Into the Smoky Mountains

A few days ago I visited with my family the Great Smoky Mountains… or should it be Smokey? Keep reading, we’ll find out. It was an long overdue trip, but definitively we experienced a beautiful time going into the Smoky Mountains.

There’s an important clarification I need to make, because it made the trip even better.

The common thing to do is to stay in Gatlinburg, TN. However, when I tried to make the reservation for the log cabin we decided to stay in, the dates didn’t work out, and other cabins either weren’t secluded or didn’t match our budget.

I had to switch locations to Bryson City, NC, which in this case made us travel 90 extra minutes South and across the other side of the hills. Doing such adjustment was great.

But first, here’s why they are called Smoky Mountains…

Smoky Mountains
Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains, The Place of the Blue Smoke

The native Cherokee people traditionally called the Great Smoky Mountains Shaconage, which translates to “place of the blue smoke.” Euro-American settlers drew from this name in their own label of “Smoky Mountains,” with “Great” being added at some point or another to reflect the massiveness and grandeur of the range.

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The Cherokee name is plain to see on one of the many long, mountain-upon-mountain vistas the Great Smokies serve up from such vantages as Newfound Gap, Clingmans Dome, or Charles Bunion. There’s a whitish-blue mistiness to the scenery, a beautiful kind of haze that slightly blurs the long ridges and rounded peaks.

That haze is the optical result of a natural photochemical process. The trees, shrubs, and other plants of the dense and diverse Southern Appalachian forests emit natural hydrocarbons called terpenes that react with ozone particles wafted down from the stratosphere. Moisture condenses on these aerosols, which then scatter the shorter wavelengths of light in the blue-violet spectrum to produce the signature haziness.

I was able to experience the haze effect, and it brought up on me the question regarding the name, because it gives the idea that is based on smoke. If it was smoke, it would look like California during a fire, not good. But in this case, going into the Smoky Mountains and seeing the haze is just… breathtaking.

Some pictures of our trip

Here are some images I captured during the trip. Not enough to make justice to the scenery, but is a nice glimpse to what can be enjoyed there.

  • Spectacular Smoky Mountains.
  • A great background, only available at Smoky Mountains.
  • Oconaluftee River, part of our Smoky Mountains visit
  • Oconaluftee Visitor Center, as part of our Smoky Mountains visit
  • Fork Dickerson Park
  • Nantahala River, by the intersection with the Appalachian Trail, just outside of the Great Smoky Mountains.
  • Mountain Perks Expresso Bar, at Bryson City, NC.

A mandatory stop during this trip is the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, where the images, scale-size village representations, tools and clothing class with the modern world. Treasures from the ancient villagers are guarded by the descendants of the warrior tribe, and shared with us, to preserve their memory and legacy.

The town itself doesn’t resemble the old tribe’s way of living, but it’s museum helps the visitors catch a glimpse of the people who lived here in the past. I was in awe with all the knowledge I gathered in this short visit.

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A place worth visiting again

We enjoyed all activities, city walking, train riding, trail hiking, and of course, eating 🙂

While driving towards Smoky Mountains we saw other cities with plenty of activities. We’ll definitively go back for more fun.

Our stay in Bryson City was very nice, because we didn’t get to experience the crowds in Gatlinburg. However, I have to say, we missed the experience that millions have enjoyed, and we have put it in our calendars for future vacations.

😎

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Have Fun during Summer All Year Long

I can’t complain when it comes to summer weather. I was born and raised in Acapulco, in the South of Mexico, where it’s easy to figure out how to have fun during summer all year long!

If you fly to Mexico City, it’s a 4-hour drive to a nice warm and breezy strip of ocean that offers different kinds of settings for all styles. For the simple and calm-seeking tourist, you can find tranquil beaches that cuddle you and give you a nice time.

Or you can go will and find high-wave beaches that will cause you to get sand everywhere! Or you can surf, paddle, sail, or even dive.

Acapulco, Mexico - Summer all year long

Acapulco, Mexico – Click in the image for Vacation Trip Deals!

This year I’m not going to the beach. The Summer of Me will take me to this weekend to Smokey Mountains.

