A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: ErinDriver

Leaving St Thomas

21 June 2024

sunny

The day we were flying out of St Thomas looked to be absolutely brilliant. We had one last cup of coffee on our balcony enjoying our fantastic view and saying goodbye to the iggy that seemed to have claimed that tree top as his own.
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The Economy car rental place told us to return the car around 0830 to ensure we got a ride to the airport for our 1325 flight. There was a lot of talk about being to the St Thomas airport early due to long lines at customs and TSA. We didn't want to risk not listening to the locals so we ended up at the airport by 0900. The Delta counter didn't open until 1015 to drop the bag and we made it quickly through customs and TSA after that. There was a long wait but the small airport has a number of places to get food and we had a ham, egg and cheese croissant before boarding our flight to Atlanta. Here we also had a long wait with a four hour layover. Luckily the Sam Adams Brewhouse was on the Priority Pass so at least we got to spend some of that time getting free food and drink.

Posted by ErinDriver 18:26 Archived in US Virgin Islands Comments (0)

Magen's Bay Beach, Mountain Top and Mims

20 June 2024

sunny

The day started with our normal morning routine. There were a few rain showers that rewarded us with a rainbow from our balcony.
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We made a trip back to Magen’s Bay Beach at Chris’ request. He enjoyed the day there so much and we loved the beach so we spent another glorious day sitting on that beautiful part of the world. We saw a couple of sea turtles and one had a fish on it.
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I still wanted to go to Mountaintop which is famous for its Banana Daquari’s but also has what National Geographic calls one of the best views in the world. You can see over Magen’s Bay and even to the British Virgin Islands and St John.
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There is a huge store there but I didn’t find much other than a Christmas Tree ornament for Lexi. We had a banana daiquiri and enjoyed the view.
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The drive home was harrowing and I was stressed out so needed one last bushwacker before driving another 5 minutes down the road to Mim’s Seaside Bistro for dinner. It had been recommended by several people and was close to us. The restaurant is within a vacation rental property and right on the water. We enjoyed our last dinner sitting right on the water. The appetizer was a crab dip followed by Shrimp and crab pasta in lobster cream sauce.
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Posted by ErinDriver 18:19 Archived in US Virgin Islands Comments (0)

Limetree Beach Resort Day

19 June 2024

overcast

Whatsinport.com told me there would be two cruise ships in town today so we decided to just have a relaxing day around the resort. The weather was also kind of cloudy with some rain threatening. After our morning routine of coffee, gym and breakfast we found a nice covered set of beach chairs to spend the day. I mostly read and took pictures of the wildlife walking by.
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I loved seeing all the baby chicks. It was only annoying when we were trying to eat our Chicken Caesar wrap and they were crowded around.
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Posted by ErinDriver 17:54 Archived in US Virgin Islands Comments (0)

St John, USVI

18 June 2024

sunny

This morning, we left the room early to drive to Red Hook to catch the car ferry to St. John. I wanted to make sure we were early enough to make the 0900 ferry we bought a ticket for. We found the port okay with only one turn around to pay the $3 port fee. We were in line for the barge but when it showed up it was a big red barge, not a black and white one. So we had to get out of line and be put in the correct line. Eventually we backed the car on to the barge and were off. You can get out of your car and go up top to see the islands were passing.
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After about 20 minutes we are pulling off the barge in St John and heading to the Virgin Islands National Park Visitors Center. I got my stamp as well as a few other souvenirs and we moved on to the beach.
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The roads were so curvy and slanted upwards that a few times we didn’t think the little car would make it but she did!! There were a few pull offs for views – one of St John…
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And one of Hawksnest Beach.
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We wanted to go to Trunk Bay but there were no parking spaces so we just drove on to Cinnamon Bay. It is one of the longest beaches and had parking. We stopped at the store and a mural 😊
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Finally, we got to a nice shady spot at another beautiful beach! I snorkeled for a bit but didn’t see much that time around.
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I ended up being rather stressed about getting a spot on the barge back to St Thomas so we left a bit after 1300 and made the 1400 ferry.
When we got back to Red Hook we parked at the port terminal garage and walked over to eat at a place on the marina called Hook’d. It was a nice relaxing spot after the stress of driving. I had a Carib, popcorn shrimp and we shared a Caesar salad with a crab cake. Chris also got Mahi bites that were excellent.
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The also had one of my favorite bathroom signs at Hook'd.
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Once we were ready to move on we drove the 20 minutes back to the resort and spent some time by the pool and beach with our wildlife friends.
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Posted by ErinDriver 17:38 Archived in US Virgin Islands Comments (0)

