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Las Vegas Itinerary

21 Jan

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My husband and I spent three nights over MLK weekend in Las Vegas.  Below was our itinerary:

THURSDAY:  Arrived around 10am.  Checked into our hotel, Encore (HIGHLY recommend – see picture below of the view from our room).  Walked through Wynn, Palazzo and Venetian.  Ate at I ❤ Burgers at Venetian.  Relaxed and then walked the strip down to Paris.  Finally, we ate dinner at Olives at the Bellagio (HIGHLY recommend).  We got a table outside right next to the fountain (see picture below).  After dinner, we went to Ghost Bar on the roof of the Palms (see picture below of the view from Ghost Bar).

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FRIDAY:  We had breakfast/lunch at Terrace Point Cafe at the Wynn.  Afterwards, we hung out at the pool (see picture below of one of the pool areas).  We had dinner at CraftSteak at MGM Grand (HIGHLY recommend).  We then spent the rest of the evening walking around the Strip, including Excalibur and ending at Mandalay Bay.

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SATURDAY:  We had brunch at The Buffet (HIGHLY recommend).  Afterwards, we hung out at the pool again.  Then we spent some time at the sports book at the Wynn watching basketball games.  At night, we went to see Penn & Teller (HIGHLY recommend) at Rio Hotel (see picture below with Penn).  Afterwards, we went to Rio’s rooftop bar, Voodoo Rooftop Nightclub (HIGHLY recommend – the views are amazing).  We ended the night at Ne-Yo’s show at Surrender Nightclub at Encore (see picture below inside the nightclub).

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SUNDAY:  We checked out of Encore.  We ate lunch at the sports book at the Wynn.  My husband spent the rest of the day at the sports book, while I enjoyed my day pass at Encore’s spa.  We walked the Strip quickly, had a fast dinner at a Encore’s Lobby Bar, and then headed to the airport.  We had an 11:30pm flight that got us home Monday morning.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Meet a promoter and really utilize them to get into clubs for free or reduced prices.  My husband and I met a promoter on the street outside of Cesar’s Palace.  We ended up texting him each night to get on the list for certain clubs and it really worked out.  We saved a lot of money.
  • Bring a second ID with you at all times.  My husband and I tried to get into Hakkasan at MGM Grand, but they would not recognize my driver’s license.  After that, I traveled with a second ID even though I never needed it again.
  • If your husband is (or your friends are) hanging out at a sports book for the day (e.g., NFL Sundays), get a day pass to the spa.  I paid $40 for a day pass at Encore’s spa and really enjoyed it.
  • If you want to go to a sports book, my husband liked the one at the Wynn the best.   After the Wynn, his second choice was MGM Grand’s sports book.

Nags Head, North Carolina MUSTs

3 Jan

STAY:

RelaxInn B&B  – We LOVED this place.

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EAT:  

Sam & Omie’s Restaurant – We LOVED this restaurant.  It has a nice neighborly atmosphere.  I recommend having your drinks and food at the bar.

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–  Fat Boyz Ice Cream & Grill

Pamlico Jacks – Beautiful sunset.

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DO:  

– We liked hanging out at the beach near Jennette’s Pier.

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– Visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial and fly a kite.

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– Shop at the outlets in Nags Head, NC.

– Walk around Manteo, NC.

– Visit the beach near Oregon Inlet Fishing Center and on the side of the camping area.  We bought snacks and waters for the day at the fishing center.

– See the house that was used for the movie “Nights in Rodanthe.”   The Inn is in Hatteras Island, NC and can be rented.

Cape Cod MUSTs

3 Jan

Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod – The wine tastings are $10 per person and you try 5 wines.

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White Crest Beach in Wellfleet, MA – the cliffs and beach are beautiful.

The Beachcomber – It’s a bar & restaurant in Wellfleet, MA.  The drinks are great and the nachos are even better!

Cape Cod Chip Factory – The tour is really not all that great since you just walk down a hallway while looking through windows into the factory and reading the history of the factory.  However, at the end you can buy a lot of different types of Cape Cod chips that I have not seen in stores.

Provincetown – Visit the art galleries, walk around, and see a show.

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Eat dinner at the Lobster Pot in Provincetown, MA.  I don’t even eat seafood and I loved the food here.

Minot, North Dakota

15 Apr

Matt and I spent Thanksgiving in Minot, North Dakota. We spent most of our time just relaxing, but we were still able to see a few attractions. Below is a list of some of the attractions in Minot, ND.

