Myrtle Beach

Hello again world!  I haven’t posted in a while, and the guilt finally got to me… so I’m back!  I’m sitting on the floor in my bedroom, trying to kill some time before I head to bed.  I’ve been going to bed early lately because of having to get up early for work (and although I am not allowed to discuss work online, I feel that I can at least say that I am thoroughly enjoying it… although to be safe, I will not mention where it is that I am enjoying work!)  Anyway… as I am passing time here in my room, I find that my mind keeps wandering towards the beach.  In less than a month, my family and I will be heading to Myrtle Beach for a week of vacation, and I can hardly wait!

I painted my toenails tonight, which always makes me think of Myrtle Beach.  Why?  Because whenever we go there, we go to a Del Sol store and buy nail polish that changes color in the sunlight!  It’s so fun, and I will admit that I am always fascinated when I see my polish turn from light, baby pink to a bright, hot pink or from a cool blue to an electric green!  I am almost out of my Del Sol polish, so I am anxious to get some more to get me through another year or two… it’s just about all I use because it is just so fun!

I am also looking forward to just relaxing by the ocean… or rather swimming in it!  I LOVE to just lay out and soak up the sun, but I can do that at home too, so I make sure to spend plenty of time in the waves too while I’m at the beach.  We usually try to make some cool sand sculptures as well.  I remember a VERY well crafted few from past vacations, and I can’t wait to see what creations we come up with this year!

I guess I should probably expand a little bit upon what I mean when I say “family” vacation.  Usually, when we go to Myrtle Beach,  it is me and my mom, dad, and brother, as well as my aunt, uncle, and three cousins.  This year is slightly different.  Her is the list of who is going this year:
My mom
My dad
My brother
My brother’s girlfriend
My aunt
My uncle
My cousin and his girlfriend
My cousin and her best friend
A third cousin
And hopefully yet another cousin if she remembers to ask off of work for that week… you know who you are, so if you haven’t asked yet… ASK!

Wow, a lot of people.  I hope I didn’t forget anybody!  Anyway, it will be a great vacation, I know it will be because it always is with this group, and the group having grown larger is sure to only make it even better!  Hopefully I will have some great stories to share with you when I get back!

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Versailles… Ohio that is

I know most of you probably think of France when you see “Versailles,” but that is not the place I am writing about tonight.  In this post, I am referring to Versailles, Ohio.  It’s a small town (er, maybe it’s actually a village…) in Southwest Ohio.  It’s a wonderful and beautiful small town, though, and I absolutely love visiting there.  It has that small town charm: the people are nice, the streets are clean, downtown has character… you know the charm I mean.  Versailles has it.

This weekend will be an especially great time to visit too.  This weekend is the Poultry Days Festival!  I know, I know, you’re think “WHAT?”  And then maybe you are laughing, but let me tell you this: this is the place to be for some of the BEST TASTING CHICKEN IN THE WORLD!  They cook hundreds of chickens (honestly, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds) and everyday they completely sell out!  People come from all over for this chicken (and the ultimate frisbee tournament… but I am WAY more interested in this chicken.  Did I mention how good it is?)  Okay, so this chicken tastes out of this world!  So, unless you are a vegetarian, you would thoroughly enjoy this.  I promise.  No joke.  It’s that good.

Did I make you hungry at all?  I certainly made myself hungry!

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New Zealand

Having today off because of Memorial Day, I was able to spend some time with my family this weekend.  Saturday night, my brother and I got to talking about different things, and the subject of my blog came up.  He told me he had been reading it some, and was surprised by some of my choices of places to write about during the April A-Z Challenge.  I asked him which ones, and he told me the one that surprised him the most was my choice for ‘N’: New York.  “I was kinda surprised you didn’t put New Zealand that day,” he told me, “I’ve heard it’s the most beautiful place in the world.”  I told him I picked New York for the challenge because I had been there, so I knew what I could write about, but then admitted that I almost chose New Zealand for that day, I just didn’t know what I would be able to write about it.

So, today, I am chosing New Zealand.  No, I have never been there.  Yes, I would love to go there someday.  I too have heard about how beautiful it is, and I would love to see it for myself.  I still don’t know what else to write, though.  If I ever decide to plan a trip to New Zealand, I will definitely have to do some research first.  I think this would be an excellent trip to plan through a travel agency and use tour books.  Have any of you visited New Zealand and have any amazing stories to share?  I would love to hear them!

