A Travellerspoint blog

I would like wine with my ruins, please.

Santorini, Greece

While on Santorini, we stayed at the Volcano View Hotel just outside of Fira. The surrounding area was peaceful and quiet but dining options at night were limited since we decided not to rent a car. There was a wonderful 24-hour bakery across the street that sold all kinds of goodies. Breakfast rolls baked with cheese and ham, various sandwiches, cookies, cakes and other desserts. We got into the habit of walking over twice a day...once in the afternoon for a little snack and then after dinner for dessert. There was also a great BBQ place close by that we tried for lunch one day. We ate most dinners at the hotel restaurant which was usually not crowded. The food was good and there were great views of the caldera at sunset. My favorite pastime was sitting on our balcony gazing at the haunting beauty of the caldera while sipping wine.

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On our first full day, we caught the local bus to Akrotiri which is the site of an ancient settlement that was covered in ash by a volcanic eruption around 1600 BC. The site is still actively being excavated and is enclosed in a building which provided great relief from the sun.

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Afterward, we stopped off at the Santo Winery to take in the views while tasting some of their wines. It was a great way to spend an afternoon.

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The view walking down the hill from the winery back to our hotel.

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Enjoying the sunset.

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Posted by tammy_b 17:43 Archived in Greece Tagged sunsets santorini akrotiri santo_winery Comments (0)

Southern Charm and Mint Juleps

Natchez, MS

Needing a break from work, I scooped up my mom for a girl's weekend in Natchez, MS.

With visions of Southern gentlemen and beautiful antebellum homes, this town had intrigued me for years. Before the Civil War, Natchez had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the country. Many of the homes were preserved and even passed down through generations to experience today.

Saturday

After a few hours on the road, we arrived at our home for the next few nights, The Burn bed & breakfast.

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That afternoon, the wine reception at The Burn also included an interesting tour. The home was originally built for John Walworth and his family who occupied it for more than 100 years. During the Civil War, they were evicted by Union soldiers who used the home as a hospital. The bottom level was used as a stable for the soldiers' horses and you can still see evidence on the window sills which are scarred from the horses leaning over the open windows to eat. The original property was quite large but over the years and, after the war, family members sold off small parcels at a time to survive. Now it sits on about 2-3 acres.

The sitting room which hosted a wine reception each afternoon.

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The dining area where guests ate breakfast "family style".

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A corner of the home with a map of the original property as well as some family photographs of the Walworths.

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Fountain in the courtyard.

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View of the back of the house. It is much larger than it looks from the street.

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My favorite part...a gorgeous, secluded pool. It was so serene to sip wine, soak in the pool, and relax.

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Sunday

This morning, we attended Mass at St. Mary Basilica and the church was one of the most beautiful that I've seen. I wish all Catholic churches still looked like this. There were intricate hand-carvings and detailed woodwork throughout, towering religious statues, inspirational stained glass windows, and stunning architecture. Because we were there for a service, I didn't get any pictures of the interior. I wish we had a chance to go back afterwards so that I could linger and admire it a little more. There was also a courtyard behind the church with a lovely fountain and live oaks that looked 100 years old.

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After lunch, we took a carriage ride in the historic district to soak in some of the history and sights of this quaint little town.

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That evening, we enjoyed dinner on the Mississippi River at the Magnolia Grill. The views of the river were wonderful. So different from Memphis, which is more industrial.

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Monday

Our package at The Burn also included tours of several other homes including The Elms, Longwood, and Rosalie.

The Elms - This tour included mint juleps. Quite nice!

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Longview - I found this home to be fascinating as it showed the dramatic lifestyle change that occurred before and after the Civil War. Construction started before the war and it was supposed to be 30,000 square feet with 32 rooms. The basement of the home was finished and the family moved in while the rest of the home was being built. At the start of the war, the workers all left since most were from the North, and construction completely stopped. There are still buckets with brushes in them and various other tools laying around as they were left. After the war, there was no money to complete the home and it was never finished. The family continued to live in the home for another 30 years. It was really interesting to see the opulence on the first floor and then walk up a flight of stairs to the second floor to see an unfinished home.

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Rosalie - This home was my favorite. The last descendent from the original family lived here until about the mid 1950s so the furnishings, including dolls and a child's tea set are original pieces from the family. The home was beautiful and the grounds were very peaceful.

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Overall, we enjoyed our trip. Natchez provided a great getaway with interesting history and sights to take in. Many of the people we met were from families that had lived here for generations. This was their family history which made the stories come alive.

Posted by tammy_b 22:46 Archived in USA Tagged natchez rosalee longview the_burn antebellum_homes Comments (0)

Whitewater rafting on the Ocoee

A little over a year ago, I had the chance to cross whitewater rafting off my bucket list. With a carload of friends and family, we ventured to middle Tennessee and rented a cabin for the weekend.

There had been a lot of rain that season so the river was deeper and running much faster than usual. Rapids that were normally class III's and IV's were now V's and VI's. At one point, I was literally sucked out of the raft as we went through Broken Nose rapids. Luckily, I was able to grab a friend's hand and then hang on to the side of the raft until we got to shallow water and I could scramble back in. Definitely an adrenaline rush and I was left with only one small scrape on my ankle.

