Sunday, February 26, 2012


Welcome Sign.  Picture Taken By Me.
I find Delaware to be much like myself – half Yankee and half Southern.  My mom’s family is from New Jersey and my dad’s family is from southeast Virginia.  That also means, I drove through Delaware A LOT growing up.  I thought there was NOTHING there.  I was 25 before I actually stopped and spent any time in Delaware when I went to Rehoboth Beach (http://www.beach-fun.com/ for more info on Rehoboth Beach) for a long weekend retreat with my church’s young adult group.  It was a lot of fun and the boardwalk in Rehoboth reminded me of the Jersey Shore’s boardwalks that I grew up on so I was at home.  A coworker of mine suggested Thrasher’s Fries on the boardwalk and they were SO YUMMY!!  http://thrashersfrenchfries.com/.  If you’re there, you’ve got to find them.
Rehobath Beach.  Picture taken by my friend, Lori, a few years ago.

If you’ve never traveled in the Mid-Atlantic area of Maryland/Delaware/New Jersey, here are a few things you need to know before you come.  First, there are A LOT of tolls in this area and if you’re paying cash, you’ll be in lines.  If you plan to come to this area often, I’d suggest you get an EZ Pass because those lines are much faster - http://ezpassmd.com/en/home/index.shtml.  An EZ Pass is a box you stick on your windshield.  When passing a toll machine, it scans the box, and it electronically pays the toll with the bank account / credit card number that you gave them when registering.  Most of the time, you can go up to 50 mph through EZ Pass lines.  Secondly, stop at the Delaware House if you’re traveling I-95.  It’s a great, clean, and well-light rest area with restaurants, restrooms, a convenience store, and a gas station.  Third, if you want to drive from southeast Virginia to New Jersey, skip trying to go up I-95 and through DC (District of Columbia) and Baltimore – that’s crazy!  Take the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (http://www.cbbt.com/) to the “Eastern Shore,” which is the peninsula with Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware on it.  Then, drive to Cape Lewes and catch the Cape May – Lewes Ferry http://cmlf.com/.  It’s a fun 85 minute cruise/ferry trip from Cape Lewes, Delaware to Cape May, New Jersey.  I took it a couple of times growing up.
If you want to do some major shopping, keep in mind that Delaware is a tax-free shopping state!!

This past Thanksgiving, my parents watched possibly their favorite “sport” – “PUNKIN CHUNKIN.”  That’s not misspelled and it’s exactly what it sounds like – they hurl pumpkins, and not just little kids tossing them across the yard, but grown men catapulting them the distance of a football field!  Well, the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP of PUNKIN CHUNKIN that we watched last year is in Bridgeville in early November every year - http://www.punkinchunkin.com/.  It might be an interesting road trip.  While researching Bridgeville, I found they are the home of RAPA Scrapple Company.  What is scrapple?  Let’s call it a “meat product” and leave it at that.  It tastes good so just eat it and not ask what’s in it.  The town is pretty proud of them.  They even have an Apple Scrapple Festival in the fall - http://www.applescrapple.com/!
Lastly, I love lighthouses, and Delaware has a lot of them to visit.  A website that I love to do research on that I didn’t include in my “show my hand” post is http://www.lighthousefriends.com/.  It has all the lighthouses in the United States by state.
These are just a few of the things you need to know and a few of the places I want to go visit in Delaware.  If you know of anywhere else in Delaware we should check out, please leave a comment below.  See you next week when we explore what’s just round the corner in Florida.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Connecticut - Wish List

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Arizona is turning 100 years old this year.  Connecticut on the other hand became the 5th state 224 years ago (1788)!  Because of that and the fact that the people of Connecticut are so proud of their history, there are a lot of historical places to check out in this little state.  If you want to see houses from the 1700s or 1800s, this site has them all listed for you by city - http://vpa.org/museumsct.html.  One interesting house I found is Sam Clemons’s (aka Mark Twain) home and museum in Hartford - http://www.marktwainhouse.org/.  He was around during such changing times in the United States and his house and the museum display that so well.  Another “house” I am really interested in is William Gillette’s Castle in East Haddam, which has become its own state park - http://www.ctrivervalley.com/4-Connecticut-CT-in-of/Major-attractions-in-CT/gillette_castle_state_park/index.html.  It’s so old New England and beautiful.  I bet the view of the Connecticut River makes the visit even better.

