Nashville, Tennessee: The Grand Ole Opry

I'm continually amazed at the community of women I have met in my journey of travel and exploration. I've met women who are hard on me for my writing style, kind to me regarding my stories and relating to me regarding my vision.

My trip to Nashville, Tennessee was no different. Not only was I able to connect with women IN Nashville, Tennessee, but before the trip as well.

The vision for this trip was two-fold: attend a women's business conference AND go to the Opry! Since I was a little girl I had always wanted to attend. So for me to go and have a childhood dream happen is amazing!

Nashville, Tennessee

I wanted to invite you to a story. A story that has been told and experienced for decades. It's one of heartbreak, but also one of ambition and success. A story of community. I'm doubtful there is another stage in the world with such a sense of community and family that resonates and draws people to it.

The Stage

The Opry began over 90 years ago on a radio broadcast in Nashville, Tennessee. It has had singers and performers stand on its stage for decades, names like Tim Mcgraw, Johnny Cash, Dollly Parton and Alan Jackson. This radio program then allowed for the platform to move to a stage and onto creating Nashville, Tennessee as the Music City we know today.

Millions of people each YEAR travel to Nashville, Tennessee to see this stage and be a part of history.

You can still tune in and hear the Opry via 650 WSM, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, syndicated radio, opry.com, via social media, and on mobile devices. If you can't make it to the stage in person, its worth a listen via these options.

Nashville, Tennessee

The Singers

Nashville, Tennessee

The Opry performances are held in two places: The Grand Ole Opry House and the Ryman Auditorium.

The Grand Ole Opry House seats 4,400 fans. The Opry’s famous former home (and winter residence and also where I saw the show), the Ryman Auditorium, seats 2,200. Approximately 6,024 songs are performed during Opry shows each year!!

This is a lot of music folks! No wonder Nashville, Tennessee is considered Music City!

The singers we enjoyed are listed below:

The Grand Ole Opry House seats 4,400 fans. The Opry’s famous former home (and winter residence), the Ryman Auditorium, seats 2,200. Approximately 6,024 songs are performed during Opry shows each year.

Connie Smith

Entertainer at heart and a legend at the Opry. She filled our ears with Amazing Grace and our hearts with laughter!

Chuck Wicks

Chuck Wicks

I knew him well from a song called "Stealing Cinderella." He sang a song that night that entertained. "Old School" was the name of the song, and if you are looking for a song that feels like summer, go check him out!

Nashville, Tennessee

Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press

You guys! This team of musicians brought me home. I mean they really made me step back in time and gave me ALL the feels! They sang a song that is sung across Tennessee to unite and create some Tennessee pride! Give it a listen and let me know what you think. But respect the bluegrass sound before going in... the talent is outstanding.

Mike Snider

Mike Snider

If you are looking for a comedy act AND some musical talent, this is your main man. A very clean comedian and at heart, its a family friendly act. Don't just laugh at his jokes, but appreciate his musical abilities as well.

Nashville, Tennessee

William Michael Morgan

If the name doesn't stir up a vision of a country music singer, not much else will. The man in the cowboy hat, jeans and boots is the perfect description of this artist. His hit "Missing" was sung that night and its a classic tune of running away from your problems and enjoying life!

Nashville, Tennessee

LOCASH

High energy, extreme entertainment and lots of laughs later, we realized we had seen the group LOCASH. They came in on stage with a bang. LOCASH is a perfect description of the variety that the Opry allows on its platform. In their song "I Love This Life," you will find yourself enjoying and appreciating your own life.

Nashville, Tennessee

Ricky Skaggs

Another country music icon who has grown with the Opry itself. I grew up listening to him and loved knowing I lived in the same area. If you are looking for that classic, country twang then Ricky Skaggs is your best bet.

The Whites

The Whites

Wife to Ricky Skaggs belongs to this talent of women. The talent is not lost on their audience. If you want to see a wonderful addition to Ricky's music, go give them a listen.

Doyle Lawson

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

The beauty I saw in this group of musicians is the mentor relationship. It shows that Doyle himself loves his musicians. You knew they were a team and that they learned from their leader. He allowed them all to play a major role in supporting him as a musician. His sparkling jacket and hat didn't hurt in the attraction factor.

