Travel With Sara

An Adventure Around Every Corner

By

Smokin Yard’s BBQ Is A Must While Traveling I-70 West Of Denver In Idaho Springs, Colorado

When you think of BBQ, do you think of Idaho Springs, Colorado? Maybe yes or maybe no. Well, let me tell you this- Idaho Springs, Colorado is home to some of the best BBQ I have ever had! We took a little day trip from Estes Park to drive up Mt. Evans and stumbled upon an awesome BBQ joint in Idaho Springs, Colorado. Smokin Yard’s BBQ was more than we anticipated it could possibly be. When it comes to BBQ, I do think we are kind of picky, so this one scores big for us!

We made our drive up Mt. Evans and stumbled upon Smokin Yard’s BBQ on the way back to Estes Park in Idaho Springs. It was on, what we would call, the main drag in Idaho Springs. When you see this pig… you have landed at Smokin Yard’s BBQ!

Smokin Yard's BBQ pig

Smokin Yard’s BBQ had outdoor and indoor dining. The weather was kind of cool and cloudy and having returned from our drive to the top of Mt. Evans, indoor seating was a good fit for us. We were greeted promptly for seating, given menus and within a few minutes, our order was placed.

Not too long after we order this arrived!

Smokin Yard's BBQ sandwich

Along with this!

Smokin Yard's BBQ chicken

The inside was simple and if we had seriously just came off of a hiking trail, we would have felt comfortable. The atmosphere was welcoming, friendly and anytime we can have good food to accompany a casual dining experience, we are happy campers.

Smokin Yard's BBQ Dining

Curious as to how to fit this into your Colorado vacation? If you are traveling on I-70 West of Denver, you will easily find Idaho Springs. Plan a day trip from Estes Park, as we did, to drive up Mt. Evans and you will find yourself on I-70 with an exit to Idaho Springs. And if you need a little more encouragement, how about a view like this while driving up Mt. Evans?

Mt. Evans Drive

Have you visited Idaho Springs, Colorado? I’d love to hear about your visit, because I will definitely go back for BBQ at Smokin Yard’s BBQ!

By

Embassy Suites Loveland, Colorado Offers Family Friendly Suites

On a recent Iowa to Colorado road trip I took a little bit of time to explore Loveland, Colorado and found a cozy place to call home at the Embassy Suites (4705 Clydesdale, Parkway). This hotel is located right off of I-25 (Exit 259) and super easy to get to. With a large convention center on site and family, friendly suites it really was the perfect place to call it a night.

The lobby at the Embassy Suites in Loveland, Colorado was absolutely stunning!

Embassy Suites Lobby

The front desk staff was extremely accommodating and explained that the Manager’s Reception was offered nightly before supper and shared the times breakfast was served. A hot, made to order breakfast always works well for me when I am out and about traveling.

I loved the fact that a family friendly gaming area was available right out in the open. The indoor swimming pool was also very nice, but it’s always fun to see a hotel embracing technology that families enjoy playing together. How neat is this set up?

Embassy Suites Kinect

Most of you also know that I am always appreciative of office spaces that work in hotel areas. The family friendly suites offered a very nice set up for those looking for the ideal work space away from home.

Embassy Suites Desk

The Embassy Suites and Convention Center in Loveland, Colorado also had a nice business center that easily meets the needs of the business traveler in the 21st Century. Our suite also had a refrigerator and separate living area from the bedroom. Televisions were in each space and there was plenty of room for a family of five or six to cozy in.

There was also a snack shop as well as a coffee shop on site. Should you need a place to store luggage before your check in time, the Embassy Suites in Loveland, can accommodate your needs in that department.

Several restaurants are nearby, as well as some amazing sculptures! Stay tuned, as I have more to share about Loveland, Colorado.

*Thank you to the Embassy Suites for hosting us- the hospitality was top notch and much appreciated.

By

September MidWest Travel Chat Featuring St. Joseph, MO #MWTravel

What an exciting year we have had, in regards to Midwest Travel and our monthly Twitter Chats. The Walking Tourists and I are excited to bring you a new and exciting destination for September, St. Joseph, MO. Fall happens to be a beautiful time of year to visit St. Joseph, MO, as you can stroll along the Missouri River with all the fall colors. Family friendly festivals, museums and great dining experiences await in St. Joseph, MO. Join us on Twitter, on September 2nd as we talk about all that St. Joseph, MO has to offer.

