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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Rock City Gardens (Lookout Mountain, Georgia)

What started out as Frieda Carter desire to create a garden with winding trails through giant rock formations in the early 1930’s, has become a popular tourist attraction in Georgia.

Rock City is a unique place on Lookout Mountain that attracts more than half a million people each year.

A 4,100-foot walking trail leads through rock formations, caves, and gardens, ending at the edge of a cliff know as Lovers Leap.

The name “Lovers Leap” comes from a Cherokee legend about feuding tribes and two lovers going over the cliff. One was thrown and the other jumped, both ending in death. What a tragic story for such a beautiful site!

The claim of “see seven states” from Lover’s Leap comes from diary entries of a Union office and a Confederate nurse during the Civil War, both talking about being able to see seven states from the summit. Flags of all seven states stand in representation of the documentations. The states are Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.  

1400 Patten Road
 Lookout Mountain, GA

$19.95 Adults
$11.95 Children (ages 3-12)

Vary by season. Check here.

Happy Travels! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Exploring the Best of North Carolina's Outer Banks: Nags Head & Duck

The Outer Banks are barrier islands off the coast of the U.S. state of North Carolina. Nags Head is one of the most popular place for tourist. I was surprised to find so many fun things to do in such a small area. Some of the small business were closed for the season, but the trade off was that it was not crowded.It is also very windy and cool this time of year. I am planing a trip back in the summer months to enjoy everything. 

Here are six great place to visit on your trip to the Outer Banks:

1. The  Beaches

With more than eleven miles of beautiful sandy shorelines, the beaches are everyone's favorite place to be in Nags Head.

Public Beach Location access:
 E Hargrove St
 Nags Head, NC 27959

2. Jennette's Pier

Built in 1939, Jennette's Pier is one of the oldest structures left on the Outer Banks. It has encountered a lot of damage from nature over the years, but is newly remodeled and a very popular spot. Fishing is great from the concrete pier that extends 1000 feet out into the ocean.

Hours are:
The hours change based on season. Check here.

Daily Fishing:  Adult $12   Child $6
Walk-on:  Adults $2   Child $1

7223 S Virginia Dare Trail
 Nags Head, NC 27959

3. Bodie Island Lighthouse

Bodie Island Lighthouse stands 125 foot tall and is located at the northern end of Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

8210 Bodie Island Lighthouse Road
Nags Head, North Carolina 27959

4. Duck Boardwalk & Park

The Duck Boardwalk runs for about a mile along the Currituck Sound. Along the boardwalk are quaint boutiques, a candy store, bakery, and a park area. Duck is located about 15 miles north of Nags Head.

The Duck Town Park is a beautiful landscaped park that includes a walking trail, picnic area, playground, water fountain, kayak launch, and an amphitheater.

5. Dirty Dick's Crab House

Dirty Dicks is a “must eat at” place in Nags Head.  Their food is amazing! I normally don’t care for seafood, but I thought the snow crab was delicious! It is definitely a fun place to eat!

2407 S. Croatan Hwy
 Nags Head, NC 27959

6. Jockey's Ridge State Park

Jockey's Ridge is a unique park containing the tallest active sand dune system in the eastern United States. It’s a popular place for flying kites, hang gliding, or just climbing atop a dune for a spectacular view of the ocean and bay. 

We loved Nags Head and I know you will too!

Happy Travels! 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting

I am always excited for fall, when pumpkin everything comes out. One of my favorite things this year is the Little Debbie Pumpkin Spice Rolls. I think that I could seriously eat the whole box in a day! The only thing that I have found that I don’t like is pumpkin spice creamer. I just could not do the pumpkin coffee thing!

These cupcakes are the perfect fall treat! The pumpkin butter cream frosting is simply amazing! And the not too sweet gingerbread is a perfect match.

How adorable are these Wilton decorations, cupcake holders, and spatula ! They were perfect for making these cupcakes.

Gingerbread Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1/2 cup Molasses
1 cup boiling water
Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Stir together the flour, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon. 
Mix butter, sugar, brown sugar, molasses, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Then add to flour mixture.
Add the boiling water and stir.
Pour into liners and bake at 350 degrees for 15 – 18 minutes. Do not over bake.

