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What To Do During A Weekend In Connecticut

While most people don’t venture to Connecticut for a vacation as such, many readers might find themselves stopping off there for a few days during a long US trip. So, it seemed like a good idea to offer an insight into the New England state and some tips and tricks about what to do while you’re there. It’s a beautiful place with lots of attractions that are guaranteed to keep everyone entertained. You’ll encounter cliche New England weather and welcoming faces at every turn. With that in mind, use this guide to ensure you don’t overlook anything significant.

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Finding the best accommodation

There are thousands of hotels and places to stay in Connecticut, and so you just need to use a booking app on your smartphone to find the best deals. The Econo Lodge Inn and Suites Airport is always a top choice for people who need to rest their head as soon as they arrive. However, most of the hotels in the state meet high standards, and so you just need to read some reviews to sort the wheat from the chaff. Just bear in mind that Connecticut is a large place, and so you’ll probably want to hire a car if you arrived via a plane. While there is excellent public transport available, getting from A to B is much easier when you have a vehicle to use.

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Finding the best food

It’s always sensible to ask the staff at your hotel for local restaurant recommendations because Connecticut has some fantastic eateries. The issue is that most of them are dotted around different parts of the state. That is why some local knowledge is going to come in handy. There are also lots of street food vendors around during the evening time if you spend a few hours near districts with lots of pubs and bars. Just make sure you don’t overlook places like The Capital Grille, Millwright’s, and ON20. You’ll also want to stop off at one of the many cafes each morning to get a full American breakfast.

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Finding something to occupy your time

When it comes to attractions, Connecticut has much more than most people think, and it’s budget-friendly. For that reason, it’s always wise to perform some online research before you plan to arrive. However, the following list of places should point you in the right direction:

  • The Mystic Seaport
  • The Mystic Aquarium
  • Gillette Castle State Park
  • Mark Twain House
  • Lake Compounce
  • Submarine Force Library and Museum
  • Beardsley Zoo
  • Connecticut Science Center

 

Now you know how to have a brilliant time in Connecticut, nothing should stand in your way. As mentioned at the start of this post, it’s not the most popular vacation destination in the world, but it does offer a rare insight into New England culture and history. So, if you have interest in the way our country came into being, or even if you just want a relaxing few days away from the grind, Connecticut is an excellent choice. Just make sure you take a camera because you’re going to encounter many photograph opportunities!

 

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My Bucket List of Things To Do In Colorado

 

I have been to several parts of the US but I have not visited Colorado yet. Colorado is one of the places I want to visit someday. If there is one thing in my  travel bucket list that I am most excited about, that is to have the opportunity to stay in any of the Colorado vacation rentals like those fancy chalets or log cabins in any of the famous ski resorts in Colorado. I will tell you why. Read on.

The state of Colorado is a mountainous region. It is part of the Western and Southern United States, and the Mountain States.

Colorado boasts so many majestic slopes that are perfect for winter activities. It is home to many rich and famous celebrities and prominent figures in society. And I am not surprised why. Colorado just screams opulent living, scenic winter vistas, beautiful ski resorts, and winter activities that will tingle your spine! And because of that, I created my own bucket list of things to do in Colorado.

 

Do Ice-climbing in Ouray Ice Park

The Ouray Ice Park is a man-made climbing attraction in a natural gorge in Ouray, Colorado.  If you are an avid ice climber then this place is a great recreational destination for you. I have not tried any ice climbing in my life, let alone rock-climbing but I added this place in my bucket list because I want the challenge. Maybe you need that kind of challenge too!

 

Check out the rock formations in the Garden of the Gods

A lot may not know this (unless you live in Colorado) but Colorado has an interesting and diverse geography.  Some parts are mountainous, while others have arid plains and deserts, big sand dunes, plenty of lakes and rivers, lush forests, and interesting rock formations like the ones you will find in the Garden of the Gods.

I enjoy looking at nature. While I may not be the best camper out there, I am willing to let go of my fussiness to be able to view this natural beauty with my own eyes. I have seen numerous photos of this natural park but I know, seeing the rock formation in person will still be a good choice than settling for photos in the magazines or travel sites.

The rock formations in the Garden of the Gods are sedimentary red, pink, and white sandstones, limestones, and conglomerate formations left in the park by the natural uplift of the Rocky Mountains, and Pike Peaks massif movements.

There is one very famous rock formation in the park that is worthy of a great photo-op – the Balanced Rock which is a fountain formation.

I want to see this particular one and a photo-op standing next to it will be the cherry on top of the icing in my Gardens of the Gods visit.

Photo credit: https://en.wikipedia.org

 

Experience a weekend in any of the luxurious villas, log cabins or chalets in any ski resort

I am a budget traveler. I try to stick to a rigid budget as much as I can but once in a while, I do splurge. Staying in any of the luxurious villas, log cabins or chalets in any of the ski resort in Colorado is definitely in my bucket list.

