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Posts from the ‘Travel USA’ Category

Kicking It In Key West On The Cheap

Casual Key West and your fun on the cheap, quirky, colorful and bike friendly town, you had me at hello and cuban coffee.

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Meg Visits Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum – Key West Florida

I love his hard hitting truth. Some of my favorite quotes came from this contraption and here are a few.

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Happy Birthday From The Big Cave in Kentucky- 7 Ways That Mammoth Cave Humbled Me.

A place that takes on shapes and forms of another world and my imagination went in many directions.

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Urban Bourbon – Evan Williams Kentucky Bourbon Trail

If you are a bourbon enthusiast, a history buff, or just looking for something interesting to do in Louisville, you too will be interested in this fun-filled historical bourbon tour.

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Are You Ready For Some Football? Touring Green Bay Packer’s Hall of Fame

Oh, and if you are not a GB Packer fan, no worries, I can not tell you how often I meet fantastic people from every N.F.L corner who have traveled to Green Bay to experience this historical story. Incidentally, yesterday, August, 11th,2016 was the packer's 97th birthday. Here's to a fantastic 98!

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Take Me Up To The Spirit In The Sky-Chapel Of The Holy Cross Sedona, Arizona

The story of her Marguerite's life and how the chapel came to be seems like a storybook; with pages that turn themselves.

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If I Ever Have A Dead Coon Dog

A few weeks ago, I spent some time in Northwest Alabama, visiting the Key Underwood Coon Dog Cemetery is now a highlight on my Alabama Bucket List. It turns out that I’m not alone. It is said that over 7,000 people visit this curiosity each year.

Stop in the pavilion, sign the guest book!

Stop in the pavilion, sign the guest book!

I left Tuscumbia and quite literally drove off the beaten path onto a curvy hilly road. It is a beautiful wooded and remote area. You know, the kind of place where there isn’t cell phone reception.

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Because I was alone, I was somewhat questioning my sanity as I pulled into the cemetery; I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw three women visiting.   The women told me that they drove about the country visiting strange and unusual places.   I felt an immediate connection with these kindred spirits, and we exchanged phone numbers. Turns out we live about 40 minutes apart.


Together, we walked around and viewed the sites.

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In 1937 Key Underwood buried his faithful companion “Troop” in this beautiful setting that was a hunting camp.

RIP Troop d. 1937

RIP Troop d. 1937

Key’s brother later buried his dog in this location and it was decided to lease the land from a lumber company so that it may remain sacred.
This one time hunting camp is now a park known as Freedom Hills Wildlife Management. Although the land belongs to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Tennessee Valley Coon Hunters Association cares for the cemetery.

Pulls at your heart strings

Pulls at your heart strings

I lost an elderly hunting dog a few years back. As I walked about, I felt sad and happy at the same time. Thanks to this dedicated group for honoring this group of loved canines; this long and winding road has led them home!

“Lucky”
1998-2013 Forever missed.  German Wirehaired Pointer.

Fun Facts

  • Yes, this one and only Coon Dog Cemetery inspired the scene from the movie Sweet Home Alabama.
  • Only Coon Dog’s are buried in the cemetery.
  • The Coon hunter’s Association has a 3 part process before a dog may be buried in this cemetery.
  • Dogs from throughout the United States are buried in the cemetery.
  • Noted in the book entitled-Alabama Off The Beaten Path Guide To Unique Places.

MEGastars; I loved checking this site visit off of my list. Because it is a one of a kind stop made with love, I give this stop 5 *****MEGastars; If I ever find myself with a dead coon dog, this would be my top choice for a forever place.

MEGatips:

  1. Interested in unique places? This is a great stop. Nearby you may eat lunch in a cave structure, see a shoe tree and covered bridges.
  2. The graveyard is open every day during daylight hours.
  3. There is an outhouse and a water spring on the premises. Plan as such.  Take a picnic!
  4. If you visit, don’t forget to sign the guestbook.
  5. I love Claunch’s Café in Tuscumbia. Open at lunch hours. Check hours first but this place has some really great food.
  6. I visited several restaurants listed as “100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die.” These dishes will be upcoming on Tasty Tuesday’s. Next write is a burger in a cave.
  7. This entire Northwest Alabama is gorgeous. There are so many fascinating places to visit and gorgeous natural outdoor activities. Allow at least several days to explore this wonderful area!    http://alabama.travel/places-to-go/the-shoals
  8. Coon Dog Cemetery 7 miles west of Tuscumbia on U.S. Hwy 72. Turn left on Alabama Hwy 247, and travel approximately 12 miles. Then turn right, and follow the signs.  Remember this is a remote area and take precautions as such.

