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Top 7 SECRET Things to DO: Antigua Honeymoon

This is a tricky one. Luck and happenstance played the biggest roles. ..

 


My beautiful wife!

So let me tell you something about my wife. She is the sweetest, most professional flight attendant you will meet anywhere.

This is what I fell in love with, when I met her… As a flight attendant everyone, loves her, ( I in fact love sitting on the plane, as one of her passengers, because she treats me so well!).

As chance would have it… My wife, 2 months later ran into a flight attendant friend who won a 3 night stay at an all-inclusive resort ! BAM!

WHOOOOHOOOOO!

Cut forward, a few months where she meets me, in Miami Beach! On our third date, she is wowing me, with all these cool flight attendant travel stories and making flirty looks at me, with her dazzling blue eyes!

Next thing I know, she tells me, that she would like to take me on an all-inclusive trip to Antigua with her! JACKPOT!

Do you wanna go? Yes!!!!!!

“Would I like to go with her?” she asks me unexpectedly in her cute drawl, with her hand on my arm. “YES, YES, YES, YES!” I said. (Actually, I tried to play it cool and nonchalantly told her sure, that sounds fun!).

So, for our honeymoon, we went to the most spectacular St. James Club Resort, all-inclusive in the Caribbean. This 4 star resort, is what you dream about, at night!

1. After landing, we were having drinks from the front desk – CHECK! This should happen everywhere…

2. Next, the 3 tiered mountainside pool. More cocktails!

3. We peddled the paddle boat around the lagoon.

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Why is it, that the faster you pedal, the slower you go… Hmmmmm! No hurries, no worries.

4. Drinking red stripe beer on the beach, and LOVING LIFE!

5. The restaurants here, have mouth watering options such as an Italian restaurant, a Caribbean restaurant, and a fine dining option.

The fine dining option was where my wife put on her highest, 5 inch heels, and wowed me with some silky dress! “I am in heaven!” I think…

6. One of the funniest moments was when it was raining one evening, and we decided to have room service. We decided to have room service, because, we did not want to go out in the rain!

So, we call room service and tell them what we would like to have for dinner… “This is an additional charge,” the nice lady says.

“Sure, no problem,” I say matter of factly.

 

“Well, you know it is raining outside, and we would have to take it over with an umbrella. Are you sure you want it?” the room service lady states, in her adorable Caribbean accent.


THANKS!

Calmly, I state, “Yes, please bring the room service, to make our romantic honeymoon superb.”

They brought our lovely meal, and much needed WINE.

7. WINE on the balcony, overlooking the sea… It was the perfect way to finish off our Antigua vacation!

HAPPY TRAVELS,

NICK B.

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Top 5 SECRET Things to DO: Paris, France

Well, this trip almost didn’t happen…

View from the Eiffel Tower

We realized my daughter’s passport had almost expired. This meant that it had, by international standards. What?

 

 

You need to have 3 to 6 months left on your passport when entering certain countries. We only had 4 weeks left on hers… ohhhhh noooooooooooooooooooo!

Quick get downtown to Manhattan the day after we were supposed to leave. Get an emergency passport rushed order for the same day! Passport ready at 4:00pm, then rush back to JFK for 9:00pm flight! Whew, we made it… 5 days in Paris is still much better than none.

Wow, what a cool city! The Uber guy from the airport was listening to jazz… No, really! So into the Hotel Trianon Rive Gauche! Book Here if interested in their hotel.

Four stars of classic Parisian flare! (They really love the color red here). The elevator was glass and would fit one giant person or three crammed American sardines! (We took the stairs after prying ourselves out of it;).

Hotel Trianon Rive Gauche
  1. Luxembourg Gardens right next to our hotel… check

The first thing you need in Paris is binoculars. So much detailed architecture up high will have you reaching for your binoculars. Here is our favorite pair..


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Luxembourg Gardens

The sculptures were epic and the grounds perfect. We spent three mornings there after breakfast in bed…

Luxembourg Gardens

Luxembourg palace in the background still has guards around it.

