Gulf Coast Road Trip

This holiday season my boyfriend, Mike, and I decided to celebrate with a twelve day Gulf Coast – epic couples road trip. We traveled the gulf coast from College Station, Texas to New Orleans, and into Florida – where we made stops in Pensacola, Tampa and finally ring in the new year in the Florida Keys!

This trip was so memorable on many different levels – from everyone we met along the way to experiencing the local cuisine. The most important part for me was the time spent with Mike, building our relationship while traveling together. Simply put – it was a trip of a life time that I will remember forever.

I’m excited to recap every stop along the way, to share our experiences with you and to hopefully inspire you to hit the road on your next vacation! First stop New Orleans Plantation Country…

Road Trip Map Overview

Ok our bags are packed…we are ready to go on our great – big – road trip adventure. Mike and I decided to get an early start on the road trip and we jumped in the car at 4 AM to make our way to our first stop to visit the New Orleans Plantation Country, in Louisiana where we were guests at the famous Oak Alley Plantation.

Oak Alley Plantation

When we arrived at Oak Alley Plantation, I told Mike that it would be difficult for me to describe to my readers (you) simply because it was just so breathtaking. The trees were like arms that wrapped around the entire property, almost shading it from the outside world.

Our stay at Oak Alley was peaceful, cozy and more than we could have asked for throughout our entire trip in the Plantation Country. Did you know you could stay on the property? We actually spent Christmas in our beautiful cabin, woke up to southern biscuits in the morning and spent every evening strolling through the oak trees.

Our trip to the NOLA Plantation Country can be summed up in four words – Family, Tradition, Pride, and Community. Driving through Louisiana we shared the roads with sugar cane trucks and as I looked out of the car window, I watched as we passed small homes, large homes and ones that you thought maybe no one should inhabit, but they all shared the land – there was no division. From the homes people lived in, to the churches they attend, the overwhelming sense of community and oneness was the impression I took home from this trip.

During our trip to the Plantation Country, Mike and I learned about a Christmas Eve time honored tradition of the Bonfires on the Levee from our new friend Stephan Keller, owner of the Creole Sugarland Bonfire Tours in Vacherie, LA. On Christmas Eve we experienced this tradition and witnessed the burning of the bonfires celebration – where bonfires lined the Mississippi and fireworks filled the sky. It was like nothing else I have ever experienced or could have imagined, it was simply amazing to watch a community come together and celebrate as one.

Christmas Eve, Bonfires on the Levee

Christmas Day we decided to venture out and take a short drive to New Orleans, where we strolled the streets of the French Quarter. We enjoyed the sounds of street performers, the french architecture and our view from the balcony of the Royal House Oyster Bar, where we people watched for hours. Many of the shops were unfortunately closed, but we enjoyed the city for the day and quickly made our way back to our peaceful oasis at Oak Alley Plantation.

Our final day in the Plantation Country was spent touring The Houmas House Plantation , dining at the Houmas House Restaurant for a delicious lunch and then topped off with a private whiskey tasting at The Turtle Bar.

The Houmas House Plantation
The Crown Jewel of Louisiana’s River Road

In addition to the beautiful plantation tour, The Houmas House has so much to offer in the entertainment and venue arena. The Houmas House makes an excellent location for your next special event, wedding or even a fun date night. In addition to hosting events, the private cottages tucked away at the edge of the property allow guests to also enjoy southern tranquility surrounded by beautiful oak trees and tropical gardens.

Everywhere we went the locals were friendly, they would stop us and genuinely want to know about us. There was no gain for them, other than to make a new friend. Louisiana locals welcomed us as if we were part of their family and as we drove away from Oak Alley I now know in my heart that I have a second home in Louisiana.

Driving away from Oak Alley Plantation felt like we were leaving home, but we were excited to see where the road would take us as we drove onto our next destination and second leg of the trip, Pensacola, Florida. We arrived in the evening to the Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front hotel and we were pleasantly surprised by our three bedroom, full kitchen and two balconies, facing the ocean, hotel room. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner that night at Casino Beach Bar & Grille.

