Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Friday, July 30, 2021

Niagara Falls Maid of the Mist Boat Ride Reviewed

Maid of the Mist photo by Sylvestermouse
Have you ever wanted to step under a waterfall and feel the fresh running water splash over you?  If so, you will love the "Maid of the Mist" boat ride!  

This fantastic boat takes your right up next to the falls, and under the "mist" of Niagara Falls.  It is totally awesome! 

Don't just stand and look at the falls.  Hop on the Maid of the Mist boat and ride right up to them to feel, smell and even taste (if desired) Niagara Falls.  It is an experience you will never forget and something I recommend to everyone who can stand on a rocking tour boat.

Riding out to the falls is an experience in itself.  Reaching the falls, where the boat stops and lingers under the Niagara Falls spray for a few minutes, is magnificent. 

I loved every moment of it and would gladly do it again in a "New York minute".

Niagara Falls photo by Sylvestermouse
View of Niagara Falls from the Maid of the Mist boat just before we entered the mist

 

Maid of the Mist Boat Ride - Niagara Falls

The Maid of the Mist boat ride takes approximately 20 minutes.  On the July summer day we visited Niagara Falls, it was fairly crowded in the Niagara Falls State Park, but the line for the Maid of the Mist was reasonable.  We only had to wait for the length of one boat ride before we were boarding the boat. Therefore, our wait time was approximately 20 minutes and part of that time was spent receiving and donning the head to toe rain poncho provided with the price of the ticket. The poncho makes the perfect souvenir too!

I took my small travel camera so I could take pictures from the boat.  However, I did tuck it inside my cape right before we entered the mist.  Unfortunately, there is no way to photograph from within the mist without a waterproof camera.  Next time, I will take an underwater camera!

Niagara Falls photo by Sylvestermouse
If you look closely, you can see the boat in the (back) falls mist
You can also see the walking trail on lower left side

The cost of the boat ride ticket includes admission to the observation deck.  The elevator down to the boat docking area is the center section, that looks like a support beam, under the center of the observation deck.

Niagara Falls Observation Deck photo by Sylvestermouse

Parking at Niagara Falls State Park

Niagara Falls Rapids photo by Sylvestermouse
Bridge to Goat Island over the rapids that feed Niagara Falls
There are several parking lots for cars.  As you enter the park, there were at least two areas for parking for a picnic or just for viewing the rapids.

In our case, we went to Niagara Falls State Park while moving our daughter to New York.  Therefore, we were in a fully loaded U-Haul truck.  At first, we were concerned for where we would be allowed to park, and for good reason.  Most of the lots accommodate standard car, SUV or van size vehicles.  Fortunately for us, and our camper vehicle friends, there is a parking lot on Goat Island just for the longer, wider vehicles.  Plus, there is a reasonably priced trolley to the heart of the park from the #3 parking area for those who would prefer to ride instead of walk.

Simply pay attention to signs as you enter the park.  It is easy to miss parking directions because it is exciting to see all that is there, plus the need to watch out for pedestrians.


More to See at Niagara Falls State Park

Believe it or not, there is more to see at Niagara Falls State Park than the falls.  While Niagara Falls is clearly the main attraction, there is an aquarium, hiking trails and the "Cave of the Winds" (a man made walk along the bottom of the falls), as well as food vendors and souvenirs. There is also a Top of the Falls Restaurant that overlooks Niagara Falls.

You can view Niagara Falls at Night too thanks to the colored lights which Mary Beth photographed and previously published on Review This Reviews.







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Thursday, June 10, 2021

Review of Lavender Farm

Lavender at Entrance to Long Row Lavender Farm

 If you are looking for a pleasant way to spend a late spring day, I would suggest visiting a lavender farm.  In the St. Louis area we have a farm about an hour west of the city that my friend, Barb and I spend some time exploring on a beautiful June day.  

Long Row Lavender Farm




Long Row Lavender Farms is located on 15 acres just south of Wright City Missouri.  It is a family owned farm that was started in 2007 by 6 family members as a way to bring the family closer together and work toward a common purpose.  They see the farm as a midwest destination and offer a variety of activites and services.

Cafe


One of my favorite features of the farm is the Cafe.  The cafe offers a small but delicious menu that you may eat at a variety of small areas around the farm.  There is seating both inside the remodeled barn, outside on the porch or down by the pond.



