Tag Archives: Hiking/Walking

Barnsley Gardens Resort: A Fantastic Fairytale Retreat

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

A Magical English Village Resort in the Georgia

The English-style cottages surrounded by lush landscaping create a 19th century English Village.

The English-style cottages surrounded by lush landscaping create a 19th century English Village.

Hidden in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia is a mystical wonderland, where a Fairy Godmother makes wishes and dreams come true. Where a Prince saves a legendary estate and with a magical touch creates an enchanting English Village. Travel with us for a dreamlike visit to the fairytale retreat of Barnsley Gardens Resort, just an hour north of Atlanta. Continue reading

Vail, Colorado: A Spectacular Summer Wonderland

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Lion Square Lodge is a Rocky Mountain Retreat

The welcoming pool at Lion Square Lodge

The welcoming pool at Lion Square Lodge

Cool refreshing mountain air, clear blue skies, lush green mountains and temperatures between 65-85 degrees with no humidity! Mix in outdoor activities, plenty of shopping, amazing dining, cultural activities and resort treats and you’ve got the perfect formula for a spectacular summer retreat – Vail, Colorado. A refreshing and “cool” mountain resort. Continue reading

Exploring the Grand Tetons

By Charlene  Mixa & Richard Mixa

Discover Majestic Mountains, the Wild West & Whitewater 

Grand Tetons (forest fires have all photos hazy)

Grand Tetons (forest fires have all photos hazy)

Majestic rugged snow capped mountains reach to the sky. The Teton Mountains rise abruptly above Jackson Hole Valley creating shimmering reflections in Jackson Lake. Extraordinary wildlife, pristine lakes and alpine terrain where you can explore hundreds of miles of trails, raft the Snake River, ride a covered wagon or just enjoy the serenity are all at Grand Teton National Park. Continue reading

Experience the Beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park

By Charlene Mixa

Thrill in a Colorado Rocky Mountain High

Alpine Visitor Center area -Rocky Mt. NPI’m on top of the world! Seated in a “convertible hummer” above me is a clear blue sky with magnificent vistas of the Great Rock Mountains. With panoramic views, this is a fantastic way to “see” these majestic mountains. Rocky Mountain Rush Tours lives up to its name. Riding in this unique vehicle on winding mountain roads is definitely a “rush.” Continue reading

Discover Dublin: A Fascinating Capital City

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

There’s Plenty to Toast in Dublin!Slainte!

Dublin! Drinks! Guinness! Irish Whiskey! Rebellion! History! Famine! Where to start in exploring this amazing capital city of the Republic of Ireland? A pub- of course! Boasting or better toasting over 1,000 pubs they are plentiful. Cheers! O‘Neill’s Bar is the perfect place for a quiet pint on our first evening in Dublin. For over 300 years O’Neill’s has warmly welcomed visitors and residents. Sitting at the bar, a friendly Irish couple shares suggestions for sights to see. Ah, a true charming real Irish Pub in the heart of historic Dublin. Continue reading

New York’s Scenic Shawangunk Mountains

By Charlene Mixa

Sam’s Point Preserve for Hiking and Honors Haven Resort for Respite
Sam's Point PreserveHikers, bathe in the pristine vistas and untouched landscape of the Shawangunk Mountains of New York’s Ulster County. With thousands of acres of forever wild land, Ulster County is a primary destination for hiking and delighting in panoramic views of these scenic mountains. Adding special excitement are the Ellenville Fault Ice Caves, the largest known open fault in the United States with corresponding ice caves. After a full day enjoying the splendor of the mountains and exploring the ice caves, rejuvenate at the Honors Haven Resort. All within just two hours of Manhattan! Continue reading

Methods of Public Transportation in Southeast Asia

By Mary Jo Plouf

photo credit: Mary Jo Plouf

photo credit: Mary Jo Plouf

There are several ways to get around with public transportation in South East Asia. Vietnam has a large number of taxis, both with and without meters. It is much preferred to use a taxi with a meter and visitors should always agree on a fare before they enter the taxi. Taxis are not particularly expensive, but the fare can vary widely.  We had to learn the hard way when we were charged the equivalent of twenty dollars for a ride that should have been three dollars. Fortunately, we had booked the taxi through our hotel and they had the time and the name of the taxi company on their records. We got a refund within an hour. So actually, we learned two lessons which are invaluable throughout the world.  Always know the fare ahead of time and whenever possible book through your hotel when you need a taxi. The hotel can also give you a good estimate of what the fare should be in order to reach many popular destinations.

