like I mentioned earlier, this is also something you can do from Seattle as well. The San Juan Islands are accessible by car and boat from both Seattle and Victoria, so you could even elect to drive to the island and whale watch from there.
Five Star Whale Watching and their wonderful guides took us on a wonderful excursion filled with wildlife sightings. For weeks before our trip, I had been praying that we would see these elusive whales. Then our guide told us that there had been no sightings in the last several days of any whales of any species. I amped up the prayers right away! And, boy, did God bring his A-Game, as he always does. We saw a large pod of 27 including males, females, and even babies. It was absolutely breathtaking! You'll also notice some kayakers in the distance with the whales along side them--yes, you can kayak with the orca whales! Can you even imagine!? Adding that to my bucket list! ;) Along with the whales, we had the pleasure of seeing puffins, a bald eagle, and harbor seals that looked like little bananas huddled up on their little island. :)
You'll notice that my photos of the whales are not the greatest. I elected to focus my eyes on the prize per-say. Rather than miss out on seeing them with my own eyes, I just snapped the camera without paying too much attention to it. Yes, capturing photos was important to me, but I also did not want to regret only seeing them through the camera lens. I think we miss out on so much of life by doing that. Focusing on the perfect shot, we miss out on what is actually happening in front of us. Though I hate the photos aren't perfect, I LOVE that I experienced this and saw these beautiful creatures with my own eyes even more!
Hey there! I hope y'all had a great weekend! Mine was the perfect mix of work (travel to do list & house work), relaxation, and a little fun. We visited a super neat store in Fort Worth, which I'll be blogging about later, that was jam packed with antique furniture and old home goodness! Great little last minute addition to the weekend. Of course it could have been longer, but alas it is Monday again. Anyway, I'm excited to start transitioning to sharing a new city today. Let's take a journey from Seattle to Victoria aboard a ferry.
During one of my weekend stays in Seattle, we decided to take a journey to Canada. I rushed my passport a few weeks ahead, and we hopped on a boat for Canada! We could have driven, but decided on a passenger ferry instead. We took the Clipper Ferry to the beautiful town of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The ferry was a passenger ferry that left Seattle for Victoria early in the morning. We elected to go to Victoria, then return to Seattle later the next day, but there is an option to go there and back. However, there is way too much goodness in Victoria to not spend at least one night there, but more on that later!
Anyway, more on the ferry itself. Like I mentioned, it is a passenger ferry, so no cars, but we were able to reserve a rental car while on the boat! The attendants can reserve rental cars and book excursions/tours, which is a very nice feature! Along with that, it was really nice to not have to do the 5 hour drive it takes to get to Victoria from Seattle. With the ferry we were able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery. The ride was less than 3 hours, but we enjoyed beautiful sights along the way. Not to mention, we saw the city of Port Angeles and the Olympic peninsula in the distance. Any Twilight fans out there!? We also enjoyed talking about our time in Seattle, plans for Victoria, and napping a bit. The ferry also serves light refreshments to keep you held over until you reach your destination.
We booked a ferry cruise & hotel stay package with Clipper Ferry, and were incredibly pleased with the entire process and trip. This was a wonderful addition to our Seattle stay, and I would definitely do this again! If you're on the fence about adding this to your Seattle or Victoria (to venture to Seattle) vacation, hopefully this will help you decide!
Happy Friday y'all! I hope you've had a great week, and are looking forward to the weekend. I'm here at my craft retreat making pretty things and working on travel goodness. Today I'm back to finish up with our trip to the Pacific Northwest with a Seattle Travel Guide. Essentially, you'll be able to find all of my Seattle posts in one spot!
We journeyed all over Seattle and exploring The Underground, Boeing, waterfalls, Mt. Rainier, Pike Place Market, and beyond!
Oodles & Oodles of Tulips at Pike Place Market
Our view from below the Seattle Space Needle
Dream Lifter plane that transport aircraft parts at the Boeing Factory
Fields of Tulips at Roozengaarde near Mt. Vernon
Mt. Rainier from Paradise Visitor Center inside the National Park
Stairs to the Seattle Underground
Totem Pole in Pioneer Square
The Spruce Goose in McMinnville, Oregon
Fred Flinstone's Car at America's Car Museum
Seattle Gum Wall in Post Alley
Chihuly Glass Gardens Indoor Installation
The Great Wheel
We enjoyed all of these places & more! Check out the full posts below.
