Tranquility in the City:  Visit a Botanical Garden

Tranquility in the City: Visit a Botanical Garden

When visiting a new city, I often seek out a botanical garden.  I love escaping the urban rush to walk at a relaxed pace, practice my photography skills and explore the local plant and animal life.  Some provide a picnic area or small cafe, perfect for a quiet lunch.  Gardens also offer interesting gift shops with unique souvenirs such as local art, handmade jewelry, and gardening books.  I’ve visited gardens from Canada to Florida.  Here are three of my favorites: Norfolk Botanical Garden, Norfolk, Virginia. The Norfolk Botanical Garden traces its history back to 1938, when funds from the Depression-era Works Progress Administration paid 220 African-American workers to clear 30 acres of dense vegetation.   Today, the 155 acre garden features one of the largest collections of azaleas, camellias, roses and rhododendrons on the East Coast. Its 52 distinctive themed gardens shelter 95 species of birds including bald eagles, 30 kinds of butterflies, turtles and other fauna.  The highlight for families, the World of Wonders children’s garden, showcases 3-acres where kids explore plants and cool off in the splash park.  Enrichment programs such as guided kayak trips, star gazing, yoga, floral design classes, and a drive-through holiday light display encourage visitors to return year-around.  I snapped the monarch butterfly photo during a macro photography class taught by a local professional in the Garden’s butterfly house.   Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona Founded more than 70 years ago by the Arizona Cactus and Native Flora Society, the Desert Botanical Garden showcases 55 cultivated acres in the Sonoran Desert.  The Garden’s stated vision is “to be the premier center in the world for the display, understanding and study of desert...
Quick Vacation Planning Survey:  You Could Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Quick Vacation Planning Survey: You Could Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Looking for travel advice and ideas?  Help us make traveltipgirl.com and www.goodlifevoyages.com your go-to destinations for vacation planning and inspiration.  Let us know what interests you most by completing this quick 7 question survey. As our thanks, you’ll be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card. Click Here to Take the Survey Thank...
Six Vacation Ideas for Special Needs Families

Six Vacation Ideas for Special Needs Families

Summer time means vacation time, and no one should miss out on the fun.  Options abound for memorable trips, no matter what your abilities. Everything from theme parks to safaris can be customized to fit your family.  Check out the six possibilities below: For additional information, I encourage you to visit these blogs: http://www.autisticglobetrotting.com/ http://www.curbfreewithcorylee.com/ http://www.gimponthego.com/ Happy traveling to...
Announcing the traveltipgirl.com Student Author Program

Announcing the traveltipgirl.com Student Author Program

Do you know any middle or high school students who love to write?  Are they looking for a fun summer project?  Would “published author” enhance their list of accomplishments?  Then encourage them to apply for the traveltipgirl.com student author program. This summer I’ll provide personalized on-line writing instruction to a small group students.   I’ll work with each author to prepare a travel-related blog post for publication on traveltipgirl.com.  (Of course guys can be guest bloggers on traveltipgirl.com too!) Students will receive: An introduction to travel writing Blogging tips and guidelines Topic ideas Draft editing and suggested improvements By line credit when their post is published on traveltipgirl.com In return, I get the chance to use my writing powers, honed during years of protecting the legal interests of big, bad banks, for good.  And I get to help talented young writers develop exciting travel posts my traveltipgirl.com readers will love! So, please share this opportunity with anyone you think might be interested. No travel experience required.  Articles may cover a recent vacation or tips for visiting the author’s hometown.  To apply, complete the short application form below no later than May 31, 2015. If you are a human and are seeing this field, please leave it blank. Fields marked with an * are required Student's First Name * Student's Last Name * Grade 2015-2016 School Year * City * State * Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware District of Columbia Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio...
My Cruise Packing Guide

My Cruise Packing Guide

I love cruising–the open sea, the salt air, the relaxed pace of life.  And for some reason, I get the absolute best sleep on a ship.  Packing for a cruise can present a challenge, though.  You don’t want to over pack, but there are a few household items which become especially useful onboard a cruise ship.  I’m not going to provide you with a comprehensive socks-and-underwear list.  Instead, I’ll share what I like to include, organized by activity: Sea Days: A small purse or zippered cosmetic bag.  Another great thing about cruising is ditching my big everyday purse.  Whenever I leave the cabin I take my phone (for use as a camera and a watch), my room key/ship card (unless the cruise line, like Disney, issues bracelets), the daily schedule of events, and a tinted lip balm (because with out it, like Napoleon Dynamite “my lips hurt real bad!”). A tote bag for carrying books, floppy hat, etc. to the pool. A swimsuit cover up. Clips to keep our towels from blowing off our lounge chairs.  Ours look like tropical birds.  They also make it easy to spot our chairs. A small pair of binoculars for spotting wildlife or activity in port from your balcony or ship deck. In the Cabin: A few ziplock bags:  good for protecting small electronics from water, for holding potentially leaky toiletries, and for keeping small items organized. Clothes pins for hanging wet swimsuits on the shower clothesline. A power strip.  Cabins don’t usually have many outlets.  It seems we’re always charging a camera battery, iPhone, Kindle or iPad, often all at the same time. A...