Friday Finds on Mackinaw Road: Little Passports, Mahabis Slippers and Shiplap

Happy Friday!

Friday Finds on Mackinaw Road

Once again this week has flown by. Even though this winter has been snowy in Michigan, it seems like we’ve seen the sun more often, which is a welcome surprise. Nonetheless, it is always so nice to have a “look forward to” in order to make it through February. We are headed to San Antonio, my first time to Texas, and I’m looking for all of your suggestions! I am also wondering if I should stay in San Antonio for the 4 days or recruit someone to drive the three hours to The Silos.  What do you think?

Friday Finds on Mackinaw Road: Little Passports, Mahabis slippers, and shiplap

Continue reading Friday Finds on Mackinaw Road: Little Passports, Mahabis Slippers and Shiplap

Island Travel Interviews: Caribbean, Take 9 (Antigua & Barbuda)

The Caribbean was hit by Hurricane Irma this past fall, with Barbuda being one of the hardest hit islands and Antigua experiencing some damage as well. Please note that this interview was conducted prior to the Hurricane and, as such, some of the places mentioned may have been affected. As always, it is good to check on such things prior to making your plans. You can also listen to this podcast for more information about the status of all of the Caribbean Islands. 

With that said, I am so excited to learn more about Antigua and Barbuda from Faith Coates of XYUandBeyond. Believe me, you’ll want to read along not only for the great information but also for the stunning photos.

What to do in Antigua
Image Credit- XYUandBEYOND

Name and Blog Name/URL:

Faith Coates

https://xyuandbeyond.com

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island? Antigua & Barbuda WI

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

A minimum of a week better yet 14 days

What was Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?

Eating roti on Pigeon Beach just watching the yachties from all over the world relax and enjoy the sun, sea, and sand. The roti lady comes around at about 2pm and for a couple of dollars you get the best roti in the world.

What to do in Antigua
Image Credit- XYUandBEYOND

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

Sunday Nights at Shirley Heights where everyone comes out to play, dance, drink and eat.

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

BBQ at Shirley Heights

What to do in Antigua
Image Credit- XYUandBEYOND

What Surprised You About this Island?

The range of beaches from surfing, to kiting, to gentle peaceful clear blue waters to bob around in. There are 365 beaches on the Island, and there is one for every type of watersport imaginable.

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

Just enjoy the 365 beaches, eat lots of local food – the roadside stands of jerk chicken are amazing. Wander the streets in St. John and enjoy the crazy ambience when the cruise ships get in. Easy to rent a car and drive yourself – after all the Island is only 12 miles long. The islanders are incredibly helpful and friendly and it is very difficult to get lost.

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

Check out one of the Island’s great historic sites Nelson’s Dockyard. https://xyuandbeyond.com/nelsons-dockyard/

Many thanks to Faith for the fabulous information. I’m ready to book a flight!  And check out this resort— it looks like the perfect luxury getaway! 

Need I say more? Here is a pin for now or later.

What to do in Antigua
Image credit- Pixabay

**Please note that this post contains affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation if you click and purchase. Thank you!

 

 

 

Friday Finds on Mackinaw Road: An Airbnb Scheme, Little Bavaria, a Great Escape, and a Family to Follow

Hi All and Happy Friday!

Between Superhero Teacher Appreciation Week and a 5-year old’s birthday (spoiler alert: he didn’t end up getting the 5 golden retriever puppies and 2 adults he originally asked for), this has been a fun week.  Here are a few things more fun things I’ve found… Continue reading Friday Finds on Mackinaw Road: An Airbnb Scheme, Little Bavaria, a Great Escape, and a Family to Follow

Island Travel Interviews: Malaysian Islands, Take 1 (Redang Island)

Welcome back to the Island Travel Interview series! This week we are learning about Redang Island, a Malaysian Island in the South China Sea. Read on as Riz from Lamyerda tells us more about this lovely island. Continue reading Island Travel Interviews: Malaysian Islands, Take 1 (Redang Island)

What to Do When a Furry Family Member Dies Unexpectedly

It’s taken a long time to be able to write this post, vacillating between whether it was too personal, just too difficult to write, etc. But, in the end, I guess I’m just hoping that it maybe helps someone else who lost their furry family member while traveling or at home… Doesn’t really matter, it’s super painful no matter how you lose them. Here it goes… Continue reading What to Do When a Furry Family Member Dies Unexpectedly

Island Travel Interviews- Caribbean Islands, Take 8 (Aruba)

Aruba. How I love Aruba. It’s been awhile since we’ve been but I’m quite certain I would still love Aruba. Just off the coast of Venezuela, this Dutch Island had the warmest of breezes and seas when we visited. I’m excited to compare experiences as Megan from Some Places I Am Moderately Excited About shares a more current view of the A of the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao). 

