St. John USVI Vacation Guide

When you think of the Caribbean, the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), with the tagline “America’s Paradise,” might not typically come to mind. If you’re searching for the ultimate beach vacation, look no further. In 2017, the three islands are celebrating  the 100th anniversary of Transfer Day with a USVI Centennial Commemoration promotion of $300 in spending credits to be used on specific activities and restaurants. St. John is the smallest of the three U.S. Virgin Islands and two-thirds of the island is covered by Virgin Islands National Park, which was the main reason we wanted to visit. It’s one of the lesser known national parks that was on the list for a while. Find out where’s the best snorkeling, hiking, dining and sleeping on the island in our St. John USVI vacation guide.

St. John USVI- for blog post

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Stephanie grew up road-tripping across the U.S., but her first flight was to Australia, and she’s been hooked ever since. She lived abroad in Thailand, where she met Meagan, and in Ghana with Peace Corps and has been to over 30 countries on 6 continents. She travels for the adventure, the stories, and nature.

Five More Wineries to Visit in North Georgia

When we first started A Friend Afar, “research” took us on day trips from Atlanta to North Georgia to go vineyard hopping and share with you in this post. We’ve since returned to the North Georgia mountains again and again to discover new places to taste wine. It’s the perfect way to spend a Saturday with the girls, a date, a family outing, and celebrate special occasions. Actually, any reason will do! Here are five more of our favorite North Georgia wineries to visit from Atlanta!

More vineyards canva

 

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Stephanie grew up road-tripping across the U.S., but her first flight was to Australia, and she’s been hooked ever since. She lived abroad in Thailand, where she met Meagan, and in Ghana with Peace Corps and has been to over 30 countries on 6 continents. She travels for the adventure, the stories, and nature.

5 Lesser Known National Parks to Visit for the 100th Anniversary

Happy birthday, National Parks! The US National Park Service (NPS) is celebrating its centennial today! To celebrate along with them, we’ve been working on a whole series on our National Parks. We started with the Top Ten National Parks to visit based on number of visitors, and now we’re pleased to share our favorite of the lesser known National Parks. We hope this inspires you to get outdoors and plan a trip to see a new park!

5 Lesser Known National Parks- www.afriendafar.com #nationalparks #us

 

 

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Stephanie grew up road-tripping across the U.S., but her first flight was to Australia, and she’s been hooked ever since. She lived abroad in Thailand, where she met Meagan, and in Ghana with Peace Corps and has been to over 30 countries on 6 continents. She travels for the adventure, the stories, and nature.

Top 10 National Parks to Visit for the 100th Anniversary

This year the National Park Service (NPS) is celebrating its centennial! On August 25, 2016 the NPS turns 100. To celebrate we’re doing a national park post series and starting with the top ten national parks to visit based on number of visitors. Stephanie’s on a quest to go to all the national parks and has been to eight of the ones on this list. Enjoy these ideas of which top 10 national parks to visit for the 100th anniversary!

Top 10 National Parks to Visit- www.afriendafar.com #nationalparks #nps #centennial

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Stephanie grew up road-tripping across the U.S., but her first flight was to Australia, and she’s been hooked ever since. She lived abroad in Thailand, where she met Meagan, and in Ghana with Peace Corps and has been to over 30 countries on 6 continents. She travels for the adventure, the stories, and nature.

Ten Tips for Vancouver and an Alaskan Cruise

Our friend Alli, who most recently wrote about her Midwest adventure for us, and her husband are on a quest to see and experience all 50 states! He’s now been to all 50 (!) and she has one more to go, Alli’s also previously shared her incredibly helpful 8 family travel tips with us. They both had some flexibility in their schedules and so decided to book an Alaskan cruise in May. They strategically picked a cruise leaving from Vancouver because it is where one of Alli’s best friends lives. So she packed up her toddler son and left a few days before her husband did to visit her friend and husband. Thus began an epic adventure! Check out Alli’s ten tips for Vancouver and an Alaskan cruise

Vancouver

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We loved every moment in this beautiful city. Here are a few memories that truly stand out.
1) Traveling with a toddler, I try to not burden my friends with the early morning noise that a toddler brings so we found a fantastic Airbnb.  It had stunning views, a great location, fireplace, reasonably priced and very kind host.
2) We loved walking around Granville Island; it’s a delightful area. From the food selection, coffee, little shops, farmer’s market, the kids area, the entertainment, we loved all of it.
3) My friend Erin is attending Regent University apart of the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus. The views were breathtaking. It is such a beautiful campus!
4) The line out the door was quickly explained with one bite out of my sandwich from Meat and Bread. It was a packed place with rules to keep the flow of the line but the food was excellent and they really tried to accommodate my stroller and toddler.
5) When the buses are out of service they say sorry, very Canadian.

