Charleston, SC voted #1 tourist destination in the WORLD as well as the United States!

Readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine have awarded Charleston, SC the number one tourist destination in the world as well as in the United States… Here’s a blip from an article written by Warren Wise in our local Post & Courier newspaper, click HERE to read the entire article:

Charleston on top of the world in tourist ranking

Last year, Charleston was flattered. This year, it’s on top of the world.

Readers of Conde Nast Traveler not only named the Holy City the No. 1 tourist destination in the U.S. for the second year in a row, but also the top travel city on the planet.

“It was a giant surprise for us,” said Helen Hill, executive director of the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It’s an honor to be in the Top 3, but to be No. 1 twice in the U.S. is unbelievable and to be named No. 1 city in the world, you can’t do any better than that.”

Last year, Charleston came in third in the world, behind Sydney, Australia and Florence, Italy.

KUDOS Charleston! This is a great place to live, with plenty of restaurants, art galleries, beaches, shops, you name it, we have it! If you’re looking for a vacation destination, look no further!

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Image: CondéNastTraveler.com

Port Clyde, Maine – truly the way life should be!

Oh, what a wonderful place Port Clyde, Maine is! It’s one of my most favorite places in the world. The people are so genuine. When I’m there I just don’t want to leave! Gorgeous sunrises, sunsets… Fabulous places to eat, drink and be merry. A great ice cream shop, kayak place, cool home and clothing store and one of our favorites the Port Clyde General Store… Here’s a blip about Port Clyde from the Monhegan Boat Line website – if you haven’t been to Monhegan Island it’s a definite treat, Monhegan Boat Line is the way we always go. Here’s their information on Port Clyde:

Home port for the Elizabeth Ann and Laura B is the picturesque fishing village of Port Clyde, at the tip of the St. George Peninsula. To get to here you’ll take Route 131 from Route 1 in Thomaston. Click here for full directions. The road curves with the meandering St. George River, passing saltwater meadows, clapboard farmhouses, a few small art galleries, and the cluster of weathered buildings that is Tenants Harbor. When you arrive in Port Clyde, you will see signs directing you to the Monhegan Boat Line dock.

We hope you’ll plan to spend a little time ashore here before or after your trip. As you stroll around, it’s not hard to imagine how things might have looked back in the early 1800s, when the village was young and most Port Clyde families were involved in shipbuilding. Later, the most important source of income was catching and canning seafood, and you can still buy tinned sardines bearing the Port Clyde label. While the local canning industry is gone, Port Clyde remains primarily a working harbor, filled with the rugged boats of local lobstermen and fishermen.

You might see some of these hardy mariners loading traps or bait onto their boats at the docks behind the Port Clyde General Store. Be sure to stop into this wonderful old purveyor of staples, sundries, and homemade treats. Please also visit the gift shop on our dock, where you’ll find mementos of the coast and Monhegan Island. A number of noted artists — including Greg Mort, Gary Akers, and Barbara Ernst Prey — also live and/or work in the area. Their work captures the essence of Maine, so be sure to ask if studio showings are being offered while you’re here.

If you’re hungry for pizza, crab rolls, or steamed lobster, you can eat your fill at a local restaurant. Ready for a little hike? It’s a nice round-trip walk of about two miles from our dock to the Marshall Point Light, which has stood watch since 1833 on the eastern side of the harbor entrance. You can also drive out to the point. The view of Mosquito Island and smaller nearby isles is beautiful, and the keeper’s house is now a small museum. On the way to the lighthouse you’ll also find Herring Gut Learning Center, a marine science education center which includes oyster and finfish hatcheries, an aquaponic greenhouse, marine touch tanks, and a reference library.

It will be our pleasure to welcome you to Port Clyde as well as to our boats. You’ll discover a little bit of unspoiled Maine here, and take home old-fashioned memories with you.

Catch you back here tomorrow!

A stay at the Island House Hotel on Mackinac Island, MI = HEAVEN!