If you’re looking more for Connecticut state history then you’ll want to start off in Hartford with a tour of their capitol building (beautiful architecture by the way) - http://www.cga.ct.gov/capitoltours/.  No matter what state you’re in, you should go at least visit your own state’s capital building and try to visit others as well.  Before the Europeans settled in Connecticut, the Pequot Indians were there, and they have a really cool looking museum in Mashantucket (near Foxwoods Casino and Resort) - http://www.pequotmuseum.org/.  They have various exhibits from making a meal to making a basket.

When the Europeans arrived, schools of higher education were started in the colonies.  Centuries later, Yale University in New Haven is still in existence and has become a prestigious university.  You can take a free guided tour of campus (and not as a prospective student either) - http://www.yale.edu/visitor/.

Later in the state’s history, modes of transportation started to really change.  They had horse drawn carriages and horse drawn sleds.  You can go back to those times at the Allegra Farm’s Horse Drawn Carriage and Sleigh Museum of New England in East Haddam - http://www.allegrafarm.com/.  They offer hayrides, carriage rides, and sleigh rides.  How cool?!
Later in Connecticut’s history came freeing of southern slaves by the Underground Railroad.  Much of the trail that was used is still around.  It’s called the Connecticut Freedom Trail and it covers the state - http://www.ctfreedomtrail.org/trail/.

If you’re more of a kid at heart and history isn’t your thing, start off by visiting the state’s children’s museum in New Haven - http://childrensbuilding.org/index.htm.  The heavily interactive museum looks like so much fun.  Next, check out the Barker Character Comic and Cartoon Museum in Cheshire- http://www.barkermuseum.com/page.asp?PGNM=151.  On the homepage, they have a picture of the museum and out front is a human size Kung Fu Panda – neat!  Lastly, you should check your time at the Timexpo – Timex Museum in Waterbury - http://www.timexpo.com/index.html, which has a HUGE collection of clocks including a collection of Minnie and Mickey watches.

Lastly, if you just want to get away from it all you should check out the Thimble Islands in the Long Island Sound right off the coast of Connecticut - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thimble_Islands.  Some of the “islands” are more just piles of rock, while others have a few houses on them.  Staying on the island would cost a pretty penny, but they have decent priced cruises out to them for day trips that would be more in my price range.

These are just some of the many things to do in the 3rd smallest state, Connecticut.  Because the state is so small, you’re never far from any site you want to see in the state.  Also, you can get to the big cities of Boston and New York City pretty quickly.  If you know of anywhere else in Connecticut we should check out, please leave a comment below.  It’s amazing what you’ll find just round the corner.

Next week: Delaware

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Connecticut - Where I've been

I drove through Connecticut back in the Fall of 2007 with three other ladies on a New England Leaf Peeper Road Trip.  It was the first road trip I had ever planned, and it would be the first of many road trips in visiting the remaining 50 states I had to visit before I turned 30.

Because we all lived in the DC area, we decided to keep it cheap and just drive up to New England and split the price for gas.  We some how made a wrong turn in New Jersey and rather than going around New York City, we went right through Queens during rush hour.  AH!!  Thankfully, I wasn’t driving and we got to Connecticut just fine – just a little later than anticipated.

We stopped at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Mashantucket - http://www.foxwoods.com/default.aspx.  No, we’re not gamblers, but it’s the only Hard Rock Café in Connecticut, and Lori is a collector of their lapel pins.  While Lori went in to get her pin, we decided to drive around.  Holy Cow!  Foxwoods was HUGE!  It’s out in the middle of nowhere too.  I’ve heard from a few people I know that it’s a pretty cool casino inside if you’d like to check it out.

On the subject of souvenirs, I don’t collect much.  I tend to take a lot of pictures of the trip to take home.  I do get some postcards and magnets though.  Some of my friends collect shot glasses, lapel pins, spoons, art, etc.  It’s kind of cool to collect the same thing from your various trips.