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  • State Fair grounds. There seems to be a market, fair, or some sort of expo there quite frequently. Check out the schedule here. However, if you are in Minot, ND in July, make sure to visit the North Dakota State Fair! This year the fair is scheduled for July 19-27, 2013.
  • Dakota Square Mall, which features 4 department stores, many more stores, and an indoor water park!
  • Eat at Sakura – Japanese Steak House. If it is your birthday, the restaurant has a fun song for you! If you like sake, well, get ready to drink!

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For a listing of more attractions in Minot, ND, go to TripAdvisor.com.

Enjoy Minot!

Ski Resorts for Beginners

18 Feb

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A couple weeks ago someone I know went on a ski vacation in Colorado at a resort called Steamboat Ski & Resort.  I had never really wanted to go on a ski vacation before, but, after seeing his pictures, I have been doing some research on where the best ski resorts are for beginners like me.   This research is in hopes that next winter Matt and I will be able to take a true ski vacation.

Below I have listed some of the ski resorts that I found that are said to be good for beginners
.   Now, I will fully admit that I have not done thorough research just yet, but I thought I would put out the list on CourtneyMara.com and next year do some follow-up research.  So, without further ado, below is a list of ski resorts that I found through research I conducted through Google that are said to be good for beginners.  Please let me know in the comments section if you are familiar with any of these destinations!

CALIFORNIA

Alpine Meadows

Heavenly Mountain Resort

Northstar-at-Tahoe

Squaw Valley

CANADA 

Mont Sainte Anne

COLORADO:

Aspen

Breckenridge

Copper Mountain

Keystone Ski Resort

Steamboat Ski Resort

Telluride

IDAHO

Sun Valley

MAINE

Sunday River

NEVADA

Diamond Peak

OREGON

Timberline Lodge

UTAH

Brian Head

Brighton

Deer Valley

Powder Mountain

Solitude

Wolf Creek

VERMONT

Stratton Mountain Ski Resort

Mount Snow

 

Do you have a recommendation for a great ski resort for beginners?    Please share your tips on CourtneyMara.com!

National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD

24 Nov

What’s a good way to spend a rainy day?  Visiting an aquarium.  And, if you happen to live in the DC or Baltimore metro areas, the National Aquarium in Baltimore is a MUST VISIT.   Tickets are expensive: $29.95 for adults; but, you can sure fill a day with all of the exhibits.  You will be able to watch a dolphin show, walk through a cool jelly fish exhibit, explore a “rain forest”, and visit the Australia exhibit.  Click here for more information about the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD.

Gravelly Point Park (Arlington, VA)

17 Nov

Gravelly Point Park in Arlington, VA, is a MUST VISIT if you want a romantic activity in the Washington, DC, metro area.  You sit on your car or on one of the park benches and watch the planes land and take off.  Many couples bring picnics.  Instead, Matt and I brought cupcakes from my favorite DC cupcake shop:  Baked & Wired in Georgetown.  They are just scrumptious (see below).

Gravelly Point Park is open year round, is free to enter, and is open from dawn until dusk.  Click here for more information on Gravelly Point Park, including directions to the park.

Enjoy Gravelly Point Park!

 

 

4 Days in San Francisco

10 Nov

In November 2010, Matt and I spent four days in San Francisco.  We had the best time and constantly remind ourselves of how much we love San Francisco.  The following is an itinerary for our four days in San Fran:

Day 1:

Walk around Fisherman’s Wharf.

Eat clam chowder in a bread bowl.

Eat ice cream sundae at Gharadelli.

Go to Pier 39.  See the sea lions. DON’T do the mirror maze.

Walk up Lombard Street.

Take the trolley.

Visit Chinatown.


Day 2:

Visit Alcatraz.  Book your tickets well in advance.

Have lunch at the Ferry Building Marketplace.


Day 3:

DO a wine tour in Sonoma and Napa Valley.


Day 4: 

Bike to Sausalito.  You’ll bike over the Golden Gate Bridge.

DO eat in the Italian district.  We loved North Beach Restaurant.

Enjoy San Francisco!

Mount Vernon

20 Oct

A visit to Mount Vernon is a MUST, especially if you are in DC in Spring or Fall.  Take a stroll around the property.  It is a romantic atmosphere, but can also be used as a historical stop for you and your family.  I recommend getting a timed ticket to see the house or the wait can be long.  Also, if you live in DC and you think you will go on more than one visit to the estate in a year (especially if you have a lot of visitors), I recommend getting the annual pass.  Finally, make sure to check the calendar to see if there are any fun events.

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Fayetteville, Arkansas

13 Oct

  • Run along the paths in Fayetteville, Arkansas.