Thursday, September 24, 2015

Saying Good-Bye to Summer-Vacation Recap

This summer I was lucky enough to take three different trips this Summer. 
The past few years I have had minimal travel due to work demands and other stuff so this year I had my heart set on travelling this Summer and that is what I did!
It has been a bit rough coming back to my DIY projects but after travelling in July, August, and again in September, I am ready for some time at home.
While all of you are posting Fall projects I am still trying to make some headway on my regular DIY projects that I started earlier, but now that its officially Fall I felt like bidding a final farewell to Summer with a recap of my travels, starting with July.
I am giving you a recap but have a TON of pictures I would love to share but that would be an awfully long post so I will share with you the highlights.
Here we go.....
My summer travels started in July when I visited some old friends in Pittsburgh, PA.
They were fabulous hosts and kept us busy seeing and doing all kinds of different things all week long.
I had a WONDERFUL time thanks to their ideas and planning.
Early in the trip we visited the Harmony Inn in
Zelienople, PA, where we had a late lunch/early dinner.
The place is gorgeous and full of charm, and the food was delicious too!

We made our way to downtown Pittsburgh and ate breakfast one day at Kelly O's which is a diner that was shown on Diners and Drive Ins, and Dives. The food was great and I needed a big breakfast that day from being up late the night before. It really hit the spot! :)

For those that do not know, Pittsburgh PA, is the home office of the Heinz corporation.

We did not visit the Heinz museum but I plan to the next time I go back.

I visited some cute shops downtown but had to keep shopping to a minimum since anything I bought had to be packed and transported back on the airplane. Ugh.

But I did discover a FABULOUS shop called Roxannes Dried Flowers where I purchased a few things you will see displayed in my home soon. (hint hint)

Pittsburgh is known for their bridges is often times refered to as Three Rivers because of the three rivers that meet there.....the Monongahela River and Allegheny, and Ohio.

Here is a view of downtown from one of the inclines.

A view of the ever so popular Heinz Stadium.....home of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Mid week we ate dinner at NOLA (New Orleans LA) a Cajun restaurant that was SO GOOD! (best beans and rice ever!)

I HIGHLY recommend going there if travelling to Pittsburgh.

Every day we started off with an amazing breakfast.....what can I say? I like to eat and I especially enjoy trying different places while travelling.

One of our favorite breakfast places was called Waffles Inc.
 It did not disappoint!

Check out all these different waffles we had:


After shopping downtown and visiting the Carnegie Museum, we also had dinner at a German restaurant called Hofbrauhaus.

The sausage and German potato salad were to die for.
You HAVE to try it if you're in the area!


We were lucky to have arrived right before the evening rush. By the time we finished the place was packed.

 During this trip we also were privileged to travel down to Falling Water where we toured the Frank Loyd Wright home.
What a treat that was.
 I am thankful to have seen such a historic place!
We also attended the Picklesburgh festival.  
It is a pickle festival hosted by Heinz
where everything was made out of pickles.

I had some sort of pickled ginger beer drink...
it was so-so...not an award winner.
And there were pickled eggrolls, pickle ice cream, and the list goes on and on.
It was a fun festival.

Then our grand finale was a 5k Night Run that we did on our last night.
Here is a nice shot of downtown at night, and that's me at the end of a race and a long week.
I had all my glow sticks on including my pink glow wand.
I mean what girl doesn't want to do a 5k without her wand? LOL :)

We also travelled down to Ohiopyle, ate at Jean Benet's Tavern, and did a lot more site seeing.
It was a high impact trip and one I will always remember thanks to my wonderful friends and hosts, Kim and Mike.

In August we celebrated my Dad's 60th birthday by taking a small trip to the Houston Space Center in Houston, Texas.
My Dad is a major science buff and has wanted to go to the space center for a long time so we thought this would be a great time to treat him to this.
While in Houston we visited the Kemah Boardwalk, which I HIGHLY recommend going to if you are travelling to the Houston area.
 There is a small amusement park with rides for kids of all ages, including a wooden rollercoaster.
We were just swinging by Kemah Boardwalk for a  few hours and having dinner there so we did not ride the rides but the entire place is awesome!
There is a lot of shopping, boat rides on the water since the boardwalk is right on Galveston Bay, and of course lots of yummy restaurants to try, along with night entertainment.
This is my brother and me on the boardwalk.
One night in Houston while driving around looking for restaurants, we decided to stop by the Galleria Mall.
It is HUGE and has an ice skating rink inside along with hotels and restaurants.
I could get lost in that place and do some serious "shopping damage".
I might just have to go back to Houston just for the shopping!!!!
Then of course we visited the NASA Space Center.
It was the reason we were there. This was my Dad's surprise gift from us.
There are several different tour options to chose from and we went all out with the Level 9 tour which gives you access to many areas within the NASA complex.
I HIGHLY recommend taking this higher level tour. It costs a little more but you get to see so much more!
Here is the tour inside the building at Rocket Park.
Then the most amazing part of the tour.....
Yes, you can go inside and watch Mission Control as they work and manage the International Space Station out in space.
Here I am sitting at a desk inside the OLD Mission Control room.
Kind of fun to see how technology changed.
This old equipment was what was used when we landed a man on the moon.
I feeling like saying "Houston, we have a problem" LOL

Then after our tour of the Space Center we had to stop by Galveston beach for a bit.

The weather was absolutely PERFECT!


Here we are as a family on the beach in our
KC Royals Tshirts.

Now for September. I took my last trip of the Summer and went to South Dakota with Mr. Chaos.
On this trip we discovered Prairie Dogs.
These guys are so stinking funny and cute!
We drove up to Sturgis where we saw the famous Full Throttle Saloon.

Inside you will find Emmitt the saloon pet donkey. LOL
I am totally serious about this one folks. :)

We had so much fun here drinking their S'loonshine.

Man it was GOOD stuff!

The most ironic thing about this part of our trip is that there was a fire here at the Full Throttle two days later and the place burned down! Seriously!
We were driving back to Sturgis a second time to take more pics just a few hours before it went up in flames, so I am happy we got to see the place and experience it while we could.
Then we stayed a night in nearby Deadwood, SD. (a famous wild west town)

In Deadwood we took the local town trolley around to the different shops and hotels.

If staying in Deadwood I highly recommend taking the trolley to and from the attractions and your hotel. It makes life so much easier versus having to park the car every block or two as you are sight seeing.


Deadwood is known as the home of Wild Bill Hickok.

We visited his gravesite as well as Calamity Jane's.
There are a ton of important people buried in this cemetery so we took a mini tour and walked around a bit. It is a very nice cemetery with gorgeous views of the city of Deadwood.
Then we drove out to the edge of Wyoming to see the Devil's Tower, which you may remember from that old movie
Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  

Then we went back down to the Rapid City area where we saw Mt. Rushmore.

I highly recommend seeing Mt. Rushmore during the day AND again for the night time lighting ceremony.
While in South Dakota (Rapid City area) we also visited
Bear Country.
Its pretty much a drive thru zoo but and there were a TON of bears and wildlife....definitely worth going to see.   

Then the last stop on our trip was the Badlands. Wow.
Talk about taking your breath away!
You cannot visit South Dakota without seeing this.
Its a MUST see!

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Now that Summer has come to an end its time to say
good-bye to Summer travels and enjoy the cooler weather and all the Fall craft fairs and celebrations at home.
All three trips-Pittsburgh, Houston, and South Dakota were all awesome places to visit, so if you are looking for something fun to do, consider going to one of these places.
Now, back to real life!