I Love to Travel: Just a Long Weekend at a Mexican Resort

It was Friday April 13th and we were on our way to Mexico together for the first time. Well, I guess that’s not entirely true.

Back in February we went on a cruise and one of the stops was in Cozumel.

But this time we were on our way to Cancun. We were headed to our cozy, chill all-

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First stop, water and drinks.

inclusive resort and we couldn’t wait.

Our preplanned transportation service was perfect, picked us up from the airport as scheduled and brought us right to the front door of Sunset Marina. We had arrived.

First things first, some relaxing and drinks on the water. The water was pretty tame

 

as we stayed on the bay side in Cancun.

Saturday we had planned our excursion to one of seven wonders of the world, Chichen Itza! This site has Mayan ruins and they are truly grand and amazing to encounter.

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Chichen Itza

It was a steamy 96 degrees as we walked around Mexico that day, so I couldn’t wait to go the the cenote, or sink hole, in Spanish. I heard it was “cold,” fresh water and 150 feet deep, and I was so excited!

I was literally the only one though, no one else in my group went in, not even my husband! Where are my friends when I need them?

It was super fun though and perfectly refreshing for how hot I had been earlier in the day. I love cenotes!

That night we visited the resort restaurant for French Cuisine. The restaurant had

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Cancun

different styles of food, depending on the day. The food was good and because we had all-inclusive access, everything was “free.”

On that note, I don’t think there was anything I said more on that trip then “Dos cientos ocho y A (ah),” our room number, haha, we used it for everything!

Sunday morning started with talking with our vacation company. We got to tour Tres Rios Resort and it was beautiful and sustainable and I loved it. However, we didn’t buy anything, this time. By Sunday afternoon we wanted to get back to the pool and relax but it had been raining all day, so instead we hopped in the hot tub to watch the sunset. The hot tub was right on the water so you were sitting on the bay, the sun and sky were so close!

Monday was our last day so we wanted to spend it at the pool. Along with the excursions we went on, we had massages as well and because we talked with or vacation company, all of these activities were comped.

The massage was at two, and by that time we were ready to get out of the sun for a little

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Waiting for our massage=)

while. The massages were great, relaxing and renewing. We went back to the pool and played a quick round of bingo before late lunch/first dinner. To get an extra number to add to your card, someone had to name the only animal with three brains. And guess who knew it? Yup, this girl! Octopus! I win.

Not really, but I did get an extra number for knowing that fun fact. After that, we grabbed so buffet food and went back to the pool before dinner. I even went down the water slide.

Dinner in the restaurant was Spanish themed that Monday night.  I ate the best thing I

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Garlic Fish and Rice

had had yet in Mexico, Chicken, Wine and Garlic Rice. It was absolutely delicious. We enjoyed many Mexican dishes while we were there but this Spanish dish was just delectable.

Tuesday morning came really fast and because of our scheduled transportation, we spent a long three hours at the airport before take off. Snooze, literally.

And then we were back. Cancun was fun and I would love to visit again. This was not a typical long weekend for us but it was really fun!

Have you ever done an all-inclusive resort vacation? Where did you go? Happy travels!

Oh and PS, I almost forgot, Nick got pooped on HAHAHAHA

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POOP

I Love to Travel: Cruise Tips

So, we did it. Our first cruise is in the books. It was a short four day venture and, all in all, it was pretty great. We went from South Florida, to further in South Florida in Key West, then to Cozumel, Mexico, a day on the ship and back.

I had never been on a cruise before but there were some things I brought and I was SO GLAD! Want to know what they were? Here you go=)

Sun HatIMG_20180210_233132

I bought said sun hat in Panama. It’s literally the first (and only) sun hat I have ever bought. It’s big and purple and I love it. Plus, it worked great for the cruise. The last day we spent on the back of the ship, tanning, reading and drinking and without that hat I would have left the cruise with a sunburned face. Instead, I left golden brown face.

Scarf

I have the most beautiful, soft, Persian scarf and this, too, was perfect for the trip. Not only is it gorgeous, cashmere, and an amazing accessory. It’s also huge, warm and doubled as a great extra but also a sometimes needed (warm) shoulder cover up.

Rope or Necklace (Holder) for Your Ship Card

Little did I know we would have to have a card to do everything on the ship. Order food? Need your card. Drinks Where’s your card? Want to leave the ship or get back on? Card. Get a shoelace necklace, rope or chain to wear your card. So much easier and then you always have it with you.

Ginger or Peppermint Oil Peppermintoil

Even if you think your tummy is good, if you’ve never been on a cruise, bring something to tame your tum! I always have peppermint oil on me (or at least in some form because the allergy oil blend I use has peppermint in it) so that is good. I also have been eating crystallized ginger since I was a child..it was my Grams go to for anything tummy.

Sunscreen

Make SURE you have sunscreen. I mean, you can spend 3 times as much on board to buy some if you want, but you WILL need it. On the ship, on excursions, and any time your outside slather it on. The ship gives you ample opportunity to get in your Vitamin D, but if you’re not careful, you’ll get a lot more than that.