I enjoyed a delicious  sandwich of grilled cheeses, tomatoe and bacon on sourdough bread.  I also had a refreshing glass of lavender lemonade from their menu you can see below.


One of the walls in the cafe has live  wall hangings, which I found fascinating.




 Gift Shop


Inside the barn you will find a gift shop full of lots of handmade products from the farm.  There is a variety of bath and body products, seasonal clothing, and home decorations.  You can also buy plants at the shop.



Workshops


Lavender farms offers weekly workshops at their facility where local artists teach of variety of different crafts.

Enjoy  the Grounds


The  grounds of the farm are beautiful and full of flowers  and lots of little nook and grannies to sit back and relax.  There are benches on the porch, a wonderful porch spring, a pond, and lots of flowers.  Here are a few of the photos I took around the grounds.




Lavender


Of course it wouldn't be a lavender farm without lots of lavender.  In looking up  lavender online, I found that the name is Lavandule and lavender is the common name for the genus.  There are 47 known species of these flowering plants and they are members of the mint family.

At Long Row Farms they have about 1200 lavender plants and 7 different varieties.  The varieties they  have are : Provence, Phenomenal, Hidcote Blue, Twickel Purple, Edelweis, Grosso, and Ellagence Pink.  Here are some photos I took of the different plants.







In the midwest the lavender blooms in early to mid June.  The blooms are then harvested a few weeks after  they bloom and then go through the drying process which takes about 3 weeks.  The drying takes place in the loft of the barn where they are hung up in bundles to dry.

The farm also grows peonies, zinnias and sunflowers so there are lots of blooms to see throughout the summer.


Zazzle Products


I always enjoy make products from my photographs.  Here are some from my visit to Long Row Lavender.





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Friday, April 30, 2021

Tennessee Travel: Natchez Trace State Park Review

Natchez Trace State Park
There is much to explore in the Natchez Trace State Park, which is located off Interstate 40 (I-40) between Memphis and Nashville, TN. 

It is a wonderful place for a day trip for hiking or exploring jeep trails, but it would also be an awesome vacation destination.  With several lodging options, you get to choose what best suits your personal needs. Frankly, our most recent visit left me longing for a camper so we could easily spend the night.  

Not only does the park offer RV camping facilities, they have cabin rental, a lodge with hotel rooms & dining, or you can pitch a tent.  Each style has designated areas for a more enjoyable stay for all.  Plus, there are playground areas, swimming, paddle boat, boat and canoe rental, picnicking areas, an equestrian facility, a firing range, and an archery range.  

Since the park is spread out over 10,000 areas within a 48,000 acre forest, none of it seems to be sitting "on top of the other".  I do recommend stopping at the visitor's center when you enter the park to get a map.  Wandering aimlessly is fun, but if you have limited time, you might prefer to know where each facility, trail, picnic area, etc. is located.  It is also where you can view the wildlife in rehab.

Natchez Trace State Park

Day Trip in Natchez Trace State Park

Natchez Trace State Park
We set out for the jeep trails, which we did explore, but ended up having to get out and walk some too.  It was such a beautiful spring day!  It would have been a shame to spend the entire time riding instead of walking.  Needless to say, the sunlight and fresh air "pulled" me from the jeep seat to walk around the lake and across the bridge.

That is what I love most about Natchez Trace State Park.  It is so much natural beauty in one place. Even the man-built cabins are nestled so beautifully within the trees that they don't distract from the peace and tranquility that permeates the park.

As we strolled through the beach area created for swimming, we encountered a search team with dogs in training. Of course, they all loved Merlin, but he questioned why those dogs needed training for what comes naturally to him. 

From there, we ventured to the bridge that crosses the lake and provides a spectacular view of the surroundings.

Natchez Trace Park

Back to the jeep for another fun ride through the woods. While my husband enjoyed navigating the dirt trails designed for jeeps, I thrilled at being able to take photos of lots of spring blooming trees and wildflowers.  The last time we were at Natchez Trace State Park, I concentrated on photographing birds, but this time, it was the flowers that fascinated me.

Natchez Trace State Park Flower Photos

As the sun started to set, we unwillingly sought out the highway home. Oh, how I wish we had that camper! I could only imagine the sunrise in this beautiful place.

