Tag Archives: travel

They’re Plans, Not Dreams

Hubs and I have always been dreamers!  We have all kinds of ideas about the things we’re gonna do “someday!”  Remember how we’ve talked about getting that travel van?  Gonna explore this country and drink wine while boondocking at amazing sites.

Well, we’ve decided to stop dreaming, and just start DOING!  Maybe not all at once, maybe just in baby steps, but every chance we get – crossing items off OUR LIST.  The van is still in the plans – we’ll plan to find the perfect model and price.

Screenshot - Our List

In the meantime, I started up our Encore Voyage Instagram account, to share the photos of our wanderings…

Instagram:  encorevoyage

So pop on over and follow me, okay? Because we’re gonna take you with us on our adventures!

Lynn

Kauai – 8 Great Things to See and Do

Hubs and I just returned from eight days on the lovely island of Kauai, Hawaii.  Our visit towards the end of February gave us temperatures in the mid-70’s with a couple of warm, rainy days.  Kauai is known as the “garden island,” so travelers should be prepared for a little rain.

First, just for fun…It was pointed out to me that the east side of Kauai, when viewed from above, looks a bit like Chewbacca!

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Now on to the important stuff.  We stayed up on the north shore, in a condo (VRBO) in Princeville.  While there, be sure to visit:

The Kilauea Lighthouse

This landmark represents the northernmost point of the main Hawaiian Islands.  The unbelievable turquoise waters below the lighthouse point are worth the trip.

 

 

 

The Dolphin Restaurant, Fish Market and Sushi Lounge

Before I went to Kauai, I wasn’t a big fan of fish.  Well, if there is any place on earth to change that opinion, it was at the Dolphin.  The Dolphin boasts the freshest fish in Hawaii, and the servers were well versed in the characteristics of each type of fish.  These folks are also pros at impeccable preparation.  The Dolphin operates on a first come, first served basis, but there is a lovely garden where you can enjoy a cocktail and appetizers.  The menu has non-fish entrees, but trust me…try the fish!

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Sunshine Helicopters

If you are staying on the north side of the Island, Sunshine Helicopters offers tours which take off from the Princeville airport.  Of all the places to take a helicopter tour, Kauai is the place.  Because much of this rugged island is inaccessible by road, a helicopter tour gives a unique perspective, along with fun narration from the pilot.

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Waimea Canyon by helicopter

A word of caution:  We allowed the concierge at the resort to book our flight, and found out upon returning that we’d have saved $200 had we booked it online ourselves.  (But wait…we’d have saved $190.00 if we’d attended the Wyndham timeshare spiel….hmm – learn from our mistake!)

Blue Dolphin Kauai Snorkel Tour

We took a tour over to the Na Pali coast on the island, via Blue Dolphin Tours.  Not only was the coast absolutely stunning, but the captain and crew aboard this large catamaran were over the top hospitable, offering breakfast, juices, sodas, lunch, and after snorkeling, the bar opened.  A wonderful day!

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Poipu, Koloa and the Spouting Horn

Be certain to follow highway 520 to the southernmost part of island. En route, you will pass through the Tree Tunnel, made of eucalyptus trees.  Old Koloa Town, the island’s first sugar plantation town, is charming and worth the stop.  Continuing on to Po’ipu, you will find Po’pu Beach Park and Brennecke’s Beach Broiler.  Enjoy one of the best Mai Tais ever built and some ridiculously yummy food!

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The Spouting Horn Beach Park is worth a visit.  The horn is made from a lava shelf, where water from waves is forced through an opening, squirting water out a blowhole.  This particular blowhole is different from others, because air rushes through another hole, making a moaning sound.  Some say it’s a dragon…

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What Kauai trip would be complete without a beautiful, beach sunset.  The stunning Kekaha Beach Park is part of a 15 mile stretch of white sand beach.  While this is not a beach for swimming because it is unprotected from the ocean and has strong rip-tides, it is a lovely spot for sunbathing or beach combing – or in our case, watching the sunset:

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We’re home now, and our Kauai trip did just what was intended.  Get us out of the snowy north until spring was at least visible.  My forsythia is starting to bloom outside my window.  Guess it worked.

