Hey there! Y'all know I usually prefer warm destinations - so if I'm honest - Milwaukee has never been on my travel list. (Mainly, because Wisconsin makes me think"Cold! Brrrr. Cold!"). However, I just went to my very first "Women in Travel Summit" in Milwaukee and now a return visit to this fun city is definitely on my mind and in the works!
Since this post is titled "Five Fun Things About Milwaukee That I Didn't Know" I guess I better get to listing:
1. Milwaukeeans pronounce Milwaukee like this: "'Muh'waukee". (So say it that way too if you don't want to be immediately identified as a tourist.)
2. A Bloody Mary in Milwaukee can be lunch - really - I kid you not! I had one that for garnish had on it: two whole fried jumbo shrimp; one fried zucchini fry; one brew-ton (a large wonton filled with chicken, scallions, cream & jack cheeses); half a dill pickle; quarter of a lime; a few olives; a skewer of cheese squares; a celery stalk; and a slice of crispy bacon! (You can get them at some locations with an entire burger slider plus lots of other stuff as garnish!)
3. The Harley-Davidson Museum is in Milwaukee. And that's because Harley-Davidson was started in Milwaukee.
4. The WORLD'S largest music festival (Summerfest) is held in Milwaukee.
5. Milwaukee has over 150 parks and 25 theaters! So there's something for everyone to do in Milwaukee.
Typing that 'didn't know' list got me to thinking about a 'did know' list - of things I knew about Milwaukee before I visited - and I think I can come up with five things:
1. Beer. I knew that Pabst Blue Ribbon came from Milwaukee (my dad used to drink Pabst Blue Ribbon). Milwaukee is famous for beer.
2. Cheese. HeeHee. A friend (and co-worker) of my husband gave me a giant cheesehead hat one year. (And, yes, I did wear it a heck of a lot more than anyone in my family wanted.) Everyone knows the Wisconsin/Milwaukee/cheese connection. I had cheese curds while there and they are yum yum.
3. Happy Days. I grew up watching Happy Days so I knew the Cunningham's and The Fonz ("Eyyy") lived in Milwaukee.
4. Al Jarreau was from Milwaukee. I love Al Jarreau's music and keep his birthplace filed in my "potential cruise ship trivia" folder in my brain.
5. Lake Michigan. A few years ago my husband worked/lived in Chicago so I studied up a bit on the Great Lakes and knew that Milwaukee was located on Lake Michigan.
(Whew! Glad I wasn't going for six!).
Making this short and sweet: Milwaukee was way more than I expected but the best surprise was meeting so many friendly folks - their bright smiles and personalities reminded me of being home in the South - so, of course, I want to go back! One of the best travel experiences is when you visit a place with no expectations and are completely impressed. That's how I feel about my trip to Milwaukee and I can't wait to visit again. You should put Milwaukee on your list too!
I spent eight nights in Scotland and stayed in four luxury hotels. The not-so-high-tech photo of the map is the route of my trip and the name/location of each hotel. Each property has everything you’d expect from a hotel with four or five star ratings: nice furnishings, comfy bed, super soft linens, room service, fancy amenities etc.
Here’s a brief summary of each hotel plus my favorite and least favorite bits. (Though I’m listing “least favorite bits” I’d absolutely stay in any of these hotels again and recommend them to anyone. I’m listing the price I paid per night in GBP (each included breakfast) just to give you an idea but keep in mind that I did go off season so prices were somewhat lower.)
Cameron House, Loch Lomond
When we got to Cameron House, my first sight was the beautiful Estate House and second was the seaplane docked right in front on Loch Lomond. Impressive, indeed! Inside the hotel feels rich but not in an “oh goodness, I didn’t pack an evening dress for dinner” kinda way. (I said that like I own an evening dress. Haha.)
My room was a “Feature King” (354 GBP) that was pretty spacious and completely comfortable. The shower in the bathroom was unlike any I’ve seen in a hotel before. It was very large and like a spa shower with a rainfall shower head and all that jazz but also had no step in or anything - it was flat with the floor and entirely open on the one side. (This was cool after I got over the fear of flooding the whole bathroom which may possibly then flow to the room and ultimately water damage the entire hotel. :-))!