Continuing on, my directions from the casino to the hotel weren’t that great, we’re out in the middle of nowhere, it was extremely foggy, it was REALLY dark, and we got lost.  After deciding to pull over and try to read the map a little better, God sent this WONDERFUL FRIENDLY couple that pulled over to see if they could help us.  She was showing her husband the area she grew up in and was headed in the same direction as we were so we followed them to the hotel.  They even invited us to go get drinks afterward however after the long day, we were exhausted and went to bed.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Mystic.  I don’t get paid to say this; however, when looking for hotels on my road trips, I stay with Holiday Inn Express or Hampton Inns because they ROCK!  Their hot breakfasts are really good.  Hampton Inn has really good fresh-baked cookies during the week nights.  Their prices are pretty good, and they’re always safe.  There have been a few times I haven’t stayed at them because there wasn’t much of a choice in where I stayed as in the case of the Grand Canyon or the Badlands of North Dakota.
The next morning, the sun had risen, but not the fog.  Our hotel was a little higher than everything else and looking down into the port we saw the really thick fog.  We couldn’t see anything down at the port so we headed out of town and toward our next stop, Providence, Rhode Island.

While in Mystic, we wanted to check out Mystic Seaport - http://www.mysticseaport.org/ and the Olde Mistick Village - http://www.oldemistickvillage.com/.  They seemed like great places to visit and get the old New England feel.  Mystic Seaport is a museum that looks like a 19th century village and shipyard including the old tall ships.  You can even arrive there on your boat and dock there.  The Village is an outlet mixed with brick pathways to give it the olde world feel.

My next post will be places that I wanted to go to on my first trip to Connecticut but just didn’t fit the path we were taken or places I’ve since heard about and would like to visit.  It’s amazing what you will find just around the corner.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I’ve been to Colorado a few times with friends and for work.  I visited Colorado Springs and Denver and really enjoyed my time there.
Welcome to Colorado sign on the Colorado/New Mexico border.
If you’re into hiking, camping, or skiing, Colorado is for you.  It’s perfect for the adventurous outdoor person.  However, I’m none of those and still had a great time in Colorado so if you’re like me – you’re still in luck.

I attempted to become an outdoor person.  A friend who lived there took me on a hike and despite being in okay shape at the time, I was winded and dizzy within a mile of walking.  An important thing I learned is ALTITUDE is EVERYTHING especially in Denver.  Those of us that live at sea level have a hard time adjusting to the mile high city.  Take it slow!

When I was there for work for a few days, I worked on 16th street in downtown Denver - http://www.denver.org/what-to-do/shopping/detail?memid=2435&k=16th&wc=Shop.  I loved that the street was a pedestrian mall with a free bus shuttle that drove up and down the street stopping at various points along the mile long road.  There were a lot of restaurants to choose from for lunch.

I toured the Boulder area and the Celestial Seasonings Tea Company Headquarters - http://www.celestialseasonings.com/tours. 

Found Picture Online
It was AWESOME!  You can try various teas for free while waiting for your tour to begin.  During the tour, they’ll take you into the room where they keep all the peppermint – it will CLEAN YOUR SINUS!! WOW!  It was really neat seeing all the ingredients for my favorite tea being mixed.  After the tour, they gave us samples to take home and we could purchase any kind of tea or tea brewing tool in their gift shop.  While I was at the tea company, one of my friends checked out the Budweiser Brewery Tour - http://www.budweisertours.com/z01/index.php/fort-collins/overview.  He said it was really informative and of course he liked the free sample at the end.

If I was to go back to Denver, I’d really like to check out the Hammonds Candy Factory - http://www.hammondscandies.com/factory-tours-parties.  I’ve heard it’s a fun traditional hard candy factory, but recently I saw that it made it on the Travel Channel’s list of top 10 fun food factories.  Cool!

Picture From Their Website
I stopped by the state capitol, however, I’d also like to check out the state capitol tour to see inside - http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives/cap/first.htm, and the US Mint there - http://www.usmint.gov/mint_tours/?action=startReservation.  Both are free tours and on many lists of top attractions in the Denver area.
Colorado Capital Building
I’d like to visit the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater - http://www.redrocksonline.com/ as well.  The amphitheater hosts concerts and plays through out the year.  It’s a pretty cool view too.
Picture Found Online
If I handled the altitude better, I’d like to check out the Mount Evans Scenic Byway that climbs up to 14,000 ft above sea level.  The pictures look breathtaking - http://byways.org/explore/byways/2112.  It’s the highest paved highway in North America!

