Discover Rome: Exciting Tours of the Eternal City

Join the Mixa’s on their Journey of Rome

St. Peter's Basilica -

St. Peter’s Basilica -

By Charlene & Richard Mixa Rome, the cradle of one of the greatest civilizations ever, has influenced the world for 3,000 years. A rich heritage and cosmopolitan atmosphere, makes Rome one of the world’s most visited, famous, and influential capitals. A sightseeing mecca of palaces, century old churches, romantic ruins, elegant fountains, elaborate statues, and magnificent monuments. Rome is overwhelming! Research and pre-scheduling tours assures an exciting visit to the Eternal City. Continue reading

Vibrant, Vivacious Barcelona

From Quirky to Imaginative a Welcoming City
By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Barcelona at Night

Bienvenidos a Barcelona! Welcome to Barcelona! A cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, the city is defined by quirky art and architecture, imaginative food and vibrant street life. A dynamic city where Medieval roots of the mazelike Gothic Quarter border the modernist personality of architect Antoni Gaudí, and the tantalizing treats of its diverse restaurants. Continue reading

Cruise & Explore the Gems of Spain

A Luxurious Mediterranean Cruise to Intriguing Spanish Ports

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

The MS New Amsterdam sails the coast of Spain

The MS New Amsterdam sails the coast of Spain

Roman ruins, ancient cathedrals, lively cities and remote villages entice visitors to Spain. A country where the great civilizations have risen, fallen and left behind their indelible mark. Holland America’s Gems of Spain promises enchanting glimpses of an intriguing country while indulging in a luxurious Mediterranean cruise. Continue reading

All Aboard! Experience a Viking River Cruise on the Romantic Danube

A Touch & Taste on the Captivating Danube River

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

The Beautiful Blue Danube in November

The Beautiful Blue Danube in November

Picturesque scenes capture the magnificence of the Danube River with elegant cities, rolling hillsides, lush vineyards, and medieval castles. A romantic river that captivated musicians, artists and poets throughout the centuries. After traveling Europe a few weeks on our own, we gladly begin our Viking River Cruise and have the Viking experts orchestrate activities to assure an historical and local experience. Our cruise promises a glimpse of beguiling Budapest, the imperial architecture and gracious culture of Vienna, riverside towns in Austria’s Wachau Valley, a high-baroque abbey, and captivating German towns. Continue reading

Enhance your Irish Adventure- Head North

By Sally James

Last year over 1.3 million Americans embraced the opportunity to visit Ireland. Yet only a relatively small proportion of these adventurers opted to enhance their Irish experience by heading over the border into Northern Ireland. Here we take a closer look at some of the delights which the region can offer and highlight why it is a must on any Emerald Isle itinerary. Continue reading

Best States for a Motorcycle Vacation

By Sally James

Vacationers on Motorcycles

Vacationers on Motorcycles

The things which make something enjoyable are, of course, subjective. Someone who loves history will wax lyrical about the old cities of Europe, which won’t interest a wilderness-yomper one jot. A ski nut will appreciate mountainous resorts the charms of which will be completely lost upon a beach bum. This subjectivity is as true of motorcycling as anything else. Some love straight, desert roads in which to roar along with the world spread out before you. Others like the challenge of a bendy forest road. Some like it warm, some hate to sweat in their leathers. As such, any ranking of states regarding their general enjoyability for bikers is going to meet with stormy opposition in some quarters. So we won’t attempt to do that. Here instead are the best states for hitting the road on two wheels according to certain criteria – namely: Warm riding weather, dry riding weather, safety, and gasoline prices.

Honda CX400 1980, Stuart, Florida

Honda CX400 1980, Stuart, Florida

Warm Riding Weather – Florida, Arizona, Hawaii, Louisiana In all fairness, this is a pretty subjective category. After all, some people might prefer the crisp tang of a Wisconsin winter to the hot humidity of a Southern summer. Feel free, therefore, to completely ignore this category and go your own sweet way! To be honest, we’ve mainly chosen these states based upon their hours of daylight and the relative paucity of chill winds. In general, the states of Florida, Arizona, Hawaii and Louisiana are the most likely to give you a good, clear run of days in which the daylight is abundant and the nasty weather keeps away. Texas isn’t far behind, but loses points for just being too damn big to gather non-conflicting data for! Don’t take it as read that these states are automatically going to roll out the climactic carpet for you, however. We all know about Florida and Louisiana’s issue with hurricanes! These states give you your best chance of consistently warm riding weather, but it’s by no means 100% guaranteed!

Vacationer from Ohio Relaxes by Motorcycle

Vacationer from Ohio Relaxes by Motorcycle

Dry Riding Weather – Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona Wet roads, snowy roads, and water splattering your visor do not make for a great ride. Some may enjoy the challenge, and some may relish the chance to pit their snow chains against the ice, but those of us who like an easy life would probably prefer to hit the road on a dry day. Working on yearly averages, the driest states are Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Arizona. However, it might be worth taking seasonal averages into account as well. In the summer, California just about manages to knock Nevada from its desiccated top-spot, while in winter you’re more likely to find dry conditions in North Dakota (which perhaps helps to account for this state’s exemplary safety record – see below). In general, though Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Arizona are the most consistently dry states all year round, so if you’re not a fan of slippy tires and the scent of soggy weather, it might be an idea to head West!

