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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My 5 Favorite Moments From Our Walt Disney World Spring Break Trip

Posted by on Mar 31, 2015 in Disney, Family Travel

My 5 Favorite Moments From Our Walt Disney World Spring Break Trip

Oh, why does Spring Break have to end? My daughter and I had so much fun during her Spring Break this year at Walt Disney World. This is the first time that we’ve been there during Spring, and it was also our first time staying at Disney’s Pop Century Resort. With so much to see and do, we weren’t able to complete everything on our Wish List, but we did attempt to and had so much fun while doing so. A trip to Walt Disney World is an experience one will always remember. Spending time with my favorite girl at one of the happiest places on earth is a gift that I don’t take for granted. Family travel is so important to me, as well as being able to make memories as a family unit while in a different place. I wanted to share with you My 5 Favorite Moments From Our Walt Disney World Spring Break Trip: Pop Century Resort in One Word: Amazing! One of the foremost Disney experts that I know (Amiyrah from 4 Hats and Frugal, who’s also a Disney Mom’s Panel member) recommended that The Chicklet and I stay at Disney’s Pop Century Resort, based on what she knew about us. And she was right on the money. Even before we were able to check in, we were in awe of all of the scenery and pop culture coolness at the resort. It’s fun and has something for every age. The resort features info, memorabilia, and other goodies from each decade starting with the 50’s going all the way to the 90’s. And the grounds are filled with fabulousness from each decade as well. We stayed in the 60’s area by the “psychedelic” pool, and there was so many “groovy” things to see. We also ventured to the 70’s area complete with an eight track cassette and a discoball. If you are looking for a Disney resort that is super fun for young and old, Pop Century Resort is it, yo! Witnessing a Marriage Proposal While trying to take a photo of The Chicklet in front of the Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse statue near Cinderella’s Castle, we unknowingly began to witness a man proposing to his girlfriend. At first, I was a little annoyed because while I was trying to take my photo, he just bumrushed us, but my anger turned to “aww” when I saw him kneel down and propose. My daughter was still wondering what was going on, so I had to clue her in in between my “say yes, girl, say yes” chants. It appears like the would-be bride was shocked and wasn’t able to give an answer right that minute. But soon the family crowded around her, and she told him yes, and I shed a few tears myself. Dinner at The Crystal Palace I was having trouble getting...

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Hotel Review: The Row NYC Times Square

Posted by on Dec 2, 2014 in Travel Reviews

Hotel Review: The Row NYC Times Square

I love boutique hotels that are fab and funky with a heaping dose of personality. While looking for somewhere near Times Square to stay during a recent trip, I came across The Row NYC. After perusing their website and seeing photos of the accommodations, I decided to book a room there and try my luck. Located off of 8th Avenue just one block away from the bustling Times Square, The Row is one of NYC’s oldest hotels. It’s a 27-story wonder with 1000+ rooms, all which have been renovated and updated to give a modern studio feel. My room was decorated in bright orange with white furnishings—-almost like an IKEA fantasy land. The room was small, but for NYC, as a good size, and I enjoyed the LED flatscreen television and high speed internet. You would never know that this hotel was built in 1928! I especially loved the lobby (which I failed to get photos off–epic fail), which boasts an eatery cafe during the daytime, and breaks out into a nightclub after hours complete with deejay, dance floor, and someone on the drums. With so many rooms, usually waiting for an elevator is a problem—not at The Row. Their elevator system is top notch. 8+ elevators that get all assigned to your floor only. You have to truly use them to see what I mean. My room looked out over the back of the hotel, where I had glimpses of The Shubert Theater, home of the Broadway play Matilda. I truly enjoyed my experience and would stay there again in a heartbeat. The Row NYC is well priced too. The average price per night for my stay was about $175 before tax, and that included breakfast for each of the four days I was there. For that area, you can’t beat it. Below are photos of my room. I am told the M stands for Manhattan Hotel, which was then changed to the Royal Manhattan, which was then changed to Milford Plaza. It was reintroduced this year as The Row NYC. Nearby restaurants and eateries include The Shake Shack, Carmine’s, and Junior’s Brooklyn, which I personally ate at about three times during my visit.   Visit Row NYC Times Square for more information and details. They are also on Twitter at...

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