Posts Tagged With: Christmas

Wander the Garden District

Christmas morning saw us with no concrete plans.  Old me would have had something booked, new me polls the family now.  The vote was to ride the street car to the garden district and poke around until we were bored.  I knew we needed the St. Charles line and our Free Tours by Foot guide had recommended boarding at the corner of Canal and Carondelet street.  Boarding there gave us the best chance to get a seat and not have to stand for the ride.  $3  a person gives you a 24 hour pass or $1.25 exact change each ride.

Canal street

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We rode the streetcar down to Washington Avenue. This would also be where you would want to exit for Commander’s Palace Restaurant.   Right across the street is Lafayette Cemetery.  Since it was a holiday the cemetery was closed but normal hours are 7-3pm daily.

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Tippecanoe Place Restaurant at Christmas

For part of our trip to the Oiver Mansion I wanted to include a lunch stop at Tippecanoe.  This home was the Studebaker Mansion before being turned into a restaurant in the 1980s. The Studebaker Mansion was finished in 1889 with approximately 40 rooms and 20 fireplaces.  This makes it a tad larger than the Oliver Mansion.


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The restaurant is beautifully decorated for the season and the smaller rooms would be perfect for a family party.

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Visiting the Oliver Mansion at Christmas

My Daughter and I enjoyed a tour of the Oliver Mansion called Copshaholm in October when we went to the Dressing Downton exhibit.  We really wanted to see this mansion decorated for Christmas.  The roads in the Midwest can be iffy at best in December but we lucked out and the snow changed to rain during our trip. The roads were not the best the whole time but we had safe travels.

We called ahead and were able to add our names to the 11am tour listing the day before.  I did not want to make the long drive and then not be able to tour the house.  You can do this by calling 574-235-9664 and speaking to the staff.

Oliver Mansion

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This time our tour began in the carriage house connected to the museum so we had very little time outside.

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Austin Trail of Lights

When we travel around Christmas I try to find holiday events to keep us in the Christmas spirit.  This year we attended Austin’s Trail of Lights.

We purchased our tickets off Groupon for $3 a person a couple of weeks before our trip.  Now there was no discount, it was the same price as buying them from the lights website but I did earn 4 Southwest points per dollar spent.  So 48 Southwest points towards our next trip, it all adds up!

Traffic getting to the park was horrendous so the taxi dropped us off about  two blocks out and we walked the rest of the way.  We could see the lights as we approached.  And also the horrendous line that stretched across the field to enter the lights.  Oy!

Luckily the huge line moved fast as we only had to turn our vouchers to enter.  Maybe we were in line for fifteen minutes max?  I had chosen Sunday night to visit thinking the lines would be shorter but I must have been off in that reasoning!


The lights were amazing.  It did not disappoint!

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Fair Trade Friday November 2015

It was recently my favorite day of the month.  Fair Trade Friday!  I love opening the mailbox to the white priority mailer that they use.   Lets see what this month had inside…

Fairtrade Friday Nov 15

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I could use a new clutch for church.  I hate to drag all my stuff with me and when I have time I quickly throw my wallet and phone into a clutch for church.

Fairtrade Friday Nov 2015

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I love the necklace.  I had seen something similar on the website but had not had the chance to order one yet.  The elephant ornament will go on our tree this year.  I love a Christmas tree that reflects the family who puts it up.  Ours is filled with travel mementos, crazy pictures in little frames and things that truly reflect our little families personalities.

I am looking forward to next months Fair Trade Friday shipment.  If you want to sign up for Fair Trade Friday or for more information go here:



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Christmas Trip Recap

This is simply a rollup of our trip….

Two tickets on Southwest paid with cash and 1 ticket with points.  We booked these is early September to avoid high prices.

Two nights at the Radisson Resort at the Port free on points.

Three nights at the Radisson Oceanfront hotel, two on points and 1 on cash AAA discount.

The rental car was through the mousesavers discount and the lowest I could get was a little over $200.

Hands down our largest expense on the trip was dinner each night.  With two seafood lovers in the family the nightly bill usually topped $50+.  I need to increase my food budget for future trips now that Daughter is older and not stuck on Mac-n-cheese.

You cannot put a price on spending a week together in the warmth relaxing.  I think we did alright on expenses like paying for fishing, a Christmas light festival and mini golf during the week.  I would have liked more Groupons for dinner but I was unable to find any for local seafood restaurants.

