Moving To Wisconsin

This week’s adventure is that of a new home in a new city. My husband and I close on our house this Thursday and we are very excited. So much has had to happen to get to this point. So much more will have to happen in order for us to find ourselves comfortably settled in our new town.

We aren’t just moving across the city, we are moving to an entire new state, well new to my husband anyway. I was born in Wisconsin, so moving back is exciting to me. I have been in Minnesota for eleven years now; I am happy to try something different. We are moving to the country, which is definitely a new experience on my end.

If my posts are lacking in the next two weeks, I do apologize ahead of time. Our internet is not being hooked up until the 25th, and I am going to take this time to explore the area and find new and exciting things to write about. We will call this a mini vacation for research and acclamation purposes.

In the meantime, I encourage all of my readers to go out and find something new to explore in your hometown. Much too often we tend to overlook the fun and exciting things to do right where we live. I have been in Minnesota for eleven years and I can list the number of things here that I haven’t bothered to check out, that I probably would have very much enjoyed. My new goal is to know my new town inside and out and to find even more excitement right in my home territory. I will, of course, continue to travel to other exciting destinations and write all about those experiences as well.

To find fun things to do in your area, I recommend going to Google and typing in “activities in (name of your hometown)”. I am sure a lot of things will pop up. You could also check out Groupon.com to see if they list anything new that you have been putting off trying. Until my next entry, happy adventure seeking!

Revisiting Tim Hortons

It’s always exciting when new businesses show up in my home town. Recently, in Prior Lake, we acquired a few new restaurants and businesses, but the most exciting to me was the arrival of Tim Hortons. Neal and I stopped at a Tim Hortons while traveling on our honeymoon and I have found myself wishing ever since that there was one near home.

Two weeks back, on July first, I decided to venture over to our local Tim Hortons for the first time. Boy was that a mistake, which I am currently laughing about. I failed to recall that it was indeed Canada Day and that Tim Hortons is a Canadian company. The entire place was packed with local Canadians and they had no donuts left, which is what I was on a mission for.

Sadly, after standing in line for fifteen minutes until I could finally see the doughnut case was empty, I left empty handed. I decided to try again the following weekend. This time I went through the drive through. I was disappointed to find out that they do not have old fashioned chocolate or blueberry doughnuts, so my husband and I settled for something other than what we were looking for. I did try the coffee, which I admit was quite tasty.

I cannot comment on the other food at Tim Hortons, because I have not tried it. They do have a vast menu and I could definitely see myself stopping in to try one of their sandwiches or other specialty items in the future. Their website will definitely make you hungry, the sandwiches look amazing. I would probably drink the coffee again, but not unless I were ordering something else off the menu to go with it.

After this experience I can truly say that I would be just as happy going over to Holiday for a doughnut when I’m going through that twice per year craving. Tim Hortons doughnut price is a little extreme when I know I can find something similar and just as tasty for a less. I had definitely built this business up in my head, but then again, Neal and I were also on our honeymoon, so everything looked pretty great.

For more information on Tim Hortons, please visit: http://www.timhortons.com/us/en/index.php

Diamond Jo Casino In Worth, Iowa

Over the past seven years I have spent quite a bit of time in Iowa. My friends and family seem to think that it is so far away. In reality, it’s only about an hour from where I currently live, in Minnesota. There is more to this state than just corn fields, which is what people tend to think of when they hear Iowa. If you like casino games or checking out new places, Diamond Jo Casino, in Worth, Iowa, might be the place for you.

Only an hour and a half south of Prior Lake, Minnesota, Diamond Jo is a great overnight destination, or day trip. This casino offers a variety of food options, such as: Burger King, Subway, The Kitchen Buffet, and the Woodfire Grille. I tend to choose Burger King’s chicken nuggets, or the buffet. The food at the buffet is decent. They have one particular dessert that I look for any time I visit. It’s a chocolate gluten free dessert that is to die for. I most enjoy their brunch, which includes an omelet station and various other breakfast items. This buffet has gone through some changes and continues to evolve; my hope is that it will continue to improve, because there are a few items, such as the Crab Rangoon, that could use some work, but there are also items, such as the catfish, that I find quite delectable.

As far as games go, this casino tends to keep on top of trends. They do offer a variety of old and new games. I was a little bummed to find out that they appear to have gotten rid of their Pelican Pete games, which I love. They do have live table games and a poker room if you enjoy a little more action.

Diamond Jo provides free live entertainment at their Big Wheel Bar every Friday and Saturday night. If you are looking for some bigger names in music, they also have musicians and comedians scheduled in their event center, throughout the year. A calendar can be obtained on their website.

If you visit Diamond Jo and you would like to stay overnight, they have pretty decent accommodations. The casino is connected to the local Country Inn & Suites. I have previously stayed at this hotel and very much enjoyed my room, as well as the hot tub and pool area. I have also stayed at the Holiday Inn Express across the street, the first couple of days it was open, and the rooms there were very nice as well. Either place provided for some relaxing downtime after a night of fun at the casino.

This casino atmosphere is fairly comfortable. The gaming area is not as big as that of Mystic Lake or Treasure Island Casino, but it is enough to meet my standards. I have enjoyed many evenings checking out the music at the Big Wheel Bar, as well as dining with family and friends. I always have a great time at Diamond Jo.

For more information on this particular casino, or the B Connected Club, please visit: http://www.diamondjoworth.com/

 

Number 3 On TripAdvisor List

Just today I received an email informing me of the top ten, high end rentals, in the world, listed by TripAdvisor. Recently I have taken a greater interest in such things. It is nice to know where your travel territory stands on the list. My particular travel territory only includes one of the nominated destinations, though at some point in the near future I hope to expand to overseas.

