Travel With Sara

An Adventure Around Every Corner


Hofsas House Hotel: Carmel-by-the-Sea, California Is Warm And Inviting

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Carmel-by-the-Sea, California and let me tell you, it was an amazing experience! My hosts were the good folks of the Hofsas House Hotel, which was just a hop, skip and a jump from all that this beautiful part of California has to offer. I flew into the Monterey, California airport and rented a car. It took me approximately 15 minutes to drive from the airport to the hotel.

Flying out of Monterey California


Once my car was parked, I did not drive anywhere within the square mile of Carmel-by-the-Sea, but I did drive the 17 mile drive and down to Big Sur. I would highly recommend renting a car when you visit Carmel-by-the Sea, California so you are able to truly experience the gorgeous coastline!

The Hofsas House Hotel is conveniently located between 3rd and 4th Avenue. Now I will admit, this was a little confusing to me; as I am used to having a number with a street for an actual address. In Carmel-by-the-Sea, there are no street numbers, as mail is delivered to a post office box. I do feel that it does add to the warm feeling of the area. There are no large neon lit signs, or numbers plastered on property located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.

Parking at the Hofsas House Hotel is ample and the folks that work here are some of the friendliest people I have encountered in the hotel industry.

Reception area at Hofsas House Hotel


Upon check in they let me know that a continental breakfast was available each morning, which included fresh pastries from a local bakery as well as fresh fruit. Should you opt for more during the breakfast hour, there are several small diners within walking distance of the Hofsas House Hotel.

Each room at the Hofsas House Hotel is unique. There are no two units decorated with the same décor. My room was on the 4th floor and it had a spectacular view of the ocean! The dutch doors added a lot of character to this property, as well.

Dutch Doors


And I might add that sunset is not too shabby of a view from Room #45 at the Hofsas House Hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. After a long day of travel this is the view I had upon my arrival.

View from room 45

One thing I immediately noticed in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California was that dogs were welcomed everywhere! Several units at the Hofsas House Hotel are dog friendly, which is great for folks that like to travel with Fido. The town itself had doggie bags throughout the town, as well in the beach areas. This community was one of the most dog friendly communities I have ever visited.

Stay tuned, as I have much more to share about the Hofsas House Hotel located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California and everything you can experience while in the area. This property is family friendly and will provide you a cozy place to call home while visiting Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.

Are you planning a visit to Carmel-by-the-Sea, California? Give the good folks a call at the Hofsas House Hotel at (831)-624-2745 or e-mail them at with any questions you may have. Let them know Travel With Sara sent you and you would be interested in Room #45, you won’t regret it!


*A special thank you to the Hofsas House Hotel for hosting me for two nights.





The Carnival Sunshine: Dining Tips To Make Your Cruise A Great Experience

Carnival Sunshine in Grand Turk


Cruising with Carnival Cruise Lines has became a passion of mine. My husband and I recently spent one week on board the Carnival Sunshine and let me tell you, it was an amazing experience! From the staff to the food, the Carnival Sunshine had it all. While on the ship, we did learn how to make the most out of our time and I’d like to share some time saving tips with all of you.

You will find Guy’s Burger Joint while cruising on the Carnival Sunshine.

Guys signs

The burgers are very tasty and are truly one of a kind. I did notice that there was quite often a long line for these burgers, which told me they were more than likely very tasty!

burger on sunshine

Here’s a tip that you will appreciate. Do not wait in line for one of these burgers. I walked right up to the counter with zero wait time while the ship was in port and on another day at 5:15 p.m.. We spent a portion of our day in San Juan, Puerto Rico and came back on board the ship and found zero wait time for one of Guy Fieri’s famous burgers. I then took note the rest of the cruise and sure enough, on port days, there was rarely a wait of 3-4 people. Anytime after 5:15 p.m., you could usually walk right up and grab a burger or two.

The Havana Bar area offers sit down seating 24/7.

Havana Bar Carnival Sunshine


During breakfast they serve omelettes at two food stations in this area. You can also order eggs and have them cooked up any way you like them. They also served side breakfast dishes here, such as bacon and the fixings. If you do not want to wait in a long line in the Lido area, head on back to the Havana Bar area. Here you will find the juice stations, seating and an omelette station waiting to serve you. This area of the ship was busier on port days, but the lines were never very long. The days we were at sea, this area had zero wait time. We found it difficult to find a seat in the Lido seating area, but never had any problems finding a seat in the Havana Bar area.

Stay tuned, as I will have more to share about the Carnival Sunshine! Have you cruised on the Carnival Sunshine? If so, I’d love to hear about it. We had a great experience on this ship and I can’t wait to share more about it with all of you.

