Today is a very special day in our home, it’s my husband Mikes, 30th birthday!! He’s my favorite person, the best cat dad, and my forever adventure partner. He really deserves a month of celebration but in true Mike fashion, all he wants is a pie.
Mike is a geologist born and raised on the coast in Central Florida. He loves to watch hours of Saturday football, drink bourbon and be outdoors with me. He’s such a gem, I think everyone says that about their significant other but I really think I won the lotto with this one.
Mike and I met over 11 years ago in a swimming pool while working at summer camps in New Hampshire. He worked at the all-boys camp and I was at the all-girls camp. After that summer we went to our perspective universities mine in California and his in Colorado. We kept in touch for those years, mainly via drunk texts, while we finished school but it wasn’t until I graduated and Mike took an internship in California that we saw each other again. Now, 8 years later here we are married, back in California and living with the most wonderful cat in the world, Penny.
In honor of his birthday, we put together a list of his favorite adventures and travel locations in the United States and I hope this list gives some inspiration for future adventures in the United States. Let’s start exploring.
Eating, drinking and ghost tours in New Orleans. Aaahhhhh, The Big Easy. the most unique city in America. We love to visit New Orleans and eat shellfish in the french quarter and frozen Irish coffees near bourbon street, it really is one of those cities that you have to experience at least once in life. Mike’s dad loves ghost tours and took him to many as a child, so automatically we always end up exploring the city in an organized tour seeking out all the haunted places in the big easy.
Smith Lake, Alabama; I don’t think most people associate Alabama with beautiful lakes but Smith Lake is a must visit in the Southeast. This man-made lake is over 500 miles of magnificent shoreline and very intense depths. While we were still living in Birmingham, this was a weekly destination. We made some of our favorite memories while exploring the lake with our besties.
High Roller, Las Vegas; we visit Las Vegas often, maybe too often? since the opening of the high roller, we always make it a priority to experience while in town. The passenger cabins are mounted on the outer rim of the Ferris wheel and with the slow speed of the Ferris wheel, it makes the ride smooth and SO FUN! A few of the cars have a bar cart and for an additional fee, there is an open bar on those cars, nothing more fun than drinks over the Las Vegas strip.
Orange Beach and Florabama, Alabama: I mean did Kenny Chesney say it best? “Sitting here at the Flora-Bama, Bout to open up a big old can of good times” Again, most people don’t associate Alabama with white sands and crystal blue waters but that’s exactly the scene at Orange Beach. Growing up in California, I never expected to see such calm, warm and empty beaches in America but that is what you will get in the Gulf Shores. If I had to choose a beach to vacation at in America, I would choose the Gulf Shores time and time again.
Denver, Colorado; Mike went to college 20 minutes north of Denver so beyond loving everything Denver has to offer I think there is a bit of nostalgia when he thinks about the capital of Colorado. Nestled up to the Rocky Mountains, its a fun city with a great beer scene.
Lighthouses, United States; while, yes this isn’t one location but Mikes favorite thing to visit is a lighthouse, my favorite thing to visit is a zoo, so who am I to judge? Mike has his entire post-retirement life planned put, mind you, he is only turning 30, but when that day comes he is going on what he calls “The Lighthouse Tour of America”. When we visit Florida to see family, we always make sure to visit the Ponce De Leon lighthouse in Ponce Inlet, Florida. While Florida is not known for its lighthouses, the beautiful brick lighthouse was built in the 1800’s.
Hiking in Yosemite, California: America’s national parks are all beautiful but Yosemite is king with its magnificent rock formations and flowing waterfalls, its something to be seen in everyone’s lifetime. Our favorite vacations are adventurous trips to Yosemite where we hike to all the waterfalls and Mike explains the valley’s formation while I haphazardly listen. In 2010, the first time we went to Yosemite together, it was so fun to see the park that I adored through brand new eyes. I mean we love Yosemite so much we decided to get married there!
What are some of your favorite places to explore in the United States? We are always looking for new adventures to add to our list!
-Heather & Mike