Labor Day at the Last Minute

This past weekend was Labor Day weekend and although I had to work on Saturday, we still managed to fit in a brief get away.  My husband and I love to travel and frequently do quick weekend trips to some of our favorite hangouts. We seem to gravitate toward the water here in Michigan (maybe because there’s water everywhere lol) but this time we decided to try a new… or newer destination. We had both been here before but not in a very long time. I think I was in high school!! We visited none other that Frankenmuth MI.

Welkommen

Frankenmuth is a couple hours north east of us, and seemed like a good fit for a quick stop vacation. We however didn’t take into account that this was after all a holiday weekend in a tourist town. We didn’t make reservations ahead and upon arriving found that all of the hotels were fully booked except the Frankemuth Motel. Now, I’m not usually a fan of Motel’s but this was a surprise, a little dated but clean, spacious, and the staff was very friendly. It was a quick walk from there to the Main st. action.

Frankenmuth_Motel.jpg

Once checked in we traveled over to main street to see what was happening there are a tons of little shops and specialty stores.  We walked and walked, stopped by the Historical Museum, listened to the Glockenspiel, walked the historic covered bridge, and took in the sites…Did I mention that this place is literally coated in tons and tons and tons of gorgeous flowers!!

Frankenmuthflowers1

They had flowers everywhere lining the streets, hanging from the light poles, across all the building fronts, it was beautiful! In the evening we visited “the Tavern” a local hangout bar, it was OK. traveled from there to Tiffany’s there we had a couple of drinks and appetizers, and shared a dessert. It was a nice quiet laid back evening.

The next day we had lunch at Zehnder’s. They are famous for the chicken dinner served family style with all the delicious sides you can eat. We opted out of an all you can eat menu and order individual meals.

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Now I usually order a pretty healthy entree’ I’m not overly picky but I don’t like a lot of heavy food especially early in the day.  So I thought I’ll play it safe and order a hot chicken sandwich… This was not an ordinary chicken  sandwich…

What I thought I was getting… Chicken on sandwich bread or bun with lettuce, tomato, etc… something like this…

Chicken sandwhich

What I actually got was a monotone plate covered in gravy! It was like drowning in gravy lol. Everything gravy…gravy…gravy…gravy…

Zehnders chick sand

Although not what I was expecting I ate it and it was delicious and I was super sleepy the rest of the day lol.

We let our food settle after that on the Bavarian Belle Riverboat tour, this is a nice relaxing tour of the river and the surrounding hotels and establishments there is an entertaining tour guide telling you about the boat, the covered bridge, and many of the area attractions that can be viewed from the river.

bavarian-belle-riverboat

We ended our quick visit to Frankenmuth with a trip to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, a huge holiday store with everything you could possibly think of that is holiday related. I remember it as a kid and it’s still that awesome.

Bronner's

So all in all a nice trip away and something a little different that our usual get away. If you’ve never visited Frankenmuth I highly recommend a visit. It has a lot of beautiful sites, shopping, attractions, and a little old world German/ Bavarian flare. Thanks for reading!

 

Mob Museum, and The Underground Las Vegas – Review

I get a lot of positive feedback on my vacation reviews so I thought I would share another one with you.

The Las Vegas Mob Museum opened several years ago in downtown Las Vegas just a block or two away from Fremont St. It’s easily walkable if your already visiting downtown. The museum occupies the former courthouse house building lending further credibility to its contents as the courthouse was the scene of many Mob related prosecutions in Las Vegas.

The museum itself has added a lot of great interactive attractions since it first opened. It’s a great place to visit for all ages. He have historic memorabilia, video presentations, hands on experiences, and a nice gift shop with unique Mob related swag. Photography is allowed, and it is easily accessible for all ages and talents (meaning handicapped accessible).

Located in the basement level of the museum they have now incorporated a speakeasy bar called The Underground. This is a highlight for sure! They are currently distilling their own brand of moonshine in the basement that they offer free samples of, you travel from there into a very nice bar area with flapper style displays in cases built into the walls, unique art and a full service bar with era specific cocktails that have special presentation twists.

