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Posts Tagged ‘Vacations

Tennessee Vacation

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7 states on a clear day

7 states on a clear day

This summer I was fortunate to take a couple mini vacations.  In June I went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to check out the mountains and enjoy the wildlife.  I avoided nearby Pigeon Forge and all the tourist attractions.  I did see a black bear and several deer and even a turtle that was crossing the road as I toured the Smokey Mountain National Park.  I visited a farm that was founded in the early 1800’s by rugged pioneers.  This place was remote even in 2016; I can’t imagine what it was like then!  I cooked some juicy steaks on the grill and enjoyed a swim.  It was in the mid 90’s even at the higher elevation so a dip in the pool was quite refreshing.

About a week later my wife and I spent a long weekend outside of Chattanooga at a bed and breakfast.  We visited Rock City which was nearby and spent an evening in downtown Chattanooga checking out the local scene and stopped in at a wine bar to escape the nearly 100 degree temperatures.  We also checked out the Riverwalk and an outdoor flea market by the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga football stadium.  We browsed local produce, arts and crafts and had to buy some kettle corn that was made as we watched.

After the flea market we had lunch at a BBQ restaurant and headed back to the B & B to check out the pool.  They served locally roasted coffee all day long and I enjoyed some with my frequent snacks that were also served in the afternoons and evenings.  The breakfast offerings were very good with a breakfast burrito one day and Belgian waffles the next.  Again I enjoyed the coffee to wash it down.

On Sunday night we decided to travel about 30 minutes west of town and have dinner at a local winery that overlooked the Tennessee River. The wines were made from California grown grapes but were made, bottled and aged on site.   We sampled a flight of their offerings and had dinner there.  They had a wood fired oven that made a very tasty pizza.  You can’t beat pizza, wine and a terrific view on an outdoor balcony to end the day.  We took home a bottle of wine to enjoy and remember our trip.

It had been a long time since I had a chance to get away and relax.  I recommend it!  If you can’t get away before summer ends, try a fall excursion to view the colorful leaves as they reach their peak in you area.  Have a great week.

Tennessee River

Tennessee River

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Spring Has Sprung And Summer Is On My Radar

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This is better than snow

This is better than snow

Spring arrived just after midnight at 12:30 A.M. last Sunday. I hope you have enjoyed the first week. It was the second week of daylights savings time and we are rapidly hurtling towards the first day of summer – I can’t wait. Since we are heading towards warmer weather I thought I would break out a favorite topic – things to do as the temperature rises. Read what I wrote in previous years here, here and here.

This year I will have my list of usual things but will try to add a few more challenging items to my list. Before I begin let me tell you that harvesting veggies from my garden will appear on the list again. I have changed my strategy a little bit after a few years of misguided planting. I am going to plant few, if any, tomato plants since they have not grown well the past couple of years and they don’t last very long after picking. I am going to ramp up my hot pepper production because they always seem to grow well and I can pickle them and they will last a long time. I canned about 9 quarts last summer and I am still enjoying them on sandwiches.

I will start with my list of challenges:

  • Go on a vacation that encompasses at least 4 business days
  • Cut down 6 trees that do not belong near my house – this will involve a chain saw
  • Go to a cultural event for my wife’s sake (let’s keep that a secret between you, me and the internet)
  • Be more adventurous when picking restaurants for our weekend dinners
  • Ride my bike once per week with my wife to help her improve and for more quality time together

My “usual suspects”

  • Go to a major league and minor league baseball game
  • Cook lunch on the grill on Saturday afternoons while listening to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 on Satellite radio
  • Ride my bike on the Silver Comet Trail as often as possible
  • Plant and harvest a bumper crop of hot peppers
  • Take Jimmy Sad Eyes to the dog park so he can romp with reckless abandon

I hope I can accomplish all that is on my list and more. I will keep you posted on how things are going. Have a great week.

Written by pacelinebiz

March 27, 2016 at 8:01 am

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

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Cannonball!!

Cannonball!!

Summer is winding down for the year and I just like the first homework assignment in the new school year thought I would take a look back at what I did, didn’t or wished I had done. I hope you had a summer full of pleasant activities.

What I Did:

  • Lots of bike rides
  • Lots of cutting the grass
  • Lots of working
  • Picked lots of hot peppers from my garden.  It was a great year for peppers.
  • Lots of dinners outside at various restaurants. We probably ate inside a restaurant less than 5 times since April.
  • Lots of walking Jimmy Sad Eyes
  • Had dozens of trees cut down in my back yard that were killing my grass (is that really a bad thing?) and threatening my house.
  • Bought a new car!
  • Ate at the Corral roadside restaurant which I blogged about previously and can be read by clicking here
  • Attended a minor league baseball game
  • Saw the movie Ant Man and then blogged about it. Read what I wrote
  • Watched lots of Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games on MLB.TV (lots of wins!)

