After an unusually cold and snowy winter it was the end of February before we finally had some sun. A day trip would be the antidote to my cabin fever and the Outer Banks, being only a 90 minute drive away, would be a perfect destination. I love wildlife experiences and have traveled as far as Alaska and Costa Rica but only recently have I started to find out more about the fauna in my own backyard. With this in mind I went in search of the Outer Bank’s most famous residents, the wild horses. Known as “Banker Ponies”, these small shaggy horses have been a fixture on the islands for nearly 500 years. They’re thought to be descended from Spanish mustangs that survived shipwrecks off the coast of North Carolina known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic”. Other theories posit that the horses were survivors of failed English settlements in North Carolina.
After spending several days exploring the imperial grandeur of Vienna it was time for some fresh air and green spaces. I love to explore the countryside and small towns in Europe, so when looking a day trip options from Vienna Melk and the Wachau Valley (pronounced Va-how) looked like a perfect fit. Quaint villages, an incredibly picturesque church, wineries and the opportunity to cycle along one of Europe’s most storied rivers? I was in.
I don’t often travel for business but when a recent conference brought me to Atlanta I jumped at the chance to stay at the InterContinental. Located by a 5 minute walk to the MARTA in the upscale Buckhead area of Atlanta the InterContinental is convenient to some of Atlanta’s top restaurants and a quick train ride to downtown. After a seamless check in I headed upstairs to my corner suite. The spacious room was decorated in a tasteful palette of neutrals highlighted with pops of orange and the curtains revealed a great view of Georgia’s monolithic Stone Mountain.As you would expect in a hotel of this caliber the bedding was plush and luxurious. I liked the pillows so much I checked to see what brand they were so I could get some for home! The bathroom also didn’t disappoint with a huge soaking tub, glass steam shower, plenty of counter space and marble throughout.
The new year is a time to reflect on the year past and contemplate our dreams for the months ahead. 2013 was the first year I felt I had both feet firmly entrenched in adulthood. As a thirty something woman I feel like I’ve advanced to the next stage in life, I’ve got a wonderful marriage, most of my friends have started families and as an old high school friend put it “I really don’t feel like I have as much in common with the people just coming out of college”(I still haven’t accepted that the 1990’s were over 10 years ago!). I’ve been asked to speak as an expert in my profession as well as asked to write about my passion by a national travel magazine. 2013 was also the year I watched Alzheimer’s slowly take more of my mother until her passing in early December. I feel as though I emotionally aged 20 years in the last 5 weeks of her life.What Alzheimer’s never claimed was her bright smile and her love of family. The death of someone close always makes you examine what’s important and what you’d really like to accomplish.