We unfortunately experienced some of the off season dreary weather while visiting Pensacola, so we made the best of it and spent the rest of our time visiting Downtown Pensacola, which turned out to be one of our favorite spots on the trip. The Old Hickory Whiskey Bar had been transformed into the “Miracle on Palafox: A Christmas Cocktail PopUp Bar.” And if you don’t feel the Christmas spirit running through you after you leave – then you didn’t do it right. Their holiday cocktails were just what we needed to warm us up before our steak dinner at Jackson’s Steakhouse.

After dinner we stopped by Bubba’s Sweet Spot and stocked up on taffy, fudge and sour treats. Across the street we explored The Bodacious Family of Shops featuring a coffee house, kitchen supply store and flavored and fused extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

Although our time in Pensacola was short, we enjoyed all that the city had to offer and we hope to come back in sunnier and warmer weather!

Our next stop took us to Tampa, Florida where we started the visit with the perfect date night at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino,dining at The Rez Grill and enjoying a night cap at the new L-Bar: L-evating the Classics.

We kicked off our first full day in Tampa by driving in to Hyde Park Village, where we enjoyed a amazing breakfast at Goody Goody Bugers, a retro diner that served fried chicken and biscuits that were out of this world. They wouldn’t let us leave until we had a slice of their famous butterscotch pie… oh my heavens.

After breakfast we took a short drive over to Davis Island, and looked at the beautiful Mediterranean style homes from the 1920s. One of our favorite things to do when we visit new towns is to drive through neighborhoods and look at the houses and their architecture. We point out which homes we like and then of course day dream about one day owning a little house with a beach side view. Davis Island was perfect for day dreaming.

In the afternoon, Mike and I then ventured out to the Canoe Escape where we watched fishermen and canoes paddle across the ancient black waters of the Hillsborough river through the cypress swamps. We may have seen a gator or two along the way, yikes!

To take the edge off of our close encounters with the aligators, Mike and I decided stopped by a local brewery, the Coppertail Brewing Co. We soaked up the sun on their porch and enjoyed a flight of our choosing and relaxed the rest of the afternoon.

And the grand finale of our stay in Tampa Bay was rounded out by attending the NHL Tampa Bay Lightning final game of the season. Mike played hockey when he was younger and this was such a great experience to have together, especially since I couldn’t tell you how to play a hockey game beyond the hockey puck.

From NOLA to Pensacola to Tampa… it was time to take the final leg of our trip and end our trip in the Florida Keys on New Year’s Eve in Key West. The drive through the Florida Keys was enough to make you pack your bags and never look back. We opened the sun roof on the Acura and I played classic tunes by the Beach Boys (which Mike enthusiastically enjoyed) as we drove to Key West. The water was like nothing I’ve ever seen, a beautiful aqua blue. We enjoyed lunch at a Herbie’s Bar and Chowder House in Marathon and then making a stop at Kermit’s Key (West) Lime Pie Shoppe after exploring the streets of Key West. We walked to the Southern most point of the Continental U.S. and soaked up our last bit of sunshine before hitting the road back to Texas.

Our drive home was long, but we had had so many different experiences over the twelve day Gulf Coast Road trip it was hard to pick just one thing that we enjoyed the most. We couldn’t even compare each city, they all stood alone in their uniqueness. But what they shared in common was true Southern hospitality, community and friendship. Mike and I will be forever grateful to the people we met on our road trip and a memory that he and I will cherish.

Want to get a guys point of view on our trip? Read Mike’s take on our trip by visiting TheGentlemanRacer.com for his full recap of our epic couples Gulf Coast road trip.

And saving the best for last…I want to thank everyone of my readers for following along during our trip across the Gulf Coast, everyone who asked “how was your trip”, to our friends and of course our family for your support. We love you all! xx- Jennifer

A very special thanks to our friends at Acura, NOLA Plantation Country, Oak Alley Plantation: Restaurant and Inn, The Houmas House, Visit Pensacola, Visit Tampa Bay, and the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel for your hospitality and making our trip so memorable. Thank you Jackie and Jenny at Coterie Boutique for keeping me styled on my trip across the coast!

