Monthly Archives: September 2012

Brookings, Oregon

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A honeymoon destination for those west coast beach lovers! Brookings’ town motto is “Where flowers meet the sea.” And boy, is it true! This is a beautiful and unique place to go. It’s a small town with a population of 13,000. It sits at the mouth of the Chetco River.

If you plan to visit in the winter, they hold the annual Winter Art and Chocolate Festival in February, featuring local artists and chocolatiers.

The largest celebration held each year is the Azalea Festival. According to the Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce, it is, “a four-day community-wide festival featuring Art, Flower, Quilt and Car Shows; a Parade, Street Fair, Kiddie Carnival, Food Court, Beef BBQ, Party at the Port, and lots more throughout the Memorial Day Weekend.” Each year, young women from the local high school compete in a scholarship pageant for the title of “Azalea Queen.” The Azalea Queen participates in the parade and chooses a favorite entry from each of several of the shows that make up the festivities.

There are several cozy seaside lodging options in town, but the number one rated according to Trip Advisor is “Port Side Suites”. With their many choices to choose from, you can have an in room spa, kitchenette, fireplace, and harbor views.

Brookings Portside Suites

With the seasonal attractions, welcoming lodging, and endless list of outdoor activities and close proximity to the mountains, beach, and California for a fun day trip, I hope you’ll consider this quiet town for your honeymoon destination!

Brooke

Branson, Missouri

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This destination has a world famous amusement park! Silver Dollar City is a must if you’ll be in Branson. They have water rides, roller coasters, unique food and shows, and a lot of unusual souvenirs!

Take a ride on the train, or watch a show. They have old west style saloons with family friendly entertainment. Going to the parks oldest rides is a must, too! Fire in the Hole is an indoor roller coaster that is still with the original theme of the park of the no-good Baldnobbers! You’re on the coaster, rolling through the scenes and hearing the story. There is some unexpected turns to this ride!

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Don’t forget to go to Grandfather’s Mansion while you’re in the park! It’s been a favorite of my family since I was a kid. It’s a bit tucked away, so be sure to ask as you enter the gate where it is if you aren’t familiar with the park. It’ s one of the best Topsy-turvy fun houses you’ll ever see!

There are a ton of shows to see in Branson. Comedians, musicians, comedies, musicals, impersonators, and some of your favorite entertainers from days gone by. Branson is definitely the family oriented Las Vegas! Below is a shot from the New Shanghai Circus.

While you’re in town, check out the outlet malls! Nothing like spending a day getting fabulous deals. The Branson Landing stretches a mile and a half alongside Lake Taneycomo is a fantastic place to spend a day, with their new shops, popular restaurants (including an Irish Pub), water shows (schedule and pictures here http://www.bransonlanding.com/fountains.html ) and end your evening on the Landing Princess with dinner and dancing.

Pictures and booking information: http://www.bransontourismcenter.com/shows/info/main-street-lake-cruises-landing-princess

Or for a cruise and show, consider the Showboat Branson Belle. It cruises on Table Rock Lake, and I have yet to hear anything but a great experience with an evening there.

http://www.showboatbransonbelle.com/

There are many options to consider for during your stay. The Yellow Rose Inn is in a great location, and quite economical. The king suite pictured below is $89 a night! They have glowing  reviews, have a continental breakfast, and are newly renovated.

For a place smack in the middle of it all, try the Hilton on Branson Landing. You can even request a room overlooking Lake Taneycomo, and you’ll have the 240+ boutiques and restaurants of the mall right outside your window. The room below is $169 a night currently.

Hilton Promenade At Branson Landing Hotel, Mo - King Bed

With so much to do, and all the affordable places to stay, Branson rounds out to a great destination! And the view is nothing to sniff at. This destination is surrounded with rolling hills, and lakes and rivers as far as you can see.  Just scroll though these pictures of the surroundings you’ll have on your visit to this little spot in Missouri, and I’m sure you’ll be scrambling to book your stay.

The deep blue waters of Lake Taneycomo

You’ll see some amazing colors in the fall!

A lodge a few miles outside of Branson.

Marvel Caves, you can tour them from Silver Dollar City.

Don’t forget the golf courses!

Let me know what you love about Branson! Have you been before? Do you plan on vacationing or honeymooning there soon?

Brooke

Cruising for a Honeymoon!

