City of Chicago Skyline

4 Fabulous Days in the City of Chicago

Last month my daughter and I visited the city of Chicago in celebration of her high school graduation. While I had been to the city of Chicago twice before, both were very brief trips.  I have always considered Chicago one of my favorite US cities.  However, my impression was based largely on walking around the Loop, visiting the Art Institute, and taking the architectural boat tour. Fortunately, my limited experience held up upon further experience.

Chicago is America’s most miraculous achievement: a business, artistic, intellectual and cultural mecca 1,500 miles from any ocean. There are so many great things to do in Chicago. The museums, attractions, and experiences are as great as those in any American city. The number and variety of restaurants is impressive. And there are numerous places to stay, from budget to luxury. I’m happy to say that my daughter and I had a fabulous time in the city of Chicago. And if you follow in our footsteps, I guarantee that you will as well.

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6 Steps You Must Take Before You Make Hotel Reservations

The 6 Steps You Must Take Before Making Hotel Reservations

When you are planing a trip, whether long-term or short, you will often need to make hotel reservations. On the surface, this seems like a straightforward task. However, a number of factors will determine whether you return home congratulating yourself on a hotel well-chosen, or lamenting your misguided decision.

These 6 steps will make or break your hotel reservation process:

1. Determine Whether a Hotel is Right for Your Trip

The very first step is determining whether you want to make hotel reservations at all. In this day and age, there are a wide variety of options for overnight accommodations other than hotels. At the outset of your trip planning process, you should consider these alternate possibilities:

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Things You Must Do Planning For a Road Trip

25 Things You Must Do When Planning A Long Road Trip

Even a short road trip requires a certain amount of planning. At minimum, you need to figure out where you are going and how you will get there. You need to  know what to pack and how to finance the trip. Even if you tend to play vacations by ear, you at least need to decide when you are leaving.

Long road trips, such as the year long travel of our Poker Pilgrimage, require even more substantial travel planning. Travel lasting more than a couple of weeks requires addressing myriad issues. What will you do with your mail? How will you pay your bills? What sorts of insurance do you need? While not yet having all of the answers, we are currently working to generate the right questions.

Early Stage Road Trip Planning 

Itinerary

Every journey first requires a travel plan. When will you leave? Where will you go? How long will you be gone? Planning for a year on the road, for example,  is a vastly different task than taking a long weekend. Deciding on your basic journey specifications allows you to consider what else you need to know.

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North Beach Fish Camp in Neptune Beach

The Best Places to Eat in Neptune Beach

Last month was the one year anniversary of our New Orleans dream wedding. As we recently shared, we honored the event with a romantic weekend trip to sunny Atlantic Beach Florida. Atlantic Beach is just steps away from Neptune Beach. While researching our trip, a quick visit to Yelp revealed there were a wide variety of excellent restaurants in Neptune Beach. The number of 4+ star restaurants seemed rare for a beach location. However, the rave reviews fortunately proved correct.

Our Favorite Neptune Beach Restaurants

Poe’s Tavern

On the first day of our stay, we had lunch at Poe’s Tavern. Poe’s is named, of course, after Edgar Allan Poe, who spent some time in the area. The restaurant is large and funky, with the writer’s memorabilia displayed throughout. Do not miss the retro bathroom, where you can listen to one of Poe’s stories while you freshen up. We visited on a beautiful day and chose to sit outside beside a lovely garden. At night, there are fairy lights on the trees, and I imagine the experience is quite magical.

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Throwdown Thursday: Long Flight to Australia

Throwdown Thursday: Can She Handle the Long Flight to Australia?

Paul and I both would really love to visit Australia some day. We would love to tour wineries in the Shiraz valley, snorkel the Great Barrier reef, get up close to a kangaroo or a koala, and visit the vast Australian Outback. And, of course, we would love to play poker in some of Australia’s best poker rooms. If we ever manage this trip, we would probably wrap in a visit to New Zealand along the way. Unfortunately, I do not handle a long flight well. I feel a panic attack coming on at the mere idea of being stuck in a coach class seat for the 23 hours it would take to fly from Boston to Sydney.

Paul: One word….medication. OK, two words…heavy medication. This is why Xanax was given to human kind by the lab gods. You’ll be fine and likely remember very little.

Heather: You know that’s not going to happen. It’s not like I can’t fly normal distances. I’m not flight phobic.  It’s just that the idea of being trapped in a metal box for a 23 hour long flight makes my skin crawl. I mean, can you imagine THE BOREDOM?

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