Throwback Thursday: I can’t ski but I sure love Mammoth, CA

As the title states- I can’t ski. In fact, I don’t even really have a desire to learn. The thought of flying down a mountain on two sticks totally freaks me out. That being said, I love California’s ski paradise: Mammoth, CA! Prior to getting invited to a wedding in summer of 2017 I’d never heard of Mammoth but I’ve learned much more after visiting and hearing about what a popular winter training destination it is during the February 2018 Winter Olympics.

To get to Mammoth from CT I opted to fly from Hartford to LAX and then rent a car to take the five hour drive into the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains. Though this was a long drive I’m glad I did it because it was a great opportunity to see red rocks, deserts and parts of California I’d never seen before!

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About an hour into the drive
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Getting my first glimpse of the mountains

In between wedding festivities I got a chance to check out three destinations that make Mammoth a great place to see when the snow has melted!

Hot Creek Geological Site

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Heading down the paved path to the creek

The first place we visited was the local Hot Creek Geological Site. This volcanic basin was formed 700,000 years ago. Water filters down from the mountains through the earth’s crust and becomes super heated to create the steaming creek. The sulfur scented water is beautiful to look at but too hot to touch- the creek is fenced off and swimming is strictly prohibited.

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Views of snow capped mountains adjacent to the creek

Best part? Parking and visiting is totally free!

Reds Meadow

Reds Meadow is a gorgeous valley that can be accessed by parking at the Mammoth Mountain Main Lodge and taking a shuttle bus 1,400 feet down into the valley. There are lots of things to see in Reds Meadow- the shuttle has ten different stops you can get off at to get to what you want to do. We opted to first get off and see Devils Postpile National Monument.

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The impressive rock formation was formed by lava and glacier ice over 100,000 years ago. It was officially protected as a national monument in 1911.

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We got back onto the shuttle and road a couple more stops down to Rainbow Falls. We hiked a relatively short, steep trail down to the falls which are aptly named for the rainbow present in the water’s mist.

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Bus passes for the Reds Meadow shuttle are available for purchase at the Mammoth Adventure Center and cost $8 for an adult ticket.

Wild Willy’s Hot Springs

Despite the kooky name, Wild Willy’s Hot Springs was my favorite place to visit in the Mammoth area. These are natural hot springs that are completely free to visit and use all year round.

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The smaller of the two pools you’ll find at Wild Willy’s is naturally heart shaped!

This was my favorite place because I felt so enveloped in nature. The springs are out of view from the parking lot so there aren’t any cars (or really any part of civilization) in sight.

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Humans weren’t the only ones enjoying the springs- a herd of cows was grazing nearby.

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Have you ever been to Mammoth, California? What’s your favorite part of this mountain paradise?

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Stay adventurous!

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Olympic Sites to see in Lake Placid, NY

One of my favorite things about Lake Placid is the town’s continued Olympic spirit. LP is the home to the 1932 and 1980 games and they’re not about to let you forget it! They continue to celebrate their spirited and competitive history with lots of fun sites to see. I was excited to take my mom to visit two of my favorites- the 1980 Herb Brooks arena and the Lake Placid Olympic Museum.

We started a rainy day by checking out the Lake Placid Olympic Museum. Tucked into a back corner of the hockey complex building, the museum is small but packs a ton of great memorabilia.

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The museum covers both the 1932 and 1980 games while explaining how Lake Placid became a winter sports hub in the first place.

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Torches from various winter games on display

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The best part is that the museum’s displays change from time to time so it’s always worth another visit to see what’s new!

Next we headed to the 1980 Herbs Brooks Arena to check out the home to USA Hockey’s Miracle on Ice. In the throws of the Cold War tension between the US and the Soviet Union a group of American college hockey players pulled off an amazing upset over the professional Soviet Union men’s hockey team to go on to win that year’s gold medal. Dubbed ‘the miracle on ice’, this is the arena where that game was played.

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The rink is named for the team’s coach, Herb Brooks

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We watched the movie, Miracle, which recaps the team’s road to success the night prior so it was exciting to be where the real event happened.

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Standing where it happened!

If you’re enjoying reading about Lake Placid’s Olympic offerings, feel free to check out my recap of visiting the Olympic ski jumps here.

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Stay adventurous!

 

Walt Disney World’s Monorail Bar Crawl

I originally wrote this post back in September because I was so excited to share one of my favorite ways to drink at Disney: the monorail bar crawl! I typed everything out but when I went to add pictures from my previous crawls I couldn’t find any of them! I switch from a PC to a Mac a couple months back and some of my pictures are god-knows-where in limbo. Being the dutiful blogger I am (please note the sarcasm) I couldn’t let you guys down so this past Friday I kicked off my Walt Disney World marathon weekend with yet another ride on the monorail.

You won’t even have to crawl (or walk, run, etc.) because this crawl utilizes Disney’s highway-in-the-sky monorail system that connects the three original resorts built on Walt Disney World: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Disney Contemporary Resort, and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Without further adieu I present my best tips and drinks to enjoy while you crawl:

Stop one: The Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

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Pictured: Under the Florida Moon- a martini like drink that has orange juice and beer! You won’t find this on the menu- I got this by asking the bartender to make his speciality.

