Monday, November 21, 2011

Travel Related Poem

"To move, to breath, to fly, to float, To gain all while you give, To roam the roads of lands remote: To travel is to live." - H. C. Andersen

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort

In March, we went to Fort Lauderdale, FL for a week long training course (with no kids). While in training, we stayed at the Embassy Suites, just a mile or so off of the beach. It was nice, had sparkly lights in the dining area, a pool under the beautiful palm trees and night sky. I thought it was gorgeous.

That is, until we checked in at the hotel we booked for a two day break before heading back to the cold of Chicago. Once we decided we would be going to the training in Ft. Lauderdale, it was a no brainer that we would stay a few extra days to enjoy the scenery and most important the ocean.

While deciding where we wanted to stay on the beach. Wouldn't you? I mean we just got through a blizzard (which was near record breaking) and it is not very often we get to see the ocean. We decided to book at the Hilton - Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. I booked us into a ocean view room and could not wait to get there.

Upon checking in, we were able to upgrade our room for a few $'s more and we ended up staying in the King 1 bedroom ocean front suite. We did get a bit of a view of the ocean, but we were just above the outdoor pool and had more of a view of all the families sitting at the pool. Which is ok, if you want chlorinated water. For me, I preferred the ocean. All we had to do was go down to the lobby, go outside and cross the street and that was it. No way this momma was sitting poolside when the waves of an ocean are calling my name.
 View from room, during a fierce storm.

Our room was absolutely beautiful and well worth the few extra $'s we paid for. We had 2 full bathrooms (and there was only two of us), a full kitchen, living room and a lovely balcony that wrapped around our room. Did I say it was gorgeous, because, it was! I hated to leave. The bed was super comfy, the bedding was luxurious. I was in heaven (for a bit).

The location was wonderful, we walked down the street there was an overly packed outdoor mall with many chain restaurants to satisfy any picky eater. If you walked a bit further, there were some great restaurants with outside eating area's (and again a view of the ocean). We had dinner and listened to live musicians the first night. It was loud (we were sitting by the speakers) but the music was awesome and heck, no need to worry about conversation because you cannot hear each other. Just sit back and enjoy!

View from dinner

During our stay, there was a fierce storm that we got caught in. I mean really caught. We ran probably about a mile from the water taxi, back to the room and were completely soaked. The wind was so strong, that the sand was mixed in with the rain and we had red eyes the rest of the day. Because of the storm, we ended up eating at the hotel restaurant, Ilios,  that evening. The restaurant was packed due to the storm. They had only one waitress on duty and she was spectacular. She did not let the issues get to her. The management staff kicked in and helped out any way they could. Of course, there were many that complained that the service was a bit slow, but I do not think they took the time to notice that she was running all the tables. 

The next day, we happened to see the manager of Ilios in the hotel lobby and he stopped and asked us about our meal the night before. I took the time to congratulate him on what a terrific staff he had and how well the restaurant ran on the one waitress. Storms were due in that evening as well and they had already called in extra staff to help them through.

So the question is, would I stay at the Hilton - Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort again? Absolutely!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Beauty of Fall Colors

As I sit and look out the window today, (it is grey, raining and only 60 degree,) it reminds me of my trip east to see the beautiful colors of fall. Living in the mid west, I thought we have beautiful fall colors here, not even close. You see, we were not really on a fall color trip. We were on a college road trip, my son and I. Every school he wanted to see was out east, and I was happy to take him (on the most part, he is the child that is most like me and we tend to butt heads a lot).

We stopped in Pennsylvania to fill the gas tank up. It was so beautiful, that I had to pull my camera out right away. My son found it funny, but I was ok with that. I had never really been east to look at the beautiful fall colors. Let me state here, that I was in NYC in November one year, and I did walk through Central Park, but that is completely different (I was enamored with the history so much that I didn't really see everything around me.

So, in honor of one of my favorite seasons, I thought I would share some of my photo's from this road trip.