Museum of Flight
The Great Wheel
Chihuly Garden & Glass
The Gum Wall
America's Car Museum
The Underground Tour
Mount Rainier National Park
Roozengaarden Tulip Fields
Future of Flight Museum + Boeing Factory Tour
Seattle Space Needle
Pike Place Market
The Spruce Goose • Oregon
Hey there! I am packed up for my weekend of fun work (really it is good stuff), and ready to tackle that long to do list. I'm feeling motivated, and can't wait for a refreshing weekend of crafting, travel work, and, most importantly, time with great friends! While I'm waiting for it to be go time, I wanted to share the last place on the itinerary for our time in Seattle, Pike Place Market.
I've been saving the best for last as the market was the creme de la creme of Seattle for me! The flowers, the exotic fruits and veggies, eggs & cheeses of every kind, an extensive array of baked goods, and just goodness after goodness. For this post, I thought I'd do a short little list of my tips for visiting one of the world's most famous markets!
My Tips for Visiting Pike Place Market
1. Go early.
Before 8am is a great time to visit. There aren't a lot of people out and about yet, but the vendors are already open. If you wait until later in the morning, you'll be packed in to get glimpses of some famous spots like Pike Place Fish Co. & their fish throwing show.
2. If you want to visit the original Starbucks, go late.
If the original Starbucks is on your must go in list, go in the evening or be prepared to wait in a long line outside. Remember, Seattle is known for it's rainy weather, so if standing in a long line outside in the rain isn't your thing, opt for a trip there in the evening. For myself, I just got a look of the shop from the outside, and that was a-okay with me. Lovely had to go back to Seattle later in the year, and he visited the market another time with colleagues later in the day after work. He was able to go inside the Starbucks when there was no line. He even brought me home the coveted Pike Place Market You Are Here Collection cup. Since he went later in the year, so he also enjoyed the market being decorated for Christmas.
3. Go hungry. Or maybe don't.
If you love good food, go hungry! Enjoy pastries, fruits, coffees, donuts, cheeses, cookies as big as your face, and so much more! If you don't want to overindulge, better eat beforehand so you aren't tempted. :) You could be like my mother-in-law. She literally went CRAZY buying yummies at the market! She packed an entire box full to carry back home of peaches, Rainier cherries, and baked goods. It was a hoot watching her!
4. Buy the damn flowers.
Ok, the flowers...they are UH-MAZING!! Like THE most beautiful flowers you have every seen, and they are CHEAP! I am talking 15 bucks for a bouquet that would cost you $100 from a florist! Buy them! Put them in your hotel room. Love them. Enjoy them. When you visit, you'll see just what I mean!
Hopefully these quick tips help you plan your trip. Take a look at my photos to get a better idea of my tips. See you back tomorrow with a Seattle Trip Wrap Up.
Hump day!! I'm super excited because today is actually my Friday! #woohoo As I mentioned earlier this week, I'm heading out on a retreat tomorrow, and I'm excited to get some work done as well as crafty time! I have lots of travel work I need to get done, and I am hella behind on scrapbooking. Anyway, today I'm here to share one of the last places from our Seattle visits, the Seattle Space Needle.
The needle was made back in the 60s for the World's Fair, and it's been a defining landmark of the Seattle skyline ever since! We couldn't leave this off of our places to visit, and bonus that we had amazing weather! I've talked about it before, but I spent two separate weekends in Seattle while Lovely was at a 2 month training there. During my first visit, the skies were so clear we could see Mt. Rainier from the observation deck. That was a special treat! From the photos, it looks like a mountain suspended in the clouds, but it is the real deal, snow capped and all. You'll also notice photos from my second visit, which didn't deliver quite as good of weather, that Mt. Rainier is nowhere in site. Quite amazing that the weather has such an effect on our line of sight. Pesky misty rain clouds.
