Summer Fun: Take the Family to Magic Waters Waterpark

Posted by on Jun 30, 2015 in Family Travel

Summer Fun: Take the Family to Magic Waters Waterpark

Summer is finally in full swing, with temperatures rising why not take the family to the waterpark! One of the best things about summer is enjoying the day by the pool and one of my favorite waterparks is Magic Waters near Rockford, IL. I remember every summer as a kid begging my grandmother to take me and now that I have the boychild he begs me to take him. What I love most about Magic Waters is that there is something for everyone to do, whether you have big kids or small you won’t be disappointed. It’s truly a great way to spend the day with the family. Find your fun at Magic Waters Waterpark near Rockford, IL. Magic Waters features 10 attractions such as the Typhoon Terror, The Double Dare Drop Speed Slide or Tsunami Bay-Illinois’ largest wave pool! Experience the thrill of Splash Blaster Water Coaster Ride or just relax on the Splash Magic River! Don’t miss Tiki Island-a water paradise for kids! There’s fun for the entire family! Another thing I love about Magic Waters is how clean the park is, there is nothing worse than a unsanitary waterpark. If you are looking for a deal, take the family on Wednesday when tickets are only $12… I swear, you can’t beat that deal! So if you are in the Midwest and you are looking for something to do, I highly suggest checking out Magic...

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Hotel Review: Lord Baltimore

Posted by on Jun 30, 2015 in Travel, Travel Reviews

Hotel Review: Lord Baltimore

Boutique hotels are my thing. Of course I enjoy high end properties that have a five star rating and are known the well-over for their distinction and classic style. But I especially like hotels that aren’t a chain—ones that are unique and funky with fabulous furnishings and youthful appeal. While in the Washington, D.C. area recently, my flight was canceled and I had to stay until the next day to catch a plane to New York City. I used my trusty Hotel Tonight app on my phone to look for rooms in the area that wouldn’t break the bank, and I came across the Lord Baltimore Hotel in Downtown Baltimore near the harbor. And at only $75 for the night, I went ahead and booked the room since the photos of the hotel on the app looked amazing. Once I arrived to the hotel, I could tell that this was an old property, but it had been redone and updated into a quirky hotel destination. The lobby still had an old Charm City feel, but was mixed with contemporary furnishings. The staff greeted me with a smile and gave me a room on the 15th floor. My room was a nice size with a Queen bed, flat screen HD TV, and a small bathroom with wood laminate floors. The decor was trendy yet sparse, and I could appreciate the youthful style meets old world feel. For $75, I doubt I would be able to find a better room in the Baltimore area. And for a night or two, this property was well worth it. Here are a few photos from my room at Lord Baltimore: Lord Baltimore Hotel was voted Best City Center Historic Hotel in 2014by Historic Hotels of America. Originally built in 1928, it experienced a million dollar renovation in 2013. It reopened in March 2014. For more information on the Lord Baltimore Hotel, click...

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Explore Ocala/Marion County Florida for An Authentic Florida Family Vacation

Posted by on Jun 23, 2015 in Family Travel, Travel

Explore Ocala/Marion County Florida for An Authentic Florida Family Vacation

We received the following press release to share with readers: OCALA, FLORIDA (June  2015) – Summer vacations are one of the most treasured and highly anticipated times of the year. It’s a season when life-long memories are made, and for many families a summer road trip is an unforgettable and forever cherished experience. Families, couples or friends looking for an exciting and distinctive stop on their summer adventure can explore countless attractions, both on land and water, throughout Ocala/Marion County, one of Florida’s original travel destinations. See breathtaking sights including sun-drenched hiking trails through lush forests, crystal clear fresh water springs, lakes and rivers and limestone canyons. Those looking for an adventure through the woods can lace up their sneakers and hike through the Ocala National Forest. Located roughly 40 minutes from historic downtown Ocala, the national forest offers dozens of different hiking trails ranging from half-mile boardwalks to nearly 100 miles of backpacking trails for the experienced naturalist. In addition to hiking trails, there are 100 miles of designated equestrian paths and camping sites. Make sure to stick to the marked trails; this is, after all, the largest contiguous sand pine scrub forest in the world.  While in the area, you may want to look for the 45-foot Chapman Oak Tree, located just off State Road 19; it is the largest of its species in the U.S. and registered as an American Champion Tree. If making a splash is on your summer to-do list, plan to stop at Wild Waters at Silver Springs, a longtime family favorite that’s been newly renovated. This one-of-a-kind waterpark offers a cool time for the entire family, where you can relax by the wave pool or take a plunge down one of the high-speed waterslides. There are also several natural springs sprinkled throughout the Ocala National Forest, one of the most popular being Juniper Springs, located about 28 miles east of Ocala. The forest’s springs stay at 72 degrees year round, making them a fantastic spot to cool off from Florida’s summer heat. Another popular spring is The Salt Springs Recreation Area, also located in the Ocala National Forest. Its name originated from naturally occurring minerals carried to the surface from underground aquifers, providing a level of salinity not found in the other springs. The semi-tropical foliage of pines and palms at the campground is a winning combination for a summer outdoor experience, perfect for the entire family to enjoy. During the summer the Rainbow River, located in Dunnellon, is the ideal aquatic sanctuary for tubing.  A natural landmark, this family-friendly river shimmers with silver and turquoise hues and stays at a cool 72 to 74 degrees year-round, perfect to drift away for three to four hours of downstream relaxation. It is ideal for swimming, bird watching, scuba diving, boating, kayaking and paddle boarding as well.  KP Hole Park, known as ‘The Tuber Ride of Generations’ and the...

