From Key West to Kauai, some of my Favorite Places
As I've traveled the country I've established a listing of some of my favorite places. Below you will find a list of those locations and some of my comments. I've linked to various websites that offer info. This is is my personal opinon, yours may differ. Thank You.
The State of Florida - Big State with Lots to See and Do! - If you can't get to Hawaii during the winter then Florida is your next best bet. You will find wonderful weather and great beaches, a great place to beat the winter blues from up north.
But where do I start? Well, I think the Orlando area is the best place, with Walt Disney World and the other fabulous resorts in that area you could spend weeks here and never see or do the same thing twice. Epcot, which is also part of the same complex is a must see. Universal Studios Resort and Theme Park is also another great orlando area resort.
Next in my book would be Dade County and the Miami area. Dade County is the largest metropolitan area in the State of Florida, and is often referred to as the "Gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean." It is bounded by Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Everglades National Park to the west, the Florida Keys to the south, and Broward County to the North. Miami and South Beach are very popular with visitors and offer a wide variety of hotels, resorts, entertainment and nightlife.
Key West, further south, is reached by miles of beautiful highway much of it bridges spanning vast distances. Relax, have a drink, enjoy the sounds of Jimmy Buffet while surrounded by beautiful blue water. And your only a few miles from Cuba, go figure.
Island of Nantucket - Great Eastern Getaway - Like Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard you can't go wrong visiting Nantucket. As always when traveling in this area I try and stay at a bed and breakfast. From my point of view it is the only way to go/sleep.
Although whaling in America started among the Indians of Long Island, whaling as an industry began in Nantucket, an early Quaker settlement. The Quakers started the whaling industry after learning how to hunt whales from the local Native Americans. As the industry grew deeper harbors were needed for larger boats and mainland routes were needed to distribute products. This caused the early whaling industry to move from Nantucket to New Bedford. New Bedford whalemen are the ones who wrote the most important and longest chapter in the history of American whaling, Nantucket is an important part of that story, too.
This cresent shaped island 30 miles from Cape Cod has a quiet charm I've come to love. Leave your car behind and explore the island by foot or on a bike. Yearly festivals include: The Daffodil Festival, the Carnberry Harvest and the Nantucket Noel winter festival.
Santa Fe, New Mexico - Southwestern Charm & Beauty - Santa Fe is the place to visit if you looking for an eclectic taste of the beautiful Southwestern United States.
Santa Fe is truly unique city, no other place in the world offers such a concentration of Native American arts, culture, and Southwestern history. The city's altitude is 7,300' above sea level and has a cool, dry desert climate. Set near the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, some of the nearby mountain peaks are over 12,000 feet and local ski areas often have snow pack in excess of 100 inches. In the summer, days are warm and the nights are cool. The region is known for glorious its sunsets.
I like to stay at the Casa Escondida Bed and Breakfast, other great B&B's can be found at Travelassist and at SantaFe.us. (for Taos B&B's click here) My favorite restaurant is The Shed located just off of the main plaza. Another don't miss eatery is The Pink Adobe. It was established in 1944 and is know affectionately by locals as "The Pink," the restaurant has grown into a local and national landmark since its humble beginnings serving Dobe Burgers, French onion soup, and hot apple pie.
Sedona, Arizona - The Magic of Arizona - Recently designated by USA Today as America's most beautiful city, Sedona, Arizona offers much more than just scenic wonders. From your very first glimpse of the spectacular Sedona red rock landscape, visitors feel the majesty and mystery of a place sacred to its earliest settlers. It's said, "God created the Grand Canyon but He lives in Sedona." The place is awesome yet it invites personal exploration.
Many also consider Sedona the U.S.'s premier destination for spiritual healing and vacationing. Getaways have always been about finding rest and renewal. Now many travelers seek the additional benefit of spiritual reinspiration. People of all faiths have long found those effects in Sedona. Internationally known for the uplifting power of it's Vortex meditation sites, Sedona also offers the full range of spiritual explorations and metaphysical services.
Above plains and canyons soar high cliffs and rugged spires of sandstone sculpted by years of ocean tides and desert winds. It's a 25 square-mile enclave bordered by vast stretches of national and state forestlands that make Sedona seem a world apart.
Anaheim, California, Home of DisneyLand! - You can't help but love the "Happiest Place On Earth", Disneyland. But Anaheim has more than just Mickey Mouse! It is home to a major league baseball team the Anaheim Angels, and the hockey team the Mighty Ducks. The City of Anaheim also has recently completed a massive convention center, the largest on the West Coast. (If your looking for some old fashioned fun in the SoCal area try Santa Monica .) Anaheim, named by early German settlers as the “home by the river”, was once part of a Spanish land grant. The land that is now Anaheim was purchased for $2.00 an acre over 100 years ago by German colonists who came here to grow grapes and produce wine.
