My Hometown Through Visitor Eyes

This week, Mom and I are back in our hometown of Dunedin, Florida.  We’re still staying in an AirBnB at the Beso Del Sol resort, right up the road from where we used to live.

IMG_20130513_202501

Dunedin is a delightful little town, sitting right next to Clearwater and Clearwater Beach and only a handful of minutes from St. Petersburg and Tampa.  We’ve lived in this area for 14 years and as residents, barely saw some of it.  We made it over to Caladesi Island once and went to Clearwater to see the beach when we first moved down, but there is so much we haven’t seen.  It will be interesting to see the sights that the locals know about, but don’t always enjoy.

SAM_3804

SAM_0749

IMG_0109

We’re only here for a week, then it is back on the road, since we’ve decided we enjoy the nomadic life and will keep it up as long as we can.

Happy Acres Ranch

wp-image-591192785

Set in the horse country of Central Florida, about an hour and a half northwest of Orlando and less than a hour from the West Coast of Florida, the ranch is spread out over 50+ acres and has 2 barns, the main house and several fields that are normally dotted with horses, chickens or guinea fowl at any given moment.

IMG_3685

Our current AirBnB is an apartment in Barn B at Happy Acres Ranch, known as Happy Trails Lodge. From a door in our kitchen, we can walk into the stables and see the horses who call Happy Acres home.

During the day and sometimes at night, you can hear a horse neigh or whiny softly.  You can also hear the guinea fowl cackling during the evening.

The apartment is a one bedroom, one bath, though there is a second king bed separated off from the living room by a desk and shelving.  A large flat screen tv faces the couch, which is also a sleeper sofa.  Only the two windows in the apartment, but they let in plenty of light and face out at the paddocks.  Full kitchen with washer and dryer complete the apartment.

They give trail rides and lessons.

Dunnellon is close to Ocala, another major city in Florida, and close to the coast, giving us plenty to do while we’re here.

IMG_3672

Too Darn Hot

Cole Porter said it best: “It’s too darn hot!”  Yesterday, we left hotels behind and returned to the comfort of AirBnBs, this time in Corinth, Mississippi.  We picked Corinth because it is close to the Shiloh National Battlefield.  Though, when we picked it, we weren’t thinking it would be in the middle of a heat wave with temperatures in the triple digits and heat indexes over 117+.

IMG_3375

After a week of hotels and eating out constantly, we’ve decided that we’ll take the next few days to get back into a normal routine, making meals instead of eating out, getting some sleep and other normal things.  We went grocery shopping earlier and nearly melted.  They’re calling for rain over the weekend, so we’re hoping the temperatures go down a bit.  Once we’re able to go out without bursting into flames, we’ll let y’all know.  Stay cool, my friends.

Our (Temporary) Kentucky Home

This week’s AirBnB is in Nicholasville, Kentucky, just down the road from Lexington, the second largest city in Kentucky. The area is mostly suburban, but drive in any direction for more than a few minutes and you’ll see farmland.  This house is in a subdivision just off Main Street.  A two story house with garage and back yard, this is definitely a family home, which our host, Don, told us was indeed the case.  While he and his wife travel half the year, they AirBnB the family homestead to travelers like myself and Mom.

The living area is nice and roomy, with plenty of seating.  Large TV with a ROKU system is available, though no cable.  Still, they had the primary channels and that’s really all we need.

The ceiling over the living area goes all the way up to the roof, giving it an airy feeling.  Downstairs is one bedroom and a bathroom, along with the kitchen and washer/dryer area.

IMG_2936

Upstairs is the master bedroom with it’s own bathroom and a second office/bedroom with a single bed.  Mom took the downstairs and I tackled the upstairs.

Close to shopping, food and all the major traffic roadways, this clean and comfortable house was more than perfect for our stay in Kentucky.  I would definitely recommend it for a family.  There’s even a treadmill and exercise bike for those who feel inclined to work out.  Tomorrow starts out a full week without an AirBnB.  We’re on our way to Branson, with a overnight stop in St. Louis.  Here’s to some good, old fashion, wholesome fun!

Pennsylvania Dutch Country AirBnB

For the past 5 days, we’ve been staying in a lovely home situated in an area that’s part rural Pennsylvanian Dutch farms and suburban middle class houses.

IMG_2793

The neighbors are either hidden by hedges or pastureland.  Wide open spaces out the back picture window allow for some spectacular natural views.

Inside, the house is split in two.  There are two bedrooms, one on each side, and two bathrooms.  A spacious living room melds with the dining area and kitchen.  Plenty of seating is available.  There is no TV or radio in the house, but the views make up for it and allows for another level of relaxation.

It is also fun when the neighbors stop by.

Beyond the fence of the big back yard, there is a crystal clear creek that winds between the farmland behind and the slightly suburban area in front.  The children in the surrounding farms have been known to play in the creek, perhaps swinging from a rope hanging out over the creek from the big tree.  At night, you can go out and watch the fireflies and listen to nature.

