I want to check all of these out. It’s the weird and wonderful that makes the world interesting!
March Madness Kentucky Style
It’s March Madness – that’s college basketball season to the rest of the world – and there is no place in the world better for lovers of college basketball than Lexington, Kentucky! Kentucky fans “bleed blue” and Lexington, home of The University of Kentucky (and this year’s unbeaten 36-0 Kentucky Wildcats), is the perfect place to celebrate the college basketball season. This time of year you can’t turn around in town without seeing “Big Blue” and “Cats” specials everywhere.
So here is your guide for the best places to gear up, eat up, drink up, and soak up some Kentucky Big Blue Madness!!!
- Head to North Limestone Donuts and get a donut. You’ll find it at 575 N. Limestone St. Try the Maple Bacon or the Long John Calipari. Just because. If donuts aren’t your thing, then enjoy the best coffee and company you’ve ever had at Third St. Stuff at 257 N. Limestone. This funky hangout is full of friendly people and there will surely be a wildcat special on the menu.
- Get your Kentucky Gear. Personally I always like to shop local and my favorite little shop is High St. Fly at 887 E High St. It’s got great Unique Kentucky T-shirts and gear that nobody else has! Walk across the street and visit The Morris Book Shop (“MoBoSho”) for their knowledgeable friendly staff and all kinds of books including an entire section of Kentucky books. WHile there be sure to pick up the latest copy of our local STORY Magazine. This well made publication will entertain and inform you. Every edition is a great read. Get a copy of this year’s Kentucky Basketball Yearbook to be sure you have all your information about each player on the Kentucky roster. The Cat’s Paws is a local paper dedicated to information just about the wildcats.
- Take a Tour of The Joe Craft Center: (If you can arrange for one.) This 30 million dollar facility is the practice and training home for the University of Kentucky Men’s and Women’s basketball teams. It is really something to see. You generally have to get somebody local and “in the know” to arrange this but if you have a connection – get ready to be amazed. You will see how the basketball players experience life at UK as student-athletes, and if you are very lucky, you might get a peek into the office of the top cat, John Calipari. Alternatively, you can take a tour of the University of Kentucky and it’s beautiful campus. You won’t be disappointed
- Rupp Arena: Get your picture taken on the original floor of Rupp Arena. If you pull into the Hyatt Hotel valet parking you can run inside the front revolving doors of Rupp Arena and Lexington Convention Center. Just beyond the box office is the original floor of Rupp Arena. This is a great photo opportunity for anyone wanting their picture next to the Rupp Floor. You can’t actually get into the arena when there isn’t an event scheduled – but this is close.
- Have lunch at The Square. Right across from Rupp Arena you can enjoy lots of downtown eateries. You’ll be in the heart of Lexington which provides lots of downtown shopping for wildcat fans! My favorites are Pies and Pints, Saul Good (get the chicken and waffles) and Shakespere and Co. (Try their flowering tea and crepes! ). For the largest piece of pizza you have ever had, head around the corner to N. Mill St. to Goodfellas Pizza.
- Settle in to Watch the Game. Kentucky Basketball consumes this town. So where are you going to watch it? Don’t watch the game alone in your hotel room. If you are lucky enough to be in town for a home game try to get tickets. if you aren’t able to (every game sells out) watching with a crowd of fellow fans is always easy. If you are younger, you might head to The Tin Roof (303 S. Limestone) or Two Keys Tavern (333 S.Limestone). Less rowdy fans might want to check out the Kentucky Theater (214 E Main St.) which shows games free of charge on the Big Screen.
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Do you have a traveler friend or family member you are looking to buy for. Travelers don’t really need much. They like practical gifts or things that support their travels. Here is my list of my favorite finds of 2014 for travelers. Whenever possible buy local but these are the few exceptions that I think make the cut.
Travel ornaments- I collect these from every place I go. When I’m not traveling I look for ones that have maps or the earth or local ones.
Life Straw Portable Water Filter : A quick and easy way to safely get clear and clean drinking water. What traveler doesn’t need that. Great for camping and backpacking.
Go Girl Female Urination device: You might think this is a gag gift. But at some point this little baby will come in handy whether it is a disgusting porta potty or on the banks of a river find out how handy it is to pee standing up.
The perfect travel book to Inspire Travel in Children. I Love this book. But the whole series is amazing. Checkout the cities editions and the USA Edition.
Smartwool Socks. Socks? Really? Ask any traveller what their best investment is and they’ll tell you it’s good socks and shoes. Get me a few nice pairs of smartwool socks, a candle and a book and I’m in heaven. http://www.smartwool.com
Waboba Ball; Every traveler needs to have some fun. I always have my kids with me. These are great at the beach. They skip waves, bounce and are tons of fun. Small enough to pack and dry quickly. We played with it for hours.
Hobo Roll: I have been a lover of compression bags and compartment bags for a long time and always recommend them to anyone taking a trip but the Hobo Roll is my favorite gift for travelers. Combining the best of compression, and compartment bags into one brilliant sack that can be independently carried or stuffed into another bag or attached to a backpack …there is no limit to how helpful this is. I find especially useful for those one night stays that you need a little bit of everything but not your whole bag….keep all essentials in the hoboroll and everything else in the backpack. It’s a must have now! The first edition is sold out but get on board the kickstarter campaign and get the second edition.