Sweet Home Alabama -100 Dishes To Eat Before You Die-English Toffee at Price Morgan Candy Company

Today just happens to be National Milk Chocolate Day and I was so fortunate that I was able to get a taste of this “Sweet Home Alabama.”

English Toffee at Morgan Price Coffee Company, located in Decatur, Alabama is my 100 Dish MEGabite stop. Number 21 or 80 on my countdown. This family recipe is made from buttery toffee and frosted with premium chocolate and sprinkled with toasted almonds. This deliciousness is described as “…the perfect sweet, salty and crunchy treats…”-Alabama Tourism Board.

YUM!

YUM!

The shop is a fun stop. The woman who was working nicely stopped to answer my questions. You are able to see the kitchen and racks of various candies along with some unique shop items.

The English Toffee and was every bit as delicious as it was described. I also bought the Macadamia Toffee. They were both so over the top delicious; I had to take some home for myself and a few packages for gifts.

A really great stop, this is truly Sweet Home Alabama. I give this dish 5 MEGastars *****

*** for tasting out of this world, melt in your mouth delicious

*for wonderful people and a really nice, clean and inviting shop.

* Meets the criteria of local food with Alabama pride.

MEGatips;

  1. Can’t get there? You may order on-line. They also have some fantastic baskets that would be great gifts or raffle donations.
  2. Playing 100 Dishes? Located next door to Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q., you have the ability to stuff your face and knock off a few dishes.
  3. Try the Macadamia Toffee-yum!   I simply loved it!
  4. Located about 15 minutes off of 1-65, it is a pretty easy stop.

*100 Dishes to eat in Alabama before you die is a compilation of food to chow down on Bama style. Thanks to Tourism Alabama, www.alabama.travel my Alabama bucket list just became a little easier. I am going to have some fun while making my way like Ms. Pacman, in yet another state that I call home. Download the alphabetical brochure that begins in Abbertville and ends in York. From the little old diner to the white cloth joint, it is an opportunity to explore and experience pride in the food from restaurateurs who are dedicated to local food with some Alabama style. From BBQ to James Beard recipients. I use a 5 MEGastar system. If I give one of these dishes a 5th star, it means, I nearly died and went to heaven eating the dish, Loved it and don’t you miss it!

Where The Party Is On-Broadway Street Nashville, Tennessse

I’ve visited this fine city many times but never got my party on. With only a few hours to spare, I checked out a few Nashville’s nightlife spots on Broadway Street.

Nashville has style!

Nashville has style!

Broadway Street is pretty easy to find. Just head for the tall  AT&T building that looks like Sauron’s Tower from Lord of the Rings. I stayed a few miles away and took a cab for $6.00 Easy!

Kinda looks creepy

Kinda looks creepy

Hello Good Times!  it is really easy to stay in this vicinity and catch a cab.

Nice Neon Nashville!

Nice Neon Nashville!

I visited on a weeknight after 10 pm and was blown away by how many live music places threw out great sound.

You can hear the wonderful sounds pouring out into the street.

You can hear the wonderful sounds pouring out into the street.

Legends Corner-Filled to the brim with memorabilia. The walls are covered with such interesting things.   Original Elvis albums and a guitar once owned by Johnny Cash. I love Johnny Cash!

Robert’s Western World-A honky tonk place that is a boot store by day and a party by night.  I really loved this place.  The music was fantastic and they make a great burger!

Some upcoming bands can be seen at The Stage.  This place was packed and had some pretty great music.  A lot of cover but I was also able to hear some new stuff from a younger band. Really fun!

Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge.  Classic place that has stood the taste of time.  Awesome music and memorabilia.

MEGatip; Don’t forget to go upstairs.  There is a door where so many legends took after performances at The Ryman Theater.

Totsie's Orchid Lounge

Totsie’s Orchid Lounge

So many fantastic places and so little time.  If you do not care for country music, you may want to consider opening your mind to the possibilities of fun.  There is a variety of music to be found and one heck of a good time.  I have my own metaphor that I have used so very often.  “Never rule out a man/woman in cowboy boots.”-MEG    What I mean with this quip is that you may close yourself off to the best experiences and amazing people who could be in your life.  Besides, who doesn’t like Elvis and Johnny Cash?

-A special thanks to my wonderful daughter who not only learned this life lesson but introduced me to this fine MEGastop.

There really is so much to see and do here.  Lucky for me, I pass through this city often.  I am inspired to stop in more often.