 

Natchez Trace
A Few of the Bird Photos I Took On Our Last Visit to Natchez Trace State Park

 Points of Interest in Natchez Trace State Park

Natchez Trace State Park
No Matter the Length of Stay or Accommodations,
We All Need the Convenience Store!

 

Natchez Trace State Park
Group Lodge has 4 or 5 cottages, a bunkhouse, and
a Group Meeting Building with Kitchen

Natchez Trace State Park

Natchez Trace State Park

Natchez Trace State Park
Pin Oak Lodge Offers Motel Style Rooms, a Restaurant
& Family Recreation Activities

 

Accommodations for a Special Event

If you are planning a special event, you might want to consider the  Cub Lake Recreation Lodge, a very reasonably priced venue, which will accommodate up to 200 people.  The lodge is a large, beautiful room for just the actual event. Those who wish to stay overnight could make arrangements for one of the other facilities mentioned above.

Natchez State State Park



Travel Tennessee with Me

Previously Reviewed Tennessee Travel Destinations

 Fall Hollow Waterfall on the Natchez Trace Parkway The Memphis Zoo Review Pictorial Tour of the Memphis Botanic Gardens Teton Trek at the Memphis Zoo Review





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House of Sylvestermouse





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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Story of Walt Disney World Book Review

The Story of Walt Disney World: A book review of the 1971 souvenir book, which features pictures, information and illustrations of the park when it first opened.

Walt Disney World enthusiasts are always wanting to learn more about one of the world's most famous destinations.  This book, The Story of Walt Disney World, is a big square paperback book with 50 pages of information, lots of photographs and even a few colorful illustrations from the park. The first page has the date of October 25, 1971. I believe it was probably released as a souvenir to celebrate the opening of the theme park, which occurred on October 1, 1971.

The first page includes a dedication taken from the plaque in Town Square on Main Street at Walt Disney World by Roy Disney O. Disney that reads, "Walt Disney World is a tribute to the philosophy and life of Walter Elias Disney...and to the talents, the dedication and the loyalty of the entire Disney organization that made Walt Disney's dream come true. May Walt Disney World bring Joy and Inspiration and New Knowledge to all who come to this happy place...a Magic Kingdom where the young at heart of all ages can laugh and play and learn together."  If you have experienced the park, you know that Disney delivered on those promises. Millions and millions of people have visited, enjoyed and created many fond memories of time spent at the park. 

This vintage book offers a look at what the park offered and looked like when it first opened and even includes a map from the year 1971. A lot has changed since then! 

The Story of Walt Disney World would make a wonderful gift idea for those who have fond memories of visiting the park in the past or for those who are interested in the history of the park. You will find The Story of Walt Disney World on eBay by clicking right here.

See you
on eBay!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

More Disney:

Grab a sketch-themed 20th Anniversary Toy Story coffee mug.

The Story of Walt Disney World: Discover things about the park when it was first opened!




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Thursday, January 28, 2021

Review of Folly-A Folly Beach Mystery Book

My Photo of the Morris Island Lighthouse

I just read a book that has all the elements that I find fascinating.  First let me tell you I am a photographer whose favorite subject is lighthouses.  I also enjoy mysteries. This book has all of those things along with a cast of quirky characters that make the book a real page turner.

Summary of Book

 I started reading this book and I was hooked on the very first pages when a photographer sets off to take a photo of the sun rising over a lighthouse.  It just so happens that this lighthouse is the Morris Island Lighthouse, a lighthouse that I too have photographed.  As he is walking down the path to the shore  I can vividly remember myself walking down that same path.  Needless to say my interest was captured right from the beginning.

In this delightful first book of the Folly Beach Mystery Series Chris is taking a month long vacation in Folly Beach South Carolina, a beach town near Charleston.  While Chris is on his first outing to photograph the lighthouse he hears shots fired and discovers a dead body.  The rest of the book is filled with Chris meeting the residents of the small town and discovering some delightful characters along the way.  

When Chris's first rental house is burned he begins to suspect that someone thinks he saw something at the murder site.  Chris does not know what it could be but he becomes determined in discovering who the killer is and why they are targeting him.

Along the way Chris meets a reporter who shows him the sights in Charleston and a love interest develops.  He also meets a quirky character, Charles who calls him "Mr. Photo Man".  

The book has lots of interesting people and wonderful descriptions of both Folly Beach and Charleston.  If you haven't been there they will make you want to go and if like me you've been to both places they make you long to go back.

