The Beauty in Northern Maine

I have gone to Maine many times because my grandma, aunt, and uncle live there. They live in the small town of Houlton. It is about a five-minute drive to the Canadian border. The nearest mall is an hour away, and the nearest airport is two hours away. Although Maine isn’t as lively as many places, it has a great beauty to it. My grandparents used to own a house in the mountains with 90 acres of land, but after my grandpa passed away my grandma decided to move into town. At the old house there were trails that we could ride the four wheelers on or just have a nice walk through the woods. There is always the possibility of seeing moose or bears, and many times, we would see footprints on the ground.

You really have a chance to appreciate nature while you are here. Maine is so scenic and quiet; it gives you a chance to slow down and take in your surroundings. It is such a tranquil trip, and it is nice to just sit back and relax sometimes. Instead of going out you stay home and have a bonfire or go for a walk in the woods. It gives you time to have good conversation with the people that you are with.

These are a couple of pictures I took while driving to my grandmother’s old house on top of the mountain.

022 Photo Credit: Ashley Grant

028 Photo Credit: Ashley Grant

A nice place to go in Northern Maine is Baxter State Park. It is 200,000 acres of nature. You are able to go camping and hiking there. They also allow hunting in some areas of the park with the exception of moose. When I went as a kid I used to love walking through the streams and looking at the waterfalls. Overall, it is a beautiful park and it is worth stopping by, even if its just for a few hours. To learn more or make reservations visit http://www.baxterstateparkauthority.com/index.htm

Below is a picture of one of the many waterfalls in Baxter State Park

 Photo Credit: www.grandamericanadventures.com

Overall Maine is a beautiful place and nice to travel to when you just want to slow down. It is completely opposite from where I live in Clearwater, Fla. The sky is so clear, and you are able to see so many stars because they aren’t drowned out by the city lights. There is also a possibility of seeing the northern lights. It is nice to have a change of scenery every once in a while; don’t you think? Do you think you would enjoy taking a trip to Maine? Why or why not?

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My Trip to Salem, Mass.

Since I was a kid I always wanted to visit Salem, Mass. I have always had a fascination with history and the Salem witch trials. I also loved the movie Hocus Pocus. My family lives in New Bedford, Mass., but every time we went to visit we never had time to go to Salem (it’s a little over an hour away from New Bedford). Finally, at the end of October in 2011 me and my uncle went to Massachusetts to visit our family and we got to go to Salem.

October was definitely a great time to go and we went the Friday before Halloween. The city had several streets blocked off so people were able to walk around. There were food vendors everywhere and people walking around dressed in costumes to take pictures with. On each side of the street there were different souvenir shops open, and about every hundred feet or so there was a different haunted house you could walk into. Another place we walked though was the Salem Wax Museum. This museum tells Salem’s history through the use of wax figures. Learn more at http://www.salemwaxmuseum.com/

Below is a picture inside the wax museum

Photo Credit: www.yelp.com

We also went on a ghost tour while we were there. The guide told us a lot about Salem’s history while we walked through the city. We walked to the graveyard, by historic houses, and near unmarked graves. Salem has one of the oldest graveyards in America and it was really cool to be able to walk around it during the day (make sure not to walk in the graveyard after the sun goes down; they give fines). We also saw the Salem Witch Trial Memorial. This is a memorial dedicated to the 20 people that were executed in 1692, because they were accused of being witches. The memorial has 20 granite benches with a name inscribed on each one, for every person that was executed. To learn more go to http://www.salemweb.com/memorial/memorial.shtml
The picture below is of the Salem Witch Trial Memorial
The picture below is a picture I took at the graveyard.
Image Photo Credit: Ashley Grant
The picture below is of a house built in the 1600’s. It is now called the Witch House and is used for story telling and shows.
Image Photo Credit: Ashley Grant
Salem is definitely a place I would like to go back to and spend more time at. I think it was so much fun and I am so glad I got the opportunity to go there. The city has different events throughout the year. Here is Salem’s event page to plan your trip. http://salem.org/calendar_main/week/2013/12/03
If you are interested in history, Salem is a place you should look into visiting.

Things to Do in Orlando Fla. Other Than Visit Theme Parks

Orlando is my favorite place to go when I have a couple extra days to go somewhere; this is like my home away from home. If you aren’t visiting a theme park or if you are trying to find something else to do as well, there are many other things to do while on your trip. Below I have listed a few of my favorite places to stay, places to eat and things to do.

Places to Stay: I have stayed at many hotels in Orlando but have narrowed it down to my top 2 favorite. The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress is an amazing hotel. You walk into a huge lobby with water fountains and birds all around you. The rooms are extremely clean and the beds are very comfortable. Outside there is a huge pool with a grotto and a waterslide; there is also an bar inside the grotto. The staff is friendly and courteous. The ambiance of the hotel makes you feel as if you are on a luxury vacation on an island. You could spend the entire day outside at the pool relaxing. The second hotel is the Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa. This is also a beautiful hotel with great rooms and accommodating staff. The hotel has two beautiful pools and a relaxing fountain area to sit by outside. There is also a nightclub at the hotel for something to do later, or a spa to relax during the day.

Below is a picture of the pool at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

Photo Credit: www.agoda.com

Places to Eat: I have 2 restaurants that I try to stop by every time I visit Orlando. The first is Uno; Uno is famous for its deep dish pizzas. This is a popular restaurant in the North, but there aren’t any located in the Tampa area so it is nice to go while in Orlando. They have great food at good prices. There are a few different locations throughout the Orlando area. Another restaurant is Agave Azul. It is a Mexican restaurant located on Kirkman Road. It looks like an upscale restaurant but the prices are very affordable. They have amazing food and I would recommend to anyone that likes Mexican to try it.

