Cape Cod

*Some how this little post escaped my draft box WITHOUT saving the revisions. Sorry about that! So here is the updated version.

The stars alined somewhat, we had planned a trip to Cape Cod and then found out my sister also had some time off at the same time. Yay! It turns out also we were escaping Dorian.

Taking a bit of a different approach to scribing this trip. Let me know what you think. We definitely rested and took a leisurely pace.

Dorian managed to provide a bit of a change of plans. Our flight out of CLT to PVD was cancelled but we managed to change to RDU to BOS as well as changing our rental car.


We left RDU at 730 which put us landing in Boston at 907! Luckily we were able to check into the hotel early and get a nap in.

Cafe Chew in Sandwich. Of course we had to get a sandwich in Sandwich.

Visited Three Sisters Lighthouses and Nauset Light. The Three Sisters got their name because they stood along the coast guiding ships and marking the mid point along the Cape, looking like ladies in white dresses and black hats. Before different light patterns had been established, multiple lights were used as navigational points. Erosion and new technology forced their retirement and the new Nauset Point Light was constructed.

Dinner we had a lobster roll and clam strips from Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar. I thought I did not like clam, turns out I have just never had fresh, delicious clam. Take cash more places only accept cash then anywhere else in the world we have traveled.


Bagels and Beyond for breakfast. Decent but not the best bagel I have ever had.

Town Neck Beach. We stopped here and walked on the board walk to look at the ocean. Cape Cod has more trees , hills and less water views from the road than I expected.

Picked up Tare from the airport in RI.

The Lobster Trap for lunch. I had the fish tacos. Ryan had shrimp and Tare has the lobster roll. I prefer the hot butter lobster roll to the cold lobster salad roll.

Cape Cod Chip Factory tour. It is a self guided tour that just takes a few minutes but we enjoyed it.

Skaket Beach. Walked and watched the sunset. Here you get what I call a West Coast sunset, where the sun dips down into the ocean instead of most East Coast sunsets where it goes down over land. Pro-tip: when facing the water walk left. There are signs saying the private homeowners allow walking but no sunbathing or picnicking or animals. You can get to the water around the grass but there are zero other people around unlike the area directly in front of parking.

Skipper Chowder House. Here we had chowder, fired chowder, lobster roll and lobster mac and cheese. The disappointment was the fried chowder, it just tasted like something fried. The winner was the lobster mac and cheese, full of cheese and lobster. Yes, we ate a lot on this trip but we split most meals like two entrees and a soup between us. Also, stop judging….we walked a bunch and all in the name of research.


Keltic Kitchen for breakfast. Tare’s cornbeef hash was great. Mine probably was decent but I thought the sweet potato pancakes were like latkes but instead it was an actual pancake, hence my disappointment.

Providencetown for whale watching with Dolphin Fleet. Such a delightful experience. The whales showed out! I probably always say it but one of my favorite whale watching experiences. I always wondered why the Pilgrims left Providence Town for Plymouth. Well now I know. You can see Plymouth from the Cape and it in fact looks bigger and taller.

Walked around Providencetown. Had a slice of pizza for a snack from Spiritus Pizza. We were unimpressed. It was late afternoon so maybe it just was not fresh.

Planned to climb Pilgram Monument but it was closed. Online still listed pre-Labor Day hours. So pay close attention if here in off season.

Lobster Pot for dinner. Had the chowder, bisque, lobster ravioli and lobster newburg. The bisque and ravioli were our favorites. Anthony Bourdain actually got his start as a dish washer here.

Cape Cod National Seashore for a spectacular sunset. Again here the sun on the horizon dips into the ocean at sunset.


Nantucket. Took the traditional ferry because when you travel as much as we do you pinch pennies.

Grabbed lunch at Stubbys. The chowder and cuban was good. The shrimp had too much breading. One thing I have learned in my old age, if it is not good do not eat it. It seems wasteful but thanks to the lovely Danika Brysha I know waste in the trashcan or waste in my body. The trashcan is better. Steamboat Pizza right next door was good. (Yes, we ate alot. Don’t judge.)

Historical walking tour. Very interesting to learn why Nantucket was settled, how they came into the whaling industry and the progressive thinking of the islanders.

Ice cream from The Juice Bar. The chocolate peanut butter cookie dough was amazing.

Beautycounter has a store in Nantucket, so of coursed we stopped in. Along with many other cute shops.

