Vibrant. At face value, it means energetic, enthusiastic. It suggests movement, and its secondary definition is “quivering, pulsating.” And vibrant has more particular meaning when applied to color and sound. For color, it implies brightness; for sound, resonation and strength. Lately, vibrant is a buzzword associated with growing cities. Vibrancy now encapsulates an exciting, diverse, progressive, cultured place to be. A place that’s full of … Continue reading Vibrant, Defined: Exploring New Orleans (#12DaysOfTravel, Day 7)
Oh, Venice: you were my favorite part of the trip. As close as Cinque Terre came to winning that title, the City of Canals won its way to my heart.
I was worried it was over-hyped. That years and years of people telling me how much they loved Venice, of seeing stunning pictures of it, of hearing its praises sung by every travel guide, of reading novels set in its watery streets — that somehow the prestige would lessen the grandeur. How wrong I was. I actually considered leaving Venice off our itinerary, afraid we would be exhausted by navigating tiny streets packed with tourists. I’m so glad I didn’t. Continue reading “Venice, the Floating City”
While Florence’s city center is dwarfed by Milan’s, its size is deceptive. Known as “the cradle of the Renaissance,” Florence packs endless amounts of history and art into a small space.
As we only had two nights in Florence, we could only see so much. When I travel, I prioritize flexibility over the impossible feat of “seeing it all” — and Florence was no different. In our case, we discovered the huge city market somewhat by accident, but we didn’t make it to the Uffizi or Galleria dell’Accademia. Traveling with time constraints while also embracing the ability to make spontaneous decisions sometimes means that you take the path less traveled at the expense of missing a major tourist attraction. Most of the time, I’m okay with that. Continue reading “Florence, the Cradle of the Renaissance”
While browsing a used bookstore a few months ago, I peeked into the travel section to see if they had anything on Italy. Amid abandoned copies of Under the Tuscan Sun, I found Tilt: A Skewed History of the Tower of Pisa.
Confession: I’m no history buff. I don’t read all the plaques at museums, and I don’t seek out history tours. I appreciate history, and I like to understand its cultural relevance, but that’s about where it stops. It’s really not like me to voluntarily read an entire book on a monument’s history.
But maybe it’s something I should start doing. Continue reading “Tilting Towards Pisa: A Day Trip & Book Review”
Cinque Terre, meaning “five cities,” is located on the northwestern coast of Italy, and is just as picturesque as it looks. I already mentioned in my preliminary Italy post that this was one of the highlights of our trip, and the pictures make it easy to see why. I’ve arranged our day in this area based on my favorite cities, from most to least, although they were all beautiful in their own way. Continue reading “Cinque Terre & Italy’s Stunning Coastline”
Already recognized as a world fashion capital, Milan is well on its way to becoming a major destination. And with airfare into its international airport — Malpensa — routinely coming in hundreds of dollars cheaper than surrounding airports, I think it may soon become a popular hub for European travelers.
More than just a place to fly into, however, Milan possesses history and charm all its own. Continue reading “The Glamor & History of Milan”
Even though it was years ago, I still remember where I was when I turned the last page of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I had read it in one sitting in my dorm room, staying up all night and skipping class to finish it. I remember closing the book, and then laying down on my bed. A dual sense of satisfaction and loss came over me. The story felt so real, and I was captivated by the magic of Hogwarts in a way that I had never been and have yet to be with a book. The satisfaction was because I knew I had just read one of the great stories of my lifetime, and I knew that I would read it over and over in years to come. The sense of loss came from the emotional ending, but it also came from the understanding that Harry Potter wasn’t real, and I would never get my Hogwarts letter.
Not long after the series came to a close, Universal Studios announced the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Along with every other potterhead out there, I was ecstatic. More than four years after the grand opening of Hogsmeade in Orlando, I finally made it.