Image: TheIslandHouse.com

Mackinac Island, MI… ahhh the memories. It’s one of the most magical places on earth. It’s like you’re back in time (no cars, bikes and horses only) with modern conveniences (AC for the warm months, great coffee shops, fabulous food, amazing scenery everywhere you look… fantastic hiking/biking trails, the list goes on and on)… My mom, sister and I headed out for a three day vacation, something we had never done before. Now I wonder what took us so long?! What a great time we had. Due in great part to the Island House Hotel. We had a fabulous room that overlooked the marina/Straits of Mackinac and wrapped around for views of downtown. It was magical. If you haven’t been to Mackinac Island, MI, it’s a place YOU MUST put on your bucket list. If you want a truly special stay, I would hands down choose the Island House Hotel. With it’s wide sweeping porches full of rocking chairs, a view that simply cannot be beat, the comfortable, clean and beautiful rooms, the dining room (1852 Grill Room) that will make your head spin it’s so good… I’m a bit of a drama queen but not in this case. Trust me. I know a lot of you are artists… this is a beautiful place to paint, it’s a small island with a rocky coast and beautiful views. It’s much like Maine in the way the coast looks, especially on the back side of the island. My sister and I took a ride around  the island at sunset… like I said… heaven! A ride around the island is only about 8 miles.

Mackinac Island is situated between the upper and lower peninsula of Michigan. You reach it by ferry, there are three ferry lines, Sheplers, Arnold, and Star Line. Arnold is closest to the Island House, Shepler is the one that we’ve taken since we were kids, and I’m not that familiar with Star Line… but however you get here, you need to!!

Check out the 1852 Grill Room’s MENU – let me just say, there are a lot of restaurants on the island. We had dinner the first night at the Island House, and it was so delicious (out of this world good!) we went back the second night, and again the last night! The whitefish was to die for, as was the Greek Pasta Toss… the desserts, the coffee, oh heavens… and I didn’t even bring up the heavenly breakfast buffet did I? Let me just say, that put a smile on everyones face!

One of my favorite parts of the trip was getting up early each morning, heading to the lobby, pouring a cup of coffee and heading out to the porch to watch the dark sky lighten. I met a lot of nice people and we had a great time! Next trip will be with my husband! We haven’t been to the island together in about ten years!

The Island House Hotel is a beautiful historical hotel that is impeccably managed. Each and everyone was so kind, it was a real treat. Check out their website, it’s a good one! Click HERE to read about the history of the hotel which is fascinating! Here are a few pictures from our trip, the rest will appear on weekends on this blog… catch you back here tomorrow!

Waiting for the ferry - Mackinac Island, MI
Me, Mom and Bridget waiting for the ferry home, ugh…
Our gorgeous, comfortable and clean room!
A warm welcome with beautiful flowers everywhere!

The year of the staycation?!!

CHARLIE AND BARBARA - FOLLY BEACH - APRIL 2010
What are you looking forward to this year? Infinite possibilities fill my brain… I’m looking forward to doing something different this year. After many years of big money vacations, packing for a few weeks, lugging everything on a plane and heading out… I think our plans are to have several “staycations”. I mean we do live in CHARLESTON! People love to spend their vacations here! So I’m thinking we will do the same! How nice it will be to not have to cram ourselves onto a plane, board the dog, and all the other “stuff” that goes along with taking a nice relaxing vacation, ha ha… Maybe a trip or two to Kiawah, Hilton Head, the beaches (I mean they ARE so close!) and just hanging out  by the pool in our own backyard! Now we’ll have to remember that we are on staycation, no cleaning and all that business… It can wait a few days! I’m looking forward to spending some time with Fred without him thinking about work and everything that needs to get done! Hear that Charlie? THE BEACH!! Woohoo!
What are you looking forward to this year? Until tomorrow…

An “Aha!” moment!

Image via http://islandinnmonhegan.com/

Describe a recent Aha! moment… hmmmm. I guess it would be several years ago, leaving Charleston and vacationing on Monhegan Island in Maine. We stayed at the Island Inn (http://islandinnmonhegan.com) which is the larger building that you see in the photo (from their website). There are no shopping malls, no taxi’s, no telephones in your room, no TV or radio or any other distractions, including limited cell phone coverage and wi-fi in the inn’s common room when it’s available. Everything is centered around the weather. If conditions aren’t right the boat doesn’t run to get you to the island, bring groceries, mail, etc. If the wind is strong the phone may be out… It’s a different way of life that is SO MUCH BETTER even without all the STUFF. Stuff is precisely that… stuff. When you are in a place that is so beautiful and when everything around you is so peaceful THAT is what becomes so important. I encourage anyone who isn’t used to not having some of the modern-day pleasantries to try a vacation that relaxes your mind and recharges your soul. It’s amazing what you can do without and you don’t even notice! Until tomorrow…