I would prefer a lodging for us with a panoramic window so I can see the view outside right away. Nothing beats the beauty of nature’s charm.

Photo credit: https://www.luxuryretreats.com/

 

I have seen plenty of photos of vacation rentals in Colorado, especially the ones at the mountain areas. I just love the idea of waking up in the middle of a lush vegetation with a view of the snow-capped mountain to complete my morning.

I also love winter time. I want to feel how it is to sit by the fireplace and sip a hot chocolate to cap my relaxation. And of course, a weekend in any of these types of accommodation with my family will be a perfect getaway for us.

 

Learn how to ski

I am not an extreme sports kind of person but every now and then, there is a dream that I want to fulfill and that is to learn how to ski. I am terrified of speed so a beginner’s lesson will suffice. I just want to be able to enjoy the snow’s powdery texture against my ski while I glide on a less challenging terrain in one of the many ski resorts in Colorado.

Colorado has plenty of ski resorts for the family to visit and enjoy. Vail is one of the famous ski resorts in the whole of Colorado. Many famous celebrities spend some of their quality time here to be away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Aside from being the magnet of the rich and famous, it is also known as the biggest mountain resort in the world. It is not as high as other mountain resorts but it boasts of good snowfall that will never disappoint the avid skier. It is also home to some of the best terrains in Colorado so you can expect an exhilarating ski experience whether you are a beginner or a skiing pro.

Another famous ski resort worthy of your time is the Breckenridge . It has well-groomed runs through the trees. It also has high alpine bowls that you can access with a ski lift. This place will make the advanced skier thrilled because of its elevation. There are also nice restaurants at the base of Peak 7 where you can dine after a long ski adventure.

 

Visit the Mesa Verde National Park

Photo credit: https://www.nps.gov

 

I have a thing for history. I like checking out ruins, and the Mesa Verde National Park is teeming with interesting finds like the Cliff Palace, the Balcony, Spruce Dwelling, and the Long House. All these are just few of the more than hundreds of cliff dwellings in the Mesa Verde National Park in Montezuma County, Colorado.

The Mesa Verde National Park has been named as one of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites due to its exceptional archaeological finds. You can drive through the park on certain period too.

 

There are many more things to do in my bucket list for Colorado. These are the top of the activities I want to fulfill while I am able. Do you have a bucket list too?

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Review – Tuscany Suites and Casino in Las Vegas

 

The last time we were in Las Vegas was 2009. My family and my hubby’s cousin and family stayed in Excalibur Hotel which is situated near the famous MGM Hotel. And after 8 years, here we are again and this time with my dear Auntie.

My husband arranged for this short trip and he booked us in Tuscany Suites and Casino near The Strip. It is reminiscent from those beautiful villas in some Italian village with fine stucco finish. The Tuscany Suites and Casino is exactly that, a beautiful big villa with clusters of other sleeping quarters in a compound.

 

What I like:

The room we have booked is a Junior Suite. The room was very spacious with two full double beds. It is huge!

The big room has a sofa or seating quarters, and a kitchenette with a decent dining table and chairs.

(I took this photo standing from the edge of the bed and the room is really huge!)

 

The sofa doubled as a sleeping bed for my husband.

The welcome note on the TV screen. Not all hotels we have booked in the past, even the most new and modern had welcome notes as you enter.

The beds are super comfortable. I slept like a baby!

Our room has a nice view. I can see the winding alley that leads to other sleeping quarters, the main hotel building, and the pool area.

 

It is a quite hotel.

There are ice vending machines in our floor.

There is an in-house casino.

There is a restaurant, a coffee shop and even a souvenir shop inside the hotel.

There are ample parking spaces for visitors and they are free.

The location is great and there are plenty of souvenir shops nearby.  The Strip is also walking distance from the hotel if you feel like walking.

Free wifi, and fast connection too.

It is very near McCarran Airport.

The food in the Tuscany Gardens restaurant is really good!

The bathroom is clean. The bathroom is very spacious, and the toilet is enclosed. The bathroom basin is huge too. I could wash my clothes there. Just kidding but all in all, everything is just spacious!

 

The lobby area and the beautiful passage between sleeping blocks. 

 

What I don’t like:

 

The main hotel and different from the Casino entrance although they are connected. You have to park near the main entrance of the hotel so you don’t have to walk much  towards the concierge, especially if you have luggages. We didn’t realize there were 2 main entrances so we parked in the entrance which was the Casino entrance. We had to carry our luggages back to the car and drive of to the other parking area nearest to the main hotel’s lobby.

There are several building blocks for sleeping quarters. You have to walk outside to reach the main hotel. It’s not a long walk though and passing by the nice alley behind several sleeping quarters is really not that cumbersome. I just thought it would be nice to just have all the sleeping quarters in one area. But hey, this is just my opinion. The whole compound where the Tuscany Suites and Casino is really a quiet and relaxing one.