 

2. The next must do was the Eiffel Tower. You cannot imagine how beautiful it is at night. You feel like you’re in an epic romance movie. It even flashes in different colored lights. The constant creakiness of the building, had me wondering if it might fall down any minute! Hold breath, deep breathe ( tourists dying on their National monument might be frowned upon:) probably safe).

 

Eiffel Tower at night, wow!

3. The view was even more dramatic from a dinner cruise boat on the Seine. This 2 hour ride with music and champagne was my favorite memory!

View of Eiffel Tower from Seine river cruise!

Yes, that’s me in the reflection in an alcohol and Parisian bliss. We all sang along to some French tunes like we knew them, at the top of our lungs! Foie gras was impeccable and desert trio heavenly.

Arc De Triomphe!

4. Finally the Louvre Museum was a must do! Mona Lisa and I locked eyes for awhile and came to an understanding that I wouldn’t bother her :). She really looks like she is alive watching you. She was behind glass, ropes, guards, cameras and snipers… Well, no snipers that I saw. LOL

View of the Seine river from Eiffel Tower, amazing!

One last look at the Eiffel Tower before we go.

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5. EAT your weight in French bread… (I couldn’t stop eating the stuff, breakfast, lunch and dinner!). Bring your stretchy pants to accommodate all the cheese and croissants!

This trip took place right before the Corona virus hit. They shut down Paris a week after we left.

We are so fortunate to have been able to make this journey!

This was definitely a treat of a trip,

Nick

Top 10 “secret” Things to Do: New York City, New York

How did this city entrance us enough to live there for 6 months, (we have commitment issues! – LOL…)

When we were young. YES, we were actually young once… Mmmmm, magical times filled with energy and mindless fun!  I digress, focus sometimes is not my strong suit!

So, like most people, before they visit New York for the first time, I had epic visions!  Skyscrapers, subways, celeb spotting, and champagne on the top of some amazing rooftop deck!
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Will New York live up to the hype…  fortunately – YES!

The first time we went, days were spent in Central Park and everything was abuzz…  Even the department stores are 3 times the size, as your local one at the mall.

Heady with all the energy and lights we moved there a year later.  After 6 months we longed to be back in the never ending summer of Florida, drinking something tropical…

  1. Central Park, the immense size of this park will blow you away.  You really will not believe this park fits inside such an urban city.  The trails never end, people take horse drawn carriage rides, run, bike, and take wedding photos!  It has beautiful restaurants and lakes.  Central Park is an oasis, you will need after all the urban fun time.INSIDER TIP~BRING YOUR BIKINI OR SPEEDO, to lay out in the summer.  You would be surprised how many people do just that.  I guess it is the lack of a local beach or something, (I prefer to wear my patriotic speedo, it is New York!)
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  2. The MET as locals call it or The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  This museum needs to be seen in 4 separate trips, there is just too much to see.  This is one of the best museums in the world, not just New York.
  3. The National 9/11 Memorial and Museum, so touching and difficult to see.  My wife, being a flight attendant was extra moved.  The amount of loss and perseverance moved me to tears…
  4. Statue of Liberty, no trip is complete without seeing this beacon of freedom.  Neil Diamonds, “Coming to America,” always comes to mind, (I can hear it now and even went to his concert twice!  Love you Neil!).   Take the ferry across and snap away with your trusty camera phone.
  5. Dylan’s Candy Bar, this place is a sugar lovers paradise.  The stairs are even made of candy!  Surely I needed the 20 pound tootsie roll, (I will probably polish this off on the flight home, HA!).  Kids and adults who act like kids, indulge for the day.  How many teeth do you really need 😉
  6. Serendipity 3 restaurant, is the hole in the wall, trip to heaven!  A restaurant like this is what you are always hoping to find, something unique.  Imagine, dark and mysterious European old world ambiance.  My daughter shared this blue sour, ice cream dessert.  They also serve a legendary, and the world’s most expensive dessert. It is $1,000 I think and comes with caviar, gold leaf, a gold spoon and heaps of ice cream, (saving up for this one still.).  They serve regular food too, but the desserts are the star!
  7. Subway, take the subway at your own risk-YIKES!  Seriously though, you do need to take it once to say you were on it.  Lovely, musicians roam the station and play slightly off key violins, trumpets, and saxophones!  Hang on tight to your bags here and walk to the front of the subway train so you can get a less crowded version.
  8. Broadway, pick up some tickets to your favorite musical.  Monday through Sunday you can see first class shows for matinee or evening.  Go in your pajamas or your suit!  You see people dressed in all kinds of garb.
  9. Bring your wallet and get your tickets at TKTS, this is what all the locals do. 
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    This is a discount ticket seller.  Broadway tickets can easily be $200 each and up.  4 drinks and a snack cost me $120 at the show, (the charming young gal at the bar said the price with a straight face, so I paid it!  When in Rome…)
  10. Get a New York bagel, the water here makes them the best in the world!  Make sure you know how to order and get a schmeer, (a schmeer is a mountain of cream cheese slapped on, with a giant paddle knife).  They will say, “What you want!”  That is your cue to place your order, don’t take it personal…

