Month: January 2020

1 Day in Seattle, Washington

1 Day in Seattle, Washington

In May 2019, my husband and I celebrated our 20th Anniversary. We have always wanted to see Alaska, and that is where we decided to celebrate our special milestone. We toured Alaska by cruise, and the ship left out of Seattle. Click here to read about our Alaskan cruise. We have family that lives about an hour away from Seattle, so we spent a day/night with them. The next morning, we got up and headed our way to spend 1 day in Seattle.

Space Needle

It wouldn’t be a trip to Seattle without visiting the Space Needle. I don’t mind heights, but as a child I had a strong fear of elevators. I grew out of that fear, but I have to say that I was a bit nervous about going into an elevator that goes up that high up. It’s a long way down if something happened. I didn’t let that fear bother me though, and really enjoyed the view from the top. There were so many exciting things to see being that high above the city. Many of the apartment buildings had roof top terraces where you could lounge. They even had grassy areas for you to walk your dog. We also saw some amazing murals that were on the roof of the buildings.

One of the levels of the space needle had a rotating floor with a glass bottom, which was very exciting. If you get motion sickness, you may want to opt out. It’s not that it goes fast, it just might affect you with the slow spin and seeing through the floor. At least that was why my husband skipped that portion.

On the way out, you can explore the gift shop and even do a virtual reality experience that is included with your ticket. My son did it and I believe it was a bungee jump.

Museum of Pop Culture

Just a short walk away from the Space Needle is the Museum of Pop Culture. There were so many amazing exhibits to view in a short period of time. While we only did a few hours, I can see taking a long day at the museum or even two days to really take it all in.

Some of our favorite exhibits were the Lord of the Rings, The Princess Bride, Mario Bros., Phantasm, Nirvana, the music room and the guitar sculpture. They always have a changing exhibit, and while we were there it was Queen (the band). The featured exhibit is not included in the general admission ticket. As much as we love Queen, we unfortunately didn’t have time to tour the exhibit.

The Public Market

Our feet were hurting dearly by this point and we were so tired, but only having one day in Seattle, we crammed it all in. The Public Market is somewhere that you really should visit at least once when you are in the area. It’s the famous market where they do the fish throwing. They don’t do it as frequently as they did in the past. We didn’t even see it, but we did see the fish market. There were so many other wonderful vendors in the market. We saw florists who did arrangements that were so beautiful. Other artisans included jewelry makers, artists, butchers, and varied food vendors. For lunch we ate at The Crab Pot where we had delicious Dungeness, King, and Snow crabs.

Tacos Chukis

We are big fans of tacos and came across Tacos Chukis on Yelp, so we chose it for dinner. It did not disappoint. I have never been a fan of corn tortillas, but Tacos Chukis changed me. My tacos also had the most delicious avocado sauce on top, and I don’t usually like avocado anything. It’s a simple shop that only offers main dishes such as tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and Mexican sandwiches. They don’t offer sides such as rice, beans, or chips. It’s not a problem though as their servings are enough to fill you up.

Amazon Go

We just walked out! We had heard about this market and were excited to see what it was all about. Amazon Go is a small shop that has pre-made meals, and other convenience items. You have to download the Amazon Go app and login before you begin shopping. Once you enter the store, you open up your app and begin shopping. Simply put what you want in your bag, and walk out when you are done. There is no need to stop at the check-out line. In fact, there is no check-out line in the store. I am not sure the technology behind it, but there is something in the store that knows what you put in your bag and charges it to your account.

As you can see, we crammed an extremely large amount of stuff into a one-day period. We like to see it all and we were only there for one day. We live on the east coast, so it is not a place that we visit frequently. You could easily take my one-day plan to Seattle, Washington and turn it into a 2-day itinerary.

If you have visited Seattle, Washington, what were some of your favorite places to visit that I may have left out? Let me know in the comments below.