(So there you go, little brother.  I have now included New Zealand.  Any other places you think I should add?  Suggestions from anyone?  I’m always listening, and you never know what I will write about next!)

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Cedar Point: America’s Roller Coast!

When it comes to summer fun, Cedar Point is always on my list.  In my opinion, if you are a fan of roller coasters, and I most definitely am, Cedar Point is a must-visit destination.

When my friends and I go to Cedar Point, we usually make a full day of it.  We get there shortly after it opens, and we stay until it’s closed.  (Here’s a hint: If you are already in line for a ride when the park closes, you still get to ride that ride.  For example, if the park closes at 10pm, and you get in line at 9:58pm, even if the line is an hour wait, you get to ride the ride.  I’ve been able to do this several times to add just a little bit more time to the fun inside the park!)

Honestly, if you aren’t really a roller coaster fan, I don’t know what rides to recommend for you at the park.  It’s not that they don’t have other rides; they have a ton of rides of all kinds.  It’s just that I don’t ride them.  I simply walk past them as I make my way to the next roller coaster!  There are so many coasters (17 in total), that just riding them takes about all day!

Unfortunately, my favorite coasters are popular among most thrill seekers and usually have a waiting time of between 1.5-2 hours.  I’ll wait though!  Millennium Force and Maverick are my absolute favorites.  These are the best roller coasters!  The wait is usually– scratch that, always– long, but I think it’s worth it!  Millennium Force opened in 2000, and its first hill is an 80-degree drop (from a height of 310 feet!).  The ride lasts 2 minutes and reaches a speed of 93 mph!  Maverick opened in 2007.  It doesn’t go as fast as Millennium Force, it only reaches 70 mph, but its first hill is what makes it so awesome… a 95-degree drop!  This, in addition to all of its other twists and turns makes it an exciting 2.5 minute ride!

Top Thrill Dragster is another great ride.  Honestly, it’s awesome.  It reaches a height of 420 feet!  It goes from 0-120 mph in a matter of 4 seconds!  Riders on the train only know when it will take off a second before it actually does!  Why doesn’t it qualify as a “favorite” of mine then?  Because through all this excitement, the ride only lasts 17 seconds, and the wait to ride it is usually around 1.5-2 hours!  I have a hard time justifying waiting that long for a ride that lasts less than a minute.  If the wait wasn’t so long, I would definitely add it to my favorites list.  Loving coasters like I do, though, I still try to ride it when I go.  This is the ride I usually try to get in line for about 5 minutes before the park closes.  The one time I did this, we decided to wait even longer to ride front car… which we did… at night… when the bugs are out… and they splattered all over our faces… gross… but still an awesome thrill!

Basically, Cedar Point is a summer-must for anyone who can get there.  It’s an easy day trip for me, so hopefully I will be able to make another trip there this summer!

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The Path of a Pioneer Girl

When I was in elementary school… and middle school… and high school… and even now… I was, and am, a huge fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I have all of her books.  I also have all of the books about her daughter, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.  Like I said, I was and am a huge fan.

As I grew older, I expanded my collection of “Little House” books to include books of nonfiction as well.  Today, I am thinking about one particular book: The Little House Guidebook.  I was fascinated with this book.  This book described each of the places that Laura Ingalls Wilder had written about in her books.  Accompanying each listed place was information about it, including information for people who wanted to visit those sites today.  I wanted to visit those sites so badly.  My mom and grandma and I made a plan that someday we would take a trip, just the three of us, and visit all of those places.  We would use this book as our guide and follow (more or less and in a modern way) the path that Laura had taken with her parents and sisters and then her husband and daughter.

We never went on this trip.  Like everyone else, our lives were (and still are) crazy busy, and we never found the time or opportunity to go on this trip.  Still, I hold on to this childhood hope that one day I will be able to visit all of these places.  The details will have to change some (my grandma passed away several months ago), so the trip won’t be like we originally hoped it would, but my mom and I could still go.  (I doubt my dad or brother has any great interest in the home sites of Laura Ingalls Wilder…)

So, today, my wishful travel is that of a pioneer girl.  I guess you could say that I have always loved history.  I mean, my favorite books as a child were historical fiction.  I still love history, and I have visited so many places that have allowed me to see the memories that history has left us.  Someday, I hope I get to visit what was possibly the very first historical adventure on which I wanted to go… following Laura Ingalls Wilder’s path.

