fall in love with bryce canyon

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Bryce Canyon Overview at Pink Cliffs

Fall is a wonderful time to visit Bryce Canyon. This was my first visit, so I can’t judge the other seasons too harshly, but it was perfect autumn weather when we were there in late September. Highs in the low 70s, lows in the 40s. My kind of weather!

We planned this trip way back in July 2021, so we’d been anticipating it for months. We joined our camping friends from Las Vegas, who we try to camp with every year. They had been there before, so we took advantage of their knowledge and love of the place.

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travel tuesday: keystone wine and jazz

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The Keystone Wine and Jazz Festival is quickly becoming one of our favorite new traditions. There are the Colorado Rocky Mountains, cooler temps, beautiful flowers, hiking trails and lots of yummy food. Oh, and wine and jazz. We took the kids in 2019, it was cancelled in 2020, Scott and I went last year, and this year we brought our daughter and son-in-law along to celebrate their upcoming birthdays. Fun was had by all.

Family fun at the 2022 Keystone Wine and Jazz Festival. You can tell I’m ready with my food pass lanyard, wine glass necklace, wine shirt and a bottle of water in my pocket!
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travel tuesday: sippin’ wine in palisade

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If you’re starting to think we like Palisade, you are correct. This was our second mini-staycation there this year. We attended the Sip into Spring Wine Fest for the first time, and it was fabulous. The location, the wine, the weather, the food, the hotel…all fabulous!

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travel tuesday: 5 months, 6 states, 7 getaways

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map of 2022 tales from the empty nest travels

We are crushing my goal of at least one getaway each month in 2022! So far, we have visited six states on seven getaways. Here’s a quick recap.

RELATED: Vacation planning for 2022

January: We kicked the year off with a mini-staycation in Palisade and Grand Junction that included visits to a brewery and winery and some incredible food. Soon after, a Colorado road trip took us to Denver for the RV Show and on to Colorado Springs for a relaxing weekend with our best friends.

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desert vibes for march camping

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Spring fever and camping fever arrive at the same time at our house each year. This year was no exception. In fact, it might have been heightened by the fact that I redecorated our camper with a beach theme after our trip to Anna Maria Island in March!

We always spend one night in the camper in our back yard before heading anywhere, just to make sure everything is working properly. Always good advice. More good advice: Unplug the camper if you’ve had it plugged in all winter. We learned that the hard way this year. 

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travel tuesday: lobster on my mind

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Lobster Roll at Thurston's Lobster Pound

I brought home a great New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc last night, Lobster Reef, and have been craving lobster ever since. Or should I say “lobstah”? That brought to mind the best lobster roll I’ve ever had. We were spending a week at Bar Harbor in October 2014 during our big RV road trip, and a friend recommended Thurston’s Lobster Pound. Even though I ate lobster every day that week, this is the one I still dream about.

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travel tuesday: cider tasting in hotchkiss, co

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Delicious Farms in Hotchkiss, Colorado, is a must-visit when we do a daytrip on the Grand Mesa Loop. You can camp in the orchard, eat at the café, shop at the store, play like a kid on tree swings, listen to live music and pick your own fruit. You can also grab a stool at the Cider Bar and sample Big B’s Ciders. The food at the café is very good, so step up and order your meal. I recommend the tamales, and my husband likes the pulled pork. Then, order a flight of hard ciders and dig in.

Note: The website says they are not offering tastings due to COVID-19, but we were able to order this flight last summer. You can always choose a single cider in larger sizes. Be sure to take some home along with goodies from the store.

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where to eat on Anna Maria Island

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First of all, you should eat where you can view this sunset, which is at the Gulf Drive Café on Bradenton Beach. Two of my all-time favorite sunsets have been here; our first night on this trip and two years ago on Valentine’s Day. Both times, I had the shrimp tacos. I think that must be the good luck charm because this was the only real sunset we saw this year. Our days were mostly sunny, but low-lying clouds moved in around 5 the rest of the week.

Shrimp tacos at the Gulf Drive Café.
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travel tuesday: jack london state historic park

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We explored this beautiful park three years ago this month during a trip to Napa and Sonoma. The park, Jack London’s former home and ranch, is spectacular. It was mud season, so we didn’t get to walk the trails and focused our time on the museum. His history, and that of his wife Charmian, is fascinating and beautifully represented there. Read more about the park and our day in Sonoma here.

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romantic getaway in ouray

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Month two of my year of getaways is a wrap! We almost always go somewhere for Valentine’s Day, and this year was no exception. We spent three Val Day weekends in a row in Arizona; five years ago it was Riviera Maya near Playa del Carmen and two years ago we were on Anna Maria Island.

We have a big trip coming up in March, so this time it was a quick, romantic night in Ouray. It’s one of our favorite spots in the state, but only our second visit during the winter. Last time, it was on the frigid side with snow blowing horizontally. This year, Mother Nature was on our side, which was good since I forgot to bring a coat.

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