Bradley Walker

Bradley Walker

Gospel hymns are what Bradley is best known. He sings with soul, conviction and strength. He has been seen on the Oak Ridge Boys and also the Gaither Band. He is well known in the Bluegrass community as well as Christian. You will no doubt be inspired by his gifts and abilities!

The Diverse Audience

If none of these artists have inspired you to at least appreciate country music, this next part will.

When sitting in such a historical location, a person can feel nostalgia and the romance. Like I said earlier, all the feels! But I wanted to take the time to speak to the culture of Nashville, Tennessee. Music City is not known for bringing in the newest and youngest stars. They are not known for only allowing the older generation to stifle the creativity.

Music City stands out for its culture of including all ages, all demographics. I sat in the Ryman Auditorium in absolute awe of the diverse group of people sitting there. In front of me sat a woman who was every bit of 90 years old. She was bee-bopping to LOCASH, while there was a child in the pew next to me slapping his knee to Bobby Osborne.

You see, Nashville Tennessee brings people together like very few destinations can do. It allows for creativity and talent. It allows boys and girls to dream of what they can do and create. It allows the older generations to appreciate the memories they have of sitting around a radio with their parents.

The imagery was beautiful and so profound. In a world that screams independence, we all still need each other... and the Opry allows for this exact thing.

Have you been to the Opry? We'd love to hear your story!

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Deeper Guide to Abaco Bahamas

Abaco Bahamas are known for their widespread white and pink beaches. They are known as well for their hospitality. From the moment you step foot off boat or plane you are welcomed with open arms and a huge smile.

Abaco Bahamas

The Bahamas alone consist of 700 islands and cays! That is enough islands to explore for the rest of your life. From Treasure Cay, Great Guana Cay, or Elbow Cay, there is enough variety for anyone to enjoy themselves thoroughly!

The part of the Bahamas I want to explore for you in this post is the Abacos. Abaco Bahamas are a string of islands on the northern section of the Bahamas. 

Abaco Bahamas are called the boating capital of the world. You will see boats for cruising, recreation, work and public transportation. The locals use the ferries to get to and from work and the tourist use boating to fish, snorkel, dive and explore.

I want to share with you our favorite places in Abaco Bahamas, some famous spots but also some lesser known fantastic little spots! Come on and join us for this little get away!!

Abaco Bahamas

Hope Town Lighthouse

I've written about lighthouses before, here and here. This specific lighthouse is located on Elbow Cay, which is one of the most eastern points in Abaco. You can obviously see the beauty of this beacon in the night.

Abaco Bahamas

Pulling into the Hope Town inlet, the lighthouse will be on your right. It also will make you feel like a kid again! The Hope Town harbor itself is sprinkled with color. Actually all of this charming little town is sprinkled with color! Hope Town is the town on Elbow Cay and it has the cutest little shops with artists and boutiques!

Next up on this list:

Treasure Cay

This next cay is our favorite location in all of Abaco Bahamas...

Treasure Cay!

Treasure Cay is located just a hop skip and a jump west, northwest of Hopetown. If you're looking for an energetic night life, a loud and club like atmosphere, then Treasure Cay is not the place for you!

If on the other hand you are looking for relaxation, sprawling white beaches and sunshine... this is YOUR cay to visit! I do not just want to mention the Cay itself, but a specific place.

Cafe la Florence is known for their cinnamon rolls. Check them out!

Treasure Cay Bahamas

Is your mouth watering? It should be! They're fluffy, sweet and delectable! Satisfying to say the least. Usually people come visit the cafe with these cinnamon rolls in mind, but I want to show you a different option.

The cafe makes the most AMAZINGLY good grits. Yes, I said grits!! You may not be a "grits person," but after you try these... you will be. I will recommend these any day of the week and any time of the year. Go check them out! Tell them we sent you! Don't forget to order a cup of coffee too.

Great Guana Cay

Leaving Treasure Cay, head north east and you will land in the Great Guana Cay. This cay is seven miles long and has some of the best snorkeling in the Abacos. A huge reef is on the ocean side of the island and you will not be disappointed in what you see!

