The Park Awaits…

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Spring is “springing.”  On this beautiful February afternoon, fellow Atlantans spread out over the beautiful Lenora Park.  The sound of children running and playing, owners walking their dogs, as hubby and I are walking by the cool breeze of the water…is like music to our ears.  The lot of us could hardly wait for this day.  After months of cold and rainy weather, we were delighted to once again feel the sun on our faces, and see the blooms beginning to sprout – soon the green leaves will return on the towering trees. Only a few more weeks to go before we officially celebrate a most popular season.  We outdoor lovers and the parks, await.

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A Brisk Morning Atop the Mountain

With temperatures in the mid-30’s, my husband and I set out to explore the terrain at Red Top Mountain State Park.  Only an hour drive from our home near Atlanta, we enjoyed the drive we referred to as “up North.”  Wrapped in our caps and gloves and heavy jackets, our first stop was at the Visitor Center.  We browsed around admiring the promotional merchandise.  Later, as we walked around admiring the picnic tables, shelters, and cookout grills, our minds wandered to the upcoming warmer climates of Spring and Summer – immediately filling us with hope, anticipation, and the promise of these cherished seasons.  This popular state park, located on 12,000-acre Lake Allatoona, is ideal for swimming, boating and fishing.  Named for the soil’s rich red color caused by high iron-ore content, Red Top Mountain was once an important mining area for iron.  Definitely recommend for outdoor adventures or just a day trip to enjoy the surroundings and breathe the crisp mountain air of this idyllic place.

A Day Trip to Some Happiness

On an overcast day and looking for some fun and adventure, my husband and I decided on an outing that would be close by home but just far away to feel like we’d experienced something new…and we did.  We settled on a trip that was only an hour away yet brought happiness and satisfaction.  We drove to Reynolds Lake Oconee, a reservoir in central Georgia, located on the Oconee River near the towns of Greensboro and Eatonton.  This stunning lake has 374 miles of shoreline; shimmering in quiet tranquility, with a conveniently-located, beautiful Ritz-Carlton resort.  We visited the hotel property and enjoyed strolling the immaculately landscaped grounds that feature a Bistro, hiking trail, lakefront chiminea dining, an eloquent Steakhouse restaurant, lakeside rental cottages, and a casual dining spot called Gaby’s by the Lake.  This is where we enjoyed a delicious lunch with a promise to our very charming and friendly server that “we’d be back.”  We found the staff’s service to be exquisite from the moment we arrived until the moment we drove away.  We were grateful for the golf cart tour of the property, the education we received from the concierge, and the hotel’s personnel who helped promote the property.  We agreed on a return trip to experience their mantra to give their guests an opportunity to be entertained, refreshed, relaxed and rested.  Definitely recommend a visit to such a lovely place if you like walking/biking, canoeing, kayaking, pedal boat riding, sedway touring, horseback riding, tennis playing, bank fishing, basketball playing, boating (pontoons), jet-skiing, and relaxing to a campfire.  Yes, they also have an amusing train ride around the resort.  Indeed, we found happiness during an overcast day.

 

A Town Called Senoia

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My husband and I were watching television one evening when a special came on about a small country town located not too far from us called Senoia, Georgia; located just southeast of Atlanta.  Its total area is 5.4 square miles.  At the 2010 U.S. census, there were 3,307 people residing there.  Living so close to Senoia and never having been there, after watching the television special, we decided to visit.  We found a quaint little town, seemingly frozen in time (reference the pictures found in this post.) We found it to be simplistic and leisurely – a great escape from the fast-paced lifestyle of the larger nearby cities. The citizens there are proud of their historic downtown, museums, antique treasures strewn throughout, their unique restaurants, even a race track.  In fact, Southern Living Magazine chose Senoia as the site of its 2010 and 2012 Idea House. These houses are designer showcases of the finest trends in home design and furnishings.  We certainly enjoyed our visit.

Sweetness in Color

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Even in the midst of a rainy week, my husband and I still found a way to press forward and find some “liquid sunshine” anyway. We started by an enjoyable trip to the farmers market.  It was nice to see the incoming Autumn beauties being placed among the plants and flowers.  The fruit was nice also.  Always a great trip to one of Georgia’s nine state farmer’s markets located just south of Atlanta.  The fruits and vegetables were beautiful.

Table Service at the Market

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After a terrific time at Georgia’s State Farmer’s Market in Forest Park, located just south of Atlanta, my husband and I drove over to Oakwood Cafe, found right inside the Market.  We enjoyed a delicious lunch.  The market’s abundance of vegetables and fruits enables the cafe to serve fresh produce year-round.  The veggie plates we ordered were scrumptious.  They also serve breakfast; we certainly made a mental note of that.  Visits to the market and the cafe made us forget all about the rainy day.  Didn’t slow our pace whatsoever!

An Informative Discovery

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A recent visit to Cozumel, Mexico, was fun and enjoyable.  A shore excursion to Discover Mexico Park was very informative. Our tour guide was engaging, proud of his country, and shared lots of interesting details.  Discover Mexico is one of the most seen parks in Cozumel that offers tourists a unique experience about Mexico.  The park provides tourists an opportunity to learn about its collection of arts and crafts of the country.  Their main objective is to portray Cozumel as not just another island of the Caribbean but part of a multi-diverse country.  The $19.99 we spent for the tour was well worth it.  Here are some of the facts communicated to our tour group:

  • The official name of Mexico is “The Mexican United States.”
  • The area of Mexico is 760,000 square miles.
  • Mexico is the 11th most populated country (118 million in 2013).
  • Mexico is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world.
  • Mexico is the largest silver producer in the world.
  • Mexico’s main exports are corn, beans, avocado, coffee, cotton, chocolate, chili, Tequila, and silver.
  • Caesar salad was invented in Tijuana, Mexico.
  • The smallest volcano in the world is located in Puebla, Mexico.
  • Mexico is the country that has the highest per capita consumption of Coca-Cola in the world.
  • The first person which patented color TV was Mexican; Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena, when he was 23 years old in 1940.
  • Mexican presidents get elected every 6 years and there is no reelection.
  • Mexico has no official religion; however, around 82% of the population is catholic.
  • 51% of the population are women.
  • The life expectancy in Mexico is around 75; in 1930 it was 34.
  • The Mexico – U.S. border is the most frequently crossed international border in the world.

Our tour group arrived back at the cruise ship more informed and inspired as a result of our visit to Discover Mexico Park. Definitely suggest a visit.

Festival of Cars

 

Street festival of cars in Ybor City; a national historic landmark district near Tampa, Florida. Considered a top tourist destination, Ybor City is a great place to meet, greet, and enjoy the stylish buildings with fantastic places to eat, drink, be merry and have lots of fun and excitement.