MEGastars;  I give this spot 5 of 5 MEGastars *****

MEGatips;

  1. There were no cover charges. These folks apparently live off tips.  Be prepared to get asked at each stop for a contribution and bring some cash.
  2. Plan to spend several hours just wandering around.
  3. Like to dance? you will find a lot of fun places to get your boogie o
  4. Don’t drink and drive.  The cabs are so easy to use.
  5. Unlike I ever do, plan your trip to Broadway Street.  This area is large and there are quite a few sites to see.
  6. Greater Nashville is amazing.
  7. If you are able to stay at The Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. DO SO. It really is a do not miss.  I did not stay here on this visit but have stayed there several times.  It is a place all of it’s own.  I could blog about this place-it’s that cool!

25 Bucket List Activities in Savannah, Georgia

3 of 3 MEGaposts on Savannah, Georgia

If I had to pick among the most interesting cities in the U.S.,  Savannah, Georgia would surely be on that list. I am not the only one. Savannah is routinely ranked by the likes of Travel and Leisure, Conde Nast Travel, Southern Living and Trip Advisor.

Why did I visit Savannah? Let me count they ways;  unique, free things to do, historical, funky, scenic, haunted, great food, romantic, artistic, public intoxicant loving, casual, awesome architectural, gardens, courtyards and the warmth…. My 25

ROAD TRIP SAVANNAH

SAVANNAH TURN OFF HERE

  1. Take a guided trolley tour. It’s a great way to get a quick overview. This city has more tours than a grandmother’s collection has pepper shakers.

    Trolley Central

    Trolley Central

  2. Walk all 20 squares. The Historical District of Savannah can best be seen hoofing it. In my opinion, this is one of the most fun city to walk in the US. I see something different each time that I visit.

4. Visit “that” fountain. Has to be one of the most photographed places in Savannah. Forsyth Park is active and lively. It is surrounded by really fantastic homes.  MEGatip: Try to photograph the fountain before the masses arrive. Make sure you walk around the block and check out the surrounding homes.

5. Take a ghost tour. I had too much to say on this subject and wrote about this in a post entitled “Ghost Bustering in Savannah.”  Savannah is the most paranormal city in the U.S. There are many ways to do a ghost or paranormal tour. From fun family tours, self tours, open hearse tours to the full on serious paranormal tours. MEGatips: This city takes on a whole other worldly appearance at night.  Don’t miss a night walk. Some of the tours can be really cheesy, choose one to your specific interest.

6. Visit Bonaventure Cemetery. See “that” statue. The “bird woman” statue, made famous by Midnight in The Garden of Good and Evil, has been moved to Telfair, Museum.  However, this statue of little Gracie is now one of the famous and photographed statues in this cemetery. One of my favorite all-time cemeteries to visit, the grounds are amazing for taking photographs.  Fantastic sculptures, moss covered oak trees. I have never toured with a tour group at his location.  On my last visit, I creeped on a tour guide and there were interesting stories. That might be fun for another visit. MEGatip; Don’t forget your camera!

7. Forrest Gump was here. For no reason, I now check out Forrest Gump scenes in cities that I have visited.  You know that famous scene in the beginning of the movie where that feather falls?  And,  the bench where Forrest sits at the bus stop? These spots are filmed in Savannah.    Many movies and shows have been filmed in this area. Other famous movie sights from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil are able to be visited. MEGatip: A fan? Clary’s cafe’ is open to the public. They serve a humdinger of a good breakfast there.  Southern food on daily menu also.

8. Hang out on River Street. Touristy? Yes, but there is fun, food, statues and some really great old buildings.  If you look and learn, this area tells a great story. MEGatip; Don’t miss the wonderful memorial statues on River Street. learn their story. A few of the statues; African American Monument,my favorite-Florence Martus aka “The Waving Girl,” 1996 Yachting Cauldron.

9. Bike Savannah. There is a new bike rental located in downtown.  This is really a busy place with a lot of one-way streets and cars. MEGatip; I would say this area is for a more experienced rider with fast reflexes. Somehow I was overcharged by 4X. I couldn’t figure out the system and even called them to clarify.  Maybe I will bring my own next visit.

BIKE ON!

BIKE ON!

10. Taste Chatham Artillery Punch and walk around with an open intoxicant, legally. I did both. This is one of a few cities in the US where this is possible..legally.

11. Visit Colonial Park Cemetery and look at those dueling grounds. This cemetery is within the historical district.

Colonial Cemetery

Colonial CemeteryVisit the Botanical Garden because I collect them.

12.  See “those houses” Amazing architecture is everywhere in this historic district. My photos will not do justice to the magnificent homes in this city.  From the 1700’s until the present, architecture is not to be missed.

13. Check out some art. There are several museums and shops in the downtown area.  MEGatip:STOP in at the SCAD Art Shop located in the historic district.  The works of the talented students are showcased and it is fun to check out. Great buys!