Literally having these things (minus anything for my card) helped so much. I was really thankful I thought to bring these items and I know they helped me to enjoy myself to the fullest.

Anything I missed? I hope you are taking the time to enjoy this life, too, and get out and do new things when you can! XOXO

 

Exploring Ohio: The Old Mason Winery

With colorful wine flights, a 77-degree day, and a table in the shade, this wine tasting was pretty much perfect. We couldn’t have enjoyed trying and tasting each others wines more.

Driving through about 5 miles of hills, trees, and natural beauty, I knew we were about to go over the border. Crossing the state line from Indiana to Ohio was physically different from most of Indiana, so beautiful, and all new to me.

With lots of driving and less than a day of stay, we knew we didn’t have much time. But we just had to squeeze in a winery stop and Old Mason Winery was it. With a cute upper loft and several tables inside and out, it was a great wine stop from the start.

There were two wine flight options, $6 for 5-1 ounce tastings or $12 for 5-2 ounce Screenshot_20170601-102433tastings.

The Wine

As a fruit winemaker myself, I always love to sample new and different fruit wines. Old Mason Winery’s Concord was very similar to mine and delicious. The Statesman tasted like a blend of concord and another sweet wine and was also a favorite of mine.

I also really enjoyed the white blend, White Blossom.

Fruit wine isn’t my husband’s favorite but it turns out that The Razz, raspberry wine, was his favorite here. It’s no surprise to us that The Razz is Old Mason’s best seller.

If you’re ever in Ohio, passing through or otherwise, Old Mason Winery is a great stop. With snacks, drinks, and a great place to enjoy them, don’t miss out on this fun find.

Happy exploring!

 

 

 

Three and a Half Days in Canada: Day One

Hey! It’s just so fitting to start out with that. Born and raised in WI, “hey” is common place and used for “hi,” to get someones attention, and even sometimes as a statement or question.

Even walking into the hotel, “hey there,” was written on the door. Canada, we have arrived. (And for my first time ever!)

Our first day started with driving from Michigan and into Canada. Crossing the border took about half and hour but otherwise, it was a snap. Handed over our drivers licenses, US birth certificates, answered a couple of questions, and we were in.

Let’s back up. My husband and I are on a road trip for work. We started in Milwaukee WI, then onto/through Chicago IL, a night in Dayton Ohio, two nights in Detroit MI, and now Canada. He has meetings, I have “shops,” and we’re both writing a lot. Plus, of course, trying to take it all in and have some fun too.

Just driving into Canada, I couldn’t help but notice all the differences. Yet, at the very same time, all the similarities. Canada so far has looked (and felt) much like the Midwest. However, many of the similarities end there.

Here are all the differences so far:

Metrics

Canada, like most of the world, use metrics. Distance is kilometers, volume is litre, and temperature is Celsius. This is new and different to me. Ie, even our GPS uses kilometers which made me laugh.

French is everywhere!download

I knew that large parts of Canada spoke French and used French, but I didn’t expect to see it all over the place. As a Spanish speaker, I imagine I feel now like my hubby did when we lived in Panama. Ie, I can’t read the signs written in French and feel a little left out of it all.

But just a little. And I plan to learn a few words while I’m here. First is sucre or sugar in English=)

Signs

And finally, the biggest thing I noticed was the signs. So many are pictures without words! Have you seen this before? I love it. All of Canada uses emojis irl. Too cool.

I also saw a speed bump sign, no words, just waves.

And for fun, a picture of the monies.

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We have lots of things to do, see, and write about. For now, au revoir! (Bye in French=)

 

Day Trip: Explore Homestead FL

FL was never somewhere I pictured living but almost 2 years in, I can officially say I’ve lived in FL. 4 months out of the year, I kinda love it here. The weather is pretty great and there’s always lots to do.

Living in South Florida is any “day trippers” paradise with unlimited activities all around. It’s so easy to jump on a dinner and show cruise some random weekend or take a day trip and visit a new city. For a few hours or a whole day, you can pretend you’re on vaca.

Visit Homestead for lots of fun, touristy things. Our day trip included a guided trolley ride to Biscayne Park where we walked around the land and viewed the visitors center. After a quick lunch, we explored the grounds of the Fruit and Spice Park. Fruit filled wines finished our day at Schnebly’s Winery.

Lots of pictures follow showing views at the national park, a peanut plant and pineapple plant at the fruit and spice park and I share my favorite wine pick from the winery. Take a look through our day and plan a your own there- Homestead awaits you!

Free Trolley

Homestead offers a free trolley to visit Biscayne and Everglades National Forest. Admission into the parks is waived too, so take the trolley! It’s more relaxing than driving and best of all makes the whole experience cost nothing more than gas to get there. For the trolley schedule and information on the parks, check out Homestead’s city website.