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Flying the Friendly Skies in a Hot Air Balloon

Posted by on Jun 23, 2015 in Travel

Flying the Friendly Skies in a Hot Air Balloon

One of the things on my Bucket List was flying in a hot air balloon. I say was because back in May during a trip to Scottsdale, Arizona, my dream was realized. Raijean and I both were able to fly in a hot air balloon soaring above the desert near Phoenix, and I can say that it was an amazing experience. I’ve always been a person to want to try new and different things. I’ve ziplined, bungee jumped, and swam in many oceans, but never had a chance to go in a hot air balloon. Thanks to Hot Air Expeditions (@BalloonsAZ on Twitter), we were treated to a ride that I will always remember. Here are five things that stuck out to me during our hot air balloon ride: It is HOT In order to “propel” the balloon and make it go higher (and to be able to guide it), you need hot air. And that hot air is produced by a blazing hot flame. I don’t think I was ready for how hot it got, but glad I dressed appropriately as described in the tour materials. It is beautiful Seeing everything high above the desert was something to behold. At one point, I stopped trying to take pictures of everything because I wanted to fully enjoy the sights and scenery. We had to get up pretty early in the morning for the trip, but it was worth it. The views that I saw that morning will last in my memory for a lifetime. It is an event After our ride was complete, we had breakfast in the middle of the desert complete with all of the fixings and mimosas. It wasn’t just a hot air balloon ride, but an experience. And a fabulous one at that! It is fun During our ride, we were on a balloon with two other families, so we got a chance to chop it up with other people, too. It is a fun way to meet new people and experience something that isn’t your garden variety activity. It is something I want to do again I can cross riding in a hot air balloon off of my bucket list, but that doesn’t mean that it’s over. I wouldn’t mind partaking in one again, maybe this time in Europe. So, it may be crossed off my list, but it’s still on my European Travel Guide. If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience a hot air balloon ride, I highly recommend that you do. And if you are visiting Arizona, make sure to check out Hot Air Expeditions in Phoenix. They will take  great care of you and give you a memorable...

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Travel: Our Visit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West

Posted by on Jun 9, 2015 in Travel

Travel: Our Visit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West

While in Arizona we got the chance to experience many new things. One of those experiences included a trip to Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and school Taliesin West in Scottsdale AZ. If you aren’t familiar with Frank Lloyd Wright he is probably if not one of the greatest architects of our time. Frank has created some of the world’s most famous structures. I live in Oak Park, IL. where he also had a home, so you can see why I’m kind of obsessed with his work. “Oak Park, Illinois is home to the world’s largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings and houses, with 25 structures built between 1889 and 1913.” I’ve visited his structures in Oak Park many times, so I thought it would only be right to see some of his work while in Scottsdale, AZ. Here’s a little more information about Taliesin West:  “Taliesin West is a national historic landmark nestled in the desert foothills of the McDowell Mountains outside of Scottsdale, AZ.  It is also the home of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and Taliesin, The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Wright’s beloved winter home and the bustling headquarters of the Taliesin Fellowship, Taliesin West was established in 1937 and diligently handcrafted over many years into a utopian world unto itself. Deeply connected to the desert from which it was forged, Taliesin West possesses an almost prehistoric grandeur. It was built and maintained almost entirely by Wright and his apprentices, making it among the most personal of the architect’s creations A lively community, Taliesin West is open to the public and offers a broad range of tours. Come experience the place that Wright called “the top of the world.” Check out some of the images we captured below…   It’s amazing how much time and effort was put into Taliesin West. While, I won’t give away the complete history, I will tell you it was probably one of the best tours I had ever been on. We got to learn so much more about Frank Lloyd Wright and how Taliesin West came to be. We learned so much about his past, his wives, and his travels around the world. If  you are ever in Scottsdale, AZ and love architecture, I definitely recommend that you go on the Frank Lloyd Wright tour. To get more information about the property and foundation go...

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