24 Hours on Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula: Beaches, Ancient Ruins, and Lots of Coffee

In June, I traveled with a group of five to Ireland and Scotland for two weeks. I’ve written all about my travels, including tips on what to do, where to stay, and how to get there, in a series of blog posts

24 hours on Dingle Peninsula what to see and do

Visiting Dingle Peninsula was at the top of our list for places to see in Ireland. National Geographic Travel deemed it “the most beautiful place on earth.” Often described as a less-touristy alternative to the Ring of Kerry, Dingle is known for its unspoiled coastline, friendly locals, and ancient sites. Continue reading

Our First Trip to Scotland: 48 Hours of Being Constantly Amazed in Edinburgh

In June, I traveled with a group of five to Ireland and Scotland for two weeks. I’ve written all about my travels, including tips on what to do, where to stay, and how to get there, in a series of blog posts. 

Our First Trip to Scotland: 48 Hours of Being Constantly Amazed in Edinburgh

We were pleasantly surprised by Scotland’s capital. We had two days to explore the city but definitely could’ve stayed longer. We flew into Edinburgh Airport from Cork, Ireland. Taxis were plentiful and easy to find, even for the five of us plus all of our luggage.

We rented a flat not far from Edinburgh Castle. We traveled by foot and walked on average for 7 miles a day around the “old town” section of the city. We kept saying to one another “I could totally see us living here!” Continue reading

Puffin Therapy in the Scottish Highlands

In June, I traveled with a group of five to Ireland and Scotland for two weeks. I’ve written all about my travels, including tips on what to do, where to stay, and how to get there, in a series of blog posts

Spending the Day with Puffins in Scotland

Puffins are delightful sea birds that live in the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Part of our trip to Scotland included a day-long tour off the western coast to the remote Treshnish Isles. We book the “Puffin Therapy” tour with Turus Mara. Our ferry departed from the seaside town of Oban at 9 a.m. After an hour long ride, we landed on the Isle of Mull. Then when we took a rough van ride across the rural island (all one-lane roads and lots of sheep) to the next part of our journey: a converted fishing boat. Another hour on the sea brought us to the Treshnish Isles: a group of small islands that are part of the Inner Hebrides. Along the way we spotted seals and dolphins. Continue reading

7 Favorite Places in Savannah

7 Favorite Places to Visit in Savannah, Georgia

The charming city of Savannah is an easy two-hour drive from Charleston. We usually try to go once a year. The city is known for its unique historic district laid out in a series of squares. One of our favorite things to do (if it’s not too hot) is to walk around the squares and marvel at the beautiful city parks and decadent southern homes. Savannah has a more haunted, Southern Gothic feel to the city than Charleston. It’s no wonder: the city is the birthplace of writer Flannery O’Connor and the setting for the true crime book/film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Continue reading

Exploring Craggy Gardens

Favorite stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway: Craggy Gardens

Craggy Gardens is one of my favorite places to explore on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I’ve hiked the trails in the rain, fog, heat, and sunshine. Although it is a popular hike in June when the rhododendrons are in bloom, Craggy Gardens is enjoyable almost anytime of the year. Early spring offers low crowds, during summer the bald (a grassy mountain summit) is covered in wildflowers, and in the fall the trees are a vibrant red. Continue reading

Weekend in Brevard

The perfect weekend in the mountains of North Carolina

Two or three times a year I have to get my mountain fix. To do this, we drive 4-5 hours to the Blue Ridge region of North Carolina. Over the years we have stayed in Asheville, Little Switzerland, or somewhere else close to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The small mountain town of of Brevard was recommended to us by several people, being a favorite weekend destination for a lot of Charlestonians. We had read about the movies that were filmed there (The Hunger Games, The Last of the Mohicans) and were intrigued by the many waterfalls (250!) in Transylvania County. Continue reading

California Road Trip: Marin County

Travel Tips for visiting Northern California

California is my happy place. For several months we were planning our Pacific Coast Highway roadtrip from San Francisco to Los Angeles. A large chunk of our trip was going to be in Big Sur–we booked a few nights at a lodge there (the cheapest we could find was still at $250/night) and we had all of our hikes planned for the state parks in the area. Sadly, the area was devastated by the Soberanes fire in late July that they are still battling two months later. Because of the wildfire and poor air quality, we decided to change our travel plans and go north instead. With just a few weeks to go, we had to find new places to stay and come up with a Northern California itinerary. It was part stressful and part creative problem solving! Continue reading

California Road Trip: Redwood Country

Where to go in California's Redwood Country

Our introduction to Redwood country was the Avenue of the Giants. We drove 101 north from Marin County, past suburbs and wineries as the highway narrowed and the trees closed in on us. By late afternoon, we took the exit off of 101 to drive the 31-mile Avenue of the Giants. The road is surrounded by Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The only place I had to compare the park to was Muir Woods, and for me it was like being able to drive through Muir Woods. Except the trees here were even taller. Along the avenue there are lots of stop-offs along the way where you can stretch your legs, touch the trees, and walk along the giants. Continue reading