Blog Archives

2018 Year in Review at Traveling with MJ

2018 has been a transitional year here at Traveling with MJ. There’s been lots of travel – several new domestic destinations, some exploration around Washington State, and a couple of cruises. It hasn’t all been about travel, though. Now that Tony’s retired and helping me out in the business, we’ve had a few business changes this year. This site got a facelift this spring as we launched a new design and navigational scheme. It took some time to get all the kinks out, but we’re almost there and I think its streamlined approach to information and stories serves readers better. We’ve also changed up our content focus, really zeroing in on what we’re best at – value luxury destinations, experiences, and products. We think of value luxury as luxury for real people, not celebrities with private islands and jets. Luxury […]

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You’ll Never Want to Leave: Lakedale Resort, Friday Harbor

Growing up in Washington State, we took the San Juan Islands for granted. Sure, we studied the islands in Washington State History and went there on field trips, but we never thought of it as someplace people would voluntarily go. Especially not for a vacation. Boy, were we wrong! We headed off to Friday Harbor earlier this year for a stay at Lakedale Resort in Friday Harbor (on San Juan Island). The 82-acre resort has three spring water lakes and a variety of lodging options to fit every preference and budget, from its rustic luxury lodge to camping sites. We loved our stay at Lakedale Resort and never wanted to leave. We think you’ll feel the same way, too. This is part of a series of monthly themed features talking about places we’ve stayed and never wanted to leave. This post […]

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You’ll Never Want to Leave: Onboard the Viking Sky, Into the Midnight Sun Itinerary

We sailed off on the Viking Sky, leaving Bergen, Norway, for a 15-day Into the Midnight Sun itinerary that took us to the tip-top of Norway, then headed down to Scotland and England. It was Tony’s first trip above the Arctic Circle, and with the exception of Bergen, it was our first visit to all the locations on the itinerary. We enjoyed our time on the Viking Sky and never wanted to leave! We think you would love it, too. This is part of a series of monthly themed features talking about places we’ve stayed and never wanted to leave. This post may contain affiliate links, sponsored travel, sponsored content, or paid product placement. We’ve hand-picked these destinations and products because we like them and we think you will, too. Getting There We flew into Bergen the morning of our […]

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Your Guide (and Lots of Tips) for Halloween Horror Nights 2018

This annual event has grown from three nights and one haunted house in 1991 (it was originally called Fright Nights and was renamed the following year) to this 28th-year event with 10 houses, five scare zones, and one production show over 36 nights. The houses and scare zones are a combination of original content specifically developed for Halloween Horror Nights 2018 and characters and stories from familiar movies, televisions shows, and pop culture. If you’re a fan of the horror genre, many of the themes will be familiar to you, if you’re not, you may want to watch a few movies to get in the mood. The following is my take and recommendations on what to see, how to see it, and some tips to enjoy Halloween Horror Nights 2018 (HHN28). Before You Go There are 10 haunted houses at […]

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You’ll Never Want to Leave: Downtown Napa

Located on the banks of the Napa River, downtown Napa has evolved from a small, sleepy town into a vibrant community full of upscale hotels, wine tasting rooms, and restaurants to meet every palate preference. There are downtown parks, outdoor art installations and art walks, markets full of local fare, and some of the friendliest Californians you’ll ever run into. And they do it all with a casual flair that feels down-home rather than pretentious. I spent some time in downtown Napa with some gal pals, soaking up some of the best it had to offer and had such a great time that I never wanted to leave. In fact, I’ve decided to plan a return trip, this time taking Tony along, as I know it’s the type of getaway he enjoys. I think you’ll enjoy it too! Note: This trip […]

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Adventure Cruise: Discover Pure Panama with UnCruise Adventures

Last fall we sailed on UnCruise Adventures’ Safari Voyager on their Pure Panama: Cultures, Coasts, and Canal itinerary. It was our first small ship adventure cruise and we’re excited to review the ship and itinerary, as well as share our tips and with you. Cruise information is historically the most searched for information on our site during the month of June, so we expect that this information is hitting you right at the time you’re making your plans and reservations for your cruise. Discover Pure Panama with us. And UnCruise Adventures. Is an adventure cruise right for you? Like all vacations, the decision to take an adventure cruise is a big one – you’ll want to research thoroughly to see if the experience and itinerary fit your cruise style. We think the following are important considerations in deciding if an adventure […]

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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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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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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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You’ll Never Want to Leave: Pantai Inn, La Jolla

For much of the northern hemisphere, January is winter and with it, the cold – often brutally cold – rain, snow, and ice. January is also the time when, no matter where you live, people make plans for the new year. Whether it’s finding enough motivation to stick to resolutions, making a commitment to new habits, or re-setting your business or personal goals, January is a great time to burrow in. That’s what we did at the Pantai Inn in La Jolla, California, and we didn’t want to leave. This is the first of a year of monthly themed features talking about places we’ve stayed and never wanted to leave. This post, and the ones to follow each month, may contain affiliate links, sponsored travel, or paid product placement. We’ve hand-picked these destinations and products because we like them and we […]

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