*Thank you to Carnival Cruise Lines for providing 300 minutes of wi-fi while on board and one meal in the steakhouse for two. We paid for our cruise and our shore excursion.




Tropicana Inn & Suites: Convenient Location To California Disney Theme Parks

Tropicana Inn Sign


Are you planning a vacation to Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventures Theme Park? If so, I have found the perfect place to call it a night while exploring these two amazing theme parks. The Tropicana Inn & Suites is conveniently located near the main entrances to the Disney Parks in California. Having stayed on the property several times at Walt Disney World, I was a little skeptical when I booked my stay. The best comparison I can give to this location is that The Tropicana Inn & Suites is about the same walking distance to the main California Disney Park entrances that you will find from the bus areas at the theme parks in Florida.

The Tropicana Inn & Suites was located near several restaurants, which make it a family friendly location. Not only do you have the options of Disney restaurants, but you also have the ability to eat off of the property. Tip: There is a restaurant called The Pizza Press, next door to Tropicana Inn & Suites and the pizza here is affordable and delicious!

Pizza Press Pizza

You can easily return to this hotel to swim in the heat of the afternoon and then head back to the Disney California theme parks. Within 5-7 minutes, you will literally be back in the heart of Disney.


Tropicana Inn And Suites Pool Area


Some of the amenities you will find at the Tropicana Inn & Suites in Anaheim are as follows:

  • Coin operated laundry facilities
  • Theme park tickets can be purchased on the property
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Heated pool and Jacuzzi
  • Gift/snack shop

How to get to Tropicana Inn & Suites From LAX:

I flew into LAX and booked a trip on the Super Shuttle before I left from home. I had booked a flight that landed at LAX at 5:15 p.m., which was not one of my smarter moves. Who in their right mind schedules a flight to arrive in the thick of rush hour in Los Angeles? Me, raising my hand!

The Super Shuttle was super convenient. Folks with the company were carrying signs which made it easy to find. The employee was able to tell me what number of vehicle to watch for. Exactly 1 hour and 30 minutes later I arrived at my destination, The Tropicana In & Suites. All in all, considering the time of day and the distance, I was impressed. Keep in mind that the Super Shuttle transports several folks that are headed to a specific area, so your drop off time can vary. I found the service to be affordable, quick and as efficient as possible.

Have you visited the Disney theme parks in California? If so, I’d love to hear about your accommodations. I was pleasantly surprised by the Tropicana Inn & Suites and would highly recommend it to anyone heading to Disney’s California theme parks.



Three Ways To Make Your Carnival Cruise Awesome

I have cruised Carnival Cruise lines three times in the past eighteen months and I am excited to board the Carnival Sunshine, now based out of Port Canaveral, in a few short weeks! Having cruised several times over the past few months, I have learned how to make the most out of a Carnival Cruise. There’s something to be said about enjoying a vacation. When I cruise, I want to get away from the everyday routine and experience new adventures. Cruising offers new adventures and, of course, views like this!


View of Ocean From Cruise


Make your Carnival Cruise awesome by educating yourself on the ports of call before you board the ship. When you book your Carnival Cruise, you will receive an itinerary which will show you the excursions that are available at each port. Learn about each port to see what interests you. Keep in mind, it’s best to book an excursion with Carnival Cruise Lines. We embarked on an excursion to Gumbalina Park in Roatan, Honduras and found it to be absolutely gorgeous. With views like this, it’s hard to say no to a Carnival Cruise shore excursion of this sort.


Roatan Honduras flowers



If you are in unfamiliar territory, I would highly recommend that you book with Carnival. Did you know that if you don’t book an excursion through Carnival Cruise Lines, the ship can leave port without you on board?

While cruising, you can choose a specific dining time or dine on your own time. I have found that by dining on my time, I am able to squeeze in a little more “fun”. When you choose a specific dining time you need to report to the dining room at a certain time. Should something come up that you can’t make it, you can always find a buffet line later in the evening. For families cruising with extended family, the specific dining time works great. Extended families can dine together and share the adventures of their day. Cruising offers a wide variety of family friendly activities, so cruising is the ideal extended family vacation.

Experience the Serenity Deck while cruising with Carnival Cruise Lines.

Serenity Area


The Serenity Deck is an adult’s only deck that offers hammocks, sea breezes, and a quiet place to call all yours. Each Carnival Cruise ship has their own unique touch when it comes to the Serenity Deck. Here you will not find kids running around. You will find peace and tranquility with sea breezes all around you!

