Homosassa, Florida

Day Trips Family Friendly Road Trips

Homosassa, Florida

We became camper owners several years ago and have really enjoyed exploring this part of Florida. We usually spend about 5 or 6 weekends on the river “hunting” Florida bay scallops. It’s fairly easy if you get up early and follow the parade of boats through the river and out to the ocean. Be careful because you can easily lose an engine or prop if you don’t pay attention the the markers. Lost of rocks on the river! We have several coordinates saved and return to those year after year. Although, they’re a little light this year (2019), we’ve find enough for dinner and appetizers the next day (I prefer eating them fresh vs frozen, so a few dozen gallons is all we need) After a morning of scalloping, we drop off the scallops to be cleaned (much easier than cleaning yourself and supports the locals) and head to the spring. **We use the scallopers at McCrae’s. I elect to stay on the boat, while the hubby and kids embrace the 72 degree water. The crowds are insane mid summer. The last few summers, we decided to start our time on the river in mid July, so most of the initial start-of-season crowds (and crazies) are gone. There are a few other things to do in Homosassa (Homosassa State Park, Weeki Wachee, Three Sisters Springs, Hospital Hole) It’s truly a relaxing adventure and should be planned as such. Be sure to check out Monkey Island after you put the boat in. Located just east of McCrae’s. It’s a tiny island where monkeys live! The story behind it is pretty neat!

“It’s truly a relaxing adventure and should be planned as such.”

Where to launch the boat: McCrae’s (prepare for long lines unless you put in super early or late), Trade Winds (requires dock space rental), Monkey Bar & Restaurant ($10 boat launch and parking if available)

What to eat: Michael Anthony’s (fantastic Italian & also BYOW!) They also deliver pizza to your campsite. The Freezer (long waits and no table service, but excellent shrimp & salmon dip), Monkey Bar & Restaurant (bar food), McCrae’s (bar food & burgers), Vintage on 5th (it’s fancy and my favorite, of course! reservation recommended), Crackers in Crystal River (decent if you like a nice view, but the food is so-so), The Crab Shack in Crystal River (excellent crab of course)  Shelly’s Seafood Market (the best seafood dip you’ll ever have) located along the River, just past McCrae’s. You can pull your boat right up to her small house on your way out to scallop or way back in to the spring. The Plantation Inn in Crystal River (decent menu, service is so-so, must make a reservation) **Crumps is new, but sadly burnt down early this summer. Should be opening again soon, although we didn’t have the chance to try it this time. 

Where to stay: Homosassa RV Resort (you can rent campers here too, if you don’t have your own). They have a pool, cook shed and a great fishing pond. They changed management last year and made several improvements. A lot of other RV resorts are under water in the summer, but this one has done a better job at trying to fix that problem. Use AirBnB for house rentals, some hotels, book a year in advance if traveling during scallop season!! 

Road Trips Travel

Charleston, South Carolina

I hadn’t been to Charleston since I was a teenager. That was before I became a foodie, fell in love with taking pictures, before instagram was created and before I became obsessed with traveling. So, this stop during our 4th annual summer road trip was an exciting one! We typically stop in Atlanta or Savannah on our way to the mountains from Florida, but I wanted to change things up this time and take the kiddos to a city they’ve never been.

Charleston wasn’t too far out of the way to make an overnight stop, so I booked one night at King Charles Inn (via Expedia TAAP for Travel Agents) The hotel is on Meeting Street and centrally located. We walked everywhere. We only had two days, so we were non stop. We walked the cobblestone streets, strolled down Rainbow Row, wasted money at It’Sugar, visited the infamous Pineapple Fountain, had dinner at High Cotton, took our own walking tour of movie set locations from The Notebook (7 separate locations in a 4 mile radius), checked out two of the most gorgeous churches in the city (St Philips and St Michaels) and I snuck away while the kids were still asleep to run a few miles along the shoreline to see the beautiful homes at The Battery. We had breakfast (chicken & waffles) at Poogan’s Porch and on our way out of the city, drove through campus at Charleston College, which was a gorgeous campus.

Stop in on a road trip or stay for a while. Charleston, The Holy City has a southern charm everyone should experience!

