Tag Archives: Travel

I grew up in the small shoreline town of Guilford, Connecticut. Every year we looked forward to the Guilford Fair. It used to be held on the Guilford Green and the town schools were closed the Friday of fair weekend. It was started as an agricultural fair and people would come from all over to exhibit their fresh fruits & vegetables and exhibit their prized animals.Guilford Fair

 

The Guilford Fair has since been moved to a dedicated fair ground and has expanded to include numerous rides, food booths and entertainment! The fair may have changed location but it is still a fun old time town fair.Guilford Fair

 

Two weeks ago we had the opportunity to be in town for my husbands 40th high school reunion. The reunion coincided with the Guilford Fair. Both my husband and I grew up in the same town and we looked forward to returning to Guilford, both for the reunion and the fair.Guilford Fair

 

When we were in high school each class was responsible for a class float, which would be in the parade. All summer the classes would work on their float hoping to be the best. The reunion committee decided the class should have a float this year. Since the class of 1976 was a bicentennial year the float was decorated with red, white and blue. Judging from the smiles on the float everyone had a blast.Guilford Fair

 

After the parade we spent time exploring the fair. I love watching the horse pulls and the oxen pulls. Amazing how well these teams of horses work together.old time town fair

 

The tents of fruits and vegetables are another favorite.Guilford Fair This year there didn’t seem to be as many vegetables on display.Guilford Fair However the displays were just beautiful.Guilford Fair It was nice to see the exhibit of canning.Guilford Fair If I still lived in town I think I would have to enter some of my preserves!

 

It was so much fun to be back in our hometown and enjoying the fair with our friends. I enjoyed it as much this year as I had as a kid.

Once a year we have the pleasure of visiting a dear friend who lives in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.Northeast Kingdom It’s always fun when you can visit a place that is in your own home state but is so different from where you live! It was not even an hour and a half from our house but it felt like we’d traveled to another time and place.Northeast Kingdom

This old house that was once a part of a large dairy farm sits on the top of a hill with rolling fields in every direction. It is so beautiful. The white farmhouse and the green hills is classic Vermont.Northeast Kingdom

While there we drove to the nearby town of Danville where there is a wonderful walking and bicycling trail that used to be the old railroad and is very well maintained. Danville, VTThe views along the path were just amazing.Danville, VT

After a three-mile walk we stopped for lunch at the Peacham Café.Peacham Cafe Lunch was delicious and made good use of local food. Even the flowers on the table were freshly picked.Peacham Cafe

After our lunch we stopped at a local farm stand, WillowBrook Farm.WillowBrook Farm The owners were picking flowers which they dry and sell. It was fun to see the variety of tomatoes they had for sale!WillowBrook Farm

By the time we got back to the farmhouse there was just enough time for a swim. Nothing like a spring fed pond to cool you off!Northeast Kingdom

It was a wonderful, relaxing two days away and always hard to leave this beautiful spot. Time to head home on our own private highway.Northeast KingdomWe are looking forward to the day our home finally sells and we can move west, but I will miss visiting this very special spot.  There is nothing like enjoying a change of scenery so close to home!

The best trips are spiced with unexpected adventures and surprises: the local stranger that you struck up a conversation with, a detour that caused you to stumble on the most beautiful gardens, or the spectacular ceviche that you tried on a dare. However, there are certain problems that really can put the kabosh on your entire vacation. Even if you’re a free-spirited nomad, it’s hard to find the bright side to spending an entire tropical honeymoon in the hospital.

