Yoga and Meditation Resorts in the US

I just spent the most wonderful, centering, relaxing, balancing week at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch in Woodburne, NY (yes I’m back on the east coast). I’ve decided that my next big journey will be to Thailand to study Thai yoga massage, but until then, I’ve decided to do some exploration here on the home front. There’s actually quite an industry (in a good way) of yoga retreats in the U.S. For the most part, they’re non-commercial institutions that take the art of yoga seriously. That has definitely been my experience so far and from speaking to other people, it seems to be the consensus. Here are a list of some of the yoga and meditation resorts in the U.S. If you know of any more, please please add them to my list…who knows…maybe one day I’ll reach them all!

Peace and Namaste, Olivia
Continue reading

Affordable Theme Parks

When you’re on the road on a limited budget, the last thing you’re gonna do is drop $50-$70 for a few hours stop at an amusement park. And yet, stopping for the day (or for a few hours) at a theme park is sometimes exactly what you need to get that stiff sitting-in-the-car-for-too-long feeling out of you. A place where you can let loose and get all that pent up energy out.
Here are some reasonably priced theme parks in the country, $25 and less, where you and your kids, friends, parents, significant others, or whoever can go for a whirl without spending all your gas money. Prices are approximate for general admission and reflect the adult and children’s price, respectively. Some places charge more for special activities or rides.

Here are a few I came across in my searches. If you know of more, help out us struggling roadtrippers and post more affordable options!

Top Luxury Resort Spas in the U.S.

I was afraid this might happen. Ever since my first massage at the Mirage Resort and Spa in Las Vegas, and then my subsequent spa treatments at the Avalon Hotel & Spa in Portland, I’ve been ACHING for more! I want another hot stone massage and I think I’d benefit from a facial a week. And my hands would look so much nicer if I just took care of them. I don’t want to indulge too much, but I think at my age, after spending and saving so conservatively for 60 years, I should not feel guilty at the occasional indulgence. Now I just need to figure out what “occasional” really means. Once a week? Month? Year? I’m thinking month.

Fodors lists these ten spas as the 10 Top Luxury Resort Spas:

Well, I think it would be unreasonable to visit all of these spots, but at the very least…I’m calling the Arizona Biltmore right now to make this month’s appointment! Does anyone have any other recommendations in the greater Phoenix area?
Continue reading

Places to go when you just can’t pay for gas anymore!

I just read an article in USA Today that will definitely appeal to everybody: about great car-free places to visit. CAN YOU BELIEVE GAS PRICES?! It’s to the point of unbearable where I don’t even know if I’ll ever make it back to Massachusetts with any money left in my bank account! So the clincher, of course, is that you have to GET to these places; but at least once you’re there you can park your car and make good use of your feet for a couple of days. Here’s where they recommend going:

Enjoy!

Best Florida Beaches and State Parks

I don’t BELIEVE so much time has passed since I last wrote. I think I last left you on my way to Rainbow, which was so long ago, that I can’t even begin to write about it except to say that it was awesome—a truly beautiful experience in a beautiful place, with beautiful people. I’ll write more about it later. While I was there I wrote in my journal (like the old fashioned paper type) so I’ve got things to say, but not now. Quick update: Ryan and I finally made our way back east to good ol’ Massachusetts (my parents missed me…awwww), but just a week later we got back in the car and drove down to Florida, which maybe isn’t the smartest thing to do I the summer because it’s a freakin’ sauna down there (oh, and it rains quite a bit!) but we’ve been staying cool, camping out a lot where there are cool ocean/gulf breezes, drinking a ton, and crashing at the occasional cheap motel when it’s just too painful.

Meanwhile, I came across some great lists while I was researching where to go next and thought that since summer in Florida stretches on forever, these should be quite up to date even in a few months from now. So here ya go!

From Associatedcontent.com: The Best State Parks to Visit in Central Florida During the Summer:

From Placesaroundflorida.com: Best Florida Beaches:

Continue reading

Literary Travels with Lacee Low… The Literary South

I’m from the South (Virginia/North Carolina) so…I don’t know. I’m definitely not an expert b/c I’ve barely been to any of these places, but I guess I feel some kinship or something to these writers b/c in school teachers always stress that they’re from the south and we’re from the south so we can “hear” what they’re saying better than other people. I don’t know if that’s true.

  1. Edgar Allan Poe Museum – Richmond, Virginia (FYI, there’s also an Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site in Philadelphia, and the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum in Baltimore, but those aren’t quite South.)
  2. Booker T. Washington National Monument – Hardy, Virginia
  3. Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum – Key West, Florida
  4. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park – Cross Creek, Florida
  5. Heritage House Museum and Robert Frost Cottage – Key West, Florida
  6. Margaret Mitchell House and Museum – Atlanta, Georgia

Happy travels!
Continue reading

I feel pretty! Oh, so pretty!

Matthew (I always thought that was a sexy, solid name) and I spent like every second of every day together for the last week while I was in Miami. He even drove with me to Fort Myers Beach for 2 days so I could spend some time with Julie. I actually hadn’t even realized my luck – the family that Julie was nannying for had gone away for the week (to Amelia Island which is near my grandmother’s Jacksonville home, so I’ve been there a bunch of times, but that’s unrelated) leaving Julie (and us and like 4 other really cool people) their awesome beach front house and a kitchen stocked with food. (I wouldn’t ever ever ever want to be a nanny, but putting the day job aside, Julie’s got in made.) So Fort Myers was fun, needless to say—I felt like it was spring break all over again.