New York will ROCK YOU and romance you…

HAPPY TRAVELS,

NICK B.

Top 8 “Secret” Things to Do: Los Angeles, California

Why did this trip demonstrate the most challenging aspects of flying standby as a flight attendants husband…

Well, the 3 of us were all supposed to meet up in Los Angeles on a Saturday.  My wife and daughter were taking the earliest flight, (always the best flight for standby.  People tend to oversleep, run late, need extra time with their cat or whatever…)
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So they made it out to Los Angeles from Dallas where we were living at the time.  One leg of flying and they were there, EASY!

Me, I had to work that morning and then meet them in Los Angeles that evening…  This is where it got tricky!!!  Oh my!
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There was 3 flights left when I got to the airport.  One of these flights was a single leg and the other 2 were a double leg, (sounds like a SULTRY, dance move-Rhumba 1,2 step leg kick!).

They were all over-sold so I didn’t think my chances were too high of making it.  No luck on first 2 flights, “Sorry, sir, no seats left for this flight… Bummer!”

The last flight was a double leg through El Paso, Texas.  I made it on the last seat available – WHEW!

The only thing with this flight was that the connection was at 5:30 in the morning.  Time to sleep in the airport…  Two hours of sleep and because it is a small airport they close the terminal at 1:30am.

“You can hang out in the baggage claim area.  We open back up at 3:30.”  The cleaning lady nicely tells me.

There is a cocktail lounge or beer garden around here somewhere I’m sure-NOPE!

I finally make it on the first flight and meet me family at the hotel in Los Angeles.

So, with no sleep we party to enjoy the time we have…
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1.See the HOLLYWOOD sign.  There is something cool about looking at this iconic sign.  We have all seen it in movies and it is an awesome thing to see in person.

2.La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, this is for ICE AGE fans everywhere.  So many fossils and artifacts have been found here!  The tar pits are still bubbling and you can watch volunteers sift through their new finds.  Mastodons, saber tooth tigers, and giant sloths live here, (at least in preserved form-LOL!).

3.Venice Beach, this is where Arnold Schwarzeneger hung out with all his, “pumped up” pals.  The outdoor gym where they worked out in the movie, Pumping Iron is here. This gym is right on the beach and people still work out here!
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4.Santa Monica Pier, this scenic spot is right on the ocean, (where else would it be, it is a pier-Hmmmmm…).  True to form, this place has tasty restaurants and shops.  Try Blue Plate Oysterette, soothing views of the sea and mouth-watering oysters.  Could life get better! (Pass me a beer and I am in heaven!!!)

5.Catalina Express, this boat will ferry you over to the Mystical Catalina Island!  Insider tip, get there early to get a seat on the bottom floor of the boat.  We were rocked around like wild dolphin up top – WHEW!  ALMOST lost my crackers, until we went downstairs and hung out at the bar.
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6.Catalina Island, an unexpected gem!  This is a very unspoiled island.  Because you can not get here by car, the island is extremely quiet!

Take a hike up the mountain and enjoy azure skies with furry emerald mountains.  This is a pretty good hike if you go all the way to the top!

Stop by Bluewater Avalon restaurant to watch the sailboats bobbing in the bay.  YUM!

