Monday, November 21, 2016

Grand Cayman Cruise Excursion: Cayman Turtle Farm & Dolphin Discovery

  One of the things that my family and I were most excited about on our recent western Caribbean cruise was our scheduled excursion at Dolphin Discovery on the island of Grand Cayman!  We didn't really have any instructions pre-cruise but were instructed right before. The tour leader was not very kind but the job got done and that does not reflect on the venue.  This excursion actually starts off at the Cayman Island Turtle Farm. Turtles are beautiful creatures and I was so excited!  You must use hand sanitizer before handling any of the turtles. A few people at a time can enter the tank with juvenile turtles. Two of my kids and I entered together for a photo op. 
Turtle Farm Fun!
   Once we arrived at Dolphin Discovery, those of us that were participating in the actual swim were taken to a place to get into our suites. The dolphin watchers were directed to an area where they could sit and relax or get close to the fence for photos. After we were in our swimmers we headed over to a waiting area to get our life jackets and wait for the previous tour group to finish up. They were very strict on life jacket sizing. This is a great safety precaution! Life jackets must be super snug so it doesn't slip off while you're in the water or with the dolphin. The waiting area was so hot!  There was not enough seating for everyone on the bleachers and definitely not enough shade.  
Walking on the grate

Once the previous tour group was finished, we were led into the water. There was a small grate step, maybe a foot wide for us to stand on up against the wall. While I was standing there, some creepy little fishes started nibbling on my feet!  We were given instructions on how we were to do each part of the excursion and introduced to Ritchie.
Dolphin Kisses

  First, we got to kiss Ritchie, then we danced, rode on his belly, were pushed on a boogie board and lastly posed for pictures!
Dolphin dance

Belly Ride!

Boogie Board Push

    Once everyone on the excursion was finished with all of their activities, we were escorted out of the water and to the dressing rooms to dry and change. Now, here is where they sicker you, photos! 
I tried and tried to talk myself out of buying the $160 photo package and just get a one but since there were three of us and one picture was $30, it was just a better deal to buy the CD!  The $160 also got me 3-5x7 photos. This is your warning!  I will admit that I realized my family will probably not ever get this opportunity again and I wanted the memories, however, I have yet to print any of the ones on the CD and haven't put up the ones that were preprinted! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Girls Getaway: Richmond Indiana: Phillip W. Smith Bed and Breakfast


  When I started trying to figure out how I was going to celebrate my 40th birthday, I knew I wanted it to be fun and a good time with friends.  I started researching and found a Chocolate Train that seemed like fun in the small town of Richmond, Indiana.  What girl could say no to chocolate? Well they wouldn't be my friends if they could!
   Trying to decide what type of lodging was easy, a bed and breakfast. However, Richmond has several and the search was on. I began emailing with a few of the owners and set up a conversation with Jill. Jill and her family own 2 separate B&Bs in Richmond and she recommended Phillip W Smith for my friends and I with the Just Us Girl package. There were just 3 of us so she set us up in adjoining rooms that could accommodate. We had the Blue Room and the maid's quarters with a center shared bath. It worked out perfectly!
Blue Room King

Blue Room decor

Maid's Quarters with daybed

Adjoining bath
      The Just Us Girls package included a coupon packet for several business around town as well as the breakfast and evening dessert that all guests receive. 
    Breakfast on Saturday was amazing!  We had a delicious plate of baked french toast, sausage and fruit. Beverage available were orange juice, water, teas and coffee. 

    Once we finished and chatted with the other guests for a bit, we headed out to start the chocolate trail and have a fun day. That's for another blog post!  After the fun,  we headed back late to the B&B to rest up.  We checked the fridge (located on the 2nd floor, central to all of the guest rooms) for the nightly dessert. Cheesecake! Paired perfectly with the wine that we purchased on the trail earlier in the day. This area is also stocked with a Keurig and coffees and teas. There is silverware, a wine opener and mugs as well as the microwave. There is also a microwave for warming up leftovers! 
Just outside the guest rooms

    One last breakfast with Jill and her son before we headed home.  She made an amazing egg souffle with English muffin and BACON! The strawberry preserves were delicious as well and of course fruit. 

   We had a great weekend and I will definitely be staying at bed and breakfasts again! Phillip W. Smith is an awesome place to stay and a wonderful atmosphere.