Brant Point Lighthouse. You can easily stroll from the harbor to the lighthouse. We of course admired the beautiful grey homes along the way.

Straight Wharf Fish Store. Split chowder and two swordfish sandwiches between the three of us.

Palio Pizza was delicious! We had a second supper snack late at night once we were back to Cape Cod.


Cranberry Bog. We toured a local organic cranberry bog. I know I am weird but this was riveting. Also there were twin baby goats about 15 hours old. I have NEVER understood goat obsession until I held this little one. Maybe its just the baby part that was cute.

Arnold’s. Yes, again. My favorite lobster of the trip.

Shopping. Grabbed a few gifts and walked around downtown Hyannis.

Dorian was heading for us again. We got worried about getting across the bridge with high winds and possibly downed trees so we left our hotel on the Cape a night early and headed for the mainland.

Plymouth. A beautiful town. Rock looks as if it is the jailhouse rock the way it is set up and guarded. Mama said don’t go to Plymouth Rock it is disappointing but I thought the town was worth seeing.

The Charred Oak Tavern. The bacon and butterscotch sauce. Oh my.


Returned the car. Through security. Only to learn flight was delayed then cancelled. I completely understand things happen. BUT by 12 we knew the flight was cancelled, we didn’t leave the airport until 4. We were waiting on Frontier to get the hotel and food vouchers ready. Many people left and found their own accommodations or different flights. That wasted precious time we would have spent money seeing things in Boston such as JFK library, Copley Square, etc. You get what you pay for literally and despite the cheap amazing prices, I am just not sure I can fly Frontier again. Such a headache. Luckily we had a buffer travel day so Ryan did not miss work.

Visit Downeast Cider House. I do not drink often but when I do I prefer hard cider and this one is delicious.

Used all our food vouchers at the hotel for to go food so we could watch football in our room.

Sunday, we finally made it home! Whoo! I was very excited to finally make it home.

Happy Travels!

Lofoten Islands 2019

This July we vacationed with my cousin and her husband in Iceland and Norway. After a few days in Iceland, we headed to Norway, specifically to the Lofoten Islands, located way up North inside the Arctic Circle. The weather is surprisingly mild thanks to the near by Gulfstream. A fun, adventurous place, Lofoten is beautiful. Think picturesque fishing cabins over the water, mountains rising from the sea and endless daylight.

It took all day Saturday to get us there. We grabbed some dinner nearby the EVE airport. Surprisingly good considering our limited options. We had about a three hour drive to our Air BNB but the ride was a beautiful taste of the impressive vistas that awaited us.

People can wild camp in Norway anywhere as long as it is a certain number of feet from a house. So always be aware of your surroundings and people crossing roads etc. It was high tourist season but I do not feel like it was unbearably crowded.

We stopped at a grocery to grab a few essentials and all the gummy candy we wanted. Almost every grocery store has a by weight candy section with the most interesting gummies. Alyssa loved the fizzy bottles and I loved the strawberry dream and sour fruit by the foot. Reliving our childhood we also got candy necklaces. Another overseas favorite is to try different flavor potato chips. I think my favorite basically translates to a hint of wild garlic.

We tucked onto our cabin for the night.

Sunday, we headed into Henningsvaer. We wandered around the shops and town. We walked to the lighthouse after grabbing lunch at a cafe. So good we ate here three times. Get the shrimp sandwich, the garlic aoli makes it. Ryan and I were worn out so we stayed tucked in the Air BNB while Alyssa and Ian went for a hike. Ian made fish tacos for dinner, one of my favorite meals.

The next day our on private chef, Ian made eggs and yummy breakfast potatoes. We celebrated my very merry unbirthday with snorkeling the Arctic Circle. We wore drysuits which proved difficult to actually swim while wearing. It was beautiful. Kelp, a lobster, fish, a starfish, some crabs and jellies. After we grabbed a shrimp sandwich and headed to meander the islands.

The longest Viking long house was found in the area. The Viking museum was interesting and I highly recommend it! The museum has artifacts from the area and informational videos about the culture. They have built a replica of the long house as well as marked the archeological site of the original. We were able to grab the last ride of the day on the Viking ship replica. Pizza was the dinner of choice. Because the sun never sets it makes eating tricky. We adventured well into the night and you feel like the shops should still be open but they close at normal clock time not sun time.

Alyssa and Ian went to chase the midnight sun, luckily they came back to get us. The Midnight sun was beautiful. There really are not words to describe it.

