Category Archives: Travel

San Francisco Trolley Tour

San Francisco Cable Car

San Francisco Cable Car

Two summers back, Russ and I spent a weekend visiting San Francisco.  We had a great time exploring the Golden Gate city and discovered that the best way to see the area is on a trolley tour. The Motorized Cable Car Tour is awesome! It’s a 2 1/2 hour narrated tour on an authentic Motorized Cable Car. You get to see Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach, Nob Hill, Downtown, Chinatown, the waterfront, the Palace of Fine Arts, Union Square, the Golden Gate Bridge and everything in between.

Palace of Fine Arts

Palace of Fine Arts

My favorite parts were driving past the house used as the exterior for “Full House” and getting to see Lombard Street from the top without having to climb up there myself.

If you’re in the Bay are, this tour is a must! Check it out here.

Air France slashes airfares to Europe

I wish I weren’t in college,  I would fly to Europe spur of the moment on Air France, which is offering an amazing sale for the month of March. Book your flight by Thursday (Feb. 26) and you can fly from Chicago to Dublin for $146, from Washington D.C. to Barcelona for $247 and from New York to Paris for $209.  That’s amazing!

Air France

Air France

Air France is also offering a free stop in Paris in each direction.  This means that you can take your connecting flight several says after arriving in Paris at no extra charge. You can actually do it twice.  One time you can check out the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower and the other time you can float the Seine.

Jump on this deal if you can and send me your pictures so I can live vicariously through you!

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Napa Valley Wine Train Tour

I’ve done your basic tour of the wine country before but it wasn’t anything like the Napa Valley Wine Train Tour.  This tour serves you perfect pairings of wine and gourmet food while riding in vintage rail cars.  How cool is that?

Napa Valley Wine Train

Napa Valley Wine Train

The 36-mile round trip  journey travels through Napa, Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena and back. It allows you to choose what type of meal you would like.  You can choose a four-course meal in the Dining car, a romantic moonlight dinner in the Vista Dome or an open-air, ala-carte meal in Silverado car. These experiences cater to a wide-range of budgets and tastes in order to make the tour fit your needs.

Napa Valley Wine Train

Napa Valley Wine Train

The tour hosts many different events throughout the year: a Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre, where professional actors dressed in 1915-era costumes mingle with the guests; a weekly Vinter’s Lunch, where a special guest vinter works with the train’s chef and wine director to plan a four-course meal; and many other special events that feature wines from around the globe.  These events are kinda pricey, but well worth it if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind experience.

Vacation Swiss Family Robinson Style?

Canyon Lake Tree House

Canyon Lake Tree House

Just outside of New Braunsfels is the Canyon Lake Tree House.  Sleeping in a tree house is a childhood dream of mine and the picturesque description of this one is makes it sounds so enticing:

The view of the lake from this redwood deck will take your breath away.  You may choose to eat outside or relax under the stars The two huge oak tress make a shady green umbrella of leaves to make your private world a peaceful hideaway of beauty and fun.”

Unfortunately, upon further inspection of the Web site, the tree house is not quite a “tree house.”  Instead, it’s an elevated house surrounded by trees.  Bummer. Oh well, it still looks rustic and beautiful, just not quite the childhood dream.

Gruene Mansion Inn

Gruene Mansion Inn

Another place to stay while visiting New Braunsfels is the Texas Historic Landmark Gruene Mansion Inn Bed and Breakfast.

The B&B is located in the heart of the Gruene community right next to the Dance Hall. It has 31 rooms, each with a private entrance, bath and porch (for ultimate privacy). They’re decorated with elegant Victorian antiques and are quite popular with couples and for girlfriend getaways, especially if you take advantage of one of their package deals with the nearby spa.

Bertha's Bedroom

Bertha's Bedroom

I want to stay at this B&B.  It’s beautiful! Maybe my future husband will bring me here someday.  They can even provide a romantic gift package that comes with chapagne and chocolate-covered strawberries, yum!