A list of The Notebook movie locations:

  • College of Charleston – the backdrop for Allie’s College (Sarah Lawrence college in the film)
  • Intersection of King & Mary Street – Where Allie and Noah lie down in the street to watch the traffic light (the traffic light was actually a prop and not a working street light)
  • American Theatre (446 King Street) – The theatre were Noah & Allie go on a date
  • William Aiken House – The wedding dress fitting scene
  • High Cotton – The restaurant where Noah looks through the restaurant window and sees Allie with Lon. *A restaurant manager at the time had a cameo in the movie and played the maitre d’.
  • Calhoun Mansion (14-16 Meeting Street) – The interior of this mansion was used for the scenes from inside Allie’s summer home
  • Porter’s Lodge (right before the intersection of George and Glebe Street) – Lon waits outside his car for Allie at the college after he recovered from his war injuries in front of this pink building.
International (and Domestic) Travel Necessities

Travel Tips

International (and Domestic) Travel Necessities

I travel a lot and always try to find items that make life easier when we are on the go. These things are a must for me when traveling internationally and also helpful when traveling within the US. I have provided links to all of my favorites. I hope these help create less stress while on your journey.

**I am not being compensated in any way by promoting these items. This is my personal opinion only! 

Travel Jacket lightweight and easy to pack in a carryon. A must for all seasons.

Passport Holder There are many options for this, but I love this one, because you can keep all important docs together.

Backpack I absolutely LOVE my Fjallraven backpack. I carry it on the daily, even when not traveling.

Luggage Scale This saves stress at the airport! No one wants to pay overweight fees. Pack it to re-weigh on your return as well (in case you shopped a lot)

European Travel Adapter An obvious necessity! Don’t try to buy in Europe. They’re expense and horrible quality.

Collapsible Laundry Basket I literally use this on every trip! I even pack it after it’s filled, so my dirty clothes stay separated from my clean!

Cell Phone Power Bank When traveling internationally, your phone battery dies faster. This is another obvious necessity as long as you remember to keep it charged.

Travel Blanket A perfect little blanket for your long flight..even in the summer.

Travel Pillow Love the memory foam pillows!

Suitcase This suitcase is amazing!! It even has a built in charger. Reasonably priced, too!

Packing Cubes A wonderful packing tip! Use these!!!

3.5mm Headphones Eventually all airlines will upgrade their outlets, but the majority of airlines still have 3.5mm.

Safe Travels, Friends!

Angela

 

East Coast Summer Road Trip…..From Florida to Niagara Falls

Road Trips Travel

East Coast Summer Road Trip…..From Florida to Niagara Falls

This East Coast trip was our 3rd annual. I try to let the kids play part in the planning and made them give me some bucket list vacation wishes. We were able to see and do everything and more they hoped for. Some people thing we are crazy for driving so far, but we see so much more than flying to one destination. We bond more than you would think and talk about so much! Of course, they have their iPhones and iPads, but believe it or not, on road trips, they use them less. And, as always – my travel motto stands; “collecting memories, not things”. This trip was extra special because Scott (aka Daddy) joined us for a portion of the trip (he can’t/won’t do long road trips). It was so nice to have him with us. We celebrated our anniversary on this trip as well.

And, as always – my travel motto stands; “collecting memories, not things”

Our first stop was Savannah, Ga! About a 5 hour drive from our hometown. A fantastic pit stop for lunch at one of our South Georgia favorites, Vic’s on the River. Their crawfish beignets are my absolute favorite thing on the menu. Followed by She Crab Soup was the perfect road trip lunch. We try really hard not to eat fast food on these trips. We pack healthy snacks and a cooler in the car, but being the foodie that I am and the foodies my kids are becoming, we do eat well on the road. After a walk down River Street for some candy at Savannah’s Candy Kitchen (don’t leave without salt water taffy + peanut brittle), we were back on the road.

Like I mentioned above, one of the things I enjoy most about road trips are the impromptu stops along the way. Darlington Raceway was one of those stops. I am a big NASCAR fan (although I don’t make it to as many races as I wish I could), so seeing this track was a treat. An added bonus was seeing Jamie McMurry and Matt Kenseth testing their Goodyear tires. We met the Director of Marketing and he sent us away with autographed pictures and fun Darlington souvenirs. Back on the road and through Virginia we went!

Next stop was Washington, DC! The kid’s first time seeing the White House was a super cool experience for them. Especially now that they are old enough to understand a little more about politics and our President. Lucky for us, President Trump and his entourage was leaving the White House, so seeing that was fun. An afternoon & evening in DC allowed us to see the monuments (they’re AMAZING at night) and catch a National’s Game. We snagged our tickets for $10 on StubHub…score!! We stayed in the Chevy Chase area of DC and it was great. Super safe and really cool shops and restaurants. Because we had a car, we didn’t have to pay the hefty Uber fees. Parking was pretty simple if you pay attention to all signs.