15 Things to Do in Virginia Beach, Virginia

15 Things to Do in Virginia Beach, Virginia

Virginia Beach, Virginia is a coastal city in Southeast Virginia. It lies where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. It is an amazing place to visit in the summer where you can spend the day sun bathing on the beach. It does get cold in Virginia during the winter, but it’s pretty mild.  January and February are the coldest months, but the city offers a wide array of activities to keep you busy all year long! Below you will see a list of my top 15 things to do in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

ifly

3 years ago, I surprised my husband with a trip to iFLY. If you have ever wanted to go skydiving, but want to try a safer version first, you have to schedule a visit. When you arrive, you are greeted by an instructor who teaches you how to communicate with them in the wind tunnel, as well as several motions/movements that will help you get the most out of your flight. Once you step into the wind tunnel, relax, and enjoy the ride. You even have the option to fly high in the tunnel. It is definitely worth it! iFLY has several locations around the U.S. as well as international locations. Children can be as young as 3 to fly. FYI…you will want to try the real deal after this experience. I’m hoping to for my 40th birthday in July! https://www.iflyworld.com/virginia-beach/

Adventure Park

Ziplining is what Adventure Park is all about! The park spreads through about 6 acres of the tree canopy just north of the Marsh Pavilion. From the main platform, climbers have the choice between 16 different trails that are color-coded to indicate the degree of challenge they offer. Trails are marked just like ski-runs, with some suitable for novice, some for intermediate, and some for advanced climbers. These trails include more than 165 challenging crossing made of rope, cable, and wood. Among these crossing are more than 25 zip lines. The most challenging trails are up to 55 feet above the ground. Their longest zip line runs 315 feet and crosses Owl Creek. You will definitely get a good work out in after a day at the Adventure Park! https://virginiabeachadventurepark.com/

Virginia Aquarium

The mission the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is to inspire conservative of the marine environment through education, research, and sustainable practices. Some of the major exhibits include harbor seals, komodo dragons, tomistoma crocodiles, sharks, ray touch pool, and a Chesapeake Bay aquarium. In the winter you can go on whale watching tours; in the summer dolphin watching tours are available. They even have an Imax theatre for educational documentaries. https://www.virginiaaquarium.com/Pages/default.aspx

Ocean Breeze Waterpark

Ocean Breeze is Virginia Beach’s only waterpark. It offers 17 waterslides, a million-gallon Runaway Bay Wave Pool, the Buccaneer Bay Water Playground, a quarter-mile Adventure River, and other fantastic attractions. You can even rent sunbrella canopies as well as full-sized cabanas (this can and should be done online as they sell out fast). Be sure to buy your tickets and food voucher’s online to save money. Parking is also free at Ocean Breeze. https://www.oceanbreezewaterpark.com/ (All pictures are from the Ocean Breeze Waterpark website.)

Vrbo

ViBe Creative District

Nestled within the oceanfront area is Virginia Beach’s cultural arts enclave – The Vibe Creative District. “It is a hub for artists and spirits, roasters and restaurants, workouts and wares, museums and more, the ViBe is where creative businesses have set up shop to share their passion and inspire a sense of discovery in locals and visitors alike.” – ViBe Creative District https://vibecreativedistrict.org/ (All pictures are from the ViBe Creative District website.)

Farmers Market

Old Beach Farmers Market

The Old Beach Farmers market is a fresh outdoor marketplace in the heart of the resort area, just six blocks from the ocean and one block from the Virginia Beach Convention Center, in the parking lot of Croc’s 19th Street Bistro. They feature seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, eggs, seafood, cheeses, a wide assortment of baked goods, artisanal breads, savory foods from local chefs, soap, and flowers. They are open the second Saturday of every month. http://www.oldbeachfarmersmarket.com/

Virginia Beach Farmers Market

The Virginia Beach Farmers Market is open year-round and features a variety of agriculturally inspired shops and related businesses that offer seasonal, fresh vegetables and fruit in addition to many other products. Some of the shops include a butchers shop, seafood market, dairy and ice cream, florist, candy store, bakery, full-menu restaurant, home, garden and specialty stores, offer a unique and varied shopping experience. The Market is located at 3640 Dam Neck Rd. https://www.vbgov.com/government/departments/agriculture/farmers-market/Pages/default.aspx

Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

“The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art is a non-profit institution which exists to foster awareness, exploration, and understanding of the significant art of our time.” (MOCA) Their regularly changing exhibitions feature painting, sculpture, photography, glass, video and other visual media from internationally acclaimed artists as well as artists of national and regional renown. https://virginiamoca.org/

The Charged exhibit that is running from September 2019 – February 2020. (This image is from the Museum of Contemporary Arts website.)

