Tag: travel

Defining “Home” – Hometowns, Homes-away-from-Home, and “HOME”

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Hilton Garden Inn, Fredericksburg, Virginia

The notorious “hometown.” What does it mean to you? If I ask five different people, could I get five different answers? To some it is always, and only, the place where you were born. To others, the place where you grew up and spent most of your pre-adulthood years. For others, it is where you now live. And for some, any place you have ever lived can be a “hometown,” either only while you’re living there or one in an accumulation of many “hometowns” you can make claim to for the rest of your life. For people of the latter philosophy, I have many “hometowns.” I’ve lived in six different states – and the places I’ve lived in feel like varying degrees of “home” to me today – whether I, or anyone in my family, still lives there or not, and whether or not I frequently return. It is the places I have loved that always feel the most like home – not how long I lived there, when in my life I lived there, or whether I live or spend much time there now. Because ultimately home is not a static thing, not constructed out of bricks and mortar, but memories. And given that, there is more to “home” than a static physical location – as I will discuss here.

Then there’s the “home away from home.” What’s in a “home away from home” to you? A place where you no longer live but most of your family still does? A place you love enough to visit on a regular basis – or at least aspire to? A place where you actually own a second home – or just a place where you stay with others in your social circle or a favorite hotel? Can a hotel be “home?” – at least temporarily? What about a favorite restaurant, or park that you frequent and feel comfortable in? People often refer to a “home away from home” being a vacation spot they love – but as I inquired before – isn’t home just what “feels” like home – whatever that means to you, however your mind chooses to build it? You are the architect of “home.”

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Clearwater Beach, Florida at Sunset: the “home” where I live

I did not originally have the idea to write this post. Turns out, I expected to be “home” right now, back in Clearwater (in Tampa Bay), Florida where I now live (and love), but I am still somewhere else, beyond my control and due to circumstances. With all of my travel photography being back “home” on my primary computer, I had to improvise this week. I’m back in a town where I formerly lived, selling a house where I used to live once upon a time many months ago. Repairs are taking longer than expected so I’m “stuck here” getting everything finished. My temporary home is an extended stay in the Hilton Garden Inn, where I’ve made repeated trips to the front desk to advise them of added nights to my reservation. Unlike the empty house devoid of furniture and in a state of being repaired, here I have a bed, a shower, comfort… this is home now – for now – not the empty shell of a place that I once called home.

It can be hard to sell a house that you have at one time lived in, because it either is, or was, probably something you would consider a home. For better or worse, many memories are attached to it. There is a finality in the sense of “moving on” thrust on you. It is one of the reasons I, and probably many others, procrastinated the prospect, even though my move was a positive experience, and where I live now is my favorite place I have ever lived. On the other hand, Fredericksburg, Virginia was not my favorite place to live (to each their own), nor my least favorite. But it remains part of my history, and part of the person I have become, even if that means the way it motivated and inspired me to move yet again. It did, and I followed my lifelong dream to move to sunny Florida.

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BJ’s Brewhouse, Fredericksburg, Virginia

I have many fond memories of every place I’ve lived, including this one. I returned to a favorite haunt of mine when I lived here, BJ’s Brewhouse, to soak in the atmosphere one more time (maybe more as my stay keeps getting extended here!) While there, I contemplated the way that this restaurant is all over the country. There is even one in Clearwater, Florida, where I live now. Is this a “home away from home?” All of them in all of their locations? Places like this remind you that while different cities and states can be very different from one another, much is also the same.

I don’t know how long I will be calling the Hilton Garden Inn “home,” but what I do know is that this may be the last time I linger in this town where I once stayed day after day. Funny how life goes on and things can change – even things as pivotal to your well-being and sense of identity as where you call “home.”

I often use the expression “most at home on the road,” because I genuinely feel that way. I am most comfortable when I’m on the move, traveling and exploring, not in staying in any one place at all. In a way, I could say “everywhere” is “home.”

So where do I consider “home?” There are so many different ways to define the word “home.” I love my place in Florida, and it sure feels like “home.” And I do feel so at home on the road. But, ultimately, my true, and most important home is with my long-distance boyfriend who happens to live in Michigan, because no where do I feel more like I’m “home” than in his warm embrace. I am the architect of my own “home,” and that home, with him, is my castle and my private island all in one, where there is no better place on earth. Whether we’re in Florida, Michigan, or anywhere else, I’m most completely at home with him.

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“Home” at Last… in a Michigan auto shop

What does “home” mean to you? Leave a comment below.