Guana Cay Bahamas

There is a very famous restaurant on Great Guana called Nippers. Now if you're up for the wild night life, here's the place to go! Nippers is known for their parties for the locals and tourists alike.

Guana Cay Bahamas

Again, I would like to show you a little different spot.

The place: Mermaids

The food: the best and freshest around!

The owners: hospitable!

This is our recommendation for lodging. The beds are comfortable, the water and electricity works (can't say this for everywhere in the Bahamas) and they will treat you like family. Beautiful and stunning destination!

Guana Cay Abaco

If you're headed to the Bahamas anytime soon, I hope you'll head on over to the Abacos. Warm and welcoming, you will find yourself coming back again and again as we do!

Have you been to Abaco? If you have, leave us a comment and let us know your favorite spots! We will try them out next time we go.

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Abaco Bahamas

Bahamas Vacation: Adventure to West End by Boat

http://www.oldbahamabay.com

C.S. Lewis once said, “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?” I believe this is the mindset we had on this Bahamas vacation. While gripping our seats in anticipation of the next wave to jolt the boat, we also had a peace we were doing what we knew we were made to do! Never in a million years would we have thought we would have the opportunity to travel and explore and meet so many new people… and get paid to do it! I’m getting ahead of myself, but follow along as we explore the highlights of our Bahamas vacation to West End. This will be a two-part series. One about the destination and the next one involving some of the most hospitable and hardworking people we’ve met!

Bahamas vacation

It all started with a business relationship that we had built through the selling of some boats. Mr. Sweeting, our customer, had sold a boat through us and then quickly bought another one to replace the previous one. It was a fast turn of events, but when you discover a good deal, one has to jump on it! So, we did. We jumped on the sale of this boat and delivered it to Mr. Sweeting in the Bahamas.

The crossing over to our Bahamas Vacation:

This was going to be our kids’ first trip across to the Bahamas and they were absolutely stoked! What a vacation opportunity over Labor Day weekend! The joy of packing their bags, their excitement of exploring new territory, and the fear of the unknown could be felt as we stepped aboard this beauty of a boat.

bahamas vacationbahamas vacation

We left North Palm Beach Saturday about 8am and headed directly east toward West End. The trip itself would only take about 3-4 hours, the closest Bahamas location to the United States. We have been to other places in the Bahamas, you can read about one trip HERE, but this trip was uncharted land for us.

The crossing was a little rougher than we had anticipated, and that made the kids a little edgy. But eventually they, yes, all three, and took a nap.

bahamas vacationbahamas vacation

In the beauty of that stillness, I had time to reflect on the amazing ability of travel to transform your life… through culture, through relationships, through experiences. We desperately want to share with you these experiences so that you too can be inspired to get out of your comfort zone and experience people that are different than you. It adds value! One of our passions and desires is to dive deeper into a culture, to immerse ourselves in it and come out having a more rooted and more enriched life because of what others can pour into it.

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Bahamas Vacation and Checking into customs:

We landed about noon and had to check into customs. Again, the kids were overjoyed to watch the customs agents stamp their passports! Our oldest has stamps in his passport to Mexico and Guatemala, but for our youngest two, this was their first stamp… a rite of passage per say.

bahamas vacation

To check into customs when arriving by boat rather than plane is slightly different, but not so much. You’ll need your passports of course! You’ll also need your boat’s registration. All of your boat’s information must be included, size, net tons, power behind the boat, builder and make of the boat. Also, you will need the vessels state regulation papers and Coast Guard documentation papers and papers to whatever state or country the boat is registered. (Are you getting the idea lots of papers are needed?)

The Bahamas specifically want to know what is of value on board the boat, such as generators, electronics and motors. Customs wants to know your float plan: where you are going and when you are leaving. Last but not least, you will have to pay their fee per size of the boat and the amount of people on board the vessel. It may seem like a lot of information, but in reality, it should be on board the boat anyway.

bahamas vacation

While waiting with some wiggly children, a customs lady came up to us and told us about a Junkanoo carnival that was going to be happening and a crab race later that evening! We were all anxious to get out and explore!

