Girlfriend Getaways: Skiing at Wintergreen Resort,Virginia www.casualtravelist.com

Girlfriend Getaways: Skiing at Wintergreen Resort, Virginia

My friend Heather and I had been talking about a girls getaway for a few months and the stars aligned for an early February trip. We bandied about a few ideas but when she mentioned that she wanted to try her hand at skiing I had the perfect place in mind-Wintergreen Resort.

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Whale Watching in Virginia Beach

“Whale watching in Virginia Beach?”

The looks from my friends were incredulous as I told them about my experience whale watching a few years ago. Every winter, from December to March, several pods of humpback whales migrate from their summer homes of the coast of Maine and Nova Scotia and spend the winter months feeding in the rich waters where the Chesapeake Bay opens into the Atlantic Ocean. Whale sightings have been plentiful and frequent the past few years but despite this,  one of Virginia’s greatest winter experiences remains a secret even to many locals. On a clear but chilly January weekend I brought my friends down to the Virginia Aquarium for a winter wildlife boat trip so they could see the whales for themselves.

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A Winter Weekend in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

“Four score and seven years ago……..”

This famous speech from Abraham Lincoln is the introduction to Gettysburg most of us get in elementary school. Lincoln’s speech and the events that inspired them also inspire many people to visit this area of southern Pennsylvania. With a year round population of only 7,000 people Gettysburg has a staggering 4 million visitors a year with the bulk of them coming in the spring and summer. Winter? Well, that’s another story. On a quick weekend trip in January we practically had Gettysburg to ourselves. No traffic clogging the bucolic country roads and no fighting the crowds at the monuments. A weekend is just long enough to get a taste of Gettysburg, with one day focused on Gettysburg’s past and one day focused on Gettysburg’s present.

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A day of learning at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida-www.casualtravelist.com

A Day of Learning at Big Cat Rescue

Every year during the holidays we head south to Florida, to sunny Tampa where we get to celebrate Christmas with Steve’s family with palm trees and 80 degree weather replacing pine trees and snow. Of course one of my favorite parts of our yearly Florida trip is spending time with my niece Morgan, a super fun kid who is growing up far too fast for my liking. When it came time for our girls’ day adventure we had tons of options, after all Tampa is famous for its white sand beaches and theme parks. This year, our choice was completely up to Morgan and she had one place in mind-Big Cat Rescue.

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10 Things to Do in Hampton, Virginia

I have a confession to make- I often fall into the trap of feeling like I need to jet off to some far flung destination to truly feel like I’ve traveled neglecting some hidden gems that are literally right under my nose. So when a friend told me I needed to check out Hampton, a mere 30 minutes from my home in Virginia Beach, I was intrigued. What I found was an under-the-radar town that has played a pivotal role in American history, and will find any reason to throw a party along with some seriously good eats. An easy drive from both Virginia Beach and Williamsburg, Hampton is an easy addition to any Coastal Virginia vacation. Here are my recommendations for what to do in Hampton, Virginia. Read More

Primland Resort- A Luxury Retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia

When it comes to travel I’m a woman of varied tastes. Sometimes I’m looking for a romantic getaway with Steve, complete with a beautiful room and spectacular views. Sometimes it’s all about outdoors adventure, whether it’s days spent hiking with stunning vistas as my reward or a leisurely morning exploring the woods on horseback. Sometimes I’m looking for a bit of pampering with an afternoon at the spa followed by a five star meal. Once in a great while I’m lucky to find all of this in one destination, with a stunning location deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia. This is Primland Resort.

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The Brewhouse Inn and Suites-Modern Luxury with a Nod to Milwaukee's Past

The Brewhouse Inn and Suites-Modern Luxury with a Nod to Milwaukee’s Past

It’s no secret that Milwaukee has always been a beer town, so on a recent visit I couldn’t pass up staying at a hotel that started out at as a brewery. But this wasn’t just any brewery, this was the Pabst brewery, at one time the biggest brewery in the world; and this wasn’t just any hotel, it was the Brewhouse Inn and Suites which turned out to be one of the most unique city hotels I’ve ever stayed at.

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Small Town Cool in Fredericksburg, Virginia www.casualtravelist.com

Small Town Cool in Fredericksburg, Virginia

Fredericksburg has long drawn visitors for its history; as the boyhood home to George Washington and host to several Civil War battlefields where Southern grit and Northern ideals clashed. If history and antique shops are your thing there’s still plenty of that here but the past few years have brought a renewed energy to this small town. I’d been hearing a lot about Fredericksburg so on a recent weekend I paid a visit to see what all the buzz was about.

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Why Milwaukee is cooler than you think www.casualtravelist.com

Why Milwaukee is a lot cooler than you think

 

Milwaukee is a town with working class roots, that made working class things and working class beer. Like many industrial cities the last few decades took a bit of a toll but Milwaukee. Industrial giants crumbled and took parts of the city with them, but they never took Milwaukee’s spirit. Laverne and Shirley schlemiel and schlemazeled their way through the city and Harley-Davidson produced an American icon here. I have extended family who live nearby who have been telling me for years what a fun town Milwaukee is and it was high time I see what the buzz is about.

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One Great Weekend: What to do in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee brings to mind images of beer barons and motorcycles, the Fonz and a couple of girls named Laverne and Shirley just looking to do it their way. This city on the shore of Lake Michigan is shedding its industrial image and showing its creative side. Milwaukee has always been a city of makers, only now instead of leather and car parts you’ll find craft breweries and independent boutiques while a new crop of innovative chefs is out to prove that Wisconsin’s culinary scene is more than just brats and cheese curds(though you should most definitely get your fill of both while in town). This city is forging a new path but stays true to its roots,here are my recommendations for what to do in Milwaukee.

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