Why you should travel more

There is a stigma around using all of your vacation days or even sick leave in the corporate world. In the past, it has signaled that you were maybe not serious about your career – you weren’t a hard worker if you didn’t stay past five every day and work the weekends.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tsika Photography

I’m breaking all of these unspoken “rules” and I’m traveling more. Here’s what traveling ACTUALLY does for you and if you are the boss here is what it does for your employees.

  • It allows you to take a mental break from your day to day routine and experience new things outside of your comfort zone.
  • Traveling is healing. Ok, I know this one sounds a little “head in the clouds”, but if you have recently lost a loved one, maybe you are going through a breakup or just need a freaking break (can I get an amen) – traveling can help your mind switch gears to focus on the future.
  • Traveling creates new memories. A lot of people are foregoing their traditional gift giving this season and seeking a travel “experience” or “destination” gifts.
  • You’ll be happier. Yep, it’s true and it’s that simple. Since starting my blog and travel adventures almost a year ago, today, I’m happier, more confident and open minded.
  • You’ll have something to talk about at awkward work socials. (I’m joking – kinda.) Having new travel experiences around the state, nation and world gives you plenty of material when meeting new people and it will also help you connect to other people. We all want to find some common ground… what if your recent trip to the Florida Keys helps you make a new friend?
  • You will arrive back from you trip renewed… ok just kidding – you will be tired and you will have tons of laundry. BUT I’m guaranteeing you it will make you happier, healthier and you will have a better quality of life for taking the time to travel and experience new things.
Photo Credit: Shelby Tsika Photography

Join me this year in making a New Year’s Resolution to Travel More. Leave me a comment and tell me where you are traveling in the new year!

Happy Trails – xx Jennifer

Road Trip for the Holidays

Have you heard?  I’m going on a two-week road trip for Christmas with my boyfriend, Mike.  This is a far cry from the traditional Christmas, but it will be an adventure to say the least!  Traveling from central Texas to explore Louisiana along the Mississippi onto New Orleans and finally making our way to the tropical Florida coast line – this will be a holiday to remember.

I will admit the idea of spending the holidays on the road was something I had to get my head wrapped around at first.  Usually the holiday season is spent running from one Christmas party to the next, overeating a big Christmas day meal my mother had spent all day making and then of course eating leftovers for days.  But it in the spirit of keeping an open mind and trying new things, I was ready to shake things up a bit and go on this epic holiday couple’s road trip with Mike.

Although this will be an awesome way to spend the holidays together, the thought has crossed my mind – “how will we keep the holiday traditions alive on the road?”

My first thoughts were create a fun holiday play list, find a travel size Christmas tree, decorate the car with battery powered festive Christmas lights, but then I realized it’s not about the stuff.  It’s really about the person you are with and the experience of driving across country and making memories with the person or people you love.

Here are the top 5 ways Mike and I are keeping the Holiday tradition alive and creating our own traditions during our epic holiday couple’s road trip:

  1. Immerse ourselves in a culture outside of ourselves.  We will be completely open to driving down a road we have never traveled before, talking to locals about their city and making new friends along the way on our road trip.  Experiencing a holiday tradition different from our own, Bonfires on the Levee in Louisiana will kick off this goal of experiencing a new culture.
  2. Create new memories and a new tradition.  As I said this will be Mike and I’s longest road trip together and our first Christmas … that’s a lot of pressure, but going with the flow and starting our own tradition, as a new couple, will make our relationship stronger.
  3. Keep our friends and family engaged on the road.  I want to take everyone on this trip and show how traveling can open your mind and can heal your soul.  So in addition to the new norm of social media, Mike and I will be sending a post card to family members and friends at every city.  Sure we may arrive back home before anyone gets their post cards, but seriously who doesn’t like getting snail mail! (note to self…pack stamps)
  4. Tell stories.  Similar to our first road trip, reminiscing of our favorite childhood memories, Mike and I will share our favorite holiday stories.  And hey maybe one day we will be able to tell our children about the time we spent our first Christmas together.
  5. Ok ok…I’m still buying the little travel Christmas tree… but don’t tell Mike.

