Queen Mary and Chill

1411_Queen_Mary_001 (2)Have you ever wanted to visit a ship that rivals the Titanic, not only in size and speed, but the beauty within? The Queen Mary located in Long Beach, California meets those expectations and then blows them out of the water. This hidden gem is a must do on your trip to the LA area. Did I mention it is also a full service hotel with tours, restaurants and so much more?

We visited the Queen Mary expecting to have some fun and learn a little bit of history. We had bought tickets shortly after moving to the LA are and they would soon be expiring so we decided it was something we needed to do. After visiting I cannot wait to go back.

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There are a number of guided tours available along with a self-guided tour in the lower section of the ship. After looking around in the lower section of the ship. Seeing the huge rudder and different parts required to operate the ship we headed up the First Class level for our tour, The Glory Days Historical. Our tour guide took us from room to room showing off the beauty of the ship and giving historical highlights along the way. My favorite room was the dining room. It was a beautiful room with paintings and woodcarvings. You can still do brunch there each Sunday. It was like stepping back in time and was so much fun. There is also a ghost tour where you can see the pool and other parts of the ship. Check out their website for all the other attractions available.

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One of the best times to visit the Queen Mary December because Chill has taken over. Outside the Queen Mary a frozen tundra has been created for your enjoyment. Ice-skating, ice tubing and more are open for your enjoyment.

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18 Christmas Recipes That Travel Well

christmas recipes that travel well   Even if you are traveling this holiday, you may still want to bring along something home cooked and delicious to share with your host during Christmas dinner. Well, you still can! These wonderful recipes are all great to make ahead of time and take with you because they travel really well. Pack them in airtight containers to avoid any spilling and they will be ready to reheat or serve when you arrive. Here are 18 scrumptious Christmas recipes that travel well.

christmas recipes that travel well

Gingerbread Magic Bars from The Kitchen Is My Playground

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Hearst Castle

hearst castle

Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle is a National California Landmark mansion located on the Central Coast of California in San Simeon, just off Highway 1. Invitations to Hearst Castle were highly coveted in the 1920s and 30s, but today the mansion is open to everyone.

To start off your tour of Hearst Castle I recommend watching the Hearst Castle -Building a Dream video in the five-story theater located at the Visitor’s Center. The 45-minute video is included in the price of admission to the daytime tours of the castle and will give you history of William Randolph Hearst and the construction and design of the castle. Tickets can also be purchased for the video alone for $8.

hearst castle

There are three different tours to choose from each one taking you on a different part of the 165-room estate, 125 sprawling acres of gardens, two pools and more. Add to the fact the castle is located on the coast of California it offers spectacular views of the ocean. Your tour begins by taking a five-mile tram ride to the castle and then prepare to be amazed. Tours start at $25 for adults and $12 for children. You can also take a virtual tour before you go.

hearst castle

Although there is not specific tour set up for Christmas. Starting Thanksgiving weekend the castle is decorated in traditional holiday décor that would have been present during the 20s and 30s. The Grand Rooms Tour and the Evening Tour offer the best ways to see the holiday decorations.

I have had the opportunity to visit Hearst Castle three times and each time I went the beauty of the castle and all the historic artifacts and furniture located within the castle amazed me. It is a must stop destination for anyone in the San Simone area.

Other great California destinations include Griffith Park in Santa Monica and The Golden Gate Bridge.

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Zoo Lights at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo

fresno chaffee zoo

 

Zoo Lights at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo

A day at the Zoo is always a great adventure, but this Christmas the Fresno Chaffee Zoo invites you to join in on a visit to the zoo with Christmas lights decorated through out the zoo.

My family was able to visit this event opening weekend, but there are still plenty of days available for visiting. It will definitely get you in the Christmas spirit. The event starts at 5:00 PM, ends at 8:00 PM and costs $8 for adults and $4 for children (Dates: Dec 5-7, 12-14, 19-23 & 26-30).

 

fresno chaffee zoo

Besides walking through the many displays of lights and decorations it was fun to see some of the animal during the evening hours. The highlight for us was when the giraffes came out of their hut and walked right in front of us. 1, 2…6 giraffes. They were so much fun to look at as they walked, ate and played in their home. We were also able to see a few other animals, like elephants, seals and the reptile house was open. Stingray bay was also decorated and open for visitors.

fresno chaffee zoo

We ended our evening by picking up the hot chocolate and cookies included for free with your ticket. It was a perfect way to end the evening and warmed us up from the inside out. A great event you should definitely not miss. If you need more information you can check out their website here. Can’t get enough Christmas lights this season? Us either. Check out Christmas Tree Lane, also in Fresno.

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Dog Street Pub Restaurant Review

Dog Street Pub

 

Disclosure: Our friends at Dog Street Pub treated us to dinner to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own. 

DoG Street Pub in Merchants Square

If you are planning a trip to Williamsburg, VA you should plan to stay a while. There is so much to see and do! One of the tough decisions is where to eat as great restaurants abound. To help you decide, we visited the DoG Street Pub in the Merchants Square Shopping District. This restaurant was amazing and you should consider adding it to the top of your list for places to eat near Colonial Williamsburg.

Make a reservation. This place was hopping busy but we had a reservation and we were seated within minutes if walking in the door. Folks who did not have a reservation had a bit of a wait. Which in my opinion as long as you plan ahead I like knowing that people are willing to wait to eat somewhere to me it is sign that it is a good choice.

dog street pub

Bring your growler! The DoG Street Pub has a fantastic selection of craft beers, not only from VA but from all over the globe. If you are a beer drinker you will have a hard time deciding which beer to take home and will not be disappointed with the selection.

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