7.Disneyland Park, the other Disney!  Not as many people go here as to Disney World, but they should.  A smaller version of the Orlando giant, packs so much fun in!  Think Star Wars, trains and kids squealing with delight…

8.Go Surfing!  You are in California.  No, warm waters here though, wear your wetsuit! Brrrrrrr!!!!  The first time I put me feet in these waters they started to turn blue!  Pray for no sharks and make like a seal into the water…

HAPPY TRAVELS,

NICK B.

Top 7, “secret” Things to do: Austin, Texas

How does a town get the motto, “Stay Weird!” Austin, Texas embraces its weirdness. What is so weird about this town?

First off, the people are some of the sweetest, kookiest, nuts in the batch!

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SAVES SO MUCH MONEY!

They love to paint their hair pink, blue, green and any other shade of Easter eggs, (Having no hair, maybe I am just jealous – LOL!). Mohawks are also encouraged…

HIPPIES UNITE, this should be the other motto of Austin. There is a huge art and music scene here which is world class. Many famous bands have come out of this area…

The bar scene is a real thing here. Breweries with restaurants are everywhere, (I am contemplating why we don’t live there right now. “Drink beer to save water!” -is a quote I have always tried to follow.

1.Lake Travis, this is the coolest lake! The views from the lake are stunning. You can do all kinds of boating here, wind surfing, and diving. There is even a section of the lake that is known to be clothing optional, (Darn, I brought my swimsuit-GASP!).

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The best views though are caught from up above, at The Oasis on Lake Travis restaurant. They are known for their sunset dinner. A bell is rung at sunset to mark the occasion. Selfies are encouraged and smooching a must! This is really a huge restaurant, so get there early to get a outdoor spot, to soak in the spectacular decent of the sun…

2.Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail, so every city should have a trail like this. It winds majestically around the river and downtown. You see people cruising along on water bikes. Think of a bicycle sitting up high on the water, with a couple of floats underneath you-I did not realize there was such a thing.

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Definitely on my to do list. Stand up paddle boarding is another great way to see the city and get some great exercise. These people are in SHAPE!

3.Barton Springs Pool, everyone loves going to the pool on a hot sunny day! This place is awesome, with a very cold spring feeding it. Bring a picnic and bike around. The lines are long so get here early.

4.Waco, this Texas town is a must do while in the area. They embrace the Wacko in Waco mantra! (What is with Texans and being strange? No time to ponder, I have a mimosa waiting for me after I finish this article!).

So everyone has seen the fixer upper show with Chip and Joanna. We love it too! They put this town on the map. It is 1.5 hours from Austin but so worth it. Visit Chip and Joanna’s store, bakery, food trucks, and restaurant… Are they taking over the world? Maybe, just this town.

5.Hotel Granduca, we stayed here and had the best experience. It is a Italian style hotel with authentic flare!

Few places would I rate as top notch when it comes to hotels, but this place is it. This 4.5 star hotel has the most luxurious bath robes, that you will want to buy, (we asked how much they were to take one home. $120 was the nice reply. Tempting, but no. We will stick with our footy pajamas-HA!) The rooms are truly decadent with solid wood doors and wrought iron. The bathroom is like a spa. It was our Anniversary and they had chocolates and a card waiting in our room to wish us Happy Anniversary!

6.South Congress Avenue, this street is where the action is downtown. Cruise along and people watch, (plenty of those mohawk’s here.).

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Have a pint at one of the eclectic bars and window shop. During the day this area is pretty chill. At night this area becomes rockin’ with live music and partying!

7.Austin City Limits Live, this is where the big acts play in town. Listen to some rock, blues, or country, (you are in Texas!).

Special note of, “Thank You!” to all the kind people we met in Austin!

Go for the party, stay for the people…

HAPPY TRAVELS

NICK B.

When can you Travel Internationally?

It has been a long time, since most people have traveled outside their country. Coronavirus lockdowns and fear have kept most of us nestled at home.

How close are we to being able to travel internationally? Very close…

Coronavirus trends, in most countries, are improving and quickly people are getting vaccinated.