Some facts about Acapulco

Acapulco in the South end of Mexico, on the Pacific Ocean. It’s enclosed bay offers a magnificent variety of beaches and scenic views due to the hills surrounding it. The name Acapulco comes from the ancient native dialect (nahuatl) “Aca-petl”, which means “place surrounded by hills”.

Acapulco is similar to New York City, in the sense that it never sleeps. You can find fun places that open in the early evening, and then you can move on to others that open late and close early next morning. Sunglasses are recommended if you plan to party all night, so you don’t suffer the “vampire” effect when leaving the place.

But there also a lot of other activities like the divers at La Roqueta, which is a very high rocky cliff where the local divers put on a show every couple of hours by defying the ocean tide that hits the rocks, and then bravely flying into the shallow shore.

Live Feed – Can’t deny it’s summer fun

And if you want to check the weather right now, here’s a link to take a peek…

If you can’t see the video, click this image and select the different beaches available. You will see how in Acapulco you can gave fun during summer all year long.

Webcams de Mexico - summer all year long

Webcams de Mexico

 

And other amazing summer stuff…

The best thing about Acapulco is that the weather is excellent all year long, with the exception of one or two hurricanes every year, the rest is a daily opportunity to enjoy the beach, along with your favorite drinks. Here are some of them:

  • Beer (straight, or prepared as “michelada”, which contains lemon juice and salt on the edge of the glass, sometimes can also have chili powder, for an extra kick)
  • Margaritas (you know…)
  • Sangria
  • Coco brujo (coconut water in the shell with gin)
  • Tequila in all its presentations and possible combinations

I’m dizzy already…

Although is hot all year long, the local people affirm that sometimes gets cold in Acapulco, when the temperature reaches 75 degrees Fahrenheit! Now that I live in Ohio where sometimes we face -18 degrees in the winter, I have a different perspective.

Independence Day Deals this Summer

Independence Day Deals – Click the image for amazing deals!

Other summer destinations all year long

Of course, we cannot leave out the American beach destinations. Maybe the temperature can go down sometime in the winter, but the amount of days of sunny and warm weather in Florida is something to look forward to.

Miami summer vacations

Miami, Florida – Summer fun for all!

Florida offers a long list of activities like Day Cruises, Sailing, Sunset Cruises, and Dinner Cruises.

Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa. Take your pick! Enough sun and ocean waves for everybody. Heck, even the architecture in Miami is something admirable!

And yes, I know, I’m biased… can’t help it.

Enjoy the summer, and if you’re going to the beach this year, make sure you have fun responsibly, because that never disappoints.

 

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Support your Kids’ Learning during Summer

Learning during the Summer is different that normal school life. School can be fun for some kids. For others it can be exhausting. Everybody has different ways to learn. Either kids or adults can face challenges when trying to learn or master a subject. And a lot of times in school for students is the teacher’s way or the highway. As parents we can face the issue of not having enough activities for our kids during summer, but if we create amazing experiences, that’s a way of learning. You can support your kids’ learning during the Summer by planning some ways to learn while having fun, and also by challenging them to read and learn about subjects that they don’t get to learn at school.

Technology and the internet have made possible to learn anything with practically no investment and with the speed of light to get started. A few years back, reading a book could not happen for days due to the time waiting for paper books to be delivered. We had to go to the bookstore, sometimes to find out they were out of stock and on to the next place. Today, the online versions allow you to immediately support your kids’ learning during Summer or any other season.

Great resources

Monthly unlimited subscriptions are a great deal for avid young readers or multiple siblings. Hey, even parents can benefit from this too!

Support your Kids' Learning during Summer

Kindle for Kids

 

Personally, I love Kindle from Amazon. Whenever I’m listening to a podcast or a webinar, and the speaker mentions a book that is helpful, I immediately look for it and buy it with 1-click. The best part is when there are promotions going on, because I can buy several 99-cent books!

In all fairness, not all books are excellent, but bumping into a bad book can also teach us a lesson about the author, the topic or the audience. I’m using those lessons and applying them to the book I’m writing. And guess what… the desire of writing a book always comes from absorbing those stories and experiences found in the written letter. And it’s there, waiting for you kid to read so he can let his imagination fly and become creative, ingenious, amazing!

