We interrupt our regularly scheduled blog series post to bring you breaking news:
APPLES, APPLES, APPLES!
October is apple season and it is coming to a close, so if you haven't picked them from an orchard, visited an apple barn, or scoured your farmers' market for some red, green, and golden gems, then get to it! Last weekend we made our way over to Ellijay, GA for the Apple Festival. We actually didn't go to the Apple Festival; been there, done that, and will do it again someday, just not with two rowdy little boys. We went to Mercier's Orchard to pick apples. I've mentioned Mercier's before in a previous post. On this trip we went to the orchard to pick our own apples. Word of how fun apple season in the Blue Ridge Mountains is must be getting out, because it was packed! Packed at Mercier's, packed in Ellijay, you'd think it was Disney! No problem for us! It just meant being able to meet new people, like the sweet girl with the 4 month old, golden lab, guide dog-in-training who graciously let my boys (whom I shamelessly used as front men so I could pet the puppy) pet the puppy, and Seth, our hayride guide, who broke an apple in half with his bare hands for the boys. I came away from our apple weekend with a bushel of apples, most of our orchard picked apples, and a pie pumpkin. So this week I've been up to my elbows in apples and apple peels, canning, baking, and eating. My final product was 3 quarts of apple puree, 2 quarts of apple butter, 3 quarts of apple pie filling, a quart and a half of apple sauce, Irish apple cake, apple muffins, apple bread, and baked apple pancakes! Yeesh, I'm tired just typing it! With all these new recipes, I've found some really keepers I thought I'd share with you.
I hope these recipes help you use up some of your apples! Let me know if you have any other recipes that are fall favorites.
The hubs and I are getting ready for a trip to Las Vegas, courtesy of his job! This is our first time to visit this exciting city, so be ready for lots of pictures and news on what's what for families.
Part 2: Accommodations
The next sleeping experience was a B&B at a working dairy farm. In the travel guides they tell you that many people in Ireland will open up several of their bedrooms to tourists as a bed and breakfast, and guess what... they really do! I booked a stay at the Glenraha Farmhouse B&B months in advance. I chose it because of the reviews I read about being able to experience the dairy farm, which was the family's main source of income. When we arrived at the ordinary little farm home we weren't quite sure what to expect. And actually the hostess wasn't expecting us; she had forgotten that we were coming, but she had just cleaned the bedrooms. She welcomed us in, just as if we were friends from out of town; her son was watching television in the lounge. It was a nice, little place, but the real treat came in the morning. Brid, our hostess, made us a delicious Irish breakfast that warmed us up before we headed out into the cool morning. Their son had made some muffins for a school project and had wrapped some up for us to take. My sister and I went to see the cows being milked, and Jim, our host, showed us everything about the dairy process. It was an educational and fun experience for this non-farm girl.
As we crossed the country our next night landed us in an enchanting bed and breakfast in Killarney. Of all the beautiful places I encountered in Ireland, Killarney was my favorite, and so was Friar's Glen Bed and Breakfast. Tucked back in Killarney National Park, Friar's Glen's charming exterior welcomed us with exquisite landscaping and flowers, even in October. We were welcomed by John, our host, who made sure we were comfortable and took time to give us restaurant recommendations for dinner. We had booked a two night special online and it was nice to stay in the same bed more than one night. Breakfast was served in a sunroom full of windows overlooking a small meadow surrounded by woods. While we ate our full Irish breakfast, porridge, and tea we watched Sitka and red deer wander through the meadow. You just can't start your day much more peacefully than that. As our departure time came, John and his wife, Mary, came out to send us off. We chatted with our hosts, who were so friendly and sincere, and headed out, wishing we could have stayed longer.
Our final accommodation before we finished back in Dublin was Kinnitty Castle in County Offaly. This was our grand finale. This castle is steeped in history dating back to the 1100s. Our rooms looked like something out of the Middle Ages, in a good way. Lots of coats of arms, heavy wooden beams, and plenty of stone. The section of the castle we stayed in was in the older part of the building that was an abbey before it became a private home (castle). There were suits of armor greeting us as we entered the reception hall. We ate dinner in the castle as part of a package I booked and it was fun to eat a fancy meal in the elegant dining hall. Afterwards we spent the evening in the Library Bar, sipping Irish coffee (a first for Kara and me), laughing, and having fun relaxing in the comfy green couches. We arrived at Kinnitty Castle late in the afternoon and had to leave after breakfast in the morning, and I wish I had scheduled more time there. They have several activities on the premises that I would have loved to do, particularly the clay pigeon shooting. Now, I'm not a hunter, not even close, but being in Ireland and being clay pigeons, I just wish I would have scheduled more time and spent the money for the experience. So, learn from my mistake and take advantage of the memorable experiences when available! :)
Take a gander at some of these fantastic Irish lodging to see if any fit your taste in travel. I've ordered them from most budget friendly to lavishly extravagant, and included the places we stayed during our tour.
located in the picturesque village of Kinnitty Co. Offaly, nestled in the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, offers the perfect setting for a romantic castle break in Ireland. Midweek specials start at $65 per person per room.
The third and final part of my Irish experience series will cover attractions! Don't miss highlights of what to see in Ireland. And if you decide to beauty of Ireland for your next trip, let us help you plan out all the details!