Favorite bits about Cameron House:
Least favorite bits about Cameron House:
Culloden House, Inverness
Culloden House presents itself at the end of a driveway and you have to stop and take a picture. It’s beautiful and if you’ve done any reading on the area (or watched Highlander) you appreciate its history on first sight.
I felt comfortable from the second I walked into Culloden House. They have a small staff and everything is nice but not formal. Perfect for me!
I had the “Main Suite” King (200 GBP) room. Goodness gracious. This room was huge! It had a full (I mean an entire) living room and bathroom. Actually, now that I’m seeing the room in my mind it had a separate entrance from outside too. Then you walk up a few steps to the bedroom and off from the bedroom and down a few steps was another full bathroom. Everything about the room was comfortable.
Favorite bits about Culloden House:
Fonab Castle, Pitlochry
It was raining when I got to Fonab Castle and the entrance to the hotel is on the side of the building so I didn’t get any first impressions of the grounds really. However, the bellman was wearing a full kilt outfit when he helped with the luggage. That made me smile. Inside Fonab Castle is also rich looking - dark wood staircase and nice everything.
I had a “Castle Room” King (200 GBP). The room was spacious and extremely comfortable. And, they had a really good welcome plate with various chocolates in a fancy cellophane wrap. Yummy!
Favorite bits about Fonab Castle:
G&V Royal Mile, Edinburgh
G&V was my favorite hotel! It’s cool but not so hip that I felt out of place; the staff are all so friendly; (on that note, the hotel does not have a separate concierge but each front desk person is also a concierge) and the room was fun and artsy. If you're in Edinburgh goodness you should stay here!
G&V Royal Mile is in Old Town and conveniently located to just about everything. You can walk from G&V to Edinburgh Castle, St. Giles Cathedral, Palace of Holyroodhouse, New Town and countless other sites, restaurants and museums.
I had a “Deluxe” King (266.33 GBP) (reservation included a 100 GBP food credit).
Favorite bits about G&V:
I loved Scotland and if you're planning a trip and have any questions - shoot me an email and I'll answer if I can or reach out to my new friends across the pond for information!
Before actually starting my blog, I was having lunch with a couple of friends and we were discussing ideas for travel and which aspects of my adventures would potentially be most interesting to readers. One friend suggested that maybe I would want to mention accessibility issues that I noted on my travels. As I have some folks in my life that have physical disabilities and are wheelchair users (one of whom is my grandson at times), I thought this was a great idea. So, I decided to look for and comment on accessible hotel rooms.
The reason I’m writing this piece now is because I finally found a hotel with accessible rooms worthy of comment. Rooms that go beyond minimum legal requirements and are thoughtful and practical. But first ...
In the past three months I’ve stayed at ten or so upscale hotels and have asked to see (and been shown) an accessible room in each property. While I was hoping and perhaps assumed that any room listed as accessible would actually be suitable for a wheelchair user - I found that was not the case. A few of the things I have seen:
This blog is to share the positive experience of finding a hotel with remarkable accessible rooms. On a recent mini road trip I spent a couple of nights in Nashville at the Thompson Nashville hotel. This property is in a great location; is hip, fun, luxurious AND has noteworthy accessible rooms. A few of the modifications in the accessible rooms at the Thompson Nashville are:
Good job, Thompson Nashville, putting in a little extra effort to make sure the accessible rooms are as comfortable as all the other rooms in the hotel.
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I sure hope it doesn’t take ten more hotels before I see another great accessible room!
I wouldn't say that Sandals Negril is a high end luxury resort. Rather, it is really nice resort that is so perfectly fine I found myself feeling super good we didn't spend the extra $$ on the first choice but had just as great a time and can roll the dollars we saved into the next vacation. Here's the story:
Despite having a gazillion travel destinations on my list sometimes it takes me forever to just pick one and finalize plans. My recent trip to Jamaica began with spending hours comparing Caribbean resorts; eventually deciding on one in Turks & Caicos; only to have the airfare to Turks & Caicos double in price overnight. What the heck! Back to the drawing board - well back to the airfare sale emails I'd received that week. Within ten minutes I saw a roundtrip nonstop fare on American from Miami to Montego Bay for $224 and impulsively booked the flight. After getting the confirmation email from American I thought to myself - good lord - I hope all the rooms on the island aren't sold out. (Thankfully they weren't or else this piece might be titled "Even Travel Bloggers Make Big Travel Mistakes Sometimes!" HeeHee.)
