California Tower – San Diego, Calif.

29 May DSC_0927

You have got to go here…California Tower – San Diego, Calif.

Every museum has something special that drives a person to visit, but the San Diego Museum of Man has something extra special – a tower that you can climb that hasn’t been open for 80 years!

The California Tower, which boasts 360 degree views of San Diego last saw footsteps in 1935.

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The tour takes approximately 40 minutes and does require climbing 7 flights of stairs (including 1 slightly steep spiral staircase), but the view and the tour through history is so worth it.

Don’t worry, the tour guide stops at each landing to give you time to take a breath (if you are relatively good shape this will be a breeze for you), talk about the tower and let you enjoy the view.

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Once you hit the top, be prepared to be wowed and enjoy views that most people don’t get to see.

You are only allowed 15 minutes at the landing, but I found it was plenty of time to take pictures and enjoy the moment. There are even several benches to take a rest on.

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For an additional $8 on top of the museum admission you can take this journey that not many get to. My recommendations: DO IT!, get your tickets in advance and go early.  Balboa Park gets very busy as the day goes on so beat the rush.  OH and there are so many cool museums and things to do in Balboa Park so plan to stay all day…my favorite thing to do is bring a picnic as there are also tons of great places to relax.

Happy Climbing,

Crystal

 

Yellowstone Bear World – Rexburg, Idaho.

14 Sep

You have got to go here…Yellowstone Bear World – Rexburg, Idaho.

Trips don’t always tun out as they are planned and that is OK!  When bad weather re-routed us through Idaho to Yellowstone National Park we were lucky enough to be able to visit Yellowstone Bear World and truth be told it is one of the best memories I took home from our trip.

The anticipation while waiting for the gates to open killed me, I was like a kid on Christmas morning.

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I interrupt this blog to insert a word of advice, there are two very cool experiences you can partake in: feeding bear cubs (yes, you heard me right) and feeding all the animals on the grounds from a raised vehicle. RESERVE EARLY!  Unfortunately we were too late to reserve on-line so as soon as we arrived we headed straight to the sign-up desk near the petting zoo to see if there were any last minute cancellations.  Luckily there were and I couldn’t wait to feed the animals.

While we waited for our tour to begin we couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the bear cubs at play.

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I LITERALLY could have stayed there all day and watched them, but alas it was our turn to load up and set off on an adventure.

For just $25 (for up to 7 family members – not a bad deal if you ask me) you are loaded in a raised vehicle and given food to feed the animals as you are driven through the park.  Butterflies were rampant in my stomach as I had been wanting to do something like this for so long.

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The tour is approximately 45 minutes, led by a docent and there are several stops along the way to feed the animals. I can’t say this enough – DO THIS!  Not only do you learn so much, it is immensely fun along the way.  They had to pry me off of the tour…

BUT, the fun didn’t end there…there is also a petting zoo, a store filled with goodies and snack shack that sells bear shaped french fries (I know this sounds so touristy, but they were actually delicious and I wish I hadn’t shared them!).

Oh wait, did I forget to mention the best thing – you can drive your own car right by bears, bison, moose, and wolves just to name a few.  For $17 per adult (everything in this blog is included with this price except the extra experiences and bear fries:)) you can drive your car through the park as many times as you would like, no two drives will ever be the same.

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Bear World is another example of awesome things that may not be your destination, but are an important part of the journey!

Happy Bearing,

Crystal

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Golf Gardens – Catalina Island, Calif.

26 Jan

You have got to go here…Golf Gardens – Catalina Island, Calif.

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I am a firm believer that you are never too old to do anything, like play mini golf!

On a recent trip to Catalina Island my husband and I got a sudden urge to swing the clubs. Located just steps from the main drag is a really fun and unique miniature golf course.

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So what makes it so different you ask?  All the holes tell you a story or a little tid bit of history about the island. Most people know that there are wild Buffalo on the Island, but do you know why.  Well, you can find out while trying to get a hole-in-one!

Another very cool thing is that the holes themselves are designed around the history you learn. If you want to discover more, I guess you are just going to have to go play a round for yourself!

Oh another thing – it is cheap! Just $9 for an honest to goodness fun time.

So grab your loved ones young or old and head to Golf Gardens next time you are on Catalina Island, you won’t want to miss this hidden gem!

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Happy Golfing,

Crystal

 

 

Chatsworth House – Derbyshire, UK

19 Jan

You have got to go here…Chatsworth House – Derbyshire, UK.

Who would fly 5,000 miles to take a picture?  This girl!  Boy am I glad that I followed my heart, because what I got was so much more than a photo.

Mr. & Mrs. Darcy

Mr. & Mrs. Darcy

Ever since I saw the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice I knew that I had to make it to Pemberley (all you Mr. Darcy fans out there know what I am talking about!) and in 2013 I finally got my chance.

So, I’m not going to lie…my trip to the United Kingdom was planned (mad props to Anne Marie at Across the Pond Vacations for all your help) around Chatsworth House.  Yes, I was excited to see London and Edinburgh, but really it was this place that I had been dreaming about that gave me butterflies.  All I knew about it was from a movie and through planning I was blown away by how amazing it really was.