Andy ordered the underground old fashioned. He was presented with a book and glass of ice!

We quickly discovered what a good book this was 😂.

So all in all I’d say this is a Las Vegas must. If you enjoy the culture of the city itself then you’ll truly enjoy this, and the alcohol doesn’t hurt either. Enjoy!

Flamingo Hotel & Casino Las Vegas- Review

My husband and I made a recent trip to Las Vegas, for those who know us this is not an unusual occurrence as we frequently travel there for quick get-away’s and annually around the time of our Anniversary. This year we are celebrating 20 years! We made our trip decisions a little late this year as things were very busy at work, and we needed to coordinate our trip around various other commitments. That being said we decided to stay at an older hotel with a little more Vegas history to it, this would save us a few bucks and allow us to stay a little bit longer than our usual 4-ish days. We chose the Flamingo Hotel and Casino.

Flamingo Hotel

The Flamingo is an iconic Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. In 1946 mobster Bugsy Seigel opened the Flamingo in Las Vegas, his investment was said to be around $6 million dollars for the new luxury hotel. This was the third Casino floor to be opened in Las Vegas, and today now owned by Caesar’s Entertainment is the last remaining original Hotel and Casino. The pink South Beach meets art deco glamour theme is complete with a Large Casino Floor, Shopping areas, Wildlife Habitat with actual Flamingos, a beautiful pool area, and over 3000 guest rooms.

Now, for my personal experience at this iconic Hotel. We arrived late on a Thursday night, getting to the hotel at around 10:30pm. This is usually a very slow time at area check in desks, but not the case at the Flamingo… it was clamoring with people when we arrived. The desk was understaffed for the volume of check in’s, and we waited in line for almost an hour to get our room information. I’m going to rewind for just a moment. When we booked our trip we booked a standard “Fab” room. This was a mistake! The reviews on these rooms are terrible, and we called a few days before leaving to see if we could upgrade to a newly renovated room. At the time of the call we were told that we would be able to upgrade easily upon check in… ok now back to check in… We requested the newly renovated room only to find out that they were sold out for the night and there were no other rooms available at all of any kind! We were instructed by the staff to return to the mail/key line between 12pm and 2pm the next day to upgrade our room as people were checking out. We agreed and accepted the “Fab” room for one night.

First impression the halls and elevator areas were void of art, had sterile florescent lighting, no accessory furniture, and it felt like a creepy old hospital hallway.

The room was small, the furniture was heavily worn, the floor was dirty, two of the electrical receptacles were broken, and the air conditioner was not really working well. Upon entering we also realized that not only could we not upgrade but we had been placed in a room with two double beds instead of the king room that we booked! The room had newer wood look tile on the floor in the main room, but the bathroom had very old white tile everywhere. The fan in the bath area was so loud that we couldn’t talk to each other from one area to the other. We had a view of the High Roller, a large Ferris wheel, and the mountains.

A

At 8:30a my husband went down to get coffee and stopped to request the upgrade, thankfully he did as they were already running out of upgrade options again! If we had waited until 12pm there wouldn’t have been any way to change rooms. We upgraded to a newly renovated room, and had to wait till between 12pm and 2pm to get the keys to give housekeeping time to clean. At 12:30pm we went to the desk area and it was overwhelmed with people again. We abandoned ship and returned around 2pm and were assigned our new room in the Habitat tower.

This was a night and day difference! The hallways were warmly colored and decorated with beautiful mural wall paper, and decorative touches. It was clean, the lighting was better.

Our room was so cute! Nice new furniture, everything was clean, and well stocked. The view was about the same but oh what a difference this nice fresh room made! Long story short, I’m glad to have stayed for the sake of saying I stayed there…but never again.

Flamingo Renovated room

Zak Bagan’s Haunted Museum, Las Vegas- Review

On our frequent trips to Las Vegas, we often look for new interesting attractions to visit. There is certainly no shortage of things to do in this city!