The experience was incredible. It was exhilarating and scary fun with just enough slower moments sprinkled in to catch your breath and take in the beautiful views of the river.

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Posted by tammy_b 21:19 Archived in USA Tagged rafting whitewater ocoee Comments (0)

Pennsylvania Dutch Country

Lancaster, PA

I had a work assignment in Pennsylvania and since Eric grew up in Lancaster, we decided to go a few days early for a small getaway.

Saturday

After traveling on Friday, we awoke on Saturday ready to explore. Our first stop was one of Eric's favorites...Caruso's for lunch. We ordered several different things to share...the Philly cheesesteak, the Italian sub, and a slice of pizza. The bread is baked fresh on-site in a brick oven and everything was fantastic!

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Afterwards, Eric drove us around town showing me his childhood home, high school & the airfield where he learned to fly. Then we headed to historic downtown Lititz. Main Street was full of boutiques, B&Bs, wine tasting rooms, and restaurants. The weather was perfect for strolling and taking in the sights.

We ate & drank our way down the street. Fresh chocolate from Wilbur's, beer in an English-style pub, soft pretzels, wine samples & ice cream.

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Next we made our way to the Strasburg Railroad for a wine & cheese train ride. The ride is about 45 minutes long & you drink wine & nibble on fruit & various cheeses while riding past Amish farms and enjoying the countryside at sunset. I loved it but wished it lasted just a little longer.

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After a day of gorging ourselves, we didn't bother with dinner but returned to the hotel to relax and let our bellies recover.

Sunday

Today we started off with a little shopping at the Tanger Outlet Mall before heading to Stoudts Brewery for their Oktoberfest celebration. It was great fun...a huge hall with a polka band and people dancing, eating, and socializing. We found a couple of spots at one of the many tables and enjoyed a couple of beers & some German fare...pork with sauerkraut, bratwurst, red cabbage, potato salad, and fresh baked bread. We both eyed the German chocolate cake but just didn't have room.

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On the way back to the hotel, we found one of the many covered bridges in Lancaster County.

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Monday

Today I worked for a couple of hours and later that night we had our last dinner in PA. We found a place in York called The White Rose Bar & Grill. The atmosphere was upscale but relaxed and the food was fantastic. We started off with the Maryland blue crab dip and I had one of their signature fishbowl drinks, the Malibouty. I ordered the filet and lump crab cake. Absolutely delicious! So much so that I forgot to take a picture : ). With our bellies stuffed again, there was no room for dessert. BUT we ordered them to go so we could enjoy them later that night.

Posted by tammy_b 08:16 Archived in USA Tagged trains lancaster lititz stoudts strasburg Comments (0)

Football weekend in Austin, TX - Day 4

Sunday

This morning we went on a food tour of South Congress with "Austin Eats" and it was fantastic!

Our tour guide, Brian, met the group in front of Jo's Coffee with iced coffee from Jo's & pastries from La Patisserie. After brief introductions, we crossed the street for our first stop.

At Snack Bar, we tried the Tamago Yoko which was a hash cake with leek, cabbage, scrambled eggs, shrimp, bacon, and shiracha as well as a vegetarian version without the shrimp and bacon. Both were delicious.

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Next was Guero's Taco Bar. We sampled their house margarita made from fresh squeezed lime juice & agave nectar, the Al Pastor Taco - their specialty of marinated pork, topped with chopped onions, cilantro & pineapple sitting on a hand-made tortilla, and their queso and chips.

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At Hopdoddy's, we sampled their classic burger, Parmesan truffle fries, and salted caramel milkshake.

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By this time, the Texas heat started to turn up as it was nearing noon & our next two stops would be outside.

You Gonna Eat or What? Food truck.

We sat at picnic tables with umbrellas so there was some relief, but not much. We sampled the Shiner Bock beer battered monte cristo made with smoked ham, turkey, cheddar and provolone cheeses, and a raspberry-fig dipping sauce.

OMG...It was like Christmas in my mouth.

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Our last stop was Home Slice for NY-style pizza. We sampled the mushroom & pepperoni pizza, the vegetarian pizza and the Fireman's #4 blonde ale.

We sat on their shaded patio out back but the heat was starting to get to me so I didn't get pics of the pizza...only Eric enjoying his beer.

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We really enjoyed the tour. The restaurant owners/chefs were very passionate and everything we ate was delicious. Definitely one of the highlights of our trip.

Afterward, I had planned to do a little shopping on South Congress which is full of fun and quirky boutiques but we opted for some air-conditioned relief back at the hotel. After the game last night, I was nearing my sweat limit for the week.

Later in the afternoon, we ventured over to the University of Texas campus to tour the tower.

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That evening we decided to check out the bats. All we had to do was walk across the street from our hotel to the Congress Avenue Bridge, home to North America's largest urban bat colony. There are 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats that live underneath the bridge in its crevices. During the summer months, at dusk, people gather on the bridge and below on the bank to watch them emerge by the thousands for their nightly flights.

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I didn't really get any good pics of the bats but it was neat to watch them fly out in waves. Afterward, we decided to head back to the hotel to get ready for our flight home on Monday.

Posted by tammy_b 17:19 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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