After spending a night in Virginia Beach ………I manned up and got back on the bike to head to South Carolina. We ended up losing some time due to a wrong turn after lunch. So what would have been a 5 hour trip turned into more like 7.5 hours and my toosh was on fire!!!!
Sitting on that bike in the back is not an easy task —–you have to hold on without pulling on the driver, you can’t fidget too much and you have to hold yourself every time a bump comes up. But that is just when your riding on back roads—-it changes when you end up on an interstate highway……….then it gets real!!! The wind from the 18 wheelers is no joke and the mountains and curves add its challenges but nothing like metal debris from cars…….talk about scary.
I have managed to keep my cool and stay calm as much as I can—I think I have only pulled on Dave’s belt rings twice but it was pretty scary being between two 18 wheelers….my toosh continues to get tougher but the pain is still there only now instead of it feeling like I am sitting on porcupine needles it feels more like smooth stones and GOD almighty everytime we hit a bump I want to pull on David’s shirt. Obviously, that would not go over too well.
I have learned to jump up with the bumps and hold it until we are over the bump this has helped somewhat —my legs are getting stronger 🙂
I also learned that using ICY HOT Roll on on my toosh and lower back alleviates some of the pain.
As if traveling on a motorcycle not enough of an adventure—-we went up to SkyBridge……….WOW!!! If you want to do a pilgrimage and feel like you are touching GOD then this is the place to do it! Just be ready to sit on ski lift that will take you up to the mountain then once there you will need to go up higher by walking up stairs ———–be sure to stop and take a deep breath and enjoy the view once you are up there.
You will need that breath as you begin to walk on that bridge which by the way is suspended being rocked as people are walking on it and once you get to the middle of it —the wood flooring turns into clear glass so you can see how high you truly are. But remember to look up towards the mountain and you will see GOD smiling and you will feel like you and him have just high fived each other. I was scared, I was sweating, my heart was beating and my eyes tearing and I kept thinking about my grandmother. Afterwards David and I enjoyed an adult beverage before taking the ski lift back down.
Our journey has taken us to North Carolina, North Myrtle Beach, SC, Rock Hill, SC, back to North Carolina by Blue Ridge Mountain and now into Gatlinburg, TN. The people are extremely nice and everyone is happy and very optimistic. It has been a breath of fresh air—-Stay tuned —-not sure where we are off to tomorrow.
One of my joys as mom to adult children is to meet up with them for a meal. With John attending Rowan University —it was his suggestion to meet up at local favorite in the town of Pitman. The Merryman’s Pub is located in the downtown area and what we found was so inviting! The love and dedication that was put into repurposing the once National Bank that serviced the locals more than a 100 years ago is evident once you drive up to it!
This building features a historical architecture on the outside complemented with a warm trendy inside. As if the building wasn’t enough this place boasts a variety of foods for the foodie in everyone one of us. Whether you are choosing from their signature sandwiches Pickle Fried Chicken the Cubano Americano or maybe you are more interested in the Guinness & Short Rib Pot Pie. They host a speciality of different types of fries with even a basket of GLUTEN FREE Fries….
Outside of the food they have a full bar with many different types of cocktails, beer and wine. To end your meal make sure you try one of their desserts. What makes this place such a pleasant and unforgettable experience is that the two owners made it their joy to bring this beautiful building back to life for the community. One of the owner’s Vito is also the owner of two other restaurants just steps away from this one. Their vision and commitment to the community made it even more special for us to visit and dine there. We enjoy supporting local businesses and we hope that you will take time to stop and check this place out for yourself if you are visiting in NJ.
We recently visited Texas even before we landed in Dallas —–David and I knew there were some things we wanted to see and experience besides just the Cowboys game on Thanksgiving Day. After getting our rental car —we headed to the hotel which was located not too far from the airport.
On our way to the hotel —I could hear David asking Siri about a place that we could visit watching the cattle walk down the street….I giggled as I drove because in my mind I kept thinking David may have dreamt this and now is asking Siri to find it. LOL.
We got our room and settled in and decided to go and grab some food —we found a cute steakhouse grill in a store plaza heading towards the AT&T Stadium. It was a great afternoon meal accompanied with some driving around Arlington near the stadium trying to figure what was near and around.