Lynn

6 Things to See in Phoenix / Scottsdale

Do you know how you tell the tourists from the locals in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area at this time of year?  The locals are the ones who are all bundled up!  Yep, that’s what hubs and I found on our trip last week to escape the winter cold of Idaho.  We were basking in the beautiful Arizona sunshine, with temps in the mid 70’s.  The locals wore long sleeves and sweaters!

It was a short, four-day trip, but we had done our research and enjoyed some of the best the area has to offer:

1) The Phoenix Art Museum

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Our first major stop was the Phoenix Art Museum.  Our Christmas gift to each other was a membership to NARM (The North American Reciprocal Museum Association).  This membership not only gives us entry into our own Boise Art Museum, but also 973 other member institutions around North America.  The museum did not disappoint.  In particular, the museum houses some outstanding contemporary pieces – some of our favorites thus far!

 

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Mass (Colder, Darker Matter) by Cornelia Parker

Proposing that matter is never truly destroyed, but merely transformed, this piece is made from the charred remains of a Texas Baptist Church that was struck by lightning.

2) Roosevelt Row

The Roosevelt Row Artists District is a continually evolving funky area of Phoenix, infused with artist studios, public art, murals, street art, events, and locally owned businesses.

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3) Durant’s

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Durant’s Steakhouse on Central Ave. is a Phoenix icon not to be missed.  A long-time hotspot for Phoenix movers and shakers, Durant’s was opened by “Jack” Durant in 1950.  Regulars know to enter through the back door to get an insider’s view of the kitchen operation. You then move into the dining area, where you will find the signature red -flocked wallpaper design and red Naugahyde booths chosen by Durant himself.

 

Jack Durant’s motto was: “Good friends, great steaks and the best booze are the necessities of life.”  And holy cow – that was the best steak ever!

4) McCormick – Stillman Railroad Park

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If you are a train affectionado, McCormick – Stillman Railroad Park is a great place to spend the morning.  Full-sized engines, Pullman cars, a carousel and scale trains for kids of all sizes make this rail museum a family friendly destination.  But the part we most enjoyed was the 10,000 square foot building dedicated to model railroad layouts in all scales.  Not only did this fire up Jeremy’s motivation for his own railroad, but I’m pretty sure that in the end, it’s going to cost us some money!

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5) Old Town Scottsdale

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The original Scottsdale townsite is a collection of art galleries, small specialty retail shops, dining venues, museums and cultural attractions.  It is entirely walkable, or a free trolley makes a continuous loop to make sightseeing simple.  You can find all the information you need at a display staffed by Scottsdale Ambassadors at the corner of Main Street and Brown Avenue.

6) The Scottsdale Artwalk

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If you can arrange your schedule to do so, you will want to be in Old Town Scottsdale any Thursday evening from 6:00 – 9:00 PM.  During those hours, the galleries along Main Street and Marshall Way invite you to enjoy a 40-year tradition of strolling and enjoying Old Town’s lively art scene.  Often, artists themselves are in the galleries, and the street musicians, good food and drink, and festive atmosphere make this a must-do event.

We barely scratched the surface of all the things to do in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.  What we did learn from the trip is that it is easy to understand why the “snowbirds” head to this fabulous state.  I know we will certainly return!

Lynn

Retirement Travel Togetherness – 13 Compromises to Consider!

Hubs and I are getting ready to do some more Voyaging!  Next week, we’ll head to Phoenix, Arizona, escaping what is predicted to be the next wave of snowy weather here in Idaho.

In our years on the Voyage, we’ve learned some things about traveling together.  It hasn’t always come without some tensions and bumps in the road.  But as I’m sure many other retirees can attest, there are compromises which must be made:

Relaxation vs. Adventure – I’m more of an adrenaline junkie.  He’s more of a sip wine and read kind of guy.

Planned out or “Fly by the Seat of Our Pants” – Our compromise is usually a little of each.  I like to do some initial research.  We schedule things only as the events require.  (We’ve been saddened when attractions were closed on the day we wanted to visit.)

On water vs. On land – Some people love cruising.  Others can’t stand the idea of being stuck in the middle of the ocean.  Some crave the beach, others, the mountains.