And before I forget, it didn’t appeal to me that they don’t have any microwave so we could heat our food.

 

Nearby attractions:

Howard Hughes Center
The Bellagio
LINQ Promenade
Flamingo Wildlife Habitat
The Monorail the plies around the Strip
Outlet malls nearby

 

My recommendation: 4 out of 5

I would have given this beautiful, clean, and homey hotel if it wasn’t for the main hotel’s entrance confusion, I would be happy to give this hotel my five star rating.

I highly recommend this property if you are heading to Las Vegas and you want a quiet place to relax, and still have a good time when you want to. The location is perfect for us. You can walk or take a drive to the Strip if you like because it is just around the corner from this hotel.

 

The Tuscany Suites and Casino is located at 255 East Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, NV 89169, United States of America.

If you’re looking for hotels in Las Vegas or in other parts of Nevada, you may find more hotels and fabulous deals too from:

Booking.com

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Things To Do Deep In The Heart Of Texas

The Southern states in America have such a wide range of culture that it is hard to chose where to go. New Mexico has Spanish colonial architecture with a Hispanic culture. California is mostly associated with Hollywood, but it has roots in the cultures of Spain, Asia, Mexico, and the Eastern United States. But the one state you should really try to visit is the Lone Star State. Texas is a big area – about the size of most of Europe – so you’re better off choosing one city to explore during your visit. Here are a few hot destinations to help you narrow down your choices.

 

Austin

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If you’re a fan of music, Austin is a great place to tick off your bucket list as it’s the live music capital of the world; there are roughly 200 live music venues that you can catch a show at pretty much any day at any time, either at popular venues like the Moody Theatre, or downtown in hole-in-the-wall bars like The Continental Club on South Congress. Austin is also home to the largest urban population of bats in North America, estimated at 1.5 million bats. Each night, from mid-March to November, the bats emerge from under the Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk to blanket the sky as they head out to forage for food. Surprisingly, it’s become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Texas.

 

Mt Pleasant & Titus Country

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See the naturally beautiful side of Texas at Mt Pleasant & Titus Country. The pristine lakes, mountains, and preserved nature trails get visitors away from the hustle and bustle of city life that some have come to associate with Texas. Starting your day at magnificent hotels like the Super 8 Mount Pleasant, you could choose to go down to the lakes and indulge in some fishing, sunbathing, swimming, or hiking, or you could book a visit to Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards. Here, you can enjoy even more spectacular views, an extensive Tapas menu, and during the late summer you are welcome to join in the fun of harvesting the grapes. Mt Pleasant is also known for its great fresh produce, which you can buy at the local farmer’s market. It’s just the kind of country retreat that the doctor ordered.

 

Houston

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A vibrant culture scene awaits anyone who makes a stop in Houston; not only is it home to the NASA Johnson Space Center, but so many fascinating museums that you probably won’t see anywhere else. The Houston Museum of Natural Science is the closest you’ll get to visiting Jurassic Park, especially since when you see features like the Stegosaurus and a gigantic T-Rex in the 30,000-square-foot Hall of Paleontology. Houston also caters to even the most eclectic fashion senses, with clothing stores that specialise in authentic, vintage cowboy boots, as well as stores that feature designer labels like Lanvin, Stella McCartney and Valentino.

All the places in Texas offer a unique experience, so try ticking a few off your bucket list.  

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Our US Summer Vacation 2017

Posted in personal, US trip, USA, vacation
on September 5, 2017

I told myself that I will not travel during summer time because it is very difficult to deal with the heat especially if I am already coming from a very hot and humid country. Last year, we also spent a brief summer vacation in the US, and this time again, we decided to stay in Riverside at my aunt’s place for almost two weeks. And yes, I travelled again this summer.

I am not sure why harsh weather conditions follow us. If you are following my blog, you’ll know we were stuck in New York for few days during Hurricane Sandy, and this time around, there was a heat wave during the whole time we were in LA. There was also Hurricane Katrina but it was in Texas. US is so big that you don’t feel the adverse weather conditions in Texas if you are in California because it was just hot, hot, hot! However, hubby and I still had fun with our relatives and friends in California. It was like a mini-reunion of sorts of family and friends from Dubai who are now in the US.

The vacation as a whole is really fun. We got to treat our dear Aunt to Las Vegas. It isn’t the first time for us to visit Las Vegas so there was certainly not walking along The Strip at night due to the very hot weather. We just stayed in the hotel most of the time, drove to Hoover Dam, played at the casino, and relaxed in the room.

The entire vacation was really what I wanted except for the weather. It would have been the perfect get-away it if wasn’t for the heat wave. I hope, the next vacation will be this Thanksgiving. It will be nice to celebrate it with family and friends.

