A Travellerspoint blog

One Perfect Day in Rocky Mountain National Park

Estes Park, CO

Eric and I spent a few days in Denver while I was there on a work trip. We were tight on time and wanted to get a taste of the Rocky Mountains up close so we joined a tour group. It turned out to be a fantastic day. The weather was perfect and the tour offered a great overview without having to navigate unfamiliar territory on our own.

On our way to the park, we passed through Estes Park and saw the Stanley Hotel...inspiration for Stephen King's "The Shining."

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Bear Lake

Bear Lake has a short hiking loop around it that's less than a mile long.

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Scenic views around the park

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Horseshoe Park

We stopped in Horseshoe Park to see the alluvial fan created when the Lawn Lake Dam failed in 1982. The event released 30 million cubic feet of water into the river valley. 33 years later, the debris is still evident and the boulders that are strewn about make for fun climbing and exploring.

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Lol...poor Eric almost fell into the little stream.

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So he decided to stay put.

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Then, on our way back to the shuttle bus, I spotted him.

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Wow...I couldn't believe our luck! I had been looking for wildlife all day, so to be this close to a deer was fantastic. There were others on the hillside above him but they were somewhat hidden by trees and brush.

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Estes Park

We had lunch in Estes Park with a little time to explore the main strip of this cute mountain village. Lots of the usual touristy fare...fudge and icecream shops, t-shirt shops, and jewelry stores.

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Our day ended where it began at Union Station in downtown Denver. It's an historic train station that has been restored and is filled with shops, bars, and restaurants. We were too tired to explore but I imagine it would be a neat place to grab a drink and people-watch.

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The Oxford Hotel right across from the station had the most interesting window display. To me, it looked like Day of the Dead meets Mardi Gras. Simply gorgeous! Because of the way the sun was setting, I was disappointed that I couldn't get better pictures but here's what I have:

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Posted by tammy_b 22:23 Archived in USA Tagged rmnp estes_park bear_lake horshoe_alluvial_fan_denver rocky_mountain_national_park Comments (0)

Day Hike in Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park

Millington, TN

Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park is located about 13 miles north from downtown Memphis. It covers over 13,000 acres and borders the Mighty Mississippi River. There are over 20 miles of hiking trails throughout the park, as well as bike and horse trails, lakes, campgrounds, cabins, and a 36-hole disc golf course. It's a great place to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life for a day.

Today, I went with a group to hike the Woodland Trail. It's only 3 1/2 miles long but has several steep hills and lots of beautiful scenery. It was a great hike.

As I look back over my pictures from the day, I realize there is so much greenery. I can't wait to get back out there when the leaves start changing in another month.

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Posted by tammy_b 20:32 Archived in USA Tagged hiking meeman_shelby_forest_state_park Comments (0)

A Rainy Day in Cape May

Cape May, NJ

Today, we set off for a drive to Cape May which is about 30 minutes from Wildwood. It rained off and on all day but that didn't dampen our spirits.

Eric is a self-confessed airplane geek, so our first stop was at the Aviation Museum at the Cape May Airport.

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Eric sets up flight training for pilots in his job so he was thrilled to see an old flight simulator.

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Afterwards, we wanted to eat a little snack before going to the Cape May Winery so we googled the nearest non-chain restaurant and were directed to Historic Cold Springs Village.

This is an open-air living museum that gives a glimpse into life in the 1800s. There are restored historic buildings throughout the property with guides in period clothing who demonstrate the trades, crafts and lifestyles of early America.

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There is a restaurant on-site but there is also a great little bakery on the grounds. Since we didn't want a full meal, we walked the grounds to get to the bakery and split a sandwich and freshly baked apple turnover. Both were delish.

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These chickens looked cute from afar but soon started stalking us for our food.

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Now it was time to head on to the Cape May Winery.

The grounds looked really nice but since it was raining off and on, I didn't get a chance to walk around as much as I would have wanted. We participated in the wine tasting and it was a nice diversion for a rainy afternoon.

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Later, we drove to the Cape May Lighthouse. The observation deck at the top was open, so for a small fee, we ventured up the 199 steps. There are small platforms along the way so we could catch our breath and let others pass who were coming down. Once at the top, we were treated to 360 degree views of Cape May Point.