Below is a video of my first time meeting my long-distance boyfriend in person, including my road trip to get there and meeting itself! (Home at last!):

 

 

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A German Christmas in Frankenmuth, Michigan!

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Holiday Horse & Carriage Ride

Frankenmuth, Michigan is rated one of the most “Christmas-ish” towns in America, and for good reason! What better way to celebrate the holiday than to stroll through this fantastically festive holiday wonderland?! Better yet, hop on a holiday horse and carriage ride and let the jingle bells of your horse heighten the holiday atmosphere!

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Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland

No Christmas visit to Frankenmuth is complete without a stop at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, the biggest Christmas store in the world! Here you will be enveloped in Christmas spirit… albeit the commercial kind… with thousands upon thousands of holiday decorations to choose from. There are ornaments here for every subject, person, place, and thing – walls of them, and a multitude of trees in a rainbow of colors to adorn with them. Also available are a bounty of Christmas village displays and other decorations. You could get completely lost in here, completely immersed in holiday cheer, mesmerized by the glow of twinkling lights and shiny globes!

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Bavarian inn, from 1888

Frankenmuth was put on the map by German settlers in the 1880s, and the German influence abounds in the form of gingerbread house architecture, wooden carving, a brewery and brewing museum, and other nods to the homeland (note the clock towers and blue and white Bavarian flag checkerboard patterns on window shutters!) Christmas is also a major contributor to Bavarian culture, and in the spirit of this the town is illuminated and festooned to the hilt for the holidays!

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Frankenmuth Clock Shop

Many German traditions are practiced in Frankenmuth, including the wood carving of cuckoo and other German clocks here at the Frankenmuth Clock Shop. Craving fine German cuisine and great beer? Frankenmuth boasts many great German restaurants!

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Covered Bridge

At night Frankenmuth becomes perhaps even more spectacular – as the sun goes down and the lights come up. Whether strolling over the old Covered Bridge or holiday window shopping on a Silent Night at the brilliantly bedecked River Place Shops, Frankenmuth is truly a Christmas delight. For me, Christmas came early being here in Frankenmuth, Michigan!

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Holiday Shopping at River Place Shops

Watch my full tour of a Frankenmuth, Michigan Christmas on YouTube here!:

 

 

 

Jaunty, Jovial Juneau, Alaska!

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Mt. Roberts Tramway, Juneau

Juneau, Alaska is one of the more “metropolitan” destinations in Alaska, yet maintains its Old West, quaint town feel. On this day, I was feeling even more than that… I was feeling drenched from the torrential downpours that happened upon the city on that densely overcast day! Unfortunately, a highlight of Juneau, the Mt. Roberts Tramway, was not on my agenda with visibility from the peak nearing zero! Many others made the trek in spite of cloudy skies.

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“Downtown” Juneau

I opted instead for a stroll, umbrella in tow, through the main streets. While a small handful of what could loosely be defined “skyscrapers” dot the downtown district, most of the architecture harks back to an earlier time. Some of the building fronts resemble an Old Western movie set, the shadowy fringes of treetops on the mountains peeking out from billowing clouds looming in the background. I imagined Bob Ross capturing these mountains in a painting…

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Old Western Style Building Fronts

If you wish to venture out further, there are glaciers available to visit on a day trip. If you choose to embark on such an adventure, or a tramway ride, I am hopeful your weather will be more cooperative!

For a short video tour of a rainy day in Juneau, you can watch my YouTube video here:!

 

Ketchikan, Alaska: Quirky and Wild

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Clan House, Totem Bight State Park

Ketchikan is your typical first Alaskan stop on an Alaskan cruise itinerary, and it offers a tantalizing contrast in cultures to explore! The best place to start your adventure first is Totem Bight State Park, where you can discover and learn about Native American culture in Alaska, their totem poles, and enter one of their clan houses, brilliantly restored and preserved.

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Richly decorated totem pole

Totem poles served a variety of different purposes. In front of a clan house, it could serve as an “address” marker, much like our address number and street. Others convey local legends, or honor a local clan. And others serve as grave markers, much like cemetery stones.

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This one is akin to a cemetery stone

The totems are decorated in rich, bold colors and depict a wealth of different designs. Animals are abundant in totem design. At Totem Bight State Park there are many different types of totems to compare and contrast. And, if you’re lucky, you may also catch a glimpse of a whale from the waterfront!

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Welcome to Ketchikan sign near the port

The area around the port hosts many retail shops, and can be crowded when multiple cruise ships are docked. Perhaps the most interesting sight here at the port is “The Rock” statue.