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"Sensible luxury" is my travel style. Doesn't have to be way over the top but I like nice and comfortable sprinkled with some fancy fancy that isn't too stuffy. I'll be honest and say that the Sandals brand is not one that immediately comes to my mind when thinking about luxury resorts in the Caribbean. (My first ideas are usually Jumby Bay, Peter Island, Little Dix Bay etc. ...) However, I was in the U.K. when looking for a resort and I'll give Sandals props for influencing me with all the commercials they were running at the time. One resort in particular was advertising "all butler suites". Jeeves, for me? Hmm, maybe I will give Sandals another looksee.
Ultimately after comparing various resorts in Jamaica (including Round Hill, Half Moon & other Sandals properties) we decided to go to Sandals Negril and booked a honeymoon butler suite. (Sandals Negril was not the Sandals resort than I'd seen advertised but looked like a better fit for our vacation.) What a great choice this turned out to be!
From the moment we landed in Montego Bay everything went smoothly. (As a side note I have to add here that going through immigration and customs at MTB was a breezy half hour compared to the over two hours it took in the very hot Nassau airport recently.) After customs go to the Sandals lounge to let them know you've arrived, get yourself a Red Stripe (they have regular and light on draft) and log onto the internet!
First thing is that the resort is about an hour and a half from the airport. But don't worry, Sandals has the shuttle to and from down to a science and on the ride you get to see a bit of Jamaica ... hopefully you'll be lucky like we were and pull into the rest stop around the halfway mark. If so - go ahead and get some of the jerk chicken that the guy is cooking on the porch - you won't be sorry! Promise!
Now. About Sandals Negril Resort:
The resort: is all-inclusive (room, food, drink (including alcohol), various water sports & entertainment) and adults only (18+). Rooms: there are 226 rooms in a wide range of room categories from a two level loft beachfront to a swim-up crystal lagoon suite (this was our room) to a deluxe room in Paradise Beachfront Village and a ton of others in between. I was lucky enough to take a look at most of the room options and they are all quality. Food: seven different dining options. We managed to try most of the restaurants and believe me the food is good and there is a lot of variety. (If you go - be sure to get a pizza at the pizzeria. Yum.) Activities: beach, several pools (one with swim-up bar) water skiing, diving, snorkeling, glass bottom boat, floats - among other things, we took a ride on Big Mable (float pulled behind a boat) and it was tons of fun! Butler: if you get a room with the butler service you get some extra pampering and it can make the vacation even more special. Your butler reserves your beach chairs each day (with a cooler of beer/water); has coffee on the patio when you wake up; makes dinner reservations; handles any excursions you want to take (we went to Pelican Bar & Ricks); keeps your room bar stocked; has a fancy bath with flowers run ... you get the idea.
Sandals Negril is a complete class act with an easy atmosphere. And it's sitting on an absolutely beautiful beach. Can't ask for too much more. But there is more: the fabulous people that work at Sandals Negril are genuine and engaging without being intrusive. As a guest, I felt like a guest that was truly welcome (and not smelly like fish after three days :)). We met several folks that visit this resort often and no one had a single complaint; but even better was that everyone had such high compliments and praise for the friendly staff. (Shout-out to Orena, Kay-Ann, Renee, Andrea, Jerry, Kendra, Ian, Kenrick, Jervene, Richard, Keron, and Janice for going the extra mile to make our vacation extraordinary.)
Bottom line is that our stay at Sandals Negril was fantastic with the added bonus of being a good value. Wish I was there now and surely hope to return soon!
Happy & Safe Travels.
Come along with this southern girl on my fun travel adventures! I’m taking the tours; seeing the sites; trying out the hotels; dining at the restaurants; cruising on the cruise ships; and sharing the experiences on this blog. I hope you enjoy reading about my travel escapades and that they will be inspiring and helpful when planning your own fabulous adventures.