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Before heading back to Wildwood, we stopped for a bit in the town of Cape May. Billed as America's first seaside resort, there were lots of beautifully restored Victorian homes. It was so quaint and romantic. I wouldn't mind returning for a longer stay at one of the cozy little B&Bs.

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Posted by tammy_b 14:00 Archived in USA Tagged lighthouse airplanes cape_may victorian_homes aviation_museum seaside_resort Comments (0)

Beaches and Boardwalks

Wildwood, NJ

I had never been on a beach further north than Virginia Beach, so we decided to spend a few days at the Jersey shore.

I was on a mission to experience the boardwalk, eat fresh seafood, ride roller coasters, and spend time on the beach.

We stayed at the Island Breeze Motel which was one of the many 1950's style motels in the area. The location couldn't be beat as it was just a block from the boardwalk and the owner and staff were very helpful and friendly. But the motel left a lot to be desired as it was very bare-bones and in dire need of remodeling. It had all the basic amenities like A/C, cable, and a kitchenette so we had what we needed to get through the next few days but I was glad when it was time to pack up and come home.

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Day 1

There is a daily morning yoga class on the beach in front of the convention center, so I walked down for that on our first morning while Eric slept in.

Afterward, we met for breakfast at a diner on the boardwalk called Hot Spot #4. I had a croissant stuffed with eggs, cheese, and ham. That croissant was so fluffy and almost as big as my plate!

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We spent our first day riding the notorious trolley and eating and window shopping up and down the boardwalk.

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That night, we decided to hit Morey's Piers to check out the roller coasters and other rides. We had high expectations for the night and bought two unlimited wristbands for a total of $110. We were going to re-live our youth and ride rides all night!

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Unfortunately, forty-something bodies don't seem to react like twenty-something bodies when they're being thrown around and twisted and turned at high speeds. After about the third roller coaster we were both feeling a little green.

Unwilling to admit defeat, we decided to walk it off and try the haunted ghost ship.

What a mistake.

I emerged from the ship a wide-eyed, stressed out, sweaty mess...clutching the hand of a strange woman who had lost her kids inside. I guess she thought she was holding the hand of one of her children the whole time. I couldn't even worry about Eric. He was on his own.

Feeling beat down and old, we gave up on the rides and decided to call it a night, returning to the motel to lick our wounds and watch cable tv.

Day 2

After last night, we took it easy today. We lounged around at the motel pool and sat on our porch reading, relaxing, and enjoying the 85 degree weather.

That night, we had dinner at the Beach Creek Oyster Bar & Grill which had great sunset views of the harbor. There was also a nice patio area with a lively band that made for a fun and relaxing atmosphere.

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We started off with oysters.

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Then, I had clam chowder with the grilled Chilean sea bass, sautéed greens, and lobster risotto.

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Eric had the Seafood a la Vodka - sea scallops, shrimp, and jumbo lump crab meat in a vodka cream sauce over penne pasta.

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The food was great but the portions were HUGE. Stuffed to the gills, we got the Vanilla Bean Creme Brûlée Cheesecake to go and enjoyed it back at our room.

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Day 3

We drove to Cape May for a change of scenery. Check out my separate blog entry for this little day trip.

Day 4

Today, we decided to shake things up.

For breakfast, we walked past Hot Spot #4 and stopped in at Hot Spot #5. I settled on an omelette and ice coffee with part of Eric's bagel.

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Later, we ventured off the boardwalk to get in some beach time. There were lots of crowded areas, but after walking a bit, we found a spot that wasn't too bad.

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That night, we followed the recommendation of the motel owner and had dinner at Schellenger's.

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We started off with Oysters Rockefeller

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And, of course, I had to have more clam chowder.

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I chose the Broiled Trio consisting of a petite lobster tail, jumbo shrimp, and crab imperial.

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Eric had the Land & Sea which was a New York strip and a Maryland crab cake.

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We absolutely LOVED Schellenger's.

The decor was whimsical, the food was great, the atmosphere was casual, and the menu was expansive. We wished we had another night so we could come back.

Later that night, we caught the free fireworks show from the boardwalk. It happens every Friday night in the summer and was the perfect ending to our Jersey Shore vacation.