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“The Rock”

According to the Ketchikan Story Project, “The Rock tells the story of how Alaska’s First City came to be. Six of the seven figures on the sculpture represents a prominent archetype in the city’s history – a fisherman, a miner, a logger, a bush pilot, a frontierswoman, a native drummer. The seventh represents an actual historic figure – Chief Johnson, a Tlingit who stands on top of ‘The Rock,’ symbolizing the fact that his people were the first to make their home in SE Alaska.” (www.ketchikanstories.com)

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Fishing culture

Fishing is a vital component of the Alaskan culture, and there is no shortage of evidence of this here in Ketchikan. Boats bob peacefully along the docks in a “skyline” of masts at the port, while beyond them brightly colored wooden houses dot the shoreline, and towering dark green mountains are nestled in puffs of mist and clouds behind them.

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Creek Street Boardwalk

Another not-to-be-missed attraction in Ketchikan is the historic Creek Street Boardwalk. It can be a challenge to navigate – attracting hoards of eager tourists – but it is well worth the effort. Here wooden houses in a rainbow of colors sit upon a lengthy boardwalk creek front, where miniature waterfalls provide a chance to witness leaping salmon. There is history here, including “Dolly’s House,” a brothel from 1919. Of course, retail shopping opportunities abound as well, given the crowds.

Ketchikan is quirky and wild, a place of great contrasts, and an excellent place to start your Alaskan journey!

You can view my tour of Ketchikan here:!

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Alaska’s Inside Passage: Mysterious Beauty and Pristine Wilderness!

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Some trees appear to float on air in the mist

During the Norwegian Bliss cruise ship’s Alaska itinerary, the trip through the Inside Passage’s wonderful wilderness is a breathtaking highlight. It is a surreal world of icebergs, weightlessly wafting puffy clouds of mist, placid green-hued waters (so tinted due to sediment from the glaciers), and endless armies of pine trees descending mountains alongside strings of waterfalls that lay like whimsical ribbons on the landscape.

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Waterfall “ribbons”

The journey is slow, as the ship greatly reduces speed through this area, both for safety (icebergs abound), and because this is not a path of travel or means to an end, it is a destination in and of itself. There was one time on the cruise it seemed like everyone else was on their balcony too (I know because I was out there all the time when not at port!) and this was it, the clicking of photos being snapped the only sound echoing in this peaceful paradise.

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Calm waters melt into the soft outlines of mist

With the waters so calm and the mist so surreal in its softness, at times the outline between the two is only a faint one. The icebergs peeking through the serene waters and hunter green humps of land peering through the billowy mists breach the illusion and tell you where the outline begins.

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Thick rows of fog striping the sky

The thickness of the fog completely obscures the land behind it at times, as if keeping the secret of a great surprise it could reveal at any moment… and does. It stripes the sky in rows… and dissipates rapidly only to form again, a playful shapeshifter.

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Where does the water begin?

The inside passage is like an alien world in its mysterious beauty and pristine wilderness. While the Bliss did not continue all the way to Sawyer Glacier as planned for safety’s sake (amid the thick fog and weather conditions), I was completely satiated after seeing the spectacular wonder of wilderness that is the Inside Passage, and would later see other glaciers in Skagway.

My video tours of Alaska’s Inside Passage and the Norwegian Bliss may be found here!:

Inside Passage:

Norwegian Bliss:

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The Beautiful, Bold, and Breathtaking Brand New Norwegian Bliss Cruise Ship!

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The Norwegian Bliss

The Norwegian Bliss cruise ship sailed its maiden cruise this past spring, and I had the opportunity to sail on the Bliss in August on Norwegian’s Alaska itinerary out of Seattle, Washington. A spectacular experience on a spectacular ship!

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The Bliss docked in Victoria, B.C., Canada

The Bliss has 19 decks, and a 4,990 occupancy rate (double occupancy!) It holds a crew of 1,700. As impressive as the stats on this ship are, they cannot prepare you for the experience of witnessing this beautiful, breathtaking behemoth in person! The artwork on the hull is titled “Cruising with the Whales” and was created by renowned marine artist Wyland.

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Spectacular chandelier in one of the main lobbies

The interior design of the Bliss makes it as magnificent as the exterior! The decor is elegant, grandiose, and best of all, clever and creative. I felt spoiled on eye candy at every moment on the Bliss.