Parkways in St Jo Missouri

Photo Courtesy of: Visit St Joseph, MO

Are you new to Twitter? Here’s a great step by step guide on how to participate in a Twitter Chat.

WHO: Hosts @WalkingTourists @TravelWithSara @StJoMo (Follow on Twitter)

WHEN: Tuesday, September 2, 2105 11 am- Noon (CST)

WHAT: Monthly #MWTravel Chat Featuring St. Joseph, MO

HOW TO PARTICIPATE: Follow the Hashtags #MWTravel and #GoStJoMo

And check out the prizes that you can win, just by joining in the chat and learning all about St. Joseph, MO.

PRIZES:

(1) Set of 4 passes to Pony Express Museum

(1) Set of 4 passes to St Joseph Museum Complex

(1) Gift cooler with misc. goodies from St. Joseph Visitors Bureau

To be eligible to win prizes, you must:

Have at least one tweet in the Twitter Chat from 11 am- Noon (CST) /Noon- 1 PM (EST) on September 2, 2015.

We will see you on Twitter on September 2nd at 11 am (CST)! Be sure to use the Hashtag #MWTravel.

A special thank you to St. Joseph, MO for partnering with us to bring our readers another exciting #MWTravel chat! The Walking Tourists and I enjoy sharing what the MidWest has to offer and we hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

By

Cute Little Mountain Town South of Estes Park: Allenspark, Colorado

It’s no secret that I thoroughly enjoy a summer visit to the mountains of Colorado. The Estes Park area has been a family favorite for years. This summer I had the delight of exploring what Allenspark, Colorado has to offer. Take highway 7 south of Estes Park and within 15 minutes, you will find yourself in Allenspark. It was by chance that I spent a few hours in this town and thought I’d share the cuteness with all of you.

Who doesn’t love a little church in the mountains? I visited on a Sunday and witnessed several people exiting the church after Sunday services, which told me that this is a popular church in the area.

church in Allenspark

The Meadow Mt. Cafe is open from 7:30 a.m.- 2 pm. I ate lunch at this cute cafe and noticed that several local folks were dining here, alongside visitors. Most folks that were dining in the cafe had summer homes or were on a short day trip through the mountains. I ordered a hamburger and I would highly recommend it to anyone that dines here. Several folks were ordering breakfast for lunch, and it also looked very tasty. I was seated up on this porch area and it had a very nice view!

Meadow Mt. Cafe

 

And then there are cute little road signs like this in Allenspark! Isn’t this fun?

Ski Road

 

The first thing you will see upon driving into Allenspark is the post office which is straight ahead and then right to your left is Distant Harbors Gift Shop. A quaint gift shop that offers gifts as well as inspiration for your home decor. Have a few minutes to spare? Find a seat right here on the patio of the Distant Harbors Gift Shop  and check out the mountainous peaks which surround Allenspark.

Gift Shop Chairs

 

The flowers and decor surrounding this gift shop were simple, yet fun!

bicycle with flowers

This wall in just a few short hours of visiting Allenspark, Colorado. A few locals asked, “Are you planning to stay in town for the night?” I sadly had to respond that I was not. I think it’s fair to say that next time I will look into lodging into this cute little mountain town….. it was such a fun place to visit! I might also add that Allenspark, Colorado has a pay phone that does work and it costs 50 cents to make a four minute call.

Tell me… Where’s your favorite little mountain town? I’d love to hear about it.

By

Spend A Quiet, Relaxing Day on Florida’s Space Coast

Florida’s Space Coast is a little sliver of paradise that many people often forget about. Are you looking for a day filled with fun exploring and a day on the beach? If so, Florida’s Space Coast is your type of place. Here’s a great way of how you can spend your day and not break the bank.

Ron Jon Surf Shop

Explore the Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach. You don’t have to spend a lot of money here, in fact, this place is just an eye full of fun! I would highly recommend picking up sunscreen or a fun beach towel to take with you for your afternoon on the beach. Don’t forget to check out the cars and surfboards that are all around.