Tuesday, we meandered around the islands more. Stopping at a few beaches, glass art shop, and had fish burgers for dinner. Lofoten Gardsysteri was a farm selling cheeses and sausage. We snacked on the cheeses throughout the day. We are always on the look out for unique souvenirs. Glasshytta was just the place. Handmade glass art from Lofoten.

We explored villages throughout the islands. They are picturesque and charming. Rambergstranda is a beach we stopped at, as well as Sagsanden Beach. One thing I love about Norway is the abundance of roadside wash closets, very convenient.

We stopped at Nusfjord, a typically fishing village. You can rent the cabins here to stay in. Walked around the fishing village and then hiked up the hill above the parking lot for the view.

We had Anita’s for dinner. Delicious fish burgers with a view. They also have food items including Gardsysteri cheese if looking for some gifts

A is the end of the road, literally. We walked around the village wishing we had more days to explore the museums. Wondered out to the point where we could see Vaeroy Island across the water.

On the way back home, while driving on a cliff above the ocean, Alyssa spotted a black fin. Ian and I also spotted one after she saw it. We finally after traveling through two tunnels and discussing with our husbands about whether they would still be there, we found a turn around point. I spotted a baby fin on our way back by. We parked at a pull off and ran like crazy fools down the side of the road at 1130 pm. We watched a pod of Ocras feed for about 45 minutes. We followed them up the coast line past our car and kept thinking is this really happening. Ocras are not seen in Norway during the summer months but somehow we got lucky. What an incredible once in a lifetime experience. That one wont be easily topped.

We stopped to chase the sun on the way home. It was a spectacular one.

Our final full day we took a boat tour to Trollfjorden. Along the way we saw a few Sea Eagles, the export spot for the dried cod, a salmon farm, beautiful blue and turquoise waters. Afterwards we got ice cream. From Lofoten Links and we hiked, Gimsoy, near our sunset spot. It appeared easy but like most things in the area it required some scrambling upward. Ian made us fish tacos again for dinner.

On Thursday morning Alyssa and I took an early morning polar plunge in Rorvikstranda. It was chilly but I think what I was imagining before we did it was worse. Based on Google we guestimate the water was around 52 degrees and the air 54 degrees. Alyssa and Ian drove us to the ferry. We began our travels home, going through Iceland to spend the night before heading back to America the next day.

We love Iceland, if you missed my blog post on the first portion of our trip take a look. Lofoten was beautiful and I highly recommend it.

Have you been to Iceland or Norway? What is on your ultimate destination list? I can not wait to visit Germany around Christmas.

Happy Travels and Safe Adventures!

Iceland 2019

Iceland will always hold a special place in my heart. We honeymooned there in 2013 and I credit it for starting our love of travel. It is dramatic, majestic and beautiful. 

We recently spent just a few days there with our adventure pals, my cousin and her husband.

I am going to do a run down of what we did and then in the next few weeks I will post all of our pictures in one big gallery post.

We flew in Wednesday morning to the KEF airport. Alyssa and Ian arrived before us. We showered at their hotel which was a blissful surprise after a full day of airplanes and airports.

We headed into town. We of course stopped by the Christmas shops. We picked up a yule lad ornament and a picture of all the yule lads. Ornaments are the thing we always get on trips.

Ryan stopped in the Red Cross store to look for homemade wool things. We had great success here six years ago. Not so much this time. Could have been the time of year or influx of tourist. Six years ago travel to Iceland was unheard of but now it is definitely the trendy place.

We grabbed a few hot dogs for a lunch/snack before our tours. We did the Puffin and a Whale watching tour. The puffin are adorable. They mate for life and return to the same place they were born for breeding season. Afterwards they float out to sea and live a solitary life until next breeding season. An introvert’s dream.

Our whale watching tour proved eventful with quite a few Minke Whales, Harbor Porpoises, and White Beaked dolphins. I love the way the dolphins show off for the boat.

We grabbed some lobster soup from Saegreifinn to warm our sea wind and rain bodies. Pretty tasty.

Our Air BnB had a beautiful view. Ian made us spaghetti for dinner. We filled the hot tub up. The water in Iceland is very hot or very cold. I managed to get too hot for everyone including my hot lava water loving self. After a quick dip, Ryan and I hit the bed. Alyssa and Ian visited our nay-bors.

Thursday after an omelet breakfast, we hit the Golden Circle. Visiting Geysir, Gullfoss, and Thingvellir. We walked around on the North American tectonic plate and to Oxararfoss enjoying the views.