Bahamas Vacation and Exploring:

I wish you could have seen our daughter’s face the first time she saw the beauty of this Bahamas vacation! She is one who sees the world through rose colored glasses… I mean literally. Everything in her eyes is pink! After this trip, she’s changed her favorite color to blue!! (This is no small thing to part with!) There’s nothing like the water in the Bahamas. Its welcoming, calming, and alluring. Besides the people, the Bahamas main attraction, in our eyes… is the water. It will change your life. Don’t simply take our word for it!

bahamas vacation

We stayed at Old Bahama Bay. Stunning views, amazing service and just plain fun! The rooms themselves are set up in larger looking homes, six rooms per home. It makes the rooms feel more like a beach cottage than a hotel room. We got one king size bed, and a pull-out couch. The rooms are not the only thing this Bahamas vacation boasted.

Bahamas vacation

Just a step outside the back deck was an array of amenities. Free kayaks, shuffleboard, pool, snorkeling, and Connect Four were awaiting us to dive in and have some fun.

http://www.oldbahamabay.comhttp://www.oldbahamabay.comhttp://www.oldbahamabay.com

Before moving on, Ben had to get someone set up to wash the boat. Just like our last Bahamas trip, we were able to meet some fantastic people, who provided even better service! His name was Gary. Don’t miss next week’s post on Gary and a few others!

While Ben finished up with new found friend Gary, the kids and I ordered some fresh fish and nachos for a late lunch. Everything we ordered was cooked just as we asked for with some out of this world service. Harold was another local that greeted us. Later we found out he was in charge of the crab races!

Before these crab races began though, we wanted to get in some snorkeling. This activity has been THE one thing we have been aching to get the kids out and experience. There’s nothing like being face to face with a sting ray or barracuda to realize there is a Creator out there, and he has designed so many magnificent creatures that all ebb and flow and work together to form this great place we call planet Earth!

Diving in first was our youngest of course. In his first visit to the Florida Keys, he dove down at the age of 3 to try and pull lobsters out of their cave. He has no fear! So, keeping in his personality, he was enthralled with all the variety of fish. Our daughter was enchanted by the beauty and display diversity of colors. Our oldest was examining the clarity of the water and the habitats of each individual species. We are all created and designed so uniquely and with such drastically different perspectives!

Next, we jumped in the kayaks to get even more energy out by swimming and jumping off them into that same blue water that compelled us in the first place.

Bahamas Vacation

Bahamas Vacation and the Culture:

In the midst of diving off the kayak, the sound of the music blaring and the beat of the drum steadily got louder, and we knew it was time for the Junkanoo parade and the crab races! No time to waste, off we ran to explore what culture experience was around the corner.

Bahamas Vacation

You have to experience Junkanoo, it is a long time celebrated street carnival. It’s an obvious celebration, and not a thing is boring or dull in this vibrant display. It’s part of the Bahamian culture and a beautiful display of dancing, dress up and joy. Splashes of color dance across the horizon as the dancing never slows.

Our favorite though, was the crab races. Watching the kids partake in that, made me want to cast my vote for the fastest crab to dart (I use this term lightly) out of the circle to escape. Harold told the kids, in his most dramatic and entertaining voice, that they imported the crabs from exotic places to be with them. What’s more exotic than the Bahamas?

Bahamas VacationBahamas Vacation

The kids had a blast, and we did too. Knowing that someone like Harold was truly caring about all the children and had our interests and entertainment at heart… it was refreshing. In a society that seems to scream independence… we all still need each other.

 

That night as our heads hit the pillows in exhaustion, we had such gratitude that this Bahamas vacation welcomed us with open arms, that our Creator gave us desires and abilities to get us to places like this, and that there are people like Harold, Gary, and Mr. Sweeting all over the world to connect with in order to help each other!

We hope this blog post encourages, motivates and nudges you to travel more, experience culture and people you’ve never met before! It brings joy and experiences you could never have elsewhere!

 

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Do You Need Last Minute Packing Tips?

You’ve done your research. Planned your destination in paradise. Ran the numbers in the budget to make sure its affordable. Booked your hotel. But… you’ve yet to get around to packing! This is us! Last minute packing is how we roll! Follow along for some ideas on how you can grab your bag and hit the road!

