Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Autumn

My friend Scott and I left Tuesday Morning on a road trip to the Smoky Mountains National Park. I had booked an Airbnb for two nights above Gatlinburg. It was more room than we needed, with three bedrooms and two baths. The highlight of our lodging was the view from the balcony on the third floor.

The following day we did a 2 1/2 mile hike at Laurel Falls.

Autumn is my favorite season, I love the colors!

We stopped to check out Mannish Branch Falls, but weren’t able to cross the creek to see it up close.

Our next stop was “the Sinks”.

Our second hike was 5.5 miles at Rainbow Falls. The elevation change was 1,500 ft.

The mountains were dusted with snow.

Since it hadn’t rained much for a while, the falls were smaller than usual but still beautiful.

We saw two bears from the car.

All together we walked over 10 miles yesterday, and my body knew it. After a hot shower, some pizza, and a couple of Tylenol, I was almost good as new.

Blink 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio

Last night I went with a friend to Blink in Cincinnati, Ohio. It’s an annual global art display, spanning 30-blocks, with 39 large-scale projection mappings, murals, interactive light sculptures, music from over 80 bands, and diverse entertainment from both local and international artists. It lasts for four evenings. We walked about three miles to see about two-thirds of it.

This is in an area called Over-the-Rhine

Washington Park, also in the Over-the-Rhine area, had some beautiful installations.

Cincinnati Music Hall

Fountain Square

There’s even a parade

One wall of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

My friend Scott

Next to the Moerlein Lager House near the Ohio River

The Banks area near the riverfront

The beautiful John A. Roebling Suspension bridge crossing the Ohio River into Covington, Kentucky

I highly recommend taking a road trip to visit Cincinnati during this event!

Eden Park to Mt. Adams Hike in Cincinnati, Ohio

I had a date Saturday morning to take an urban hike. I suggested meeting at Eden Park Overlook and hiking to Mt. Adams…approximately 3 miles round trip.

Eden Park

Eden Park Overlook

We took a break at The Bow Tie Cafe and had some water. The view was gorgeous!

View from the Holy Cross Immaculata Church

He wasn’t a match, but it was a beautiful day!

Meetup.com Hike in Ludlow, Kentucky

Yesterday, I led 11 hikers on a wooded 3.6 mile loop trail at Devou Park in Ludlow, Kentucky. The trails are seven minutes from my home. I’ve been a member of Meetup.com for 15 years and am an Assistant Organizer for the Tri-State Hiking Group, one of the meetups. Recently, I’ve been making more of an effort to get out to meet people and do more activities. In the past three years since the death of my husband and son, I’ve tended to isolate and lost my passion for most things in life, except travel, which I’ve used as a form of therapy. It was a great 1 ½ hr. hike with wonderful weather.

The leaves are finally beginning to change color.

Afterwards, a couple of the hikers and I went to The Standard Covington Restaurant in Covington, Kentucky for dinner/drinks. This morning I scheduled the same hike for an upcoming Saturday.

Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky

On Sunday (10/2/22), my friend and I left our Airbnb in Louisville and went to the Speed Art Museum before heading home.

We both loved it. It has a variety of art…modern, Ancient, African, European, Kentucky, etc. Plus on Sundays it’s free.

Next we drove to Libby’s Southern Comfort Restaurant in Covington, Kentucky. We both had the yummy Shrimp Roll.

It was a quick 30 hour road trip filled with good food and interesting places.

Louisville, Kentucky Road Trip Part 2

Picking up where I left off from the first part of our Louisville road trip…we checked into our Airbnb at 4:00pm on 10/1/22. It’s located in Paristown Point near the Highlands neighborhood. It was clean and modern.

We had some wine and relaxed on the front porch, before getting ready to go out for dinner. On the eight minute walk to our restaurant, we passed a number of other restaurants. You’ll notice the friendly people as I took this photo…

We dined at Taco Luchador. It’s very inviting with inexpensive delicious tacos.

On the walk back to our Airbnb I noticed the unique lighting…

Tomorrow I’ll post about our Sunday in Louisville.