Here are a few ways to prevent and plan for unexpected disasters while you travel abroad:Young traveler wearing a hat with backpack and tripod - at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Health & Safety

  • Obey signs and rules, as well as local road laws and instructions from people around you. Those rules are there for a reason. Don’t think that you know better than others.
  • Know your food allergies, and how to ask about the ingredients in the language of whatever country you’re going to. Bring emergency medication with you just in case.
  • If you have other health issues, check in with your physician before you leave and let them know about your travels. A checkup before you leave can prevent emergencies.
  • Got to the dentist to make sure all dental work is secure. You don’t want a cracked crown in Fiji.
  • Look up information about public water before you go to a country. Most countries outside of the US don’t have the same tap water quality, even in Europe and other first world areas. They usually depend on bottled water for drinking.
  • Trust your instincts. If someone seems sketchy, or something just feels off, look for alternatives.
  • Update your vaccines before you leave, and check if there are specific ones advised or required for the place where you’re going.
  • Be careful of the food you eat. We’re not saying to avoid exotic foods, but do make sure that things are cleaned properly, and cooked thoroughly before you eat them.
  • Follow the same safety basics you would at home: use the buddy system if you’re walking at night, be careful of your drinking, don’t trust strangers.Happy women friends eating ice cream in Florence

Theft and Security

  • Don’t let yourself get distracted by beggars and children. Be on your guard if they approach you, and don’t put out your hands for anything that strangers hand to you.
  • While traveling on public transit, put your bag or purse on the ground between your feet, on your lap, or turn it around so it’s in front of you.
  • Secure your valuables in lockers provided in your hotel or hostel. Don’t think that your stuff is secure just because it’s in a locked hotel room.
  • Have a TSA-approved padlock on your luggage.
  • Blend in. Try your best to dress and act like a local. Avoid glaring marks that scream “I’m a rich American tourist! Take advantage of me!” Being a tourist makes you an automatic victim.
  • If you’re in a situation that makes you feel at risk, put on a game face. Don’t smile at strangers, and act like you have a purpose.
  • Just don’t bring your most valuable things, like your fancy laptop. Assume that everything you travel with could be stolen or lost.
  • Mail home souvenirs along the way so that you’re not carrying a lot of bulk and valuables.

Red Tape and Passports

  • Check with the US State Department to see if there are any warnings or advisories in effect in the country that you’re traveling to. For example, if you’re traveling to Russia, do your research first about their political climate and economy. You can also register with the state department to make it easier for them to reach you and help you in case of an emergency.
  • Print out your travel itinerary, photocopies of your passports, and copies of travel documents. Give them to someone you trust to hold on to in case your luggage is lost or stolen.
  • Let your bank know about your travels ahead of time so that your cards don’t get frozen. Check in on your transaction history now and then to make sure there aren’t suspicious charges.
  • Look up the number and location of the US consulate in each country you go to.

Odds and Ends

  • Join AAA, or utilize the benefits on a travel credit card. They often offer things like roadside assistance, reimbursement for changed plans due to emergency, or car insurance coverage.
  • Get travel insurance! This will help you if you get sick or have an accident and have to pay hospital bills, and change your travel plans. Some travel insurance will also have resources for if you get lost, or lose your luggage.
  • Understand language basics in each country you go to. You should know how to ask for help, ask how much things cost, and ask for the way back to your hotel wherever you are.
  • Use secure internet connections to guard you against hacking and identity theft.Young traveler

Guest post by Christine Hill

This week I am in Florida enjoying the wonderful hospitality of my girlfriend. She was heading to Florida to visit her father and invited me along. I am never one to turn down sun, beach and salt water!Beach time

Yesterday we spent the day exploring Vizcaya located in Miami Florida.Vizcaya Vizcaya was built as the winter estate of Chicago businessman James Deering. The house and property originally included 180 acres today 50 of those acres still remain.Vizcaya

Not only was the mansion incredibly beautiful sitting right on Biscayne Bay, but the gardens were incredible. It was a perfect day with a light breeze and sunny. We walked through the orchid garden with orchids in bloom everywhere you looked.Orchids

There were gardens everywhere you went, a maze garden, a fountain garden and a large center island, just to name a few.Vizcaya

It was the perfect way to spend the day.Vizcaya

We then walked around Coconut Grove and looked at all the fancy shops.Coconut Grove, Florida Such fun to explore a new area, especially one so completely different from my life in Vermont!Vizcaya

Two Christmases ago our four children and two son-in-laws got together and gave us a very generous gift certificate to Topnotch Resort located in Stowe, Vermont. At the time we had Riley, our daughter’s Boston terrier and although Topnotch allows dogs it would have been an extra expense so we kept putting off making the reservations! As you may know, Riley is now back with her family and we are dog-less. It was finally time to make a reservation and use the gift certificate. Being thrifty minded we made the reservation during the week to get the most value.Stowe, Vermont

What a wonderful time we had. We drove up last Monday and it took us less than two hours to get there. It’s so nice to be able to go away and have a change of scenery and drive less than two hours! The resort was absolutely beautiful and being mid-week it was not crowded at all. In fact there would only be a few other couples in the dining room whether we were there for lunch or dinner.

