finding happiness in everything

Posts tagged ‘travel’

Exploring Tomoka State Park, FL


Tomoka State Park is located in central Florida on the east coast side. It’s only about a 30 minute drive north from Daytona Beach, 20 minute drive east from Destination Daytona (in Ormond Beach), about an hour and half drive from Orlando, 15 minute drive from Flagler Beach and is located just on the mainland across the Halifax River from Ormond By The Sea.

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Family oriented and pet friendly, this state park’s admission was $5 per vehicle or $2 per bicyclist or pedestrian for an all day stay. There are camping sites within the park and several great fishing holes. We didn’t enter into the camping area, so I can’t tell you much about it, but we saw a great many folks fishing all over the park.

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Gorgeous greenery, seasonal flowers and filled with palm trees of various sorts, this park is inviting and beautiful.  Large turnarounds are situated along the main gravelled (crushed shell) roadways. Well laid trails to hike are scattered about and there’s some wildlife to see. Large turtles call this park home as well as a stray alligator from time to time also. The turtles were particularly intriguing to our dog. They were digging into the soft sandy soil to conceal their eggs, so we didn’t get to see them up close.

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At the far end of the main trail there is a large tribute statue to the Tomoka Indians. It is weathered terribly and large sections of the statue have fallen off. The state of decay was sad to see, but it seems any money spent on the park has gone into the upkeep of the grounds – which were very nice. A restroom facility is located in the same alcove as the statue and there are several camping or cookout sections there as well.

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Visiting the Tomoka State Park was a delight for the day and gets a 5 out of 5 for family friendly and pet friendly. I highly recommend it! Click here to learn more about the park.

Adventuring onward….

Chrissy

A new love 💘


 

I have a confession to make. I fell in love several months ago. Keeping it to myself until just recently when I shared it with my husband was difficult to do. He has been understanding and very accepting of my new love. He’s definitely my best friend and understands.

You see until recently, I enjoyed travel as long as it was recreational, short lived and I knew we were coming back home soon enough.  But lately, so many things have changed in our lives. All the kids are “grown” or at least they think they are. They have all moved away from home now and declared their independence.  We are now Empty-Nesters and have grown into a new class of people. One that I always assumed would never affect me much because I just knew that all the boys would still be around. I assumed that they would be around regularly and that the house they would always come home to- the house they grew up in, the house they matured in and had so many developmental memories and such- would somehow mean the world to them. Why I thought this way, I’ll never know.

I moved away from home at 18 and struck off on a life of my own too. I never looked back or even considered going back home. Actually, I saw going back home as a failure in life. If I couldn’t make it on my own, I would have been devastated!  There was one point when I went back though, in 2001 for about a year and half when both my parents were in a terrible car accident. Mom begged me to come help her and I did. That was short lived as God gave her Grace and she was walking again when I left. Alas, I digress…. so back to my new love…

So delusional thoughts aside, reality is often not was we expect it to be. In an adventurous ever changing world that we cannot control, we are but passengers on this  ride through life. A passenger doesn’t control the direction – and in my life God is the driver. So in recent years, I have just sat back and watched he scenery as I’ve been passing through. God is still my greatest love of all, number 1 in my life…my husband is number 2. But as for this new love I referred to, well it surprises me just as much as it has surprised my husband.

I love to travel! Not just leisure travel, but packing up and moving away travel. This travel is one that I had always denied before, absolutely refusing to leave East Tennessee.  Now, I’m excited by the thought and look forward to many new adventures along the way!

 

Nicest & Most Affordable Vacation Rental in Ormond Beach, FL


Through Devine Providence we found the Nicest and most affordable fully furnished vacation rental properties in Ormond Beach, Florida. I wish I could tell you we were active Snowbirds & our trip was leisure, but alas we were traveling for work.IMAG6886.jpg

I knew that we did not want to be in a hotel, even though we enjoy those luxuries, we wanted to feel much more at home and we wanted to bring along our faithful dog. We needed a place to stay for a couple weeks & usually pet friendly hotel rooms are crawling with fleas & generally stink. To be respectful, we did ask for the furniture to be covered in sheets becasue we knew that our dog would shed a great deal and did not want the owner to be required to clean up all that shedding.