Things to Do: I have found a few fun places to go other than theme parks while in Orlando. The first is Icebar; this is a bar made completely of ice. There is also a separate bar in the venue to warm up in. When you walk into Icebar you are given jackets and gloves. They take you inside the bar and everything around you is ice. The drinks are served to you in ice glasses and the benches you sit on are ice (they do have fur blankets on top of them though). It was definitely a fun experience. Another thing to do is walk around Downtown Disney. It is right on the water so it is nice to walk around and look out at the water. There are many shops and places to eat as well. I would also suggest WonderWorks. It is a huge upside down building on International Drive. It has many fun exhibits inside such as; a motion simulated roller coaster, a bed of nails, a motion simulated earthquake and many more; they also have a magic show.  Other things to do are the many dinner shows, the outlet malls, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Fun Spot, indoor skydiving, helicopter tours, etc.

Below is a picture inside Icebar

 Photo Credit: www.tripadvisor.com

Every time I have gone to Orlando I have always had fun. It is a great place to visit with many things to do. I would recommend to anyone that hasn’t been there to plan a trip soon.

Visiting Los Angeles

I personally have never been to Los Angeles but I would love to go. This is on the top of my list of places to visit in the United States. I have an aunt that lives out there and absolutely loves it. I am going to try to plan a trip next year. I wanted to look into some of the popular tourist attractions and get feedback from people who have visited Los Angeles.

One thing that makes Los Angeles such a popular tourist destination is because it is home to so many celebrities. There are many celebrity sightings and you may run into one while out to dinner or just walking around the city. Los Angeles is also home to many major film studios such as Paramount, Warner Bros., Disney, Fox, etc. Hundreds of movies are produced in Los Angeles annually.

One place that seems interesting to visit would be Hollywood Boulevard. This is where you can see the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame. You are able to see all the stars throughout the years. Madame Tussauds is also located on Hollywood Boulevard. I have been to the one in London and it was a lot of fun. I would love to see this wax museum as well. The Hollywood Museum also seems like an interesting to stop by while on the boulevard. It contains props and memorabilia from Hollywood movies. This museum has over 10,000 exhibits. Learn more about Hollywood Boulevard at http://www.latourist.com/index.php?page=hollywood-blvd-links

The picture below is of the Hollywood Walk of Fame

 Photo Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_Walk_of_Fame

I would like to visit the theme parks Los Angeles has to offer. I have been to Universal Studios in Orlando numerous times and I love it. I would like to go to Universal Studios Hollywood when I am able to visit Los Angeles. It looks like they have some attractions that Orlando does not have. There is a ride where you go through Hollywood Studios and are able to look at sets. I have also been to Disney World but would definitely like to visit Disneyland as well. I love theme parks so these two parks would be on my to do list.

The Santa Monica Pier looks like another fun thing to do while in Los Angeles. There is an amusement park on the pier with a ferris wheel, roller coaster, and other rides. There is also a miniature golf course and an aquarium. The pier offers different food selections as well, from cotton candy stands to fine dining. This would be a fun place to go and spend your day.

Below is a picture of the pier taken from the water.

 Photo Credit: www.pachd.com

Overall I think there would be many things to do in Los Angeles, and I would like to make a long vacation out of it. I have attached a link to a survey below. I want to get opinions on people’s  visits to Los Angeles.

Please visit this link to participate in a brief survey. https://survey.zohopublic.com/zs/iABftw

Fun Things to do Around Atlanta

Atlanta is a fun place to visit, and there are many things that someone traveling there could do. I went there this past August and had a lot of fun. There are many nice restaurants to go downtown and many hotel options. One restaurant I would try to put on your agenda would be the Hard Rock. It had a great atmosphere with good food and drinks.

If you ever find yourself in the area you should definitely check out the World of Coke. You start by taking a tour and watching a short video about Coca-Cola. Then you are able to go into different areas to learn about the history of Coke and how they package and distribute Coke. There are rooms with old Coke memorabilia that you are able to look at. Before you leave you go into a tasting room that allows you to sample Coke products from all around the world. To learn more go to http://www.worldofcoca-cola.com/

The picture below is of the tasting room at World of Coke.

 Photo Credit: www.worldofcoca-cola.com

Another place that was a lot of fun was the Georgia Aquarium. This is actually located right next to the World of Coke in downtown Atlanta. You can purchase a package for both attractions at a discounted rate. This is the largest aquarium in America and there are many things to see. They have whale sharks, dolphins, sting rays, otters, penguins, frogs, and many other sea creatures. http://www.georgiaaquarium.org/

The picture below is of the underwater tunnel that allows you to see many fish while on a moving sidewalk.

 Photo Credit: www.loridennis.com

Stone Mountain Park is another place you should make time to see. It is about 20 minutes outside of Atlanta and located in Stone Mountain, Ga. I used to go as a kid while traveling with my family, and I went this past August. It was just as amazing as I had remembered it. This is a great place for the whole family. The mountain is approximately 1,700 feet and is comprised of mostly granite. You are able to hike to the top or take a sky lift, and the view from the top is absolutely breathtaking. There are many other attractions at the park such as mini golf, ride the ducks, a plantation, kids play areas, and more. They also do a laser show at night which is really nice to see. http://www.stonemountainpark.com/

The picture below is of the mountain taken in the courtyard area.

 Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org
Atlanta has many other things to do such as Six Flags, Six Flags White Water, Zoo Atlanta, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, etc. I was there for four days and did not have any free time without something to do. I enjoyed my stay and think it is a place worth visiting. To learn more about different things to do in Atlanta visit http://www.atlanta.com/attractions.aspx