Author Archives: Charlene Mixa

About Charlene Mixa

Seeing new places, learning about cultures and seeing the sights has always been my dream. Growing up I was blessed with parents that enjoyed traveling and thought nothing of taking a family of seven on excursions. My career in Human Resources and later as a consultant for an international Human Resource firm offered some travel, but I knew as my husband and I approached retirement, my goal was to do more traveling and broader trips. The nine years since retirement has been filled with fantastic adventures from short local one day trips to several week excursions. Living in Florida, it is especially enjoyable to be away in the summer to cooler climates. Multi-week driving trips across the good ol' USA, settling in for a month in the mountains to explore the local area, or a combination of both fill much of our summer season. Our travels are predominantly self-orchestrated, bringing the fun and challenge of getting everything to click. It's all about doing and sharing! Experiencing a travel adventure is exciting. Reliving a special travel moment with a friend or family is exhilarating. I feel my heart race and pulse quicken, as I sharing that special moment. Thank you for joining in my travel adventures and allowing me to hear your stories.

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

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

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

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

Sensational Savannah

 

A Southern City Boasting Charm and Hospitality  

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Fountain in Forsyth Park

Fountain in Forsyth Park

Savannah! The coastal jewel on Georgia’s east coast evokes visions of sunlight filtered through thick gnarled branches of ancient live oaks. Spanish moss drips off trees while crepe myrtles burst with bright blossoms of purple, pink and white. In early June, stately old trees shade columned mansions and gardens sport summer blooms. Savannah entices visitors with her sultry ambiance, striking beauty and old-world charm. Continue reading

A Sampling of Asheville’s Culinary Scene

From Restaurant Dining to Food Tour to Sky Bar!

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Ahi Tuna Salad at Grove Park In Cabana Grill & Bar

Ahi Tuna Salad at Grove Park In Cabana Grill & Bar

Asheville runs the gamut with its culinary cuisine. From downhome to uptown, the city will entice and satisfy any palate. Spending only a couple of days in the city on this visit, we are exploring and focusing on its vibrant restaurant scene. Plus our hotel, The Windsor Asheville is perfect for walking to downtown restaurants, shops, galleries and museums. 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

Kinsale: Ireland’s Hidden Gem

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Find the “Pot of Gold” in Ireland’s Popular Holiday Resort

Kinsale Harbor

Kinsale Harbor

Castles, shamrocks, devilish Leprechauns, the Blarney stone, and a “Pot of Gold” at the end of the rainbow! All are images of a fascinating country that easily charms or bewitches visitors. IRELAND! An isle with ancient legends to uncover, amazing landscapes to explore, and enchanting villages to investigate.  Continue reading

The Grandeur of the Omni Grove Park Inn

An Enchanting Escape

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Omni Grove Park Inn & Sunset Terrace

Omni Grove Park Inn & Sunset Terrace

Memories! A fall mountain vacation 20 years ago is my first memory of visiting the renowned Grove Park Inn.   One morning we hike Chimney Rock Park followed by an afternoon at the Biltmore Estate. Before sunset, we arrive at the Grove Park Inn. A massive unique stone structure on Sunset Mountain, the Inn exudes an enchantment with an aura of being in a Fairy Tale.  Continue reading