We visited a church. Complete with an underground tunnel leading to and from the church to the near by old village, currently being excavated.

We had lunch at Fredhemir. Which is a greenhouse restaurant which grows tomatoes. The specialty is tomato soup and homemade bread. ALL dishes are have tomatoes, even the desserts and the water pitchers had tomatoes in them. We dined on the soup and and bread. The cucumber salad to top the bread was delicious. They use hot spring water to regulate the temperature of the greenhouse and it call can be controlled remotely via the Internet. A lovely well run, thought out and designed space. This had us thinking what other fruits or veggies could you use this concep with? Our top picks cucumbers and strawberries.

We continued onward to Kerid crater. We hiked around the top. Took some accidentally silly pictures before heading to Secret Lagoon. A delightful hot springs. We relaxed for a bit before heading home to get ready for tomorrow’s adventures.

Friday, Ian made us toad in the hole for breakfast. We ventured toward Jokulsarlon. Ryan and I missed this stop on our honeymoon because we ran out of daylight. I am so glad we made the four hour drive trip. Extraordinary does not even cover it. Gatorade Glacier  Freeze, right? We took a boat ride. Tasted 1000 year old ice. They have food trucks there so we had more lobster soup and rolls.

The lagoon empties into the Atlantic. When the tide goes out the icebergs float to sea. They quickly breakdown and are washed up on the black sand beach as polished ice aka Diamond beach. Another truly amazing sight.

We headed back towards our Air B& B with many planned stops along the way.

We grabbed dinner in Vik before venturing onto the black sand beach. I had the most disappointing spicy Asian noodles ever. Ha! Ryan and I recreated some pictures from our anniversary. We drive up behind the beautiful church for some good views of the town and ocean.

Afterwards it was on to waterfall land! Driving along Route 1 in Southern Iceland you can see many waterfalls while you are just driving.

Fjaðrárgljúfur is a beautiful canyon not too far off the main highway. You can walk to the top overlook to get a better view. The bridge crossing the stream also provides a great view. There are hikes to do inside tbe canyon but we did not.

We paused at a few and my favorite one you can walk behind.

Skogafoss is right off the highway. An easy flat walk. Impressive. You can walk up some stairs to the top. Ryan and I did on our 1st trip but honestly the impressive view is down looking up.

Seljalandsfoss is my favorite. It can also be seen from the main highway but the real treat is walking behind it. It does require a little scrambling on rocks and take care as the rocks are wet from waterfall spray. I wore my rain jacket and rain pants but also flip-flops so the scrambling is not terrible. Were the flip flops a poor choice on my part yes. Also, we entered to the right walked behind the falls and exited to the left as you are facing the falls. The right side is much easier should you want to double back and exit that way. There are public bathrooms here and a food truck. You can also continue down a trail to the left of the falls to see some other waterfalls a short distance away.

Svartifoss is surrounded by basalt columns and the inspiration for the church design in Reykjavik. The hike is a gradual incline. There are a few waterfalls along the way. Again bathrooms and places to eat near parking. Ryan and I noticed this growth due to the increased tourism. Most places had no wash closets and certainly no food six years ago.

Stjornarfoss is again right off the highway close to a camp ground. We saw some cute sheep frolicking in the area here.

Systrafoss is located in what looks like an enchanted fairy forest. It rivals for my favorite simply because of the surrounding rock and vegetation.

We finally headed to our AirBnB to pack and ready ourselves for a day of travel on Saturday as we headed into the Arctic Circle to visit the Lofoten Islands.

Throwback 2013

Travel Packing Guide

In the few years we have been traveling I have really parred down my international travel packing. It has taken a few trips but I have it fine tuned. I now only pack in a carry on for international trips or any trips that we fly. This being said we do laundry in the place we are staying, a laundry mat, drop off service or sink. Admittedly, I am not a light packer for trips around the Southeast. For some reason I always tend to pack more.

This post includes exactly what I packed for our recent international vacation to Greece. But the rough guide is about always the same. Also preference varies. I took a rolling carry on size suitcase around Italy but after dragging my suitcase through the cobblestone streets, uneven side walks etc, I decided to go with a backpack for Greece. I loved it. It was the prefect choice for me.