Continue reading “Theme Park Guide: Wizarding World of Harry Potter”
It’s been a cold, snowy, icy week here in North Carolina, so it seemed time to share one of my favorite trips of 2014 to the warm, sunny climate of Hawaii.
Neither my husband nor I would ever classify ourselves as “beach people.” Yet, I don’t think it’s possible to do anything but adore Hawaii. Somehow, this island paradise is a U.S. state, even if I feel like I’m in another country every time I visit. One reason we keep returning to Hawaii is that it’s so much more than beaches. It’s full of adventure and culture. It’s wild and untamed, and breathtakingly beautiful. There’s always something to do, something to explore. And that allure will keep us coming back.
Continue reading “Island Guide: Oahu, Hawaii”
Okay, I know I’m super behind on my travel blogs for 2014. I don’t know how many people follow the travel part of this blog (let me know in the comments if you like these!), but I promise I’m going to be more on time with these in 2015. There are just two of these left to finish out our adventures from last year, and up next is Hawaii and Harry Potter World.
In September 2014, we had another wedding to attend — this time in Denver, Colorado. While I’ve flown in to Denver several times to ski at Keystone, Vail, and other nearby resorts, I hadn’t spent much time exploring the Mile High City itself before this trip. Turns out Denver has a lot to offer beyond its ski resorts!
Continue reading “City Guide: Denver”
Spokane, Washington, is the home of my husband’s alma mater, Whitworth University, and while we were dating, I visited him there several times. But all my past visits ushered in multiple feet of snow, so seeing Spokane in the summer was like visiting a different city. This time, we were in town for another wedding, the occasion for many of our trips in 2014.
Continue reading “City Guide: Spokane”
If you remove the oppressive humidity from the memory of this trip, it might be one of my favorites of the summer. Alas, you cannot have southern beaches in the summer without humidity and sky-high temperatures, so we spent a good deal of time ducking from one air-conditioned building to the next, but it was still a good time.
My husband had not yet been to Savannah or Charleston and as many of my childhood beach memories revolve around those two places, it was time to visit. The two cities are so iconically southern, and I was excited to spend some time in areas with such rich culture.
Continue reading “City Guide: Savannah and Charleston”
As I hadn’t been to Texas since I was too small to remember it, I was excited to spend a few days in Dallas for a work conference. Considering the many Texan stereotypes, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would everything truly be bigger? (You know what they say…) Would everyone wear cowboy hats? Would it be far more southern than where I’m from in southern Georgia? While I did see several gentlemen in cowboy hats on the airplane and the city is enormous (my cousin quipped that there are multiple skylines in Dallas), Dallas surprised me with its charm and modern feel. Of course, I had the pleasure of touring the city with my cousins, who were perfect hosts, so that certainly made the experience memorable.
Continue reading “City Guide: Dallas”
This trip was a bit of a whirlwind since we were packing tourism into my brother’s wedding weekend. While we had both been to New York City on separate occasions, this was the first time I had visited NYC with my husband, and we had such a good time exploring the city together.
I can’t say it’s a place I want to live, but it is a place I love visiting. I could keep making trips there for the rest of my life, and I don’t think I’ll ever see it all. We flew into La Guardia on Friday, spent the night in Times Square, woke up early Saturday to go to New Jersey for the wedding festivities, and then on Monday and Tuesday, we were back in NYC to hit the town.
Continue reading “City Guide: New York City”
At the beginning of the year, I made what is now becoming my annual pilgrimage to see one of my best friends, Katie, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Now with Katie as my guide, it’s like I’ve rediscovered Atlanta, a city that was once “just Atlanta” to me. A place I went on occasional weekends, since I grew up in Augusta, Georgia, just two hours southeast of the big city. A place that I thought I didn’t like, but that now has restaurants and locations I find myself wishing to be in from time to time. Thanks, Katie, for helping me re-appreciate my Georgia roots and the big city of ATL!
No matter what, I’ll always be a Georgia girl, that’s for sure.
Continue reading “City Guide: Atlanta, 2014 Edition”