Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

What a week!  No, make that three weeks, it has been.

Life this fall has been ever so busy…. which I guess is better than the alternative… lol

I had the awesome opportunity to participate in Royal Caribbean’s Train the Trainer on board the Majesty of the Seas from September 9 thru 13.. what a beautiful ship!  Royal Caribbean hosted a week long training seminar that concentrated on the Oz Principle, Living Above the Line and Thinking Outside the Box.  It was a great week, and I am excited to share what I learned with the rest of the team at home… I hope they benefit as much as I did.

I won’t bore you with the details of the training… but here are some great pics of the trip!

We joined the vessel Monday in Miami, after an early morning and several really long hours on a flight, I finally made it.

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Tuesday we were in Nassau, Bahamas, and got to enjoy an afternoon stroll around town and a great tour of Atlantis!  Some of the girls and I headed back on board and had dinner at Johnny Rockets… I haven’t eaten there in years!

Wednesday was CocoCay, Bahamas, RCCL’s private island… we hung out on the beach and soaked in the sun, it was beautiful…

Thursday was Key West.. I hadn’t been there since Richard and I were dating!  We had lunch at Sloppy Joe’s – YUM!

Friday was back to Miami, and back to Bar Harbor.. a great week, and I am definitely recharged for the fall!

Last week, I was blessed with some time off work, good weather and family who were up for doing a little exploring!

I headed down to Dover, NH, and we headed out to see the local area.

LOST RIVER GORGE

Wednesday, August 21:  What a cool experience! Located in North Woodstock, which is located among the White Mountains, Lost River Gorge is so peaceful and scenic.  Driving up, I certainly did not know what to expect, and was thrilled with what we found!  It had been several years since Uncle Billy and Co. had been to Lost River Gorge, and we all enjoyed the experience.  We took a scenic drive through the White Mountains, and stopped at a beautiful scenic overlook along the Kancamagus Highway… the view was just amazing!

OLD ORCHARD BEACH

Thursday, August 22:  On my list, as I may not be back in Bar Harbor next year, I wanted to see Old Orchard Beach!  I started collecting older postcards of places I have been about two years ago, and the postcards representing Old Orchard Beach were just so unique, I couldn’t wait to get there in person.  After talking about it all summer, Uncle Billy and Co headed out to Old Orchard Beach for lunch, a walk along the seashore and wandered through some shops in town.  I actually stuck my feet in the Atlantic Ocean!  (First and last time, it’s COLD!!!)

On Thursday night, Brisbee and I headed up to Portland, where I was meeting the HAL Veendam to work their maiden call.

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Courtesy of the best momma in the world, we headed to the Doubletree Beach Resort on Redington Beach for two nights and three days of sun, sand, and relaxation!

It was awesome, the weather left a little bit to be desired… but the sun came out for most of it, and it was great!  Long walks on the beach, drinks under the umbrella, cool water in the pool, and beautiful sunsets… we couldn’t ask for more.  I had the opportunity to use my new water camera… and got some cool shots!

Wednesday, July 24, we headed out and checked in early… and had lunch at the hotel, overlooking the beach.. the pina colada’s were great!  After changing, we found lounge chairs at the pool, and settled in for an afternoon of sun.  Dinner that night was at the hotel, inside at the bar, while waiting on Alex and a friend to arrive.  Thursday morning was an early morning, headed out to the pool for a long day relaxing by the pool!  After finding the perfect spot, in the sun, we settled in for a day to chill!  We brought our own beverages, which made the trip even more fun!  Two wonderful walks on the beach, and lots of laughs after stepping in unseen holes, we got some great pics, and even better memories.  Dinner that night was at The Conch Republic, http://www.conchrepublicgrill.com, and it was pretty good!

So…. the saga of the Vaughan’s in Bar Harbor continues…  My in-laws left on Friday…..

Richard and I had the opportunity on Saturday morning to do a little bit more exploring in the local area over the weekend…

He’s never had the chance to see more of Maine, as his visits were always shorter, and I always have to work on Fridays and Sundays.  So… we headed DownEast, and explored the Penobscot Bay Region… the Penobscot Narrows Observatory, http://www.maine.gov/doc/parks/parksinfo/observatory, it was awesome!  We took a self-guided tour around Fort Knox, and then headed 420 feet straight up!  A one-minute ride took us up the tallest public bridge observatory in the world!  It was really pretty!!

We headed a little further DownEast into Belfast for dinner at the Weathervane Seafood Restaurant, http://www.weathervaneseafoods.com, on the water.  It was a great night, though the restaurant staff left a little something to be desired…. the food and view were worth it.