Let’s talk packing gear first. I used the Tortuga Setout Divide Backpack. It is the smaller size but expandable. To me the more room you have the more you will over fill. I did order the Setout just to compare sizes on my body frame and preferred the smaller Setout Divide. I am 5’9″ so if you are smaller framed you definitely want the smaller size.

I prefer to use a crossbody bag that zips for my personal item, according to airlines, and day bag while sightseeing. Most museums make you check backpacks usually for a fee (and a line). I feel a crossbody bag can pass off as just a purse due to it’s size and if I use the shoulder strap while in the museum most let it pass. I took a diaper bag to Italy but I wish it had a shoulder strap as well as a crossbody strap. To Greece I packed a smaller purse since it had to pass stricter Ryanair rules while traveling within Greece. Check back next week for what I put in my personal item.

Packing cubes. A must!!! I roll my clothes then pack in a packing cube. Any will do. I have the Travelwise set and Amazon Basic set. I prefer to use 2-4 of the small/medium sizes rather than the large sizes.

I pack my toiletries in the Truffle small clarity pouch. I love that it is reusable, TSA approved and this new design holds more than the older one. I place my shampoo and conditioner in the GoToob+. I have different sizes depending on use and length of trip. I obviously use the smallest one possible. These I place in my personal item for easy access during the flight and security.


  • 4 Travel Undies: ExOfficio easy wash and dried.
  • 2 bras (one to wear, one to wash). I love this convertible sports bra. Great for lots of walking, sight seeing but also transitions under different types of clothing so your straps do not show.
  • 4 pairs of socks. I like the toe socks so I don’t get blisters between my toes with all the walking.
  • 1-2 maxi dresses. I love maxi dresses for travel. They are comfy, you can dress them up or down, they are long enough for religious sites. I usually wear these while flying or to a nice dinner out. Athleta is one of my favorite places to grab maxi dresses.
  • 1 pair of pjs. I grabbed a soft bamboo pair from Amazon. Easily washable.
  • 4-5 shirts. All in the same color scheme such as blue, black, grey etc. My favorites are v neck, long, curved hem to cover your assets. Old Navy, Gap , Madewell, and Academy are my usual go tos.
  • 4 bottoms. Usually I always go with capri or pant length so that religious sites and standing out wont be a problem. This time I did decide to take one skort and one short since we would be spending a majority of the time on islands.
  • 1 Swimsuit. You NEVER know when your hotel will have an indoor pool etc.
  • 1 light jacket/rain jacket or heavier jacket depending on weather. I recently bought a Patagonia packable one and really like it.
  • 2 pairs of shoes. My go tos. Birkenstocks, I have this extra strappy pair to dress up and I like my shoes feeling secure when doing so much walking. All Birds, Wool Runners. I have tried the Tree Runners but the Wool just fit me better. I do wear a Men’s because #largefeet. Also sometimes I do better without socks when wearing these.

Check back next Tuesday for what I pack in my personal item/daybag.

Don’t forget there are so many advantages to packing light. Easier to maneuver around. Less stress and literally less stuff weighing you down.

Happy Travels!

The Barefoot Mermaid’s Travels to California

In 2015, we took a trip to California with my cousin twin and her husband, before I blogged much. I’ve always meant to create a journal/recommendations for what we did. Mimi and Shark leave for vacation soon so they inspired me to document so they could know what we did. There are many stops along the way. I recommend researching many blogs etc to find what interest you the most. I’ll post some links at the bottom of this as well as throughout. Also, please excuse my 2015 photograph skills.

We flew into LAX. Alyssa and Ian had been there for a day or so camping at Joshua Tree. We met at the airport picked up our car and we were off on our adventure.

Our general plan was head down to San Diego. Then back up to San Francisco all on the Pacific Coast Highway. Alyssa and Ian flew out from San Fran and Ryan and I continued back to LA via roads other than Highway 1. We spent time in LA before flying out.

Our first stop was Santa Monica Pier. We ate lunch at the Mexican restaurant at the end. Rode the ferris wheel and walked around. It was interesting but nothing too compelling for me. We ventured around Venice Beach before heading towards San Diego. I was disappointed in how dirty Venice Beach seemed to be and how far away the water actually was.

We stopped at Encinitas Beach at twilight where I fully intend to touch the Pacific for the first time but alas there were hazardous water condition signs. This I believe is one place that sometimes you can see the bio-luminescence. Worth looking into for sure.

We continued on to our hotel. It was just a generic hotel in the downtown area. We grabbed pizza with a friend from college. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I loved San Diego. It was clean, not too crowded and greener than I expected which I love.