In 1955, an enterprising visionary named, Walt Disney, opened the doors of his fabled Magic Kingdom, Disneyland. Only 11 years later, in 1966, Anaheim Stadium (now Edison International Field of Anaheim) was built. It is currently the home field of the Major League Baseball’s Anaheim Angels. The 19,200-seat Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, located across from the street from the baseball stadium, is home to the National Hockey League’s Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
Anaheim is now the second largest city in Orange County and is the center of Orange County’s visitor industry, which attracts almost 40 million people annually.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Home To The Rich & Famous - Even though this is the home to many of the East Coasts rich and famous, I still enjoy visiting Cape Cod and usually stay at a bed and breakfast. "The Cape" is situated at the extreme southeast corner of Massachusetts. The Cape is 20 miles at its widest point and completely surrounded by water: Cape Cod Bay on the north, Buzzards Bay on the west, Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds on the south and Atlantic on the east. Cape Cod projects into the ocean approximately 35 miles, then becomes narrower and turns northward.
The normal population is approximately 225,000 year round residents. That number nearly triples in the summer months of July and August. Cape Cod has 115 pristine beaches—from the calm and refreshing Vineyard and Nantucket Sound beaches to the glorious, beautiful beaches of the Cape Cod National Seashore. And with 559.6 miles of coastline, even in the height of the summer season, one can almost always find some waterfront real estate to be alone. Water sports can be enjoyed practically year-round. Visitors can sail, motorboat, wind and wave surf, canoe, kayak, fish or water ski.
Lighthouses are as much a part of Cape Cod as the sea. For centuries they have guided mariners to safety through treacherous shoals. There are 8 working lighthouses on the Cape. Sweeping far out into the ocean, Cape Cpd is a substantial obstacle to shipping and navigation. In the last 300 years, there have been more than 3,000 shipwrecks along Cape shores.
Carmel By The Sea, California - The Rugged Pacific Coast - The water can be cold here, even in the summer, but the rugged California coast is a beautiful sight to see. Carmel By The Sea is one of a kind destination found tucked away in a pine forest just above the white sand beaches of the Pacific Ocean. The vacation options are various and go well beyond the spectacular scenery surrounding this one square mile town. Again, I usually stay at Bed and Breakfast Inns and this area has some great ones. (for Monterey B&Bs Click Here) The village is located just: 120mi S of San Francisco, 350mi N of Los Angeles, 26mi N of Big Sur.
Carmel is home to Sunset Community and Cultural Center, the Golden Bough Playhouse, the Outdoor Forest Theatre, and the Harrison Memorial Library. The Sunset Center hosts many cultural events such as the world famous Carmel Bach Festival and the Monterey County Symphony, and the Carmel Shakespeare Festival. Other acivities include: the 17 Mile Drive, Golf/Pebble Beach, Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf and Cannery Row.
Durango, Colorado - Rocky Mountain Perfection - Founded in 1879 by the Denver & Rio Grande Railway, Durango has the flavor an an old western minning town. Add to that a little Southwestern Indian and Mexican cultures, then add a College and the real world workings of a Colorado mountain town, and you have the Durango of today. I love the area so much I bought 35 acres of land just outside of town in Long Hollow Ranch.
It can be Winter or Summer, we always find lots to do in this area. Two of my family members are now Durango residents, one works for the visitors center. I hope to build a solar powered home sometime soon.
This is one of the best towns to retire to. I would suggest two small homes one in Durango and another in a warmer place like Tucson or Green Valley Arizona. Spending the summers in Colorado and winters in Arizona is a great lifestyle for a retired couple.
Kauai, Hawaii - The Garden Isle - Years ago my first trip to Hawaii was to the beautiful "Garden Isle". And now that I have visted many all of the Hawaiian Islands I would have to say that Kauai is still my favorite. What I enjoy most is the diverse range of experiences avaiable. From the worlds rainiest mountains to the canyons to the beautiful beaches.
The finest hotel/resort on the island is Princeville, one of the most historically significant resorts the Coco Palms was made famous by the 1961 Elvis Presley movie "Blue Hawaii". Most of the last 20 minutes of the movie was shot at or near the the famous Coco Palms.
If visiting the Hawaiian Islands I would say the top two islands to visit would be Kauai and the Big Island. Kauai for its varied scenery and the Big Island for its volcanos. Between the two you will visit the oldest of the island, Kauai, and then the youngest island, Hawaii aka The Big Island. Kauai also has some of the most challenging and most beautiful golf courses on the islands. (NOTE: A great way to see the Hawaiian Islands is on cruise like the NCL Pride Of Aloha and Pride Of America Cruise Ships.