Schlitterbahn – the world’s number one waterpark

Schlitterbahn

Schlitterbahn

Schlitterbahn is the most popular summertime waterpark in the United States and has been rated the world’s number one waterpark by the Travel Channel. It has over three miles of tubing, 17 waterslides, the world’s first surfing machine and three uphill water coasters. Sounds awesome!

The Master Blaster is definitely one of the best rides at Schlitterbahn. It propels riders in inner tubes with water jets uphill and downhill, through figure-eights and finally the riders are dropped into a dramatic pretzel-shaped, downward spiral.  Sounds awesome, just be careful to not lose your suit. 🙂

And then there’s the Black Knight a very unique ride where you fly through a dark tube that allows in no light.  You’re literally flying downward in complete darkness.

Lagoon Hot Tub

Lagoon Hot Tub

With all this craziness it’s good to know that your basic wading pool and hot tub can be taken advantage of when you need some relaxation. (Or are just to scared to do a water roller coaster in complete darkness.)

Up next: Accomadations

Wilkommen to New Braunsfels

On this cold February day, visions of summer and water parks can’t be avoided.  New Braunsfels, Texas is a popular destination during the summer with it’s old-world German charm and it’s world-famous waterpark, Schlitterbahn.

New Braunbsfels Tubing

New Braunsfels Tubing

New Braunsfels was founded in 1845 by German farmers and you can still dance to oompah music and dine at bier gartens there.  In fact, every year in early November, a ten-day sausage festival called Wurstfest celebrates the rich heritage of this community. (Sounds like fun but I want to visit in the summer.)

Guadalupe River

Guadalupe River

Many tourists come to New Braunsfels to go tubing down the clear waters of the Guadalupe River and the Comal River and there are a few different companies that will offer tube and raft rentals, as well as, independent guides. Rockin’ River Rides and Gruene River Company.

Gruene Dance Hall

Gruene Dance Hall

Another popular spot to visit is the Gruene Historic District where you can practice your two-step at the Gruene Hall, which is the oldest continually running dance-hall in Texas and where country singer George Strait got his start.  Antiquing is also a popular activity in Gruene Historic District, I actually have a moonstone ring I bought there while antiquing when I was 16.  Clothes, handmade furniture and pottery, Texas gifts and home furnishings are also available in downtown Gruene.
Up Next: Schlitterbahn

Universal Studios – The Nightlife

Citywalk

Universal Citywalk

Reggae, latin dancing, piano bars, gourmet food and the Blue Man Group are not necessarily things you would associate with a kiddie theme park, but Universal Citywalk is prepared to keep your nights packed with delicious food and fabulous activities.

Citywalk is a 30-acre entertainment complex with live-music, casual and formal dining, shopping and a movie theater.

Emeril's Restaurant Orlando

Emeril's Restaurant Orlando

I can’t wait to try some of the restaurants when I’m there on my honeymoon.  Emeril’s Restaurant Orlando is at the top of my list, how could I not try some of the this famous chef’s food.  Also, his restaurant has a wine gallery with 12,000 bottles of wine, wow!

Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville is next on my list.  With live music every night and a unique combo of Key West and Caribbean foods, it’s gonna be so much fun!

And then there’s the Hard Rock Cafe, Russ and I have eaten at a Hard Rock everytime we’ve traveled together and it would be bad karma to break this tradition on our honeymoon.

Blue Man Group

Blue Man Group

The next stop I’ll have to make in Citywalk is a Blue Man Group performance.  The Blue Man Group is world-famous for their show that combines music, comedy and multimedia theatrics.  I’ve never seen them perform before but every review I’ve ever heard has been glowing.  Be Warned: The first four rows of the theater are called the “Poncho Section.”  This section is provided with ponchos because it is the most “interactive” section and the performers work with some materials that could splash. Fun.  I think I’m gonna pass on sitting in the “Poncho Section.”

Citywalk Map

Citywalk Map