Country Inn and Suites Mishawaka Presidential Suite Stay

We have been traveling to a few colleges for Daughter this fall. She participates in an over night stay and attends a class on campus.  Most of the time someone travels with me but this visit was a Sunday night so I was traveling by myself.  Since it was going to be a quiet night of cable tv and magazines I splurged on a whirlpool room for this stay for $20 more than a king room.

Upon arriving to the most empty hotel I was told by the front desk that I had been upgraded.  What is an upgrade on a whirlpool room?  The presidential suite.

Country Inn & Suites Mishawaka

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Me, myself and I enjoying a bathroom bigger than my bedroom at home.

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Marriott Fall Mega Bonus 2017

Marriott has offered this promotion before and I think it is one our family will participate in again this year.

Register to earn a free night with MegaBonus®.

From the website:

“Get a free night after two stays* with MegaBonus®—and unlock more. Register from September 6 to November 30, 2017.

See Details

  • Register by November 30, 2017
  • Stay at any of our participating hotels and resorts worldwide between September 12 and January 15, 2018
  • Earn a free night after two paid stays*.

Book direct to get our lowest rates worldwide. When you’re ready, redeem points for free nights, flights, exclusive experiences and so much more.

Earn a free night – and more bonus points for your stays through January 15, 2018.

*A ‘stay’ is defined as consecutive nights spent at the same hotel, regardless of check-in/check-out activity.”

Register here: Marriott Promo



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Six Flags Great America Flash Sale 2018 Season Pass $65.99

It has been many years since I have been able to visit at Six Flags park but I keep hearing about the great deal they have on passes over Labor Day weekend.  I went looking to see what the deal is all about since I have heard this is a good deal this from three different families.

From their website:  “Don’t miss our biggest, best sale of the year! For five days only (Aug. 31-Sept. 4, 2017) we’re hosting our 4th annual Flash Sale where you can buy 2018 Season Passes for as little as $65.99 or sign up for Memberships for as little as $5.49/mo. Save over 70% off the full Season Pass price of $249.99. We guarantee you will never find a better deal on 2018 Season Passes!”

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Cedar Point Michigan Days are Back!

From the Cedar Point website:

“Summer is almost over, but not if you live in Michigan! It’s Michigan Days at Cedar Point – buy one admission and get one free to America’s Roller Coast now through Labor Day! Plus, for two weekends starting August 25th, rivaling food trucks from Michigan and Ohio will go head-to-head in a legendary battle for the first place in taste. So grab your family and friends and head to Cedar Point to get your last blast of summer with your favorite rides and tons of delicious food!”



Buy one ticket and get one free ONLY for Michigan residents now through Labor Day! Come enjoy all of the rides and attractions at the Roller Coaster Capital of the World plus two weekends of rivaling food trucks from Michigan and Ohio starting August 25th! Buy one get one for $34.50 plus tax and fees.”

Link here to purchase:

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Hiking to Abrams Falls

We love to hike on our vacations.  Usually park entrances are low cost or in the case of the Smoke Mountain National Park there is no entrance fee at all.

I had one hike I wanted to do in the Cades Cove area and that was Abrams Fall.  The hike is five miles round trip and will take three to four hours to complete.

There is ample parking at the trail head with primitive bathrooms and a trash container.  The road to the trail head is a small gravel road that veers to the right after the Elijah Oliver Cabin. We took some breaks along the river and it took us a little over three hours round trip.

Cade's Cove

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Abrams Falls

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Visiting Cades Cove

On our trip out to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg I was really looking forward to visiting Cades Cove.  It did not disappoint!

We stayed in Townsend since we wanted an easy and less congested entrance into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  This area is perfect for accessing Cades Cove!

Arriving early is your best bet for wildlife viewing and to avoid other people.  We left at 7:50 for our twenty minute drive to the cove with very little traffic.  This was the least busy park day we would have on our trip!  There were a few light rain showers that I think helped keep the crowds away that day.