Cape Henry Lighthouse

Cape Henry Lighthouse is the first federally funded public works project of the newly formed United States government. It was authorized by George Washington and overseen by Alexander Hamilton. The Lighthouse is situated near the “First Landing” site where English settlers first set foot on their way to settle in Jamestown. Built with the same Aquia sandstone as much of Washington, D.C, the lighthouse guided sea travelers to safety for almost 100 years. The distinctive black and white striped “New” Cape Henry Lighthouse was built in 1881 but remains closed to the public. During your visit you can enter the lighthouse and climb to the top. https://preservationvirginia.org/historic-sites/cape-henry-lighthouse/ Please check the website before visiting as it is currently under renovations (January 2020).

Spend the Day at the Beach

The Guinness Book of World Records has awarded Virginia Beach the title of “Longest Pleasure Beach.” Virginia Beach offers 35 miles of coastline waiting to be explored. Be sure to check out the King Neptune Statue on 31st St. The bronze statue was sculpted by Paul DiPasquale.

There is also a 15,000 square foot beach park that features wheelchair-accessible entrances and an incredible playground that includes poured-in-place surfacing, raised sand tables for sandcastle building at an accessible height, a sensory board for children who are autistic and visually impaired, and a sway boat. https://www.vbgov.com/government/departments/parks-recreation/parks-trails/city-parks/Pages/grommet-island.aspx

Kayaking at the Beach

While visiting the beach, be sure to book a kayak trip with one of the local rental shops in the area (link provided below). Many of these shops will take you on dolphin tours where you may come eye to eye with these magnificent creatures. We did a tour a few years back and was instantly hooked. We now own kayaks and frequently take them to the beach. http://www.vbsurfsessions.com/VB_Surf_Sessions___Kayak.html

Hiking

While Virginia Beach is predominantly flat, there are many gorgeous trails to hike and enjoy nature! https://www.visitvirginiabeach.com/blog/post/experience-virginia-beach-hiking-trails/

Mt. Trashmore

World-renowned Mount Trashmore Park encompasses 165 acres and is comprised of two man-made mountains, two lakes, two playgrounds, a skate park and vert ramp, and multi-use paths. The main mountain, Mount Trashmore, now 60 feet in height and 800 feet long, was created by compacting layers of solid waste and clean soil. Recognized for its environmental feat, this former landfill features a water-wise garden that boasts xeriscaping which requires minimal water. The park also features a smaller mountain, Encore Hill, and two lakes. Lake Windsor (located along South Blvd.) is brackish water fed by Thalia Creek. Lake Trashmore (located along Edwin Drive) is freshwater and hosts various species of fish. Fishing is permitted from land only and requires a Virginia freshwater fishing​ license​. Anglers must adhere to all State regulations regarding creel and size limits. No boats, swimming or wading is allowed in the lakes. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Kayaks are permitted at Lake Windsor.​ https://www.visitvirginiabeach.com/listing/mount-trashmore-park/44/

Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheatre

Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheatre is a 20,000-seat outdoor concert venue that offers music of all genres. See some of your favorite bands during the summer at this hot spot. https://www.livenation.com/venues/14474/veterans-united-home-loans-amphitheater-at-virginia-beach

Town Center

The Town center area is Virginia Beach’s slice of city life. Visit many popular shops and restaurants and enjoy live entertainment in front of Bravo’s. In the summer, take advantage of YNOT Wednesday free summer concert series. https://www.sandlercenter.org/events/free-events

Photo from the Virginia Beach Town Center website
Dresslily Mid-Year Promotion

COMING SOON 2020! The Wave VB and Wavegarden Cove

The image below is a conceptual rendering of The Wave Virginia Beach surf venue being developed by the Venture Realty Group and supported by Pharrell Williams. The plan proposes a 2-acre Wavegarden cove that provides up to 1000 waves per hour, right and left waves, multiple surfers at the same time, great for pro surfers and beginners, and open year-round! There will be an area for live entertainment, as well as 150,000 square feet of dining and retail space. https://www.surfparkcentral.com/the-wave-vb/

Image from the Surf Park Central website

These are my top 15 things to do in Virginia Beach, but I am sure that I left out a few other places. If you have visited Virginia Beach, what were your favorite things to do? What on my list sounds interesting to you? Let me know in the comments below.