We asked a few different people about cattle walking in the streets and no one seemed to know what David was speaking about. That night he continued to search in hopes of locating what he was confident was in Texas. Before he laid down to rest —he muttered “I know I have seen something on this —I am not making it up.”
The next day we woke up with no real set plans other than to find the cattle David continued to look and search. I realized that part of our interest in visiting Dallas was not only to be present on Thanksgiving Day for the Cowboys football game but also to visit the stadium. Quickly David called to get tickets to our amazement —everything was sold out and the only two spots open were in an hour and VIP tickets. Without hesitation–David booked it and off we went to the stadium.
The tour of the stadium was amazing! To say that its big is an understatement —you have to experience the size of the building inside and out. You have to learn about the enormous undertaking Jerry Jones went through to accomplish this project. Whether you are a Cowboys fan or not —if you are ever in Dallas or near —this is one of those things that you might want to schedule some time to experience. Trust us you will not be disappointed !
After our tour we found that the cattle drive was located about thirty minutes from where we were so we decided to take a drive out that way. As we drove to Fort Worth, David was excited that we would be experiencing this and that he did not dream it ——that it was an actual thing.
Now, Fort Worth Texas is a big city however when you enter the Stockyards you feel like you have taken a step back in time. It is the old west and you are part of it. Great little shops, restaurants and inn along with free entertainment such as the cattle drive and western shoot out. The cattle drive happens two times in the day at 11am and 4pm. It is a tradition that they continue—they are proud of their strength and drive as Texans.
According to the narrator at the Cattle Drive— after the civil war that area was economically devastated and cattle roamed freely in the south making it almost worthless but in the north cattle had financial worth. So, it was proposed that if the Texans could walk the cattle up to the north they would get $40-$50 per cattle but see the walk would be about 800 miles (nearly the distance between Houston, Texas and Abilene, Kansas). So, Texans were told it can’t be done! Apparently, any time you tell a Texan that something can’t be done…. they will figure out a way. They walked their cattle and needing to rest, eat and drink they stopped in a valley full of green grass and water that being Fort Worth (the Stockyards area). This is how the tradition began —so now they walk the cattle down the center of town as a reminder of the Texan spirit and tenacity they had and continue to demonstrate.
This is definitely a place that we recommend you experience because it is truly beautiful and the spirit can be felt when you are there.
Our first full day in Texas and we were so overjoyed to be experiencing so much! The Texan spirit, the southern charm and the great tasting food. We could not even imagine what more could we experience and see over the next few days.
We decided the next day to drive out to Waco not being too far over an hour and a half depending on the traffic and route you decide to follow —it will bring you to an area that for a long time has had a not so pleasant memory….However, HGTV stars Joanna and Chip Gaines have breathed life back to Waco. The Magnolia Silos Market is tastefully and beautiful located in the downtown area of Waco. You can feel that things are turning upward and I imagine in a few years this part of town will be highly sought out.
You will find a coffee shop, the designing store and several different types of shops and food trucks to experience. They have a little chapel and a small ball field. When you visit the Magnolia you can picture the Gaines family enjoying a day of shopping and family time because children are welcomed and they can play Wiffle ball or a game of corn hole while mom or dad shop.
The next couple of days involved Thanksgiving day tailgating with about 500 strangers and giving thanks right across the stadium with a combination of barbecue and Turkey. The Cowboys vs Raiders game was an amazing tight game that made the day an exceptional day! Cowboys did not win but boy they sure gave it the “Texan Spirit and Tenacity”.
We could not end our trip to a big city like Dallas without being part of the the Van Gogh Immersed Experience. It’s safe to say this was not on David’s list …..LOL!!! It was on mine as was the Magnolia but I can happily say that David enjoyed the Van Gogh Immersed Experience.
Overall this trip to Texas was full of wonder and fun. I think for me the best part was truly getting an opportunity to meet and understand the Texan people and how proud they are of being Americans. Dallas is a melting pot of races, languages and cultures yet they are proud of being Texans, Americans, Football and of worshipping GOD.
If you ever have the time or opportunity to visit this state or the area you will not be disappointed.
We recently had a beautiful afternoon in which we met some of our friends at one of New Jersey’s winery. I am sure that many of you have visited a winery or two but there is something really special about Laurita Winery…..
