Sunday, August 8, 2010

Travel Bug

I was listening recently to a radio show in which the host asked people to call in and share their favorite US travel destinations and/or hidden gems at those locations.  It really made me think about some of my past experiences traveling and some of the places friends have shared with me.  So here are some of my favorites:
  • IMG_1894Hopkinsville, KY – Ferrell’s Hamburgers.  I have shared my passion for Ferrell’s before on this blog.  That passion has not diminished.  
  • Upstate NY – The Thousand Islands.  We visited my grandmother’s home town of Ogdensburg, NY when I was about 12 and toured the Thousand Islands.  We took a boat tour down the St. Lawrence River and saw all the tiny islands, some with large Victorian mansions, some too small for a house.  It is an amazingly beautiful place and I would love to spend a family vacation there with my kids.
  • Panama City Beach/Laguna Beach, FL – Thomas’ Donuts.  They have been around since 1946 and I think the building has not changed much since then.  You can get donuts, breakfast and lunch and it is definitely beach food.  Our favorite is the breakfast items and the yummy donuts.  It is directly across from the beach, a walk-up place with a small inside and air conditioned dining room.  Bring cash cause they don’t accept credit cards and be prepared to stand in line.
  • Gatlinburg, TN – Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.  Most people who come to the Smoky Mountains are very aware of the National Park, Cades Cove, and the very touristy Gatlinburg area.  But smack in the middle of downtown, you turn down a side road, go a short distance and turn off into one of the most beautiful areas in the mountains.  It feels like you are stepping back in time as you pass the old homes and the giant trees.  You can follow the small, one-way road through or park at one of the narrow pull-off areas and explore.  And you should spend the 50 cents for the guidebook for sale at the beginning of the trail.
  • Gulf Shores, AL – The Pink Pony Pub.  Many great memories were created in this fun, beachside hangout.  On a trip with friends, we christened ourselves the “Pink Pony Dancers” after a few pina coladas.  This is the place my daughter ate her first oyster on the half shell at the age of 6.  And later, if I remember correctly, it’s the place where she got her first taste of a pina colada.  Fun beach food, a great deck, and live music.  The ultimate beach experience.
Now it’s your turn!  Share your favorite hidden vacation gem.
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