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Travel, United States

Q and C Hotel in New Orleans Review

January 14, 2019
Q and C Hotel New Orleans

Last week, I left on a cruise out of New Orleans, I needed to arrive the night before and as I was searching for a unique hotel to stay in and decided on the Q and C Hotel. The long name of the hotel is the Queen and Crescent City hotel. The hotel was renovated in 2014.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

The Room

One of the reasons I picked the Q & C Hotel is the pictures online were stunning. Of course, pictures can be deceiving. However, that was not the case at this hotel! The room was beautiful. As I mentioned, the hotel is in a historic building and much of the original features have been maintained, including hardwood floors and exposed brick.

Q and C Hotel New Orleans

The bed was very comfortable and had lots of pillows. Some were soft and some were firm, which was nice to have the option. Built into the bed frame were reading lamps and plugs. Actually, there were tons of plugs in the room, which I am always a fan of. The room is big but taken up by the best mostly. However, I found it was good for.

Q and C Hotel New Orleans

The bathroom was small but very nicely decorated. The toilet was too close to the wall and I am not sure why as there was plenty of space on the other side. The shower stall was narrow and if you are a larger person this might have been an issue. There was also no light in the shower stall making it a bit dark. However, I applaud the designers of the shower. The shower faucet was on the opposite wall from the shower head meaning my arm didn’t get drenched in cold water as I was turning it on. In the hundreds of hotels I have stayed in over the years, this has been one of the few hotels with this thought out correctly!

Q and C Hotel New Orleans

Another reason I loved this hotel is the Molton Brown bath products. They smell amazing and the shampoo and conditioner never fail to make my hair look good. Unfortunately for me the hotel was being environmentally friendly and had refillable bottles for the shampoo, conditioner and body wash. I did get to take the lotion with me!

Q and C Hotel New Orleans

The Bar and Reception

Much like the last boutique hotel, I stayed at in London, the reception area was more than just reception. Most of the lobby area was taken up with a bar/restaurant area. The food on offer is mostly light food and snacks. They do have a full-service bar and happy hour is from 4-7. If you arrive on a Tuesday-Thursday, they offer you a token for a free glass of their wine of the day.

Q and C Hotel New Orleans

The reception area also has several comfy chairs and sofas to relax on. There are also plenty of plugs in reception if you need to charge your phone or get some work done.

The Amenities

I drove to New Orleans from Dallas and New Orleans can be difficult to park in. Luckily, the hotel has valet parking. It is pricey at $39 a day plus tax. I did some research and this is actually one of the lower rates for valet parking in New Orleans. You could take the car in and out as needed. Having the car parked in a garage rather than on the street felt like a much safer option too.

If you are looking for a gym, the hotel offers one on site. Many boutique hotels do not offer this service, so this was a nice surprise.

Traveling with your pet? The Q and C Hotel is pet-friendly! I saw several dogs going in and out of the hotel while I was there. Check with the hotel for the other pets.

The Location

The Q and C Hotel is located in the heart of New Orleans. The French Quarter is less than a half a mile from the hotel. If you are going to New Orleans to party, then you are in luck as the hotel is also less than a half a mile from Bourbon Street. So not only can you walk back tipsy, but you can do so with your drink in hand. The Superdome is less than a mile making it a great choice if you are in New Orleans for a Saints game. Overall, you can’t beat the location.

Check out rates at Booking.com and Hotels.com for the Q&C Hotel in New Orleans.

 

Texas, Travel, United States

25 Great Things to do in Dallas

January 7, 2019

Things to do in Dallas

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

When I tell people that I am from Dallas, I usually get a response of how boring it is there. Lots of people want to come to Texas but have no desire to visit Dallas. Let me tell you though; there are tons of great things to do in Dallas! I have gathered an epic list of things to do in Dallas.

1. Visit the Dallas Arboretum

I will admit that I am biased towards the Dallas Arboretum because it is my favorite things to do in Dallas. I wrote a whole post about it here. The Dallas Arboretum is open all year long only closing for Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. There is so much going on at the Arboretum you could visit almost every day and find an event.

Things to do in Dallas

The most popular things that happen are the Dallas Blooms, the Pumpkin Patch and the 12 Days of Christmas. Dallas Blooms occurs in the spring and features tulips and other bulb blooming plants. The Pumpkin Patch happens in October and usually has a different theme every year. The 12 Days of Christmas are life-size displays of the song, including eight maids a milking and partridge and a pear tree.

