trip

Swoon-Worthy Destinations

Jamaica and Canada are as far out of the United States as I’ve ever gone, but I do have grand plans for future world travel. While I dream of sipping café au lait at a posh French bistro and sailing along the shores of Greece, there are plenty of swoon-worthy destinations to explore here in United States. Here is my bucket list for US travel…Who’s ready for a road trip?

1. Blue Ridge Parkway
Up in the Appalachian Mountains is a 469-mile stretch of gorgeous scenic overlooks, hiking trails, campsites, and old homesteads. The Blue Ridge Parkway connects the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and is one of the most visited area of our National Park System. I’m hoping we can check out a stretch on our trip to the Smoky Mountains at the end of the month!

image source: Blue Ridge Parkway

2. Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
While the Grand Canyon should be on everyone’s US travel bucket list, there are plenty of other beautiful natural sights that are worth a trip out West. The Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness is more than 100,000 acres of smooth cliffs, red rock amphitheaters, and hiking trails. It’s known for being a great place for solitude – I can’t image a better place for a hike to clear your mind.

image source: Wikipedia

3. Sequoia National Park
There’s a powerful beauty in the redwoods in California – they’ve been growing for thousands(!) of years. I want to take in the awesomeness that is General Sherman – the largest single stem tree in the world. The park spans more than 400,000 acres and reaches up to 13,000 vertical feet. The park also boasts the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States: Mount Whitney rises to 14,505 feet above sea level.

image source: National Park Service

4. Northern Lights in Alaska
If I could pick one thing to see before I die, it would be the Northern Lights. According to Wikipedia, the Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis) are caused by the collision of solar wind and magnetospheric charged particles with the high altitude atmosphere. According to me, they are a magnificent display of the cosmos. To each their own, I suppose.

image source: Alaska.org

5. Savannah, GA
The only urban center on my list, and I chose it because of the lovely Spanish moss trees and southern charm of Georgia’s oldest city. It could also be because Gone With the Wind is my favorite movie of all time. Savannah has it all – beaches, historic landmarks, five-star food, ghost tours, early American architecture, gardens, and more!

image source: J. Meirs//WikiTravel

Tell me about some of your favorite places to visit in the States!

Packing List // Free Printable

I used to write out my packing checklist each time I went on a trip, even though I generally pack the same items. There are plenty of free packing checklists available for download, but I’ve never found one that matched my packing style or had the level of detail I needed. So I made my own! Click on the image below to download a copy for yourself.

PackingListPrintable-by-MistyMorningDesign

How do you get ready for your trips? Do you write a list or wing it?

September 2014 Edition // Travel

sept-14-edition

I travel a lot, both for pleasure and for work, and there have been months where I’ve spent more nights in a hotel than in my own home. This month alone I have trips scheduled to Fort Lauderdale, New York City, and Gatlinburg, TN! In addition to sharing my adventures, this month’s posts will feature my favorite tips for making travel less stressful, whether you’re going on a camping trip with a group or you’re traveling solo to a work event.

Some of my favorite memories are attached to a trip I took with family and friends. Recently, my BFF Ashley and I took a few days off to visit Ocean City. We had a great time parasailing, checking out the boardwalk, and dancing the night away… but the best part of our trip was going to the beach at 3am and eating a bag of chips while sitting on a lifeguard post, just talking about life and the universe. Can’t get better than that, right?

oc-beach-trip

As I might have mentioned before, I love all things Disney – specifically, Disney World. I was blessed as a kid to have parents who took us there every other year to celebrate Christmas. I remember one trip where we stayed at the (now defunct) Disney Institute Resort and waking up to find that Santa had left us presents! I do have plenty of wonderful memories of family vacations to visit the Mouse, but my most memorable Disney vacation is of our honeymoon in 2011. I didn’t dream about weddings as a young girl, but I did dream about my Disney honeymoon. My favorite memory is the night we spend at the Grand Floridian – after dinner at the award-winning Victoria & Albert’s, we had champagne and dessert on our balcony while watching fireworks over the Magic Kingdom. It was incredible, romantic, and one of my sweetest memories with Alex.

honeymoon

My last big family vacation before I moved out on my own was to Myrtle Beach. We had such a great time playing in the sand, taking pictures of old guys in Speedos, playing seriously competitive mini golf, and generally being goofy together. When I think of this trip, the first thing that comes to mind is the night we found baby sharks washed up on the shore. I was sad for the little guys… but chances were there were some that did make it, so I refused to get back in the water for the rest of the trip.

myrtle-beach

What about you – what are your favorite vacation memories?