So, we’re hitting the road!  And we want you to follow along as Mike and I tell our Holiday travel story this December.  Some of the highlights you can look forward to are:

  • A tour and night spent at Oak Alley Plantation on the Mississippi
  • The lighting of the Bonfires on the Levee
  • A jazzy New Orleans Christmas Day
  • Ringing in the New Year on the tropical beaches of Key West

Have you ever spent the holidays on a road trip?  If so, how did you keep holiday traditions alive?  Leave me a comment, I want to hear from you!

Happy and Safe Travels, xx Jennifer

How to Go on a Road Trip Date

Leaving Texas on a plane at 5 am to go on a date in California was something that was out of my comfort zone,  my friends and family thought I was crazy – but I had decided that it was a risk I needed to take to see if this new relationship with Mike was going to work out.

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I landed in Ontario, California and walked off the plane filled with excitement, hope and a stomach filled with nerves.  In my head it played out a lot like a romantic scene from every love story, as the girl runs and jumps into the arms of her lover and then they run off into the sunset happily ever after.  Let me tell you, if every relationship began that way the world would be a better place.  But it didn’t start like that – It started with both of us coming into a new relationship with some hesitation and proceeding with caution.  After all we were still getting to know each other and a California road trip was just the thing we both needed to get to know each other better.

This wasn’t just any date, it was a California road trip date, that Mike had mapped out for us.  We drove from Ontario to Santa Barbara, to the charming Danish city of Solvang and finally on to Ojai in less than 72 hours.  Knowing that we had a four hour car ride ahead of us until we made our first stop in Santa Barbara, I wanted to come up with a creative way for us to get to know each other better because I wasn’t about to let awkward silence ruin our couples road trip.

I turned to my friends as I often do for advice and direction on every aspect of my life, so naturally I got them involved on this road trip. I created a “Cali Party Line” group text… a modern day party line.  The group text was a fun way to share information, crazy gifs and the best part… what questions should I ask Mike to get to know him?  This opened the door for a so many questions that I never would have even thought to ask.

On the road trip as I started to ask Mike some of the questions my friends put together it helped keep the conversation flowing and often we found ourselves telling stories based on the answers to each question.  It definitely filled four plus hours of drive time and the best part, it allowed us to get to know each other better and inspired additional questions.

Planning a road trip date?  Hopefully I’ve inspired you to get outside of your comfort zone and on the road to building a new relationship.  Below I’ve recapped over 20 questions that my friends put together for Mike and I during our road trip around California.  Happy dating! xx Jennifer

  1. What was your favorite Halloween costume?
  2. If you were on death row, what would be your last meal?
  3. Do you like dogs?
  4. What’s your best travel story?
  5. What’s your most irrational fear?
  6. What’s your go to Karaoke song?
  7. What are your pet peeves?
  8. Do you have an unusual talent?
  9. What are you legit bad at?
  10. What’s the worst fad you ever participated in?
  11. Do you have any family traditions?
  12. What was your favorite birthday party as a kid?
  13. Are you more of a Betty or Veronica kind of guy?
  14. If you could have dinner with 3 celebrities dead or alive, who would they be?
  15. Have you ever questions (… sky dived, snow skied, zip lined, etc.)
  16. Where do you see yourself in the next 1, 5, 10 years…?
  17. What is your favorite childhood memory?
  18. What is on your traveling bucket list?
  19. What’s your favorite type of food?
  20. Do you have a favorite restaurant?
  21. If you were married, what are your thoughts on your wife working, or staying home with the children?
  22. What are your financial goals? (note: only ask this question if you feel like the other person is open to having this discussion, asking too early could be off putting)
  23. Tell me more about your extended family.

Curious about how I met Mike?  I recapped our first date and how I knew he was the one, read our love story by clicking HERE.