Louisville, Kentucky Road Trip Part 1

My friend and I left yesterday (10/1/22) from my place in Covington, Kentucky and drove an hour and 43 minutes to Louisville, Kentucky for an overnight stay. I had been to Louisville once before about nine years ago on a girl’s trip. I took my bicycle since we would be cycling for part of the day. We couldn’t check-in to our Airbnb until 4:00pm, so I had an 8 mile bike route pre-planned on Google maps. It included riding through the neighborhoods of Smoketown, Nulu, Downtown, and Old Louisville. I researched the LouVelo bike share so my friend could rent a bicycle. There was a station 7 minutes walk from our Airbnb, so I parked the car and we purchased a 300 minute plan ($25) for her. I’ve only seen this friend a few times in the past 8 years. I met her when I took a group of people to four countries in Europe back in 2014 and she joined the group. Although she’s 16 years younger than me, she doesn’t bicycle very often and never in a City, so she cycled quite slowly.

I discovered that Muhammad Ali was born in Louisville. Here’s a sculpture in his honor.

We passed Louisville Slugger Field

The downtown architecture is nice

We stopped for a tasty lunch at the Sidebar at Whiskey Row restaurant

As we passed a playground, I suggested we take a swing

After three hours of exploring and having lunch, I drove us to the Ohio riverfront where we walked across the Big Four Pedestrian bridge to the Indiana side of the river. The weather was perfect!

Come back tomorrow for the final part of our day/evening.

Pure Michigan Road Trip – Day 9

On Friday, 9/10/22 my friend Sherry and I walked (I rode my bicycle) less than 10 minutes from our hotel in Mackinaw City to the Star Line ferry that takes you to Mackinac Island. The ferry ride takes about 20-30 minutes. There are two ferries to choose from, the other is Shepler’s. They’re about the same cost. I took my bicycle on the ferry for an extra charge of $14 and Sherry rented one on the island for 5 hours. We cycled 8 miles around the island. We both agreed it was the best cycling experience we’ve had because the island is car free, the paths are wide and flat. You do need to watch out for the horse dung and the multitude of horse drawn carriages close to the main areas of town.

We passed beautiful homes.

We both agreed the parents of these children shouldn’t have allowed them to climb these rocks.

We walked up lots of steps for this view.

Back in town…

About two-thirds of the way around the island, we stopped for lunch at the Grand Hotel. They had a buffet for $75 (nope), so we opted for sitting in the bar area and had their sliders which were good.

The inside is quite colorful and pretty.

Down by the docks…

Leaving the island…

Later that evening, the view of the moon was beautiful from our hotel room…

Suddenly there was a beautiful display of fireworks which was quite unexpected…

My 10 day Pure Michigan road trip was everything I had imaged!

Pure Michigan Road Trip – Day 8

On Thursday, 9/8/22, my friend Sherry and I drove three hours from Marquette to Mackinaw City for a two-night stay. We arrived around noon and since we couldn’t check-in to our hotel until later, explored the town a bit and had lunch. Of course we purchased some of the famous fudge.

Me being silly…

We drove 5 minutes to our hotel, the Best Western Plus Dockside Waterfront Inn and checked in. The view of Lake Huron from our balcony was lovely.

After settling in, we relaxed at the shore…I even went swimming for a few minutes.

We made our way to the pool/hot tub for more fun and had the place to ourselves.

After showering we walked less than 10 minutes to the Hook Lakeside Grill for a drink and dinner.

Pretty views…

Tomorrow I’ll post about our trip to Mackinac Island

Pure Michigan Road Trip – Day 7 – Part 2 – Pictured Rocks Cruise

Continuing from Part 1 of Day 7, we arrived at the Pictured Rocks Cruises and boarded the 2:00pm cruise that lasts 2 ½ hrs. There’s an open-air top deck and enclosed bottom deck. Originally, I was planning to hike at Pictured Rocks, but with more research discovered the best way to see the beautiful cliffs/rocks was by boat.