On our trip last August we noticed advertising for a new haunted Museum going in. We thought it looked interesting so we looked it up to find it was opening in the Fall so we kept it top of mind as an option for a quick visit on our next trip. Well here we are back in January and the museum is up and running!

Zak Bagan’s is well known for his television show Ghost Adventures, and while investigating a number of haunted locations he has collected items, and purchased items that are believed to be haunted, are tied to macabre events, or have a unique history about them.

Some of these items include…Bella Lugosi’s mirror, paintings of the crying boys, Dr Kevorkian’s death van, haunted and possessed dolls, and many many more!

This is a little off the beaten path but not difficult to get to. So venture off course a moment and visit. You’ll find a well versed staff of people to guide you through the 30 room mansion that is completely stuffed with items to look at!

Some rooms have specific themes, for example the puppet room, the celebrity collection, the funeral parlor, the doctor’s office, the library, and more! There are surprises everywhere you turn.

Before admittance they ask that you sign a waiver and swear an oath as items in the museum are said to be haunted by demons and ghosts that could attach themselves to you! And while interesting I never felt threatened by anything in the museum.

If items have a particularly devastating history then you are given opportunities not to view them. For example the Dibbuk Box in a room by itself it’s said to contain a demonic entity kept safely under glass surrounded by salt and sage it was a unique piece during the visit. Zak featured this item in one of his shows as well.

All in all this is a very interesting attraction. You don’t have to be a believer to enjoy this collection, there is certainly no lack of imagination in it’s set up, and display. Plan for about an hour to get through the guided tour. At $44/ticket it’s actually well priced and very entertaining. I feel like I could go again and see things I missed the first time, because there is seriously so much stuff in this museum. I hope you find this helpful, Travel safe and have fun!

A quick midwinter break!

Today has been a long day. The first day back to work after a quick vacation always is though! So where did we go?… Vegas of course! So why is this our favorite go to vacation spot? 1. Quick easy travel, 2. Lots and lots to do, 3. It’s always changing. 4. The weather is awesome! January in Vegas means weather that equates to a Michigan Spring. 40°F at night, 70°F during the day. Perfect temps when it’s 20°F at home lol! We found ourselves in a position for a quick trip the garden center was closed to allow the floor epoxy to cure, and the winter weather was due to hold off outside of a small dusting of snow on one of the nights we we’re gone. Nothing that our trusty team couldn’t handle. This was however a Very last minute decision. Like we decided Thursday afternoon that we were leaving on Saturday morning! 😱😬😆 So hotel options were limited and we weren’t trying to break the bank on this quick get away. So we chose to stay at the Monte Carlo Casino Hotel which had great rates as the direct result of their current renovation construction situation. More on that in a bit. We actually stayed at the Monte Carlo before, and had a really enjoyable stay. We upgraded that trip to stay in the Monaco Suite, and although dated it was a large comfortable room with a great view. I can’t find my pics from this trip so attached is a photo from the web. But it looked just like this. Our room this time was supposed to be a King room, non-smoking. Nothing fancy, but it will get the job done for a quick visit. However, our flight landed at 7:40am and we arrived at the hotel around 8:30am we didn’t expect a room to be immediately available but we were informed that housekeeping doesn’t even arrive for the day until 9 a.m. and it would likely be at least 11 before room would be available. Which is no problem but at 11:30 we stopped back again because we had not received any information that our room was ready only to find it still was not ready and we would be reassigned to a new room that was available. Sounds great right?! Upon arriving to the room we found that it was in fact a double room non-smoking at the very far end of the hallway across from a storage room, and construction directly below and above us. The room was dated and I can see why they are working on a major renovation. Aside from the obvious issues, we left and returned to our room to the overwhelming stench of marijuana in the hallway and in our room. We were able to crack open the window and air it out but this unfortunately would be an ongoing problem over the course of the weekend. Once the window was open we were also subject to the very loud construction noise as well. Outside of these issues, our safe did not work, no coffee maker in the room, and the maid service did not empty or clean the ice bucket during the duration of our stay… Luckily we don’t spend much time in our room. We went to some of our favorite spots including the Toby Keith Bar, and the Dueling Piano bar at Harrah’s Casino. But we also stopped by a few new spots like Carnival Court Bar for some live music, and lunch at the Budweiser Beer Park, great food, a super fun atmosphere, and an amazing view. The trifecta in Vegas! Outside of these spots we had a nice dinner out, I’ll do a full review on that later, and we went to the newly opened Zak Bagan’s Haunted Museum. In case you are not familiar, Zak Bagan’s is on a television show called Ghost Adventures, I will also tell you about the museum a little more in a later post as well. Overall the weather was perfect, great food, fabulous entertainment, and now a return to the frozen north in time to enjoy the polar vortex…insert sarcastic “Yaaaay…!” 😕 So I think that’s about it. I will say I look forward to returning to Monte Carlo post renovation I think it will be a welcomed upgrade. Keep an eye out for more info in the next day or so on the museum and that fabulous dinner out! Happy travels we’ll talk soon! Bye!