In 2012, after our 9th wedding anniversary, I started thinking about year #10. Ten years. A decade. It's a milestone, something to be celebrated. I wanted to take a ten year anniversary trip. I'm not sure when I knew I wanted to go to Ireland. It didn't hit me one night to go there. It was more of an evolving longing that grew over time until it just seemed to be the right fit. I've always had a passion for that corner of the world, and when the hubs said he liked the idea it was settled. Thus started the year long romance between me and Ireland. A year of reading, planning, saving, and dreaming.
We chose October for our trip for two specific reasons. First, we didn't want to go during peak season, which is June, July, and August. Second, my sister, who is a teacher, had her Fall Break during mid-October. This turned out to be a great time to visit! The months of October and April and May are considered the 'shoulder' season. During this time you get the best of both worlds; longer daylight hours, good weather, and most attractions are still open, but the prices and availability of peak season are not as high.
Of course, there are many more trails, awesome programs, and seasonal adventures to be had at the 50+ state parks in Georgia. These are just two of my favorites, and I'm just sharing my day trips with you! We have been camping in one of the Georgia state parks, but that's a whole other story to be told later. Don't miss out on these beautiful autumn days. Get out there and wander around in a state park for free.
It's fall, ya'll and it is glorious! Here in Chattanooga there is a crispness in the air, my maple tree has a hint of red in its leaves, and everyone is lighting up my pinterest feed with pumpkin spice latte recipes! Fall has so many wonderful activities that it's hard to fit them all in and a shame to miss any of them. So what's an autumn-loving girl to do? Well, first decide on your budget. Whether big or small there is some new fall adventure to be experienced.
Farmers' Markets can give you a taste of fall, literally. This trip is right around the corner and very budget friendly. Many farmers' market close after October, so make sure to stock up on all the autumn produce. Apples, beets, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and winter squash are at their peak.
Pumpkin Patches and Corn Mazes offer a fun afternoon of family togetherness. Many places will provide a hayride to and from the patch. There are usually fun extras like a barrel train ride or a petting zoo. These might cost extra as well. We have enjoyed the Enchanted Maize at Blowing Springs Farm, (http://www.blowingspringsfarm.com/), which is at the base of Lookout Mountain. Even Floridians can enjoy an autumn adventure in their shorts and t-shirts when they visit Long and Scott Farms in Mt. Dora, FL. Check out some of these amazing mazes: (photos courtesy of travelchannel.com)
Around here apple season takes center stage. If you are in driving distance of Ellijay, GA, make the drive to enjoy picking apples from one of the many orchards the area boasts. And you can experience all things apple at the Georgia Apple Festival, which is held Oct. 11-2 & 18-19, 2014 in Ellijay. This festival brings together Southern comfort and charm with every apple goody and treat imaginable. There are many apple houses to choose, but our favorites are Mercier's and Panorama. In addition to a wide selection of apple varieties, Mercier's Orchard has a deli, bakery, and hard cider store. (http://www.mercier-orchards.com/)
Finally, if foliage is your passion and time and money are on your side, consider a tour to experience some of America's most beautiful fall locations. Globus and many other tour groups provide amazing New English destinations that highlight the beauty of the changing colors in national parks and scenic locations. These tours also focus on the northeast's deep history and quaint rural lifestyles.
So after all this autumn goodness, I'm ready to run through some corn and carve up some pumpkins. Or maybe I'll settle in with a warm pumpkin spice latte and a hunk of apple pie. Or maybe I'll do both this month!
Travel inspired by Mary Poppins
Recently we decided to introduce our boys to the world of Disney's Mary Poppins. We do pizza and movie nights around here, and I felt it was time for a classic. I remember seeing Mary Poppins as a kid and thought it was fun and cute, but seeing it with the boys gave me a greater appreciation for the movie. I loved watching their shocked and surprised faces when Mary, Bert, Jane, and Michael jump into the chalk art or when the carousel horses go 'off road'. All the fun and fantasy got me thinking about travel, so I let my mind wander to places that one might travel if inspired by Mary Poppins. Here are a few of the places that come to my mind when I think of Mary Poppins:
Of course, this is where the story takes place, so it's a perfect place to start! London, England has something for everyone to enjoy; from history to theater to modern luxury. If you are planning a trip to London make sure a few of these sites are on your list:
If you can't make the jump across the pond, try a visit to Disney's World Showcase at Epcot Center. England is one of the countries modeled here. You can enjoy afternoon tea or fish and chips while watching the spectacular fireworks display. Children can actually meet Mary Poppins at the England pavilion each afternoon.
One of my favorite parts of Mary Poppins is when Mary, Bert, and the children are enjoying a ride on the carousel and suddenly they take off for a ride in the countryside. There are many beautiful carousels to be enjoyed in every part of the U.S. Children are enchanted by the carousel rides, even if they are as simple as the coin rides that used to be outside grocery stores! Here are some charming carousels that should not be missed.
Who didn't love those crazy cartoon penguins dancing with Dick VanDyke? If you love penguins or if Mary Poppins has inspired you to learn more, check out these high quality penguin facilities.
So there you go! Have another looksee at Mary Poppins and let me know where your travel ideas take you.
Hello there! We are the travelers of the Rogers Clan. Pat, Kyleen and Kara welcome you to follow us on our travel adventures, experiences with family, and good times with friends. The next adventure is just around the bend. Come join our roving romp and let us help you experience your own unique wandering!