Learning during Summer

A World of Content for Kids to Explore

Vacation Time

But Summer Time is Vacation Time! -you might think.

Yes, it is true. It’s fun time. There are a lot of activities and fun trips available to experiences great vacations. I wrote an article about that entitled The Summer of Me! about the subject.

But it’s also true that learning and having fun can be a great combination. Parent can also create a reward system, just like the one available at your local library. But in this case based on the online learning experiences, which can be by reading, listening or both.

My kids have had great experiences using online resources. I’m sure your kids will have them too!

If you have questions about Amazon Kindle, let’s chat!

 

The Summer of Me!

It’s been a long 2020! I’m tired of this pandemic! Fortunately, 2021 is showing signs of improvement when it comes to being outdoors. I’m ready to go on a trip for a relaxing time. It’s been enough stress and isolation. It’s time to visit friends and family. However, remember that we’re still in recovery, we’re not done yet. We need to keep taking precautions. No effort is too much when it comes to enjoy a good time safely! Do you want to get away? I know I will. Heck yeah, it’s the Summer of Me!

Options are endless, and this is a time to get creative. There are so many ways to get to your dream destination, and the companies that offer vacation packages are eager to make your dime worth while.

vacation destinations

Multiple places to visit this summer!

Beach, mountain or city?

Do you prefer the beach? There are the usual places, or new places you can visit. If you love the crowd, follow the crowd. If you prefer privacy, check out all the options to explore so you can relax and do nothing else!

I plan to go the mountains this summer because I want to enjoy nature and everything that entails, like rivers, trails, animals, plants, birds. I will document that trip and will report back to you when I come back.

Tokyo, Japan, courtesy of Google Maps

Tokyo, Japan, courtesy of Google Maps

Or, you might be a city tourist. There are numerous asphalt jungle options that can be explored! I love checking the city images before deciding where to go. Today it is possible to “walk” thru the city using maps that show very recent images with a street perspective, and such “virtual” trip can be done within your country, or you can go across the pond and check the international scene. Just remember, before deciding to visit a foreign country in today’s pandemic conditions, you need to be extra cautious.

Summer Travel Deals!

Get up to $35 off◊ our fees on flights with promo code SB35

The power of the consumer

The consumer gives power to the economy. It’s a game of supply and demand, and  where there’s a lot of supply, the consumer wins. Keep that in mind when booking your next vacation, because that extra time that you use researching and finding the best deals will result in a better experience this summer. You can find and lock good deals at any time.

So let’s make this our Summer!

 

Round Trip Flights under $199! Get up to $20 off◊ our fees on flights with promo code RT20

 

 

Vacation time: learning while relaxing

Vacation time can be exhausting… in a good way! So many flight options, routes, schedules, baggage fees, plane meals 🙁

Once landing at the destination, so much good food! Damn my diet!

In my case, so many beaches to visit, with a lot of activities like snorkeling, parachuting, tanning, beach massage, walking, swimming, paddle boarding =0)

Vacation time offers a lot of physical yet relaxing time that cleanses the mind from our life’s routine and turns the body into a fun machine, ready to go from one activity to the other, with enough energy to enjoy and rejoice without limits. Sleeping becomes a wonderful time to quickly recharge and restart the cycle the next day, looking forward to a new sunrise, new food, new activities, new relaxation, new exhausting… challenging… exhilarating… fun.

Learning while being on vacation is not optional. We learn new places, new tricks to our gadgets in order to capture those moments. We learn the limits of our bodies, when tasting new local foods and drinks (this, while fun, can come with a toll).

This is what I learned while on vacation:

  • How to operate a GoPro camera.
  • How to use the panning function on my cell phone
  • I tasted new versions of the seafood I grew up on
  • How to listen to controversial family conversations without interjecting (this is a tough one)

Going back home is always an opportunity to relearn, because time produces change… change in our minds, in our bodies, in our families, in our old friends, in our neighbors.

Learn while you’re on vacation. It’s always fun… it’s always exciting… it’s always beneficial.

Keep learning, while having fun!