Friday, December 29, 2017

Las Vegas at Christmas

Earlier in December, we took a trip to Las Vegas. Last year, we went to Disney World in December, so my Christmas decoration expectations were high. A lot of the Vegas resorts have at least some Christmas decorations, though some have a lot more than others. I was there during the National Rodeo Finals, so most resorts were playing country music, but I assume they switched to Christmas music after the rodeo ended. It definitely didn't feel like Christmas in Nevada though, it was about 75 and sunny every day! I didn't even see a cloud the entire week!

This was my second time in Vegas, and we stayed at the Wynn this time (Venetian last time), and we loved it! The atmosphere and service are just incredible! While the Venetian was nice, we weren't blown away like at the Wynn.  I plan to only stay at the Wynn in the future. The Wynn also had some of the best decorations:


The Bellagio also went all out with decorations. The Bellagio gardens were beautiful! A lot of the stores also had trees, like Tiffanys:

Caesars also decorated their Lobby for Christmas (but I didn't see many decorations elsewhere):

Same with the Palazzo:

Finally, I had to get a shot of this tree at the southwest check-in at the airport.. I can't wait till Southwest flies to Hawaii! Unless flights don't start by then, we will be going back to Hawaii for Christmas 2018!!!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Last weekend we took a trip to Kentucky to tour the distilleries along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. We went to four around the Lexington area: Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, Wild Turkey, and Woodford Reserve.

Buffalo Trace is not technically part of the official trail (though I'm not sure why), but was our favorite of the four. The tour is free and first-come first-served and includes a tasting, and the grounds are beautiful and it is designated as a national historic place.



Four roses was under construction so we did not do the full tour, but we did the tasting. As a bonus, they let you keep the glass! We didn't spend as much time here but I'd like to go back when the tour is available again. This one had more of a spanish-inspired theme in the buildings and decor. Also, I had no idea that V-J Day in Times Square photo has a Four Roses ad in the background!


We stopped at Wild Turkey, but did not do the tour or the tasting. The setting is much more industrial and did not have the visual appeal of the others, though they do have a very new looking visitors center, with a beautiful back patio and view, which might be nice to visit when the weather is nicer.

Finally, we went to Woordford Reserve the second day. We would have liked to go the first day, but you have to make a reservation ahead of time and all of the spots were taken when we looked the day before. This was our second favorite, though the tour is $15 a person, which was the most expensive of the four. 

I'm already looking forward to our next trip! I'd definitely visit Buffalo Trace and Woodford again, but I want to check out the Louisville area distilleries too. There is also a Craft Bourbon Trail with smaller distilleries.

"Keep your friends close, and your bourbon closer" -old Kentucky proverb

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


A few months ago I went on an Alaskan cruise through Celebrity cruises on the Celebrity Infinity. I had been one a Royal Caribbean cruise in the Caribbean a few years ago aboard the Allure of the Seas, which is a much larger ship. That cruise was fun but it was more about the ship than the destination. The infinity is a smaller ship but it was still amazing! We had three ports of call: Sitka, Juneau, and Ketchikan and stopped at Hubbard glacier. Sitka was definitely my favorite but there were good things about the others too! We got extremely lucky with the weather too, it only rained while we were in Ketchikan and it was 60 or 70 every day and we didn't really need the winter clothes we brought.

Sitka is beautiful, and we saw a ton of bald eagles. We also went to the bear sanctuary there (Fortress of the Bear), but my phone died so I don't have any pictures, but I'd highly recommend it.




The views around Hubbard glacier were spectacular:



Juneau is the capital of Alaska but it is a pretty small town. We did a whale watching excursion with Dophin Boat Jet Tours (they are awesome, and one of the only ones not associated with a cruise line) and saw five or six humpback whales, we even got to see one of them jump fully out of the water! We also saw some sea lions and eagles.


Ketchikan seemed like it was mostly centered around being a shopping port and we didn't opt for any excursions here but we did find a pretty trail close to the port

The cruise itself was a great time too. We got a free beverage package with our cruise and I don't think I'd ever cruise without one again. Having unlimited food and drinks allowed us to try so many different things, plus the bartenders and our dinner staff were great. It would have been nice to have some food available late night though. On our past cruise, the pizza place was open 24 hours a day, and on this ship, everything was closed after midnight.




I'd love to go back and do a cruise tour to Denali from Anchorage. Maybe someday.

"To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world" -John Muir

Monday, November 13, 2017

Ft Myers

Recently we took a trip to southwest Florida to help friends with a condo renovation. While it was a very rainy weekend, the lighting was great for photos and gave us plenty of time to get all the work done. 

Dinner at Pete's Time Out. This is a fun, relaxed spot near Ft. Myers beach. Most restaurants in the area were closed due to all of the rain but this one was open and had live music.

Coconut shrimp and another beachy drink at Coconut Jack's in Bonita Springs

 "Waitress, I need two more boat drinks" -Jimmy Buffet