Ron Jon Car

The Florida Surf Museum is right next door and worth checking out!

Rusty’s

Now, depending on what day of the week you visit. I would plan my visit so I could eat an early evening meal at Rusty’s. I am a die hard fan of shrimp cocktail and Rusty’s did not disappoint!

shrimp cocktail

 

This is a great place to eat and watch the cruise ships as they depart Port Canaveral. Simple, yet very fun! Have you ever been near a cruise ship? If not, this is a great way to get a close up view with people sailing out of Port Canaveral.

Disney ship

Tuckaway Shores

Tuckaway Shores is located in Indialantic, the southern tip of Florida’s Space Coast. Here you will find family, friendly lodging at an affordable price. Ocean front suites that are literally a few feet away from the ocean. Tuckaway Shores is in a quiet area, therefore; it’s as though you have your own private beach. A swimming pool, beach toys, beach chairs, and free wi-fi, make this the ultimate place to relax while on Florida’s Space Coast. How’s this for a nice, private wide open beach? Tuckaway Shores also prides itself on being a member of the Florida Superior Small Lodging Association and has been consistently the winner of the White Glove Award. You will find a clean, comfortable ocean front suite when you stay at Tuckaway Shores.

Beach at Tuckaway

 

If you find you have moved to fast and not slowed down enough to have a relaxing day on Florida’s Space Coast, you could also visit the Kennedy Space Center and/or the Exploration Tower.Florida’s Space Coast has a lot more to offer, but this short glimpse gives you a day full of fun and relaxation! Tell me… Have you visited Florida’s Space Coast? If so, what is your favorite thing about this awesome coastline?

 

By

A Surprise Attraction In Omaha- Lauritzen Gardens

On my recent visit to Omaha, Nebraska I was pleasantly surprised with all the beauty that Lauritzen Gardens had to offer. I have grown to love visiting a garden here and there all across the country, and Lauritzen Gardens did not disappoint. Here in the Midwest our seasons are a little shorter for outdoor gardens, as compared to locations in the southern part of the United States. So, a summer visit to Lauritzen Gardens was ideal.

lily pads

And of course, it was hot! Omaha is known for being a little warm in the summer. Upon entering the parking lot, I noticed two large greenhouses that were home to a lot of plants. I thought to myself, this place must be amazing during the Christmas season. According to their calendar, a poinsettia show is taking place in December- I can only imagine the beauty!

So…. here’s what myself and a couple friends experienced. We took a stroll through the outdoor gardens and we were very glad that we did. We were able to stop and enjoy the views along the way and grab a shade tree now and then. I particularly fell in love with the rose garden!

Sara in rose garden

Are you a lover of roses? Lauritzen Gardens will suck you in so fast, you won’t know what hit you.

yellow roses Lauritzen Gardens

The Japanese Garden was another favorite of mine.

elephant japanese garden

There’s just something fascinating about a few steps with a beautiful view. The stairs are on the steep incline that is 377.6 inches tall, which is a replica of Mt. Fuji, that stands 3,776 meters tall.

Japanese Garden Steps

Keep in mind while strolling through the gardens, it’s important to stay on the trail and try to dodge the water spickets along the way. But if you happen to visit on a hot day, it doesn’t hurt to stay on the path and let the water fall on you! After all, it will fill pretty darn good on a hot summer day.

Have you visited Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha? If not, you should! I was pleasantly surprised at all it had to offer. I am anxious to return, as it appears there is something different on display all the time. The 2015 Antique Show runs September 24-27th and I am sure it will be an awesome display.

*Thank you to Visit Omaha for hosting myself and a couple North Iowa Bloggers. Omaha proved to be a great place to visit.

By

Classic Car Collection: Kearney, Nebraska

The Classic Car Collection in Kearney, Nebraska is a fantastic place to visit while in the Kearney, Nebraska area. I recently had the pleasure of touring this awesome collection on a hot, summer afternoon. It was a nice place to stop as we were traveling along the I-80 corridor from Iowa to Estes Park. I do not consider myself to be a car enthusiast, but let me tell you this. I loved this collection of classic cars. I found some really fun cars and some that just blew me away.