List of top 10 vaccinated countries:

1.Seychelles

2.ISRAEL

3.U.A.E.

4.SAN MARINO

5.BAHRAIN

6.CHILE

7.MALDIVES

8.U.K.

9.UNITED STATES

10.MALTA

The CDC has stated, “Once we reach 75% of the US population being, fully vaccinated we can relax on mask and travel restrictions.” This according to President Joe Biden, and the guidance of the CDC will probably take place in the Fall of this year.

How are the travel numbers, at the airport? Well, TSA numbers show we are skewing far better.

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Think about this…

2019 is the year that we need to compare to. This was the last time we had real numbers of people flying. In 2020 at the height of the pandemic we were only seeing about 100,000 travelers each month! These were essential workers, and other emergency service people that needed to get places, to save lives.

May 5th, 2021 showed 1.2 million travelers went through TSA check points across the United States. In comparison, May 5th, 2019 had 2.2 million travelers.

This is a big improvement when you look back as recently, as February 1st, 2021 where only 628,000 passengers flew somewhere at a U.S. airport. In comparison here on February 1st, 2019 over 2 million travelled that day. This is over 3x less travelers in 2021!

When looking closer at another recent date, the numbers look even stronger. May 1st, 2021 had 1.3 million travelers, while the same date 2 years ago was 1.9 million people through security.

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This is a very strong trend, with international flights accounting for almost half of the major airlines business. If we can double, current numbers, we will surpass 2019 figures.

If vaccinations continue at this rate, we can expect to be back in Europe, South America, and the Caribbean this Fall, (or wherever your heart desires)… I am wanting to get to Northern Italy.

Grazie, Amore mio’ (Thank You, my love!),

HAPPY TRAVELS,

NICK B.

Top 11 SECRET things to DO: Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Gatlinburg, Tennessee in the, “Smoky Mountains” is seriously mystical! The water vapor that comes off trees and plants creates a cloud like smoky effect. The first time we went here we kept saying, “Are you sure there isn’t a fire over there – YIKES!?”.

1. Dolly Parton, welcomes you to her resort, and theme park – HOWDY! Dollywood is a similar to Disney, but in the mountains… Think country-meets appalacian, moonshine and great music! Dolly, really focuses on the music and delivers. Dollywood DreamMore Resort is worth visiting on its own.

This 4 star resort delivers big on customer service! It is extremely clean and well maintained with super cute touches. One thing Dolly wants you to do is be inspired and dream. The pool here is great and a shuttle will take you right to Dollywood. A++++

2. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you could get lost in here for days… literally-HA! No bears in site, CHECK… Drive through the park to get the best feel of the whole area. When hiking all the trails are marked well and are not too strenuous.

3. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, this is one of the best fish tanks around. The glass tunnels to see under and around sharks and the like are seriously cool. The kids can interact with some of the creatures.

 

 

4. Gatlinburg Space Needle, this 407 foot tower gives you a real perspective of the majesty of the Smoky Mountains. You can see for miles, and pick out which mountain you will climb next, (Crampons – CHECK, Ice Axe – CHECK, reality check…).

5. The Little Pigeon River, this river runs through town and gives it such a peaceful feel. The sound of the babbling river will have you sleeping well at night. Many times we have watched fly fishermen in waders getting nice trout here.

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6. Gatlinburg SkyLift Park, this is the longest suspension bridge built for people in not just the United States, but North America! Don’t look down!!! Not for the vertigo induced, height challenged, “Please have that beer nice and cold at the bottom… I need it!”

7.Take in some MOONSHINE, ( Isn’t that stuff supposed to cause blindness? Or cure it, or something?!). Actually, this stuff is not that much different in processing than other distilled liquors. Why you need to go?

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It is cool to say you actually survived consuming some bootleg moonshine! The place to go is Sugarlands Distilling Company, this place is top-notch and well run. The tastings are fun and everything is clean. They have a large selection of goodies to bring home, (Impress your friends with a bottle of moonshine at a party… No, need to tell them it is perfectly safe. SWIG!!!

