Archive for the 'Travel' Category

My Year In Cities 2021

Happy New Year! Below is the list of cities that I visited in 2021 with at least one night spent in each place. We were able to travel more this year, mostly all through road trips. Michigan has quickly become one of our favorite destinations.

  • LaFollette, Tennessee *
  • Cincinnati, Ohio *
  • Holmes Beach, Florida
  • Williamstown, Kentucky *
  • Boyne Falls, Michigan *
  • Asheville, North Carolina
  • Penrose, North Carolina
  • Broad Ripple, Indiana
  • Frankenmuth, Michigan
  • Mackinaw City, Michigan
  • Munising, Michigan
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
  • Saline, Michigan
  • Oregon, Ohio
  • Portage, Michigan

* Those cities marked with an asterisk were visited multiple times on non-consecutive days.

See also: 20202019 | 2018 | 2017 | 201620152014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

My Year In Cities 2020

Happy New Year! Below is the list of cities that I visited in 2020 with at least one night spent in each place. A much smaller list than in past years. I hope to return to a more typical number of cities this year!

  • Cincinnati, Ohio *
  • Kingston upon Thames, United Kingdom
  • Stanton, Kentucky
  • LaFollette, Tennessee *
  • Williamstown, Kentucky *
  • Oregon, Ohio

* Those cities marked with an asterisk were visited multiple times on non-consecutive days.

See also: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 201620152014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

My Year In Cities 2019

Happy New Year! Below is the list of cities that I visited in 2019 with at least one night spent in each place.

  • Cincinnati, Ohio *
  • Orlando, Florida
  • New Smyrna Beach, Florida
  • West Chester, Ohio
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Silverthorne, Colorado
  • Copper Mountain, Colorado
  • Aurora, Colorado
  • Denver, Colorado *
  • Richmond Heights, Missouri
  • Carbondale, Illinois
  • Williamstown, Kentucky *
  • Santa Barbara, California
  • Valencia, California
  • Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, California
  • Yosemite National Park, California
  • San Francisco, California
  • Saugatuck, Michigan
  • South Haven, Michigan
  • Kingston upon Thames, United Kingdom
  • Captiva, Florida
  • Oregon, Ohio
  • Seven Springs, Pennsylvania

* Those cities marked with an asterisk were visited multiple times on non-consecutive days.

See also: 2018 | 2017 | 201620152014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

My Year In Cities 2018

Happy New Year! Below is the list of cities that I visited in 2018 with at least one night spent in each place.

  • Cincinnati, Ohio *
  • Copper Mountain, Colorado
  • Denver, Colorado *
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
  • Williamstown, Kentucky *
  • Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
  • Gatlinburg, Tennessee
  • Gulf Shores, Alabama
  • Asheville, North Carolina
  • West Portsmouth, Ohio
  • Seven Springs, Pennsylvania

* Those cities marked with an asterisk were visited multiple times on non-consecutive days.

See also: 2017 | 201620152014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

My Year In Cities 2017

Happy New Year! Below is the list of cities that I visited in 2017 with at least one night spent in each place.

  • Sevierville, Tennessee
  • Cincinnati, Ohio *
  • Seven Springs, Pennsylvania *
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Copper Mountain, Colorado
  • Williamstown, Kentucky *
  • Duck Key, Florida
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Beachwood, Ohio
  • Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
  • Asheville, North Carolina
  • South Haven, Michigan
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Lexington, Kentucky
  • Mason, Ohio
  • Saline, Michigan
  • Mount Sterling, Ohio

* Those cities marked with an asterisk were visited multiple times on non-consecutive days.

See also: 201620152014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

Fury Glass Bottom Boat

During our summer trip to the Florida Keys we spent an afternoon in Key West. I was pleasantly surprised to find plenty of things for our family to do on the often party filled island. When I found the glass bottom boat tour from Fury I quickly made a reservation for the 2 hour tour.

Mermaid

Upon checking in I was told that due to water being too rough near the planned stop at the coral reef, we would instead be heading to a coral garden on the Gulf of Mexico side of the island. They let me know this ahead of time so that we could reschedule if we wanted, but we were not staying in Key West and would only have a chance to visit on this one afternoon. So we stuck with our planned time.

Cruising Out

The “Pride of Key West” is a large catamaran that features a seated sun deck on top, and an air-conditioned viewing area below. The indoor area is complete with plenty of seating, a snack bar, restrooms, and two glass bottom hulls. You are welcome to bring your own snacks and drinks, including alcohol, for enjoyment on the cruise.

Glass Bottom

The ride out to the coral gardens was smooth and before too long the engines slowed and we grabbed seats around the glass bottom sections of the boat. One of the crew grabbed a microphone and guided us through the garden telling us about everything we were seeing and some area history as well.