8 Reasons to stay at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

There is always a huge debate over staying on property when traveling to Disney.  I get it – it’s expensive, but I truly believe that you should budget the extra expense for the hotel.  We chose to stay at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa for many reasons.  I think the hotel will completely change your experience at Disney and here are a few reasons why staying on property is the best idea…

1.  My number one reason for staying at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is the direct access to both parks.  From the hotel you can walk directly into the Downtown Disney District, which gives you access to food and shopping on your way to the park.  More specifically you walk directly past a Starbucks on your way into the main entrance of Disneyland…this is a bonus for the coffee addict in me.

From the other side of the resort you have access to Disney California Adventure Park, which comes out right next to Grizzly River Run and Soarin’ Around the World.  Having access to the hotel from both parks is great, especially if you want to take a break during the day or even just run back to the room because you forgot something, which happened to me more than it should have.

2.  Competing for the number one spot of the available Disney character breakfasts is the Storyteller Cafe, located at the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. In my opinion, based on the Characters you see, the menu options and engagement with your children, this breakfast is the best.  And psst…Parents if you want a mimosa or bloody marry, they have you covered.

The hotel also has a separate restaurant and bar located right off of the main seating area of the Hearthstone Lounge, Napa Rose.  I have not eaten at the restaurant, which is shocking since I’ve probably stayed at this property more times than I can count…  but I have popped in for a glass of wine to go… because it’s Disney and you can do that.

3.  Another major perk of the hotel is that they recently renovated all rooms. When we arrived in early October 2018 the exterior was still under construction, but the rooms, common areas and amenities were complete.  After we arrived, we never saw the main entrance to the hotel again except for when we called our Uber to take us to the airport on our last day.

4.  The Hotel has beautiful courtyards, perfect for an outdoor cocktail reception. A large conference and event center are attached off the main lobby.   I’ve only walked past them on my way to the park, but they look impressive and I’m secretly hoping that one day my employer will offer a conference there.

5.  When you think Disney, you don’t often think of a Spa retreat. The hotel also offers a full-service spa for maybe a morning dad takes the kids to the park and mom hangs back for a little “me time.”

6.  From the lobby main entrance and past the guest check-in you will walk into a draw dropping open air – three story, log cabin lounge inclusive of a cozy nook with rocking chairs lined up in front of a wood burning fireplace. This space is dedicated to continuing your relaxing stay at the Grand Californian Hotel.

7.  Another area that I did not spend nearly enough time enjoying was the three pools inclusive of a water slide, life vests for the littles and life guards at each pool. Large lounge chairs with shade umbrellas made for a great place to take shade from the sun and relax a little between parks.

8.  I mentioned the major perk of direct access to the Downtown Disney District earlier, here’s a little more detail about what to expect. Over the years Disney has brought in new retailers and restaurants to bring the downtown area to life and have continued to maintain this luxury by bringing including:

  • Starbucks
  • Salt & Straw (NEW) This is an exciting new ice cream spot that is a must on your trip.
  • Naples Ristorante e Bar is the best place to get a pizza.  This little Italian restaurant and pizzeria has expanded by adding a massive outdoor patio and bar. One thing to mention is that the outdoor seating area serves a limited menu versus sitting inside, where they offer a complete menu. If you plan to eat indoors you will need a reservation.  We had no problem walking up to Naples to obtain outdoor patio seating (but please note there were only two of us and we were staying in the park during a slow time)
  • The Splitsville Luxury Lanes bowling alley is a new attraction for me in the Downtown Disney District.
  • Marceline’s Confectionery is always one of my favorite stops because they have a glass window where you can watch the candy apples being made.  Plus the chocolate is out of this world delicious.

  • Disney at Home was a nice surprise and a great place to find those last-minute gifts for family members at home. From coffee and tea to dog toys this store really had it all.  If you needed Mickey Mouse fine dining ware they had you covered.  The store reminded me of a home goods store but except everything is Disney.

  • The Disney fashion trends have definitely changed since the last time I visited Disneyland. I wandered into a a beautiful Disney Dress Shop, it’s what I would consider an upscale Disney dress boutique and was blown away by the beautiful dresses that Disney was offering teen and ladies.  The prices points averaged around $100 and up for dresses.