Anyway, both of our visits to the needle were smooth sailing! We used the Space Needle app to purchase our tickets for a set time. So there was zero waiting in line, no surprises, just walk on up, show your electronic ticket, and begin your 41 second ride to the top! There is an inside viewing area, as well as the outside observation deck. You'll also find shops, the famous rotating restaurant, and an electronic map (where you can list where you are visiting from to be added to a pin on the map) at the top of the needle.
We also enjoyed the area below the Space Needle, often referred to as Seattle City Center. You'll find shops, outdoor vendors, street performers, museums, and more. We ended up having a caricature drawn of us there. So fun! :) Anyway, the Space Needle is definitely a spot to visit, especially if you can go on a sunny day. We did not purchase tickets in advance, just on the app, the day of, once even just 45 minutes before our purchased ticket time so we didn't have to wait in line and could spend the time exploring below the needle instead! Hope you enjoy the photos, and the tips about the app. I'll be back tomorrow with my last spot in Seattle, and it just so happens to be my favorite! See ya then!
Welcome back! I hope you had a great weekend and a great week so far. Mine has been super busy, but it's going by quickly. I'm looking forward to a little craft retreat this weekend, which also means I'll have the chance to catch up on a few Discovereighng with Dana Travel work things. I'm excited you're back today! I'm sharing one of the hidden gems of my time in Seattle. Aviation is Lovely's thing, but I'll admit I was intrigued by all of the airplane things happening there.
Seattle is a major hub for a little aviation company you may have heard of, Boeing. All around the city & suburbs you'll spot buildings bearing the company's name. Whether it be factories, training stations, offices, or museums, there is something at every turn. One of the museums & the factory tour was a spot we definitely wanted to check out.
So Lovely was able to visit the Boeing Factory during his training, but we also took the tour and went to the Future of Flight Museum at the same location. This is not to be confused with the Museum of Flight in Seattle. The Future of Flight Museum & Boeing Factory are located a little farther north in Everett. The drive, though not far at all, was completely worth it for the factory tour!
I'm going to be honest here... The museum didn't wow us. However, the Boeing Factory tour blew my socks off!!! I had NO idea how large a 747 airplane is, which you can get an idea of from the photo of Lovely & plane's tail! We got to see it up close & in person on the assembly line. I'd seen them flying before and parked at gates at the airport, but I didn't quite get just how big they were until the tour. The factory was amazing in that there are literally billions of parts around to make up each of these planes, and they crank out multiple planes a month of various kinds, 747s, 767s, 777s, and 787s! We also caught glimpses of the brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner which you can now fly on within the U.S. and even on long haul flights. While the museum was a little underwhelming, the factory tour was a major highlight, and is definitely worth checking out! Unfortunately, photos are not allowed on the tour, but I hope you'll enjoyed these photos from the museum and outdoor area of the factory.
Thank you for stopping by, and be sure to add this to your Seattle itinerary!
Hey y'all! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend! I'm looking forward to this beautiful Sunday. I plan on getting my to do list knocked out early so I can spend the rest of the day resting, as it should be! It has turned cold here in Waco, Texas, but it is still a beautiful, sunny Spring day. So I am hoping to spend a little time outside as well. This weather has me reminescing on when Lovely was in Seattle, and drove the hour and a half to Mt. Vernon, Washington to see the tulips for me. Now of course this isn't something he would have regularly done alone, but we knew by the time I visited that the tulip blooms would be long gone. So I talked him into driving up there just so he could send me beautiful photos. We ended up FaceTiming as well, which was an amazing treat! He did a great job as a photographer, and I am so grateful that he went. Just seeing the photos from him, and knowing this was real--not just made up place in Pinterest land--was wonderful! Anyway, he journeyed from Renton, WA, just south of Seattle, to Roozengaarde outside of Mt. Vernon.
Now, you may be thinking...is it worth the drive up there to take the chance on the tulips not being in bloom? Well, Roozengaarde has taken out all of the guess work with an amazing bloom map on their website. You can see nearby tulip & daffodil fields on the map, and if they are in bloom or not. This is updated every couple of days or so, so you can bet it is an accurate indication on what is blooming. While the tulips are in bloom, Roozengaarde has a Tulip Festival. During other times of the year, Roozengaarde's gift shop & garden are also open.