Colorado Springs
I visited the Focus on the Family Headquarters - http://www.focusonthefamily.com/about_us/welcome-center.aspx.  Focus on the Family is a global Christian ministry dedicated to helping families thrive.  That being said, their headquarters is geared toward the family and has tons of activities for them for example, an ice cream shop.  They also have a great gift shop as well.

My friends and I took the Pike’s Peak Cog Railway to the top of Pike’s Peak- http://www.cograilway.com/.  Its 8.9 miles to the peak and a round trip lasts 3 hours and 10 minutes.  In that time, the train takes you from 6,000 ft to 14,000 ft above sea level.  It’s probably helpful if you sit facing the direction the train is going and just take it easy as the train gets higher.  This is especially true when you eventually reach the top.  Again, altitude is everything.  You can also drive up the mountain, but I wouldn't suggest it because of the altitude.

Friends and I at the Pike's Peak! Picture taken by fellow tourist.
The view from the peak.
Cars that drove up to the peak
Our train and the view from the peak.
 I visited the Garden of the Gods - http://www.gardenofgods.com/home/index.cfm.  It was amazing how these rock formations just jut out of the earth.  One of my friends was proposed to there a week prior to my visit and once I visited it, I totally understood why her husband had proposed there – so beautiful and majestic.  By the way, you can see Pike’s Peak from there.
Garden of the Gods from the Visitor Center.
Photo taken by a friend while I "held" part of the Garden of the Gods.
Lastly, I also went spelunking in the Cave of the Winds - http://caveofthewinds.com/.  It’s probably the most outdoorsy I’ve ever been.  I thought it was fun, neat, and informative, but I’d never do it again.  I don’t like caves, bugs, or darkness.  I believe we took the Lantern Tour, which is a 1.5 hour trek through the caverns.
These are just some of the many things to do in Colorado.  If you know of anywhere else in Colorado we should check out, please leave a comment below.  It’s amazing what you’ll find just round the corner.

Next week: Connecticut.

**Pictures taken by me if not other wise noted **

Friday, February 10, 2012

California - My Wish List

California is such a big state that covers most of the west coast, so just because I’ve explored what was just round the corner in San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, there is still much much more in California that I’d love to see and do.  Here are just a few on my wish list.

One road trip in California that has always fascinated me is the Pacific Coast Highway.  It’s twisting, cliff-hugging, and exhilarating.  The Pacific Coast Highway begins in Olympia, Washington, and over 1,500 miles later you’ll arrive in San Diego.  http://www.roadtripusa.com/routes/pacificcoast/pacificcoast.html.  I’d love to do either all or parts of the highway on another trip to California.
Pacific Coast Highway. Photo found online.
A national park along the Pacific Coast Highway is another place on my wish list, Redwood National and State Parks.  http://www.nps.gov/redw/index.htm.  This park has some of the oldest and tallest trees.

Another National Park that’s on the wish list is the Sequoia National Forrest - http://www.nps.gov/seki/index.htm.  It has giant trees and is a huge canyon area.

A place on my wish list and a location I’m half tempted to go to this summer is Yosemite National Park.  Anyone interested in coming with me?  Here’s where to get helpful information on planning a trip to Yosemite - http://yosemitepark.com/, http://www.myyosemitepark.com/ and http://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm.  I’m not entirely an outdoor girl, but I love seeing the animals and seeing the breathtaking scenes including the waterfalls.  I’ve heard it rivals Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, which I loved.  I want to see Bridal Veil Falls which is 620 feet high and El Capitan.  It’s just amazing looking.
Yosemite National Park. Photo found online.
This week, we’ve looked at what I’ve done and what I’d like to do in California.  Do you know of any places I should include on my wish list for California?  If so, please leave a comment below.  It’s amazing what you’ll find just round the corner.  Next week, we’ll look at Colorado!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

California - Los Angeles

This post is coming at the PERFECT time.  I’ve scheduled this post on Los Angeles to appear on the blog at the same time as I’m landing in Los Angeles on my way to vacation in Australia.  I’ve visited Los Angeles twice.

