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.
- 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!
For a listing of more attractions in Minot, ND, go to TripAdvisor.com.
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, some of which may be luxury ski resorts. 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!
Heavenly Mountain Resort
Mont Sainte Anne
Keystone Ski Resort
Steamboat Ski Resort
Stratton Mountain Ski Resort
Do you have a recommendation for a great ski resort for beginners? Please share your tips on CourtneyMara.com!
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 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!
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:
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 Alcatraz. Book your tickets well in advance.
Have lunch at the Ferry Building Marketplace.
DO a wine tour in Sonoma and Napa Valley.
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!
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.
There are a ton of adventurous activities to do in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Here are just a few:
(photo is from River & Trail Outfitters)
Tubing* (my personal favorite)
(photo is from River Riders)
The Haunted Cottage
Harpers Ferry National Historic Park
* Also try River & Trail Outfitters for the same activities
A few weeks ago Matt and I camped with some friends at Assateague (MD). It is an island near Ocean City that is a state park on the Maryland side and a national wildlife refuge on the Virginia part. However, the island is most well known for the wild ponies.
You are able to camp on the Maryland side and there are great facilities and campgrounds that include a picnic table and fire pit. For anyone that likes to camp, I highly recommend this adventure. Click here for information on the campgrounds and to find out how to book a site.
The activities on the island could include swimming, reading on the beach, walking, running, fishing, and much more. It is a perfect place for people that just love to lay on a nice beach and not have thousands of people, noise, and boardwalks.
Every summer Matt and I go to Ocean City, MD for one night – just to get away. Well, this summer we decided to switch it up and try Virginia Beach, VA. Neither of us had ever been there so we thought it would be a great, new ocean adventure. We booked one night at the Econo Lodge on the Ocean and drove down the four hours from DC.
Things to know about Virginia Beach, VA:
- If you need some place quiet, reasonably priced ($200/night holiday weekend in summer), conveniently located (on the ocean with balconies – if you are a non-smoker – see our view below), and you are ok with a motel, then the Econo Lodge on the Ocean is a good option. They offered us free bikes to use one hour a day, which was an added bonus.
- The boardwalk has great biking and walking paths that are separated so you don’t have to worry about hitting anyone. The boardwalk is three miles long, so it is very bike-able and there are no real “boards” that are coming apart or nails sticking out so it is also walk- and run-able. We spent a lot of time just walking up and down the boardwalk exploring.
- If you are used to Ocean City, MD or Atlantic City, NJ, get ready for a completely different layout of a beach town. The cheesy beach shops, eats, and amusement rides aren’t really on the boardwalk. Instead, they are on a street over called Atlantic Street. The actual boardwalk is a lot cleaner, smoother, and really just has the hotels with a few hotel restaurants. Different layout, but easy to learn – just walk the boardwalk for relaxation and walk Atlantic St. back to see all the shops.
- If you like frozen yogurt, try Sweet Frog. It was the BEST frozen yogurt I have ever had.
- There are A LOT of free events in the summer. The one night we were there, we were able to see two outdoor concerts (there were more, but we only went to two of them) and watch a movie on the beach. Check out the schedule that they post near the beach and in their local magazine and take advantage!
- Beach chairs near the ritzy hotels are more expensive. Two beach chairs + an umbrella in front of our motel was $39 for the day. The same set up a couple blocks down in front of the Hilton was $50 for the day.
- Nightlife: We were told about “the block” where the 21 age group goes = around 21st Street. We were recommended to go to Calypso. It was ok. Can’t really speak to any of the other places.
- Parking in the Hilton parking garage for the day is $10. The Hilton is on the beach, so it is a great location.
Enjoy Virginia Beach, VA!