Safety – North Dakota, Nebraska, Mississippi You need not worry about damage (to yourself or you bike!) or theft if you head to one of these states. The roads here are smooth and well-maintained – particularly in North Dakota - which makes for an enjoyable as well as a safe ride. The accident and fatality rates for all vehicles, not just motorcycles, are commendably low in all three states (which will make your mother happy!). North Dakota notably experiences low levels of congestion, and drivers tend to be both considerate and bike-aware. Helmet laws are laxly enforced within Nebraska, which counts against them, but this does not stop Nebraskans from taking the initiative and wearing helmets out in spite of law-enforcement’s unbothered stance on the issue. Mississippi, meanwhile, are both consistent and persistent with their traffic safety laws. Thefts of motorcycles are low in all three of these states.  If you want your bike undamaged and your body unscarred, head on out to North Dakota, Nebraska, or Mississippi.

Gas Prices – Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, Kansas Gas prices zip up and down all over the USA on a daily basis, so don’t rely too much on this information in a year’s time! As it currently stands, you’ll get the most miles for your dollar in Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, and Kansas – but it might be worth checking before you book anything, just to make sure!

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A Night in Savannah

Even for One Night Savannah is Enchanting By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Savannah's Ellis Square

Savannah’s Ellis Square

Living in Florida, when heading north out of state, we basically have two choices I-75 through Atlanta or I-95 by Savannah. For us traveling I-95, is especially enjoyable with the numerous cities or islands to stop in along the way from Fernandina to St. Simons Island to Savannah. A favorite stop is Savannah with all its intriguing charm, restaurants, history and activities. Plus it’s just far enough north for a comfortable day of driving. A visit to Savannah can be several nights or just an overnight before heading back on the interstate. Sure, we could stay at a hotel on I-95, but the Southern charm of Savannah beckons us into this enchanting city. Even for just one night, Savannah provides a delightful respite from road travel and Savannah always promises something new in this ever changing southern town. Continue reading

Light up the Night at Winter Lights

A wonderland of lights at Winter Lights

A wonderland of lights at Winter Lights

The NC Arboretum Creates a Magical Wonderland of Lights

 By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Even the parking lot is decked out in lights.

Even the parking lot is decked out in lights.

Beautiful! Colorful! Unique! Arriving at Winter Lights is like driving in to a Wonderland of Lights. Lights of green, orange and blue illuminate the bare trees creating a magical feel in the parking lot. At the Winter Welcome Center, the Mixa family (four adults and 2 children -Lucy age 4 & Louis 5) prepare for an adventure at the Arboretum’s lighted gardens and landscapes. Winter Lights is a three-acre nightly walking tour. The handy Event Map shows 15 areas to explore. Continue reading

Louis & Lucy Explore the Enchanting Grove Park Inn

Join Us for Adventures: The Gingerbread Houses, The Cave, The Fireplace, & More!

Enchanting Grove Park Inn

Enchanting Grove Park Inn

By Charlene & Richard Mixa    

“Hello”, my name is Louis. I am almost 6 years old (just two months shy) and my little sister, Lucy, is 4 years old. At first we asked our Mimi and Papa (writers of this article): “Why do we have to go to a hotel?” It was awesome! Now my sister Lucy and I are excited to share our recent visit to the enchanting and fun Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina. We hope other kids will find exciting adventures at the Inn, too.    

It's a huge tree outside!

It’s a huge tree outside!

It’s a castle! Look at all the rocks! It’ like a fairy tale! Is Rapunzel hiding here? Does the wicked witch live here? Outside on the porch is a gigantic Christmas tree. Papa takes us in the Great Hall. It is ginormous!   The fireplace is SO BIG. I could stand in it with my hands up and not touch the top. Whoa! I see the biggest Gingerbread House ever. Hurrah, they sell Hot Chocolate, too. Up close, I confirm it is really gingerbread. Okay, I didn’t take a bite. Mommy reads a sign that the outside is all gingerbread.

We drop off our backpacks in our room. It has lots of space with two big beds, chairs, desk and even a baby refrigerator. “Lucy, look out the window. Lots of steps and a golf course.” Hurrah! We’re off with Papa to explore. Goodness! There are Christmas trees everywhere. Lucy loves the beautiful decorations. Ooh! Behind the huge fireplace is a 102 year old elevator. A lady operates the elevator and takes us up. We hop off and look around then jump back on the elevator. Wow, Papa shows us a 102 year old car! That is OLD! Continue reading

The Captivating Château Élan Winery & Resort

An Elegant Blend of a French Countryside & Southern Hospitality

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Chateau Elan Winery & Resort

Chateau Elan Winery & Resort

Lush vineyards, rolling foothills, a magnificent Chateau and an elegant Inn create an inviting and gracious southern welcome with a French flair. With a sweeping panorama of the Northern Georgia foothills, Château Élan creates a “touch of France” as a premier Atlanta destination. A unique and magnificent resort, it combines luxury and conviviality, providing leisure opportunities of championship golf, full-production award winning winery, European health spa, culinary studio, huge swimming pool, and more world-class amenities. Continue reading