Up next was NYC!! My daughter’s first time in the city and she (unfortunately) was not impressed. One of her bucket list items was to visit the American Girl Doll store and get her doll’s hair done. Obviously her favorite thing about NYC. My son had been before and loves it. We did the touristy stuff (Central Park + Times Square) and walked a lot, so I could show them as much as possible. We stayed in Jersey City (took the subway to manhattan), because I had heard so many fun things about it. Unfortunately, we spent so much time in the city, we didn’t have time to explore Jersey City. We did visit Liberty State Park and saw some great views of the NYC skyline and the Statue of Liberty. My son fished there (his fishing poles go everywhere we go…another road trip plus)

Onward to Boston…We picked up Daddy from the airport and went straight for lobster rolls. Then, to Fenway for a Red Sox game. This was our anniversary and we visited Fenway for our honeymoon, so we came back 12 years later. The kids enjoyed Fenway and although they lost, the hotdogs and beer made up for it. Always good to catch a baseball game in a new city. Eventually, Evan will hit all of them (his bucket list wish for each trip is to see a MLB field). This trip, we saw 3!

A short drive from Boston is Cape Cod (my husband and son’s favorite part of the trip). We stayed in Hyannis, a cool hotel called the Hyannis Harbor Hotel. It was recommended by a frequent visitor and summer resident of the Nantucket (thank you, SU) and it was PERFECT!! There were no crowds (benefit of traveling early June) and the resort was super cute and located across the street from the HyLine Ferry. The hotel had a great pool bar and served up the most amazing sangria (“Cooper’s Famous Sangria”). I need to add that it was 68 degrees with zero humidity. Amazing weather for this Florida girl. Dinner was at The Black Cat Tavern www.blackcattavern.com. They had the BEST lobster roll and clam chowder. The next morning, I ran through Hyannis and took some beautiful pictures of the lighthouse and their little market area. We then hopped on the early ferry to spend the day in Nantucket! The weather was literally perfect and the views were outstanding. It was everything and more than what I imagined. I could spend an entire summer there if there wasn’t hundreds of other places I want to go. We ate street corn at Slip 14 which had the most incredible street corn. My son and husband took a charter with Just Do it Too (IG: @justdoittoo) and they caught over 30 fish! Mostly Striped Bass {stripers}. After a few hours of fishing for the boys and shopping for the girls, we rented bikes and enjoy the island on wheels. We tour the super cute island aquarium, and “the beach”My favorite store was of course, The Love Shack which sells the cutest LOLA jewelry (IG: @lola_pendants). The small boutiques and shops are all so cute along the docks and cobblestone roads. A day trip was perfect from Hyannis, but we definitely could’ve stayed longer. On the HyLine back to the mainland, we met Ron Hawes (author of The Total Coach). What a treat it was to spend an hour with this wonderful man!

After a wonderful 4 days with Daddy, we dropped him off at the airport and headed north! To Canada! A country we had never been and one we could add to our travel board. We crossed over into Ontario where we experienced the best views of Niagara Falls. I read so much about which side and where to view the falls and I am so glad I took the advice of many travel bloggers and went to Canada! It was definitely a touristy spot, but so worth it! A stunning site and I’m so glad I was able to experience it with my kiddos. After a day in Canada, we crossed over The Peace Bridge and back into the USA. At that point, we were southwest bound with 5 states to go before we made it back home. It’s always cool when we reach our turnaround point. A quick stop by Presque Isle Bay and Lake Erie, then south to Cincinnati to visit my stepbrother and his wife. They told us about Smale Riverfront Park and what a fun stop that was! The bridge was beautiful and luckily for my son, he got to see The Reds and Bengals stadiums. They are located about 3 city blocks apart…..

After Ohio, came our favorite city….Nashville! We absolutely LOVE Music City and try to go often (as you can see by my previous posts). We hit up all of the kid’s hot spots and city favorites (12 South, Jason Aldean’s, FGL House, Honky Tonk Central, Wild Horse Saloon, Goo Goo Shop, Frothy Monkey, Five Daughters, etc) I have a few Nashville posts that share all of  my favorites as well. Nashville was our last stop. We are 10 hours from home when in Nashville and it’s a super easy drive. Quick stops in Chattanooga for coffee and snacks at Frothy Monkey, horrible traffic in the ATL and once we hit I75 in Valdosta, it goes by super fast. As always, it was a wonderful adventure and I look forward to our next road trip….wherever that may be!

As always, it was a wonderful adventure and I look forward to our next road trip….wherever that may be!

**Most of my hotels are booked through Expedia TAAP (Expedia for travel agents) or Marriott (using Marriott rewards points) and we use Airbnb for non hotel stays, especially in Nashville where hotels are outrageous. We always find a cute AirBnB in 12 South or The Gulch.