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Posted by tammy_b 10:54 Archived in USA Tagged beach seafood boardwalk jersey_shore amusement_rides Comments (0)

Solo in Savannah

Savannah, GA

I found myself in beautiful Savannah for a few days and decided to make the most of it, even though I was flying solo on this trip. I parked my car for three days and walked, trolleyed, and pedi-cabbed all over the historic district. I covered a lot of ground but still just barely scratched the surface on all the great things to do in Savannah. I found the area to be extremely easy to navigate and felt pretty safe on my own. Listed below are 20 things I did and would highly recommend for solo travelers.

1. Take one of the many trolley tours. Most tours are about 90 minutes long. Stay on for the entire tour the first time & familiarize yourself with the three square miles that make up the historic district. Then hop on and off to see the things that interest you.

2. Check out a food tour. It's a great way to sample small bites at several different places. I did the "Savor Savannah" tour with Savvy Savannah and it was fantastic! It was a walking tour and as we walked between restaurants, our guide also gave us historical tidbits & ghost stories about some of the places we saw.

Shrimp & Grits from Café at City Market

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Fish & Chips from Molly MacPherson's

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Bruschetta with fresh mozzarella from Corleone's

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Pulled pork from Angel's BBQ

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Fried Green Tomato from Vic's on the River

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3. Explore River Street.

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4. Have dinner at The Olde Pink House. I sat at the bar downstairs in the very cool and very dark Planters Tavern and ordered a Pink Lady to drink & the Habersham Platter...a small plates sampler of shrimp & grits, scallops & greens, and crab cake & fried green tomato salad. Everything was excellent. I have to add that the two bartenders were some of the nicest I have ever met.

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5. See the Juliette Gordon Low house. As a former Girl Scout, this was a must-see for me.

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6. Go on a ghost tour. I went on two...Ghosts & Gravestones and The Blue Orb Zombie tour.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed Ghosts & Gravestones more. The tour consisted of riding in a trolley listening to stories of haunted places on the route. We also entered a haunted warehouse & walked around using hand-held EMP devices. There were also infrared cameras & monitors set up so you could see some of the "activity." Our last stop was an old chandlery on River Street for an entertaining ghost story.

Can you see the orbs?

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I did a little research after returning home and was greatly disappointed to learn that most orbs are just dust particles in the air : (

The Blue Orb Zombie tour consisted of two hours of walking and standing in front of haunted places while listening to ghost stories. The guide seemed well versed in the facts and he was a great storyteller. He even had pictures and video of some of the ghosts in his stories which was chilling.

Some of the creepy homes...

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7. Eat at The Pirates' House. Be sure to ask for a "pirate" and you'll get a haunted tour of the place.

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8. See beautiful Forsyth Park.

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9. Go to Bonaventure Cemetery. Dash Tours picked me up at my hotel & then gave a guided tour of the cemetery and its more notable residents. It was hauntingly beautiful and filled with lovely statues framed by Spanish moss & centuries-old live oaks.

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10. Have an ice cream at Leopold's.

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11. Check out City Market.

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12. Try a sandwich from Zunzi's. This is the Conquistador.

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13. See the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.

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14. Go on a martini tour.

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15. Just walk around and enjoy all the beautiful scenery.

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16. Explore one, if not all, of the 22 squares that are all over the historic district. Each one is different and has it's own personality. Plus, they are what make Savannah so unique and walkable.

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On my last day, I ventured outside of Savannah and headed to Tybee Island. I was too close to miss a few hours at the beach.

17. Explore Fort Pulaski. The fort is not actually on the island but you'll pass it on the way there. A $5 dollar entrance fee gives you access for a week and, besides the fort, there are many great walking trails to explore.

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18. Eat at The Crab Shack. There's nothing like sitting on the water with a plate of raw oysters and a cold beer! I also had the deviled crabs with key lime pie for dessert. That was probably the best pie I've ever eaten...the crust was absolute perfection.

My view for lunch...

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19. See the Tybee Lighthouse.

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20. Relax on North Beach where the dolphins are plentiful but not the crowds.

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Posted by tammy_b 15:39 Archived in USA Tagged pirates ghost_tour savannah solo_travel food_tour bonaventure_cemetery tybee_island Comments (0)

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