Almost all year there are concerts outside called the Cool Thursdays Concert Series. Most of the artists are a cover or tribute bands. You can buy tickets for individual shows or the whole series.

Adult admission to the Dallas Arboretum is $15. Kids 2-12 access is $10. Photo courtesy of the Dallas Arboretum.

2. Bike White Rock Lake

The Dallas Arboretum overlooks White Rock Lake, which is technically a Dallas park. As a kid, my Dad and I used to bike the lake. Many people do this still today. The bike and hike trail is over 9 miles long. You can sail a boat on the lake, and many people kayak as well.

Things to do in Dallas

You will find people picnicking and walking their dogs here. There is also an off-leash dog park. I enjoy watching all the water birds that live at the lake, including ducks, geese, and pelicans. They like to hang out between the Arboretum and the Spillway. There are several points around White Rock Lake that offer great photo opportunities, especially at sunset.

Photo courtesy of the Dallas Arboretum.

3. Eat Tex-Mex

Speaking of eating, you can’t come to Texas and not have some Tex-Mex food. There are so many restaurants to choose from. In Dallas, my recommendations are Desperados, El Fenix, Javier’s, Herrera’s,  and Mesero.  Tex-Mex is personal though, and you might find you like some places better than others. Rarely have I had bad Tex-Mex in Dallas, so if you see a place you want to try, go for it!

Things to do in Dallas

My favorite Tex-Mex dishes are pretty simple. I love queso dip, sour cream chicken enchiladas, beef fajitas, chicken quesadillas, and street tacos. Of course, I like to have a margarita on the rocks with salt. For dessert, I like to get a pecan praline. It is brown sugar melted with milk and pecans hardened into a round shape. Some are soft though.

4. Catch a movie at The Angelika

What I love about this theater is that they show many movies that never play at other theaters. It shows films from film festivals from around the world. The theater also shows regular blockbuster movies. You can get assigned seating, which is crucial if you want to sit front and center during a showing of Star Wars! The Angelika is located at Mockingbird Station, making a great option for tourist visiting Dallas without a car.

5. Walk the Katy Trail

The Katy Trail used to be an abandoned railroad line that has been converted into a walking trail. It is a great place to walk, run or bike. The path is beautifully maintained with landscaping. There is a restaurant and beer garden on the trail called the Katy Trail Ice House. Both the trail and the Ice House are dog-friendly!

6. Visit the Dallas Museum of Art

The Dallas Museum of Art is a beautiful museum that incorporates all styles of art. They frequently have traveling exhibitions that are extremely good. There are events at the museum, and many of the events are geared towards children. The best thing is that general admission is free. Traveling exhibitions are usually a fee, and the price varies.

Things to do in Dallas

Photo by Thomas Hawk on Flickr

7. Nasher Sculpture Center

Right across the street from the Dallas Museum of Art, is the Nasher Sculpture Center. This outdoor sculpture garden hosts a variety of large sculptures in the garden. There are also some pieces inside the center. Admission is $10 for adults and kids under 12 are free. The first Saturday day of the month is free, and there are usually events on the day such as art making, art chats, and sketching.

8. See all of Downtown Dallas from Reunion Tower

One of the most iconic buildings in Dallas is Reunion Tower. It is a beautiful place to see much of the Dallas skyline. You can visit Reunion Tower during the day or at night. To see the views, purchase tickets for the GeO-Deck. Adult admission is $17, and kids 4-12 are $8. On the GeO-Deck is cafe so you can get a snack and a drink while you are there. There are plenty of ticket options for groups and if you want to visit both during the day and the night.

Things to do in Dallas

There is a restaurant as well called Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck. You do not need a GeO-Deck ticket to go to the restaurant or the bar. However, you can purchase discounted tickets from your server. The coolest thing about dining here is that the view constantly changes as the restaurant slowly rotates at all times. Reservations are recommended, and there is a dress code.

Photo by Daxis from Flickr

9. Play at Klyde Warren Park

Klyde Warren Park was built over a highway to meet the need of having a large green space in Downtown Dallas. Klyde Warren Park has become very popular. It has easy access from the Dallas Light Rail, and there is parking located nearby (although it is paid parking). There are food trucks, a splash park for kids, a leash-free dog park and plenty of green space. Events and activities are always happening at Klyde Warren Park.

