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.

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

San Jose, CA- It’s not just high tech!

 

Hotel Valencia at Santana Row

Hotel Valencia at Santana Row

Exciting Silicon Valley 

By: Charlene S. Mixa

Sunshine 300 days a year, the San Jose skyline surrounded by mountains, steep hillside vineyards, tree-lined streets, sidewalk cafes, sports venues, and quaint yet bustling small towns are all found in Silicon Valley. San Jose, the tenth largest city in the nation is exciting and trendy while still having a small town charm. The city in this wide valley creates a warm welcome. Continue reading

Tee It Up & Rejuvenate!

A Day of Fun & Relaxation at the Omni Grove Park Inn  

By Charlene & Richard Mixa 

The Omni Grove Park Inn Golf Course

The Omni Grove Park Inn Golf Course

Choices – teeing it up or pampering oneself? Today we get a wonderful blend of golf on a historic championship course and rejuvenate our spirit at a world-class spa. The Omni Grove Park Inn offers all we desire at one of the American South’s oldest and most famous grand resorts. Visiting for the day we work our way from tee to tee knowing that the Resort’s spa awaits for an afternoon of pampering. Continue reading

The Taste & Sights of Louisville

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

From Luscious Eats to One-of-a-kind Attractions  

Barbaro Statue at entrance of Churchill Downs

Barbaro Statue at entrance of Churchill Downs

Boarding a white van decorated with plastic flowers and a plastic horse’s head on the hood, it’s a hearty “Welcome to Louisville’s City Taste Tour!” With one hand on the wheel and the other on the microphone, Leslie, our guide-owner, begins our excursion of the tastes and sights of Louisville, Kentucky. Continue reading

Asheville: Beer City USA!

The Beer City Festival is a Barrel of Fun!

By Charlene & Richard Mixa  

Roll out a barrel of fun at the Beer City Festival

Roll out a barrel of fun at the Beer City Festival

Roll out the barrel for a Beer Extravaganza! Asheville’s 2015 Beer City Festival! Celebrating a growing craft-brewing industry this mountain town cheerfully claims being the Examiner’s “Beer City, USA” poll four years running. Hailing more breweries per capita than any U.S. City! With our commemorative beer mugs it’s time for ample samplings of over 30 craft-breweries, all members of Asheville Brewers Alliance. Continue reading

Find a Plethora of Activities in Western North Carolina

Experience an Abundance of Adventures

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

 Craggy Gardens Trail leads to spectacular views

Craggy Gardens Trail leads to spectacular views

Plethora an abundance or excess of something. Yep, Western North Carolina boasts an abundance of eclectic activities. “What to do?” is asked not for lack of things to do but deciding from an array of adventures. The world’s oldest mountains easily brag on its diverse outdoor activities, inviting towns, historic attractions, cultural venues, and its own uniqueness. In the past we’ve roamed the Biltmore, relaxed in a salt cave, wined and dined at the 100 year old Grove Park Inn, seen Asheville on traditional to wacky bus tours, hiked to tops of mountains, sipped local microbrews on beer tours, and sampled culinary delights on food excursions. Now we’re off to seek new and different, plus tried and true exploits in the Western North Carolina Mountains. Continue reading

Tee it up! Golf Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains!

A Wide Range of Golf Courses Beckon 

By: Charlene S. Mixa & Richard Mixa

Long range views at Sequoyah National

Long range views at Sequoyah National

Cool mountain breezes, fantastic views, and challenging golf courses beckon golfers to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Mountain golf is inspiring! The perspectives are varied from standing at a tee glaring down to a postage stamp green, staring up a hill to a green high above, making shots over gently flowing rivers, side hill stances on the rolling terrain of a foothills or winding valley holes among majestic mountains. Continue reading

Almost Heaven – The Swag

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

A Mountain Inn that Touches the Sky & Soothes the Soul!

Majestic Mountain Views!

Majestic Mountain Views!

Miles of majestic mountains that gently touch the sky. A paradise where endless panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains is the front yard and the enchanting Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the backyard.  Sitting at Gooseberry Knob enjoying our tantalizing gourmet picnic lunch with these breathtaking views it’s “Almost Heaven.”  The Swag is a “Bucket List” destination!  Continue reading