What I didn’t do:

  • Take a vacation – so this whole thing could be zero words because I did nothing on my summer vacation since I didn’t have one. Boo!!
  • Shiver. There have been about 50 days above 90 degrees in my area of Georgia this summer. We have only had 5 days below 80 since May 1st.
  • Wear long pants after work or on weekends. The last time I wore long pants after work or on the weekend was probably the beginning of May. That is fine by me.
  • Complain about it being too hot. I had my fill of long cold winters so it may be a while before I can’t take the heat. It might be hot but you don’t have to shovel sunshine.
  • Go hunting, fishing or camping. That is mostly because I don’t like those activities. I have a house with a nice, big, soft bed – why would I ever want to sleep on the hard ground?

What I wished I had done:

  • Grill out more. We didn’t seem to have the time this year for much grilling.
  • Hired someone to cut my grass when I was too busy. Why stress out when there are people who do that. All it costs is a phone call and money. A lesson I need to learn is you can’t make more time but you can make more money.

I guess that is all I wished I had done. I don’t have many regrets because I have learned that the journey itself is part of the fun.  Have a great week checking off things on your summer to do list.

Written by pacelinebiz

September 14, 2015 at 8:01 am

Good Riddance Winter Of 2013-2014

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Relax

Relax

Spring has begun and soon the temperatures will be suitable for outside activities. In metro Atlanta the temperature averages around 70 degrees farenheit this time of year.  Since it has been an unusually cold winter and terms such as polar vortex are commonplace, I think it is appropriate to jump past spring and list what I am looking forward to and hoping to accomplish this summer.  Perhaps one these things will spark an interest and will inspire you to do the same or add your special twist to the idea.

  • The first thing on my summer to do list is to get a pizza burger from the corral in hermitage, pa when I am up there on business. I am writing this in the late afternoon and am hungry so I believe this is influencing my desires. I wrote about the corral last year, check it out here.

  • See a minor league baseball game and spend the whole day exploring the host city and its amenities.

  • Take a nap on my deck after a bike ride – maximizing outdoor time. Okay, I will put on sunscreen.

  • Eat fresh vegetables from my garden and if the weather co-operates and provides a bumper crop of tomatoes, make salsa for enjoying in the fall and winter.

  • Stop and smell the roses. I have several large rose bushes and they are covered with wonderful blooms all summer and I must confess I have never stopped to take a whiff. Who knows I might not like the fragrance, so I will get back to you on this.

  • Go camping, cook a hot dog over the open fire and sleep under the stars. I will do this to reinforce how much I enjoy the comfort of my own bed with the feather bed mattress add on. I am sure I will make lasting memories under the stars so the lingering backache will be worth it.

  • Spend a long weekend out of town with my wife – anywhere will do even a quirky small town with a minor league team.  This was a goal last year that I did not achieve.

  • Go to Stone Mountain.  It is larger than Mount Rushmore, which I have already visited, and only 50 miles from my residence.  The only problem – it is on the other side of Atlanta and chances of getting there without traffic slow downs are remote.  On the weekend it could easily take 2 hours or more one way.  I think I will wait until I am already on that side of town for a quick peek.  It is a big rock and I don’t think it is going anywhere soon.

  • Explore a cave or walk on a beach or climb a mountain – even if it is Kennesaw Mountain down the road from me.

It might not be an extensive list but just thinking about those things has warmed me up a bit.  Have a great week.

Written by pacelinebiz

March 31, 2014 at 8:01 am

Second Half Summer To Do’s

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Cannonball!!

Cannonball!!

This blog will be published on July 15th which is the halfway point of summer if you use June 1st as the beginning and August 31st as the end.  Since we are halfway I figured I would write up a list of things I would like to get done in the second half of the summer so I can consider it a successful summer season.

  • Harvest tomatoes from my garden
  • Take a day off
  • See another baseball game at the ballpark – major league or minor league will do
  • Attend a family reunion
  • Train Jimmy Sad Eyes to walk on the treadmill – a task that has proven difficult so far this summer
  • Find and enjoy a great wine bargain
  • Eat a Pizza Burger at the corral in Hermitage, Pennsylvania and post pictures on this blog to prove it
  • Spend a weekend evening with my spouse out of town
  • Eat stuffed peppers using peppers from my garden
  • Ride my bike
  • Dip my toes in an ocean, lake, river, pond or stream
  • Dip some chips into a bowl of homemade salsa
  • Wear shoes less and sandals more
  • Consume food from a street vendor
  • Increase my flexibility by stretching during baseball game watching on TV

Have a great second half of the summer and make it count.  I know I will.

