Canadian Adventure, ay!

This summer we decided to take on Canada.  Our friends so close to us.  Living in Western NY, Hugo and I think its silly that we don’t visit Niagara Falls more often.  It’s an hour and a half drive.  So we packed up the boys (minus Max – he was working and couldn’t take off).

What an adventure it was!  I have been to Niagara Falls several times growing up but this is the first time we took the “Journey behind the Falls.”  Such a “must-do”.  We decided to go at night (recommended by the ticket sellers – also more money – probably why they highly recommended it).  You get on an elevator that lets out at a tunnel.  You then proceed to a cave where you are behind the raging falls of the horseshoe!  Just the sound of it alone made me a little nervous and awestruck!  We then headed over to the platform where we watched the light show and fireworks while getting soaked (ponchos do not help).  We were standing right next to the falls.  Soooooo cool!  Please take the time to do it . . . it’s worth it.  Also in Niagara Falls we did a few of the cheesy museums (always full of laughs) and headed to the Butterfly Conservatory.  Another must do – so many beautiful species of butterflies.  It was amazing!  Corey especially loved it as he was like a magnet to the butterflies.  They seemed to love him too.

Next stop, Toronto.  Such a busy city filled with young adults.  We enjoyed the culture a bit and explored the Eaton Centre (Brandon’s favorite – as we bought him some back to school clothes) before heading to the CN Tower.  So awesome to go up to the top and look down to the streets.  WOW!  Afterwards we headed to the Ripley’s Aquarium.  Such a fun experience.  We were amazed at all the different marine life.  I especially loved watching the jelly fish.

On our way back home we stopped off at Niagara-On-The-Lake.  So cute, quaint, welcoming!  I loved it and am looking for an opportunity to go back with Hugo for a long romantic weekend.  Full of shops to peruse!  Just my style.

We spent a night in Niagara Falls and two nights in Toronto.  We had enough time to do all of the things on our list.  I think overall, Niagara Falls was everyone’s favorite because of the energy and excitement surrounding it!  Looking forward to going back!

Amsterdam and London, WOW!

Wowzer, what else can I say?  Two amazing cities, very different from each other and so different than my home town.  Beautiful, rainy, Royal, historic, energetic, busy . . . just a few of the words I can use to describe Amsterdam and London.

Recently, my husband and I took a late 20th anniversary trip with Collette Tours.  I would first like to say – Yes, Collette Tours is worth it!  They were amazing from beginning to end.  Our tour manager, Evan, thought of everything and was able to help with anything needed.  We were a smaller group of 27 people ranging in age from 20’s to 70’s.  A very fun and entertaining group.

Amsterdam . . . this is a must do for everyone.  But, make sure to go in the Spring when all the tulips from Keukenhof (a quick side trip) are in bloom.  They were amazing, like nothing I’ve ever seen.  I actually got a little misty eyed just viewing their beauty.  I could not believe how manicured, fragrant and vibrant the gardens were.  I would go back for sure.

Amsterdam itself is extremely lively.  The architecture is so historic and interesting.  The people are busy and bike everywhere.   Everyone is in great shape and has a professional attitude.  I was a little surprised by there is as Marijuana is legal and everywhere.  It’s a way of life for many of them.  Worth a visit to the Rijks Museum and cruise through the many canals.  While getting lost looking for our hotel one night, it seemed every corner had a different “happening”.  One had a carnival, one led to the “red-light district” and another had market stands.  A very fun town to get lost in!

We then took the Eurostar from Brussles to London.

London – its like living in a museum in the making.  It’s just cool to feel like you are in history as it’s being written.  We thoroughly enjoyed riding the tube and “minding the gap” several times to find new parts of the city to explore.  We loved the romantic walk along the river and over the Tower Bridge.  BTW – if you see the street vendor selling nuts, buy them!  Amazing!  Also walking through Piccadilly Circus, SOHO and China Town is just plain fun.  Eat at Hung, Drawn and Quartered – they have the best meat pie!  And take the trip to Windsor!  We loved walking through knowing in two weeks would be the amazing wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.  It was so neat to see first hand where things would take place.

In short, go if you have the chance.  Love both cities and would go again in a heart beat!

I love Europe but the world is out there to explore!  Looking forward to the next stop on our adventures . . . Toronto?

“Wintery” Fun

I know “wintery” isn’t a proper word BUT it sounds good to me, so I’m using it! 

There is so much to do here in Western NY in the Winter.  Although it isn’t my favorite season and I long to be next to a pool with a mojito in the warm sun, I still think those of us who choose to live here should make the most of it.  

Last year we took our youngest, Brandon, ice skating at a local rink.  Yes, it was cold but also fun.  It’s great to get out from behind a screen and get your blood pumping.  Brandon and Hugo really enjoyed it.  I loved it but struggled a little.  Somehow ice skates and roller blades hurt my feet.  I’ve tried all different sizes and styles and I can’t get past the pain.  But even in pain, I enjoyed the atmosphere and seeing my guys enjoying themselves.

This year, Hugo and I took to running.  We are in our fourth week.  We run every morning at 5:30am before the kids get up. (We take the weekends off.)  Leaving the house on a cold, dark, snowy morning isn’t easy.  I come up with every excuse as to why we should skip a day but we don’t.  UNLESS, it’s below 30 degrees.  I have my  limits and those limits were put to the test this week as it was single digits a few days.  We both feel great.  I can see improvement in my stamina every day.  I’m loving it and my heart thanks me. 