Bahamas

We are headed this weekend for a trip to the Bahamas, with three kids, by boat! We are overjoyed, delighted and so grateful for this opportunity. If you’ve read our previous post on FAMILY, then you’ll see WHY our hearts belong in the Bahamas.

travel quote

All of our planning and packing accompanies a joy unspeakable. When you know you’re doing what you were made to do, it brings a satisfaction like nothing else this world can offer. We all were designed by a Creator with amazing gifts and talents that no one else in the world possess. How… CREATIVE! This is where we, Linen and Latitudes, have the ability to shine, thrive and flourish.

Sky view Bahamas

A dynamic and powerful part of the world that we are a part of is building relationships. Yes, we are excited about a boat ride. Absolutely, we are thrilled to be heading to the Bahamas. Unquestionably, we are stoked to give our kids opportunities in this way. But more than any of that, we love the relationships we get to build. The people’s stories we get to tell. The lives that are changed in our family and others through opportunities like this.
Lucky Duck Boutique
So, grab your suit case and use our quick last minute packing list to get you out the door and onto building those relationships more quickly!

Bahamas

Last minute packing tips:

SNACKS. And lots of them and even more importantly… a variety! I would like to say if you’re packing for kids on a trip to bring along all the snacks! But… we all need those munchies to keep us going. Plus, this tip cuts down on convenience store purchases! So, bring a small cooler and fill it with some of our suggestions for your last minute packing preparations.

fruit snacks

For a smoother, more pleasant ride, pack: granola bars (a few different kinds), water bottles, bananas, gum, juice boxes, cold brew coffee, bottle of wine, lunch meat and crackers (for homemade “Lunchables”), Goldfish crackers, and trail mix. For all of our trips we almost always bring all the things.

CLOTHES. Clothes may sound nonsensical, but stick with me here! Yes, you will remember to bring clothes, but very often we run out the door for a quick weekend getaway and forget pajamas, underwear and swim suits! We never travel anywhere that water in some form is not involved. If we forget a swim suit, it can break the bank! So, don’t forget those top three needed items in your luggage! If you’re last minute packing, I’ve added a check list as well! You can also check out my Shop Style Account for inspiration.

packing last minute

TOILETRIES. You’re going to remember to bring shampoo, right? Well, if you don’t, here is your last minute packing reminder. I wanted to point out some other often-forgotten items. First on the list is sunscreen! For us, again, we are usually in some form of tropical climate and sunscreen is a must. Next on the list is pain reliever such as Excedrin or Ibuprofen. If you’re packing with kids, don’t forget their Motrin. I hate to say it, but we’ve been on a trip and one of our kids will wake up in the middle of the night with a fever. It saves on time and energy to just grab the bottle from home and have it ready.

ELECTRONICS. The thought to bring your cell phone may be a no brainer as well. In an over connected society we always have electronics. It makes it easier for us to work on the road and for our kids to have another form of entertainment. We also work really hard in our family to keep the electronics to an extreme minimum, but sometimes they do come in handy.

last minute packing

For your electronics, don’t let the chargers slip your mind! I Phone chargers, tablet chargers, and laptop chargers should be on the list! We have so often gone into a store to buy yet another charger simply because we rushed out the door and forgot! Maybe I’m speaking only to myself here, but don’t fail to remember your chargers!

TOYS FOR KIDS. For those who have children, don’t forget to pack their favorite thing to sleep with! You may be able to run to the store for sunscreen, but this one will not be available at your closest shop on the corner. Also, pack them a bag activites. Coloring books, magnetic games, books to read, action figures, Barbie’s… but by all means please don’t pack Legos. I’m not speaking from experience or anything!

travel with kids

Search and find books are some of my kid’s favorites! They go great with Goldfish and a Capri Sun! I’ll eventually do a packing list for kids only, it will allow them to get their own things together and you can check it off the list together! Keep a lookout!

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GRAB AND GO BAG. If you’re anything like us, you may plan a weekend getaway often, or travel spur of the moment. Keep a bag with toiletries, underwear and chargers in it. Then most of the “grab and go things” are already in one spot! No more hassle!

last minute packing

PODCAST AND MOVIE DOWNLOADS. Do this at home before leaving! This isn’t an actual physical item that goes in a suit case, but if you can remember to download those favorite podcasts you’ve been dying to listen to, in the comfort of your own Wi-Fi, this is your best option! If the kids do have availability for screen time, then a movie gives more peace than a quick game that gets old after twenty minutes. So, before leaving the house, download freely!