While in San Diego we visited the San Diego Zoo. We have all heard how fabulous it is but it’s hard to imagine! There’s bus tours inside the zoo and a sky tram. My most memorable animals where the pandas, koalas and flamingos for obvious reasons.

We also visited the world famous Coronado Island. We took the Coronado Ferry over and back. But we walked from the ferry dock over the island to the resort and beach area. This is actually where I was able to put my toes in the Pacific for the first time. We grabbed tacos for lunch at Clayton’s Mexican Takeout. Popped in a few stores and just leisurely explored the island. Seaside Papery was one if the cute stores we visited.  Charming and fun. Watched the sunset from the beach at the resort.

A few years ago when traveling here doughnuts where all the rage everywhere. We pre-ordered some of the famous Donut Bar. By preordering you can skip the line but there is a minimum order. They were so good and fun. I have followed their journey and they still seem to be doing an amazing business and growing. There is one in Las Vegas if you ever visit there.

We had dinner one night at Stone Brewing at Liberty Station. I am not a huge alcohol fan but the food was good. I highly recommend it based on the atmosphere. We sat outside in the garden/patio area which was lovely.

We headed up Highway 1 with some stops along the way. We drove from San Diego to San Luis Obispo. If I did it again I would stop somewhere in between for the night if there was time. Traffic in LA will slow you down more than you can imagine. But if you had to chose add a day in the Big Sur/Monterey area.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve was one of my favorite stops. We hiked on the cliffs and visited the beaches below. (Mimi and Shark this is a place for y’all.)

Of course we had to stop at La Jolla to see the seals. We didn’t do much else here but I know there is shopping and dining if that’s your thing.

Huntington Beach was another stop. A quintessential California beach. Think surfing and lifeguard towers. We stopped in Malibu at Wildfox.  Before continuing to the Madonna Inn.

I love funky, crazy, beautiful, historic hotels. Here is one area where Ryan and I differ but I see his point. He would rather spend money doing thing around and area and just get a reasonable hotel but to me sometimes the hotel can be part of the destination not just a place to sleep. Over the years we have had a great mix of the two. The Madonna Inn being one of them. I had to stay in the pink glitter room. So we did. I definitely want to go back here one day.

That night we got in later than expected. We had Mexican food as it was one of the only places open. We picked up our famous cake from the bakery at the Madonna Inn and played in the hot tub and pool. It was so cold but also so fun. The cold made the memories of fun had stick a little more. The wind was blowing like crazy and we had the place to ourselves.

We had breakfast at the cafe at the Inn and on true want to be blogger fashion we basically did a photo shoot with our cake and pink glitter walls. We headed back onto the Pacific Coast Highway, for arguably the most famous and most beautiful portion of the drive towards Monterey.

Along the way we stopped at some of my favorite spots.   Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park offers hiking, views of the Pacific and  McWay Falls. This falls drop from the cliffs 80 feet into the Pacific. You park inside the park to your right and then walk down a short easy trail under the highway to the falls. Breathtaking.

A MUST stop for lunch, dinner or even a snack is Nepenthe. The prices are not cheap but the view is incredible. Try the roasted garlic appetizer.

We continued to chase the sun and race against sunset to stop at our next two stops.

Pfeiffer Beach is located down a dirt road but worth the trip. There is a beautiful rock formation. It’s a great spot for sunset to watch the sun come through the rocks and cast everything in a golden glow. We found a In Pursuit of Magic sign here. Lovely.Bixby Bridge is the picturesque bridge often in car commercials. You can stop off the left side for views or the bridge and land but I preferred the right side with the ocean and bridge. If you have time do both. We lost daylight here this any good hope of a quality picture.

We unfortunately just didn’t have time for everything. Guess we will have to go back! Hearst Castle and Carmel by the Sea are also in this area. This area in between San Luis Obispo and Monterey is the main place I would add another night if I could.

We spent the night in Monterey at a generic hotel. Here we had planned to have a fire on the beach but never got around to it. That is one of my regrets since it’s legal and common on the West coast but not on the East coast.

We had a delicious dinner at Monterey’s Fish House. The next morning we took a whale watching tour. One of the best I have been on. We saw a pod of doulphins that was estimated to be 500 large. We toured with the Monterey Bay Whale Watching company. One side of the boat saw a whale breech. We missed it but had other great sightings as well. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is also a large tourist attraction in this area.