So, what I’m really saying is:  Don’t let the cold or snow stop you from enjoying some family fun!  Get out there and spend time together away from screens.  Embrace the season.  No excuses!!!

Fall in the Finger Lakes

I love the Finger Lakes!  Living in western NY definitely has it’s share of cold, snowy weather but there is no place I would rather be in the other three amazing seasons.  Each one with its unique qualities and must do activities.  For instance, in the fall taking a drive through the colorful Finger Lakes shouldn’t be missed.  Dotted with wineries, this remarkable destination offers a scenic and relaxing drive.  

Each year, my husband and I enjoy a few new wineries, a fantastic meal and a lot of laughs as we car-karaoke our way through the trails.  Some of our favorites include Fox Run, they have a fantastic Reserve Chardonnay, Herron Hill for its yummy wraps and sandwiches, Bully Hill because it has the best view of Keuka Lake and Dr. Konstantine Frank’s vineyard for the fun staff who shared their incredible wine knowledge.  Here are a few of our pictures.  Enjoy!

 

keuka lake

Dr FranksHeron hill

“Life is Better at the Lake”

I can not take credit for this creative, yet simple slogan,  however I can say while in Lake George this quickly became our mantra.  With beautiful mountain views in every direction and melodic bird calls all day long, I can easily see why so many people flock to the Adirondacks for a stress free vacation.

This was not our first choice of destinations but maybe one we frequent yearly.  As western New Yorkers, we felt it necessary to take a must see trip to Niagara Falls and Toronto, Canada.  Hugo and I have been a few times, but the boys have never been.  These destinations had been visited so often by Hugo and I prior to 9-11 that we took them for granted.  Now with all the travel requirements we steered away from our northern friend Canada.  This was the year for us to once again explore these areas, this time with the kids.  We updated and received passports and were ready with reservations.  After all, we had quite a few new adventures to be had.  Then the text came from our dog sitter:  “I can not stay with your dogs that week as I will also be out of town.”  Uggggggg….. to say the least.  What now?

Quickly I began inquiring about where to go with dogs.  Everywhere I turned the Adirondacks came up as a premier destination.  I was very excited as this was on our list of places we must see some day.  (As a New Yorker, how could we say we had never been, this seemed so wrong.)  So off we went with three dogs in tow.

With not much time to plan and many places sold out we were left with little choice as to our accommodations. Cabins, hotels and camping were out because we knew there were things we would like to do without the dogs.  Leaving them alone required a full house.  So our search was very limited.  We found a great place to stay using the VRBO website.  The house was perfect with a wrap around porch furnished  with rocking chairs and mountain views in which I could enjoy a cup of coffee each morning.

We stayed in the town of Bolton Landing within the Lake George area.  It was so beautiful.  The scent of pine and the peace of the surroundings quickly melt away any anxiety you carry.  Each of us had a “must-do” on our list.  Brandon’s was Lake George’s amusement park, Six Flags.  Each one of us found it disappointing and give it a thumbs down.  It was very overpriced (to be expected), the rides were not too thrilling and the overall theme was mediocre.  Max, Corey and Hugo all picked zip-lining, white water rafting and the beach.  All three choices were hits for everyone!  The zip line adventure courses proved to challenge them physically as they climbed to new heights before zipping down and feeling the breeze.  For white water rafting they chose a mellow course where they could also jump out and swim in the rapids.  A much enjoyed adventure.  Next they hit up the small beach in Bolton Landing where they could jump off the pier to their hearts content.  Who had the biggest splash, jumped the furthest or highest, who would be in the water first, etc . . . – theses are the questions we all need to know to have a successful day at the lake.  My “must-do” was a hike.  I was determined to get at least one hike under my belt.  For our first we chose the Pinnacle, due to its short distance and moderate difficulty ratings.  Three quarters of the way up I thought about quitting.  THANK GOD I did not!!!  Wow, we hit the jackpot of views!  It was such a spectacular feeling of accomplishment.  I wished I had my coffee with me to sit and enjoy its tranquility for hours!  Max (who has climbed the Eiffel Tower, seen some of the most amazing Caribbean and Atlantic beaches, and toured some quaint, historic places in Europe) said “this is the best view I’ve ever seen.”  On our way down we ran into many others who asked the question, “is it much longer?”  Our response:  “It’s well worth it my friend!”

In short, life really is better at the lake!

Five stars from all Five of the Flores Family!

 

 

 

 

Meet the Flores Family

We are the Flores Family.  I’m Cindy, I am a Christian, a Mom, a Travel Consultant, dog lover and  cheese enthusiast.  Hugo, my handsome husband is an amazing Dad, awesome musician, poet and always full of joy.  Max, our oldest son lights up the world with his smile and is all about music.  He has his own YouTube channel:  https://www.youtube.com/maxfloresmusic and is beginning college this fall at the Eastman School of Music to further his talents.  Corey, our middle son, is amazing in every way.  When traveling he is awesome at navigating and discovering things in nature.  He loves to explore the world on his ATV.  Brandon maybe the youngest but he is also the most ingenious of us all.  He loves to engineer all kinds of things from gadgets to widgets and adds interest to every adventure we’re on.

Join us as we take on life’s adventures.  We love to explore the world, new foods, music and cultures.  We’re always interested in meeting new people so feel free to drop us a line.  If you would like help planning your own adventure, let us know!  We would be happy to send you on your way.19883969_10213523481307239_9033468053334866050_n