10. Ride the McKinney Avenue Trolley

One of the stops for the McKinney Avenue Trolley is located right next to Klyde Warren Park. The trolley is free to ride! The trolley goes through the Uptown Neighborhood all the way to Downtown Dallas. It connects with the DART Light Rail System at some points as well. Not only it is a free transport option but fun to ride and see parts of Dallas.

Things to do in Dallas

Photo by bk1bennett from Flickr

11. Visit the Declaration of Independence

Dallas has its own copy of the Declaration of Independence. It is located at the Dallas Public Library. The document is one of the 25 original copies printed in 1776. It is free to see, and you can also see Shakespear’s first folio as well. The Declaration and the folio are located on the 7th Floor of the library.

12. Watch America’s Team in Person

The Dallas Cowboys, America’s Team, are a great entertainment option in Dallas. While the stadium is technically in Arlington, they are still the Dallas Cowboys. The stadium is relatively new and worth seeing if there isn’t a game going on. If you aren’t a Cowboys fan, maybe you can catch a game of them playing your home team! You can also arrange tours of the stadium. A guided tour is $32 for adults, and a child’s ticket is $27.

13. Catch the Sunset at the Omni Hotel

The Omni Hotel has a great rooftop pool and bar area. It offers incredible views of Reunion Tower and the sunset. The hotel is also a great option to stay at while visiting Dallas and all the things to do here. Click here to check rates at the Omni Hotel.

 

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14. Learn about JFK at the Sixth Floor Museum

Many American’s know about the assassination of John F. Kennedy and all the theories behind it. At the Sixth Floor Museum, you can learn more about JFK’ legacy and the trip he was on that brought him to Texas that fateful day. You can see the layout of the book depository and right outside it the grassy knoll that the Presidential motorcade passed.

Admission for adults is $18, and for kids 6-18 it is $14. You can also book a tour through Get Your Guide.

15. Eat at the Dallas Farmer’s Market

The Dallas Farmer’s Market is a great place to get something to eat in Dallas. The Market Shops offer a variety of places to eat from tacos to popcorn to seafood. On Friday, Saturdays and Sundays there is an actual market for fresh food products. Because the vendors are all regional, their offerings are seasonal in nature so you may not find blueberries in winter. While some vendors accept cards, it is best to have cash on hand.

Things to do in Dallas

16. Visit the Dallas World Aquarium

The name of the Dallas World Aquarium is slightly misleading. There is an aquarium, but I think the highlight is the Rainforest environment inside. You walk through a tropical forest that is filled with exotic animals. They even have sloths! Walk slowly, or you will miss some of the more well-hidden animals.

Admission for adults is $20.95, and it is $14.95 for kids 2-12.

17. Admire Dallas City Hall

The famous architect I.M. Pei designed Dallas City Hall. The building is an upside pyramid shape. In front is an open courtyard with fountains and places to sit. If you are visiting the Declaration of Independence at the Dallas Public Library, it is right across the street.

18. Explore the State Fair of Texas

The State Fair of Texas at Fair Park has been happening for over 100 years. There is something for everyone to do at the State Fair of Texas. You can visit the animals, see the awards given for pies and quilts, ride the amusement rides or have a Fletcher’s Corn Dog. The fair happens in the fall usually starting in late Septemeber continuing for about three weeks.

General admission for adults is $16.50, and kids are $12.50. Rides and food are extra. There are packages you can buy at a discount online as well. Look out for special offers for admission.

19. See the art at the Meadows Museum

One of the less known museums in Dallas is the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University. The Meadows Museum has a connection to the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, Spain. One of the founding collections of the museum is of Spanish Art. Many of the visiting exhibitions are Spanish related, but the museum doesn’t restrict to a specific style or period.

Adult admission is $12, and kids are free under the age of 12. Admission is free for all after 5 pm on Thursdays.

20. Visit the Original Neiman Marcus

The department store Neiman Marcus was founded in Dallas. The original store is located in downtown Dallas. It is the only department store located in downtown Dallas. At Christmas time, they have Christmas windows just like the major department stores do in New York City.

Things to do in Dallas

Photo by protoflux from Flickr

21. Look at Animals at the Dallas Zoo

The Dallas Zoo is an excellent option for things to do in Dallas especially if you are trying to entertain kids. They have all the things that most traditional zoos have, but they also have seasonal activities as well. During the holiday time, they have winter lights at night. There are also daily feedings of the giraffes that cost $5.

Admission for adults is $15 and kids aged 3-11 are $12. Kids under 2 are free.