TRANSPORTATION CHECK. If you’re really packing last minute, some of these things may be the farthest from your mind. So, check the gas, the oil and the tire pressure quickly before pulling out of town. A quick pull into the gas station before taking off the night before can save a ton of time in the morning. If going by car may not be your choice of transportation, then check the airline flight status and check-in with the airline the night before.

Boating in the Bahamas

Boating is our means of transportation, so we will be making sure the boat has enough fuel to get to our destination, that its engine function is running smoothly, all lines and anchors are readily accessible.  Please do not forget to check the weather as well. It will hinder your navigation route!

MISCELLANEOUS. For the final section of last minute packing, I wanted to add a few miscellaneous items. When you do begin your packing, don’t forget headphones, hair ties and passports!

I’ve often wanted to listen to that podcast that is different than the music my husband is enjoying, and I forgot those headphones!

I feel as if hair ties get up and walk away. One day I can buy 12 packs of them, and the next day I can’t find a single one! Am I the only one? Pack as many as you can find and bring them along!

travel with kids

And lastly, if you’re going abroad, don’t forget that passport!

Speaking of the passport, I better get to packing for our vacation destination to the Bahamas! I will be using this list today because we head out this afternoon!

 

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Ultimate Guide to Boca Grande

It seemed like just another small, Florida town… But this town, this town is different. Among the shops and the gorgeous coast line… there exists a history and charm that you cannot find anywhere else! The town is Boca Grande, Florida.

As if the palm trees, the beaches, the sunshine aren’t enough to get a tourist to visit… we wanted to show you some of the more special places that we discovered on our trip!

Boca Grande is also known as Gasparilla Island, and boasts of a beautiful location on the Gulf Coast of Florida between Sarasota and Naples. The incredible area is packed full little gems… and they’re not all on found on the white sand beaches.


History of Boca Grande:

Boca Grande’s history is rich in stories of fisherman, railroads, Native Americans and even PIRATES. In the early 1900’s Gasparilla was named after a legendary pirate, Gaspar. I’ve done a lot of reading on this guy, and he comes out more mysterious after all the reading than he was before! If you want another good read on this guy check out, Rum Shop Ryan’s post.

Fishing:

If you’re a fisherman, you need to be here! Boca Grande has long been known for its attraction to fisherman everywhere. In 1914, there was even a fish house built simply to attract commercial fisherman and their families. It is also famous worldwide specifically for its tarpon fishing. If you love to fish, check out the island from April-July. You will not be disappointed!

As for our trip though, we arrived the first week of August and most of the island itself is shut down for a season of rest. It didn’t bother us, because who doesn’t love an island almost to themselves?!?


Exploring Boca Grande:

When we arrived, we stopped off at Gasparilla Adventures! What a terrific shop!! You have the ability to rent bikes, golf carts, kayaks, and stand up paddle boards. Gasparilla Adventures will do guided tours as well. If you are a business owner, or even a family in need of reconnecting… they will do team building and family retreats! It is definitely a one stop shop for all your entertaining needs and WANTS on the island!

We got a chance to talk with Duane, the owner of Gasparilla Adventures! This man is phenomenal. He was quick to get back with us and pulled out the red carpet for our adventures to be had! (Who doesn’t LOVE fast service!) We asked Duane to give us some background on himself and why he does what he does. He and his wife are also involved in team building in other fantastic locations around the states! Resort Outfitters provides services at many of America’s finest resorts including The Broadmoor, The Greenbrier, The Hotel Hershey and The Omni Homestead. Check them out if you’re in town! The service and hospitality was phenomenal! They have a place to rest your head at night after all of those exciting things to do, and its name has been re branded as Grand Flats! Check it out on Air B&B.

But… guess which rental from Gasparilla Adventrues that we chose!

After we got settled into our golf cart, we took off! Boca Grande is so quiet, almost story book like in how it feels. Mangroves whimsically reach and stretch across paths all across the island, just big enough for golf carts and bikes alike.