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Savor complimentary dining room

The Bliss is abundant with options for dining, including many complimentary and specialty choices. The decor in the dining rooms is upscale and trendy; I felt like a VIP no matter where I dined, whether there was a charge or not. Service was always prompt, courteous, and friendly, and the meals were a delight to my palate!

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Sugarcane Mojito Bar – my favorite hangout on the ship

In addition to dining outlets there are many bars on the Bliss, often tastefully themed. I was especially partial to the Sugarcane Mojito Bar, where the decor was classic Havana and there were a myriad of different flavors of Mojito, all delicious, to choose from. It was a great place to relax, enjoy the views of the ocean, and meet fellow passengers while enjoying some of the best drinks I’ve ever tasted!

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Balcony cabin on the Bliss

The balcony cabin was spacious, comfortable, and delightfully decorated. The mattress was dreamy, and I appreciated the many options for storage and abundance of electrical outlets. I never felt cramped in the bathroom, either. These were very pleasant surroundings for my stay on the sea!

The entertainment was outstanding on the Bliss, including the Tony-award-winning “Jersey Boys” show, “Havana!” a Cuban music and cultural extravaganza,  and the New Orleans speakeasy inspired “Happy Hour Prohibition” musical. I was enthralled and moved by all three shows. And of course, there is plenty more nightlife to come post-show in the exciting nightclubs!

The Bliss has ample amenities, even including a go-kart track on the top deck, laser tag, and the wildest water park slides I’ve ever witnessed on a cruise ship. And if all that wasn’t enough, the spectacular views of Alaska’s Inside Passage from up on deck or the privacy of your balcony – priceless!

I would recommend the Bliss cruise ship to anyone with absolutely zero hesitation. To this day, it is in my opinion the greatest cruise ship I have ever had the pleasure to sail on. I experienced no issues or problems whatsoever at any point during the cruise, either.

I have posted a full video tour of the Bliss, including a first-person view from inside the go karts, here!:

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Getting High on Life in the Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee!

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Morning mountain mist

The Great Smoky Mountains, and corresponding National Park, straddle the states of Tennessee and North Carolina in the southern United States. My entry point into this natural wonderland was Gatlinburg, Tennessee. As I enjoyed the breathtaking view from the rocking chair of my porch, the Smoky Mountains namesake morning mist hovered, weaving its way through the mountaintops, and providing a perfect sight from which to contemplate the day’s adventures on which I would embark! (For more on where I stayed during my visit to the Smoky Mountains, look for my Wyndham Legacy Smoky Mountains Resort tour blog linked below.)

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Scenic overlook in the Park

A visit to Smoky Mountains National Park in undeniably the first place you are going to want to begin your adventure. In one of nature’s ultimate playgrounds you will discover many natural wonders, as well as, as the National Park Service describes, “One of the best collections of log buildings in the Eastern United States. Over 90 historic structures – houses, barns, outbuildings, churches, schools, and grist mills – have been preserved or rehabilitated in the park.” (www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/historicbuildings.htm) These minimalist yet fascinating structures give a good glimpse of what life was like in the 1800s in the rural South.

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John Oliver Cabin, from 1822

For the energetically-inclined there are an array of hiking trails available in all difficulty levels, from short to long, and from easy to challenging. Hiking options are listed on the National Park Service’s Smoky Mountains website, and hiking trail maps are available at the Welcome Center (as well as driving tour maps of the Park.) On these journeys you will witness waterfalls (in varying sizes), creeks, and dense forests of a multitude of varieties of trees. A hike in the Smoky Mountains stimulates all of the senses, with spectacular views of the mountains, the soothing sounds of bubbling brooks and trees rustling in the wind, and the smell of pine… truly a feast for the senses! Enjoy breathing in the fresh, pure air while you indulge in the epitome of peacefulness!

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Strolling along a bubbling creek

One of the greatest perks of a visit to Smoky Mountains National Park is enjoying the abundance of wildlife therein! The Park is most well-known for their Black Bear population. When you see a log jam of cars parked illegally along the road and no scenic overlook – you can safely assume it’s a makeshift wildlife viewing stop! And if people are looking up into the trees, they are likely viewing black bears, for whom the treetops are a favorite hangout!

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Black Bear

If you still have the energy after all of the walking, hiking, and driving through the Park, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, minutes away, is billed as a tourist Mecca for the area, where nightlife is readily available and tourists flock to in droves!