Lovely kept his time directly at Roozengaarde, though you could potentially explore other fields as well. The garden was amazing with more tulip varieties than you can count, and each was conveniently labeled in case you wanted to buy bulbs of your own to take home & plant. The photos are something right out of Holland and seem like a Pinterest dream, but my friends, it is the real deal right here in the states! Bonus, glimpses of Mt. Baker in the background of the tulip fields--adding major googly eyes to the dreamy factor! I hope you will enjoy the photos of the beautiful Roozengaarde and tulip fields, and be sure to check out the bloom map when planning your own Spring trip to Roozengaarde in Mt. Vernon, Washington just a short drive from Seattle.
Hiya friends, we made it to Friday! Boy am I glad! It has been a long stressful week. I honestly need to figure out a better method to all of my madness, and managing time even better. But more often than not, even with great time management, there just isn't enough time in the day. However, I love getting to sit down from my busy day, and share what I love most here, traveling! Today, I'm continuing on with our adventures in Seattle with our guided tour around Mount Rainier National Park.
Mt. Rainier is one of the dreamiest places I've ever seen. Between the snow and the evergreen trees, I felt like I was in the North Pole, sans the toys & Santa Claus! This was my first time seeing mountains with snow, so I was definitely in another world. And boy did the snow deliver! Even though we visited at the end of April/beginning of May, the snow was stacked nearly as tall as we were! I haven't seen THAT much snow in my whole life combined, but then again, I am from Texas!
Anyway, let's get to it. Today, I thought I would share a few tips I have for visiting the park. There are factors to consider when visiting, such as the weather, park closures, the type of tour you want to take, and more.
1. Know the Season
Even in mid-Spring, most of the park was still closed because of the snow. We were able to travel as far up as Paradise. Be sure to check what areas of the park will be open when you decide to visit. Most of the roads stay covered in snow, with close to the peak only opening in the Summer. The lodges found at Paradise, about half way up, open only for the Summer months. You'll also want to check the weather for on the mountain when you visit. It may be warm in Seattle, but very cold on Mount Rainier. Keep the weather in mind with footwear as well. You don't want cold, wet toes from the snow.
2. Guided or Self-Paced
Decide if you want to do a guided tour, or come up with your own itinerary and drive the park with a rental car. We decided on a guided tour, booked with one of my tour operators (if you need one, feel free to contact me), and we couldn't have been more pleased! We had a very knowledgeable guide, saw tons of highlights within the park, and did not feel rushed at all. We also enjoyed stopped outside of the park as well. It was worth the money and time we would've spent planning our own itinerary. Our tour began from hotel pick up to hotel drop off, and was truly worth it! If you elect to plan your own itinerary, start with the park's website, viewing the maps, and what is open during the season you'll be visiting. Get the most our of your visit, by hitting the high points early on the way up to beat the crowds!
3. Enjoy Nature
While you're in the park, you'll notice there isn't much sign of technology other than the visiting cars & visitor's center. Enjoy this time away from the constraints of modern day living by taking your time, and truly take in the world around you. God has blessed us with these beautiful sights, and it's our blessing to enjoy them. Mount Rainier National Park is the perfect place to do so, with the lush trees, stunning waterfalls, mountains at every turn, and, on the right day, dreamy blankets of snow, you're sure to find a moment to enjoy everything this world has to offer.
Hey there! Hope you are having a great day. Mine is a little sweeter than usual. I got a beautiful delivery of flowers today for our 4th anniversary! I can't believe our wedding day was that long ago, time has just gone by so fast and has been filled with so many adventures! Which, of course, is where this whole Discovereighng with Dana Travel bout stemmed from. Anyway, I'm excited to be here today. I'm sharing our tour of the Seattle Underground, a strange & cool spot you can't miss!