After dinner we headed back to Bar Harbor, and connected with some friends for the evening, we had drinks at Side Street Cafe, and Richard experienced what little night life Bar Harbor offers, at the Dog and Pony, http://www.dogandponytavern.com.  It was entertaining if nothing else, although we didn’t stay long.

On Sunday, I had to work, so Richard took advantage of his “vacation” and slept all day!!

Monday meant back to Tampa, so we headed out to Cottage St Bakery to fuel up on blueberry pancakes, and then began our lazy venture into Bangor.  Side note…. we stopped at G.M. Pollack and Sons Jewelry… Richard bought me TWO beautiful rings, both with my birthstone… 🙂

What a trip!

A short three day journey into Baltimore was lots of fun, and I left wishing I had been able to spend more time there.  Arriving early Wednesday morning, I had a chance to explore the Inner Harbor area, and found the Seven Foot Knoll Light at Pier 5… very cool!

The RCCL Grandeur of the Seas was returning from their 45 day dry dock in Freeport, Bahamas, after the unfortunate incident that occurred on May 27, read this if you missed the original story.  The last time I was on Grandeur, it was in Tampa, and it was my first year as the Port Agent!  Time flies!!

Wednesday afternoon was spent at the terminal, participating in a refresh training offered by the head office.  We headed out to dinner at Sullivan’s, http://sullivanssteakhouse.com, which was a fabulous steakhouse downtown.

Thursday morning I checked out of my hotel and headed back to the pier.  We were preparing to meet and embark approximately 1600 travel agents for a one night cruise to nowhere, which was sponsored by RCCL.  It was a neat opportunity to give the travel agents a chance to check out the repaired and recently revitalized vessel…. lucky me, I was invited to saill away with them!  What a great night!  Lots of events happening on board, live music and entertainment.

Friday morning was back to the pier, and we geared up for a full day of check-in, it was the first cruise since the fire, and everyone was ready for travel!  This was the ad running in the local area to welcome back the Grandeur.  🙂

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What a week!

Time has flown… but I finally got around to the breakdown of our week in Ireland, which flew by the way…

Friday:  after a LOOOOOOOOONG flight, we finally land in Dublin about 5:15am… I breeze thru EU Passport Control (with my awesome new Irish passport!) and gather all luggage while waiting for the Mom and Webster to pass through the US Passport Control line.  Frank, Anita, and Jackie land about 30 minutes after us… and we meet up with them at the luggage carousel.  Awesomeness!!  Now, the week can begin!!  We head to the Conrad Hilton, which was amazzzzzing, and just crashed.  Once refreshed, the rest of the day consisted of St. Stephen’s Green and a tour down Grafton St., and Temple Bar for an early meal.

Saturday:  There was definitely no early start to the day…. but we were lucky enough to have breakfast as part of our hotel package, and then went about exploring the more touristy bits of Dublin.  The most important item on everyone’s list was Trinity College, http://www.trinitycollege.edu, and the Book of Kells.  Guinness was also on the “must do” list, and we headed that way for a self guided tour of the brewery, and taste testing at the Sky Bar!  It was amazing to take in the city of Dublin from one of the tallest points.. it was Mom’s first time up, and she couldn’t get over how small Dublin is, once you see it from above.  After a hard day of sightseeing, we head off to Maynooth, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maynooth, and checked into our lovely little B&B, The Aaronbeg, http://www.aaronbeg.com.  The lady of the house is just so sweet, and the house is warm and inviting.  We hit the door running, over to the Avenue Cafe, http://www.avenuecafe.ie, for a spectacular dinner before the main event at The Roost, http://www.louisfitzgerald.com/roost…..drum roll please…. Mel’s Surprise Birthday Party!   Mel was soooo shocked, and we had a great time partying the night away.  Niamh had set up so we would have a corner of the bar, and only our group was allowed.  It worked out great, with quite a few guests, and lots of laughs!

Sunday:  After another morning of trying to get over the jet lag… we headed back in to Dublin, this time staying at the Kilmainham Hilton.  Sunday night’s plans were to meet at the Arlington Hotel Bar, for an evening of Irish music and dancing…  but before heading out to meet with the others, Mom, Mel, Jackie, Webster and I headed to the Clontarf Castle, http://www.clontarfcastle.ie, for dinner.  After closing down the Arlington, we headed out to find another location to drink the night away… which is surprisingly difficult to do on a Sunday night in Dublin!