From here we continued onward to San Francisco. First we went to the Golden Gate Bridge park. Grabbed some photographs and walked around before driving over the bridge to head to Muir Woods National Monument. Again we lost daylight here but saw the great redwoods and a raccoon at dusk. We had dinner in the Mission District at Pancho Villa Taqueria. We drove down Lombard Street.

We woke up at the crack of dawn to head to Point Reyes National Seashore. We explored the area and went to visit the lighthouse when it opened. Sadly the winds were too strong so they did not open the stairs down to the lighthouse that day. There are many beautiful areas to explore in this National Seashore. We also stopped by  Cowgirl Creamery, as recommended by Shauna Niequist. It did not disappoint.

We headed back to San Francisco to drop Alyssa and Ian off at the airport for their flight out.

Ryan and I checked into a new hotel. We rode a trolley around to see some sights, stopped in China Town for dinner and hit up  Ghiradelli Square. As well as chocolate there were some cute shops and a beautiful jewelry store. We even were able to take a pic in front of the trolley since the one in front of us hit a car and so we were stopped for a bit then ended up getting off and walking.

We grabbed sandwiches from Davey Jones Deli. Which I am pretty sure is one of the best wraps I have had in my life. We took them to Rodeo Beach. It was a bit windy and cold so we didn’t stay too long.

Of course we had  stop by Alamo Square/Full House. We continued back towards LA via more inland roads.

We expected to go to Sequoia National Park but upon getting closer we saw signs stating the roads were already snowy. So we had to turn around. The area was beautiful though. We spent the night in Bakersville. We did stay in a cool hotel here The Padre Hotel.

Next we went back to LA. Ryan hurt his back somewhere along the way so I ended up driving from Bakersville to LA. We checked into the Millennium Biltmore Hotel early rested a bit then headed to Disneyland! Of course I got my Dole Whip Float West Coast style. We also grabbed Roscoes Chicken Waffles with another friend from college.

We had a great adventure and I can not wait to go back.

For more websites or blogs just search Pacific Coast Highway road trips.

Happy Travels!

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2018

Last week we attended Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. It is my favorite. Of course I am head elf so it is easy to love since we are combining Disney and Christmas.

We headed into the park a little before 4. With a party ticket guest can enter the Magic Kingdom at 4 pm without a separate park ticket. Often times they start letting people in a few minutes early. We grabbed our wrist bands and headed to the right towards the street behind Main Street. Here you can grab a cookie and exclusive photo opportunities. 

We grabbed three Fastpasses. I have read some people have a hard time getting Fastpass with party tickets but we have not had a problem. You do have to strategically time them to fit in three. For example, Ryan’s Space Mountain was 305-405 use that grace period! Then we moved up the times of our other Fastpasses. 

Around 6 they start clearing the park. They will ask to see your party arm band while you are getting into ride lines and walking around the park. It took til about seven for the crowds to decrease. 

We grabbed a front row  Main Street spot for the first parade around 7 or 715ish We literally grabbed the last front row spot. Ryan took the big girls to eat while Amy and the little girls held our spot with me. Amy and her family ate while waiting for the parade and holding our spot. Ryan and the big girls brought me my food. After I ate we did some shopping in the stores on Main Street. The Christmas parade is my all time favorite. It is magical and smells like cookies, for real. 

Amy and her family left after the parade. If you have big kids who can hang I recommend doing the later parade and riding rides during the first parade. We ran and did the cars after the first parade then grabbed a spot for fireworks. Fireworks and parades at Disney trump rides in my mind but my little ride loving family disagrees. 

The girls grabbed cookies and snow cones. There are stations set up throughout the park with special cookies and drinks that are included in your party admission. The ginger molasses cookie and eggnog is one of my favorites. They definitely had more variety this year than two years ago when we went. There was chilled cider, hot coco, snow cones, mini soft pretzels and different cookies. 

Holiday Wishes was spectacular as always and reminded me how much I miss regular Wishes, not that Happily Ever After is not great in its own way. 

After Holiday Wishes we tried to rush back to Mine Train but the line was crazy so we did tea cups the Mine Train. We stood in line for about  30 minutes the first time, which as many of you know is short compared to normal. The girls wanted to circle back again to do Mine Train as their last thing. We did and spent about 20 ish minutes in line that time. When we left the wait was back up to 45 mins already because the second parade had just finished.