The beauty of this crawl is it’s circular nature which allows you to go in any order that tickles your fancy but I always like to kick things off at The Wave. My recommended drink here (as long as you brought a friend) is unique to this resort:

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The Seven Seas Lagoon is 24 ounces of delicious mixed drink complete with Swedish fish, peach ring life-preservers, and tropical boba pearls.

Back up bar choice: California Grille’s lounge doesn’t require reservation and has specular views of the Magic Kingdom. However, seating is limited! Also consider Outer Rim situated right next to Chef Mickey’s. We visited here on marathon weekend and they had special drinks whipped up to celebrated:

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The special Marathon Weekend Cocktail offering: The Finish Line

Stop two: Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

The Polynesian boasts the best drinks on the crawl so it’s hard to make just one recommendation. Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace is my favorite top because if you time it right you can enjoy the Magic Kingdom’s Happily Ever After fireworks display from your seat! My recommended drink here comes with a take home cup:

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The Shrunken Zombie Head is a rum cocktail that comes in an equally creepy and cool cup that I keep on a shelf at home.

Back up bar choice: Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is the indoor, official tiki bar while the Tiki Terrace is the outdoor off-shoot. The Grotto is fully immersive with lots of Jungle Cruise inspired jokes and special effects to match the drink orders. Be warned: it’s difficult to walk up here without a wait. My other favorite bar at the Polynesian is the Tambu Lounge located adjacent to Ohana. Tambu Lounge offers many great choices (including the option to drink out of a pinapple!) My favorite here is the Back Scratcher:

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Complete with a real back scratcher in your cup!

Stop three: Mizner’s Lounge at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

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I love to wrap up my crawl with a stop at the ever-classy feeling Mizner’s Lounge. Tucked just behind the live band on the second floor, Mizner’s doesn’t have a speciality cocktail to recommend so I say go with:

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The Godiva Chocolate Martini is sweet enough to please the palate of even the most beginner martini sipper. Plus, if there ever was a place to sip a drink pinky out, the Grand is it!

Back up bar choice: Citricos Lounge offers a menu of unique cocktails that can be enjoyed without a reservation. Be advised that they have more limited hours that Mizner’s so make sure to check ahead and plan accordingly. Citricos does offer speciality cocktails that you won’t find in Mizner’s but they also offer a great wine selection so that’s my personal pick!

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Are you a Disney World person? Have you ever complete the monorail bar crawl? Any must have drinks that I didn’t mention?

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Stay adventurous, friends!

 

Throwback Thursday: Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Scotland

When looking for things to do in Edinburgh, the Royal Botanic Garden was at the top of my list. I love visiting public gardens when I travel because they’re beautiful and usually cheap or free. Even on a misty, cool fall day the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens didn’t disappoint. We got to enjoy low crowds too which made many areas feel like our own private backyard.

The gardens are open daily but hours vary so check their website. Admission is free however they offers options to see additional indoor exhibits for a small fee. Here is some of the beauty that awaits you:

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The gardens have 10 glasshouses on the property

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The cottage in the background was dedicated by the royal family

I loved it here and would go back in a minute. I’m sure it’s just spectacular on a sunny, clear day when you can see the city on the hillside beyond the gardens. Have you been to the Royal Botanic Gardens? What’s your favorite time of year to visit?

In other news- the adventures continue in 2019 as I head to Walt Disney World on Friday! If you want to follow along keep your eyes on my instagram story for live updates.

Stay adventurous!

Stumbling upon the Jay Covered Bridge in Jay, NY

Now that it’s officially 2019 let me take a moment to say: Happy New Year! Thanks for visiting this year! Today I’m taking it back to my October trip to the Adirondacks once more to talk about how I stumbled upon the Jay Covered Bridge in Jay, NY. What I love about this was it happened as a true accidental adventure.

We started out the day by driving towards White Face to check out the area because I hadn’t been past Lake Placid before. It was too foggy to drive to the mountain’s summit so we drove past the road for that and took a few random turns to enjoy the scenery. When we finally came upon the tiny town square of Jay, New York we decided to use the opportunity to loop around and head back to Lake Placid. Once I turned the car around, and just as we were about to head out of town I saw a sign advertising the ‘historic covered bridge’ so on a whim we looped around again to see the bridge.

Given that it was a rainy, foggy weekday, no one else was around which made for a very enjoyable and private wander around what we learned was the Adirondack’s last standing covered bridge.

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The bridge had fallen into disarray after a truck accident but it was fully restored in 2006. It’s now for pedestrians only as an alternative bridge over Ausable Chasm was built next door.

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This more industrial looking bridge gets cars across these days

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There are signs up on both ends that talk about the rich history of the bridge.

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The portion of Ausable Chasm that the bridge crosses is a popular summer swimming hole destination!

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My mom and I both agreed that this was a beautifully serene stop and we were glad we’d turned around on a whim to check it out.