22. Learn about Science and Nature at the Perot Museum

The Perot Museum new building was built in 2012. The Perot Museum is a uniting of the Dallas Children’s Museum and Dallas Museum of Natural History. The new museum features things like sports, a gem and mineral collection and the hall of birds. For the architecture enthusiast, you will be intrigued by the building, which was built by Thom Mayne. The building is designed to look like it is floating. Parts of the building feature drought-resistant plans to help the environment.

23. See the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge

This Calatrava bridge was opened in 2012. Originally it was planned as a combination of three bridges, but only two have been built and the third was canceled. Margaret Hunt Hill was an oil heiress and philanthropist. The bridge itself is great to admire. It is also a good place to photograph the Dallas skyline.

 

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24. Explore the George W. Bush Museum and Library

Explore more presidential history at the George W. Bush Museum and Library. This is another museum at Southern Methodist University making it a good place to stop if you are visiting the Meadows Museum. The topics covered in the museum include President Bush’s career and 9/11 information.

Adult admission is $16, kids ages 13-17 are $14, kids ages 5-10 are $10 and children under 4 are free.

25. Visit the Bishop Arts District

Hailed as Dallas’ Most Independent Neighborhood, the Bishop Arts District is worth visiting. There is something for everyone here. The shops are locally own shops that host a variety of goods, such as household products, gifts, Texas memorabilia, bookstore and plenty of bars and restaurants. Some of my favorites include Oddfellows, The Wild Detectives, Glorias and Cafe Brazil. The neighborhood also hosts events throughout the year, such as the monthly wine walk!

Have you been to Dallas? What is your favorite thing to do in Dallas? Check hotel options at Booking.com and Hotels.com.

Travel

My 2019 Travel Recommendations

December 31, 2018
My 2019 Travel Recommendations

Now that the year is ending, many people are starting to think about where they will travel in 2019. I read lots of travel sites and blogs as well as other travel bloggers. Based on my experiences and readings, here are my 2019 travel recommendations. Some of these 2019 travel destinations are my own opinion as well.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Georgia

Not the state of Georgia, but the country of Georgia. I visited Georgia in 2017, and I loved it. It isn’t popular yet, but I have seen some other travel bloggers visiting though. The benefits of this are that there are very few tourists and the prices are very cheap. However, Georgia is trying to join the European Union. Once that happens, things will definitely change.

My 2019 Travel Recommendations

The capital of Georgia is Tbilisi and has much to explore. Georgia is known for its wine and has one of the oldest wine regions in the world. Georgian cuisine was also fabulous. I don’t think we had anything frozen. I will mention that many of the dishes contained nuts, and strictly vegetarian options were hard to find.

If you are into skiing, Georgia has several ski options. We went to Gudauri as a day trip from Tbilisi. There was plenty of places to stop along the way for great photos, a historic church, and some shopping. I am not a skier, so I am not sure how the slopes or lifts compare to more popular ski areas.

Montenegro

Montenegro is another country I visited in 2017. The most popular towns to visit are Kotor and Budva. Kotor is located in the Kotor region, and the region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Kotor region includes the town of Perast, which was one of my favorite old towns in the area. Off the coast of Perast is a famous church located in the Bay of Kotor, Our Lady of the Rocks. The island it is built on is a man-made island. There are several boat operators that will take you over and back for about €5.

My 2019 Travel Recommendations

Many of the towns on the coast have historical old towns surrounded by city walls. I recommend you rent a car and drive to see them. It is a great way to see Montenegro, and it is such a small country the driving is easy. I spent five days in Montenegro and based myself out of Kotor and drove every day to a new town or two. Rent a car here!

Belize

Belize is one I see lots of travel bloggers visiting in 2018. They are visiting Belize City and many of the islands, which are accessible via ferry. The snorkeling and diving opportunities are definitely the draw here. Belize is home to the second largest coral reef in the world. There are also Mayan ruins in Belize.

The great thing about Belize is that it is a short flight from the US. For example, it is only a three-hour direct flight from Dallas. Another great reason to go is that it is warm there when it is cold in the US. I just checked the temperature, and it is 82 degrees! Sounds great to me.

Crete, Greece

As many of you know, I love Greece. However, I haven’t made it to Crete yet. It is on my long bucket list of places to visit. I see lots of people planning trips to Crete. The island is much bigger than so many of the Greek Islands, and you may be able to get a direct flight to Crete from Europe and the UK. The island is also much further south than Santorini, so the weather is warmer than other Greek Islands.