5 Days in Salt Lake City, Utah

5 Days in Salt Lake City, Utah

When my husband invited me on his business trip to Salt Lake City, Utah I was quite excited. We visited St. George, Utah the year before and loved all of the hiking offered in the national and state parks. ST. GEORGE, UTAH LINK HERE Salt Lake City is at the opposite end of the state, and we were eager to see what new trails we could explore. It definitely did not disappoint. This 5-day itinerary to Salt Lake City, Utah will interest anyone who loves to take in all of the beauty of the great outdoors.

Hotels.com: $99 or Less

Day 1: Tracy Aviary & Botanical Garden in Liberty Park

Tracy Aviary is the largest and oldest of only two-free standing aviaries in the nation with 19 different exhibits. It’s a beautiful place to spend the day. The snow owl and the toucan were my favorites to admire. The aviary is located in Liberty Park. If you have time to visit the park beforehand or after, I highly recommend it.

Day 2: Hiking Bells Canyon Trail

We did this trip in August and the trees were already turning beautiful shades of fall. Our hike on the Bells Canyon Trail took us about 4 hours. We took many stops to take in the beauty of the scenery. We also took time to explore the waterfall. To get to the waterfall you have to go down a steep area. This made me come to a complete stop. It isn’t a straight down area, but I began questioning the danger I would be in if I slipped. With that being said, I sat on a rock to think about things for a few minutes. I LOVE waterfalls, and the hike to the fall was about 2 hours. I could hear the fall from where I was sitting and could see a tiny bit of it. I began to give myself a pep talk that I didn’t go that far to see a sliver of it. So, I grabbed onto my courage, got up, and walked straight to it. It was all worth it!

Day 3: Hiking Small Cottonwood Canyon

Small Cottonwood Canyon was such a fun trail to hike. As we ascended up the mountain we came upon a lake on top. It was absolutely stunning and I could have stayed there all day in the silence. It was an amazing place to relax and meditate. Coming from the east coast I was on the lookout for some big animals, particularly moose. My husband’s coworker had mentioned seeing a lot of moose on this trail in the past. I unfortunately didn’t see any on this hike or the Bells Canyon trail we took the day before. Perhaps if we take a trip in the future we will get lucky.

Day 4: Hiking Lake Mary at Brighton Ski Resort

We got an early start in the morning for this hike and it was surprisingly cold for August. On our drive to the trail we saw a moose! I was so excited and hoped it was a sign that we would see some on our hike. As we began the ascend up the mountain. We learned the air was much thinner than we were used to, and we were out of breath quite fast. I had done some research on what animals we could see on this hike and have to admit that I was a bit nervous about stumbling upon a bear. I felt eerie for most of the time, despite never seeing one. I know it was all in my head. I also know that they were there, but want nothing to do with us. We did however see several chipmunks, ground hogs, and a squirrel that kept throwing things at us from the tree.

Day 5 Antelope Island

Antelope Island State Park is about an hour away from Salt Lake City, Utah. The park is home to several herds of bison, and it was quite amazing to see these gorgeous creatures roaming about. They look so gentle and calm, but don’t let that fool you. They are large and can charge you if they so choose.

Antelope Island, with an area of 42 square miles, is the largest of ten islands located within the Great Salt Lake, Utah, United States. The island lies in the southeastern portion of the lake, near Salt Lake City and Davis County, and becomes a peninsula when the lake is at extremely low levels. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antelope_Island

Antelope Island has an array of wildlife and is famous for its large bison population, the Antelope Island bison herd. Though the island was named for the pronghorn antelope that John C. Frémont and Kit Carson discovered there when they explored the Great Salt Lake, bison (American buffalo) were later introduced. All of the bison on Antelope Island are plains bison. The Antelope Island bison herd got its start when, “Twelve bison, 4 bulls (males), 4 cows (females) and 4 calves were taken by boat to the island on February 15, 1893 by William Glassman and John Dooly. These twelve animals provided the foundation for what has grown into one of the largest and oldest publicly owned bison herds in the nation.”[15] The herd of bison increased quickly in numbers and by the early 20th century, several hundred of them were present on the island. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antelope_Island

In 5 days my husband and I were only able to explore a small amount of the hiking that is available in the Salt Lake City, Utah area. We hope to go back again some time in the future to explore even more.

Let me know in the comments below if you have ever hiked in the area. What were some of your favorite trails? Also, be sure to let me know if you spotted moose along the way.

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