Tag Archives: Travel


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East Coast Love

If you are traveling in the United States, get a taste of the real East Coast.  The big cities have plenty to offer, but there is much more to the Atlantic shore.

The Appalachian Trail is not only a great example of adventure on the East coast, but it also serves as a reference point for some other wonderful places. From Georgia to Maine there are many great places to visit, but I will highlight two that my family and I were fortunate enough to enjoy this year.

If you are trying to get out of city life for a while, try some of these sweet spots that fly under the radar.

Topsail Island, NC

We spent a week in Topsail Island, NC, a beautiful community along the Intracoastal Waterway, South of the Outer Banks. North Topsail Beach is a taste of the beach life without all the crowds and tourist traps.

Topsail Island is a popular nesting ground for Sea Turtles and Topsail Turtle Project has been doing wonderful work for decades to preserve and protect the turtles and their nests. I highly recommend taking a tour of the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital, and do your part by picking up some trash while you’re finding sea-shells on the gorgeous beaches.

The house we stayed in, Bob’s Hope, is beautifully perched in the center of a narrow section of the island. With a wrap-around deck, a crow’s nest and water on both sides, you can enjoy both sunrise and sunset. If you’re lucky, you may even get to witness a hatching of a sea turtle nest.

Whether you come to surf, fish, or just lounge in peace, the options are plentiful and the lines are short. The fishing and crabbing are usually great, but if you don’t catch anything with the bait you’re using, a $20 bill usually works pretty well down at the fish markets. Check out Davis Seafood and Surf City Crab. 

Luray, VA

Another wonderful hideaway along the East Coast is nestled in the Shenandoah Valley. The Virgina countryside is full of adventure and history. Enjoy a few days at Shenandoah National Park. Explore the park and it’s plentiful wildlife during the day, and sleep under the stars at night.

FB_IMG_1511585140705This stretch of the Skyline Drive also offers underground adventure. Skyline Caverns and Luray Caverns make for a fun and educational spelunking experience for the whole family.


To really get a feel for the Shenandoah Valley you have to take a trip downstream. Downriver Canoe Company offers a wonderful variety of river trips, fun for the novice, as well as the expert. Their knowledge of, and respect for the river, is what sets Downriver apart from other outfitters.

Don’t worry, Virgina has plenty to do in the winter too. If you want to hit the slopes, check out Massanutten Mountain.

Look for youth hostels and campgrounds

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain is the vibrant capital of Catalonia. Here, you can find captivating architecture around every turn. Barcelona is brimming with art, culture, and history.

One of the most popular places to visit if you visit Barcelona is Basilica de la Sagrada Familia. This is a church that was contracted for design in 1885 by a man named Antoni Gaudi. It is still under construction and there is a possibility it may never be completed in its entirety.


Antoni Gaudi has dazzling displays all throughout the area.  Parc Guell is Gaudi’s surrealist Park that is full of tile mosaic designs. His unusual and intricate designs are undoubtedly a sight to see.


Outside of this park, you can find hiking trails that lead to astounding views of the city It feels like you are on top of the top of the world! While in the Catalonia region, you may come across people gathering for what is truly a spectacular sight to see. A rural tradition called Human Towers or otherwise known as Castell, in Catalonian.



During my travels, I came across a magical hidden gem. The Labyrinth park of Horta is filled with gardens, Roman god statues, beautiful reflection ponds and a wall of manicured hedges to get lost in.


If you decide you want to adventure out of the city, you can take a road trip to Figueres, Spain. This town lies on the border of France. There you will find the Salvadore Dali Theater & Museum. This is home to some of Salvadore Dali’s artwork and personal home collections. He may perhaps be most commonly known for his painting “The Persistence Of Memory” which exhibits melting clocks against a landscape scene. Also on display, is his jewelry collection that includes a brooch which was inspired by Marilyn Monroe’s lips. The brooch consisted of rubies for the lips and pearls representing teeth. He also had a piece named “Elephant on mosquito legs” which was one of my personal favorites. For art enthusiasts, one of the best parts of visiting this museum, was a moment of intense appreciation when standing next to the very location he lies today. That’s right, in this museum under the stage, lies Salvadore Dali’s crypt. This is an unforgettable experience that won’t leave you disappointed!


On your travels back to Barcelona, be sure to stop in the town of Girona. The narrow cobblestone streets are littered with Medieval architecture that will make you feel like you are in an episode of Game of Thrones. You will know you are in the right place when you see the Onyar River which runs directly through the center of this historical town.


With the abundance of history, culture, and art located in the heart of Catalonia, this is definitely a must-see destination!