Island Travel | Aruba
Image Credit- Megan from Some Things I’m Moderately Excited About

Name and Blog Name/URL

I’m Megan, of Some Places I Am Moderately Excited About! (www.moderatelyexcited.com) I curate snarky and educational city guides to destinations all over the world and Chicago, where I’m from and currently living.

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

Aruba! Aka One Happy Island. This little slice of Dutch Caribbean heaven is one of my favorite tropical island destinations – it feels like you are somewhere much more exotic than just a 7 hour flight from the Midwest!

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

We personally stayed for 9 full days – we were very overdue for a nice, long, relaxing vacation. But you could definitely get a great experience with 4-5 days!

Island Travel | Aruba
Image Credit- Megan from Some Things I’m Moderately Excited About

What Is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?

My absolute favorite memory from our trip was our spontaneous 3 AM swim in the ocean after we got back from one of our (late night) excursions. We dropped our stuff off, donned our suits and headed over to the beach. The water was as warm as your soaking tub and the stars were literally the brightest I’ve ever seen anywhere. The water and sky met at this slightly darker horizon line, but for all intents and purposes, they looked like they were one giant black abyss. Which was both a little terrifying and also exhilarating (especially because I could touch the bottom and there was little to no current – I felt okay being out there!) We swam and watched shooting stars for an hour before the mosquitos came for ransom.

What Is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

This island has absolutely no shortage of things to do, eat and see. Whether jet skiing across clear blue water, relaxing on sugar sand beaches, snorkeling or diving by one of the many offshore shipwrecks and dive sites, ATVing through the desert or learning about the Dutch Caribbean culture, you will find something perfect for everyone in your party.

My personal favorite “Can’t Miss” activity is a dead tie between two really unique experiences that are as equally “touristy” (at first glance) as they are so much fun that you’d kick yourself if you did miss them.

  • The Kukoo Kanuku party bus tour will take you on a bar-hopping joy ride (with a champagne toast AND dinner, in some instances!) led by “Mama” with a group of people who will start out as complete strangers, but may create some long-lasting relationships.
  • The Jolly Pirates Snorkeling & Sailing tour will check both snorkeling and sailing off your itinerary – plus give you a chance to imbibe while enjoying a soft sea breeze in your face (if you’re into that sort of thing). Not to mention, when else are you going to check rope swinging into the ocean from a replication pirate ship off your bucket list?!

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

The Screaming Eagle was one of the most unexpected surprises and best meals of the whole trip. Ask for a bed – you’ll have the opportunity to eat “dinner in bed” in a special upstairs lounge area – literally, in a bed! Plus, the swordfish steak, truffled potato soup and pork belly were some of the best I’ve ever had anywhere.

What Surprised You About this Island?

While it seems pretty small, it’s actually fairly big with tons of different topographies and places to explore.

Island Travel | Aruba
Photo Credit- Megan from Some Things I’m Moderately Excited About

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

We stayed on Eagle Beach at the Amsterdam Manor Beachfront Resort and I would stay here every time we go back. Not only was it on one of the most highly-rated beaches in the world, it was also a great middle-ground for getting to both the downtown area and the northern side of the island. Not to mention it was walking distance from a grocery store and we had a kitchenette in our bungalow, so it was very cost-effective!

As for how to get around, we managed just fine without a car between the public bus system (you can pay when you get on) and taxis. However, if you want to get over to the other side of the island or see the national parks, etc, you’d best rent a car.

Language and currency are easy – most people speak English and US dollars are widely accepted – if not preferred – everywhere.

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

Absolutely! You can read my full breakdown of where to eat, stay and play on Aruba by visiting this link! (http://www.moderatelyexcited.com/aruba-a-little-slice-of-dutch-caribbean-heaven/)

This was a perfect getaway from this gray and white winter palette- thanks so much, Megan!

Now I’m definitely in an Island mood… Don’t forget to check out the Island Rum Punch that Living Lark shared with us here….

And look on Skycanner for winter/spring flights here….

Or save this info for a later date by clicking below….