My 2019 Travel Recommendations

There is so much to see there as well. Crete is home to some beautiful beaches, including Balos Beach. There are also plenty of historic sites to see including castles and Spinalonga Island, the former leper colony. I recently read a novel book, The Island, about the colony there and it really made me want to visit.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is another place I visited in 2017. Many people I know abosolutely love Sri Lanka. I went for over a week and still didn’t see everything! There are tons of temples to visit and the natural scenery to admire. I stayed at one hotel that had a view of a river that had so many birds to watch.

My 2019 Travel Recommendations

The other highlight of the trip was seeing wild elephants in Minneriya National Park. There are lots of places to see them, but these are wild and protected in a park. The guides do not get close and have stringent rules about where they can go in the park. The park also had some fantastic birds, like storks!

Cordoba, Spain

Recently I read an article about Cordoba, Spain has the most UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world. I had no idea, and I have been to Spain. I am now making a plan to go back so I can visit this town. Cordoba is about a two-hour train ride from Madrid and is much less visited. That means fewer crowds than Barcelona or Madrid.

The most recently added site is the Medina Azahara. It was just added in 2018! Medina Azahara is a fortress and it’s about a 10-minute taxi ride from the city center. If you are visiting Cordoba in early May, look out for the festival that is UNESCO site. The Patios Festival is when 50 of the historical homes around the center open their patios to the public. This is a great way to meet locals and see how they live!

Booking.com

Copenhagen, Denmark

Lonely Planet has rated Copenhagen the #1 city to visit in 2019, and I couldn’t agree more. After a friend visited it a few years ago, I quickly saw the charm and wondered why I didn’t go with her. Who doesn’t want to visit a city with a permanent amusement park, a mermaid sculpture, and castle as its main attractions! Copenhagen definitely has something for every traveler.

My 2019 Travel Recommendations

The Kronborg Castle was made famous in Hamlet. During the summer, you can see Hamlet performed on an open-air stage in the castle. If royal families and palaces are more your thing, you can visit Amalienborg Palace, where the Danish royal family still reside. There are a museum and a changing of the guard every day at noon.

Botswana

Botswana has been on my list for a long time. Partly due to the series by Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. After reading these books, I did tons of research about Botswana and wanted to go even more. Going on safari has always been something I have wanted to do.

My 2019 Travel Recommendations

After doing my research, I know that when I finally do go, I want to visit the Okavango Delta. This is where the animals come during the rainy season to drink water. The pictures I have seen are stunning. Most people are still visiting Kenya to go on safari and visit the Maasai Mar and the people that live there. While that is appealing, I have also been one to want to go off the beaten path.

Guatemala

Another Latin American country has been popping up in my travel reading, and that is Guatemala. I think it gets overshadowed by Mexico and Costa Rica. Guatemala is filled with Mayan ruins. Many of these are not visited because of their locations in the northern part of the country.

My 2019 Travel Recommendations

If nature is your thing, then Guatemala will not disappoint. They have 37 volcanoes! Three of them are active volcanoes. You can hike many of them including the active ones with a guide. One of the volcanoes is located at beautiful Lake Atitlan, which is worth visiting for the beautiful lake alone.

Oman

For many people, visiting the Middle East is not even on their radar. However, I am here to tell you that you are missing out. Of course, I did live there for four years, so I am slightly biased. In 2016, a friend and I visited Salalah, Oman and I was stunned by how beautiful it is. During the summer, the monsoon season comes to Oman. The mountains turn into forests of green trees, and you can hardly see through the mist. It is almost like a jungle without monkeys. This happens because, in the south of Oman, the mountains meet the ocean.

Of course, there is more to Oman than Salalah and visiting Muscat in the north is a must do as well. Unlike other Middle Eastern countries, Oman does not have money from oil, so the society is still very traditional. Omanis are very friendly and happy to have you visiting their country. Visiting both Muscat and Salalah is an excellent way to see what the Middle East is like without all the glitz, although Muscat has some glitz if you want it!

As you can see my list has lots of options for all kinds of travelers. I hope that you are inspired to visit a new place in 2019! What are you 2019 travel plans? Share with us in the comments!

** All photos courtesy of Unsplash

Travel

Merry Christmas

December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Merry Christmas! I hope you are spending today and tomorrow with your family or friends. That is exactly what I am doing so there will be no new travel post today. Thank you all for your continued reading of my site, I am so grateful for each of you. Enjoy the holiday, and I will see you all next week!