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8 Packing Essentials for Disneyland

Turning 36 and “officially” entering into my late thirties doesn’t have to be all tears and sadness, no I spent my birthday this year at the most magical place on earth… Disney.  Growing up, Disney has always been a family vacation tradition and one day I hope to take my children.

But in the meantime I’m living it up as a single person and unattached, I am kicking off a new blog series. Similar to my “Girlfriends Guide to Fredericksburg” blog series, I’m giving you all the Disney insider travel tips for your next trip to Disney with your bestie.  PS… did I tell you my bestie is a Disney Travel Agent?  Yeah that helps a little.

  Copy of GG Disneyland (2)

First on the list, what do you even pack when you go to Disney?  If you are an over packer like me then I have a great list for you of items you may not even think of as you arrive at the park.  And I know I said 8 packing essentials… well I’m giving you 2 extra bonus tips.

Disney Packing Essentials

  1.  Etsy for the win.  Etsy really came through for us on custom Disney t-shirts, I also found a lot of great choices on Amazon.
  2. The Perfect Backpack. This Amazon backpack is seriously my favorite purchase.  It was the perfect size, light weight and easy to maneuver on and off while jumping on rides.  The multi-pockets allowed me to store my phone, charger, snacks and carry a bottle of water.  It comes in some many fun colors, I would highly recommend this bag.
  3. Portable charger.  Who has time to stop and charge your phone while you are at Disney? The answer is no one… but carrying a portable charger was great.  I recently bought one on Amazon and love it, I use it for all of my travel and I highly recommend traveling with one in your bag.
  4. Mickey Mouse Ears.  Anything goes at Disney and wearing Mickey ears is a must at the park.  We jumped on the rose gold bandwagon and pre-ordered our ears to have in our suitcase upon arriving at the park
  5. Save your feet.  It is so tempting to wear cute shoes, but I’m telling you right now we averaged about 9 miles a day in the park.  You will want to wear the most comfortable shoes you own.  And if you don’t own a pair, Amazon has you covered.
  6. Bottled Water.  You can enter the park with sealed bottles of water.  Throughout the park they had recycling bins for your empty bottles. It was nice to have water on us at all times to stay hydrated as we ran around the park like teenagers.
  7. Sunscreen.  Although the temperatures were cooler the sun was bright, and in the afternoon you could especially feel the heat.  Sunscreen is always a good idea.
  8. Lily Shades.  We found a really affordable pink mirrored shade at Lilly Pulitzer that of course matched our rose gold Mickey ears.
  9. BONUS TIP:  Travel corkscrew.  Have you ever tried to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew… yeah guilty, but save the hassle and buy TSA approved travel corkscrew.
  10. BONUS TIP:  Amazon Prime is your friend.  Consider having essentials delivered to the hotel bellhop before arriving. We stayed at the Grand Californian Hotel and didn’t have an issue with ordering ahead and they even delivered it to our room upon our arrival.  Items we ordered were….wine of course, water, fresh fruit and granola bars.

7 Reasons to Download the Disneyland App before your next Trip

Technology continues to improve our travel experiences and Disney has done a great job of providing a new and exciting app that allows guests to maximize their magical moments in the park.

If you are planning to visit Disneyland this holiday season I would highly recommend downloading the Disneyland Mobile App before you jump on the plane or in the car to visit Mickey and Minnie.

