Tips for your First Hot Air Balloon Ride www.casualtravelist.com

Tips for your First Hot Air Balloon Ride

With a combination of romance and adventure, a hot air balloon ride is at the top of many bucket lists. I recently had the chance to take to the skies for my first hot air balloon experience with Balloon AZ in Phoenix, Arizona; and floating above the Sonoran Desert is hands down one of the coolest adventures I’ve had. The hot air balloon experience is magical, thrilling and surreal; completely unlike any other flight adventure out there. Here are a few tips to make sure your first hot air balloon ride is a walk in the clouds.

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3 Meals:Where to eat in Washington DC www.casualtravelist.com

3 Meals: Where to Eat in Washington DC

With some of the hottest restaurants in the country, a dizzying variety of cuisines and good food at every price point there has never been a better time for a foodie to visit Washington DC. One of the most frustrating things for visitors is matching up a tasty meal with sightseeing. Diners in DC are spoiled for choice but if hunger strikes after you’ve hiked the 2 miles of the National Mall it’s nice to know what’s tasty nearby. For this reason I’ve lined up some of my favorite wallet friendly and mid-range dining options in the district as well as including what major tourist sites are nearby. Check out some of my recommendations for where to eat in Washington DC.

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Horseback Riding at Rusty Spurr Ranch in Colorado www.casualtravelist.com

Cowboy Up: Horseback Riding at the Rusty Spurr Ranch in Colorado

Wide open spaces, snow capped mountains and groves of aspen trees; there’s no doubting the beauty of Colorado’s landscapes. The best way to view Colorado’s stunning scenery? By horseback of course. Seeking an authentic Colorado horse experience I made my way to the Rusty Spurr Ranch.

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The Maven Hotel: Mile High Style in Denver, Colorado

The Maven Hotel: Mile High Style in Denver, Colorado

Choosing the right city hotel  can be a bit like finding the holy grail.I like a hotel that puts me within easy walking distance to major sights and restaurants, a comfortable room, friendly staff and a touch of personality. In Denver’s LoDo district there is a hotel where style, service and comfort blend seamlessly.

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A Luxury Desert Oasis at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale

When it comes to luxurious weekend getaways it’s hard to top Scottsdale, Arizona. Red rock mountains meet azure blue skies, and the Old West meets high style. Minutes from desert adventure and home to some of the best spas in the world, it’s here that I found a luxury desert oasis at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale.

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Commune-Where to Eat in Virginia Beach www.casualtravelist.com

3 Meals:Where to Eat in Virginia Beach

By far the most frequent question I get from family, friends and readers is about where to eat in Virginia Beach. In recent years the culinary scene has really taken off and really there has never been a more exciting time to eat in the Resort City.  Inspired by the bounty of the Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay and rich coastal farmlands a handful of creative chefs and down-home cooks have made Virginia Beach a truly great dining destination. Here are my recommendations for where to eat in Virginia Beach. Read More

25 Tips for Your First Trip to Washington DC www.casualtravelist.com

25 Tips for your First Trip to Washington DC.

Once known best for monuments and museums, the White House and the Capitol; Washington DC has shed it’s formerly buttoned up reputation to become one of the most dynamic cities in the country.  A visit to the American capital today finds eclectic neighborhoods, an ever-changing roster of cultural events and one of the most exciting food scenes in the world. Here are a few tips to help plan your first trip to Washington DC.

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Exploring Mexico's History at the National Museum of Anthropology www.casualtravelist.com

Exploring Mexico’s History at the National Museum of Anthropology

I have to admit museums can be hit or miss for me. When I’m in one of the world’s great cities it takes a lot for me to dedicate a few hours to a museum when I could be out exploring. While researching what I should do in Mexico City more than a few people, including some of the most well-traveled bloggers I know as well as some locals I met, recommended that I make a stop at the National Museum of Anthropology my interest was piqued. I expected to learn about Mexico’s pre-Hispanic cultures. but what I found here was so much more than your typical museum. With a location in Mexico Citys Chapultepec Park, a strikingly modern exterior, and a collection of artifacts far beyond my imagination; Mexico’s National Museum of Anthropology deserves a place among the world’s great museums.

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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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