Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Friday, April 18, 2014

A-Z April Challenge - P is for Panama City Beach

I grew up on the Atlantic Coast of Florida and loved spending time at the beach.  Our first real family vacation was to Sanibel Island on the Gulf side of the state.  I fell in love with those sugar sand beaches and vowed I would live there one day.  I still love Sanibel, but it is a great distance to get there and as a young mother I found Panama City Beach.  When my children were small we would go to either Panama City Beach, Pensacola,  or Gulf Shores when we needed a beach fix.  About four years ago we discovered the Driftwood Lodge in Panama City Beach and have not been anywhere else.  I love this mom and pop hotel chain.  Their treatment of their customers is impeccable.  They serve watermelon every day at 1.  They have games for the kids each day.  One night they put up a huge screen and show a family movie.  It is great.  Our group goes each Memorial Day week and on Memorial Day we cook for anyone who wants to join us.  It is a really special place.  Panama City Beach has it all. 
There is actually 27 miles of white sand beaches along the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  Panama City Beach is home to two State Parks, dozens of public beach access points, waterfront restaurants that serve up some of the best fresh local seafood, and there are all kinds of legendary attractions.  There is pier park where people go to shop.....or just walk and listen to music.  Every summer they have live concerts at the amphitheater there. 
The waters here are famous with fishermen and scuba divers who enjoy the benefits of dozens artificial reefs located offshore, and with a coastline that angles slightly toward the west, in Panama City Beach you can watch the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico every day of the year. 
Beachcombers won't want to miss a trip to Shell Island, a pristine barrier island across the channel from the mainland. This 700-acre island is underdeveloped, providing a peaceful spot for sunning, swimming and shell collecting.
Frank loves to go to the pier and fish.  From the Driftwood the pier is walking distance.  If you ever get a chance to go to the Gulf sure and visit Panama City Beach.  You will love it.....but if you are not into young people....don't go during Spring Break!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A-Z April Challenge - O is for Opelika

Today is Thursday and so my April A-Z Challenge is taking us to Opelika, AL.  Opelika is a community that cherishes and preserves its RICH HERITAGE, while at the same time embracing all of the visions and opportunities for a bright future for our residents and businesses! This progressive city of the South has abundant cultural, recreational and educational opportunities balanced against a thriving business environment! Opelika is a Creek word meaning “large swamp.  It sits right up against Auburn, AL and you really cannot tell where one starts and the other one ends.  I attended Auburn University and fell in love with the town of Opelika.  There is so much history and beauty in this town.  From the Fountain View Mansion (a taste of Italy nestled in Opelika) to the Historic District there is so much to see and do in Opelika.  If you make a college trip to Auburn be sure to check it out.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A-Z April Challenge - N is for Nebraska

Today is Wednesday and according to my A-Z April Challenge Travel Theme this must be Nebraska.  On my Pacific Northwest journey several years ago with my cousin, her family, and my daughter we found ourselves in Nebraska.  On this leg of the trip we decided to retrace the path of Lewis and Clark’s 1804 expedition along the Lewis & Clark Scenic Byway, stretching 82 miles from north of Omaha to South Sioux City on U.S. Highway 75.  It was glorious.  The funny thing about all our travels across the great state of Nebraska was that our favorite stop was Cabela's. 

 Cabela's Kearney, Nebraska Retail Store is located just off I-80 along U.S. Highway 30.  If you ever are in the area you must stop in.  It is better than a classroom any day.   In addition to offering quality outdoor merchandise, the 35,000 sq.ft. showroom is an educational and entertainment attraction, featuring a décor of museum-quality animal displays and trophy animals interacting in realistic re-creations of their natural habitats.  Traveling through Nebraska is like traveling through the past with a modern kick.