Corals

It was not the most interesting glass bottom trip I’ve been on, but our kids really enjoyed seeing all the fish and various corals. I enjoyed the boat ride with scenic views out of and back into Key West.

Cruising Back

Hawks Cay Resort

Summer is not quite officially over but the kids are back to school. In the meantime I’m still trying to catch up with all of our summer travels.  The first trip we took right after the kids were finished with school was down to the Florida Keys. There aren’t a lot of hotels with a swimmable beach in the keys, but fortunately we found Hawks Cay Resort on Duck Key.

Lagoon

Hawks Cay has their own ocean fed saltwater lagoon. It is large enough for kayaks and snorkeling and is full of aquatic life. We spent a lot of time here catching little fish and crabs. There are a couple of outdoor grills nearby and food or drinks can be ordered from the wait staff who make the rounds through the lounge chairs.

Iguana

We didn’t stay in the resort building itself, instead we rented a two bedroom villa that was equipped with a kitchen, dining table, and a small area with a couch and television. While my wife and I enjoyed making our own breakfasts in the mornings and having extra space, I think the kids favorite thing were the iguanas that were living in the trees near our back porch.

Pirate Ship Pool

In addition to the lagoon, there are five pools scattered on the resort grounds. We didn’t use the adult only tranquility pool but spent considerable time at the kid’s pirate ship pool, the resort pool near the lagoon, and the sunset pool that was closest to our villa.

Mini Golf

And if that wasn’t enough there are so many family activities planned throughout the day. We competed in a scavenger hunt and also spent a lot of time on the turf soccer field. There is also a miniature golf course, plenty of tennis courts, and a full service marina.

Soccer

There is so much to do that you may not even leave the resort area. If you do it is at least 15 minutes drive to any other restaurants or attractions. We had such an incredible stay at Hawks Cay and I definitely think we will visit again in the future.

Bulldog Fishing Charters

My son Trey has really developed a love for fishing over the last year or two on seeing how Jimmy John Shark does. During our summer vacation to Hilton Head Island my wife searched hard for a fishing trip to take our six year old and his five year old buddy. We struggled to find a boat large enough for group of eleven and eventually found it would be easiest to just have the four guys take the boys out for this trip. Once the group was reduced down to six we quickly found Bulldog Fishing Charters and reserved their 2 hour fishing trip that was marked as great for kids ($350 for up to 6 people).

The Bulldog is 32 foot long and is captained by Christiaan Politzer, a second generation Hilton Head fishing captain for over 25 years. Christiaan’s teenage son Stratton was also on board for our trip serving as first mate. Both were extremely helpful and courteous throughout our entire trip. After cruising out for awhile we had reached our fishing destination above a pile of rocks that local legend says was formed by old sailing ships dropping their rock ballasts on their way into Savannah.

Once our anchor was in, the crew immediately threw in some lines for the boys. While doing so we were told of the history of the area and how the rock pile is full of sea bass that should given plenty of entertainment for the boys. Before the lines were even in the water for a minute they had already hooked one of these black seas bass. None that the boys caught were large enough to keep, but they still had a blast reeling them in and probably caught a dozen throughout the trip.

While that was going on they also threw in some larger rods for the adults. Though we didn’t see any sharks on this short trip, we did reel in 2 cobia and thought we might have had a shark or sting ray on but it broke the line after a good fight from my dad. We had an amazing trip on the Bulldog and would not hesitate to go on another trip with Captain Christiaan in the future.

French Broad Rafting

On our way back from Hilton Head, my family I and stopped for the night in Asheville, NC and the next morning visited the nearby town of Hot Springs. I had booked us on a calm water rafting trip with French Broad Rafting.

Given that my wife and I had both rafted a handful of times in the past, I booked the unguided 4 mile trip through class I-II rapids. The minimum age limit for this trip is 4 years old, so our little one just barely qualified.

After checking in at Hot Springs, we grabbed our gear and headed immediately for the water. There was another group that was going with a guide at the same time we were, so we let them go ahead and tried to follow them. But with only two paddlers we soon lost sight of them. Fortunately they have given us some verbal directions on which way was easiest to navigate throughout our three-hour float. Once our trip was over the staff was waiting with a van to drive us back to our car and where we started.

Our entire family loved the trip and wanted to go again right away. We will definitely be back.

50 States!

Back at the end of last year, Kim and I finally visited our 50th state of Oregon. We met our friends Doni & Phil for a quick tour of Portland. Since their move to California, they have visited Portland before and were excellent tour guides showing us the best that Portland has to offer. Breweries, and lots of them! I’ll have some specific restaurant suggestions and reviews coming in the near future. For now here are some other photos of our adventures.

Now that all states have been visited, I have to come up with some other travel goals.