One last weekend away…

The summer is coming to a close and fall is in the air so we took off for one more get away with friends before we’re in the throws of fall festivities and holiday preparations! 

Our friends Amber and Eric invited us to his family home in Northern Michigan a great place to visit and just relax. We visited the Mission Point Light house, the beach, and did a whole lot of just hanging out around the bonfire. It was a great break from our day to day, and some much appreciated time laughing with our good friends! 

The drive to Mission Point Light was awesome, we passed several beautiful vinyards and orchards, with the water peaking through trees now and then. The weather was perfect cool, and breezy…and Grand traverse Bay was breath taking.

We laughed as the girls sang their guts out to Justin Beiber in the car, and made sure to get our customary group photo this time on the beach! 

Time to start heading home where this week brings more fall stock deliveries to the garden center, and a flurry of activity at the house as we prepare for our annual Halloween Party! (one of my faves) I’ll share more on that soon too! Thanks for following along! Bye!

Gordon Ramsey’s BurGR Restaurant Las Vegas

I don’t often attempt reviews but this place is great, and so I thought I would share. While on vacation recently in Las Vegas Andy and I had dinner at Gordon Ramsey’s BurGR restaurant located inside the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino. The outside of the restaurant has a gorgeous fire feature within the wall signage you can’t miss it! 

There is a hostess at the door ready to seat you and although it seemed like a lengthy line we were seated quickly, in a comfortable table for two on the main floor. I will say this though…it’s very very noisy in here. The music and crowd noise from the casino floor coupled with the open kitchen format and busy wait staff. It was audibly a bit of an over load. 

The waitress was prompt took our drink orders and allowed us to peruse the menu for a few.  The menu has a nice selection of starters, and honestly the most delicious assortment of burgers you could ever ask for. Everything from the Hell’s Kitchen burger to the Patriot burger, they all sounded wonderful to me! If burgers aren’t your thing then he offers hot dogs and an assortment of other options but…you did come to a restaurant called BurGR lol! 

We started with an appetizer, the mushroom poutine sounded good. A poutine is a dish of French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. Something a little different than we would normally get because hey we’re on vacation, right!! The mushroom poutine was awesome! It was flavorful the fries were crispy, the mushrooms were delicious, and it had these Devine pickled shallots on top that were seriously so good!! A++ appetizer you should definitely give it a try!

For our main course I order the house special “hog burger”, and Andy ordered the “blue cheeseburger”. We also ordered a side of truffle Parmesan fries. 

The Hog burger consists of a literal “ham” burger patty wrapped in bacon, and topped with pickles, pulled pork, cheese, fried onions, and slaw. Although awkward to eat because this thing is huge! Every bite was perfect, hands down the best burger I’ve had in a long time! 

Andy thoroughly enjoyed his burger as well, and the truffle Parmesan fries were so good but we were so full!!! We couldn’t even finish everything. 

Bottom line here great restaurant for a moderate price point. Hope you all get the chance to visit it sometime! Gordon Ramsey gets a big thumbs up (he’s probably been dying for my approval lol 😂) Enjoy!!