Fly, drive or travel by other means – My brother-in-law will die before he will board an airplane.  Good to know.

Lots of driving or Little-to-no driving – Depending on the location, sometimes we take our own car, sometimes we rent, sometimes we hire car services, and sometimes it’s Uber or Lyft.  And did I mention that a smaller type RV is in our future?

The question of music – Yes, No and What Type? – In the car, sometimes our music tastes differ.  He likes classical, I prefer contemporary. Our best compromise is mid-seventies rock, turned up loud, with both of us singing at the top of our lungs!  Reliving our college romance!

Where to stay, and how much work that will involve – I’ve heard folks say, “If I have to cook and make my own bed, it’s not a vacation.  Sometimes we choose hotels, sometimes Airbnb , or rental condos, sometimes high-end resorts.

“Sleep in” or “Up and at ’em” – There is nothing more annoying than having someone try to wake you up when you’re on vacation.  Or conversely, there is nothing worse than tapping your toe waiting for someone to get up and ready.

Temperature and weather considerations – It’s amazing how many people responded to my McCall post with comments about how we could just keep our Idaho snow.  But some of us know that the correct clothing and preparedness makes this a winter playground.  Many would disagree.

Amount of down time – This is an important one.  Some people like to go, go, go, while others need or want more frequent breaks, and packing the day full of activities is not so fun.

Airports – When is the “right” time to arrive? – Surprisingly, this can be a point of contention.  While hubs wants to leave absolutely nothing to chance, I’m a bit more of a “what’s the worst thing that can happen?” kind of girl.  Depending on where we’re going and the travel conditions, we negotiate our departure times.

Shopping or No shopping – My advice is to be sensitive.  If your hubs is not a browser, please don’t torture him.  It’s his vacation, too.  As for us, we spend little money acquiring more “stuff,” so it’s not really an issue.  We both like to nose in unique, non-touristy, craftsman type of shops. (We do look for a “not cheesy” Christmas ornament to represent each adventure.)

Different Interests during different trips – We took a trip to the midwest, with the primary purpose of visiting all things Frank Lloyd Wright – including Taliesin in Wisconsin, and the Robie House in Chicago.  Our first visit to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, over ten years ago, was for all things automotive – The Barrett-Jackson car auction and Bondurant High Performance Driving School for hubs. Our trips to St. Louis and New Orleans were primarily in search of jazz and blues.

In each of the above instances, communication is the key!  It is far better to discuss things before you go, rather than to discover them after you arrive, or, even worse, to brood in silence when you find situations which test your compatibility!

As we return to Scottsdale this time, we’re soaking up warmth and a vibrant art scene enmeshed in Southwest culture.

So how about it, fellow voyagers?  What compromises in travel have you needed to make as you go wandering during retirement?

Lynn

 

New Years Wandering – Idaho Style

Happy New Year, Voyagers!  I hope this New Year’s Eve and New Years Day found you warm, cozy and introspective!  As for the hubs and I, we were so lucky this year to be invited to the new cabin of some cherished friends.  On Saturday afternoon, we took off for the short trip to McCall, Idaho.  McCall is located just a couple of hours north of Boise on State Hwy 55.  The drive north travels along the Payette River Scenic Byway, which is lovely this time of year!

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Just 110 miles north of Boise on Payette Lake sits the resort town of McCall.  It’s a quaint summertime playground, which has its own appeal during the winter months.

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In the summertime, Payette Lake is a paradise for boats, jet skis, kayaks, paddle boards, hikers and tourists.

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In the wintertime, the area’s biggest draw is Brundage Mountain Ski Resort, just 10 minutes up the hill.  But during those non-skiing moments, McCall is a great place for other family friendly activities!

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As for us, we were toasty warm, enjoying the company of our friends, trying to decide on appropriate resolutions, and, you guessed it…drinking wine!  So how about you – where did you spend your New Year’s Eve?  Next year, you might want to consider McCall!