The Holland’s Music Or Cookbook : Travelers support travelers. I met a wonderful traveling family via my blog. 2014 brought us together for music, friendship and family fun. This amazing traveling family has been on the road for 3 years living together in a bis and making beautiful music. Check out their website, buy their music, buy their cookbook or just send them a donation. http://www.thehollands.org/#!discography/ckwy http://www.blurb.com/b/583706-the-apron-strings PONO: If Neil Young made it you know it’s good. I’m a music lover. Travel for me often revolves around festivals or shows.If you have a music lover in your life and be sure to check out PONO. You have to hear it to understand the difference…or maybe you just want to listen to testimonials from everyone in the music world you respect. Check out the Kickstarter Campaign video for all you ever wanted to know… https://ponomusic.force.com Travel Stub Diary: Every traveler has a different way of keeping track of the stuff they collect on the road. This little diary is a neat way to make a scrapbook out of one’s travels. Swell Water Bottle: Just An awesome water bottle. Keeps water cold for 24 hours. Seriously good!
Vagabonding by Rolf Potts: The book that started it all for my family. Give this to anyone who has ever dreamed about traveling the world. It will change their life.
I’m so excited for the opportunity for the chance to go to Kerala, India. Kerala tourism gives bloggers a chance to win a trip to see Kerala but I need your help. Every vet helps so Please take the time to visit this site and vote for me. I’ll take the time to tell you all about Kerala and it’s amazing sites. India tops my bucket list!!!
Of all the amazing things to see in Rome you might ask why on earth I even mention Cats. The reason is simply that my kids love animals and needed something a bit different one afternoon. So we went in search of Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, a no-kill shelter for homeless cats in the heart of Rome. Here dozens of homeless but cared for cats live among the ancient roman ruins. My children loved searching for and photographing the cats. Inside, there is a shelter that sells some trinkets and you can donate to help the cats but the fun is seeing the sleepy kitties among the ruins. We did something similar to this in Lima, Peru and it was such fun and a nice break from visiting sites.
I’ve seen a lot of weird and wonderful things in the world but one of the strangest and most amazing experiences I ever had was a day hike into the Amazon Rainforest to feed electric eels. We first had to go fishing into a “pond” filled with caiman, snakes and more birds than I have ever seen. We were lucky enough to see a pair of the elusive and prehistoric looking hoatzin bird. We caught several small fish, ate some lunch and then hiked inland until we came to what amounted to little more than a hole in the ground that looked like a mud puddle. We tied our fish to some sticks and line and were told to lay them along the edge. The fish were still alive and flapped…. but quickly a huge, slimed, giant eel came out grabbed a hold of it. There was a strange shocking sound and the fish and eel splashed around. Then things quieted down as the dead fish floated up and the eel began to eat it. Our guide explained that the eel had used it’s electricity to shock the fish and then it begins to eat. It was by far the weirdest thing I had ever seen. They just came out of the ground and looked like gigantic earthworms. The sounds they make when shocking the fish is both disturbing and bizarre.
My kids fed them about 8 fish and we had a great time. I don’t think you can get that kind of experience anywhere else in the world but by actually going to the rainforest. It is the kind of thing that one has to experience by being there to really comprehend how truly strange it is. No zoo or sanctuary could ever truly replicate this experience. It is one of kind. Check it out with your family. I promise they’ll be amazed.
It’s been well over a year since we returned from a our “big trip”. A year round the world. Before that it was almost a year of planning and preparing for the trip and then after there was a year of relishing in the trip. We also had lots of travels this past year that kept us hopping. Today, I find myself in that lull period. I am in-between travels. We have a big construction project at our house that takes my time, my kids are knee-deep in school and at ages that require a lot of taxi service. We are back to working to pay for the next travels as well as all the ones we took. As much as I’m enjoying the time with family, pets and homelife I am longing for the road and adventure. Vacation planning really isn’t a substitute for a traveler and anyone who has long term traveled understands this. There is a desire to explore and see the world. Leave the security of the known and see what comes next. Daily routine at home is beautiful and I do remember how fleeting it really is. But, I also remember how much more time I spent with my children on the road. How we spent the best part of our days together not just the moments between events. I am envious when I see the traveling families still doing it. It’s such a unique experience. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to do it.
I love to travel. I take my kids everywhere and I can see the impact that traveling has had on them. They already beg to travel more. They have a developed world view. I’ll continue to blog about family adventures as we do more and what I’ve learned. I just miss the road.
My friend is a great teacher for Year 2 students in New Zealand. She is American and was offered the job two years ago when New Zealand needed primary school teachers. Last month she came home for her grandmother’s funeral and her visa application was denied because the recent labor and market search suggests their isn’t a need for foreign teachers. She has decided to return to her job as a volunteer so that her children can finish the school year with a consistent teacher. The school wants her. The children love her. Only a teacher would take a job unpaid for her children. She will finish out the school year and then return home. PLease consider helping fund her so she has a few living expenses these next few months. She’s only 24 and doesn’t need much but every dollar helps!
Read her story and visit her page below