First, you have to visit Hollywood Blvd and the Walk of Fame.  It did surprise me because it’s more of a tourist stop than glamorous and there were no famous people!  None.  But, you’ve got to go to say you’ve been there.  The Walk of Fame (http://www.walkoffame.com/) is where the famous people’s handprints are.  While you’re down there, look at the surrounding mountains to see the big HOLLYWOOD sign.

Hollywood sign from Hollywood Blvd.  Photo taken by me.

We did see the red carpet for the premiere of The Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003) at Kodak Theater within the Hollywood & Highlands Center (http://www.hollywoodandhighland.com/), but we couldn’t stick around for the actors to arrive at the premiere.

We drove two hours from San Diego to Los Angeles’s Union Station, parked the rental car, and took the Los Angeles Subway System to get to Hollywood- http://www.metro.net/.  The subway was really confusing and we didn’t see many people taking it, but it was inexpensive, and very clean.  It also helped us because we didn’t have to drive through town, deal with the traffic, or find parking everywhere we wanted to go.  So, I’d suggest that no matter what town you’re in, look into taking that town’s subway system to get around.

Being the southern belle that I am, I absolutely love the Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles (http://roscoeschickenandwaffles.com/) chain in Los Angeles!  Its good ole soul food!!  One of my co-workers suggested it after seeing famous people on BET and VH1 eating there.  In the two times I’ve been there, I have not seen a famous person.

Two of my friends just recently moved out to Pasadena (home of the Rose Bowl) and I’ve adored their pictures of them checking out what’s just round their corner in the Los Angeles / Pasadena area.  They visited the Getty Museum and I thought the view of the skyline was pretty cool.  Admission is free which is even better, though parking is $15.  Be sure to check it out if you’re in town - http://www.getty.edu/visit/index.html.  I want to if I get out there again.

Two other places I’d like to check out are the Grammy Museum (http://www.grammymuseum.org/) and the Griffith Park and Observatory (http://www.griffithobservatory.org/).  I love music and to have a whole museum devoted to award winning music – WOW!  The most expensive ticket is $12.95, and they have various discounts on their website.  Griffith Park and Observatory has a breathtaking view of the skyline and Outer Space!  Plus, it’s FREE!  You can’t beat that.
Griffith Observatory and it's view.  Photo from internet.
This is just some of the many things to do in Los Angeles.  So far, we’ve discussed different cities in California: San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.  If you know of anywhere else in the Los Angeles area we should check out, please leave a comment below.  I hope you all enjoy my next post - my California wish list.  It’s amazing what you’ll find just round the corner.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

California - San Francisco

I really enjoyed visiting and working in San Francisco for a few days.  On a free day, I took a Gray Line Bus tour of the city that included Alcatraz.  It was a great tour showing me the basics of San Francisco.  Because it’s such a big city, I’d suggest finding a similar tour to see everything and make the most of your time.  You can always go back and spend extra time at the sites you really enjoyed if you have more time.

You should start at the Golden Gate Bridge - http://goldengatebridge.org/visitors/whattodo.php.  It’s what people think of when they think of San Francisco!  You should check out the gift shop in the Round House on the south end of the bridge.  Also, you should try to walk across the bridge because it’s got a great view of everything from there and you get to say you’ve walked on the bridge.
Golden Gate Bridge
Next, make a stop at the Fisherman’s Wharf area (including Pier 39) (http://fishermanswharf.org/).  Be sure to check out the seals!  You’ll probably hear them first.  They are there year-round.  It’s also neat to see the fresh seafood that came in that morning.  This area has great shopping and restaurants too.

You want REAL Chinese food?  Visit the San Francisco Chinatown (http://www.sanfranciscochinatown.com/).  It’s the biggest and oldest Chinatown outside of Asia!  It is much bigger than the one in DC.

Alamo Square Park (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alamo_Square,_San_Francisco) – you’ve probably seen it and didn’t know it.  It’s shown during the introduction to the 80s show Full House – remember seeing the row of townhomes with the city skyline in the back?  Those townhomes are called the seven sisters.  The park has a great view of the city skyline.
Alamo Square Park
Twin Peaks also has a great view of the skyline - http://www.sftravel.com/twinpeakssanfrancisco.html - though there is a very winding road to get up there.

