Manhattan Bridge, New York

We went on an unplanned trip to NYC this Christmas.  My son had some business to take care of and I LOVE NYC, so, it was a no brainer.  It was a very relaxing two days.  No shows, no extravagant restaurants and for the first time ever I didn't  buy shoes in Manhattan (that part was a little stressful).  We decided to stay in Brooklyn - I have these quirky goals and one is to visit all five boroughs - one more to go (Queens).   It was so cool to spend two days doing nothing but laughing really loud with my husband and two of our sons.  

I'm a planner, spontaneity and I do not mix...especially when travel is involved.  I'm happy I let myself relax.  

Happy New Year!!  Allow yourself to step into something new and unplanned in 2016.

VIenna, Ohio

VIenna, Ohio

NOAh's Ark 

I wanted to do something for my son's 15th birthday that everyone in the family would enjoy.  I got a lot of strange looks when I said we were going to an animal park.  My 15 year old was thinking more - pool party - not animals.  I'm happy we went with this close-to-home-adventure.  And so were they.  It was so cute to hear my adult children say "Mom, look, look..."!  We had a blast!

At Wagon Trails there were zebras, ostrich, pigs, camels and llama - all communing in harmony. 

Check out a really cool video of an ostrich on my Instagram - @leighandollie here http://bit.ly/1SybOBW 

Walnut Creek, Ohio

Walnut Creek, Ohio

ANNIVERSARY TWENTY-FOUR

My husband and I decided to take a little trip to Amish Country for our anniversary. Little did I know our trip took us to the "third greatest place in the world to experience Fall."  The location did not disappoint.  The hotel was modern - NYC modern.  But the hospitality was all Ohio - warm and friendly.

There were plenty of places to eat and some of the best antiquing!

It was definitely worth the trip.

I'm trying to get to all fifty states by the time I turn fifty.  I'm not as close as I want to be…  Being in Walnut Creek was like a state all it's own, so, if push comes to shove, this is going to count as a state all it's own!

San Diego, California

San Diego, California

Work Trip? Work Trip.

Most of my travel experiences have been connected to my career - Las Vegas, Nevada; Destin, Florida -  places I probably would have never gone on my own.   This trip was no exception, I don't think San Diego would have ever hit my list of places to visit. But, I'm sure happy it was on the list of the event organizers.

I attended a conference where 300 like-minded individuals came together to discuss how they could drive change around education.  The conversations were insightful and over dinner one night I had one of the most fair and intense conversations I've ever comfortably had on race and how it relates to gaps in education.  I was inspired.

I did mention that all this insight happened over dinner, didn't I?  Unfortunately I didn't take my camera  (that won't happen again), but let me try to visually paint a picture…We dined at George's at the Cove on the Ocean Terrace as the sun set in the west.  We sat perched high up on a deck overlooking crashing waves, adventurous swimmers, sunbathing seals, and the mountains of La Jolla, Ca..  I was once again in awe of the glory of God. Breathtaking!!!  

The food was wonderful  (again, sorry about the camera thing).  I was disappointed in the number of vegetarian options, but I had the hummus and the penne and I wasn't disappointment in my selections.  Oh, and they had this molten chocolate cake - do not leave without ordering the cake!

Business or pleasure, add San Diego and La Jolla, California to your must see places.