The Classic Car Collection was created to house automobiles donated by Bernie and Janice Taulborg. Several of these cars are in a permanent collection at the museum. There are also several cars that are rotated in and out, donated by folks around the midwest for display purposes.

There is truly something for everyone in the Classic Car Museum in Kearney. I honestly fell in love with this cute little Crosley. Isn’t it adorable?

Crosley

 

Of course there were some, what I call, rather big, ugly cars that also had their own flare. This one really stood out- 2.8 miles, really?

 

car with 2.8 miles

 

I was taken back by the International pick-ups as my Dad still has one that is stashed in the back of a building. I’m thinking one of his grandchildren needs to get busy and fix it up. I have fond memories of riding with him to take five-six pigs to the local meat locker. As a young girl, I loved riding in that pick-up. This one stood out!

 

IH Pickup

 

I would plan a minimum of two hours, to get the most out of your visit to the Classic Car Collection in Kearney. With more than 200 cars, it’s really a fun place to visit. Several folks were on hand to answer any questions we had about any of the cars, and I must add they were all very knowledgeable and passionate about the museum.

The Classic Car Collection in Kearney is a little off the beaten path. Directions: Take Exit 272 off of I-80 and head North. Travel North for approximately 2 miles until you hit Hwy 30. From here, head East and you will come to the Classic Car Collection. Cabela’s is in the West side of the building and the Classic Car Collection is in the East side. Parking for the museum is on the East end of the parking lot.

So… the next time you are in the Kearney, Nebraska area, I’d highly suggest you swing into the Classic Car Collection. You will be glad you took the time to visit, as I know my husband and I did.

*Thank you to the Kearney CVB for hosting us while we were in the Kearney area.

By

Five Things You Need To Know About Omaha Before You Visit

Omaha, Nebraska is a gem in the Midwest that offers a variety of activities for folks of all ages. I recently returned from a visit to this city of hospitality and I came up with five things that you need to know before you visit. These tips will help make your visit much more enjoyable and you will love the experience.

Wear good walking shoes

Seriously, Omaha is a walking city. From the World Famous Omaha Zoo to the Old Market, you will walk! This is not flat country, there are hills. Be prepared to walk in a pair of comfy shoes and you will have a great experience. I don’t know about you, but if my feet hurt, the experience is never a good one.

Old Market

 

Omaha is hot in the Summer

Let’s just say it’s fair to say that when you visit in July it will be hot! Actually, on this particular visit, it was the very first time that I had explored the Omaha Zoo in temps below 100 degrees. We hit the zoo on a day that was in the Mid 80’s, how lucky we were! A must stop on a hot day is The Tea Smith.

Tea Smith

It’s air conditioned and the tea is amazing! Keep in mind, I am not a huge tea fan and I loved the tea in this tea shop, it’s definitely worth a stop and conveniently located in the Old Market.

Take a stroll on the Bob Kerrey Bridge

You may not think that walking on a bridge is a must do while visiting a city. Well, I’m here to burst your bubble. This is a bridge you need to walk on, or better yet, rent a bicycle (rentals available at base of bridge) and visit Iowa.

bicycles

Where else can you stand on a bridge and be in Iowa and Nebraska? Parking is available at the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail Visitor Center, located at 601 Riverfront Drive.

Omaha is a foodie town

Omaha is packed full of a variety of foods. The best way to experience all of this is to participate in an Omaha Culinary Tour. From steak tours to Old Market Tours, there is a tour for you! With a tour guide and an opportunity to learn more about a particular business, this is the way to check out the food in Omaha.

Art is everywhere

If you are not an art enthusiast, you will be by the time you depart Omaha. Take note, while strolling through Omaha, you will notice some type of art in every block.

Sara with fountain

The architecture on the buildings to the sculptures that appear in all areas of Omaha, you will have a new appreciation of art. With several museums to choose from, Omaha will bring out the art in you.

So… plan your visit to Omaha today! If you are visiting in the summer wear cool clothing and good walking shoes are a must at all times of year. The Bob Kerrey Bridge is a great experience offers an opportunity unlike any other- stand in Iowa and Nebraska at the same time!

