What’s on your mind at the moment? I’m thinking music and getaways. Not to be confused with wishing time away and always wanting for a holiday – i’m quite happy and content in this little corner of the world known as our humble abode. However, tonight i’m all ears and planning. Jason’s been called out to work all evening so after catching up on home and away over a glass of sauvignon blanc and a mountain of sausage & mash, i’ve slobbed myself in the crease of the sofa with music videos creating the perfect back drop to my common vocal outburst of lyric passion, in between googling all things involving time off.
So far, the christmas holiday agenda is looking saaaaaweeeeeeetttttt. We’re flying into Atlanta (currently pausing as Tom Hardy plays around with sugar lumps on a TV ad) to begin the road tripping throughout Georgia & North Carolina before meeting up with the fam for christmas & new year in Tennessee.. I know, right? But, despite a plan coming together, I wouldn’t be excited enough if I didn’t take time to reflect back upon journeys past as well as future. It may seem excessive but i’ve put together an A-Z of the states and my reasons for loving it so much, being just a country girl from the bump of the UK.
A – Applebee’s. Definitely my breakfast hot spot. Think thick french toast with crispy bacon and maple syrup!
B – Big Sur & Bixby Bridge. It’s just beautiful, the place, the bridge, the drive through it and the cabins to spend an evening. It’s a surfing paradise and a campers heaven. Without having pre-booked and just turning up on the night we stayed at the Big Sur River Inn and enjoyed a morning coffee sat on a wooden deck chair in the middle of the stream outside our cabin – bliss.
C – Corn on the cob….and melted butter, served from a truck. mmmmmmmm.
D – Death Valley. This ones a must see natural haven. The 140 mile long terrain can change throughout this national park and your likely to see a few brave souls daring to bike the whole length for charities including a few overnight camp spots where the heat and wind are at bay. It’s one of the hottest and driest spots in North America and i’m not joking when I say a step out of the car can take your breath away. But… it’s picture perfect and a difference experience on the eyes… just don’t expect much in the form of petrol stations or shop. Best to attempt this one before dark but if you are planning an overnight visit, this place might steal your attention for a night or two.
E – Excursions. From helicopter rides over the Grand Canyon to hiking the Jurassic coastline, camping in scenic spots, horseback rides, theme parks, the list is endless.
F – Food. It’s not all junk and fried. Some of the best seafood can be sampled at fisherman’s wharf in San Fransisco right after you’ve jumped off the boat on a visit to Alcatraz, or alternatively one of the best Chinese restaurants i’ve ever been to was also in this state.
G – Gas Stations. If you want 50 flavours of coffee, soda cups the size of your head, grape gatorade & proper cheetos then look no further.
H – Hawaii. Ok, so this ones a bit out there in terms of mainland USA but technically it’s their 50th state so how couldn’t we mention this?
I – Independence. Aside from the 4th July celebrations I would say New York showed us the meaning of independence through the form of inspirational people on the side of the street making the most magical sounds using any plastic object they could find, to small tiny businesses operating without an empty seat in such a fast paced working city. In the words of Alicia Keys ‘there’s nothing you can’t do’.
J – Jacuzzi’s. Most resorts, hotels, motels, cabins, gyms, hec even some beaches have them.
K – Kool-Aid Sachets & American Sweets. Sugar overload and to name a few; tootsie roll, mountain dew, root beer, jolly ranchers, big red, reeses, m&m’s, laffy taffy, dubble bubble, fluff & butterfingers.
L – Line Dancing. It’s difficult if you have two left feet, but it’s infectious.
M – Motels. They can be the worst, or the best. But whatever your fate, it’s an amazing experience. From carrying your ice bucket to the dispenser in bare feet outside in the evening heat to the old fashioned style of architecture and doors leading outside to the parking lot, to the most freezing cold swimming pools surrounded by worn down fencing yet some of the most breathtaking views. With cheap rates they are an authentic stop. Here’s a little insight into our Death Valley motel.
N – National Parks. From Yellowstone, to Yosemite to Joshua Tree and hundreds more, each national park can make you feel that you are a million miles away from a world you ever knew of. It’s nature at it’s finest. Jason and I also witnessed our first encounter with a brown bear (I’m trying to play it casual) just minutes after joking about the fact we looked like we’d be in the kind of place a bear would live. Check out this link if you fancy a unique stay in the middle of your chosen national park.
O – Open mic nights. Tootsies to the bluebird cafe.
P – Pebble Beach (or 17 – mile drive as it’s popularly known). Many of the scenic points along this funnily enough 17 mile amazing stretch of wealth can be seen in the recent popular TV hit series ‘big little lies’ with dramatic views across the pacific coastline as you cruise past floor to ceiling glass buildings and multiple golf courses. (Tip: it’s definitely worth visiting:100%, but unless you live on this drive, which you don’t or else you wouldn’t be reading this blog, then you have to pay a small toll fee).
Q – Quality & Comfort Inn’s. We’ve had our fair share of stays at this budget friendly Travelodge companion.
R – Road Trips. It’s inevitable, your in the USA and so your going to attempt a road trip? If you don’t then you should have gone somewhere else. I would say 80% of my love for this place has come from those ‘in-between’ moments, the drives, the sea breeze and the surprises that you come across because of a place that you had no idea about. If you dare, don’t book your hotels in advance, just your flights and car hire. This way you can choose where to stay based on where you end up and like the look of.
S – Slogan T-Shirts. You thought you had that slogan tee and casual jeans mum look down to a ‘T’, until you venture out this neck of the woods and realise it’s the go-to choice for a night on the town (i’m not just referring to hooters). That is ofcourse if your not done up to the nines attending a roof top party.
T – Town Houses. Think colour & perfect edging. You’ll feel like you’ve walked out of pinterest.
U – Universal Studios. It’s an obvious one, but it’s got to be done. There’s something for everyone, even if it’s just Bubba Gump.
V – Vegas. It’s hot but it’s not sticky, it’s expensive but it’s not only for the rich, it’s fake but it’s authentic & it just does everything to the extreme. Jump from the stratosphere if you dare.
W – Wild Horse Saloon. With the largest dance floor in Tennessee it’s the gathering venue to watch how locals of the south really enjoy themselves. After catching an open mic night in one of the smaller bars, it’s on to this gem for free line dancing lessons and southern fried food.
X – Xmas. Most people think of New York when it comes to an American Christmas, but my bets hang higher on winter cabins with outdoor hot tubs on the decking overlooking the trees. Wander through the southern states and immerse yourself in the scent of cinnamon coming from every shop. This year we’re heading to Dollywood (if your thinking Dolly Parton then your not wrong) for magic and fun especially when travelling with little ones looking for an overload of Christmas and family festivities.
Y – Year Round Fun. There’s always a perfect time to visit no matter what time of year. From the ball drop at new year in New York, through to the decorated streets at Halloween closely followed by the magic of Christmas and over the top decorations (some of the best lights aren’t as obvious as New York but hidden around smaller cities and towns).
Z – Ziplines. Speaking from experience it’s an amazing way to see the beauty below. If you fancy a more glammed up zipline, head to downtown vegas and book tickets here.