The Book on Amazon

Here is a link to the book on Amazon.  I highly recommend it for a relaxing and fun read.  As soon as I finished I went and bought book 2 in the series and I can't wait to get started.



My Photos on Zazzle

Here on Zazzle are several of the photographs I took when visiting South Carolina.






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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Charleston South Carolina Historic Vacation Reviewed

South Carolina Folley Beach Pier
South Carolina Folly Beach Pier

 If you're planning a vacation in the new year and you love history, or maybe you just like to relax on you're vacation, consider Charleston South Carolina.

We’re lucky enough to have family living in Charleston. If we didn’t have family living there I don’t know if we would have ever have considered taking a vacation there. What a mistake that would be, as we’ve traveled there many times to visit and every time there is something new to see and do.

As you know this is where the Civil War started, when confederate soldiers fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, which was occupied by Union forces. This was known as the first shot fired in the Civil War. Okay, enough history; you can read this anywhere online. What I want to tell you are some of the fun things that we like to do when we visit Charleston.

Folley Beach

Folly Beach is on James Island, we always make it a point to visit this beach in the morning. We walked to the beach and collected some beautiful seashells. We’ll later use these seashells to do some crafts with our grandchildren.

The beach is so very peaceful in the morning, and if you can get there early enough to see the sunrise it’s a beautiful sight. Although we didn’t do this every day, come on, I’m on vacation right. If you miss the sunrise, the sunsets on Folly Beach are epic.

Charleston the downtown market

Baskets in the maket place

Take a day to visit the huge outside market in downtown Charleston, we like walking through and stopping to see the many vendors and their wares. You’ll find everything here from fine art to the smallest trinket to take home as a keepsake. There are some very talented people, who hand weave these baskets. Well, it’s hard to see the people in this photo, but I really wanted you to see the baskets.

As you walk through, you’ll see people throughout the market crafting and weaving their baskets. We have purchased several; after all, you can never have enough baskets, right? Some of them are a bit pricey, but most time the vendors a willing to make a deal.

Carriage Tours

Once you're downtown take some time to check out the carriage ride guided tours of the city. These tours have so many different routes around the city, and you can take a different one every time. It’s a beautiful ride through the streets of Old Charleston, the tour guides are well versed in the history of the city, and the horses are very friendly too. If you’re going to visit Charleston, put this on your things-to-do list, you won’t be sorry.

 This is the tour that we have taken a couple of times. The Palmetto Carriage Tour is an hour-long carriage ride through the city. I love the history on these tours, I learn something new every time.

Plantation
Walk around the city just to enjoy the beauty and architecture. Soak in the history of Old Charleston. 

Walking along the Battery off in the distance, you can see Fort Sumter. Very often you can see dolphins jumping around the shoreline.

As I walk through the streets of this historic city. I can’t help but think of all the generations that have lived in these homes. Homes that have been here for hundreds of years, the history just pours out of them. After the war, Charleston didn’t have a lot of money to rebuild so they restored and restored, keeping the old buildings for us to enjoy.

This is my favorite thing to do as I see something new every time we take a walk around the city. These are some of the things we like to do when we visit Charleston. There is so much more to enjoy here, with so many wonderful restaurants and parks to visit.

Charleston Where History Lives

Find more Travel Reviews here: ReviewThisTravel.com

Charleston! Charleston!: The History of a Southern CityCharleston! Charleston!: The History of a Southern City

 




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Thursday, December 17, 2020

A Review Of Londons Attractions The Big Eye and River Thames


The London Eye By Raintree Annie

Have you ever visited Londons' Big Eye? I am a country girl at heart but my granddad was born in London, United Kingdom within the sound of the Bow Bells.

So I am a quarter Cockney and have a bond with London, UK's capital city. 

I love to visit London when I can which tends to be only once or twice a year at most. When we do go it is always lovely to take a walk by the Embankment which is my favourite part of London and one of the amazing attractions there is Londons Big Eye and the River Thames Embankment area. 

The last time We visited The London Eye it was a cold crisp winter's day yet there was a huge number of people there to see and experience this wonderful attraction.

 

So what Is The London Eye?

The London Eye is essentially a large Ferris wheel with a difference. It has acquired many names along its relatively short history. These include:

The London Eye

The Merlin Entertainments

London Eye

London's Big Eye

The Eye

London's Eye

The Big Eye

Millennium Wheel


The London Eye - A Temporary Structure?