We are tossing around where to go next winter.  Husband wants to go back to Texas, I want a new state and Daughter wants to eat rock shrimp.  Might not be lucky enough to go at Christmas again, that did not go over well with a few people. Husband wants to go over his birthday instead. Next time I guess I would do it in reverse and be in the very touristy area of Cocoa Beach on Christmas day.  Toss up between waking up on the ocean or having breakfast options outside the hotel.



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Space Coast Lightfest

After our filling Christmas dinner we headed five minutes up the street to the Space Coast Lightfest.  I really didn’t know what to expect but figured it was a good way to end the holiday.

The Lightfest is comprised of many light displays wrapped around the park.  After paying a volunteer asks you to turn off your lights and slowly wind around the park viewing the lights.  You are welcome to make the loop as many times as you wish before exiting.


Almost half way through is a picnic pavillion with bathrooms. Also they were selling hot cocoa for $1 and smore’s kits for the kids to grill up.  We paused for a few for Daughter to have a hot chocolate on the holiday.


Space Coast Lightfest

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Some of the light displays, like Santa and his reindeer are so massive its hard to get a photo.

Space Coast Lightfest

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It took us a little over 40 minutes to see everything including the hot cocoa stop.  Perfect ending to the festivities for the evening.  We headed back to the hotel.  The pool and hot tub were empty so we couldn’t resist a soak to end the night.

More information can be found here:

2785 Leisure Way, Melbourne FL

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Red Ginger Christmas Dinner

After our debacle the night before I was happy to have dinner reservations for Christmas evening.  I had made reservations on Open Table for 5:45pm at the Wickham location of Red Ginger.  It was only fifteen minutes from the hotel and we had stopped to change clothes after playing on the beach for a while.

The restaurant was 3/4 full when we arrived and we were quickly seated in the large main room.  Our waiter was very attentive and in a holiday mood.

Husband started with the five piece sampler.  Brave Daughter tried a bite but did not enjoy this seafood.  Yuck!

Red Ginger

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We then ordered different items so we could share and try.  Husband knows he will get the left overs later so he usually does not try too much at the table.

Red Ginger Orange Chicken

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Daughter got her usual Orange Chicken.  It was very good, I love it and was glad she shared a bit with me.

Husband went with a beef dish and I went with Mother’s Filet.

Red Ginger

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Red Ginger Mothers Fav Filet

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Mine was really good, so tender!  Everyone had more than enough for their meal and we took almost half of everything back to the hotel for later.  Fortune cookies for dessert and we rolled out the door.

More information can be found here:
The Red Ginger Restaurant Chinese Cuisine and Sushi
6300 North Wickham Road Suite #127
Melbourne, Florida 32940
Phone: (321) 242-1167

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Christmas Day Park Hopping

We had figured out nothing was open in Melbourne Beach on Christmas day outside of the hotel.  We decided to head back to Cocoa Beach figuring more would be happening with more tourists in that area.

Great plan!  We spent at little time at Manatee Park, Daughter hates it there but I always stop to look for manatee.  Seeing two in the bay a couple of days prior while fishing I thought we might see some at the park.   Have not seen one yet there but this time we did see a dead horseshoe crab.  We are all about expanding our horizons!

Then we wanted to visit Jetty Park.  We had seen it a couple of times from the cruise ships.   Its now $15 a day for non-residents to enter by car.  No thanks, I don’t need to see it that bad.  As we drove out we saw a Holiday Inn on the same road. I didn’t even know it was there but something I will keep in mind.


Manatee park in port canaveral

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This took up a little of our afternoon but then we discovered Golf n Gator! This is what we were looking for, a little competition!


  • Manatee Sanctuary Park
  • This waterfront resource offers exercise stations, a boardwalk, picnic facilities & horseshoe pits.
  • Address: 701 Thurm Boulevard, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920



  • Jetty Park
  • Port Canaveral site featuring fishing, camping & swimming plus chances to watch cruise ships.
  • Address: 400 Jetty Park Road, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920



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Christmas Breakfast

We had plans to go out for a nice Christmas breakfast when we woke up.  After the prior nights dinner search I was having some doubts anything would be open but McDonalds.

The hotel offered a breakfast buffet for $15 a person, I would take fast food if I had to vs $45 + tip for breakfast.  We started our causeway tour again, looking at any lot that had cars in it! I was ready to search the gps for a Denny’s.

We finally found a bagel shop that was swamped with traffic! Three workers were up to their elbows throwing out breakfast sandwiches.  When we arrived the line was long and there were two kinds of bagels left. Beggars cannot be choosers!

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