All in all, a lovely, peaceful place to unwind.  Tomorrow, we pack up again, spending one night on the road before checking in to our new AirBnB in Kentucky.

Kitchen Kettle Village

This morning, Mom and I decided to check out the Kitchen Kettle Village, a shopping district in Intercourse, PA.  *Waits patiently for the giggling to stop*  Only a scant 3 miles as the crow flies from our AirBnB in New Holland, we still had to drive for a bit to get around different corn and wheat fields.  It seems that either Sunday night or Monday morning is wash day, as we passed several houses with line after line of clothing hung out to dry.

Upon arrival, we noted that many others had decided the day before the 4th would be the perfect time to find some authentic Amish goods.  We lucked into a parking spot close to the main entrance into the open aired shopping center.

Our first stop was at Deerskin Leather goods, as they had a sign advertising Minnetonka moccasins.  Mom has just about every color, but she was delighted to find out there were two new colors.  I was able to find a nice new wallet, as well.

Our next stop was a shop near and dear to my own heart.  Aged and Dried sold meat and cheese products.  Mom made sure I didn’t just move in, but we got a couple things for ourselves.  Mmmm, cheeeeeeese.

A little more wandering found us in the Yarn Shop.  The yarns here aren’t the ones you’ll find in major craft stores or places like Wal-Mart or Target.  These are hand made, hand dyed yarns made from wool or alpaca or even a silk mix.  And the colors were amazing.  We both picked out some yarn, with various ideas of what we could use it for bouncing around in our heads.

Finally, we noticed that it was really starting to get busy, so we packed up Red Rover with our loot and headed back to our AirBnB to admire our goodies.

IMG_2784

A pretty good haul, if I do say so myself.  Time to get to crafting.

The Thrill of the (travel) hunt

While flexibility is one of the key components required for living this roaming lifestyle, one of the biggest thrills comes from the planning.  With our trusty road atlas in hand, Mom and I both settle in to search for our next destination.

With a bit of help from Bing in judging distances between places, we find a couple options and search both AirBnB and Hotels.com, keeping in mind any place that could earn us stuff.  I’ve joined multiple hotel chains’ rewards clubs, several gas clubs and a couple different grocery store chains to find the best deals.

With this in mind, we’re going to be staying in fancy casinos, tiny houses, dude ranches, boat houses, and Old West style cabins.  We’ll ride on trains and stay near beaches.  We’ll watch the sun set over farms.  We’ll hear the thunder of the falls and the quiet of the mountains. Also, we’ll dig for diamonds, watch a rootin-tootin’ Wild West show, ride a horse, and might even find ourselves on a corner in Winslow, AZ.

And yet with every reservation we make, we know that there is a good possibility we’ll have to change our plans. (Thank goodness for free cancellations).  We weren’t supposed to see my cousin on this trip and yet, because of a…ahem…sh*##y situation, we ended up enjoying both his restaurant and time with him and his family.  Weather happens and since there has yet to be invented an app that allows you to control the weather, we’ve adjusted.  Some days, there’s plenty of things to do and others, nothing.  Thank goodness for E-books.

So now, as we pack up to head back out tomorrow, we keep our eyes on the road before us, while looking for interesting turn offs.  Because you never know…

Conneaut Visitor’s Lodge

This week we are staying at Conneaut Visitor’s Lodge in Conneaut (pronounced con-ee-aught), Ohio.  Located on State street, the Visitor’s Lodge is perfectly located kitty-corner from a gas station and right next door to a CVS.  Many times we’ve had issues locating a gas station where we’ve been and having one right there is wonderful.  It is also only about a mile from Lake Erie itself and conveniently close to OH-7, which leads right to I-90.

The house is over 100 years old (going by our research on Zillow.com), having been built in 1910.  It is two stories with an additional basement that I have opted not to explore due to having read one too many Stephen King novels as a preteen.

IMG_2589

Along with a kitchen and living room on the first floor, there is also a dining room, with a table that could easily hold 8.  The microwave is also located in here due to space constraints in the kitchen.

From the front door, you have the hall leading into the kitchen or the stairs heading up to the bedrooms and bathroom.

IMG_2591

Can you find Mom?

IMG_2593

Upstairs are 3 bedrooms.  Each room has a bed and either a futon couch or a cot.  This house could easily hold 8, if not more.  There is also a full bathroom upstairs.  We’re certainly getting our flights of stairs for Fitbit.

IMG_2596

Our shoes (just a small assortment of Mom’s moccasins) sit by the front door.

IMG_2597

There’s a nice patio right off the back door and a basketball hoop for us to practice our jump shots and alley-oops.  Not showing in the picture is a barbecue grill and the back yard.  A rain is blowing through today, giving Red Rover a nice rinse.  Hopefully it gets some of the bugs we’ve collected on our travels off.

Rain, rain, go away.  Come back after we’ve hit the road to Canada.