A New Podcast Adventure! Come Listen to Travel Connections

A new podcast Adventure!

I am so thrilled to share some exciting news! On October 1st, I will formally launch my brand NEW podcast!  It is called Travel Connections and I wanted to let you know first so you could subscribe and tell all of your friends it is coming your way! As of now, you can listen to the short Welcome Episode! So fun! More exciting episodes will publish every two weeks starting in October.

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The Wonderful Smells of Life in the Pacific Northwest & Other Observations

life in the Pacific Northwest

What are the smells of life that evoke an emotional response? I have so many, do you?

Ah, the wholly different and wonderful smells of my new life in the Northwest.  

Back in 2014 when I began Adventures of Empty Nesters, I wrote a post called, Do certain smells trigger a rush of memories for you? and it was all about smell memories and my family. 

I have always associated certain smells with people, places, and experiences. Maybe it was a perfume my teacher wore, or the aroma of a glorious meal while traveling, or the familiar scents of the holidays. Do you associate meaningful smells with exceptional memories?

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Our Move to the Pacific Northwest: An Update & Kirkland, WA Pictorial!

move to the Pacific Northwest

A Six Month Update!                    

Our Crazy Move to the Pacific Northwest!

Our move to the Pacific Northwest has been challenging, sad, wet, sunny, exciting, exhilarating, and so very different from our old life.

Back in Southern California, we had downsized and renovated our Empty Nest, which was just perfect for two. We enjoyed our small, quaint home, relaxing back yard, proximity to family and friends, and warm weather.

We made the hard decision to move to Kirkland, WA, to be nearer to our newly born grandchildren, James & Josephine.

There has been a lot of adjusting and the climate takes some getting used to also! New dry cleaners, grocery stores, dog sitter, you name it, we had to find it! And, with a much bigger house that needed inside paint and new furniture, we embarked on another home project!

However, this move provided us the time and accessibility to watch these babies grow up, support our daughter and son in law, and begin our life as grandparents. Flying from California every time we wanted to see them would be a hassle and we wanted to be more hands-on. Luckily for us, we could work from home long before COVID offered this newest possibility.

I want to dive into the house design choices, but I will do that in another post. I have been updating my audience through Facebook and Instagram, but many of you do not participate in social media or miss these posts, and I wanted you to know what it was like living here!

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For Valentine’s Day, Why Not Create A Virtual Romantic Getaway for Two!

long term marriages

Does the idea of a virtual romantic getaway sound a little crazy, but fun?

After all, this is 2021, travel remains at a virtual standstill, and almost everything we do, even as ridiculous as it sounds – is virtual. Work, school, birthday parties, Thanksgiving, Christmas, cocktail hour, baby showers, wine tasting, cooking class, exercise class! Good grief! Why not enjoy a virtual romantic getaway for two? Let’s create everything you need to pretend to be at the destination of your dreams!

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, but we have a little time to plan. Why the heck not? As a travel writer, my work life was upended by the pandemic, which allowed me the freedom to try a few new ideas. One of which was to create a Virtual Maui Vacation. Brilliant, yes? 

romantic getaway
A virtual Maui could be fun!

After umpteen months of quarantine, a virtual Maui Vacation sounds kind of fun, doesn’t it? Maybe you want to create a weekend in Maui? Just check out the Vacation Guide, which has all of the details!

Maybe you need a little help with this virtual romantic getaway idea? I plan to give you a few tips to get your creative juices flowing.

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An Anniversary Trip to Ventana Big Sur: A Luxury Hotel on the Pacific Coast

luxury hotel in Big Sur
We celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary at Ventana Big Sur

Ventana Big Sur – An extraordinary luxury hotel!

After seven months of quarantine, we were more than ready for an anniversary trip. At the time, restrictions from COVID had lifted enough where we could travel to the glorious California coast at Big Sur.

I needed this vacation so much! Tired of being cooped up with no trips planned, it was time. Travel is my passion, my occupation, and honestly, what lights me up inside. I love to create the plans, to experience new places, and find adventure. I’m not ready to settle into retirement yet; there are too many fabulous destinations to visit, too much out there to learn! Don’t you agree?

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An Escape for the Weekend in Yosemite – Yes Please!