I think Lombard Street is an amazing feat of engineering.  It’s considered the most crooked street in America.  http://www.sftravel.com/lomabardcrookedstreet.html.  Thankfully, the tour bus just stopped at the bottom of the street for us to see it and didn’t attempt to drive down the street.
Lombard St. Picture found online.
Another pretty place that I saw on the bus tour was the Golden Gate Park - http://www.golden-gate-park.com/.  This area is very pretty and if you have extra time, it might be good to go back and see the wonderful details of the park.

At the end of the tour, we boarded a boat to Alcatraz - http://www.nps.gov/alca/index.htm.  The boat trip was great because it sails underneath the Golden Gate Bridge.  Alcatraz is an island in the San Francisco Bay that had a real prison that was shown in the movie – The Rock.  I got the audio tour headset once arriving on the island and it told me stories of the prisoners as I walked around on the grounds.  I liked that I could take my time on the tour and pause it whenever.  From the island, you’ll have a great view of the city, the bay, the bridge, and the surrounding areas.
One side of Alcatraz.
The other side of Alcatraz.
Inside the prison.  Alot had the headsets on.

San Franciso Skyline from Alcatraz.  Picture taken by a fellow Alcatraz tourist, Will.
I spent another day with my college friend Tim, who moved out there after graduation.  I took the San Francisco subway, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) (http://bart.gov/) out to the suburbs where Tim lives.  The BART was confusing, and wasn’t heavily used, but it was cheap and I didn’t have to drive out there.  Tim showed me around the eastern and northern suburbs.  We visited the town of Sausalito (http://www.sausalito.org/) – such a quaint little town to walk around in. 


From there, we went to Conzelman Rd., a one-way road up a hill (north of the Golden Gate Bridge).  You’ll come back down the hill on Fort Barry and Simmonds Rd.  Tim took this picture of me when we stopped going up the hill and I swear I would think I photo shopped me into the picture if I wasn’t there.  It’s really high up.  Check it out!

Photo taken by Tim on Conzelman Rd.
The one regret I have with my San Francisco visit was that I didn’t ride on a cable car!  SHOCKER!  So, please don’t be like me and not ride one.  You’ve got to do it.  http://sfcablecar.com/.

These are just a few of the things I did in San Francisco.  Because California is huge, it will take a few posts this week so come back soon as we discover what’s just round the corner in California!  If you know of anywhere else in the San Francisco area we should check out, please leave a comment below.

**Pictures taken by me unless otherwise noted**

Sunday, February 5, 2012

California - San Diego

I love California.  I have been there for work several times.  I’ve visited San Diego, Oceanside, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

I spent a month in San Diego in the spring of 2003 where I really got to learn the town. I’ve gone for one and two week trips here and there over the years since.

There are many places that I recommend visiting in San Diego.  I’ve found that the easiest way to see them all is by taking a trolley tour of the area- http://www.trolleytours.com/san-diego.  They are in other cities across the United States and the DC one is great as well.

The San Diego Zoo - http://www.sandiegozoo.org/  - is undoubtedly the best zoo in the world, in my opinion.  It’s huge so prepare to be there for the whole day and be sure to get on the tram that goes around so you can catch it all.  It’s definitely worth the admission price.

Old Towne San Diego - http://www.oldtownsandiegoguide.com/ - is one of my favorite places to go in San Diego.  It’s really neat to see the old stores, pick up a few souvenirs, and eat some great Mexican food.  All the restaurants are great and have outside eating areas that are a lot of fun.

Balboa Park - http://www.balboapark.org/ - is beautiful.  Balboa Park was built for the 1915-16 Panama-California Expo.  Be sure to take a picnic.  It’s a great place to gather your thoughts, chill and get away.  They have museums there as well that you can venture into or just walk around the park outside.

Seaport Village - http://www.seaportvillage.com/ -This area is a good place to get a view of San Diego Bay, pick up some souvenirs and get something to eat.  I really like the food and view of the bay at the Pier Café - http://www.piercafe.com/

Point Loma Lighthouse - http://www.nps.gov/cabr/historyculture/old-point-loma-lighthouse.htm - has a beautiful view of San Diego from up there as well as of the Pacific Ocean and North Island / Coronado area.