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“There’s no place like home!”

Sometimes I forget how nice it is to just be home.  I love going new places and seeing new things, but sometimes it’s just nice to be home and able to relax.  HA!  Relaxing… sometimes even at home there is just too much to do!  Right now, our home is getting a facelift…a MAJOR facelift.  We have lived in this house for 22 years, and for 22 years it has been this (awful) blue color.  It is now in the process of having new siding put on: white… very classic.  In addition to the new siding are new lights, a new garage door, a painted front door, painted shutters, and new porch railings.  Like I said. a MAJOR facelift.

Part of me will miss the blue house.  That is, the part of me that found it convenient to say, “Our house is the bright blue house on the right.  You can’t miss it.”  On the other hand, it wasn’t the most attractive blue, especially for a house.  The new decorations will look awesome.  I can’t wait to see the final product!  (And I know my mom, who has wanted to change the color of the house for 22 years, is even more anxious to see it completed!)

Before the Facelift

I think I should add that I am writing this post from home.  I came home for the weekend for Mother’s Day.  It’s nice to be home… with my family, and with my mom.  Our lives are so busy these days that it’s nice to be able to be home for this weekend.

“There’s no place like home!”
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Adventures in Saint Paul, MN

The A-Z April Challenge may be over (so I won’t be posting everyday anymore), but I just got back from a trip, so I thought I should write and tell you a little about it!   There is so much to tell, but here is the abbreviated version:

View of the Mississippi River from the Hotel Room

This past weekend, a group of Wright State University Public History Students and one of our professors made the long drive from Dayton, Ohio, to Saint Paul, Minnesota for the Midwest Archives Conference.  The conference was great, but I want to talk about the places I saw, not the sessions I attended.

The view from our hotel room was awesome.  To the left we could see the Mississippi River, and to the right we could see further into the city.  It was awesome to be right on the river, and this view was my first impression of the city… what an impression!
We didn’t have much time in Saint Paul, and what little time we did have was largely filled with conference activities, but we still got to do a little sight-seeing.  Thursday night, some of us headed to a local bar.  We took the long way to get there, and discovered that Saint Paul looks a lot like most cities do at night.
Mall of America

On Friday, some of us decided to go to the Mall of America while we had some free time between planned conference activities in the afternoon.  We walked into the mall and were in awe.  It is HUGE!  We all acted like tourists and were taking pictures left and right.  “Look over here!  Over there!”  In the center of the mall is a decent sized theme park!  There are several roller coasters and other rides too!  I rode one of the roller coasters… it wasn’t half bad!  I mean, it’s no Maverick or Top Thrill Dragster, but it was pretty good!  There was also a miniature golf course in the mall.  The mall had every store you could possibly think of.  It had your typical stores that you see in just about every mall, but even these were not your average store.  Like the mall itself, these stores were also huge!  As an added bonus to all of this… there is apparently no sales tax on clothing or shoes!  Clearly, a few hours here were not enough… but probably good for my wallet!

The Whole Gang at Wabasha Street Caves

That night we all went to the Wabasha Street Caves.  This was another awesome mini-adventure.  The caves are not natural.  They were old mining site, but the history of these caves is more interesting than just that.  The caves served as a gangster hangout and even a speakeasy during prohibition!  There was even a couple of men shot and killed there during its days as a popular hangout for gangsters.  I think possibly the best part about this night was that there was a bar set up… we went drinking in an old speakeasy!  Ok, so the part of the cave that was the old speakeasy was closed… but it’s still awesome!  We all had so much fun!  It’s a shame that we were all starting to get pretty tired by this point.  Still, I think our adrenaline kept us going.  We were going to experience as much as we could in the little time that we had in Saint Paul.

Also about the city: statues of Peanuts characters are everywhere!  Along the sidewalks outside, in the hotel, in parks… and they are all decorated differently.  It reminded me of how Cleveland has the guitar statues all over the city.  I was also able to tour the City Hall building.  It’s a really neat building with a lot of unique touches.
Unfortunately, we had to leave Saturday afternoon when the conference was over.  Our short time in the city had come to an end.  I wish we could have spent more time there, but we had a long drive ahead of us still, and now that I am home again, I have to admit that it’s nice to be home.  Still, this wishful traveler can say she has been to one more new place… success!
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