Iowa Nebraska

Go ahead, indulge in all the good food you find and embrace the arts.

Have you explored Omaha? If so… I’d love to hear your tips for making a visit a little better!

By

August 5, 2015 #MWTravel Chat Featuring Lincoln, Nebraska

The first Wednesday of every month, from 11 am- Noon (CST),  you can hop on Twitter and learn about a new Midwest travel destination. The Walking Tourists and Travel With Sara bring you all the Midwest finds each month on Twitter. On Wednesday, August 5, 2015 we will be chatting about Lincoln, Nebraska. In case you don’t know where Lincoln is located, it happens to be a few miles on down the road from Omaha.

Food, nature, sports, and arts enthusiasts will appreciate Lincoln! So… that includes just about everyone, right? Are a zoo fan? The Children’s Zoo in Lincoln is sure to offer a family, fun adventure!

Lincoln Zoo

Here’s how to participate:

WHEN: Wednesday, August 5, 2015. 11 am – Noon (CST)

WHO:  Hosts- @WalkingTourists, @TravelWithSara and @LincolnCVB 

WHAT: Monthly Twitter chat featuring Lincoln, Nebraska

HOW TO JOIN: Follow the hashtag #MWTravel.

Are you a newbie to Twitter Chats- Here’s a great post to help you learn how to participate!

We hope to see you on Twitter on August 5th! Our Midwest Travel Chat has been quite a success since we kicked it off on January 1, 2015 featuring Clear Lake, Iowa. The chat gets bigger and better every single month. Thanks for participating and we look forward to hearing about your Midwest travel adventures.

For tourist information, you can also visit Lincoln, Nebraska.

 

 

By

Pristine Properties Vacation Rentals Cape San Blas, Florida Offers Accommodations For Families Of All Sizes

I recently had the pleasure of staying in one of the beautiful homes that Pristine Properties Vacation Rentals in Cape San Blas, Florida has to offer. The amenities were 21st Century and the community my vacation rental home was located in, was family friendly and very close to the beach. If you are a beach enthusiast you will appreciate all that Cape San Blas has to offer.

Beach House

The particular vacation rental unit I stayed in was literally a hop, skip and a jump to the swimming pool.

Swimming Pool

There was a very nice walkway to the beach, which made for a wonderful stroll. It was not far, just an easy walk with the view of the Gulf in front of me.

walkway to beach

Here is a helpful list if you are a first timer when it comes to a vacation rental home. You will want to bring the following with you. Depending on where your property is located, you may have a few miles to drive to the nearest grocery store. I would suggest stopping at a grocery store before you check in. Once you check in, trust me, you will want to stay put!

  • Food
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Dish Detergent
  • Paper Towels/Napkins
  • Garbage Bags
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Shampoo/Bathing Soap/Toilet Paper/Hair Dryer/Medicines
  • Beach Towels/Sun Glasses/ Sun Tan Lotion

Pristine Vacation Rental Properties was very clean, up to date and had appliances that were easy to use. This property offered a beautiful beach theme. The wrap around screened in porch was extremely nice and I have no doubt that it would be nice to have at certain times of the year.

Wrap around screen porch

When I stayed in this area, the mosquitoes were not bad, but I have a feeling that there are certain times of year that bugs are an issue.

Gulf County is a destination that is spread over many miles, yet offers a variety of places to explore. I would highly recommend a sunset cruise aboard with White Whale Cruises and for the more adventurous, head out into the back country with Matt of Going off The Map Expeditions and even riding a horse on the beach.

Sunset Cruise

 

With several size properties available for rent, Pristine Vacation Rental Properties in Cape San Blas, Florida, you will find one just the perfect size for your family. Family reunions and even extended family vacations would be great in Gulf County Florida.

So, tell me! Have you ever rented a vacation home and would you do it again? Gulf County Florida is a great place to visit and after spending a few days in the area, I understand why many people have moved there from other parts of the country. Want a view similar to this?

Flowers with pool and walkway

Book your stay today with Pristine Vacation Rental Properties in Cape San Blas, Florida.

*Thank you to Gulf County Florida for hosting me and providing me with this awesome lodging experience. The opinions in this post are mine and nobody else’s.