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If you’re like many people, you feel cruising is beyond your means. Think again! A cruise is actually an inexpensive all inclusive honeymoon that every couple can find one to fit their interests and budget. I’m a fan of cruises, as you can experience a variety of places and activities with minimal planning and stress on your part.

There are many different cruise lines, but for the sake of ease and my familiarity with them, I’m going to show you Carnival Cruise Lines. I’ll walk you through the process of how to plan a budget one, and what a typical cruise with Carnival is like.

All information in this article can be found on Carnival’s site, http://www.carnival.com and my personal experiences with them.

When you are looking to book one, first check MapQuest and see what port is nearest to you.

If you’re driving: If there is one within a distance you’re comfortable with driving, look at it’s cruise port first. I personally live in Southeastern Oklahoma, so I choose Galveston, Texas versus New Orleans just off of personal preference since the distance is pretty much the same to drive.

If you’re flying: Carnival offers packages for airfare, which is really great because if something happens weather wise, your flight is covered by Carnival. That’s the way I recommend to go if you’re flying.

Driving or flying, try to be there the night before so you aren’t exhausted. Definitely check for hotels on Trip Advisor if you haven’t been the the area before. Speak with the hotel about shuttle service to the cruise port. Some charge, some don’t. But it’s much safer and almost always cheaper to leave your car at the care of the hotel versus the port.  If you’re flying, be sure to arrange for a shuttle ride to the hotel.

What to take with you: You need a photo I.D. as in your drivers license or passport, and take along a copy of your birth certificate. Try to have all three. If you’ve changed your name for the marriage or one of you is under 21, you MUST take your marriage license. Pack formal outfits (like a suit and cocktail dress) for the formal night on the cruise, and an extra shirt and tie for your guy and a spare dress for you in case you want to go to a fancy on board restaurant or go to both formal nights.

Tip: Bundle your gratuity into your cruise tickets, it makes it way easier! You are given the option when booking online or over the phone.

What is there to do on a cruise ship?

Swimming, sun bathing, dancing, ice skating, watching a theatre show, seeing the latest movie releases, hanging out in the comedy club, doing karaoke, playing mini golf, poolside games, live bands, giant Jenga, shopping, dancing classes, you name, it’s there!

Most people feel overwhelmed because there is so many exciting things to do! Should you go to the midnight chocolate buffet? Captains cocktail hour? Learn the newest line dance? Enter the hairy man competition? Compete to perform as Aretha Franklin in the on board talent show? The list is endless and so much fun!

There are a lot of options on your rooming, as well. You can start out with an inexpensive interior room (no windows) then step up to a port hole room, a window room, a balcony room, and a suite. There is something for every price range.

You may want to choose your ship off of it’s activities, or off of it’s destinations! Some common stops with Carnival if you’re going tropical are Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Progresso, and the Bahamas to name a few. Carnival offers the option of booking shore excursions through them online before your cruise. This is a great way to go, because you know you can trust this excursion to not only to get you back to the ship on time, but you also know it’s a legitimate licensed excursion, and you can read reviews. You can also book these on the ship either from your room or at the desk on board if you want to wait.

There are many different kinds of shore excursions, but some favorites are swimming with the dolphins, para sailing, and scuba diving.

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I’m about to go on a cruise myself for my anniversary, so I’m pretty excited! We’ve also got a couple going with us that are on their honeymoon. Going with another couple is always a ton of fun.

Have you been on a cruise before? What lines have your cruised with?

Check out Carnival’s site for pricing and availability. http://www.carnival.com

Brooke

Edwards-Lovell Wedding

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Meghan Edwards chose the Robert S. Kerr Conference Center and Museum, or as it’s known to the locals Kerr Mansion, of Poteau, Oklahoma for her wedding and reception. Her colors were champagne and guava. The budget was $10,000.

The wedding took place on the lawn of the mansion, overlooking the drop off.

She chose to use artificial flowers for the bouquets and centerpieces, and smaller tables for intimacy for the dinner time reception.

A collage of the wedding day!

Top left-aisle marker, top right- the wedding set up, bottom left-bubbles for the guests, bottom right-fans for the guests.

I realize this is a wedding that took place nearly a year ago! But I thought I would bring it out for my new category of past events, as it was one of my favorites. Kerr Mansion was a gorgeous back drop for this wedding, and the colors were perfect for the weather and the brides personality.

Have you been to an event at Kerr Conference Center? Was/is guava or champagne in your wedding?

Brooke