The air is fresh, salty and clean.

The lizards scurry across the path just in time to reach their next sun bathing appointment.

And the sun… the sun is warm, of course, but it lends itself to a lazy day drenching yourself in its rays.

 

Boca Grande Lighthouses:

Drive through the island on your golf cart! You can’t help but come across one out of two of its gorgeous lighthouses! It’s sturdy and strong, and everything a lighthouse is meant to be! It made for a perfect opportunity for a photo shoot before heading on down to the south end of the island.

At the very south tip of Boca Grande lies Boca Grande’s second lighthouse, the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse. We were very anxious to get up to touch this lighthouse. When we did, on August 2, we saw they closed August 1 for the season. That’s OK though, we will be back!

This lighthouse has the wrap around porch that’s only seen in movies, or read about in novels. I’m pining for a front porch like that one day!

From the lighthouse porch, you can see far and wide. I appreciate the perspective change that happens when you climb a simple set of steps. From there you can see the world in a new light, a new view, and just take a deep breath.

Beaches:

Next we took a walk down to the shore line. Here on the island you can find the current rushing bold and brave to cut a pass through the islands into Charlotte Harbor. I really love being in a place where you know that there were people before you that have gone and lived and survived. Boca Grande pass reminds me of this very thing. You can see it rushing through and can almost sense the history of past fishermen, navigating these waters to bring in their catch for the day.

While walking the beach we saw something in the water! At first, we thought it was a dolphin, but with closer inspection we noticed it was a manatee!! I have never in my life seen a manatee PLAYING in the waves! It was so unbelievable. I attempted a photo, but I could not do it justice! See how CLOSE he was to the shore line??

Connections:

We also saw a dear, local fisherman helping a tourist survey the coastline for this manatee. How CUTE is this picture. Do you see him holding her hand so she doesn’t slip? We all need each other!!

After visiting Boca Grande in August, it’s very clear to us that we will be returning. Our next stay we already have planned and it will be at Sunsets In Boca. A fantastic spot on the beach with a fabulous view of the Gulf of Mexico!

The owners have a clear idea of what Boca Grande is all about! Chris and Kelly are their names. Chris has been vacationing in Boca Grande since high school, and he just couldn’t get enough! He must have fantastic negotiating skills because he convinced his parents to purchase a condo. After he was married, he convinced his wife of the same thing. Now he has successfully gotten us to head that way again! If you’re in the area, look them up! And check them out on Instagram!

Jelly fish in Boca Grande, Florida

Boca Grande is a perfect stop to explore outside your front door! Leave a comment below and let us know where you’re headed next!

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YOUR Top 6 Places to See in Jupiter, Florida

Do not visit Jupiter Florida until you read this!

Jupiter is a spectacular town with such variety a person could spend weeks here and never get bored! From quaint little surf shops to wide spread beaches, Jupiter is a one stop shop for all things Florida culture!

Jupiter Florida

This post is a little different from previous posts, but we do want to offer a variety of experiences when reading our blog.

This feature is informative and explanatory but also fun and relaxing. We hope you get a chance to check out this blog before you visit Jupiter Florida next!

Jupiter Florida

As we’ve said before, our goal is to travel to build relationships, but in that you have to see the local places to meet the local people!

Check out our top six places to see!

Jupiter Florida Lighthouse

For lighthouse lovers, which who doesn’t love a lighthouse… this is a definite one to see. It still shines bright for all seamen navigating their way to shore from one travel destination or another. Another option than just seeing it on the shoreline is to visit this lighthouse and take a climbing tour. 125 steps to the top, so make sure to wear your walking shoes!! It’s a landmark that leaves an impression on the hearts and souls of those seeing it shine in the night.

Jupiter Florida lighthouse
Jupiter Lighthouse

What does a lighthouse make you think about? Does it inspire you to be a light for others? Does it arouse hope in you that there is light and truth in the world and that it can be found?

Embassy Suites

This one isn’t technically IN Jupiter, Florida, but it should be your go to place to sleep. We wrote a blog about it HERE. We don’t only love it for the staff, but the rooms are ALWAYS clean and well maintained. There is always fresh and clean EVERYTHING. Amenities include a free and HOT breakfast, omelet bar (they’re good!!), seating area to view the hotel mascots (Bach and Beethoven) and the free candy bars and water bottles when you enter the doors. But seriously, check out our blog about our AMAZING friend Julienne!