It is located in New Egypt and it is not near any major highway but getting to it makes you forget that you are in New Jersey. Whether you are driving by car or decide to ride your motorcycle—- it is peaceful and relaxing.
Once you arrive to Laurita you will realize that it is surrounded by a natural landscape and it makes for a beautiful first time date, family celebration or wedding reception.
They offer many events through out the year from regular wine tastings, to Food Truck Events, Comedy Night, Girls Night Out, Wine and Bundt Cakes, Run the Vineyards, Wooden Pumpkin Painting and many more. It is reasonable priced and the wine offers a variety for many palettes. One of their loved one is called The Chocolate Therapy. The Chocolate Therapy is silky, delicate milk chocolate flavor with hints of vanilla and Carmel blended with luscious grape. Pairs heavenly with truffles, cakes, cookies and ice cream.
Besides the beautiful landscape the outdoors hosts pits for warm fires, live music, large concrete tables, corn hole and many opportunities to reconnect with your friends and family.
What we enjoy about this winery is the variety of on-going events and the easy accessibility for everyone to meet us there whether they are in South Jersey near the shore or if they are in North or Central Jersey.
If you have never had the chance to visit the Outer Banks in North Carolina then you have been missing an amazing opportunity to reconnect with family, life and with yourself. Besides the beautiful beaches and the balmy warm air —the laid back living and its rich local flavor is so invigorating to the soul.
I fell in love with the Outer Banks almost thirteen years ago when we took a detour after having spent some time in Raleigh and heading back back to New Jersey. Something compelled me to suggest to my then husband we take a detour and visit the Outer Banks. Not knowing why —I soon understood it when we drove across the bridge.
I felt a sense of returning home —a calmness—-an inner peace. This was my first time as well as for my family but some how I guess that summer GOD was driving the wheel. He knew that it would become my go to when I need to reconnect or in need of family time.
Since that summer I have traveled with my children, my sister and her children, with friends and with now my amazing partner and friend David. The Outer Banks has become a place that feels like home —its a place in which my children have fond family memories of our summers —its also become a place that my nephews and their parents have created their own loving memories. I know it will continue to be a place for us to reconnect but will be the place where my soul will be released.
There is as much to do as you and your family will want to do or as little as you want to do…..there are tours and museums to learn about the local history or how the Wright Brothers created their first planes in the area. You can sip wine in the many wineries in the area or charter a boat to catch your family’s dinner. Whether you stay on the main land or venture out to either Duck/Corolla area or on the other end Rodanthe/Hatteras you may find yourself falling in love with life and with yourself all over again.
Words can only express a small amount of the appreciation and love I have for the Outer Banks —the real test is for you to make it one of those stops you will visit and feel it for yourself.
With love, faith and hope!
Special Thank you to the following businesses that made our time even more special:)
If you love visiting the Jersey Shore or simply rolling the dice in one of Atlantic City’s Casinos then make sure that you stop to visit a cute little town named Historic Smithville.
From the moment you begin to drive though you will feel like you are entering a Hallmark Movie or one of Norman Rockwell paintings. The town is manicured but not like Celebration in Orlando where its too perfect. But rather it is well maintained and kept up by the Community Association that works to ensure that the Township of Galloway does their part in meeting the residents expectations and needs.
It is located off of Route 9 where you will see signs on either end letting you know that you are welcomed into Smithville. There are over 60 little shops and restaurants within the Smithville Shops.
This little quaint town offers walking trails among tall seasoned trees which serve as the homes for many species of birds local to the area. It also offers two large olympic size community pools, tennis courts, basketball courts and a gym.
You will find yourself walking around and wondering maybe this is where I might bring my friends for an afternoon lunch at Fred & Ethels Restaurant or plan my daughter’s wedding at the Smithville Inn or live here one day….it truly is a sweet place offering something for everyone.
I love traveling and finding unique local gems. I enjoy being able to share those gems with others in hopes to support local business and connecting us all. Life is meant to be lived with love and joy and what a better way than to connect and share those hidden gems that every town in America has….whether it’s a service, a person, a place or things being created….I will bring them to you.
I hope to not only share my finds but for others to share their finds as well. The experiences we have create the memories we cherish and so my dharma is to share them with you in hopes that it inspires you to visit mine or to seek your own.
Join me and we can experience life as it was intended!