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“The Island” ferris wheel

I quickly realized upon arriving in Pigeon Forge that, well… it’s not for everyone. An extreme contrast from the National Park, the area is overwhelmingly commercial, touristic, and in some cases, tacky. Nonetheless I was drawn to the giant Ferris wheel at “The Island,” which towered over the town. Here there is a small amusement park, numerous restaurants, and a bounty of retail shops. I had preferred to do my shopping at the National Park Service’s shop where proceeds from my sale went to help the park, so I wasn’t in the market for more retail outlets at that point. For the celebrity restauranteur aficionado, Jimmy Buffett and Paula Deen both have restaurants here at “The Island.” There is also a pizza place I was familiar with called “Mellow Mushroom.” While I did not partake in their offerings on this visit, I had eaten at other locations for each of these restaurants in the past and greatly enjoyed the meal, so if you are looking for a dinner experience here in Pigeon Forge (and prefer to avoid the heavily billboard-promoted and, at least in some cases, “obnoxious” dinner show buffets in town), I would recommend any of these dining outlets.

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Wyndham Legacy Resort, Sevierville, TN.

Please refer to my post linked below if you are interested in great accommodations from which to enjoy your Smoky Mountain Experience! The Legacy Resort by Wyndham is definitely a place I look forward to returning to again and again:

Bountiful Bliss at Wyndham “Legacy” Smoky Mountain Resort!

And you can watch my video tour of Smoky Mountains National Park here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhUR3UA4ijY

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I am extremely grateful for your generous donation to help keep the site running! This site and individual posts are not sponsored, and I receive no wage or salary!

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Bountiful Bliss at Wyndham “Legacy” Smoky Mountain Resort!

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First floor porch – spectacular views!

*Note: this blog post is NOT sponsored by Wyndham and reflects my honest experience. The Wyndham Legacy Mountain Resort in Sevierville, Tennessee provides an excellent home base for exploring the Smoky Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee (a few minutes drive away) and the many (albeit tacky) tourist attractions of the neighboring town of Pigeon Forge. Best of all, it also provides a spectacular backdrop of magnificent mountain views back at the cabin!

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Cabins lined up along the mountain

Within this resort there are multiple individual two-story cabins along the slope of the mountain. Rates are comparable to those of an upscale hotel room, and very reasonable for the amenities you enjoy here.

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Our cabin: “Moondancer”

The cabins boast whimsical names – we stayed in “Moondancer.” This was a good choice, high above many of the other options and a source of spectacular views!

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Living room with fireplace

With walls of wood, a stone fireplace, leather furniture, and black-bear themed decor (black bears are notorious residents of the Smoky Mountains!) the cabin is a copiously cozy, comfortable home for the duration of your stay in Sevierville. The cabin has a natural, woodsy feel amply appropriate for the location!

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Fully-equipped kitchen

The kitchen is fully-equipped, with oven/stove, microwave, full-size refrigerator, dishwasher, sink, toaster, coffee pot, and even a “gift basket” of travel-sized kitchen supplies! This is a very good thing, not only for the convenience and value of being able to prepare meals here, but because the surroundings, especially the sumptuous views, are so pleasant it is doubtful you will want to leave to dine elsewhere! An outdoor grill is also available, overlooking your mountain paradise!

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Dining area

There is also a dining area, and the cabins have either one or two bedrooms. “Moondancer” is a one bedroom, but there is also a loft which sleeps two and a sofa bed that can sleep one more. Five people would sleep very comfortably here. There are two full bathrooms.

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Game room upstairs

In the unlikely event you get bored with the views lounging out on the patio (?!), there is a game room upstairs in some of the cabins. In “Moondancer” we had a pool table and foosball game.

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Second floor porch with Jacuzzi!

My favorite amenity here was the Jacuzzi on the second floor porch! The Jacuzzi in and of itself is indulgent enough – let alone these incredible views you can soak in while you soak in the swirling Jacuzzi water! This is definitely one of the greatest things that make this place so special, and stand out from your average accommodations. (By the way, there was a second Jacuzzi – an indoor one – in the upstairs bathroom!)

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Breathtaking views of the Smoky Mountains!

With all that this place has to offer I definitely look forward to returning again and again. As far as resort accommodations go, this was one of the most memorable and pleasurable I have ever stayed at! You can view my complete tour of the cabin, including drone footage of the resort, here!:

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Sassy and Sophisticated Stockholm, Sweden!

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Stockholm, Sweden: city of hills and waterways

Stockholm, Sweden was the final port stop on my Baltic Sea cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway. Stockholm is replete with natural beauty, with its many glistening waterways and lofty hills, as well as charming historic and modern architectural structures seemingly climbing the playfully rolling hillsides.