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We were blessed to find Miriam at Ormond Vacations! She owns 2 RVs that have been converted into stationary fixed homes in a very nice & well maintained RV park in Destination Daytona. Both of which are extremely clean, completely functional & cozy. For now, I’d like to tell you about unit 178 “The Knot”. This place is a Glamper’s dream! Not only is “The Knot” cozy, it’s also large pet friendly! If you’ve ever tried to  travel with a Golden retriever  or a lab, you know that not all places labeled as pet friendly  truly are.  Not only was our large pooch welcomed, the owner caters to pet lovers. There’s  special towels, bowls, and carpet powder just for your 4 legged friend, along with feeding & water bowls.

*Please keep in mind as you look through the pictures that I’m showing you this place as we “lived” in it. These are candid photos. I have blurred names and brands on some products or blurred paperwork for privacy.

This rental would be considered the size of a small home, but 3 times larger than a hotel room. Upon arrival, parking in the rear, you’ll notice this place stands out among the rest. The owner has paid attention to every detail from the finely manicured yard to the decorative parking spot. The back patio is inviting with a carpeted entrance & if you’re searching for privacy, you’ve found it here.

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Upon entry to the rear of the home you’ll find the mud room equipped with a full size washer & dryer. From this point there’s an entry into the bedroom or access to the living room area.

The living room is quaint with a comfy recliner, 2 end tables, a couch, & coffee table. The flat screen TV is mounted on the wall for convenience. This room leads to the dining room or outside to the screened in porch. For now let’s go outside 😉  PhotoGrid_1481815026988.png

The large screened-in porch has plenty of seating with a sweetheart bench, 4 patio chairs & a lounger. It’s quaintly decorated & there’s a table & television there as well. This table is where I did a lot of work on the lap top while watching the sun come up in the east. Sunsets are gorgeous here also! If you get too warm out there, you can turn on the oscillating fan to create a breeze.

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Going back in, enter the dining room on your right by going up 2 steps. The dining room area was one of my husband’s favorite spots. It’s largely spacious & beautifully decorated with a nautical ambiance. A cozy and comfortable loveseat is situated on one wall with a coffee table across from a larger television perched in the bay window area. In the kitchen area there’s a large table with 4 chairs across the way from the full size refrigerator. There’s no stove for cooking, but there’s a double eye burner, a larger toaster oven, toaster, large microwave, electric skillet, coffee pot and all the utensils, accessories, pots, pans, strainers, etc needed to cook a full meal!

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Leaving the kitchen, enter a hallway with tons of storage space with built in closets & drawers – which are across from the restroom.

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On the other end of the hallway, you’ll enter the bedroom. Large, yet cozy with a queen size comfortable bed. The bedroom has even more storage & is decorated mystically also.

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Long story short, this RV converted home is spacious, beautiful, well insulated, and priced much lower than any other vacation rental in the area. The owner is responsive, accommodating, and a valuable source of local information to make your stay the best possible! She genuinely cares that her vacationers have a wonderful stay & maintains one of the cleanest places around!

“The Knot” is also biker friendly, smoker friendly and as mentioned before – large dog friendly. It has cable TV service ready for your entertainment and Wi-Fi is available from CampLink.

I would recommend “The Knot” and Ormond Vacations to anyone looking for a vacation rental in central Florida, Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, Palm Coast, Flaggler Beach, or maybe even Orlando if the drive doesn’t bother you  This location is about a 1 hour drive to Orlando, 1 hour drive to St. Augustine, 1.5 hours drive to Disney, and only minutes from Daytona. If you’re interested in Bike Week or the Daytona 500, this is your best price!

More information  is available here.  By the way, incase you’re wondering, I have received no compensation from the owner of this lovely property. I just simply had to share this super awesome value for travelers on a budget and re-enforce that traveling on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice luxuries!

 

Adventure in Hilton Head, SC


Everyone who knows me knows I’m a savings freak. I shop On-Sale only, use coupons, rebates, savings apps, and am a member of over 20 different “points” programs. I get freebies in the mail & I’m all about budgeting. I say all this to let you know the many travels I write about have been fugal initiatives funded by savings, gift cards, & rebates. Now, on to the Hilton Head Adventure!

I had oftentimes heard of Hilton Head Island but never been & was thrilled to have an opportunity to go. South Carolina was a state I’d never ventured to before. I was so excited to be there I took the first photo op I got.

