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We’d like to thank the Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring our visit to Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge.  As always, all opinions are honest and our own. If you find yourself in the Ozarks, check out the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge near Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  This refuge rescues big cats and other animals that often started out as someone’s pet or part of an animal attraction that was neglectful.  When you visit Turpentine Creek, you are supporting the care and rescue of animals that may have no other option out there.  Plus, you get to see the animals. It’s a win-win! Arriving at Turpentine Creek Normally we try to arrive at attractions at opening, but on this July day, we didn’t get to Eureka Springs until around noon.  It had been raining all morning, so we thought perhaps the animals may be active, even though it was midday.  We…

We’d like to thank Visit Springfield for hosting our visit to Cozy Dog Drive In.  As usual, all opinions are honest and our own. If you come to Springfield, Illinois, to check out the Abraham Lincoln attractions, don’t forget to put some old Route 66 highlights on your itinerary. One of the best Route 66 stops in Illinois is the Cozy Dog Drive In.  You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the 1950s as you enjoy the original fresh-dipped corn dog on a stick. Cozy Dog History According to the history page on the Cozy Dog website, Ed Waldmire, Jr. and his wife, began selling the corn dogs on a stick in Springfield in 1946.  These Cozy Dogs also made their first appearance at the Illinois State Fair later that year.  Before he began selling the version on a stick, Waldmire had tasted a dish in which hot…

We’d like to thank Visit Springfield and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum for hosting our visit. As always, all opinions are honest and my own. I just want to say right off the bat–this is my favorite museum. My favorite museum anywhere. We visited the first time about ten years ago before Kristin was born. When we had the opportunity to visit again, I was thrilled! I’ve never been to a museum as immersive as this one. Trust me; you want to check this place out! Arriving at the Lincoln Museum You can find ample parking in downtown Springfield, Illinois.  Metered parking is available near the museum, and there is a parking garage across the street a block away.  Currently, as you approach the museum, you can’t help but notice the large 31-foot-tall statue of Lincoln and a contemporary man out front.   This statue, named “Return Visit,” will…

I’d been wanting to try Mexican food in the Epcot pavilion at Walt Disney World for a couple of trips, and I finally convinced my husband to give it a try.  Note–he let me give it a try.  He sat this one out, right across the table from me.  Jeff and Kristin are my picky travel companions, but they indulge me from time to time.  Thank you! I know that San Angel Inn Restaurante inside of Epcot’s Mexico pavilion doesn’t always get the best reviews, but I really liked it.  I would go back again anytime.  San Angel Inn is located inside the big pyramid in the Mexico area; there is another Mexican restaurant located across the way over the water–La Hacienda de San Angel.  It’s easy to confuse the two.  Just know that San Angel Inn is inside the pyramid.  You’ll see it when you explore the pavilion even…

We’d like to thank the Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce and the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa for our two-night complimentary stay and ghost tour.  As always, all opinions are honest and my own. If you’re in the mood for history and ghost stories set in the beautiful scenery of the Ozarks, then Eureka Springs is the place for you.  And no other hotel in Eureka Springs fits the bill better than the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, more commonly known as The Crescent Hotel.  Even if you don’t believe in ghosts or hauntings, the Crescent Hotel is a gorgeous historic hotel that makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you set foot in the lobby. The History of the Crescent Hotel I am not a scholar of the history of Eureka Springs, but I can give you a little bit of background.  The springs in the…

When planning our first trip to Los Angeles, one of the most daunting aspects was trying to find hotels in Hollywood that met our needs. So many places were out of our price range, yet we wanted to be close to Hollywood attractions since we’d never been to LA.  We also wanted a family-friendly hotel where we felt safe, and we needed a place to park our rental car.  When I discovered the Magic Castle Hotel, I knew I’d found the place for us! About the Magic Castle Hotel The Magic Castle Hotel is a small, adorable hotel that, at one time, was an apartment complex.  Many rooms face the courtyard with the pool and poolside tables.  The location is great if you’re looking to see the Hollywood stuff; the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Grauman’s Chinese Theater are just a couple of blocks away.  Since they used to be…

When I discovered that you could see sea lions and seals in the wild at La Jolla in San Diego, I knew we had to make La Jolla Beach a part of our quick diversion to San Diego.  We only planned one night in San Diego after two in Los Angeles, so we had to prioritize our activities.  Visiting the seals and sea lions was a perfect activity for our family! Finding the Sea Lions and Seals This was our first visit to San Diego, so we weren’t sure what to expect.  We chose Fairfield Inn and Suites San Diego Old Town for our hotel for its proximity to Old Town.  La Jolla is about 20 minutes away, so it’s an easy drive from Old Town.  Once we got to the La Jolla area, we looked for a  place to park.  Here is a map of the area from the…

Thank you to Tenth Street Hats and Ruggable for providing samples for us to try. As always, all reviews are honest and our own. There’s something rejuvenating about taking a break from the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives and heading into the peaceful tranquility of nature. This last trip to the lake for the summer was certainly a welcome one for me. I’d just returned to the classroom a couple of weeks before, and already I felt overwhelmed. My perfectionism starts to kick in during this time every year, even though I know I’m far from the perfect teacher. Most of the time I’m just treading water trying to survive it all. See what I did there? I hope you enjoy my water reference. Click here to read more about camping and boating at Campbell Point on Table Rock Lake in Shell Knob, Missouri. We love to spend…

Things to Do in Gettysburg Gettysburg is just one of those great historic places that we’ve been wanting to experience for a long time.  We wanted, of course, to learn more about the battle, but we also wanted to make some family memories together.  It’s important for my daughter to learn about the events that shaped our nation, even if she is only seven-years-old.  Though the events in Gettysburg were tragic, I wanted her to have a basic understanding of what happened along with doing some family-friendly activities.  We spent four nights in Gettysburg, but I think you could easily do a shorter trip or spend more time here.  We spent most of our evenings watching the sunset over the battlefield.  Here are our recommendations after experiencing Gettysburg. Take a Tour of the Battlefield We took a tour with the Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides, and it was fantastic! This…

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