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.
“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.
June is a big month in my family; not only do my brother and I share a birthday (5 years apart to the day), but Steve’s birthday is a few short days later. We’ve always eschewed birthday presents in exchange for experiences, we’d much rather go do something than rack our brains trying to find that perfect “thing” that we’d likely just buy on our own later. Recent years have found us whitewater rafting the New River Gorge in West Virginia, completing our scuba certification and a night of relaxation at a nearby B&B. We’ve normally stayed close to home for these adventures in order to celebrate with family and friends(June inevitably turns into a month of rolling birthday parties as we have several close friends who celebrate during this month as well); but with Steve having a milestone birthday (one of those that ends in zero) we figured it was time for a bigger birthday adventure.
It’s Saturday morning, 68 degrees with clear blue skies and a light breeze, the first truly gorgeous day of spring and I’m stuck in traffic. Inching our way through D.C.’s notoriously snarled beltway traffic we arrive at our destination 45 minutes late after a 4.5 hour drive. What could prompt me and my friend Katie (of Domestiphobia fame and the only person crazy enough to join me) to drive 8 hours round trip on an absolutely beautiful spring day?
Thoughts of Africa tend to conjure up images of the continent’s iconic wildlife; cheetahs zipping across the plains, a pride of lions stalking a herd of wildebeest, and the unmistakable silhouette of a rhino surveying his territory at sunset. Sadly that last image may soon become more of a memory that a reality due to daily threat rhinos face from poaching. Rhinos are being killed for their horns at an alarming rate, incidences of poaching have risen by more than 300% in the last four years, from 333 in 2010 to more than 1020 animals in 2014. At this rate it is estimated that the rhino population could become extinct within 20 years.
Now just wait a minute, isn’t this a travel blog? Why on Earth is she giving us recipes?
I’ve been toying with the idea of adding a recipe section to this blog for quite some time. I have a full time job, which means I’m a part time traveler. A few big trips a year with a sprinkle of day and weekend trips leaves me at home more often than not. According to my friends I’m fairly decent in the kitchen and I’m always perusing blogs and magazines for new recipes and once in a great while if I’m feeling particularly creative I’ll let my imagination loose and something tasty ends up on my plate. I love to explore a destination through its food and these flavors are often inspiration for what I’m cooking at home.