What to do in Aruba
Photo Credit- Mackinaw Road

**This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you click and purchase, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

 

How to Choose Paint for Projects

Inexpensive Laundry Room Makeover

One of the things that draws people to travel is the change of scenery. There are so many equally beautiful yet completely different places in this world that stir that sense of amazement and newness in all of us. While there are a select few who travel the world and are constantly experiencing new surroundings, there are also those of us who travel less frequently and are grounded for longer stretches in between our trips. As such, it is always inspiring to try to bring newness and change into everyday living as well. Continue reading How to Choose Paint for Projects

Friday Finds on Mackinaw Road: Travel Gifts, Ice Cream, a Book, and a Sweater

Happy Friday, Everyone! It’s January and we’re grounded, so the “Finds” are a bit limited, but here we go…

Island Travel | Bahamas
Paradise Island, Bahamas

Naturally, we are dreaming of sunny skies and crystal clear water as we wait for the “January thaw” that will get us to a balmy 43 degrees on Saturday.  Travelogue (Conde Nast’s podcast) was a great listen this week as I gazed through the window at the white snow. They discussed the Caribbean as a 2018 destination. The podcasters started from the northern-most island and headed south, one island at a time (no, they didn’t get to all 7000 islands). It was interesting to listen to their perspectives on islands we’ve visited (Aruba, Bahamas, Grand Caymen, St. Kitts) as well as making our “next on the list” picks.  Don’t forget to check out all of the Caribbean Travel Interviews over the past year on Mackinaw Road and of course my favorite Caribbean Island (not technically, by popularly considered to be so) here, here, and here

Friday Finds on Mackinaw Road
Lake Michigan

Going out in Michigan winters and attempting to be somewhat stylish can be challenging. I usually just throw on my jacket and hat and call it good, but when going to house parties or out for dinner, well… that’s where the challenge sets in. Free People is a go-to place when looking for sweaters. While not a huge shopper, I do like to splurge on items that I know I will have for years to come. The sweater I recently purchased is no longer available (likely because it was on super sale), but this one is similar and equally stylish and cozy. A bonus is that it looks like it would travel well… no ironing needed.

Friday Finds on Mackinaw Road

Not to be too contradictory, but let’s talk about ice cream! A friend who lives about 3 hours away recently sent us Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream– it was such an absolutely lovely surprise! The unexpected happy orange box on our doorstep contained three pints of Jeni’s. The ice cream was, well… amazing!!! If you are traveling and missing a loved one’s birthday or some special occasion (or just want to send a gift to let someone far away know you’re thinking of them), Jeni’s is your answer! You can customize and send your own gift on their website. Easy peasy.

Where’d You Go Bernadette? was another “friend find” and a page-turning recommendation. It is a long stretch to suggest that this is a travel book, but it honestly did make me incredibly curious about Seattle. With descriptions of the rainy city scattered throughout this fictional book, it seems like a place that I should visit to determine what about the city is fiction verses nonfiction, don’t you think? Have you been to Seattle? Would you recommend it? (It also describes Antarctica… I’m not even tempted…)

Inexpensive Laundry Room Makeover

And, a fair warning and favor to ask… On Monday morning, I’m switching gears to painting and some DIY information. (The post that continues to lead readers to Mackinaw Road is the Inexpensive Flooring post with the stenciled Portuguese tiles).  BUT, I am going to switch right back to travel on Thursday. This blog follows several interests (which are mainly travel and decor/diy); I can usually loosely tie the two together 😉 Please let me know what you’d like to see more of in the Comments section!

Travel gifts, Ice Cream, a Book, and a Sweater

**This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you click and purchase, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

Island Travel Interviews: Caribbean Islands, Take 7 (Ambergris Caye)

I’ll be quite honest with you, I did not know that the Caribbean extended as far west as Belize. Nor had I heard of Ambergris Caye. But I’m super excited to learn about it! Many thanks to Aimee from Aimee’s Compass for sharing information about the largest island in Belize.

Island Travel | Belize
Photo Credit- Aimee’s Compass

Name and Blog Name/URL

Aimee Binstead, Travel Life Blogger at Aimee’s Compass https://aimeescompass.com

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

San Pedro is an English-speaking town on the island of Ambergris Caye, in Belize. It’s often forfeited for the island next door, Caye Caulker, but San Pedro has plenty to offer a traveller looking for a vibrant and atmospheric getaway. While Caye Caulker radiates chilled vibes and pastel-painted wooden shacks, San Pedro pulsates with lively residents, colourful homes, and the chime of reggae music from houses and bars alike. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d arrived in Jamaica! I visited to get a taste of the Caribbean while travelling Central America.

Island Travel | Belize
Photo Credit- Aimee’s Compass

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

Between 2-4 days is plenty of time in San Pedro.

Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?

My arrival in San Pedro couldn’t have been more perfect. After a long journey from Playa Del Carmen in Mexico, taken by bus and boat and lugging a 13kg backpack the whole way, you could say I was pretty exhausted coming through customs. That was, until I made it to the town centre and discovered that I was just in time for the Belize Independence Day festival! There’s nothing like loud, distorted reggae tunes blasting through the air, while locals dance covered in orange paint, to give you a good buzz of excitement. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

Any visitor to Ambergris Caye absolutely has to rent a golf cart and seek out the ‘secret beach’. Supposedly a 45-minute bike ride from San Pedro, the mission took me a good 4 hours and ended up requiring multiple beer stops and two new friends in order to find it. I can promise you though, when you get there for sunset it’s well worth the adventure!

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

Fancy floating on the sea in a rubber ring, and having food and drinks lowered down to you by bucket? (Silly question really). Then you MUST go to Palapas. Palapas is a wooden bar perched on the end of a pier, and while the food isn’t anything out of this world, the experience is pretty unique.

What Surprised You About this Island?

What surprised me the most is the constant energetic atmosphere of the island, which is the result of local children that run barefoot through the streets without pavements, waves between neighbours and strangers, colourful flags that link the painted wooden houses, and shop signs in bright reds, yellows, and greens.

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

San Pedro is a great first stop for anybody travelling into Belize from Mexico. It’s easily accessible from Chetumal ferry port, and though the journey requires all of the visa processing needed to leave one country and enter another, this is simple and straightforward at each port. One big tip for those thinking of heading here though, is to keep hold of any evidence showing that you have already paid a departure fee from Mexico, or you’ll be made to pay it again (around 360 pesos).

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

To read about my experience on Ambergris Caye; seeking out the secret beach, swimming with sea turtles, and eating street food at the Independence Day celebrations, you can take a look here: https://aimeescompass.com/2015/10/10/sea-turtles-and-the-secret-beach-of-san-pedro-belize/

All of this sounds delightful! Here is a pin to save this for your travel planning:

Ambergris Caye | Belize | Island Travel
Photo Credit- Pixabay

**This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that you if you click and purchase, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

 

 

Travel Island Interviews: Pacific Ocean Islands, Take 2

Fiji. Just hearing this word conjures up dreamy scenes of clear turquoise waters and beaches for days. Mostly created from volcanic activity, Fiji consists of 330+ islands in the South Pacific Ocean. Juliette and John of Snorkels to Snow share their experience on the beautiful Fiji Island of Tivua.

Island Travel | Fiji
Photo credit- Snorkels to Snow

Name and Blog Name/URL

Juliette and John from Snorkels to Snow

Http://snorkelstosnow.com 

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

Tivua Island in Fiji. Fiji is made up of over 330 islands so it can be hard to know where to start!

Tivua Island is a beautiful escape and one of our favorite islands to visit while we were living in Fiji.

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

You only need a couple of nights here to relax and recharge – it’s very remote and small.

Island Travel | Fiji
Photo Credit- Snorkels to Snow

What is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?

Scuba diving the MV Raiyawa which is a purpose sunk wreck! It’s awesome to see the beginning of what will become an awesome colorful wreck in future.

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

Scuba diving, kayaking, snorkeling – and generally just relaxing under the coconut trees and looking out to the beautiful white sandy stretches of beach.

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

Food is provided as part of the trip to Tivua.

Island Travel | Fiji
Photo Credit- Snorkels to Snow

What Surprised You About this Island?

It’s everything you imagine a remote tropical island to be! Coconut trees, white sandy beaches and the most gorgeous turquoise waters to swim or snorkel in! It’s hard to believe it’s so close to the mainland of Fiji – it feels like you are days away from civilization and other tourists.

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

You’ll need to get a boat from Denarau on the mainland to get to Tivua. You can even hire out the entire island for a private event if you want! You will set sail with Captain Cook Cruises and enjoy the best of Fiji hospitality not only on the boat but of course on the island too. Fijians are the friendliest people on earth! You might even get the chance to participate in a traditional kava ceremony on the boat. Everyone speaks a English in Fiji but it’s good to know a few local words in Fijian such as BULA (hello) and VINAKA (thank you).

Just make sure you pack a hat, sunscreen and insect repellent.  

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

You may want to check out Skyscanner for airline tickets now or pin this for later 🙂
Fiji Islands | Island Travel
Photo Credit- Pixabay
*This post contains affiliate links.