Before you cruise, make sure your travel documents are all current. This will make the boarding process a lot smoother. Remember, cruising has something for everyone. By doing a little bit of homework before you cruise, your Carnival Cruise will be AWESOME!



Enchanted Acres: Fall Fun In North Central Iowa

Fall is an exciting time of year in Iowa. The colors of Fall are abundant and the combines are heading out into the Iowa fields to harvest the crops. Shannon Latham, of Sheffield, Iowa, has built one of the nicest pumpkin patches I have ever visited!

Shannon Latham at Enchanted Acres


Shannon Latham’s business, Enchanted Acres, has been a work in progress. She has something everyone in the family will enjoy. One moment that has stuck with me since I left Enchanted Acres, was a man sitting comfortably in a rocking chair near the barn. He was comfortable, enjoying the sights and sounds of Enchanted Acres. There’s something to be said about a little solitude out in the country in Iowa.

If you love the colors of Fall, Enchanted Acres is for you! With several colorful pumpkins to choose from, you will find one to meet your needs. There are pumpkins for decorating, canning, pies, carving and even pumpkins for painting. So, no matter what your need is, Enchanted Acres has you covered in the pumpkin department. You can pick your own, or choose from pre-picked varieties. I observed families going out to pick their own, as well as choosing them from the piles that had been pre-picked.

Goats, rabbits and chickens are also featured at Enchanted Acres. As you can tell, Shannon takes very good care of her chickens.

Shannon Latham with chickens


If you are a chicken lover, you can purchase your fresh chicken in approximately four weeks. Story hour, craft sessions and magical parties are all taking place at Enchanted Acres in North Central Iowa. Need to know more, here you go. I think once you view this short slide show, you will find yourself planning a visit to Enchanted Acres


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Enchanted Acres is located right off of I-35 in North Central Iowa. Take the Sheffield, Iowa exit and go 2 miles East. Like Enchanted Acres on Facebook and Twitter  to keep you up to date with all of the happenings. So, tell me, have you ever visited a pumpkin patch and what did you like most about it?


Fall Break: Head To Tuckaway Shores In Indialantic, Florida

Fall Break seems to be a new trend that has popped up all across the country and I’ve got a great destination for you when it comes to traveling this Fall. How about heading to the beach? Tuckaway Shores, located in Indialantic, Florida will welcome your family with open arms. I have personally stayed here several times and let me tell you, Jacqui and her team will literally roll out the red carpet for you and your family.

Tuckaway Shores is located on the Eastern Coast of Florida in Brevard County. It’s location is unique, as it is the closest beach to The Walt Disney World Resort. Hop on Highway 192 East in Kissimmee and you will find yourself at Tuckaway Shores. It is not surrounded with high rise buildings, so the beach here is secluded.


Steps To Beach At Tuckaway


The other advantage to staying at Tuckaway Shores during the Fall season is the fact that the water is still warm and there are no crowds. The surf can be amazing and the shell hunting can also be very good in the Fall. Tuckaway Shores also has some great amenities that your family will appreciate:

  • Free Wireless Internet
  • Big Green Egg Available For Guests To Use
  • Two Bedroom Suites Offer Basic Cable TV In Both Rooms
  • Pool & Beach Toys Available For The Kids
  • Complimentary Beach Chairs & Pool Towels
  • Private Beach Access & Beach Shower

The two bedroom suites here are all literally within a few feet of the beach. There is no long walkway to walk across, you will be on the private beach within one minute.

The fact that the two bedroom suites have fully equipped kitchenettes and guests have access to The Big Green Egg, there’s no reason for anyone to be hungry while staying at Tuckaway Shores.


Big Green Egg


Each oceanfront suite offers amazing beach décor and a super clean room. Tuckaway Shores is proud of the fact that they have earned the White Glove Award from 2009-2013. And you know what that means? They have passed the White Glove Test- yep, they offer a super, clean place to call home.

Brevard County and Florida’s Space Coast offer a lot for families. Book your Fall Break get-a-way today and find out what all the buzz is about when it comes to Tuckaway Shores. And if theme parks are your thing, Orlando is just a little more than 90 minutes away!

It’s looking like this time of year is getting to be almost as big as Spring Break when it comes to family travel. So, tell me- Are you heading anywhere for Fall Break?



Fall Travel Destinations In The Midwest

Fall travel destinations in the Midwest bring fall foliage, mild temps, and an opportunity to explore all that the Midwest has to offer. Having spent all of my life living in the Midwest and traveling throughout the area, I’ve found some treasures that you will want to visit.

North Platte, Nebraska: Train enthusiasts will love North Platte. The Bailey Yard, the world’s largest rail yard is located near the Golden Spike Tower visitor center.