We took our time leaving the park, taking some photo opportunities. I do recommend leaving the park a few before midnight if you are using the Disney buses, monorail, or boats. The lines get long at closing. Or if your family can hang even later, then get in line for one last ride about 10 minutes before park closing and in order to let the transportation crowds clear out and you will have some magical pictures with less people in them. 

A New Adventure

Phew! I can’t believe this is real. I am terrified and excited. Sad and happy. We are embarking on a new adventure. In 2019, we will be moving to Beaufort, SC. For those of you that do not know it is about half way in between Savannah and Charleston. It is where my beloved Hunting Island is. It was voted Southern Living’s Best Small Town in 2017. 

I grew up going to the area as my maternal grand parents had a beach house on Hunting Island. Ryan and I have continued to visit the area and he loves the area as much as me, maybe. He is much better equipped for the move since he has lived all over.

This is a huge adjustment as it will be the furthest I have ever lived from my family and outside of the state of Alabama for longer than a summer at camp Aunt Amy. Oh, and there is that blue eyed blonde headed girl that I can not even think about her and moving without nearly vomiting, so needless to say Birmingham you will still be seeing a lot of me back and forth. Luckily, it has been instilled in me that when it comes to love the miles don’t matter.

We are going to place our home in Birmingham on the market to sell. We will rent in Beaufort just to get a lay of the land and make sure living at the beach feels right and good. Because vacationing at the beach and living at the beach are two very different things.

This has been a huge decision and I have gone back and forth on and made myself physically sick over but essentially it boils down to not wanting to wonder what if. Every desicion in my life  have thought but what bout Em? What about Ry?  What about my mom? What about my dad? What about Teddy and Tare? And I feel like for maybe one of the few in my life I said BUT what about Anna Kate?

At the beginning of November I quit my job in the NICU for various, different reasons. But that seemed to be the knock on the door that threw open all the other doors. Ryan and I have talked about moving there but hadn’t because of said blonde headed girl. But he got a call out of the blue from Wal-Mart asking if he was still interested in a job there and well everything slide into place rather easily.

The doors just seemed to fly open so we are giving it a go. Luckily, like most things in life a move is not irreversible. Granted a pain in the butt but not something we are committing to for forever. We will see where the tide and salty breeze takes us over the next few years. 

I cycle back and forth between I am excited and OMG I am going to puke. I’m constantly reminding myself on the other side of terrified is growth and magic. I constantly wonder if I am actually brave enough to do this because change is hard. But so are the rewards.

Please pray and send us love and good vibes for a smooth transition, a good profit on our house, a smooth transition for those we love, blessings of new friends, a new flexible job for me and transportation to and from the people we love. 

Thanks to everyone for their love and support. Here is to new adventures, many house guests, sandy feet, shrimp, Lowcontry magic and a changing of the tides.

Fabulous Friday, XXV

We spent the past week in Disney! Oh what fun.

We visited Hollywood Studios on Saturday. Our friends joined us for Epcot on Sunday. Monday we played in the Magic Kingdom. Tuesday we partied with Mickey and friends at the Christmas party. Wednesday we went to Sea World for the first time.

Thursday we flew home exhausted and with full hearts. Look for a post on our trip soon. Back to the real world now.

Here are a few of my favorite Disney shops.

Aloha Ears

Imaginex Ears

Pixie Lee & Co

Pretty Little Monograms

Bibbidi Bobbidi Bling

Bibbidi Bobbidi Brooke

Mouse on Mainstreet

Magical Monograms

Lucky Rabbit Supply Co

The Barefoot Mermaid Travels to Crete



We traveled to Crete on the final stretch of our journey in Greece. We took a sunset ferry over from Santorini.  If you can time your ferry ride for sunset I highly recommend it. We took the slower ferry time wise aka cheaper. We enjoyed the sunset and then being under the stars. We stayed up on the top deck under the stars. We were practically the only ones up there.

The first night we stayed in Heraklion. Our hotel was not wonderful but it did the job. Mainly if you were not gentle the doors slammed shut, thus creating a lot of noise. The next morning, we had our rentals car delivered to us which was nice.

The first morning we found a bakery and the open air market. I bought some olives, olive oil and a yellow pomegranate.


Our tour guide who we found on Viator met us at the hotel. We walked to the Archaeological Museum. Here we saw artifacts spanning from the Neolithic to Roman Period. Amazing how old some of the things are. The prehistoric inhabitants in Greece were as old to the Romans as the Romans are to us. Mind blowing.