Art

Art

14. Check out the gardens. Famous for it’s beautiful courtyard gardens and landscaping, Savannah’s historic district is loaded with beautiful plantings.  In this historic district, you can walk around and have your own tour. It’s free. There are so many beautiful homes and gardens.

15. Learn about SCAD,  home to one of the coolest 11 buildings in the US.  Reuse, Reimagine, Repurpose. SCAD stands for Savannah College of Art and Design.  With more than 40 Majors and 60 Minors, this school brings in a fresh, vibrant and International vibe.  There are more than 11,000 students from nearly 50 states.  Almost 1/4 of the population is International, representing more than 100 countries.. A National Historic Landmark known to be  the only surviving antebellum railroad complex in the country. The complex also houses the ruins of a former freight warehouse. This city has such varied architectural styles.  

16. Eat some tasty seafood.  Lots of great food in this city. With too much to say, I also wrote a separate piece called Savoring Savannah. Each time that I visit, I find amazing food.  MEGatip: I loved Girabaldi’s Cafe.  A great menu and fantastic oyster’s with cilantro lime sauce.

17.  Paula Deen’s Lady and Son’s Restaurant. This family has a big following. Controversy aside, I was always curious.  I knew she made some famous biscuit’s and She Crab Soup.  One day, instead of Jimmy John’s I popped in and crossed this off my list. I wrote a separate piece on dining around the historic area. MEGatip: Don’t pop in, get a reservation.

18.  Visit The Botanical Garden. Like UNESCO Heritage Sites, I collect gardens.  The Savannah Botanical Garden is very small.  MEGatip: I recommend going to The Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens.  Although this garden is a work in progress, and in the beginning phases, there are interesting features to see. It is set on 5 acres. This place was known by the name The Bamboo Farm and is located about 10 miles outside of Savannah.  Yes, there is bamboo. It is FREE!  This photo has been one of my all time garden favorites. I snapped it on a past visit a few years back.

One of my favorite photos. I love how I saw the lizard after I checked photo.

One of my favorite photos. I love how I saw the lizard after I checked photo.

19. See “that statue” Telfair Museum. A Neoclassical Style exterior.  Admission is $12.00. There are permanent exhibits, paintings, sculptures, photographs and of course that famous “Bird Lady”  Because cell phones are not allowed I was asked not to take a photo of the statue with my phone. You may bring a camera if you stay 3′ away from the works.  MEGatip: For me, I liked the permanent exhibit about Kahlil Gibran. He is one of my favorite poets.  So that was worth the $12. If you are also a fan, one of the largest public collections is held here in the form of drawings and paintings.

20. Visit Historical Sites. for the history buffs, Savannah has plenty to offer. Some of the bloodiest battles were fought in this area. DSC_0064

21. Get my “Irish On”  I also collect Irish Pubs. Savannah and much of Georgia, was built with Irish labor. Savannah holds one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day Parades. Represent! MEGatip: Kevin Barry’s on River Street has evening entertainment. The dude knows how to play a Bodhran.

22. Get out of the city and see some nature.   I lose it after a few days without nature. With rivers and islands adjacent to the city, it is an easy place to find some nature. Flatlands, marshes and swamps. There is rich biodiversity found in The Coastal Lowlands Region. MEGatip:If you have kids, The Oatland Island Wildlife Center, located about 10 minutes from the downtown area, is a really great place to get out and walk. With animal exhibits, the kids will love it. There are trails throughout the woods and some animals that are in large natural type enclosures.

23. Visit Savannah’s  many historic churches. From Unitarian Churches, Jewish Synagogues, Catholic Churches and The First African Baptist Church. There is a vast culture of historical worship sites.  MEGatip: the interior of St. John’s is worth a peek.

24. Learn something random.  I learned a lot of interesting things visiting Savannah but I always like to learn a random fact.  Just in case.

Song writer James L. Pierpont, most famous for the lyrics Of Jingle Bell's  lived in Savannah.

Song writer James L. Pierpont, most famous for the lyrics Of Jingle Bell’s lived in Savannah.

25. Get out to Ty-Bee Island. A short drive of 18 miles and you can be at the beach.  MEGatips: Love beaches? GO there and enjoy the soft white sandy beaches and beautiful water. Collect national Park’s? have a passport?  History? The Fort Pulaski National Monument is run by the National Park Service and is worth a stop. EAT at The Crab Shack very near the park where you can have fresh shrimp and blue crabs in bare feet.

MEGastars  I give this city 5 MEGastars*****   I could possibly give 4 1/2 because I was a crime victim in this city.  Overall, i felt safe. My car got jacked from valet parking with 6 others.  I have one whale of a travel story…to be continued.

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