Biscayne National Park

Right on the water, this park is a beauty! Trees, rocks, and walking paths along the water lead you around the grounds and back to the nature center. Filled with pictures and fun facts, this center is a fun finish to the park.

Fruit and Spice Park

This place is a must visit if you’re ever in Homestead! With over 500 species of plants and spices, this park is like nothing you’ve experienced before. It’s costs about $8/person to get in. Be careful, they have very specific rules. You cannot buy any fruit and you may not pick any off the trees. Anything that has fallen is fair game but nothing is allowed to be carried out either.

In the gift shop and lobby, there are samples of fruits for you to try. There were several things to try while we were there including coconut, star apples and mini bananas.

The best part of the park is walking around and seeing all of the different trees, bushes, and plants of the things we like to eat!

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Peanut plant! How fun is this?
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Cinnamon Apple Tree
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This tree wasn’t marked but we liked it anyhow.
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These two toned green trees are some of my favorite FL trees

 

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Allspice Tree
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Bananas!
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FL Spring Flowers!
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The babiest mango!
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On a search for fallen mangoes

 

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Avocado tree
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Perfect Palms

 

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Love the name of this- Fried Egg Tree

 

 

Schnebly Winery 

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Our last stop was Schnebly Redland’s Winery & Brewery. We had a Groupon for a wine tasting (5 tastes,) 1 pour and a keepsake wine glass for us both. The winery is in a great open spot and has an attached brewery. They also serve delicious, sustainable local food.

As a fruit wine maker and connoisseur, I have to admit their wine isn’t my favorite. I did enjoy the CocoVino however and Nick liked several of the wines he tried. All in all, it was a great experience and I would go back. Events like live music and the atmosphere combine for a great weekend out for locals and tourists alike.

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Our souvenir wine glasses

Homestead is a great place to visit. Not only would we recommend the city to others, we plan to go back ourselves!

Homestead is a thriving town filled with fun things to do. We’d like to visit Everglades National Park, a berry farm, the local city museum, and more on our return trip.

We look forward to returning to Homestead and wish you all happy exploring!

 

 

 

 

Anniversary Adventures Are My Favorite Kind Of Celebration

Saturday afternoon brought blue skies and self-guided lighthouse tours. Last weekend we splurged with a mini vaca for our anniversary and Ponce De Leon Lighthouse was the first stop on our way up north.

Two of my favorite facts about this tourist stop are:

8138Ponce De Leon lighthouse is one of the tallest lighthouses in the US standing at 175 ft

 

Lighthouse keepers once carried a 40lb bucket of kerosene up the stairs nightly to light the lamp

 

 

 

Reminiscent of an old way of life, children’s toys and a typical keepers house, along with81313 (2)
styles of clothing and housewares were all on display. The shoe pictured is a great style that is still popular even today!

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With computers, smart phones and I-whatevers, this old school typewriter is more than a sign of the times, it is truly an antique. The paper feeder is my favorite with the huge arm on the side- how cool!

 

At only $6.95 you can walk around the grounds, visit the property houses and climb to the top of the lighthouse. What a deal! Outside a warning advises to climb at your own risk and only if you are in great shape as ascending the height of this tower will leave even the most fit short of breath.8135 (2)

 

 

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Mother Natures natural air conditioning picks up at the top of the tower with a rewarding breeze and sprawling views. On the clearest of days you are able to see Cape Canaveral and the view of the Atlantic is simply stunning.

Lighthouse lanterns have evolved over the years but after reconstruction and with a few8132
technological upgrades this one was remade and is similar to the lighthouse light in the tower today.

 

 

 

Seeing this lifeguard rescue tube shows that the design and shape hasn’t changed a bit over the years. Make something well enough the first time and it may never need to be altered.81397

I love mini vacas and this was a great detour on our way up north. Not having been to a lighthouse before, I enjoyed learning all about the processes and history of these lights of the ocean shores.

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Vacations Filled With Hiking Are The Best Kind

 

Hills and forests are a hikers best friend. Living in South Florida has been vastly different from my Midwest roots and while I enjoy the wetlands and (flat) boardwalks, I was more than excited to jet up north last weekend to find some trails. North FL is hilly, full of trees and reminds me of home.

Devil’s Millhopper State park has several different trails, sink holes and sights to see. Hills make up a large part of this park that also offers trees and shrubbery of all kinds. IMG_20160814_103439

This park houses all 45 species of birds native to Florida’s hardwood forests and, as such, they are the only forest in FL that can claim this distinction.

 

 

 

 

 

Here are bright orange and white mushrooms that grow from the side of fallen stumps.

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These bright berries, along with some of a purple variety, liter the ground floor with color.

 

 

 

With a mile loop trail and an extension (to create about 3 miles of trail) loop trail, these walking paths are for everyone. This sign reminds us to take care of these beautiful parks by not disturbing them.

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This hike provided a beautiful and calming start to our Sunday. With temperatures climbing into the 90’s, it was quite the hot and sweaty trek. However, I cannot wait to get back and experience more of what North Florida has to offer!