Category Archive: RT

You’ll Never Want to Leave: Opryland, Tennessee

It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to check off a visit to a new state, so heading off to was something I was looking forward to. We packed our bags, grabbed a guidebook, and headed off for a long weekend at Opryland. Opryland once referred to the Opryland USA, a theme park beloved by locals, some of whom claim to this day that it is their all-time favorite. The theme park closed in 1997 and was demolished. Today the phrase Opryland refers to the larger geographical area that includes the Opryland Resort & Convention Center, the Opry Mills shopping mall, and the Grand Ole Opry House. Our weekend at Opryland was a feast of music, food, and drink with a little relaxation thrown in. We had such a great time that we never wanted to leave. This is part […]

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18 Off the Beaten Path Places to Find Great Barbecue

As summer approaches, my mind turns to barbecue. For me, the thought of great barbecue brings to mind a plate of beef or pork that’s been slow cooked all day with a dry rub, then mounded on my plate with a spicy tomato-based sauce on the side. A few side dishes round out the meal, maybe corn on the cob, green beans, cole slaw, or a macaroni salad. Add is some iced tea or a cold beer and I’m in barbecue heaven. But the history and evolution of barbecue is far more complicated and includes techniques like smoking, roasting, baking, braising, and grilling beef, pork, chicken, or lamb. Seasonings may be as simple as salt and pepper or a more complicated blend or herbs and spices to make a dry rub. Sauces further define the type of barbecue, with fans […]

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You’ll Never Want to Leave: Universal Orlando Resort

When I think about traveling in March and April, I immediately think of Spring Break and family travel. For many families in traditional school environments, school breaks are the only time the family can get away. While I generally tend to avoid travel during school breaks and the summer, there are occasions when there simply are no other choices. If you’re braving the crowds for your family vacation, we recommend spending time at Universal Orlando Resort. With two theme parks, one water park, CityWalk entertainment district, and on-site hotels that provide numerous park perks, once you check in you’ll never have to leave. And you’ll never want to leave either. This is another edition or our monthly themed feature talking about places we’ve stayed and never wanted to leave. This post, along with all the others in the series, may […]

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Visiting the Ruins of Pompeii: From Tragedy to Tourism

  The ruins of Pompeii have become one of Italy’s most visited sites. On August 24th, 79 A.D., erupted in a violent two-day display that destroyed the city of Pompeii, Italy, and the surrounding area. It is one of history’s largest recorded volcanic eruptions, and a tragedy by any measure. The city was buried under ash and pumice for nearly 1700 years and was presumed lost until its accidental rediscovery in the mid-1700s.   The subsequent excavation of the ruins of Pompeii provided a peek at what life was like during the height of the Roman Empire. Rising out of the ash and lava over a thousand years later, the ruins of Pompeii turned a horrible tragedy into a tourism opportunity. Millions of visitors a year now visit this UNESCO World Heritage site located not far from Naples, along with its […]

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You’ll Never Want to Leave: Hilton Union Square, San Francisco

It seems like everyone thinks about romance in February, but once Valentine’s Day passes, romance gets short shrift. One way to celebrate romantic memories all year long is to re-visit places that have a special meaning for you, that have played a starring role in your life together, and that makes you smile when you think about past visits. For us, that destination is San Francisco, California. San Francisco was the first place we vacationed in when we were dating. We spent some time there on our honeymoon. We’ve flown there for baseball games, conferences, getaway weekends, and other special events. We “get” San Francisco because San Francisco “gets” us. For a celebratory getaway, we wanted to stay downtown in the Union Square area – it’s the area of the city where we stayed on our first visit – and […]

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5 Tuscan Towns for a Perfect Day Trip

It’s been awhile since we’ve traveled to Italy and it’s time to start making plans for a return visit. Our travel preference is to travel with friends and rent a home in Italy to use as a home base. Having a home base lets us set up a combination of days at leisure to relax and soak up the Italian way of life along with busy days of day trips seeing the countryside. There are many things that we love about Italy, especially the hill towns in Tuscany. Here are a few of our favorites, perfect as a home base, day trip, or weekend getaway. Castiglione d’Orcia Where it is: In the Siena province in Tuscany. Population around 3,000. What to do: Visit the Castle of Tentennano and the Santi Stefano and Degna to see art. Relax in the baths. […]

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Weekend Guide: Getaway to Langley, Washington

This weekend guide for your getaway to Langley, Washington, will help you plan your getaway, complete with where to stay, what to eat and drink, and what to do. Located on the south end of Whidbey Island overlooking the Saratoga Passage, Langley’s community of just over 1,000 people entice visitors with small town hospitality. With charming inns and cottages, seven wineries in the area, and a stunning natural environment, Langley is a perfect getaway destination for wine tasting, great food, and outdoor activity. This weekend guide to a getaway to Langley was written with the assistance and sponsorship of Whidbey Camano Tourism (their website is here) and its members. This guide contains affiliate links; clicking through for more information or to make a purchase may result in a small fee coming my way to help support the site. Getting There […]

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UNESCO World Heritage Site: Historic District of Panama

Panama City has two sides – the modern, with its skyscraper banks and casinos, and the old town, the historic district, referred to as Historic District of Panama, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Founded in 1519, Panama City is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement on the Pacific coast of the Americas. The city was hit many hard times – slave rebellion, fire, and an earthquake, before being destroyed in a pirate attack in 1671. The original site was laid out in a slightly irregular, somewhat rudimentary grid of colonial planning. The city was moved in 1673, about four and a half miles southeast and is known as Casco Antiguo or the old town. A sea wall was erected for protection from its enemies, the city had a central plaza with smaller plazas on the fringe. The streets were organized, […]

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Splish Splash: A Review of Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort

Last month I attended the media preview as well as the Grand Opening of Universal Orlando Resort’s new water theme park – Volcano Bay. I was predisposed to love it, of course, as I’m a fan of most things UOR (that’s probably why they hired me to be part of the inaugural Blog Squad ambassador program). But, I was not expecting to find so many things to love about this third theme park in the UOR brand. This review is a result of my visit to the park on the media day (with only a few hundred people in attendance) as well as the more crowded opening day. TL/DR:  Just go, it’s amazing! For those who want to know more, here are the details. The story of Volcano Bay starts with the culture of the Waturi, a fictional tribe from […]

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Books to Read on Your Next Flight

In honor of World Book Day, I’m updating my progress in the 2017 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge – and in doing so, giving you a list of great books to read on your next flight (train trip, cruise, or wherever you enjoy immersing yourself in a book). As a refresher, the challenge is not a list of books to read. Instead, it’s a list of book themes and you pick something within your reading preferences while still stretching your reading repertoire my getting you to look at books that you may not have considered. The list is 40 books for the basic challenge, plus an additional 12 for the advanced challenge, the latter equating to one book per week for the year. If you don’t read all 40 – or 52 books, it doesn’t matter. The purpose of the challenge […]

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