I was driving on Laurel Creek road almost half way to the cove when a huge bear darted in front of our car and up the hillside.  He was bigger than I thought local bears would be and he was running faster than I thought they could.  I was very glad I did not hit him with the car and it reconfirmed why the speed limit is so low in the park.  After seeing the size/ speed of him I was rethinking my desire to see a bear in the park.

Cade's Cove

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Once you reach the gate the road through Cades Cove is eleven miles long and while it offers a couple of cut through roads plan on spending at least a couple of hours on it.

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Fair Trade Friday August 2017 Goodies

You know I love my monthly Fair Trade Friday box mailer.  This month it was box instead of a package.

Fair Trade Friday August 2017

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IHG Triple Points On Three Day Stay

Triple Points, Triple Pancakes on the weekend

Triple Points, Triple Pancakes on the Weekend

Be the Readiest™ with a free, hearty breakfast and for a limited time, earn up to triple bonus points when you stay at Holiday Inn Express®.

From August 1 – September 30, on 3+ night stays:

• Earn Triple points Friday-Sunday

• Earn Double points Monday-Thursday

That’s right—more points, more pancakes. More fuel to do what you want.

Get IHG® Rewards Club points for Reward Nights, travel, gifts and a whole lot more. Register now.

Offer is valid for IHG® Rewards Club members in the Americas region only.  Members from Quebec are not eligible for this promotion.  Must be an IHG® Rewards Club member and must register their member number in advance to participate in the Holiday Inn Express Promotion (“Promotion”).  The Promotion stay period is between 1 August 2017 and 30 September 2017 (both dates inclusive) (“Promotion Period”) with the registration period beginning on 18 July 2017 (“Registration”). Double points will be awarded on all Weekday Qualifying Nights within a continuous hotel stay of 3 or more nights.  Weekday Qualifying Nights are defined as Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Triple points will be awarded on all Weekend Qualifying Nights within a continuous hotel stay of 3 or more nights.  Weekend Qualifying Nights are defined as Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The average daily rate will be calculated for each Qualifying Stay.  Double and Triple bonus points will be awarded based on the average daily rate.  See example below for reference.

Example Qualifying Stay with Bonus Points Awarded:

Dates: Thursday, August 10, 2017 – Sunday, August 13, 2017

Thursday Night Rate:$100

Friday Night Rate:$150

Saturday Night Rate:$150

Average Daily Rate:$133.33


More information here:

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Friendly Falls in Wears Valley

If you leave Pigeon Forge via Wears Valley road to Townsend you will have a very picturesque drive.  An alpine coaster, cabins, resorts and little shops line the road. Halfway to Wears Valley on the left is a little stop called Friendly Falls.

Friendly Falls

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Friendly Falls offers their location as a place to stretch your legs, enjoy a cold drink by the falls and you can even get married there.  We stopped on Sunday morning on our way to Townsend just before noon.  Usually I am about vacation on the cheap side, however there is something to be said about paying a small amount for some quiet time along a waterfall with a cold beverage.

Friendly Falls

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Admission is $2 for adults OR you can purchase something from the store and enter for free.  Cold pop is $2 and beer is $3.  They also offer items like hot dogs, chips, ice cream, or sandwiches.

You can wade in the river between the two falls, be careful the rocks are slick.  The water was very refreshing on a hot day!

Friendly Falls

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They offer gem mining for kids in a flume, tables and chairs for relaxing with your food/drink and even a resident chicken. There are areas decorated with gnomes and fairies.  It’s cute and it is prefect for relaxing.  We spent over an hour people watching and enjoying our beverages along the river.

You can find more information here:

2135 Wears Valley RdSevierville, TN 37862
+1 865-429-2139


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Cedar Point Christmas in July 2017

From their site ” Plow your way to a good deal – Christmas in July! It’s buy one, get one FREE on single-day Cedar Point admission tickets starting TODAY (7/10) at 5 p.m. through 9 a.m. on 7/12, available online only. For detailed info and to purchase later today, visit

This is usually how I purchase our Cedar Point tickets on the buy 1 get 1 free promo.

Again the link to purchase will activate after 5pm on 7/10/2017.





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