Written by pacelinebiz

July 15, 2013 at 8:01 am

Adieu, Summer 2011

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Hey good looking, what'cha got cooking?

Summer is coming to a close soon and the unofficial end is Labor Day weekend.  I thought I would reflect upon some neat things I experienced this summer.  Perhaps you also have some good memories of summer, 2011. 

  • A juicy New York Strip steak for dinner on our wedding anniversary
  • Having all my brothers and sisters together in July at the Pennsylvania “Compound”
  • Watching a thunderstorm develop over Knoxville, Tennessee for over an hour as I drove south on interstate 75 in Kentucky.  I was driving home from a trip north on business.  Luckily it did not bring much rain that I had to negotiate while I was driving late at night.
  • Going to the movies with my two nephews to watch the Zookeeper and the Smurfs.  Both were good. Not the movies, but my nephews who were well-behaved.
  • Reminiscing with my older brother about shared experiences in the 1970’s in our home town
  • My first summer in Atlanta – so much sun, so little rain, so much fun.
  • Passing my annual, self assessed, bicycle fitness test.
  • Browsing the shops located on Marietta square on a lazy Saturday afternoon in June.
  • Meeting a lot of wonderful new people in our new community.
  • Authentic Southern barbecue – yummy.

As you can see from my list there was no vacation this summer but why vacation when your everyday experience is like a vacation destination?    I am sure the newness will wear off and become old hat but until then I am vacationing in my own backyard.  Before summer ends you still have some time to make memories, make one today.

Have a great week, this unofficial final week of summer.

Written by pacelinebiz

August 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm

The Summer Vacation

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Let's hit the road!

We all have our own idea of the ideal vacation.  There are many types of vacations one can take depending on tastes and budget.   Summer is quickly winding down so you better get moving and make plans if you have not already done so.  I have my own ideas about the perfect vacation but it involves bicycling and wine tasting which is why I went to the New York Finger Lakes last August for my vacation.  Read about it by clicking here.  For those of you who are not interested in riding your bike during the day and tasting wine at night, you might want to check out the following links for the 10 most popular destinations based on 2 different sources.

Below is the list from the Orbitz blog and the link to the article.

  1. Las Vegas
  2. Cancun (Mexico)
  3. Oahu, Hawaii
  4. Riviera Maya (just south of Cancun)
  5. Chicago
  6. Punta Cana (Dominican Republic)
  7. New York City
  8. San Diego
  9. London, UK
  10. Puerto Vallarta (Mexico)

Read the orbitz article

Below is the list from the dailyfinance.com web site and the link to the article.

  1. Chicago
  2. Orlando (thank you Disney)
  3. New York City
  4. Los Angeles
  5. Washington D.C.
  6. Atlanta
  7. San Diego
  8. San Francisco
  9. Anaheim (thank you again Disney)
  10. Dallas

Read the daily finance article here

Perhaps these two lists have given you an idea where you want to go before summer is over.  If none of those destinations appeal to you, I have a few ideas that might be of interest that I will offer.  Below is a few suggestions you may want to visit within the USA.

  • Canton, Ohio and the Football Hall of Fame – With the loss of the Preseason Hall of Fame game they can use all the tourism dollars they can get.  Millionaires and Billionaires fighting over piles of money ruined a huge event for this small town.  While in the area you could take an hour drive north on Route 77 to Cleveland and visit the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.  Depending on how much time you have you could then take a 2 hour drive west on the Ohio turnpike and go to Cedar Point and ride roller coasters for as long as your stomach can take it.
  • The Blue Ridge Parkway which is a scenic road that runs for 469 miles from roughly Staunton Virginia to west of Asheville, North Carolina ending at the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.  This trip could easily take 3 -4 days from start to finish as there are so many scenic overlooks and points of interest to explore along the way.  It is also a very old, winding two lane road in the mountains that is physically taxing to drive for long periods of time.  I highly recommend doing the drive.  You can get on at any point and design a trip to accommodate the amount of time you have to devote to it.  I have done this twice and reasonably estimate that stopping at most sites along the way coupled with the slow speed limit you can only make about 100-150 miles per day.  At the southern end you can take a side trip to Asheville which is a neat city on its own and can visit the Biltmore Estate.     If you go the whole way south you can got to Mt. Mitchell State Park in North Carolina which is the highest point in the US east of the Mississippi at 6,684 feet.    When I was there in the mid 90’s I rode my bike to the summit from about 5,000 feet.  It was not that difficult pedaling despite the noticeably thinner air but the hardest part for me was the riding on the side of the road with the massive drop off of thousands of feet clearly in view.  At lower elevations it was in the mid 80’s that day and only 66 degrees at the summit.  Very cool in many ways!

I hope you are all able to get away for at least a few days and make some memories.

Written by pacelinebiz

August 8, 2011 at 7:21 am