So as I leave you today.....Nebraska....something to think about and something definitely to see.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A-Z April Challenge - M is for Michigan

Today on my A-Z April Challenge Travels we are heading to the great state of Michigan.  In 2009 my dear friend Mary, my daughter Kat and her dear friend Mandy all took a journey to Michigan.  Each on of us got to choose somewhere in the state we wanted to see.  Mary chose Frankenmuth, I chose Mackinaw Island, Kat chose Traverse City, and Mandy chose the new stadium at Michigan in Ann Arbor.  Anything else we got to see was just icing on the cake.  If you have never been to Michigan it is a must to put on your travel Bucket list.  We ate at Rosie's Diner just outside of Traverse City.  Guy Fieri featured it on Diner's Drive Ins and Dives.  The food was amazing and the atmosphere was great fun. 
We climbed Sleeping Bear Dunes, saw lighthouses, danced in a vat of cherry pits, visited the Cherry Republic, and ate fresh cherries til our lips and fingers were bright red. 

Traverse City is a great place to visit.  From there we went to Mackinaw and the Island.  We visited the town that night and the next morning took a ferry across to the island where we became fudgies.  We spent the day enjoying the stories and sites of Mackinaw. 

Coming back we got to see a ship like the one that was the Edmund Fitzgerald.  We spent a couple of days exploring the area and making a trek over the big bridge to Ontario.  I really had wanted to see the Edmund Fitzgerald Museum but time got away from us.  Our next stop was Frankenmuth.  Frankenmuth is a German style town much like Helen, GA. 

The food at the German restaurants was amazing.  It was done family style.  We visited several Cheese Hauses, and I bought Frank some Beer Kaza (sp).  Let me tell you that it stinks!  I ended up throwing it away somewhere in Kentucky because it smelled so bad in the car.  Our big adventure of the trip was to Christmas hell.  Actually it was Bronner's Christmas Store.  We spent over seven hours here.  I have never seen so many Christmas decorations.  The chapel outside was my favorite part of Bronners.  It was a replica of the chapel where Silent Night was first performed.  All around the chapel are the words to Silent Night in every known language. 

We ended up in Anne Arbor and the University of Michigan.  We had planned to eat at another restaurant Guy Fieri had featured but an Art Festival had all the streets blocked so we headed on to Monmouth Caverns in Kentucky.  If you ever get a chance to explore the United States you must do this.  There are so many exciting things to see, so many wonderful places to eat, and so many fascinating people to meet.  I can't wait for my next girl trip. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

A-Z April Challenge - L is for Louisville

Every year I go on a girls trip somewhere in the United States.  We have had some fabulous trips and times.  Our trip to Michigan sparked my place for today.  Our town today is Louisville, KY.  This was the first stop on our Michigan trip.  We went to Lynn's Paradise Café for dinner with my precious nephew, David.  He was our host for the night.  His wife was out of town so the four of us crashed in his apartment.  He was the ultimate host.  Lynn's Paradise Café was an interesting place.  Bobby Flay had a Throwdown there so that is why we decided we had to eat there.  I had the traditional hot brown and if you have never had one you must.  It is delish and not something I would normally order from a menu.  After dinner we toured the town and saw the Kentucky Derby.  All I can say is WOW!  I would love to come to the Derby sometime just to wear a big hat.  The next morning as we headed out we hit the Louisville Slugger bat factory and the Mary Alice Hadley pottery factory. What a blast we had in Louisville.  You should go there at least once in your life.  The bat factory was worth the whole trip. 


Saturday, April 12, 2014

A-Z April Challenge - K is for Killarney

I am taking a brief departure from my travel posts within the United States and fly across the big pond so I can share one of my favorite places in all my travels.  In 2009 I had the great joy of being in Dublin for Saint Patrick's Day.  Dublin was wonderful but my favorite part of the whole trip was a town called Killarney.  Killarney (Irish: Cill Airne, meaning "church of sloes") is a town in County Kerry, southwestern Ireland. The town is on the northeastern shore of Lough Leane, which is part of Killarney National Park. The town and its hinterland is home to St Mary's Cathedral, Ross Castle, Muckross House and Abbey, the Lakes of Killarney, MacGillycuddy's Reeks, Purple Mountain, Mangerton Mountain, the Gap of Dunloe and Torc Waterfall. Owing to its natural heritage, history and its location on the Ring of Kerry, Killarney is a popular tourist destination.  I am a huge Bing Crosby fan and the whole three days we were in Killarney I hummed or sang, "Christmas in Killarney."  It was truly a blast from the past.