Until next vacation!

 

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Beyond Orlando: Non-Theme Park Attractions In Florida

Posted in travel, travel guide, travel ideas, travel tips, US, US trip, USA
on July 31, 2017

Families and young people usually love traveling to Florida for one big reason; the theme parks in Orlando. Whether it’s Disney World or Harry Potter World, Orlando is a global attraction for fans of all ages. But there is more to Florida than thrilling rides and taking selfies with your favorite characters. Of course, there is nothing wrong with going to Florida purely to spend a few days in Universal Studios, or any of the other theme parks, but it would be a shame to miss out on all it has to offer.

 

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Hang out in the resort

It might seem a bit redundant to go somewhere new and just hand out in the resort, but sometimes staying in a resort is a vacation in and of itself. A resort differs from a hotel in that it attempts to provide for most of its guests’ needs on its premises; check out Resorts & Lodges to see what they can offer for your break from reality. Resorts typically not only offer lodging but also food, drink, sports, entertainment, and shopping onsite. There are many different types of resorts, from spa, golf, and ski resorts, to luxury and all-inclusive facilities. This is perfect if your aim is just to relax and recharge, but if you want to explore the sights, you’ll have to leave the premises.

Explore shipwrecks

If you want to venture off the beaten path, you can’t venture much further than America’s most remote and least visited National Park, Dry Tortugas. Juan Ponce de Leon first stumbled upon this stretch of islands in 1513. It served as a shipping point soon after, but it was also the site of hundreds of shipwrecks. Fort Jefferson was built on the site in 1800, but it was abandoned in 1874, and was registered by President Roosevelt as a National Park in 1935. The park can only be reached by boat or seaplane, but the wrecks are magnificent sites to see while snorkeling.

Kennedy Space Centre

Whether you’re a history or science buff, or you used to dream of going to space when you were a kid, the Kennedy Space Centre is worth visiting while you’re in Florida. The Centre is around 140,000 acres, but fortunately you are taken on a tour by bus. You could even get tickets for the scheduled rocket launches if you want to experience that first hand. Who knows, maybe if you bring your kids with you they’ll be inspired to become an astronaut.

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Duval Street, Key West

Duval Street, found at the end of the Key West islands, is best known for its Caribbean charms and beautifully renovated buildings. With bars and pubs lining the streets, music of all genres spills out onto the sidewalk, inviting you to come on in and kick up your heels. Be sure to stop at the Green Parrot Bar, a legendary dive bar which has been drawing in crowds since it opened in the late 1890s.

What will you discover in Florida?

 

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Experience The Wild Side Of North Carolina

From the Appalachian mountains in the west to the rugged coastline of the east, North Carolina is a state of extremes and well worth exploring. Whichever season that you choose to visit, North Carolina will provide you with the most stunning vistas. The active holidaymaker has a wealth of options at their disposal including hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding or deep sea fishing to name but a few. If you’re after a vacation that will see you experiencing the joys of nature, take a look at these ideas that will get you experiencing the wild side of North Carolina.

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Walking Is The Best Mode Of Transport

There is no better way to experience the clean, fresh air of this southern state than to walk. Not only does this save you money but you get to venture into areas that are inaccessible by vehicle. Some of the hikes aren’t for faint hearted. You’ll need a solid pair of walking boots and an above average level of fitness to complete some of the challenging trails. Make sure you do your research beforehand and choose the walk that is right for you.

Embark on a hike within the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and you’ll venture through oak forests with an abundance of flora and fauna. You’ll have the chance to spot wildlife native to the area, and at the end of your hike, you’ll be rewarded with the most incredible view of Blue Ridge Parkway waterfalls.

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Ocean Air

If the sea scented air is more your style, you could choose to hoist yourself up onto your trusty stallion and, depending on your level of skill, take a gentle wander down the beach or a thrill inducing gallop along the sand. There can’t be many life experiences that are more romantic than sunset horse ride along the coast.

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City Life

Although you’re keen to experience the lush forests, the historic national parks, and the striking mountain ranges, you need to think about where you will be basing yourself. For some of your vacation, it’s wise to think about resting your weary bones at a Comfort Inn based in town. This way, you’ll have a range of useful amenities on your doorstep and won’t be stuck for supplies, as well as being able to venture out into the wilds.

Don’t forget, within the more populated areas there are still some awesome sites of natural beauty. Airlie Gardens consists of a peaceful lake, giant oaks and seemingly neverending acres of relaxing walking opportunities. If you’re after something a little more laid back while still being outdoors, it’s a good idea to check out the green spaces that the town and cities have to offer.

 

So forget the lure of NYC and opt for the more adventurous NC to get your fix of the outdoor lifestyle. Pack your waterproofs, hiking boots, and rugged camera and start planning your trip to the beautiful state of North Carolina.

 

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