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Through the app you can…

  1. Upload your park ticket – don’t worry cast members will help you do this when you make your first trip through the gate.
  2. View a Digital Map – don’t get me wrong I love having the paper version of the Disneyland map because even it seems magical, but having the app was wonderful because you could see the entire park in the palm of your hand.
  3. Track down your favorite characters between rides – This was a wonderful feature.  Often when we are in the park we like to look for specific characters and the app allowed us to plan around our other park adventures while ensuring that we could meet up with our favorite Disney pals.
  4. Check wait times – You’re excited and in the park and the last thing you want to do is wait in a line for anything.  The app allows you to see attraction wait times for Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park at a glance.  If you have chosen to tack on a MaxPass to your ticket (which I highly recommend), you can also obtain your FASTPASS times and select your favorite ride.  The MaxPass is only $10 extra per day… I would budget it for sure.
  5. Another great feature of purchasing the MaxPass is the ability to have your PhotoPass on your phone.  You can download and share your photos from your trip through the Disney-MaxPass feature on the app.  
  6. Ok hold your hats, this is my favorite part of the app…. FOOD.  You can now make mobile dining reservations and order food directly through the app to pick up while you are in the park.  Talk about a huge time saver!  This was a big deal for us as we were trying to maximize everyday in the park and the last lines we wanted to stand in were food lines.   You can even view restaurant menus to see if they offered the food you are craving.
  7. The app even had all of the basics covered.  You could see yourself on the map through their gps navigation.  It also answered basic questions such as park hours, descriptions for attractions and entertainment schedules.

Although all of these features are awesome I will caution you that the app will drain your battery phone.  We packed a battery pack to use while we were in the park and also took turns using the app so we ensured we were full charged up for the day.

I would still recommend the app because it truly made our Disney experience that much more magical.  And don’t worry if you get stumped on the app, there are many cast members who can guide you through the using the app.

Disneyland App

Happy Disney travels my friends! xx Jennifer

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

Continuing my love and passion for agriculture around Texas and beyond, I was pleasantly surprised to find rich agriculture history during a recent trip to Florida when I visited the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens.

In 1940 a young graduate of New York University formed a farming colony called Yamato, an ancient name for Japan.  The name comes from the students homeland of Miyazu in Japan.

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Although the colony was not a success in the end the young graduate probably never dreamed that today the farming colony has been transformed into a museum and garden.  It is a place for local Floridians and tourists alike can experience to be Japanese arts and culture.  With over 7,000 Japanese art objects and artifacts, the Morikami Museum and Garden was a beautiful and enriching cultural experience.

 

Beyond it’s sheer beauty, my enjoyment of the museum and gardens partially comes from my desire to visit Japan.  It is on my list of overseas travel because it unknowingly has a special place in my heart.  My parents were stationed in Japan during Vietnam and as a child I grew up hearing about my parents cultural experiences abroad.  Beautiful photos of past times in Japan made me long for a similar experience of adventure and the need to experience another culture.

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I recommend visiting the museum and gardens on a Sunday, shortly after your brunch at the Sundy House.  If you missed my recap of our bottomless mimosas and tropical stroll through their gardens click here and read all about the brunch that will change your life.

Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens
4000 Morikami Park Road
Delray Beach, FL 33446

Tuesday-Sunday: 10am-5pm
Closed Mondays and major holidays

Adults – $15
Seniors – $13
Children – $9

 

Henry’s Sandwich Station

Henry’s Sandwich Station is what I envision every deli and bakery to be like in small town middle America.  Walking up to the counter to order, you will be stopped in your tracks by a bakery display case filled with pies and all things sinfully sweet.  I would have pressed my face to the glass, but I’m an adult – I think?

Located in Fort Lauderdale, Henry’s Sandwich Station is a great atmosphere for a quick lunch with friends or business partners.  From dine-in to takeout – they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the restaurant is kid friendly.

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Photo Credit:  Henry’s Sandwich Station Facebook Page featured the outside of the building and really captured the atmosphere of the sandwich shop. 

 

Once you’ve made the hurdle past the pie shop, you are greeted by a decadent array of choices on their sandwich menu.  Choosing which sandwich to devour was a challenge because every sandwich sounded truly amazing.  From sandwich spreads, such as cranberry goat cheese jam and truffle mayo, all on homemade hoagie rolls, my eyes were bigger than my stomach.

I found myself asking the question, “how do I choose?”  My go to sandwich at a deli has always been turkey and if there is bacon I’m sold.  So that’s what I did, I went with good old turkey on a hoagie… one of the best decisions of the day I might add.

My list is long, but Henry’s stays on it for my next trip out to Fort Lauderdale.  Stop by and give it a try!

xx-Jennifer

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