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Views inside of City Hall

Completed in 1923, the National Romanticist style City Hall is a quirky building that pays significant homage to Byzantine Design with its gilded mosaic hall and arcaded main lobby. The building is surrounded by meticulously manicured grounds that provide an excellent place to view Stockholm’s Old Town across the water and people-watch.

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Views of Stortorget

Stortorget, the main square of Gamla Stan, or Old Town, houses the Nobel Museum, narrow side streets, whimsical Lion statues, and colorful, ornate buildings. Hordes of tourists congregate by its central fountain, lingering amidst the delectable scents of the bakeries and cafes lining the square. Stockholm is expensive, but these temptations are irresistible! To escape the crowds, stroll down one of the numerous side streets and let yourself get lost in pleasureful peacefulness.

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Changing of the Guard

Around the corner in front of the Royal Palace, time it right and you’ll catch the majestic ritual of the Changing of the Guard.

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Vasa Museum

The Vasa Museum is home to the Vasa ship, Swedish warship from the early 1600s. It managed to sail 1,400 yards before sinking during its first voyage. Rediscovered in the 1950s, it was given a new home above ground and where modern Swedes and tourists alike can contemplate its enticing story. Too top-heavy to be fit for sailing, it tragically sank in 1628 when the impatience of King Gustavus Adolphus got the better of him. His underlings lacked the fortitude to advise him of the ship’s problems and suggest a delay of embarkation. Today you can visit the Vasa Museum to see the ship itself and many displays pertaining to its troubled history.

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Riddarholmskyrkan

Riddarholmskyrkan, or Riddarholm Church, is the site of burial grounds for Swedish royalty, including the aforementioned Gustavus Adolphus. No longer used for monarchial burial grounds or as a place of worship, it now serves only as a site of historical importance. A monastery in the 1300s, it later served Protestant parishioners post-Reformation. The original spire was devastated by lighting and replaced with the current cast-iron spire which serves as an important landmark representing the city.

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Modern Stockholm: Convention Center

After enjoying the many historic sites in Stockholm, it’s fun to take some time to delight in the signature Scandinavian streamlined and geometrical style of its modern structures.

You may view my complete tour of Stockholm, Sweden here!:

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Peaceful, Placid Porvoo, Finland!

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Porvoo, Finland “skyline”

A thirty mile drive east of Helsinki will transport you to the small town of Porvoo, Finland: a peaceful paradise of 18th and 19th century (and older) architecture, cobblestoned lanes, and quirky, quaint shops and cafes. Porvoo provides the perfect contrast to the modern metropolis of Helsinki during your visit to Finland!

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Colorful old red barns on the river: a proposed UNESCO World Heritage site

Porvoo is replete with wooden barns, houses, and other buildings that have stood the test of time amazingly well through so many cold and snowy winters. Practically all of the town’s structures are composed completely or primarily of wood, and are painted brilliantly in a variety of bold colors, a delight for the eyes!

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Porvoo Cathedral upon the hill

Porvoo Cathedral stands tall towering over the rest of the town and surrounding waterways like a guidepost. Built in the 1300s originally entirely of wood, stone walls were raised in the early 1400s. A symbol of resilience, much mirrored by the Finnish people, Porvoo Cathedral has withstood multiple invasions (from both the Danish and Russians) and numerous fires.

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Old Town Hall, now housing a museum

The Old Town Hall, which now houses a museum, faces a lively square full of street vendors and musicians…. and tourists! It is a fine example of the creative use of color evident throughout the town.

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Unspoiled old wooden architecture surrounds a cobblestone square

Venture past the tourist hub around Old Town Hall and the shopping district, up the hill past Porvoo Cathedral, and you will find another cobblestone square alluringly devoid of massive tourist crowds and surrounded by charming old wooden buildings!

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Quiet, quaint cobblestoned alley

Once off the beaten path, the noise of the tourist traffic evaporates and you’re in a wooden wonderland, meandering down cobblestoned lanes at every turn, able to imagine another time in the distant past without the distraction of tourist hordes and modern vehicles!

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Even “major” roads in the town are cobblestoned

Porvoo, Finland provides an excellent day trip out of Helsinki for a sample of small town, historic Finland. Just be sure to wander off and get lost along it’s quiet side streets to escape the crowds and enter a tranquil haven. You can view my video tour of Porvoo, Finland here!:

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I am extremely grateful for your generous donation to help keep the site running! This site and individual posts are not sponsored, and I receive no wage or salary!

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