Tag Archives: travel

Coffee Breaks Make Great Dates

Lately, I’ve been on the go a lot. Between weddings, anniversaries, family visits, it’s been awhile since I’ve had a quiet weekend at home. It was nice to not have any sort of plans or schedule this weekend and just play it by ear, exploring our own back yard.

First up, Greenwood Urban Wetland Park.

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This beautiful oasis is plop in the middle of Downtown Orlando, but surprisingly quiet and peaceful.

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No water under this bridge

Thanks to the recent drought, water levels were surprisingly low, but it was still beautiful and quite scenic. I can’t wait to go back after a nice long rainstorm.

We continued relaxing over some cold brews from Foxtail Coffee Co. I’d consider this another first for me since my first visit to Foxtail wasn’t as pleasant. I was suffering from appendicitis and didn’t know it. This time was far more enjoyable.

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We sat in the grass, beneath the palm trees, people watching for the next few hours. It was absolutely perfect.

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And to round out the day of firsts, we had dinner at Reyes Mezcaleria, a brand new Mexican restaurant in Downtown Orlando.

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Exploring Northwest Florida

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by.” – Robert Frost

Steinhatchee, Florida could be described as the road less traveled by, unless it’s scalloping season. This quaint fishing town is definitely for those looking for a place to relax, unwind and explore natural Florida. Ideal for a weekend getaway.

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Although I am a native Floridian, the Northwest Gulf Coast of Florida is an area I was pretty unfamiliar with. It’s not your typical Florida, and I loved it. Making our way up from Orlando, we took the backroads, passing through various small towns and marshlands. The further north we got, the less tropical it began to feel.

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Our home for this weekend getaway was Steinhatchee Landing Resort. Our private cottage was extremely spacious and cozy. For fun, we even left the fireplace going in the evenings; it reminded me of being in the mountains. It’s Florida though, and early May, so it wasn’t an actual fire. The resort had a quiet, old Florida feel that was just as beautiful as it was romantic; the perfect place to rest our heads between our adventures.

Coming from a somewhat big city, it was amazing to actually sleep through the night without the sounds of sirens, traffic, and airplanes flying above. Just the chirping birds as a morning wake up call.

As I mentioned before, Steinhatchee Landing was our home base between adventures.

These adventures included:

Steinhatchee Falls

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When I read waterfall, I was thinking actual water falling from a mountaintop, cascading over rocks and flowing down a stream, but this is Florida…no mountaintop here. Still, Steinhatchee Falls was quite peaceful and definitely off the beaten path.

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Surely more peaceful today than it was hundreds of years ago when settler’s cut through these waters in their horse-pulled wagons. You can still see the wagon ruts in the limestone rock.

Suwannee River State Park

We began this adventure with a picnic along the banks of the Suwannee River before we began our hike along the bluffs overlooking the water below.  There are a series of trails to choose from, ranging from a quarter mile to 18 miles. We veered in and out of various trails, following sights that interested us.

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Florida Caverns State Park (this one is a little further north, but if you are coming from South Florida, it’s worth a visit)

Caves in Florida!? Yes, it’s true, and it was completely unexpected. This is the only state park in Florida to offer cave tours.

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So next time you are looking for a little off the beaten path adventure, head to Northwest Florida. You won’t be disappointed.

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#PrayforGatlinburg

It’s incredible how much of a difference a week can make. A week ago today I was in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, enjoying the views from my cabin in the woods at Westgate Resorts.

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Now, that cabin no longer exists. All that’s left is the memories thousands of people hold on to who travel to the Great Smoky Mountains year after year.

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So much devastation in the blink of an eye. While I conscientiously labored through my emails today, the news served as a sort of white noise in the background as updates were made through the morning on the condition of Gatlinburg and the surrounding areas. I paid close attention, not only only because it’s a place I have traveled to several times, just last week in fact; but also because my family owns a mountain top resort just outside of Gatlinburg.

I let out a “gasp” when the news outlets finally announced that my family’s resort had been completely destroyed. Immediately, all those amazing moments I had last week came rushing back: reading on the balcony as the sun rose over the mountain tops, sitting by the fire place with hot chocolate in hand and all the wonderful interactions that I had with the incredibly welcoming staff. My heart was, and is, broken for all of them and everyone in that area.

I will cherish every moment I have spent in Gatlinburg, from a little girl in elementary school all the way up to college, and now a married woman. All I know, I can’t wait to go back.

#PrayforGatlinburg

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