Mayans in Cancun, Mexico | Exploring Mayan History Steps from the Beach

The most well-known Mayan ruins and archaeological sites are in the interior of Mexico and Central America which can be difficult to visit, often requiring long car or bus rides.  The nearest airport to Chichen Itza is Cancun and then it is still several hours travel by car.  There are two noteworthy Mayan sites located within Cancun.

El Rey
El Rey
El Rey
El Rey

El Rey is located along the Hotel Zone of Cancun, tucked away behind large trees and a small sign.  For 43 pesos (per person) this hidden gem is an old Mayan village for exploration.  The area surrounding the structures is cut back leaving very little shade.  The site opens at 8 AM for the coolest temperatures.  There are plenty of signs in both Spanish and English translation.

View of modern hotel in the distance at the El Rey site
View of modern hotel in the distance at the El Rey site

The entire site takes less than an hour to walk and take a few photos.

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The Mayan Museum, Museo Maya de Cancun, is just down the street from the El Rey site.  The museum opens at 9 am, one hour later than El Rey, allowing for a full morning of Mayan history. At a mere 57 pesos, the entrance fee is one of the best bargains in Cancun!

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White Tanks Mountain Hiking Destination in Arizona

The White Tank Mountain range is located on the far West side of metro Phoenix, within the edge of Maricopa County. Not as popular with hikers in the summer due to the brutal heat, this becomes a popular mountain trail in the cooler months.

The views are spectacular with a variety of hiking trails of several levels of difficulty to accommodate everyone.  The Waterfall trail is even wheelchair & stroller friendly. Best of all, the park is dog friendly, so bring your pup along for a great day outside enjoying the spectacular desert beauty.

Don’t let the name fool you, the waterfall trail is often a small trickle in dry season. After a big rain storm, like the summer monsoon season, the waterfall is flowing and cool. A few special days, the waterfall is big enough to form a small pool for a quick, refreshing dip.

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Seattle and Tacoma Glass Tour | Exploring the Pacific Northwest Glass Art Scene

More than just the home of Starbucks, Seattle and nearby Tacoma in Washington state are a Mecca for  glass art.  In every hotel, street corner, Seattle center, and all around the Seatac area are beautiful displays of glass.  On many earlier trips I noticed the glass, but never knew the story.

On this visit to Seattle I found myself in Tacoma for 4 days and 3 nights in the middle of my Seattle visit.  I remember driving through and around Tacoma, but this was the first time that I spent more than a few hours there.  Over the course of these few days, I discovered a few things. Continue reading “Seattle and Tacoma Glass Tour | Exploring the Pacific Northwest Glass Art Scene”

USS Midway Museum Historic Naval Aircraft Carrier, Floating Treasure in San Diego, California

The USS Midway Aircraft Carrier has an impressive history as a working Aircraft Carrier from 1945 until 1992.  It is now a museum ship open to the public for tours.  

The star of the show is certainly the aircraft carrier, with supporting roles of the wide variety of helicopters, small planes, jets and other engineering marvels.

Helicopters

This floating treasure is full of history, fun for families, and a delight for engineering fans. Plus the view from the aircraft carrier deck is not to be missed!

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Lyndhurst Castle | Fairy Tale Manor in New York

I love Castles!  Gothic architecture is so enchanting, like a Fairy Tale come to Life.  I was so excited to visit Lyndhurst Mansion in New York state.  Nicknamed Lyndenhurst for the beautiful linden trees on the property, it is formally known as the Jay Gould estate for people without any imagination, named for previous Railroad tycoon owner.  For the rest of us, this country house and surrounding 67 acre park is an American mini-Castle waiting to be explored.

Front view from the road
Front view of the Lyndhurst estate from the road

porch view2

Overlooking the Hudson river, it is easy to forget how close this is to the most populous city in the United States (NYC).

Castle from rear knoll view
Castle from rear knoll view

Sunset over the Hudson
Sunset over the Hudson

I was surprised that my group were the only visitors at the time, since this treasure is free admission to the public and open from dusk until dawn daily.  While the building themselves were locked tight during our visit, we were allowed full access to explore the grounds including the outbuilding and stables.

Stables
Stables

There is a running trail along the parameter that would make for a nice romantic stroll and picnic.  The estate has plenty of quiet areas, strategically placed benches, and wonderful little details at every turn.

Porch Bench

Porch Bench

The gorgeous estate is the best of architecture, serenity, and style wrapped up in historical charm.

outbuilding sign
Outbuilding with sign