The rock formations were beautiful!

My friend Sherry

The Captain took us into a small cove

We drove back to the Airbnb and walked across the street to Blackrocks Brewery and split a flight of beer and then walked 5 minutes to a pizza place for dinner.

Another beautiful and fun day in the UP.

Pure Michigan Road Trip – Day 7 – Part 1

Wednesday morning, 9/7/22 my friend Sherry and I drove 50 minutes from Marquette to Munising Falls. It’s only a ½ mile round-trip walk to the falls.

Back in the car, it’s only 10 minutes to Wagner Falls

Next, I drove 20 minutes to the Upper and Lower Overlooks near Miner’s Beach. The view was beautiful from the Upper Overlook.

The Lower Overlook view is nice also…

Lastly we drove 20 minutes to the Pictured Rocks Cruises, arriving at 1:20pm and waited in line for the 2:00pm departure to see Pictured Rocks from the water. I’ll post about that tomorrow.

Pure Michigan Road Trip – Day 6

We started our first full day in Marquette driving to Laughing Whitefish Falls State Park, where we had a short hike to a waterfall.

Next, we drove to Sugarloaf Mountain and walked up 304 steps to the viewing platforms. Wow!!

Lake Superior is large enough to fit five states in it.

Our last stop was Presque Isle Park. We drove around the one way loop and stopped a couple of times to view the lovely scenery.

After stopping at our Airbnb to freshen up and have a drink, we walked to The Vierling Restaurant and Marquette Harbor Restaurant.

We shared a smoked whitefish appetizer and had a delicious Whitefish entree (it looked so good I forgot to take a photo 🙂

Another wonderful day!

Pure Michigan Road Trip – Day 5 – Marquette

My first morning in Marquette, I cycled 8 miles on the multi-use path along Lake Superior.

I cycled in to town and saw some interesting sites.

My Airbnb was right across the street from Blackrocks Brewery.

I went from there to the airport in Marquette to pick up my girlfriend Sherry who was spending three nights with me at the Airbnb and then our next stop was Mackinaw City for a couple of nights. After she settled in, we walked less than 10 minutes to The Iron Bay Restaurant for dinner. We shared the Whitefish tacos and we each had a bowl of the Whitefish chowder…yum! The flight of beer was also delish!

We walked down to the shoreline and then back to our Airbnb, it was a full day!

Pure Michigan Road Trip – Day 4

I left my Airbnb in Traverse City and drove a scenic route along the Michigan Lake shoreline on my way to Marquette in the Upper Peninsula. I stopped in Harbor Springs for a restroom break and took a few photos. It was still early morning.

It was exciting crossing the Mackinac Bridge.

I wanted to capture a photo of the entire Bridge so after I paid my $4 toll fee I took the first exit and went to a state park to take this photo.

My itinerary included Tahquamenon Falls State Park. I stopped for lunch at Tahquamenon Falls Brewery & Pub, located next to the Upper Falls of the Park and then walked a half mile to the main viewing platform.

The falls were impressive. They reminded me of Cumberland falls, Kentucky. The rusty color was surprising. I read that Tannins cause the rust color.

There are numerous vantage points to take photos from.

I drove four miles to the Lower Falls which weren’t as impressive but still beautiful. You only have to walk 400 ft. to the first viewing platform.

On my way to Marquette I stopped at a scenic lookout to take a few photos and stretch my legs. Lake Superior is beautiful, the water is so clear and a beautiful shade of blue.

Once in Marquette, I stopped at a grocery store for supplies and finally arrived at my Airbnb nine hours after my departure from Traverse City.

I unloaded the car, made a sandwich for dinner and watched a Netflix.

Pure Michigan road trip – Day 3

The only outing I did on Day 3 of my Michigan road trip was hiking a few miles at Grand Traverse Natural Education Reserve. The trails are along the Boardman River. It was only a 20 minute drive from my Airbnb.

It’s always fun to hike somewhere you haven’t been. Afterwards I packed for my departure the following day to Marquette in the Upper Peninsula, aka the UP.