Alaskan Cruise

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1) Splurge for a balcony! We made the decision to take the trip last minute and so we were able to get a decent price for a mini-suite. Having coffee in my pajamas with the Alaskan or Canadian mountainous shoreline to wake up my sleepy eyes was one of the best things I will ever experience! We saw glaciers, whales, bald eagles, and sea otters all from the comfort of our own room.
2) Whale watching was my favorite outing. My face hurt from smiling. It was so exciting when you first see the spray from the blowhole announcing its presence to the partial arch above the water. My son Jack would giggle when he spotted a whale.
3) The Alaskan Railroad train in Skagway was recommended and I am glad we heeded the advice. The scenery was majestic and this was a great activity. Because we had a stroller, we were placed in the handicapped car and we had the whole car to ourselves.
4) Go to the Twisted Fish Company in Juneau, AK! I do not remember what I ate but what I drank would make it worthwhile to take trip again just for that. My favorite drink is an old fashioned with Rye Whiskey. They serve what they call  a “Red Eye” Old Fashioned. It is made with Rye Whiskey, Cold Brew Coffee Syrup, vanilla, coffee, and toasted Pecan Bitters. This may have been the best drink I have ever had!
5) Bring stomach ailment supplies! Of course report anything serious to the medical staff but traveling usually messes up most people’s systems and it is so expensive to get the usual remedies. We did see the medical team as we all got sick but it would have saved some money to have some of the basic supplies.  I will say it was not ideal to get sick on a trip but laying on the bed looking out of our balcony window as we passed snow peaked mountains,  I did think to myself “this is not so the worse experience.”
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Stephanie grew up road-tripping across the U.S., but her first flight was to Australia, and she’s been hooked ever since. She lived abroad in Thailand, where she met Meagan, and in Ghana with Peace Corps and has been to over 30 countries on 6 continents. She travels for the adventure, the stories, and nature.

Guest Post: Alli’s Midwest Story

Last year we introduced you to our lovely friend Alli with her guest post on family travel tips!  She’s the founder of Lazarus Ministries, a non-profit that works with the homeless communities in Atlanta and Washington DC, where Alli lives with her husband Joe and adorable son Jack. Read on to hear about their recent amazing road trip and quest to visit all 50 states in the US. You will love her Midwest story!

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Stephanie grew up road-tripping across the U.S., but her first flight was to Australia, and she’s been hooked ever since. She lived abroad in Thailand, where she met Meagan, and in Ghana with Peace Corps and has been to over 30 countries on 6 continents. She travels for the adventure, the stories, and nature.

Great Georgia Getaways

Spring has sprung, and it’s time to get outside and explore on the weekends! We love living in Atlanta because Georgia just has so much to offer! Head north, and you’ll reach the Blue Ridge Mountains. Head southeast, and you’ll hit beautiful beaches and barrier islands. There’s something for everyone!  Here are a few of our favorite Georgia getaways along with our favorite places to stay and things to do.

georgia

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Meagan grew up in the North Georgia Mountains and spent her first trip abroad in Italy. She’s been traveling all over the world ever since, learning Spanish, Japanese, and Thai. She travels for the food, the culture, and the history.

The 1842 Inn – A Macon Bed & Breakfast

We’ve been on a mission lately to find great weekend getaways from Atlanta for you. Recently, we visited the Beechwood Inn in the North Georgia Mountains, the Chanticleer Inn in Lookout Mountain, the Historic Spencer House Inn in St. Marys, and the Greyfield Inn on Cumberland Island. We traveled from the mountains to the sea, just one of the reasons we love Georgia, and now we’re taking you just two hours south of Atlanta to the 1842 Inn for a historic Macon Bed & Breakfast.

1842 Inn - A Macon Bed & Breakfast

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Meagan grew up in the North Georgia Mountains and spent her first trip abroad in Italy. She’s been traveling all over the world ever since, learning Spanish, Japanese, and Thai. She travels for the food, the culture, and the history.

The Greyfield Inn on Cumberland Island

Where History, Nature, and Luxury Meet

The magnificent Greyfield Inn on Cumberland Island is more than a romantic coastal getaway. It’s a classic Southern destination. It’s an opportunity to enjoy Georgia’s coast at a slower pace. And it’s a chance to take a step back into another era.

Cumberland Island overflows with natural history as well as stories of America’s past, and those continue at The Greyfield Inn.  As soon as you step off the boat and are guided toward the old Carnegie home, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into a Southern Living magazine. You’ll find yourself wondering how long you can possibly stay before you really have to return home, and you’ll be in good company – everyone else is wondering the same thing. There are few inns that offer such an exceptional experience. This, friends, is how you vacation.

The Greyfield Inn - Cumberland Island Vacation Guide - www.AFriendAfar.com

For more on visiting Cumberland Island National Seashore, you can see our full guide here.

Cumberland Island Vacation Guide - www.AFriendAfar.com

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Meagan grew up in the North Georgia Mountains and spent her first trip abroad in Italy. She’s been traveling all over the world ever since, learning Spanish, Japanese, and Thai. She travels for the food, the culture, and the history.

Cumberland Island Vacation Guide

Cumberland Island National Seashore is one of our absolute favorite places in Georgia! Pristine beaches, wild horses, and a mansion in ruin are a few highlights of why we love this place! If you’re a nature lover like we are, look no further for your next unique beach destination.

Cumberland Island Vacation Guide - A Friend Afar

Nature on Cumberland Island

There’s a whole lot of the natural world to see on Cumberland Island. It’s Georgia’s largest and southernmost barrier Island; in fact, it’s almost twice the size of the island of Manhattan! Cumberland Island hosts a variety of wildlife, and you’ll see numerous species even on a short day trip. The island is famous for its wild horse population. They tend to congregate in areas where there’s grass, so it’s not unusual to see them near the ruins and houses. The population of horses is usually between 150 and 200, so it’s very likely you’ll also see them along paths or in the sand dunes. You might also run into armadillos, rattlesnakes, white-tailed deer, wild boars and turkeys, and even the occasional alligator, not to mention all of the birds! We’ve even seen dolphins on the ferry ride over there, so don’t forget your camera! [Note: Keep a healthy distance from the wild horses. The photos below are an exception as this young horse near Greyfield Inn came up to us! We let her nibble on our sleeves a bit, but then we gave her some space.]

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Meagan grew up in the North Georgia Mountains and spent her first trip abroad in Italy. She’s been traveling all over the world ever since, learning Spanish, Japanese, and Thai. She travels for the food, the culture, and the history.