8. Parrot Mountain and Gardens, the birds here will delight anyone, of any age! Very healthy looking birds and the fact that you can interact with them makes the experience. FEED a bird and make a new feathery friend.

9. If not staying at Dollywood, get a cabin, (preferably with a hot tub!). Make sure it is at the mountain top so you can see the, “holler’ as my friend says. In these parts, that means the valley.

 

10. GO WHITEWATER rafting, this is a must do. Probably, my favorite thrill inducing activity. Get splashed and cool off! Try to stay in the raft and enjoy nature floating by. The Ocoee river is the best place to hit some serious rapids… Whoosh!

11. ZIP LINE, why hang so tight onto life? Hang tighter onto the handle attached to the zip line… Wooohoooo!

I wish I was there now…

HAPPY TRAVELS MOUNTAINEERS!

NICK B

Top 10 SECRET Things to DO: Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas is known for its gambling, but there is so much more to do. I love going here, staying at a 4 or 5 star hotel, I couldn’t afford somewhere else. Then seeing what is all around!

 

1. You need to see, The Freemont Street Experience. This awesome laser light show above the walkway is so cool, with all its strobing lights! What is even cooler, are the drummers playing steel drums and rockin’ along with all the festivities.


Lasers are COOL!

2. Red Rock Canyon National Park, is one of the most, majestic sites you can take in! It is only 30 minutes away from Las Vegas. The 13 mile loop makes for great hiking for any skill level. You can also, bike and horseback ride.

What you need for the park, a hydration backpack. You do not want to be out here without enough water! The vultures would be circling you quick without it!
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3. Hoover Dam, is truly a miracle of modern engineering! The machinery inside will BLOW you away… I couldn’t believe the massive size of the turbines, the amount of concrete used, and the power generated!


WOW!

Here you will need some binoculars. We prefer the compact kind that can be easily folded. You will spot birds and be able to check out parts of the dam, up close that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise!
Tasco Essential Compact Binoculars

4. Fountains of Bellagio, is one of the most breath taking fountains you will see in the world! The water moves in time to music played. It is a sort of water ballet! At night you can experience the lights, that go along with this show…We recommend getting this Security Neck Pouch…

This type of bag doubles as a purse for women. It is very light and keeps your valuables away from Las Vegas pick pocket artists!

5. Stratosphere Tower, is the best way to see the Las Vegas skyline! This WILL test your nerves… (remember heights can be a challenge for me, WHEW I am still on solid ground). You can view from inside the structure or outside, which one do you think I picked!

What to bring is easy, polarized sunglasses will distract you, from the fact that you are up so high-HA! Your spouse will probably be hanging over the railing like an acrobat!

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6. THE GRAND CANYON, yes, yes I know that this is 4 hours and 20 minutes away from Las Vegas… This is a bucket list item though and can not be missed! Marvel at how water carved a wonder land, canyon through the valley below. Take a donkey ride to the bottom where you will be gently rocked back and forth over the edge of the cliff, (hyperventilation inducing!).

7. Las Vegas is all about the shows! Check out one of the top full time acts, while you are out here. Some of these singers, magicians, and acrobats have permanent shows that you will not see anywhere else.

8. Mary Jane Falls Trail, wonderful view of the torrent of water in the Springtime! This is a pretty challenging hike, but totally worth it. The views from the top make it all worthwhile. Insider tip… go on a weekday when the crowds are less busy.

Bring a safari hat with you and lots of water. Get a hat with full UV protection, it is so easy to get burned here in the summer!

 

9. Lake Mead National Recreation Area, is a must do. Rent a houseboat or hang out at the beach. Wait! There’s a beach here? Yep, and the water is cool. You can even mountain bike and watch the sunset…

You will need a kayak, for playing in the water all day, (Hmmm, what is he talking about!?). Well, it always drove me crazy, trailering my kayak. So I tried this one and fell in love-SMOOCH!
Advanced Elements Straightedge 2 Pro Kayak

10. Casino, OK, OK, yes you have to drop a few coins into the casino. It is Vegas after all. But don’t stay at the card tables too long, or you will be walking back home – OOPS!