First, lodging…where to stay?  On the grounds of course, above a pub – yes please!  The Devonshire Arms at Beeley is a car ride, walk or bike ride away from Chatsworth House. You choose your own adventure.

Hands down, this was one of the best places I have ever stayed.  It was in a picturesque village, the food, rooms and staff were all phenomenal. When I get stressed, I often picture myself having a pint on their patio while watching sheep graze nearby.

Are there other things to do around Chatsworth House you ask?  Absolutely!  It is located in the Peak District, which is a nature lovers dream.  Cycling, camping, hiking…the list goes on.  We couldn’t help but strap on our walking shoes and go exploring.  I recommend you stop by the Farm Shop first stock up on some fresh local provisions first!

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With goodies in hand, we set out on the first trail we found, to enjoy the local wildlife and take a breath to enjoy life.  I know it may seem cheesy, but for as long as I live, the moment I spent sitting by the river having a picnic with my husband and my best friend will forever be one of the best.

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As if life couldn’t get any better…it was finally time to go and explore Chatsworth House.  I have two big tips for you.  Plan to stay all day (one day may not be enough for you) and buy the Discovery ticket, which includes the house, garden and farmyard as you must see it all.

OK, in a nutshell, there is art, magnificent gardens, trails to explore, cute animals, a human sundial, fountains, shopping, yummy restaurants, and happiness!  OH and a hedge maze…a legit one.  It took us 45 minutes (rookies!) and it was a blast.  The research I did before hand did not do this place justice and I had 1000% more than anticipated.

Another thing I loved was the fact that there was so much open space to just lounge and take a moment to soak all the beauty in.

The moral of this story is…everyone has their Chatsworth House, so whether it is near or far.  GO!!! You never know what other awesome things you will discover and I promise once you set eyes on your dream place for the first time your life will change forever – I know mine did.

Happy Chatsworthing,

Crystal

P.S. Any P&P fans out there recognize this?

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The Love for Thirty Project

28 Jul

You have got to read this…The Love for Thirty Project!

I was lucky enough to be able to guest post over at My Thirty Spot to talk about what being in my 30s means to me.  While it hasn’t always been easy…it has definitely been the time in my life that has really made me realize who I am and where I want to go.  Hope you and enjoy it!

Happy 30ing,

Crystal

Historic Route 66 – Amboy, Calif.

21 Jun

You have got to go here…Historic Route 66 – Amboy, Calif.

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OK OK OK, so this blog isn’t really about going to Amboy, it is more about not being afraid to go off the trail a little bit, yes it may take you a few extra minutes…but what does that matter when you’re discovering something new?

You can accomplish this one of two ways, do a little research (on blogs such as mine:)) before you head out on a trip to see what may be along your path or watch for signs and when you see something interesting…GO!

When heading home from a trip to Arizona recently we looked to one of our favorites sites – Roadside America and picked one place to veer off the straight and narrow.  Our choice this time…Amboy. This town, like so many others along Route 66 were very popular until the freeway was built and it took most travelers and business away from them (think about the movie Cars). But thankfully Amboy and Roys Motel & Cafe have been preserved so that they may also serve as a history lesson to the lucky visitors who decide to make a visit.

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In addition to a museum, Roy’s is also a working gas station still and sells snacks and drinks to weary motorists.

No, this isn’t as flashy as a theme park or as captivating as looking at the Statue of Liberty ,but it is still spectacular in it’s own right.  You never know what memories you are going to make when you decide to take a chance and try something new.

OH, if you do ever find yourself in Amboy – look out for the shoe tree…it is pretty awesome!

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Happy Amboying (or whatever roadside attraction you find yourself at),

Crystal

Oatman, Az.

13 Jun

You have got to go here…Oatman, Az.

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OK, there are only two words that you really need to know when describing Oatman – WILD BURROS (more on them later)! And I have to say they are AWESOME…here is a sneak peek…

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Nestled in the hills of Arizona, 30 miles south of Laughlin, Nev., off Historic Route 66, Oatman was once a gold mining town that dates back to the 1800’s.  At one time the town produced the most gold in the whole state.  DSC_0029

Today it is a cool western town filled with kitschy stores, saloons, history, beautiful scenery and of course – WILD BURROS! DSC_0033

I suggest you allot at least a few hours to take a step back in time and explore. There is plenty to do…why not take in an Outlaw Show, do some shopping, send a postcard, smash a penny, view some art or visit a mine?

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AND that’s not all…stop in the Oatman Hotel, where Clark Gable and Carol Lombard spent their honeymoon night, for a Sarsaparilla (or an adult beverage) and ask about the history of the dollar bills that are placed on every open surface of the bar.
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And there is still more fun to be had…you guessed it – WILD BURROS!  Left over from the gold mining days, these furry animals still roam and rule the streets today.  They are every where you turn and I loved it. Some stores even sell carrots so you can feed them!  CAUTION – these are wild animals so be careful.


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Some days I feel like life passes me by because of the hustle and bustle of today’s world, but I am so glad that there are still places like Oatman that allow you to slow down and just enjoy some simple fun!

Happy Burroing,

Crystal

 

 

 

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