 

Blueline Surf Company

This company does so much for the community! It’s only ONE of the reasons we love them. They carry your typical surf shop style clothing, but they also provide SO… MUCH… MORE!

Jupiter Florida surf shop

We walked in and asked if we could take some pictures and were welcomed with open arms. While Ben spoke to an employee, I took some pictures of the shop. Ben asked about what set them apart from other surf shops, and what they did with their love and appreciation for their community.

He responded with enthusiasm and excitement. He informed us of the surf camps they do with kids. I have seen these videos, and you guys… it is the fiber of the Jupiter, Florida culture. Surf, eat, sleep… repeat!

It is called Camp H2O and it is awe-inspiring what they do with these kids! Check it out! Also, they do not just surf with the campers, but they take it one step further and take the campers for ice-cream, let them swim in the local watering holes, and just chat with them. We all need each other… even kids!

Jupiter Florida

Also, if you find yourself in Jupiter and want to get out on the water, they have IT ALL… paddleboards, kayaks, surfboards, yoga, eco-tours.

Jupiter Florida surf shop
These are the boards our oldest son uses!

We were in the shop when a tourist had come in carrying a damaged surf board. These guys handled it with grace and patience, assuring the customer it happens often and how they could work together to get it fixed. Amazing staff, helpful and knowledgable!

 

Guanabanas

Across the street from Blueline is a restaurant we have read about on many blogs and it has been featured in so many places, for good reason!

Guanabanas

 

When you enter Guanabanas, you automatically feel as if you’ve been transported into an oversized tiki hut with a palm trees, lush flora and large stone walkways. Guanabanas is nestled on the Intracoastal and you can get to it by water or land. If you do choose to drive, it is valet parking only.

When we go, I usually try and order whatever the special is for the night. The options are endless, and we have never had any menu item that we’ve regretted. We all vote to absolutely get the plantains! No matter what else you order… GET THE PLANTAINS!

Guanabanas

After dinner, we headed on to our next favorite spot…

Jupiter Florida Inlet

This is Ben’s favorite spot in all of Jupiter. He could sit for hours and watch the incoming boats. This man loves boats! He notices all the differences in a boat’s hull design, the lines of the boat, the way the boat cuts through a wave, the way the hull throws water and the way the engines propel the boat through the water.2016 Summer Blowout Sale!

He often sits here and prays, contemplates life, is reassured about his calling, and his peace is restored. God has made us so differently, and encourages us each in a way that speaks so directly into our souls. He can do that, because he knows us intimately and deeply. How do you communicate with your heavenly father?

Jupiter Florida

He’s a huge fan of a Bonefish boats (one day I will write a blog on that!) and all things sport fishing related! Just ask him, he will talk boats all day!

Jupiter Florida
Jupiter Florida inlet

 

Mangrove Lagoon

This will be YOUR absolute favorite spot in Jupiter Florida! Shallow, calm water… wildlife everywhere… mangroves intertwined. It is a place that is almost fairy tale in existence. We went exploring and just stumbled upon this lagoon. It is just behind the inlet. Nestled between palm trees and sandy walk ways.

Jupiter Florida

You can hang your camera bag in the mangroves and just keep going!

Jupiter Florida

The kids all enjoy climbing and this opportunity was no different. There is nothing more exciting than to feel like you’ve explored something brand new.

Jupiter Florida

As I studied the mangroves on this trip, I realized they are a lot like our goal for this blog. They themselves are intertwined, intermingled, relying on each other…

Should we be like that? When things go wrong, when life gets ugly, or we need to rejoice and celebrate… it is always better when we have each other! We need to be there to remind each other of our past, our future, our goals and dreams… we need to remember what Christ has done for us. He has conquered the evil in this world and we can stand firm in confidence like these mangroves. If you’re struggling in life, we all do, reach out to someone in your community. They may need you too!

Jupiter Florida

Look around in your life, who can be part of your mangrove lagoon? We would love to hear from you!

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