Lynn

Encore Quotes – Travel Makes You Richer

Happy Friday, fellow Voyagers!  A couple of years ago we decided not to build a big fancy-schmancy new home, and instead, opted to sell our property so that we might pursue a wider range of experiences on the Voyage.  Best. Decision. Ever!!!  So this Friday finds me exploring and taking in all the funky sites, soaking up the flavor of this fine city.  Life truly is about collecting experiences…Not Stuff!  And so, as I sit here under the Public Market sign, drinking a Pumpkin Spiced Chai (cliche, I know…but so delicious!) I’m wishing you all a weekend full of rich exploration!

Lynn

Seattle Simplified – Our Best Travel Tips

This week finds us once again in the lovely city of Seattle, Washington. He’s “Encoring” and I’m “Voyaging!”  Seattle has become one of our favorite cities in the Pacific Northwest, and we’ve figured out some hassle-free ways to visit, which I’d like to share.

First off, don’t rent a car! When you arrive at Sea-Tac International Airport, follow the signs to the Link Light Rail, which for $3.00/pp will take you right into downtown Seattle. Safe, clean, easy.  And no paying ridiculous parking fees for overnight parking.

Get off at the Westlake Center stop.  Follow the exit signs to 4th and Pine.  This exit will bring you out approximately 1/2 block from The Mayflower Park Hotel.

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This historic 1927 hotel in the heart of downtown has been completely renovated, and will give you a sense of old-world style at a reasonable price.  You can read the hotel’s history in Seattle’s Mayflower Park Hotel: Images of America.

Have a cocktail in Oliver’s Lounge at the Mayflower. This beautiful lounge serves classic craft cocktails – Don’t even ask for something blended, but enjoy the beautiful setting and the huge windows to downtown.

Lynn's olivers bar

You are in the heart of most things wonderful in Seattle.

From the hotel, you are just a couple blocks from Pike Street Market.  It is a must see for the first time visitor.  It’s not every day that you get to see young men throwing fresh fish!

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Or listen to fabulous street musicians.

About halfway down the market, just before Mick’s Peppouri (which sells yummy pepper jellies) is sky bridge which will lead you to an elevator, taking you down to the parking area off of the water front.  See how I did that?  We are not climbing hills or stairs if possible!  Once you are down at the waterfront, you can spend the entire day enjoying Seattle’s Great Wheel, Wings over Washington (lots of fun – I’d do it twice), cute little shops on the piers, and so, so much great seafood!

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If you are a coffee lover, there are Starbucks on every other corner, including the original Starbucks, about halfway down the market on Pike Place.

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While you are in the area, I highly recommend Bacco Cafe at the corner of 1st St. and Stewart.  This cute little cafe features a delightful juice bar menu and yummy Pacific northwest fare.  A perfect spot for breakfast or lunch, and one of our faves.

One block north of the Mayflower Park, on the second floor of Nordstrom, you will find the Monorail to Seattle Center.  There’s a lot to see on the grounds, including one of the most recognized structures in the U.S., the Space Needle,

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Chihuly Garden and Glass,

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and even the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop) which is dedicated to the history and exploration of popular music, science fiction, and pop culture.

Walk down the Broad Street from the Space Needle and you arrive at the Olympic Sculpture Park.  This outdoor sculpture garden is serene and lovely for a stroll on the waterfront.

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When you are tired of shopping, and you’ve completely devoured the breathtaking waterfront, you can explore the area surrounding Lake Union just as easily.  From the Mayflower Park, walk about a block up Stewart Street and take the South Lake Union Streetcar out to Lake Union.  There, you can have lunch at Duke’s Seafood and Chowder, look at the marina, and watch the sailboats on the lake.

If you’re an art lover, the Seattle Art Museum is just 6 or 7 blocks from the hotel.

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I’ve given you enough ideas for Seattle exploration to keep you busy for several days!  There are endless eateries featuring fresh seafood.  And here’s the best tip I’ve learned yet.  Don’t be daunted by the steep hills when walking from the waterfront to almost everywhere.  Just know and remember this…Pike Street (at the entrance to the market) is relatively flat , heading west to east.  So no matter where you are, head toward Pike Street and walk east (no huffing and puffing,) then travel a couple blocks to the north to get back to the hotel.  You’re welcome.

Hope I’ve inspired you to check out this wonderful city.  Can’t wait to hear what you think!

Lynn