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The Mysteries and Delights of the Far East

By Mary Jo Plouf

photo credit: Mary Jo Plouf

photo credit: Mary Jo Plouf

Gate 1’s 17 day tour of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, is presented not as a “walk in the park” but as a sensory, visual and physical immersion in the culture of the three countries. Our group of 17 walked among the people and viewed their homes, temples, schools and places of business. We ate their food, starting with noodle soup for breakfast, fried noodles for lunch and noodles and vegetables for dinner. It was soon apparent they did not eat much meat and most of us found the diet quite healthy.

We arrived in Bangkok at 11.30 p.m. after 17 hours of travel. Our Gate1 representative was waiting to bring us to our hotel. It is no small thing that after such a long journey, our hotel, The Chaophya Park, was a deluxe refuge and relaxing haven from the rigors of travel. After a refreshing sleep, we were ready for a full day of Thai culture.

Bangkok is the capital and most densely populated city in Thailand. Traffic is out of control. Boat service on the Chao Phraya River services approximately 50,000 people daily and helps to alleviate traffic in the city center. Taxi service includes cars, motorbikes and tuk-tuks.

Our first stop was Wat Pho, which is the largest temple complex in Bangkok. It is home to the gigantic golden reclining Buddha. The Buddha is 150 feet long and 40 feet high and takes up the entire building. It is covered in gold-leaf and shines like the sun. Along the sides of the temple are 108 small bronze bowls where visitors can buy coins to deposit in each bowl and make a wish. It is more than impressive, it is amazing. Visitors are reminded that it is an active temple and proper clothing must be worn. Shoulders and legs must be covered and shoes removed.

photo credit: Mary Jo Plouf

photo credit: Mary Jo Plouf

We spent about an hour roaming freely around the rest of the complex which includes 394 Golden Buddhas sitting in the lotus position, a school of Thai massage and numerous small buildings and statues in a park-like setting.

In the afternoon we had our choice of visiting the Grand Palace which houses the Emerald Buddah and is still used for cultural and government functions, but is no longer a royal residence, or wandering on our own through the maze of street venders and small shops.

Late in the afternoon we returned to our hotel and availed ourselves of the nearby Thai massage facility. The Thai massage is very different from our usual massage. It is invigorating instead of relaxing and uses yoga style postures to relieve and stress and improve blood circulation. The charge was $15 for an hour and we were definitely hooked.

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Savvy Savannah

By Charlene & Richard Mixa An Alluring Southern City

Savannah's Historical River Street

Savannah’s Historical River Street

A vibrant city with a rich southern history and charm sits on the bluffs of the Savannah River. Georgia’s “First City” is dynamic as it entices and lures visitors to return again and again. Blending culture and heritage with the bizarre, Savannah is an exciting place to visit. Whether walking the beautiful squares, listening to music at Market Square, shopping in unique upscale shops in the Historic District, roaming large antique stores, strolling along River Street, taking a tour, or partaking of great southern food, Savannah is fascinating. Continue reading

“A Gulf Coast Paradise” Longboat Key, FL

By Charlene S. Mixa

Get Relaxed, Refreshed and Rejuvnated!

View from Suite at The Longboat Key Club

View from Suite at The Longboat Key Club

Sarasota, FL and Her Islands are a perfect paradise playground – from satiny white sandy beaches to abundant cultural amenities to outdoor recreational opportunities available year-round. Her Islands include the famous Longboat Key, Lido Key, and Siesta Key, each offering its unique blend and personality for a vacation retreat on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico. Continue reading