Hampton Inn, Beckley, WV 

Mountains surrounding Beckley, WV

Georgetown University, Washington D.C

Mountains (could be PA or WV)

I truly loved every color, from green to brown and red to purples, it was absolutely gorgeous! I hope to he able to make this trip in the future, just for fun. To take my time in each town and take a ton of pictures of the beauty that surrounds us everyday!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mount Rushmore

In 2004, we took a road trip west. I wrote this piece for a blog that I never published. 
Nothing can really describe the moment we first saw Mount Rushmore. We had been driving for hours, going through all of those pig tail turns that had me beyond frightened, suddenly I look straight ahead and see the monument in the distance. Of course, we just came through a pig tail turn, going through a single lane covered bridge/tunnel and we stop dead in our tracks and grab the camera to try and take a few pictures. It was simply breathtaking!

That evening we went to the Mount Rushmore National Park, and had some ice cream. We sat there, eating our ice cream and just enjoying the view. The emotions that arose from within are numerous. All I can say is that I truly enjoyed sitting here, listening to the gentleman speak. My only regret is that we were so tired, we left before the fireworks. We had promised to come back before we went home. We never made it back. Obviously, I will have to make another trip ti see the fireworks!

I definitely recommend staying at least one night at the President’s View Resort. Make sure to get a room with a view of the monument, you will not regret it.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Our Visit to Savannah, GA

In 2009, we took a road trip south. I wrote this piece for a blog that I never published. 

Savannah, Georgia

We did not spend much time here. But, it looks to be a very quaint town. We spent time walking through the town looking for Lady and Sons Restaurant. It did not take long to find it. Unfortunately, there was no room available and we had to walk on to find dinner else where. I was so upset by this, I love Paula Deen. She reminds me so much of my own Grandmother!  We walked for a few blocks more and found a few other places to eat. Some pizza place that is rated very highly, they had a 45 minute wait. Who wants to wait for pizza, we can get that at home.
5 Guys Burgers had a 92% rating, so we decided to head that way. What a great idea. The burgers were awesome and the amount of fries the gave us was outrageous! They are a growing chain that started in DC and I hope that they will get to IL sometime soon.
We stopped at a candy store for my mother-in-law to pick up some pralines. While she did that, my nephew tried to pick up the girl helping her out. She was a very cute girl, she got a good chuckle out of his persistence. I would love to have stayed here for the night, but my dh had his sights set on home. So, after getting the candy, off we went.
Anyhow, I would like to return here and see what the really have to offer. The night life looked great and the history would be amazing to look into. Per my mother-in-law, this is a trip for ladies. Not much for the men here!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Road Trip Essentials

This past week we took a road trip to visit family out of state. Thought I would post what the essentials to our trip were.

  1. Iphone's and charger
  2. radar detector
  3. TomTom Navigational unit
As you can see, our essentials are all computerized. The Iphone's definitely entertained us during the drive. My teenager probably listened to hers the whole trip. Mine was used as phone, information gatherer, camera and electronic toy. I love my Iphone.

Radar detector is self explained, need to keep one step ahead of the police. No tickets needed for us.

Who needs an atlas nowadays, the TomTom gave us up to date directions and even recalculated our directions if needed.

My family loves a good road trip. Though, coming home is never as fun. We always look forward to our next trip. Not sure where or when it will be.

Oh yeah, don't forget the caffeine. My choice is Pepsi!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July

All of the above photo's were captured from Disney World's Bay Lake Towers, 12th floor balcony. Fireworks display of Wishes was at the Magic Kingdom.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Thanks for stopping by and welcome to My Family Excursions. My family (like yours too) loves to travel. In the past few years, we have learned to spend more time planning for any upcoming trip we have planned so that we get the most out of the money we spend. Most importantly, we love taking the time to just be together.

I know that as our families get older the kids may not want to be vacationing with their parents anymore. Well, I have 3 kids, with only one left that is underage. My eldest is already out of college (where did the time go), my middle child is getting ready to start the second year of college and my youngest is going to be a sophomore in HS. Here is the good part, they still want to travel with the family. Yes, you heard me right. We have a big trip planned for this year and I cannot wait to spend time away with the family once again.

The reason for this blog is simple, I want to share my love for travel and photography with others that are interested. Along with that, maybe some tips and trips along the way.

With this being a travel blog, I cannot guarantee how often I will be updating it. Honestly, because that would depend on how often we travel.  I do plan to start it off with some posts about some past trips we have taken.

Happy travels!