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Loved out time ‘hanging out’ at the Jay Covered Bridge!

Stay adventurous!

Goodbye 2018, hello 2019: A year in review

I can’t believe another year is in the books! I wanted to review my December stats and goals, and take a look back at all the places I got to see in 2018.

December stats:

Number of total posts: 38

Number of total views: 790

Most viewed post: Throwback Thursday:Haleakala National Park in Maui, HI

Most commented post: runDisney’s Dopey Challenge: 4 days, 4 races, 48.6 miles

Number of Twitter followers: 742

Number of Instagram followers: 499

Number of Pinterest followers: 207

Number of blog subscribers: 83

December goals:

  1. Find or make three group boards on Pinterest- I didn’t do nearly as well at completing my goals this month. I don’t regret it because the reason I didn’t spend as much time on my blog was because I was enjoying my holidays with family! I totally failed at this goal- didn’t make or find a single group board aside from the one that I was already part of. I’ll keep this in mind in the future.
  2. Curate my Pinterest boards to 50 pins each- I added significantly to all of my boards but none of them are over 50 pins. I’m ok with this- I want to make sure I’m adding good content and not just pinning things to meet a number quota.
  3. Tweet 4 times per week– I didn’t tweet four times a week but I think I did better at sharing original content and engaging with other people.
  4. Beat out my old record for a post with the most views or comments- Success! I beat my old record for most views this month by writing about Haleakala National Park!

Memories from 2018:

January- I started off 2018 with a massive accomplishment by completing runDisney’s Dopey Challenge. I recently finished a series of posts on the experience that you can read here.

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February- My sister and I celebrated her 30th birthday in a grand fashion by cruising to the Bahamas on Norwegian Cruise Line! We got to visit the beautiful Atlantis resort- read about that here.

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March- I turned 25 this year- a quarter century old!

April- I made my first trek to Hawaii! I got to see so many beautiful things and I have lots more things I want to share from that trip in the future. I’ve already shared about visiting Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm here, and Haleakala National Park here.

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Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm

May- Spring was in full bloom in Connecticut this month and I took advantage of visiting the local park to check it out.

June- I did my first yoga at the winery class at Arrigoni Winery- I love that place! You can read more about it here.

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July- This month I enjoyed a week long family vacation in Rhode Island. One of my favorite memories from this trip was seeing Connecticut’s light houses on the Lights and Sights Cruise.

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August- I saw my first MLB game at Fenway park as part of a birthday celebration for my cousin!

September- I started September off by visiting Rosedale Farms and Lost Acres Vineyard on Labor Day Weekend! I also started blogging this month!

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October- This month my mom and I took our girl’s trip to upstate New York. We got to see some beautiful fall foliage and drink delicious wines. I’ve written lots of posts about this trip but one of my favorite’s is this one about visiting the Olympic Ski Jumps in Lake Placid!

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November- I was busy at work so I could save up money for my 2019 adventures.

December- As I mentioned earlier I’ve been more removed from the blog this month as I’ve been spending lots of time with family and friends. My mom and I made a final wine trail visit to Hawk Ridge Winery in Watertown, CT to enjoy their holiday decor.

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My 2019 goals:

  1. Start a Master’s program– I’m excited to go back to school and am hoping to start in the spring.
  2. Travel as much as I can afford– Already have lots of trips on the roster. I plan to enjoy these and add more if the opportunity arises.
  3. Reach my one year anniversary of blogging– I’m comin’ for ya, September 2019!
  4. Continue to grow my blog– Of course I want to continue to grow my blog and related social media but I hope to remember why I started blogging in the first place- for fun, not followers!
  5. Race more half marathons– In 2018 I ran two full marathons which was awesome but I want to scale back and spend more time appreciating the half marathon distance.

Happy New Year! Thank you for your continued support- wishing anyone reading a happy and healthy new year. Stay adventurous!

Merry Christmas: a holiday throwback to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! Today I’m bringing you a combination of the most magical place on earth with the merriest holiday of all: Christmas time at Walt Disney World!

Christmas at Walt Disney World is beautiful and lasts much longer than just one day. Christmas can be enjoyed at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida as early as November 1st and as late as early January. Today, in the spirit of the season, I’m sharing some of my favorite moments from Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party- a seasonal hard ticket event offered in the Magic Kingdom.

One of my very favorite part’s of Christmas time in general at the Magic Kingdom is getting to see Cinderella’s Castle done up in it’s Holiday Dream Lights!

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During Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, the castle also serves as the back drop for Holiday Wishes. The seasonal soundtrack is a great way to get into the holiday spirit!

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My favorite part of the party is definitely Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade. I think this is Disney’s most beautiful parade and the fact that it snows on Main Street makes it even better!

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Sitting under the falling snow!

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The tin soldiers and the dancing reindeer make me so nostalgic for the Disney Christmas sing-along tape from my childhood!

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I hope your holiday is filled with happiness and warmth! I’ll be enjoying mine with family and will be back next week with more updates (both Disney and non.)

Stay adventurous, friends!