HAPPY TRAVELS,

NICK B

Top 8 SECRET Things to DO: Saint Augustine, Florida

Saint Augustine, Florida is a Beach town of a different sort. PIRATES STILL LIVE HERE! “Arr Matey!” I say, “Swab the deck and walk the plank!” No, there are not, really any pirates here.

 

Other than the ones who seem to find your wallet, that you left in the glove box of your car, while at the beach… Oppps, that really happened to us once!

So what makes this town so different? It is the old world charm… The badge of oldest city in the United States goes around its neck, like a gold encrusted chain! This is the only city in Florida that feels like you are in Europe.

1. The downtown is packed with bars and restaurants overlooking the river. Every sailboat, with pirate like intentions, is parked here for your viewing pleasure.

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Sailors love to DANCE!

2. Stroll on the promenade and wave at the boats to come pick you up for a sunset sail, (wave a bottle of rum, pirates and sailors, really love rum!).

3. What do all Pirates look out for, so they don’t crash into land! LIGHTHOUSE STRAIGHT AHEAD CAPTAIN! The Saint Augustine Lighthouse is the best we have seen.

4. It also has a museum on the property, places to eat, and many paths to explore. The kiddos can even climb some live oak trees, while you rest in the shade.

5. Beach fun for all captain! Saint Augustine has a delightful beach.

6. Do yourself a favor though and take a drive down the coast, for the next hour.

Along the route you will see, pristine beach after pristine beach, with hardly anyone around. Stop at one of the secluded parking spots, and climb over the dunes to enjoy epic views!

7. Explore Fort Matanzas National Monument for a unique perspective on how times used to be. These were true pirate times.

The locals needed to defend themselves from all kinds of pirates and explorers!


Even GOOFY ones!

8. The Conch House Restaurant, this gem is

 

all about the view… You will not be disappointed. The thrilling sunset here and nautical theme outweigh the mediocre food.

The river is right there so walk around the outside if it is too busy inside, or closed…

Here, like most places in Florida, go in the summer or the fall. Rates drop dramatically this time of year.

Take out your pirate hat and swashbuckling outfit for a JOLLY good time!

HAPPY TRAVELS,

NICK B.

Top 10 SECRET Things to DO: Miami Beach, Florida

Miami Beach is so iconic with Florida, for good reason… Models, fantastic beach bars, nightclubs and restaurants!

 

People of all different nationalities, from around the globe make this place – SIZZLE AND POP! Tiny, Brazilian bikinis rule the beach, and the dudes are in shape too…

  1. Prices here are so much better than you would think! YES, you can easily find 4 star hotels for a bargain, especially in the summertime.

2. Tan, stunning hotties all around, for your gawking pleasure. This place will have you people watching left and right. There are many paparazzi around, so models and actors flock down here in their skimpiest swimsuits, and parade around! If you are lucky, you might even get an autograph!

No surprise you need some binoculars here, but be subtle… You can check out the beach from your balcony! These are the best binoculars we have found.


Tasco Essential Compact Binoculars

3. The best bars ARE on Ocean Drive! This is the most wild and spectacular spot to be!!! The heart of the action starts at Mango’s Tropical Cafe. This place will blow you away with their giant drinks, scantily clad bar maids, and wild dancing – AY CARAMBA! Keep partying all night, because everything stays open late…

4. South Beach is where to see and be seen. This is the southernmost point of Miami Beach. Volley Ball is a huge draw here for the very tall and athletically inclined. Pull up a beach chair and watch the Pros fight for the title of beach volleyball hottie!

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AWESOME!

5. Out of this world restaurants! The thing that makes these places, so awesome, is they are all authentic! Someone just moved from France, to serve you the best French cafe fare, like Maisons Valentine. This little bakery really shines and has the best quiche – Delicious! Of course you have to try something Cuban, Havana Vieja is mouth watering and has phenomenal Pina Coladas – SLURP…

6. YOU have to cruise you car down Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue! This is the heart of the action ( make sure you rent a convertible so you can wave at everyone driving by – Holá chicas or chicos!). This drive will take you past all the Art Deco hotels and style Miami Beach is know for, along with peek-a-boo views of the Atlantic Ocean.

The good life!