Rail Cars Bailey Rail Yard

With more than 14,000 rail cars passing daily through The Bailey Yard, visitors will be inspired with rail history. Be sure to purchase a ticket to go up in the Golden Spike Tower. The Buffalo Bill Historical State Park is full of history and offers an opportunity to stroll around to take in the fall colors.

Mason City, Iowa: Mason City is located 1/2 way between Des Moines and Minneapolis and about seven miles East of Interstate 35. The location makes this the perfect weekend destination for architecture and music enthusiasts.

Meredith Willson Footbridge


The Historic Park Inn Hotel is located downtown and is a must see while you are in Mason City. The Park Inn Hotel is the last known hotel in the world that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. This property has underwent a major renovation and has been restored to its 1910 appearance. Music Man Square offers all things Meredith Willson. Here is where you will find his compositions and all things related to River City and those 76 Trombones. While in Mason City, be sure to take a stroll along the Meredith Willson Footbridge and East Park, here you will find a quiet river and fall foliage that will take your breath away.

Sandusky, Ohio: Sandusky, Ohio is home to one of the top theme parks in America, Cedar Point. If you love roller coasters, Fall is an ideal time to visit. The summer crowds are gone, the lake is beautiful and sweatshirt weather prevails!

Roller Coaster


Fall brings a Spooktacular time to Cedar Point, with several haunted houses and Fall décor throughout the park; you will be thrilled with your visit. Kids of all ages will have a great time. Let’s face it, any roller coaster with a view of Lake Erie in the background is just awesome, right?

Clear Lake, Iowa: Clear Lake, Iowa is located right off of I-35 in North Central Iowa. Here you can visit the world famous Surf Ballroom and Museum, as well as the Buddy Holly Crash Site. Clear Lake is a resort town, so you will find several quaint areas throughout the community. The lake itself offers beauty all its own, as well as a fantastic opportunity for walleye fishing.

Lady of Lake September


While in Clear Lake, Iowa be sure to stop by The Barrel Drive-In for some broasted chicken, this diner has been a Clear Lake classic since 1958. It’s also no secret that Clear Lake is the place to be for the 4th of July holiday, so start planning now!

The Barrel Sign


Kearney, Nebraska: Kearney, Nebraska is an outdoor enthusiasts dream come true. With several state recreation areas nearby, kayaking, canoeing, boating, hiking, and fishing can be enjoyed throughout the Fall. History buffs will appreciate the museums and culture that Kearney has to offer. The Archway Museum is a must experience while in Kearney, Nebraska.

Inside Archway Museum

This just a small window of what the Midwest has to offer. Do you have a favorite destination in the Midwest? If so, I’d love to hear about it.


Key West Offers Fun While Cruising With Carnival Cruise Lines

Key West Signs


It’s no secret that my husband and I are becoming  Carnival Cruise enthusiasts. We cruised on the Carnival Ecstasy last Winter and loved our visit to Key West. The Carnival Ecstasy, as well as other Carnival Cruise Ships, offer day trips into Key West, Florida. Your cruise ship itinerary will help you determine what you experience while in Key West for the day. We were in port from 7:30 -1:30 p.m.

We had visited Key West several times before by land, so we had an idea of what we wanted to see and do. We did not opt to book an excursion at this port, as we love exploring Key West by foot! The architecture, as well as historical sites on Key West is something we have really grown to appreciate. And there’s something to be said about exploring the palm shaded streets early in the morning, as the streets did not seem to come to life until around 10:00 a.m. Sure, there was an occasional rooster here and there, but it was all relatively quiet.

The shops and people in Key West are what make the experience so much fun! We stumbled upon a hammock shop and the gentleman that waited on us, was very knowledgeable about his hammocks and about Key West in general.

hammocks key west

Need to know where to find a good local restaurant? Simple answer, always ask a local!

Another plus of  walking the streets of Key West early in the morning, is the fact that you can get a picture taken at the Southernmost Point in the U.S without standing in a long line and having a gazillion other vacationers in your photo!

Todd And Sara Key West

That made our stroll through the streets of Key West all worthwhile.

The waters surrounding Key West are gorgeous!

Key West View From Port


If snorkeling, parasailing or kayaking interest you, Carnival Cruise Lines offers excursions that would make your visit worth its weight in gold. When we cruise, we often choose to book excursions in places we have cruised before an/or know that it’s not one of the safest ports on the cruise. Our budget also helps determine when and if we take an excursion. Key West happens to be a place we like to stroll around and we fill safe doing it! Knowing we were still in the U.S., made our choice of strolling the streets a pleasant experience.