Our room was spacious and looked right over at Stowe Mountain Resort and Mt. Mansfield. When we arrived it was raining and the next morning everything was covered with a dusting of snow. It melted quickly and we had a beautiful day to explore the area.Stowe, Vermont

If you are familiar with the beer scene in Vermont this area around Stowe is famous for the various breweries. People line up when there is a delivery of Heady Topper, and you are usually limited on how many 4 packs you can purchase at a time.Heady Topper Because we were in town during a delivery day there were already people lining up! Just crazy. We did enjoy a delicious lunch at the Prohibition Pig, which not only offered delicious beer, but the food was excellent.Prohibition Pig

We made full use of the facilities at the resort; they had a wonderful gym and both an indoor and a heated outdoor pool! We did not try the outdoor pool although we did see folks outside in their bathing suits!Topnotch Resort

All too soon it was time to enjoy our last breakfast and drive back home.Topnotch Resort

On the drive home we drove down VT Route 100 and stopped at The Mad Taco for lunch.The Mad Taco You could easily drive by this small nondescript restaurant, but if you enjoy Mexican food this is probably the best there is in the state. A simple menu, lots of hot sauces to choose from and quick service.The Mad Taco In no time at all we were enjoying our tasty tacos!The Mad Taco

It was a beautiful drive home and a wonderful time away.Exploring Vermont Topnotch Resort is definitely a place we will plan to visit again!Topnotch Resort

Ever since our daughter moved to the Pacific Northwest over ten years ago she has been encouraging us to make the move west. Over the years she has sent us numerous real estate ads saying, “This could be your next home!” and I loved visiting, but never quite imagined making the move. One by one our four children have moved to either Washington or Oregon and now call the Pacific Northwest home. After spending two months ourselves in the PNW it looks like a move will be in our future.

English: Arpin Van Lines moving van, Abigail D...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course there are many details to tie up on the east coast, the main one being de-cluttering and selling our current home. This will be hard, I love our home and we have lived in Vermont for almost twenty years! However I would also love to live closer to our children. I’d like to be a part of their lives and the lives of our grandchildren, rather than only seeing them once or twice a year.

So I will repeat to myself, “change is good, change is hard, and change is necessary”. We have made major moves over the years. First a move from Maine to Connecticut, then we moved from Connecticut to Florida and then Florida to Vermont. Before each move we would pare down our belongings and move only that which was important to us. When we moved to Vermont almost twenty years ago, everything we owned fit into the largest rental truck. I think it would now take at least three of those trucks to move us. Yes, we have a bit of paring down to do.

A GMC U-Haul truck

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One thing we did learn over the course of our travels is that it is definitely doable to live with far less than you realize. When we arrived home I walked into my closet and saw all the clothes I hadn’t needed or even thought about in the last three months. I took advantage of the moment and quickly pulled two bags of clothes out that I will either give away, sell or donate!

Goodwill Industries

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of my favorite blogs  Organized 31 recently did a 31 Days to Declutter series of posts, each day you would focus on only one area such as your coat closet or your sock drawer. She had some very good hints and suggestions for decluttering and getting organized. I followed along most of the days and what I liked best about each post was that it was a ten minute process!

I don’t think we’ll be moving anytime soon, real estate is moving very slowly in Vermont and we were told it could take anywhere from one to three years to sell our home! In the meantime my husband continues to look for a new job and I’m continuing with the de-cluttering. Lots to keep us busy as we head into spring!

Waiting For Spring!

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