Tunnel View - Yosemite
Tunnel View – A beautiful view, earlier in the day

“Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.” Ansel Adams

An escape for the weekend in Yosemite!

sunset view Yosemite
Tunnel View Yosemite – Sunset

Don’t we need a weekend away surrounded by granite walls, deep valleys, forest creatures, and sublime sunsets? Right now, most travel plans focus toward the direction of the outdoors with a priority of open-air, lots of space, and peaceful surroundings. California offers many scenic destinations where we can unwind and be one with nature.

We had grand plans to spend a weekend in Yosemite National Park, but COVID had other ideas. This year is overflowing with canceled or postponed vacations and weekend getaways. I am sure there are too many to count. 

Unfortunately, COVID restrictions pushed off our plan to hike and experience Yosemite, but our son Nick and new wife Kylie live much closer to this National Park and were able to enjoy a glorious weekend trip!

They graciously allowed me to live vicariously and provide me with their details to write this inspirational post! This month I am partnering with Hotels.com to help create a dreamy future weekend in Yosemite!

Now more than ever, careful planning is a necessity for every vacation or travel plan. We must do our homework to learn of any restrictions and closures and best understand our chosen destination.

Yosemite is an extremely popular destination all year round, and even if there were no extenuating circumstances, the weather can always provide challenges with road closures and snow.

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A Trip to Nashville Should Be On Your Adventure List!

trip to Nashville
Photo- Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A Trip to Nashville

It’s official; we are starting to see some positive movement toward travel. Travelers are thinking about a possible road trip and trying to decide just where to go. Many have already taken the plunge back into the delightful world of travel. Today I am working with my friends at Hotels.com to talk about a tasty, fun-filled trip to Nashville, Tennessee.

Whether it is country music, the incredible food scene, fall colors, or a lively atmosphere, Nashville has become the place to be. Just writing this post reminds me of how at home I felt in this vibrant destination! This city has a big heart, is large enough to have everything you want, but still gets away with a small-town feel.

trip to Nashville
A must visit! Country Music Hall of Fame

Craig and I, along with two of our best friends, Troy and Brad, designed a fantastic road trip that went from the Kentucky Bourbon Trail to Nashville. We have been friends since we were kids, and this was our fourth recent trip together.

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A Visit to Joshua Tree National Park Should Be on Your Adventure List!

visit to Joshua Tree National Park

A Visit to Joshua Tree National Park

A visit to Joshua Tree National Park and the town of Joshua Tree will take you away from everyday stress and introduce you to a desert landscape that is so incredibly different from city life!

Recently I have written about finding adventure in woodsy, pine-smelling forests with vast lakes like Lake Tahoe and charming towns like Jackson Hole where the Grand Tetons impress and welcome you.  So today, along with my partner Hotels.com, I share one more destination inspiration! It is time to seek the sandy, rock-climbing terrain of Joshua Tree. We loved it!

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Let’s Escape to Lake Tahoe For Our Next Getaway

escape to Lake Tahoe
Photo: L. Simone

An Escape to Lake Tahoe

Let’s go to the mountains where there are fewer people, fresh air, blue skies, exceptional deep blue water, and views to make you weep. Let’s escape to Lake Tahoe! I am once again working with my friends at Hotels.com to bring you more travel inspiration.

We started visiting Lake Tahoe when our children were little, we traveled there in the winter to ski and in the summer to hike, but with Fall around the corner, it’s time to plan for the leaf-peeping season! It is best to reach out to local hotels to learn about their new COVID protocols and safety guidelines. However, it is getting easier to travel every week that passes by. Fall in Lake Tahoe could be a wonderful first step back toward our love of travel.

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Taste Your Virtual Vacation – A Delicious Maui Style Menu

Maui Style Menu

CHECK OUT OUR NEW EPISODE OF COCKTAIL ADVENTURES!

THE PIÑA COLADA – HERE!

A  Maui Style Menu

Are we dreaming of a tasty trip or virtual vacation Maui Style? We cannot travel across the vast Pacific Ocean to the island of Maui, but we can pretend like we are! Virtual Vacations can transport us to a place we can’t get to for one reason or another. This Maui Style Menu will help you bring all of the essential elements together!

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