Steamboat Summers

The Best of Steamboat, CO Summers – A Photo Tour

I have enjoyed visiting Colorado in the winter in the past but it is no secret that summers are my favorite and when it comes to finding fun things to do, Steamboat Springs delivers.

And the word is out.

It used to be that the energy of the town and even that of the Steamboat Resort was limited to the colder months. Though it still is, when compared to the bustle of skiers and snow lovers the visit the mountain town annually, it is by no means sleepy. Here are some of the fun things to do, in photos!

Mâcon, France - girlgonetravel.com

Highlights of Mâcon, France

One of the things that I have loved in visiting France over the years is that no two cities are ever completely alike. Sure, there is the architecture and food and of course language, but even these are influenced by elements unique to its historical past and region. Even the language is different throughout the country. I haven’t learned to identify the differences, but my French friends swear that they can tell where a person is from based on their accent. Just like in the U.S., just like in so many places.

Mâcon is one of those places with unique traits that make it different from other cities I have visited. Though the colors of the shutters and buildings may remind visitors of Southern France, Mâcon is considered part of the Saône-et-Loire region in Burgundy.

Photo ©2016 Andrew Lipovsky / www.AndrewLipovsky.com -- Camp Shock Top photographed at Paradox Lake in New York on June 3rd & 4th, 2016

A Weekend at Camp Shock Top

If there is any rite of passage as a kid, besides braces and the incredibly awkward preteen years, it’s sleepaway camp. Bonfires, s’mores, first crushes, cabin pranks, trumpet wake up calls. At least this is what I envisioned camp to be. As a kid I never went to camp. My dad says he and my mom loved me too much to send me away. Haha. But really my house during the summer months was a camp in itself. Always packed with friends and activities. We would take days trips to the beach and hang out in our backyard treehouse. I can’t say I really missed out on the quintessential camp experience. But when I was given the chance to go, as an adult (with unlimited booze), I just couldn’t say no.

Connecting with wine makers in France

Adventures in Burgundy!

I am excited to announce that I am heading back to France!

girl gone travel

Taking on a new adventure!

We were in the middle of an ocean cliffs ranger-led tour in Acadia national park, when my 9-year-old chimed in to add to the discussion that baleen whales, attracted to the shores of Bar Harbor each breeding season, can’t eat more than a balloon size amount of food which is why they mostly prefer to eat small fish, plankton, and krill. The ranger replied in delight that he would not only share this correct fact, but do so confidently. I was left in awe that he even knew that.

Later on, he would go on to also share that it was the Wabanake people, not the European settlers, who were the first to settle Mount Desert Island, where the park is located. He had only learned this the day before during a museum visit.

This wouldn’t be the first time I have seen my boys enthusiastically share information with tour guides and others whom we meet in our travels. Yet it was during our time in Italy, and again during our recent trip to Acadia, that I was left convinced that we were ready for homeschooling.

Los Arcos, Puerto Vallarta

Warm Escape to Puerto Vallarta

I’ve traveled quite a bit in my life. Near or far, I’ve never needed an excuse to get away. But for some reason I’ve always held the mindset that if the flight is more than 5 hours I might as well go to Europe, which has kind of guided my choices as far as traveling is concerned. (But honestly, who could resist the allure of Europe?) Mexico was never on my radar. Perhaps because it has always seemed so close? I don’t really know why I never seized the opportunity to visit our neighbor to the south but boy am I sure glad I did last week. A little sun and sand is just what this city girl needed so I packed my bags and headed south to Puerto Vallarta.

Hard Hat Tour, Ellis Island - GirlGoneTravel.com

A Walk through Dreams: The Ellis Island Hard Hat Tour

From 1892 to 1954, Ellis Island processed about 12 million immigrants before it could be decided that they would be allowed to begin their lives in this country. The Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital, the United States’ first public health hospital, opened its doors in 1902. It is here where immigrants who were deemed too unhealthy to enter the country would stay. The treatment for various ailments, some far too gruesome for today’s standards, would either result in success, at which point immigrants would be released to enter the country, or failure, at which point they would be sent back.

It is difficult to imagine the fear and stress many of these newcomers experienced through the overall immigration process, especially for many who did not speak the language or had ever even seen a doctor before. Imagine the intimidation of being poked at, examined, or even questioned by men in lab coats, separated from your family, from your parents, being spoken to in ways you could not understand, all the while knowing that your dreams where just one more boat ride away.

Venice, Italy.

The Best of Venice, Italy’s Floating City

The first time I went to Venice was in the middle of summer and it was awful.

The humidity was debilitating, the heat at the turn at every corner seemed like a punch in the stomach. Though I appreciated its uniqueness, and enjoyed being there with my son, I did not really appreciate it for all it was.

My second trip, in early Spring, was a completely different experience. Days were a comfortable warmth, with a cool chill wave every so often. The skies were clear and though there are always tourists in Venice, there were pockets where we could totally avoid them and enjoy the scene.

Last time I visited, I was in and out in 24 hours. This time we stayed around for a few days. The combination of weather, slow pace, and low tourist season made it fun to explore and understand why so many people walk away completely in love.

24 hours in Verona, Italy._GirlGoneTravel.com

A day in The City of Love, Verona, Italy

Two hours from Milan and Venice, and only a little more than an hour from Brescia, where we were staying, is the city of Verona, best known for being the home of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Juliet’s House will be the place you will want to visit first upon arrival (though doors to the museum don’t typically open till mid-morning). Even when we arrived to the city early on a weekday morning, a mop of tourists had already gathered in the courtyard of where the real-life Cappello family once lived. There’s a statue of Juliet at the foreground where people wait in line to grab her bronze breast because supposedly it makes the one doing so lucky in love. My husband and I passed on this chance, confident that we were going to be OK either way. Watching people anxiously line up to do so, with women as well as men happily posing for photos with the boob of a statue in their hand was, however, the comical introduction to our day in Italy’s City of Love.

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Three beautiful days in Brescia, Italy

One of the greatest gifts I received as a young traveler to Italy was the opportunity to learn about Brescia. Brescia is about an hour and a half from Milan, in the region of Lombardy. Not many people I have spoken to about my time there as a young adult know where Brescia is, much less even heard of it. It has always been for me, especially as my intro to Italy, a secret paradise, my own little haven. Though the distance from Milan is short, it feels like it is worlds away. Brescia, considered one of the most ancient cities in Italy, is a favorite just as Northern Italy remains my favorite area of the entire country to visit.

I also have family there, which might influence it all a bit too, and it was a wonderful experience for me to return to such a special place in my heart with a husband and kids in tow. I spent the first few hours in complete awe of the fact that this was a moment when my past and present were coming together in the most beautiful way possible.