La Jolla (pronounced La Hoy-ya) - http://www.lajolla.com/ - Seals on the shore of La Jolla are pretty cool to check out.  They’re always there and you can get pretty close to them.  But, walking around town checking out how the rich live is kind of interesting as well.

Talking about the rich, you should also check out the Coronado area and the Hotel Del Coronado http://www.hoteldel.com/.  You don’t have to be a guest of the hotel to walk on the property.  You should check out the hotel, the beach, the restaurants, the spa, etc.

If you’re interested in Navy history or ships, check out the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier. One of my friends saw it the last time she was there and really enjoyed it - http://www.midway.org/.

Tijuana, Mexico is only about 30 minutes south of San Diego.  You can’t drive most rental cars into other countries so we parked on the US side of the border and walked across.  I wasn’t impressed but it was neat to say I had been to Mexico.  You are now required to have a passport, or passport card to cross the border. http://www.tijuana.com/

When it comes to food, I’ve found a few favorites in the area –

Souplantation - http://www.souplantation.com/ - is an all you can eat soup, salad, and breadstick place with different soups and salads every day, that all taste fresh.  When you’re on the road and eating out every night, you try to find these kinds of places.

In n’ Out Burger - http://www.in-n-out.com/default.asp - it’s a chain in California and in the southwest.  They have burgers, fries, and milkshakes and they’re all fresh and awesome.

Pat and Oscars - http://www.breadstick.com/index.html - another great salad and breadstick place, but they have other options that are yummy too.

El Indio Restaurant - http://www.el-indio.com/ - yummy inexpensive Mexican food.

Point Loma Seafood - http://pointlomaseafoods.com/index.html - you can buy the fish and take it home to cook or you can eat here.  It’s right on the water so they have a great view and great food!

Todai’s Seafood - http://todaisandiego.com/1.html - huge all you can eat seafood and Japanese food buffet.  YUMMY!  Come prepared to eat.  It is a little pricey but check around for coupons online or in the community newspapers.

Vera Cruz Fish House in San Marcos http://www.fishhouseveracruz.com/Fish_House_Vera_Cruz/Fish_House.html is really good if you’re in the area.  You can either buy fish to take home and cook or eat it at the restaurant.

Ruby’s Diner on Oceanside Pier - http://www.rubys.com/index.aspx - if you’re willing to venture out of San Diego, you should check out the town of Oceanside.  Ruby’s is a 50s diner with burgers, milkshakes, etc at the end of a pier and has a great view.  If the seas are rough, you might want to stay on land.  Last time, my team checked it out we got a little sea sick because the seas were rough and the restaurant was swaying with each wave.

Claim Jumpers - http://www.claimjumper.com/ is also outside of San Diego.  You better come starving because Claim Jumpers is good family cooking food and HUGE portions.  All of the food there is yummy.

A favorite chocolate chain I like to go to in the San Diego area is Sees Candy - http://www.sees.com/.  They give a free sample.  I love their truffles!  Yummy!

One popular chain in California that I didn’t like was Del Taco.  It’s nasty and very greasy.  Keep away.

These are just a few of the things I like to do in San Diego.  If you know of anywhere else in the San Diego area we should check out, please leave a comment below.  Later this week, I’ll share about Los Angeles, San Francisco, and the other places in California that I’d like to visit.  Then, next week, we’ll explore what’s just round the corner in Colorado.

**Pictures were taken by me **

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bentonville, Arkansas

Earlier this week, I suggested you all visit Bentonville, Arkansas (Click here for the Arkansas post).  I was reading the January 2012 issue of the Travel and Leisure Magazine this week only to find out Bentonville made their Hottest Travel Destinations of 2012 (#12) - WOW!


It notes:

"Culture is also making over places such as Bentonville, AR, which Walmart heiress Alice Walton has graced with a free world-class museum of American art on 120 wooded acres."

It didn't look that impressive to me but I live near DC and we have the free world-class Smithsonian Museums.

But, Congrats to Bentonville for making the list!