Pumpkin Butter Cream

¼ cup butter, softened
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie)
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp Vanilla
3 ½ - 4 cups confectioners sugar

Mix the butter, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla until smooth.
Add the confectioners sugar one cup at a time, mixing after each. Use the amount of confectioners sugar that you need to get desired consistency.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Tallulah Gorge State Park (Tallulah Falls, Georgia)

Tallulah Gorge State Park is a beautiful place with amazing views of the gorge, waterfalls, and beautiful scenery.

Tallulah Gorge is one of the largest canyons in the eastern part of the United States.

 A fairly easy hike to the rim allows spectacular views of the gorge’s waterfalls. The gorge is around 1000 feet deep and runs for 2 miles.

If you are up for the hike, there is a suspension bridge that is 80 feet above the canyon floor. We did not make it to the bridge, but you can view it from the rim.


338 Jane Hurt Yarn Drive
Tallulah Falls, GA 30573

Happy Travels! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

America's White Desert (New Mexico) White Sands National Monument

When you hear of a white desert, usually its referring to the Sahara el Beyda in Egypt. With its massive chalk rock formations throughout an isolated land, it is one of the most astounding natural wonders of Egypt. But there is a white desert in the United States that is just as amazing and is also an astonishing natural wonder.

White Sands National Monument is 275 sq miles of white sand dunes composed of gypsum crystals. This gypsum dune field is the largest of its kind on Earth.

Gypsum, unlike other rocks, is water soluble. When rain falls on the surrounding mountains, the layers of gypsum start to dissolve, and runs down the mountains. With the Tularosa Basin and the dunes being fully enclosed, there is no outlet for the water, so the gypsum stays within White Sands Monument.

Unlike most sand, the gypsum sand does not readily convert the sun's energy into heat and can be walked upon safely with bare feet, even in the hottest months.

 It was completely cloudy with a misty rain when we arrive, but cleared off some while we were there. I looked like a total snow white out for a while.

There are four types of dunes within the park; barchan, parabolic, transverse, and dome dunes. These can be seen along the eight-mile scenic Dunes Drive.

The drive starts at the visitor center and leads deep into the gypsum dune field. The first five miles of are paved and the last three miles are a hard-packed gypsum sand road.

There are several places along the drive to stop and play on the dunes. Sledding is a popular activity in the park. Waxed plastic snow saucers work best and can be purchased at the gift shop.

White Sands is located next to a Missile Range and is closed occasionally due to missile testing. Check here for open status.

Hours of operation vary throughout the year. Check the schedule here.

The three picnic areas, the Yucca, Roadrunner, and Primrose, are named after the most iconic plant and animal species in the monument. These picnic areas are located about six to seven miles from the entrance off Dunes Drive.

White Sands is truly one of America’s most amazing places! It is sure to impress all ages and be an unforgettable experience.

The actual physical address is:
 19955 Highway 70 West
  Alamogordo, NM 88310

Happy Travels! 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Garvan Woodland Gardens (Fall ) Hot Springs, Arkansas

Garvan Woodland Gardens is a 210-acre botanical garden nestled in the Ouachita Mountains of Southwest Arkansas. It is located along the shoreline of the beautiful Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs.

Every season brings something new to see at the garden. Right now, Autumn in the Woodlands and the Mum Fest are in full swing with thousands of chrysanthemum blooming throughout the gardens.

There are surprises around every corner.

The Fall season is from September 1- November 18 for this year.

 Paved paths will lead you over several unique bridges, around waterfalls, and along ponds filled with large coy fish.

The Christmas season starts in the middle of November, so you can see where they have already started stringing the lights and getting ready for it. Christmas at the gardens is amazing!

Location is:

550 Arkridge Rd, 
Hot Springs, AR 71913

Hours are:

Open Every Day:
February 1 through November 18, 2016
9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Last admission sold at 5:30 p.m.

Holiday Hours: November 19 through December 31, 2016
Noon - 9 p.m.
Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Days.

Admission Fees:
Adults (age 13 and up)   $15.00  
Children 6-12     $5.00    
Children to age 5    Free

Happy Travels!