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South Carolina Welcome Center

The drive to Hilton Head wasn’t too bad. Once we got out of the mountains in North Carolina, it was a relatively smooth drive. South Carolina was pretty flat. The only serious traffic congestion was on I95.

We stayed at the Best Western about 1 block from the beach. Not a bad walk at all. The hotel was quaint & the staff friendly & accommodating. Our first room stank as though only men had peed there for an extended amount of time, so they moved us the next day to a ground floor level room – no Febreeze needed 😉

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Pee stink room

On our first full day I asked my husband if we could rent some bikes. He obliged & we rode to the Pines to see the sights.  The locals told us that we would need to ride down near the entrance and then ride along the beach and then come back into the community  to gain admittance. They neglected to tell us that riding along the beach was like towing a tank behind your bicycle! Well, at least that’s what it felt like for me. My husband had no trouble whatsoever! He flew down the beach with complete ease and left me in the dust, literally. I had only managed to pedal a short distance before I had to get off and push the bicycle. There was such a heavy drag on the back wheel it was almost impossible for me to pedal. I figured, “Great! I’m left… all alone… I will sun burn and die of dehydration on this stupid beach while pushing this stupid bicycle. My back hurts, my legs hurt, I’m going to die here…in the sand…on this beautiful beach. I’m thirsty. Can’t stop though. If I do, I’ll just sit down & be lost forever. Crap! I’m too old to even get my face on a milk carton. No kids will identify me. Adults will just step over my limpless body assuming I’m taking a peaceful little nap. Then an alligator will come out of the ocean & drag me into the water…because they drown their prey. There could be an alligator in those bushes!” At this point, I got back on the bike & eventually found my husband who’d peddled back to find me and ask me why in the world I was so far behind.

“Watch me”, he says, “it’s easy. Look, I haven’t even broke a sweat. Why are you going so slow?”    I can’t remember my response, but I’m sure it wasn’t pretty.

We finally made it into the Pines & after peddling 3 freaking miles we figured out that there was absolutely nothing to see in that community! In my mind it was a waste of money to rent the bikes, a waste of time, a wasted day that I could have been laying on the beach like a lazy old fart while my husband swam in the ocean.

So this total endeavor was about three-and-a-half to four hours long and by the end of it, we finally made it back to the hotel, I felt like death.  I realized how seriously out of shape I was and I realized that South Carolina is not quite as flat as it looks when you’re riding a bicycle.  We parked the bikes on that day and although we had paid to rent the bikes for an entire week, I don’t think we ever got back on them.

The great thing about the hotel and the entire Community where we stayed is everything was totally within walking distance. The walking didn’t hurt me near as bad, so we walked a lot after that. We looked at some of the shops and we found a unique mom-and-pop restaurant to eat at every evening.

Overall it was an absolutely fabulous adventure & I’m so glad we went 😉

Adventure in Georgia


So, we finally made our way south to Georgia during our travels & I must say, I was a bit disappointed. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word Georgia? Well, for me it’s two things…that song “Georgia” and there’s peaches. Peaches!!!!

We were in Hilton Head, South Carolina for a little over a week soaking up the sun (and me getting sun poisoning on my face) when my husband says, “Let’s go to Savannah.” Yippee!!!

Just a tad of back story: I thought renting bikes during our stay was a great idea. Everything looked so flat & there were hundreds of people who appeared out of shape like me riding them. On day 1 of bike riding I realized jusy how badly out of shape I was. After a 3 1/2 hr bike ride my legs were Jell-O. Thus, my excitement to go to Savannah!!

We took the back roads the whole way. It was a lovely leisurely drive with top speeds of 35-40. (Mostly 35mph though)

Anywho, on the drive we passed a lot of little fruit stands on the side of the road. Peaches! I wanted a peach so bad I could taste its sweetness. My husband said we’d stop on the way back through.

Savannah was a gorgeous old city full of history. We took in a little of it but weren’t there very long.

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We ate at a great little restaurant & headed to Tybee Island.

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Tybee Island

After my husband had about an hour in the ocean, we packed up & headed back towards Hilton Head. I was excited to finally get a peach!

Every roadside stand was closed 😦

So, I would just have to wait until the next trip…to taste a home grown mouth watering Georgia Peach.

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