Tag Archives: travel

What I’m Grateful for This Week…

This has been a travel week for me – four cities and two states in addition to the city and state that I live in. Here are things that keep me upbeat while away from home:

1. Remodeled hotel rooms – I am blessed to stay at nice hotels and eat yummy food while traveling for my company. Rooms with updated decor, adequate work space, lots of outlets and a pot to heat water for tea make my time away comfortable and enjoyable. This hotel is in the process of updating and I am lucky enough to get the updated room.

2. Awards presentations – Every year, we honor one of our financial institution partners with our Community Spirit Award to recognize their dedication to affordable housing and community economic development. A highlight for me this week was surprising one of our bankers with an award at our workshop in Troy, Michigan. This individual has distributed nearly $3 million in grant funds to help first-time homebuyers with down payment assistance and home repairs for lower wealth individuals. He also received $50,000 in grants for small businesses during 2018.

3. Girls’ Weekend – I concluded my travels with a quick weekend get away with a dear friend who lives in Atlanta. We met at the Atlanta airport and flew to Tampa for two nights at the Treasure Island Beach Resort. Relaxing poolside, walking on the beach, eating seafood, talking and eating more seafood – need I say more?

What is on your gratitude list this week?

“Joy is the serious business of heaven.” C.S. Lewis

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San Antonio

Every year since I’ve shared a “new thing” in my 50’s, I’ve shared a girl’s weekend. This year took me to another new city, San Antonio, Texas. We had a very fun long weekend of walking the River Walk, shopping and eating amazing food. Our days were mostly cloudy and sometimes we coped with drizzle but the weather did not slow us down!

We stayed at a lovely hotel, the Hotel Valencia along the River Walk. We had an arrival lunch at Acenar and toured the Alamo.

We did some shopping and picked up some San Antonio spices. Later we enjoyed dinner at Paesano’s and saw fun light displays floating on the River.

During our first full day in the city, we shop for souvenir jewelry at El Mercado Market and have lunch at Mi Tierra. Then we make some additional purchases at the boutique shops at La Vallita. We enjoy Argentinian food at the hotel restaurant, Dorrego’s. The next day is Saturday so we walk to the Pearl and browse the Farmer’s Market and boutique shops. We return to the River Walk for lunch at Waxy O’Connor’s Pub. There are so many fun restaurant choices and we eat well. We have a wonderful steak dinner at Range. I rarely eat beef but I do enjoy the lean delicious coulotte cut of beef and the cotton candy dessert.

It is so important that we find time to reconnect with our dearest friends. What are your favorite spots for a getaway weekend?

South Dakota

Our 2016 family vacation is to a part of the country that none of us has ever visited – South Dakota.  We drive in our rented mini van from Indianapolis through Illinois and Iowa and Minnesota into South Dakota with our first stop in Sioux Falls.  

Falls Park in downtown Sioux Falls is really cool! I love waterfalls anyway and we enjoy walking around the park on a gorgeous morning.  After lunch, we tour the Great Plains Zoo which is fun since it has been a while since the four of us went to a zoo together.  The Blue Angels are in Sioux Falls for their Air Show and we see them flying in formation which is so amazing.  


On our third day, we drive from Sioux Falls to Rapid City.  We stop briefly in Mitchell at the Corn Palace despite some teenage grumbling. It’s just so goofy that you have to stop!  Our next stop, however, makes the drive worth while – The Badlands National Park.  It is amazing how just the right set of natural factors can create something beautiful that is unique to this part of the world. 


For our first full day in Rapid City, we visit Mount Rushmore on an absolutely gorgeous morning.  Here is one photo and then Mount Rushmore will have its own blog post.  We also have lunch in Hill City and visit the still in progress Crazy Horse memorial.  All very scenic and very interesting.  

The next day we visit Custer State Park.  The drive is very scenic with more interesting views of Mount Rushmore.  We drive the wildlife loop and see bison, burros, white tailed deer, and prairie dogs.  Unfortunately we did not see as much scenery as might have been possible since we were caught in a rain storm complete with hail!  After our late lunch, the skies return sunny and we hike part of the Centennial Trail for an hour.  The park is so quiet and our hike is beautiful. 

Our final day in South Dakota is mostly rainy in the morning.  We visit Deadwood and find the old mining town not as quaint as expected.  The weather cooperates in the late afternoon for us to gain another perspective on the Black Hills – the perspective of horseback as we enjoy a beautiful trail ride.  

 

Since I usually blog about food, I will mention that we ate well on vacation, especially in Rapid City.  Even someone who rarely eats beef can eat well out West.  I enjoyed lots of salmon and some sea scallops.  I liked the bison burger I ate at Custer State Park and it was less greasy than a hamburger.  In Rapid City, I recommend Murphy’s Pub, Boticelli’s for pasta, Kol with its coal-fired oven and Delmonico’s for French onion soup.

Now – what can you cross off of your bucket list?