The London Eye was finished in the year 2000 and was only supposed to be a temporary structure to celebrate the Millennium. 

It was originally called "The Millennium Wheel". It was designed as a Ferris wheel in order to represent the turning of a new Millennium. 

It is massive, standing at 442 feet tall and designed by Architects David Marks and Julia Barfield, of Marks Barfield. It opened to the public in March 2000 and was only given permission to be open for 5 years. However, in 2002 the London Eye was given permission to be a permanent attraction in the capital city. It is a wonderful structure and great fun so I am glad it has stayed. 

 

The London Eye by Raintree Annie

As you can see from the photos I took here The London Eye is essentially a huge wheel with 32 capsules, representing each London Borough, holding up to 25 people each. So up to 800 people can be on the flight at any one time! 

To my relief, you don't sit with your legs hanging down like on a normal Ferris wheel but sit in each enclosed capsule. As the wheel rotates, the capsules also rotate so they always stay horizontal which is clearly a great design for passenger comfort and security! 

For an additional special price you can book a capsule just for your family or party and some people have even got married on the flight!

The London Eye from the road by Raintree Annie

Book Ahead For The London Eye 

As you approach the London Eye we saw crowds like we had not seen before along the whole stretch of the embankment. 

We do not like to spend valuable time visiting London waiting in queues like that so if you feel that way too I would strongly advise booking ahead for a specific time so that you don't have to queue for so long! 

By the way, you don't book a ride on the London eye you book a "flight"! 

It is open every day in normal times except for Christmas day and when it is closed for a week in January for annual essential maintenance.

It is an amazing flight and I would recommend it if you are traveling to London. 

Once you board your flight each rotation takes around half an hour and it does move at a slow speed, so it is not like a thrill ride. Rather it allows us to take in the surroundings and sights of London city in a leisurely manner. In fact you can see as far as Windsor castle which is 25 miles away! We loved it and will book again the next time we can visit London. 

 If you are interested in London and may even be planning a bit there in the future I would recommend this book to learn about the many beautiful and interesting attractions and life in London.

Fodor's London 2020 (Full-color Travel Guide)

 

The Embankment And River Thames, London

The area around The London Eye is one of my favorites and it is well worth spending some time there. If you take a walk down the Embankment towards the London Eye it is a fascinating sight of street artists, doing incredible gymnastics, painting, making music on steel drums. 

There are people dressed as statues that stay as still as can be, being looked upon in awe by some people and others trying to get them to move! If they do move often after a long period of time it can be quite a shock!! 

All manner of people are there and it is very crowded, yet the atmosphere is one of busy friendly activity and simply enjoying what is there. There are also outdoor food stalls, indoor and outdoor restaurants, and a wide variety of wonderful live music. 

I find it a very relaxing yet stimulating place to be. 

 

River Thames & Big Ben from Embankment,by Raintree Annie
 

The River Thames flows by The Eye and is a huge dominating river. In clear sight is the "Gurkin" and other sights of interest. 

You can even take a boat trip along the river, which, especially if you are new to London is a really good way of seeing more of this area of the city in a relaxed manner. 

It is also a lot easier on your feet as London is a huge city to walk around and pounding the pavements and crowds can become quite relentless and tiring! 

Relaxing on the river is a lovely way of taking it all in and is a lovely break from the inevitable bustle of a big busy city. We had a lovely day in the area and could have easily stayed a lot longer.

Boat Trip The River Thames , London UK by Raintree Annie
 

Londons River Thames

Here is the River Thames, embankment from nearby The Eye. You can see the famous Big Ben in the distance! 

Even on a grey day it has an attraction for me. There is a majesty and history to this river and it is such a lovely place to chill out and relax from the hectic pace of London. 

This capital city is a full-on place to be and the area around the Embankment is no exception. Yet if you can find your nice place to sit or stand and just look there is a peace about it too.

London Eye Capsule &Big Ben by Raintree Annie

 

I love this part of London, I think the river is lovely and the buildings are amazing and there is a special atmosphere about this area, which is hectic yet friendly. I always enjoy visiting and have many happy memories I savor on my journey back home to the countryside. 

Have you visited London, taken a flight on the London Eye or do you feel it would appeal to you?




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