The Underground was formed in the late 1800s by a fire accidentally set by a cabinet maker destroying 31 blocks of the city. What is now the Underground was once the street level of the city. When the fire broke out, the city was rebuilt on top of the old buildings, creating an underground city. The Underground was once still utilized, but is now a storage space and a unique tourist spot! When the city was rebuilt, they created glass spots in the sidewalks to allow in light for those shopping around in the Underground. So even if you don't take the tour, you may spot purple glass along the sidewalks, and that means you are walking over the Underground. Quite neat! You can also pop into The Can Can Kitchen & Cabaret at Pike Place Market, and get a peak of the underground without the tour. But it won't be as nearly as impressive if you haven't toured the Underground.
The tour begins and ends in the Pioneer Building in Pioneer Square, and takes you around the neighborhood to a nearby building where the guide takes you inside to access the Underground. You'll walk below Seattle's sidewalks, exploring the city that once was. The tour is chock full of so much history, humor, and incredible architecture and innovation! If you're into quirky, unique, and down right weird, Bill Speidel's Underground Tour is one not to be missed!
Happy hump day y'all! We are about half way through the week, and here's hoping we make it! I'm looking forward to a leisurely weekend, just need to make it there. Do you ever feel that way, like you just can't catch up? The more life goes on, the more I feel that way. Slowing down is definitely something I need to work on! But in the meantime, I'm excited to share more of Seattle with you. Seattle is definitely a place that surprised me! I wasn't quite expecting to love this city so much, but I really think the amazing weather we experienced was a big help. There are some wonderful sights to see here, and having great weather is always the icing on the cake! Today, I want to share our visit to Pioneer Square.
We actually walked to Pioneer Square from The Great Wheel, a some 2 mile walk, uphill. #whoops But the journey was worth it! We passed beautiful buildings covered in ivies and dreamy city streets. Then once we reached the square, we were greeted by totem poles, a stunning iron pergola, cobblestone streets, and amazing architecture! While there, we decided to take a tour of the Underground, which we are glad we did! But more on that later.
The square is a popular spot for peddlers and the homeless, so be prepared for that. I never felt uncomfortable, nor were we approached, but it's something I don't want to leave out. Give if you feel the desire, but just be aware of your surroundings.
The stunning pergola, which I didn't get a full photo of, was built in 1909, and made of ornate iron. Along with the totem pole in Pioneer Square, the pergola is a National History Landmark. At the beginning of our tour of the Underground, we learned that the totem pole has its own sordid past consisting of a few drunk businessman. According to our tour guide, in the late 1800s while visiting Alaska, members of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce got drunk, and stole the totem pole. They brought it back to Seattle, erecting it in Pioneer Square. In the 1930's, the pole was set on fire by vandals. The city requested the original tribe replicate another totem pole to replace the lost one. The tribe was smart, and charged the city for both! Quite smart I'd say!
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the photos of this fun stop, and add it to your own Seattle Itinerary. Have a great day!
Hey friends! I hope Monday was good to you. Mine was super busy, and way too long! Here's hoping the rest of the week is a bit more relaxed. But wait, what's that word?! ;) Anyway, I'm excited you stopped by today. I have a fun post for you. Though not actually in Washington, I'm sharing Lovely's visit to see the Spruce Goose within my Seattle series.
While staying in Seattle for work, he ventured a few hours to Oregon to Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum to see Howard Hughes' famed Spruce Goose! If you've seen the Leonardo DiCaprio film, The Aviator, you're familiar with the Spruce Goose and Howard Hughes' quirks. Hughes went out on a whim to build an all wood aircraft to assist in the efforts of World War II. The aircraft only ever got off the ground once and wasn't complete in time to use for the war, but it was highly significant because of its size. According to Wikipedia, "It is the largest flying boat (as it could land on water), and has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in history." It's so large, he couldn't even fit it all in one photo (must teach him to take a panoramic photo). ;) And though I didn't see it in person, boy can you tell it is huge from the photos! It's really quite amazing that the thing ever even made it off of the ground! Definitely a sight to see! If you're the touristy type, you can also have your photo made in the flight deck of the plane, where Howard Hughes himself once manned the aircraft. This year also marks the 70th anniversary of its first flight.
Along with the Spruce Goose, the museum boasts designs from Orville & Wilbur Wright, modern day aircraft, and everything in between! If you have an extended stay in Seattle or Portland and are into aircraft, you should check out the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum. It was so good, Lovely made the 3 hour venture from Seattle twice!