Magen's Bay Beach, St Thomas, USVI

17 June 2024

sunny

After coffee, a work out and breakfast in the room from supplies at the market on site we made the 22 minute drive to Magen’s Bay. This is widely advertised as one of the things to do here and even featured in 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. I had heard rumors it can get crowded but with no cruise ship in town we came on the right day. We paid the $7 per person plus $2 to park the car and easily found a spot to park. The mile long beach left us plenty of room to find a spot under a palm tree for a little shade.
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We enjoyed the beach, took a walk, saw a couple small sharks
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We did a bit of snorkeling and saw a small turtle that took its time getting some air.
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We had a bushwhacker and pain killer at the bar and left around 1500.
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We made the short drive to Brooks Bar on Magen's Road which had also come recommended by folks on YouTube as well as locals we had talked to. It was outside but shady enough and I loved my shrimp, rice and beans and plantains. Chris also enjoyed his salmon.
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We wanted to go to Mountaintop but it was closing so we hit a gas station and then went back to the room to regroup.
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Posted by ErinDriver 16:55 Archived in US Virgin Islands Comments (0)

Limetree Beach Resort by Wyndham in St Thomas, USVI

16 June 2024

sunny

Fathers Day for Chris was a good one this year with a couple of Delta Flights getting us to the St Thomas airport by 1400. We were told renting a car was important here so we got the Economy car shuttle to their rental location and by 1530 we were on our way in our well loved Toyota Yaris. They drive on the left side of the road here but there was basically one main road it only took about 20 minutes to get to our resort. I booked the Limetree Resort with Wyndham and it was a cozy place “in the country” as the lady next to me on the airplane described it.

Our room wasn’t ready so we went to the pool bar and had what I’m sure is one of many bushwacker’s I’ll have while here. Chris had a mudslide.
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I felt like I was back in GTMO with all the iguanas hanging around.
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Around 1630 we went back to see if our room was ready and before long we were standing on our balcony with a fabulous view. We had a rum drink and relaxed.
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When we got hungry we headed down to the Lanai restaurant on the property. It is right on the water and since I didn’t know we were leaving to eat I was still wearing a bathing suit. But the views were great and I enjoyed my pineapple mahi mahi. Chris had salmon with mashed potatoes.
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After dinner we sat by the beach and looked at the stars before we went to wash up and rest.
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Posted by ErinDriver 16:36 Archived in US Virgin Islands Comments (0)

Visitors of all kinds to Louisville

4-9 June 2024

sunny

The first week in June seemed to be a popular week for both animal and human visitors to Louisville. MJ, who I met in South Africa on the Sebatana Reserve tour, wanted to visit Churchill Downs. Since her son, Jared, had become a pilot and could get her a free flight she made a quick visit. She arrived on Tuesday and we spent some time at our pool before introducing her to Fiesta Time Amigos, our favorite Mexican restaurant. We hung out on the porch afterwards because the weather during the week was so nice and cool.
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On Wednesday we hit the track after lunch with Chris and her son, Jared, at Chicken Salad Chic. We spent a few hours at Churchill, got the requisite pictures, made the bets and hit the shop.
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She left early on Thursday so I had time to cuddle and enjoy my canine visitors, Coco and King. The weather was so nice we got to spend quite a bit of time outside.
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Chris and King are thinking about starting up a group called the Fat Belly Frat.
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Sara called on Saturday morning, which was Kirk's birthday to see if we wanted to go to the track. So for the second time in one week I found myself looking at the Paddock of Churchill Downs. This time we got a glimpse from above which was really beautiful. We spent a couple hours at the track wishing Kirk a happy birthday.
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On Saturday evening another Sebatana friend, Holly, and her daughter Merry came to stay the night. They were in town for a garden tour and spent some time in our backyard that evening. On Sunday morning we went to Con Juevos in Norton Commons for brunch. I got a churro waffle but say tons of things on the menu I would like to try.
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Posted by ErinDriver 16:54 Archived in USA Comments (0)

San Diego Zoo

20 May 2024

sunny

The zoo in San Diego is one of the reasons I wanted to make the trip down and it didn't disappoint. Allison and I decided to get an uber to the zoo and as active duty military she was able to get in free! I love the front of the zoo with the big lion statue.
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Right after getting in we went on the bus tour they do around the zoo that gets you kind of acquainted with the layout and also gets you some information on the different animals. We were glad we did it because the driver was telling us she hadn't seen some of the bears in months that were out and about early in the morning. After the bus we just walked around enjoying all the animals.
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This turtle was so small and his eye looked so fake I couldn't tell until he moved that he was real.
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We didn't see much of the orangutans. This one pulled a sack over his head and walked around with that on.
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I, of course, especially loved the Africa area.
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And the polar bear gave the best show. One was sleeping but another one was swimming around then then rested on a rock to eat his canteloupe.
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These crocs almost look like they are smiling.
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By later afternoon we had seen what we wanted to see including a cool view of the city from the gondola ride in the zoo.
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We walked home and hit McDonalds before spending the night in, packing and getting ready for our flights home the next morning. It was a wonderful 2 weeks in California!

