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Road Trips

General Travel, Road Trips, Theme Parks

Plan for Spontaneity

Nothing kills a vacation quite like over-planning. Yes, you just heard that from a vacation planner. If you plan every moment, you will likely feel pressured to move quickly from one event to another. While some people love a fast-paced, well thought out day-of-fun, that perfect plan can make you forget that this IS a vacation and leave you feeling like the little girl below. Yes, that’s my little girl.

Some of my family’s favorite vacation memories came from impromptu adventures during some down time. This is especially true at Disney, where Imagineers have designed every square inch of the property to excite, entertain, and impress park and resort guests. A few years ago, my daughter and I decided to see if we could get in to Be Our Guest at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom without a reservation. We must have had a fairy godmother that night, because we achieved the impossible by scoring a last minute table. After we enjoyed the delicious dessert and took in the glamour of the restaurant, we went for a night stroll through the Beauty and the Beast inspired area. To our surprise, we were greeted by none other than the tall, handsome, and somewhat rude, Gaston. He spoke with us for a few moments, mostly about himself, and then my daughter Alyson posed for a picture with him. If we had planned our vacation down to every second, without allowing ourselves time to “taste the gray stuff” (which we have ALL heard is very delicious) we would have missed out on this magical evening!


On another trip to Orlando, Alyson and I took a day to explore Universal Studios. While making our way to the Harry Potter section of the park, we ran into the notorious Green Goblin. We took the time to have a stare down before we slipped off to the Three Broomsticks for a Butterbeer.


No matter how fun planning is, nothing can replace the special surprises or happy mishaps that can appear during your vacation. The next time you take a trip with the people you love, plan for some spontaneity!

General Travel, Restaurants, Road Trips, Shopping

Waynesville – A hidden gem in the outskirts of Asheville, North Carolina!

Not so long ago, a good friend mentioned that we should visit this quaint little town she ran across in North Carolina. She spoke of Waynesville and its quaint shops and wonderful restaurants with great fondness, and knowing that she has impeccable taste, I stored it away in my mental file of places to visit.

A month or two later, we were making the trek along Interstate 40 between Knoxville, Tennessee and Asheville, North Carolina and the memory of what our friend had shared with me came rushing back, so after a short discussion of whether we should stop in Waynesville for lunch, we called our friend to see if she would suggest a restaurant. That’s where the adventure began…

We found Waynesville to be a quaint little village straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. As we drove down the street looking for our chosen restaurant, The Sweet Onion, we were mesmerized by the beautiful street, full of enticing boutiques, bakeries, antique shops and more. We took a few minutes to pop into the Mast General Store, an old favorite from previous adventures, and found it to be as enchanting as always – a step back in time to the mom and pop stores like my great grandparents used to own – with clothes, toys, gardening supplies, household items, and barrels of candy loved by kids of all ages.mastgeneralstoresign2

Lunch at The Sweet Onion was scrumptious! The restaurant was charming and the food was tastefully presented. The fare is a contemporary take on southern cuisine and it does not disappoint! Among us, we ordered the crab cake, macaroni and cheese, mashed sweet potatoes, blackberry barbecue chicken, mashed potatoes, pecan chicken salad melt, broccoli and cheese grits, and the marinated cucumber tomato salad. The sign of good food with our family is a quiet table, and other than the occasional “This is wonderful!”, our table was silent!

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As we were in the midst of a road trip and had a long drive ahead of us before we stopped for the night, we had to leave without being able to visit more of this intriguing town. But, Lord willing, we will be back! Waynesville, you have piqued our interest!