Enchanting Monticello!

20131105-193124.jpg When I was little we took a lot trips… which is probably why I love to travel so much. But we didn’t fly, we drove all around the United States in a camper my Dad built. Which is most likely why I love to drive so much. One trip I will always remember is when we drove through Virginia to the historic Monticello estate, the home of Thomas Jefferson. I remember it like it was yesterday. And to this day it is still one of my favorite places to visit. I hope these photos inspire you to add this destination to your bucket list. In my humble opinion two of the best times are on the spring and the fall. Here are my fall pics from a few days ago: as you can see… I LOVE this place!




The gardens.




The little house in the photo was glass enclosed and where Thomas Jefferson would stay for hours and do some of his “best thinking”.


Sipping hot chocolate (it was chilly outside)

The walking path down to the visitors center from the estate.

Thomas Jeffersons grave…he died on July 4 exactly 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. You see this on the walking path.

The end of the walking path just before the visitors center.


One last kiss and jump before I said good bye. Until the next time!!!!

Keswick Hall Hotel Escape

After dodging deer and totally getting lost on some remote Virginia back roads I finally pull into the Keswick Hall Hotel. It’s a beautiful historic hotel and one of my favorites. Because of the time change it was just about 5 and the sun was about to set. I threw my luggage in my room and went out to my favorite patios overlooking the golf course and ordered a glass of local wine. I only wish my most amazing peeps were there with me. Here are some of the photos I took during my stay at the hotel…






As I’m writing this I’m having breakfast and it’s really good. Poached eggs, cheese grits and yes…. BACON!




Along with the staff, thanks to Cork and Max in the upstairs patio area and TJ in the breakfast area for the wonderful service!

Backroads of Virginia, Middleburg

20131103-100345.jpgI just stopped in a super cute town called Middleburg. The streets are lined with fall leaves that feel like they are glowing with reds and yellows. The town smells like baked goods and bacon so I followed my nose to a quaint bakery.

Inside I found pies that are warm from the oven. The smell of homemade cinnamon rolls, muffins and crispy bacon. I ordered a bacon and egg sandwich and as I write this I’m eating it outside in the wam sun.





The photo above and the first one in this post show what the backroads look like this time of year. You see what I call “fall snow” everywhere which is the graceful swirling of thousands of colored leaves. Well, my sandwich is gone so I’m off again with no idea of where I’ll stop next!

Manassas Civil War Battlefield

The sky is a rainbow of clouds, the birds are chirping, and I seem to be the only one here. Surrounding me are open fields, a few large trees gracing the landscape, and a number of canons. I’m in the middle of the Manassas Civil War Battlefield where the battle of Bull Run was fought. This was the first major land battle of the armies of Virginia. Seeing this landmark site at sunrise is a must if you can. What a serene location. As I walk across the fields I can only think of the many solders who lost their lives. I hope you’ll have a chance to visit this historical site that was the beginning of a very important change in our history. The abolishment of slavery.







Where to Travel to in November??? ;)


Off on another adventure: Backroads exploring Civil War battlefields, Montecello, a drive through the Blue Ridge mountains when the fall leaves are at their peak. The final destination will be the Historic Biltmore Estate. Now I just need to get through this red eye flight which lands at 5:20am. Hoping for an empty row so I can sleep! I hope you'll follow me on my journey πŸ˜‰

Balboa Island, California

Morning walk on Balboa Island
Morning walk on Balboa Island

During a business trip last week I was able to rediscover a beautiful island located off Newport Beach in southern California.Β  I was actually following a sign to Fashion Island, which is a pretty amazing shopping mall.Β  Listed on that same sign was “Balboa Island” and I thought “what the heck, I’ll take a look.”Β  I headed up over a small bridge and into another world.

View from the walkway. There was a sailboat race the afternoon I was there
View from the walkway. There was a sailboat race the afternoon I was there

A charming village, Balboa Island if full of local shops, restaurants, world famous chocolate covered bananas and a whole lot more. There is one main street where you’ll find everything you need to eat, drink, shop and be merry. There is also a path that runs along the water’s edge that runs around the island.Β  As you leave the main street and walk around the island, you’llΒ find more shops and restaurants on the other side.Β  A great break if you’re attempting a “pub crawl”.Β  You can drive over the bridge or take the Island Ferry.Β  Below you’ll find a few maps showing you where the island is located and a close up showing you the bridge, where to shop/eat and the path around the island.Β If you’re in the SoCal area and near Newport Beach it’s worth the visit.Β  You won’t be disappointed!

Here's where Balboa Island is located
Here’s where Balboa Island is located
Here's a close up showing you around the island
Here’s a close up showing you around the island

Here are some photos from my visit!

Here's the walkway around the Balboa Island with some fabulous homes
Here’s the walkway around the Balboa Island with some fabulous homes
Tons of docks stretch out over the water
Tons of docks stretch out over the water
View from the walkway. There was a sailboat race the afternoon I was there
View from the walkway. There was a sailboat race the afternoon I was there
Love this sign on the dock
Love this sign on the dock
Great way to chill is to put your feet in the sand!
Great way to chill is to put your feet in the sand!

Shelley D Spray

Dinner at Amelia's
Dinner at Amelia’s
Amelia's salad - it was REALLY good!
Amelia’s dinner, sea bass, pasta and steamed veggies – it was REALLY good!

Here’s a helpful website with more information: http://www.balboaisland.com/

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