Posted by ErinDriver 14:30 Archived in USA Comments (0)

San Diego's Embarcadero and La Jolla Kayaking

19 May 2024

overcast

The trolley ride yesterday took us down the Embarcadero which looked like something we wanted to have a closer look at so we walked from our hotel this morning. We headed left first to walk past the USS Midway. The aircraft carrier is now a museum but was originally commissioned 8 days after WWII. She was the largest warship in the World until 1955 and saw action in Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm. Unfortunately we didn't have time to go to the museum but that's included in our list of things to do when we return to San Diego.
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We continued our walk to see the Unconditional Surrender Statue. I depicts the joy of the American people upon learning WWII had ended. It was inspired by the spontaneous celebration in New York City's Times Square in August 1945.
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In the same area have a national salute to Bob Hope and the military which is neat with the USS Midway in the background.
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We came back to the Embarcadero and started heading the other direction. Here we passed the ARM Cuauhtemoc, a sail training vessel of the Mexican Navy. She is the last of four sister ships built by the naval shipyards of Bilbao, Spain in 1982. You could wait in line to tour it as well but we just didn't have time.
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Next up was the maritime museum which had several ships including the Star of India. It was neat seeing all the men up on her doing some restoration work. She is the oldest iron-hulled merchant ship afloat, built in Great Britain in 1863.
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Then we came to the HMS Surprise which was used in the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean.
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And finally what looked like the newest and certainly the most expensive ship in the harbor. Someone's person yacht.
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We continued via uber to our lunch destination - C Level. It was just across the water on Harbor Island. We had a great view from our outside seats over on to Coronado. I got lobster bisque and lobster mac and cheese.
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After that we went back to the room to rest and prepare for our kayaking adventure in La Jolla. We took an uber the 30 minutes over to La Jolla and did the tour Allison found. There were about 10 of us doing the sea kayaking that day. We didn't get to get super close to the caves since weather was making the water a bit rough but it was quite fun and the guides told us a lot about the houses that might fall in to the ocean during any earthquake as well as the caves.
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We did take a spill right at the end trying to get back to the beach so that must be why they made us wear helmets :) After we got home we just ate leftovers in the room.

Posted by ErinDriver 17:11 Archived in USA Comments (0)

San Diego Trolley and Haunted Tours

18 May 2024

sunny

San Diego has so much to do I could easily stay a month and I'm sad to say we start out our time here doing the Wyndham briefings. I'll skip over those details to avoid getting angry. By the time we were ready to leave the hotel we decided to get lunch in Little Italy. it was about a 30 minute walk from our hotel and having a farmers market. We didn't have too much time to walk around but got a couple slices of pizza at Mr. Moto's.
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We got free tickets to the hop on, hop off trolley tour thanks to suffering through a Wyndham briefing that morning but we thought it would be a nice way to get an overview of the city. The trolley does a two hour loop and you can get on and off as you wish. We hopped on in Little Italy and only made it about 15 minutes to Old Town where it stopped and we had to get on a new trolley with a fresh driver.
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So we then started another 2 hour loop that went to the Maritime Museum on the water and the San Salvador that sailed in the 1800s was pointed out.
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We cruised past the embarcadero and seaport village, in to the Gaslamp Quarter. Here we saw the Padre's Pet o park stadium but sadly no games were in town at the same time we were.
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Next was Barrio Logan.
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Then over the Coronado bridge to Coronado. We wanted to get off here but as it was later in the day we worried about being able to catch the shuttle back so just stayed on.
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We saw the hotel where Marilyn Monroe stayed and made a movie. In 1888 it was the largest wooden structure in North America.
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Coronado Beach also looked like a beautiful place to spend some time.
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The trolley took us back across the bridge.
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Balboa Park was next and is the largest city park in the US that is all together in one place. It was built for the opening of the Panama Canal and is 1400 acres. (Central Park is only 800). The architecture around the park is beautiful and you get a neat view back to the buildings downtown.
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The tour took us back through Little Italy and then in to Old Town. We were taking a tour of Whaley House next so it was conveniently located only one block away. It is purported to be the most haunted house in America so we wanted to go inside. It was built by Thomas Whaley from 1856-1857.
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It had functioned as a courtroom,
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store,
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and even a theater.
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The Whaley family lived here and sadly had many deaths among its members.
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The arch in the house is supposedly built where the gallows of the town previously stood. We hear several versions of a story about Yankee Jim today and are told that many people that stand under the arch will feel a tingling in their neck or have a hard time breathing.
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We finish the house tour with enough time to hit a couple shops and then have a light dinner at Cafe Coyote. One of the trolley drivers mentioned this place and said it was so big it had seven kitchens. We sit upstairs and have a margarita and I get queso fundido which was cheese and peppers with some flour tortillas.
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Our last thing of the day was a Ghosts and Gravestones Tour from Old Town. We get on one of the trolley's that looks remade for this tour and our guide is telling us the story as if she is a worker in a bar.
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Our first stop is the Pioneer Park where the city has set up headstones that were previously found in a ditch. She also points out a cavalry cemetery where 2000 bodies were buried.
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We hear a few stories on the road and then hit the El Campo Santo Cemetery to finish on foot. The last body was buried here in 1897 and it does seem rather spooky at night.
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Our final stop of the tour is the Whaley house where we hear a different version of poor Yankee Jim's death. We pretty tired by this point so take an uber back and fall asleep.

Posted by ErinDriver 19:03 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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