As always, set your watch to ship time. Cruise ships, including Carnival Cruise Lines, do leave port when scheduled. Cruise ships run tight schedules, so it’s up to you the cruiser to know what time it is on your ship. Mallory Square is near port, which makes for a fun stop! I had been on the hunt for a sundress and I was able to find two, within five minutes.

Mallory Square


There are three separate cruise terminal areas in Key West. The Carnival Ecstasy stopped at the one that required all cruisers to be shuttled in, as it was in a U.S. Navy Base. As always, have your photo id and ship card with you.

So, tell me, have you cruised on Carnival Cruise Lines and stopped in Key West? We love Key West, as it’s such a fun place to visit. The people, architecture, and numerous attractions make this a great port to stop in while cruising with Carnival Cruise Lines.




The Henry Doorly Zoo In Omaha Offers Fun In Fly Over Country

I have visited several zoos across the country and I have said for years that the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha was one of the best in the nation. And just recently, the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha was ranked #1 in the country! The Mid-West is often an area of the country that many people fly over and don’t visit. The Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha is a must visit; as it has everything and anything you could want in a zoo. Thanks to the Omaha Bloggers and The Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha I visited on July on a hot summer day and had another fun memorable visit.

I have always been a fan of penguins. At the Omaha Zoo you can get a real close up of several penguins. The viewing area is good for families, as kids and adults have opportunities to view them from a comfortable point of view.

Penguins at Zoo


I can recall when our boys were young, they loved the penguins at the Omaha Zoo. I know that the excitement my boys had when they saw a penguin, has rubbed off on me. The penguin exhibit at the Omaha Zoo is my go to place when it comes to visiting the Omaha Zoo.

In recent years a skyway has been added, and it’s a great way to get from one area of the zoo to another area of the zoo. The Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha is hilly, there are a lot of ups and downs. The skyway is a little shortcut and a fun way to see the giraffes. The skyway goes right over the area that the giraffes reside in. This does cost extra, in addition to regular admission, and is not for someone that has a fear of heights.

The Desert Dome is truly a one of a kind exhibit featuring all features of a real desert.

Cactus at Omaha Zoo


The Lied Jungle is also a favorite of mine. Here you will just about anything you can possibly find in a jungle.

Rainforest zoo


The rain forests from South America, Asia and Africa are found here. The monkeys, hippos, snakes and bats will leave you with your jaw dropped!

This is just a quick glimpse of what the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha has to offer. Omaha, Nebraska is a booming area of the Mid-West. There is a lot to explore while in the Omaha area, as it’s not a place I would recommend that you fly over! Visit, play and even stay a few nights to explore a fun area of the Mid-West.





Experience The Original Cozy Dog In Springfield, Illinois

Cozy Drive In


While touring Illinois Route 66 you have the opportunity to explore Springfield. If you have ever traveled on Route 66, you know that there are amazing places to explore along this route. Springfield, Illinois was no exception. I recently had the opportunity to visit Springfield, Illinois, and was introduced to the famous Route 66!

Route 66 Sign


The Cozy Dog Drive In is located right on Route 66 in Springfield, Illinois. It is home to the one and only Cozy-Dog, which is the original hot dog on a stick! You will find these cozy dogs at fairs and festivals all across the country. But, you will find the original cozy dog here in Springfield.

Corn Dog


The food here was amazing and extremely affordable.  Breakfast is served until 11 a.m. featuring a traditional breakfast of eggs, ham, bacon, french toast and pancakes. Lunch and Dinner are served featuring Cozy Dogs (priced under $2 each), hamburgers, hot dogs, chili dogs, pork tenderloins, french fries, onion rings, cheese sticks and ice cream. Kids meals are also available. What surprised me the most was the fact that they had a huge menu! There was something on it for everyone.

The dining are showcased the history and nostalgia surround The Cozy Dog In. While sitting in the dining room it was very much like the 1950’s. From the juke boxes to the music of the era. And then there were these authentic license plates- they just made my day!

license plates

Route 66 is often referred to as the Main Street of America. In fact, Route 66 originates in Illinois and ends in California. The Cozy Drive In is an authentic, fun place to stop while traveling Route 66 across the United States. Your visit here will be sure to bring a smile to your face. You will instantly be taken back to a simpler place in time and be allowed to enjoy original, tasty food!

A special thank you to the Springfield Illinois CVB for hosting me. I had a wonderful time visiting Springfield, Illinois. Springfield is a family friendly community with a lot of family friendly places to experience. I found a lot more to do in Springfield, so stay tuned, as there is more to come!