So don’t laugh at me, but I’ve been walking around in a blissful daze all week. I introduced Matthew to my grandmother immediately which is not something I EVER do. I think the last time my family knew one of my boyfriends (!) I was in like 7th grade.

The best part about this is that when I sit down to write about this, it all comes gushing out like a babbling brook, but in reality, I’ve been pretty breezy about this.

The remaining days were spent shopping at Sawgrass Mills Outlet Mall (a monster of a mall that’s shaped like a crocodile) and hanging out on Hollywood Beach. I have such a gorgeous tan and I am so ready to head back up north (I leave tomorrow morning) and move to NYC. It’s really soon! Just one more month to kill…

Matthew and I already said goodbye so I can spend the evening with Granny, and he’s still down here for one more week. Apparently he had two conferences (in physical therapy) in Miami two weeks apart from each other so decided to make a vacation of it. But then he’ll be back in NYC and we’ve already made plans to go to the Guggenheim Museum (he was shocked that I’d never been there and said we had to fix that right away).


Related Travel Guide Topics:

Miami and Matthew

I’m in love. I know all my friends who are reading this are gagging and rolling their eyes, but seriously! Oh my god, I LOVE SOUTH BEACH! Let me start at the beginning.

So my grandmother is cool, I’m sure you’ve caught onto that. She’s pretty young for a grandmother and is hip and pretty with it, which is one reason why I love visiting her so much. But in one way she really is an old lady (sorry, granny) – she goes to sleep freakin’ early, like 8:00 and wakes up at like 2 in the morning, which just doesn’t make any sense to me. And since I came to Miami so that I wouldn’t sit around and waste the day and night away in front of the TV, I decided after a day of shopping at Aventura Mall and walking around the Miami Seaquarium, that I would not call it a night, but rather climb out of my little box and go a little wild.

I drove down to South Beach and sat myself down at a gorgeous art deco outdoor café (see how wild I can get?) on the promenade with a stack of magazines that I was going to pretend to read – you don’t want to pretend to read a book b/c then people might think you’re too engrossed in what you’re doing and don’t want to be interrupted. So, I was sitting, sipping my latte, scanning my literature, and looking, I might add, particularly hot. See and be seen, right?

I know I sound like a babbling fairy tale, but this seriously happened to me! A gorgeous man came up to me and asked if I was waiting for someone. I thought he just wanted to take the chair so I said, “no, go ahead,” motioning to the chair, and he said, “thanks, I’d love to,” and sat down.

And the rest is history, as they say—that applies to one day old history, too, right? We chatted all night, like really talked. We didn’t even move from that spot, except for a roundabout walk to my car, where he dropped me off and made me promise to answer my phone when he called me the next day, which he already has done.

Not to get too much into my personal life, but let’s just say that this is generally not the way I meet guys. Like in college (which was just like last week, so please don’t let me start talking as though it were thirty years ago) I’d go to a party, get drunk, and then end up making out with some random loser. This was so different, so…REAL. He seems like such a good guy.

And I haven’t even told you the best part yet. He actually lives in NYC, right around the corner from Wave Hill in the Bronx. That’s like 100 blocks from where I’ll be living in a month! Ahhh. So we’re going out tonight (after 8pm of course) to some place he knows on the Fort Lauderdale Beach.

I hope he doesn’t read this. Yikes.
Continue reading

Back on the road (or air, this time)!

OK, so I like New Jersey, but not THAT much. There’s only so much sitting around and watching TV and only so much Monmouth Mall I can take. Moving to NYC soonish so don’t really feel the need to hang out there now. So, I spoke to Granny a few days ago and she said I should come back down to Florida to hang out with her, but this time to her Miami condo (Granny did very well for herself as a young woman, as she likes to remind her grandchildren often). I found an amazing ticket on JetBlue and I’m off tomorrow! Knowing Granny, I’m sure it’ll be more malls and aquariums, but I’d say hands down that Palm Beach or South Beach beat the Great Egg Harbor River any day, sentiment included (ha, I won’t go into that…).

Meanwhile I have a friend nannying for a month at Fort Myers Beach, so I’ve already gotten permission to take Granny’s car and road trip across the peninsula to stay with her for a few days.

OK, just have to head to Monmouth Mall one more time for a new pair of flip-flops. Will update you on my travel whereabouts in a few days!

Jacksonville Jewels

I woke up early this morning and rode my bike over to Atlantic Beach (I’m in Jacksonville visiting my grandmother). I saw the most GORGEOUS sunset. I had brought my yoga mat and spent a good half hour (which is a long time for me!) doing my sun salutations (Surya Namaskar) facing the beautiful rising sun. I spent the rest of the day shopping with my grandmother who needed some new towels and some good walking shoes. We ended up going to The Avenues Mall and to Regency Square Mall — just so she could see every single shoe choice in the whole city!

My grandmother is always raving about Amelia Island State Recreation Area Beach. She likes taking the boats around the area. We’ll bring a picnic, and apparently there are dolphins nearby, so I’m excited about that!

Oh, and just in case anyone reading this is planning a trip to Jacksonville, I highly recommend The ZOO at Gulf Breeze & NW Florida Zoological Park and Botanic Garden. We were there a few days ago and seriously spent all day with the animals and flowers. I think I had read somewhere that it was a good place for kids, but I think it’s a great place for 20-somethings and their grandmas! Ah…I love vacation!


Related Travel Guide Topics: