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April 2017

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If you’re looking for beautiful sculptures in a serene setting, then Savannah’s Bonaventure Cemetery is the place for you.  While outside of the city, it is worth the short drive to check it out. We visited Savannah in the hot and humid month of July, but the cemetery is so shaded that the temperature wasn’t so bad.  We did visit after lunch, so were visiting in the warmest part of the day. We really didn’t have a plan when we arrived.  I had read about some of the more famous statues, and there are maps available online if you want to find a particular sculpture or grave.  We just decided to wander around. Since John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was released, a book I loved, many people want to see the cemetery featured in the story.  You can also visit singer/songwriter Johnny Mercer’s grave. One…

Where do you go when you’re in Branson and you want to see some sharks and some wolves?  Branson’s Wild World, of course.  Kristin had been begging to go for awhile, so one rainy morning we decided to make a day trip to Branson to check it out.  Besides seeing the animals, you can also do some other activities like animal feeding and interaction, miniature golf, and a 6D ride theater for an additional fee. We opted to go for just the regular admission of $18.95 for adults and $11.95 for kids, even though nine-hole of golf would’ve only been $2 more for each of us.  In Branson, that is a good deal for miniature golf.  Also, we were told that our ticket would include a visit out To Wild Valley Adventure park in Reeds Spring.  Since the rain was pouring on the day of our visit, we were told…

When I began researching what to do in Savannah, I stumbled across a great little restaurant–The Pirates’ House.  As soon as I saw pictures of this place, I knew we had to try it! As soon as we pulled into town, we headed straight for the restaurant.  Time for lunch! We decided to have lunch here since it’s not as expensive as dinner.  The prices for lunch were really reasonable; they were similar to casual chain table service places.  When we arrived, we were told we had about a 15 minute wait, so we headed upstairs to the gift shop where we saw this guy: We bought a magnet, and soon our table was ready! Guests to the Pirates’ House are seated in various rooms in the building.  This place is billed as the oldest house in Savannah.  Apparently, the place started out as an inn and tavern, but soon…

When Jeff and I were planning a trip to the Black Hills, he was insistent that we make a stop at Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota.  I thought it was a little weird that he wanted to make a stop at a drug store, but little did I know that this is a place like no other.  Turns out, there are many reasons to stop at Wall Drug! This attraction seems to be in the middle of nowhere, and it seems that everyone traveling this way towards the Black Hills knows that a stop here is a must.  We actually planned a stop here overnight after we finished seeing Badlands National Park.  We took some time to pose with celebrities of the Wild West. This store has just about anything you can imagine for sale–there are plenty of touristy trinkets to be found here!  We had a great time…

Since we often take trips in the summer, we try to avoid too much outdoor activity during the heat of the day.  One thing we’ve learned is that ghost tours can be a great way to see the sites while staying as cool as possible.  We are especially fans of ghost tours that use transportation. We discovered Ghosts and Gravestones on one of our St. Augustine trips, so when we saw the tours were also available in Savannah, we couldn’t wait to try one! One thing you should realize about these tours is that they are not the kind of experience where you get all kinds of gadgets to test for a ghost’s presence.  These tours mostly involve traveling to different areas of the city while hearing ghost stories.  You get a great overview of the city while your host tells you about murderous jilted lovers and the like.  It’s…

When I asked my daughter where she wanted to eat during our last Disney trip, she didn’t even hesitate when she said, “Chef Mickey’s!”  We had been one other time, but she was only two years old.  Since she had seen the pictures of that trip over and over, she knew what to expect.  When she was two, she was really unsure about the characters, but now, she is a pro when it comes to meeting them.  Jeff and I thought, hey, why not? Let’s go! This place is pretty popular, so I highly recommend reservations.  I make my reservations as soon as the window opens at 180 days.  I easily got a reservation booking that early.  I also got the time I was hoping for.  Chef Mickey’s closes in the afternoon, so you can book at or near 5:00 p.m. and be part of the first seating for dinner.…

This was our first Disney resort, and did we pick well!  Animal Kingdom Lodge-Kidani Village is a beautiful resort with lots of fun in every nook and cranny. When I began researching for my first Disney trip, I learned that it was possible to rent points for a Disney villa and stay in deluxe accommodations for a great price.  We had been looking at Disney’s Moderate Resorts, and we were planning a trip with my parents.  As I continued to research, I found that we could rent points for a two-bedroom villa at Kidani for about the price of two moderate rooms at rack rate. We decided to take the plunge and rent points.  We decided to use the DVC Rental Store since they did not charge a fee to look for availability.  We had a great experience with them, and we have used them for three trips now.  If…

I originally wrote this trip review on the 1branson.com boards. Day 1 I hope no one minds, but I thought I would do a trip report of our recent vacation. I could do it on a Disney board, but I like to share here. My travel party included my husband, my six-year-old daughter, and me. We have an 18-year-old, but she has been to Disney twice and doesn’t enjoy traveling as much as we do. In fact, she was quite happy to watch our home this time and have the house to herself. She recently graduated from high school, so she was looking for some time to relax on her own before her life changes in many ways this fall. We left Joplin at 4:00 am on Saturday, July 9, and began our drive. We packed sandwiches and snacks, so we only stopped for a short time for breaks and…

I originally wrote this trip report for the 1branson.com forum. I am writing this trip report so you can plan your own trip to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennesse.  We just got back yesterday from a trip to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg Tennessee. We were always hungry for information, so I thought I would report. I’ll do this in installments. We are a family of three: my husband, me, and a nine-year-old daughter. We live in Joplin, so our trip begins there. . . Day One: Heading to Tennesse We left home on Saturday, June 2 at 4:30 in the morning. My husband works overnights, so we decided to leave when he woke up and couldn’t sleep anymore. I was just like that Disney commercial anyway: I’m too excited to sleep! We decided to go the southern Missouri route instead of going to St. Louis. The roads are better than we…

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