7. Kim Kardashian wants to see you down here, ( She called me this morning and let me know, she didn’t see you there last time she was in town – BooYa!). Celebrities are everywhere, we have seen someone just about every time into town. Pretend you are a celebrity and create your own STIR!


HELLO!

8. Cruise on down to Key Largo, it is only 1.5 hours drive away. You are this close to The Keys, so at least see Key Largo.

 

While you are there have a Mojito and stop by Hobo’s Cafe. This is where you can get a Key Lime fish sandwich, that will knock your socks off, (hopefully you left your socks up north where they are needed – Ha!). Then you must hit John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and take a glass bottom boat ride, thrilling…

9. Shopping is some of the best on the Planet! Go check out one of the many boutique shops and pick up a new Louis Vuitton purse for $3,000. “That is in the budget, right?” My wife says. Maybe next trip sweetie – wink…

10. Go Parasailing, you might even live to tell the tale! If you are of the brave sort with heights, ( I am not the brave sort with heights, falling 300 feet to my doom scares me a bit – Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!). While parasailing, wave at all the models and actors, while sipping your Margarita!


LOOKS WINDY!

HAPPY TRAVELS,

NICK B.

Top 7 SECRET Things to DO: Naples, Florida

Snow birds are a curious creature that dress in long black socks, shorts, flannel shirts and Birkenstock sandals – WOW! Fashion points aside, these folks every year travel in droves down to Naples, Florida…

 

When my wife and I first moved down to this area, we thought, ” Oh how quiet and lovely!” This was summertime when the snow bird is tucked deep in its nest with a hot chocolate and marshmellows, Yummmm!

Fast forward to November when locals started warning us, how the snow birds would be here soon and take over! Air raid shelter ~ CHECK… “NO, really the population doubles some said, with an ominous tone – Shhhhhhh! The population doubles once they get here.

To our surprise, they were sorta right, except the population did not double. It actually increaces by a whopping 10 fold! Run for our lives!!!! From November through about April traffic is insane. You will wait about 45 minutes to get a table in any local restaurant.


Running for the beach!

Kids are running down the streets, yelling for the beach! On the plus side this one doesn’t happen. You rarely see kids, a few grandkids maybe, but that’s it. I love kids, and have one of my own, but if you want to take a romantic trip with your babe – THIS IS THE PLACE!

  1. Go to Lowdermilk Park and check out the best view of the ocean! Here you can get a burger and fries that will stun you, with how good it is.
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I could stay here!

So when should you go and where should you stay, Uncle Louies crash pad, darn all booked??? Whew! Lucky break…

2. Downtown Naples has the best restaurants and shopping in the area. You might want to window shop at the boutique stores though, this is where the big spenders shop!

Naples in the summer is definitely the time to go. Prices are rock bottom, ridiculously low!!!!!! Naples, Florida standards that is. The 4 star hotel in the winter, will be going for $400 a night – Ouch! In the summer you can pay a quarter of this price.

3. Barefoot Beach – this beach is as cool as it sounds. Really, the locals only know about it. There is a little trick to get here. You have to turn left into a super luxurious neighborhood with a gate… Lucky for you, the gate is open during the day.

So keep driving till you get to the public beach. Watch the sunset here, everyone does… and grab a cocktail.

 

4. Doc’s Beach House is a must do, at least once. They have the best pizza and a bar overlooking Bonita Beach. No AIR CONDITIONING, what? Bring your tank top or better yet swim suit!

YUM!!!

5. Lover’s Key State Park, who doesn’t want to go to a place that sounds so romantic…

Yes, you will see couples here, holding hands and swapping salty kisses! The great part is you will have the park mostly to yourself. Not many people go here. It is mostly locals that know about it.

6. Marco Island, this piece of paradise is for the rich! Well, maybe you or me for the day. Everything here says, we have a really cool island and we know it… It is about a 35 minute drive from Naples, so spend the day here.

7. Try Mango’s Dockside Bistro on Marco Island. Tropical location, with a great diced Ahi Tuna Bowl! Enjoy the view of a tranquil sunset and a beer…

HAPPY TRAVELS!

NICK