I’m only going to give away the details of one specific location; I will list the origin for the others, but not the title of the accommodations. If you want to know the rest of the specifics, you will have to go to TripAdvisor and check it out. I will include the TripAdvisor link at the bottom.

The third location on the list is The Miner’s Clubhouse in Breckenridge, Colorado. I had no idea this place existed, but the photos are enough to make me want to grab the family and go. The views are stunning and the accommodations are quite exceptional. For those who love the mountains and snow, I can see how this place received a top spot on the list.

This particular domain will run you around $5.8k for a week. It has 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, and it sleeps fourteen people. You have all the amenities of home, plus a hot tub that gives you an unimpeded view of the mountains and ski slopes. It even comes with a pool table for endless hours of entertainment. Check out the pics on TripAdvisor, they are totally worth it.

There were no other locations listed within the United States. The other locations were as follows: Italy, United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Ionian Islands, Spain, and Indonesia, if that gives you any indicator of what the type of place people are looking for when it comes to luxury. I feel that the Miner’s Clubhouse stands completely alone as far as the type of location and experience it provides.

While none of these locations will be on the budget based side, they will definitely provide some memories and experiences of a lifetime. For more information, please visit: https://www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice-VacationRentals-a_Mode.expanded

 

 

A Vacation Style For Everyone

As most of my readers realize, I am an American. I come from a culture that, for whatever reason, does not seem to value vacations as the rest of the world does. We are stuck in a rut where we feel we cannot leave our jobs for fear of losing them or falling too far behind. Fewer women than men take vacations, but I am not one of those women.

Most people in America are lucky if they force themselves away from their job for a single vacation each year. I on the other hand take at least three vacations, with mini getaways in between. Most years I take four. I go for ten days at a time, sometimes more, sometimes a little less, but I go and I leave my worries behind. If more people took vacations more frequently, perhaps we would have less mid-life crises and fewer nervous breakdowns from being at max mental capacity. It’s just a thought; I’m not here to cure the American worker, just to encourage using what you are entitled to. Everyone deserves a little fun.

To plan your trip you can go about it several ways. You have your all-inclusive packages, and you have your ala carte packages that you build as you go. You can fly, drive, boat, or take a train. Everything comes down to your personal desires. One of my buddies loves to take the train to Oregon, and then fly back home at the end of the week; I think that sounds like a blast, though I have never done it before.

If you are booking an all-inclusive package for March, you probably want to start looking for it in October or November. There is a certain timeline for Mexico especially, in which you can get the best prices and have the most options to choose from before things start filling up. We tend to take an all-inclusive trip every few years and it’s always been a blast. I definitely recommend scoping the hotel prices for a few days to see how they fluctuate. All-inclusive prices can go up and down, as can plan tickets, depending on the day of the week you look. You always run the risk of losing out on “the best price,” if you wait too long, but sometimes waiting is beneficial and can win you an even lower price.

If you are planning a road trip, your best bets for pricing are to look to VRBO.com, Groupon, or a timeshare. Timeshares frequently run specials where you can stay for under $300 for an entire week. If you don’t own a timeshare, you can find people on Craigslist who are looking for others to buy a week from them. You always need to proceed with caution when dealing with Craigslist though; I have seen people get ripped off this way in the past. VRBO.com gives you the option of choosing your location and amenities and being able to negotiate on pricing a little more. This route is, in my opinion, safer than Craigslist. We have acquired accommodations from people on VRBO at least ten different times and we have never had a bad experience. Groupon is a great way to find hotel deals as well, but keep in mind they often come with resort fees on top of the price you are paying for the deal, so they aren’t always the cheapest route.

When booking flights you can score some great deals last minute, if you are open to possibilities. Spirit can get you some pretty low price fares if you are able to travel bare, which means you only bring a small carry-on. Spirit is one of the cheapest airlines we have found so far. Flights often drop in price on certain days of the week, be sure to watch the flight and see ahead of time how the prices change from day to day, before you book.

This September my husband and I are taking a trip to Colorado. We are driving and we are staying via timeshare in Winter Park. We will probably plan a few other stops on either end of our timeshare stay. I like traveling this way because it gives my husband and me the freedom to come and go as we please and to see more than one destination during a trip. No matter how you choose to vacation, you always have plenty of options for saving money and gaining that extra cash to spend on fun things like zip lining and white water rafting.

For information on some of the sites we utilize for our trip planning, please check out the following:

https://www.vrbo.com/

https://www.groupon.com/

https://www.spirit.com/Default.aspx

https://www.expedia.com/

https://www.airbnb.com/

https://www.livingsocial.com/

https://www.rci.com/

 

Adventures At Your Local Goodwill

Today I am doing a little shout out to the local Goodwill. This particular store is located in Savage, Minnesota and I happen to frequent it. While I do like the finer things in life, there are some things I have no problem buying secondhand, but at the same time, this store has tons of brand new items. I love Goodwill, because you never know what you will find.

I am sure that many people do not realize this, but Goodwill is one of the stores that Target sends their items to when they leave clearance. Frequently you can find brand new purses, hats, wallets, shoes, clothing, luggage, and other household goods that Target decided to no longer carry. I have bought quite a few brand new items including organic sunscreen, at this particular Goodwill. You can also find new sundresses, sunglasses, and toiletries, as well as gardening supplies, and some new bedding items, though not all of them will be from Target.

I like this location, because it is newer, and it is clean and organized. When I shop secondhand, the store has got to be clean and organized. If it is messy and does not feel clean, I will not have a desire to peruse the items, let alone buy anything. I give props to Goodwill; the stores they have recently opened have seemed to be much more organized than previously. I would recommend Goodwill, especially for holiday items that you may struggle to find in other stores.

For more information on Goodwill, please visit: http://www.goodwill.org/