Monday:  Morning started out somewhat early than the others, when he headed across the street to check out the old Kilmainham Gaol, http://www.heritageireland.ie/en/dublin/kilmainhamgaol, for a history lesson and tour.  Mel met us at the hotel and we were going to the second big event of the week… the fortune teller!  Always an interesting experience… and totally worth the wait, at the local pub of course, Boomers Bar.  🙂  After some sharing of fortunes, Frank and Anita were kind enough to drop Webster and I off at the train station, for our trip to Cork!  We checked in to another cozy B&B, the Auburn House, http://www.auburnguesthouse.com.  Once again, pleasantly surprised with the warm and inviting interior and yet another lovely couple running the place.  After much deliberation, we headed out to Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, http://www.cathedral.cork.anglican.org, because I wanted to see what it looked like when all the lights were lighting it up from the outside.. we took a wander through the cemetery and I was in awe of the design of the place!  After moseying around for a bit, it was decided dinner and drinks were next on the to-do list, and we found Sin E, http://www.corkheritagepubs.com/pubs/sin-e, and then further down the road was The Fish Wife, https://www.facebook.com/thefishwifecork, and they delivered dinner across the street to the The Cork Arms, which is a tiny, fabulous little pub with such a cozy atmosphere!  (are you starting to build a picture??  everything in Europe is just cozy!)

Tuesday:  Back to Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, however, this time we were welcomed by an open door, and folks who were happy to share a bit of history with us.  It was so neat to see the inside of a cathedral with so much history!  After we tore ourselves away, we headed back to the B&B to hook up with Frank and Anita… and headed out to Blarney Castle, http://www.blarneycastle.ie!  What an incredible experience…. I was having so much fun imagining what the castle looked like in its day, and I wished I could step back in time, just to see its magnificence!  We climbed to the top of the castle… amidst winding staircases and stone walls to kiss the Blarney Stone, explored the Gardens, the Wishing Steps, the Rock Close and the Witch’s Kitchen.. all of it, amazing.  We headed back to Dublin that afternoon, and met up with Niamh and the kiddies.. I can’t believe how big the all kiddies are!

Wednesday:  We headed out for our final day in Ireland!  Trim Castle, http://www.heritageireland.ie/en/midlandseastcoast/TrimCastle, was first on the list… Mel dropped Jackie, Webster and I off, and we headed in… what a view!  Again… I wished I could spend some time in the era, and see what Trim Castle really looked like in medieval times!  After what I think was two hours, and a very cool tour, we hooked up with Mom and Mel and wandered through the Town of Trim, and did a little shopping!  We headed up to Blanchardstown Centre, which is a mecca of shopping!!!  Really?  We just headed to Penneys!!!  What an awesome way to spend the day…. I got some really cool finds!  Dinner was in Dunshaughlin, at the Country Club Restaurant with EVERYONE, and then we headed back to Mel’s for dessert and drinks.

It was such a great week, although it passed much too quickly!  It was wonderful to have friends and family along, even if they did invite themselves….. it’s a free world, right Frankie??? 🙂  Can’t wait to plan my next trip, and I wonder where I will go… suggestions anyone??

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What a weekend!

Like a whirlwind, but with some awesome memories, and of course, lots of good fun.

Mom and I headed to Washington DC last Thursday, and spent two days walking MILES!!!  Luckily, we hit the  Cherry Blossom Festival, http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org, which was unbelievable.  It was so pretty, words can’t even describe.  We were so blessed to have beautiful weather, not too hot and not too cold, and no rain.  The blossoms were amazing, and we were there two days after the “peak” day.  We also found some really great restaurants and bars in our travels, Guapo’s, http://www.guaposrestaurant.com, which was right near our hotel was phenomenal Mexican food, Fado Irish Bar, http://www.fadoirishpub.com/washington, right in the middle of DC’s Chinatown, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinatown_(Washington,_D.C.)!!  We spent almost a whole day shopping (:D) and found some pretty spectacular deals, and a nice variety we don’t typically get in our shops in Florida.  Chevy’s. http://www.chevys.com, was lunch, and yet another Irish bar for dinner, http://www.samuelbecketts.com, although this bar had brown bread (just like in Ireland!!) and amazing smashed carrot, parsnip and turnip medley… just like Mama makes!  Our waitress was so cool, and gave us extra brown bread… talk about a yummy brekkie!  Lunch before the flight home was at Busboys and Poets, http://www.busboysandpoets.com, great turkey and cheese sambo!

Dawn’s wedding was on Saturday, 13 July, and we had a great time.  Mom and I played around with the camera after getting dressed up, and got some really great shots!  Dawn looked like an absolute princess, and Scott cleans up pretty nice, I am so happy for them, and excited we were able to participate in their special day!

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Alex’s birthday celebration was last night at Kobe’s (where it is every year…) and again, it was full of friends, family and fun!