Thoughtful Thursday Bucket List


Photo by Flo Dahm on

Do you have a bucket list? I have one for places that I’d love to visit. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always cooperate with my plans, but Paris is definitely on it! The thought of walking down a street following the scent of freshly baked croissants and ending up in a bakery only to enjoy every morsel seems absolutely delightful.

Italy is another place I’d love to visit. I imagine myself and hubby enjoying a romantic ride on a gondola in Venice, or dining on some delicious authentic Italian cuisine. There are so many places to visit abroad that are filled with lots of history, art and delicious foods.

I also have quite a few places here in the states that I’d love to see and learn more about. Some I’ve been lucky enough to cross off the list as a “been there, done that!” But even if you can’t visit the places you want to, no one can stop you from dreaming about them. There are lots of books, movies and photos so you can drift to these far away places in your mind.

What are some of the places on your bucket list? Would love to hear about them 😊

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Thoughtful Thursday Flamingo Gardens


Growing up, my family and I would embark on a wonderful adventure to Flamingo Gardens located near Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was founded by Floyd and Jane Wray in 1927 as a citrus orchard and was originally named Flamingo Groves. Getting fresh squeezed orange juice from the trees on the property was one of the highlights of my trip.

The Wray’s built a weekend home up on the Live Oak hammock in the groves. They would have annual bar-b-ques on the grounds surrounding their home and they’d give daily tours of the citrus groves and botanical gardens. Plus they even had a fruit shipping area.

According to Mrs. Wray the property came with flamingos that would nest there and she decided in the 1940’s to bring peacocks to the grounds for the visitors. With alligators inhabiting most parts of South Florida they introduced an alligator exhibit in the 1960’s with daily shows.

Sadly Mr. Wray passed away in 1959 at the age of 68. To honor her late husband, Mrs. Wray established The Floyd L. Wray Memorial Foundation in 1969 to preserve the property for future generations to enjoy. The name was changed to Flamingo Gardens and it was expanded to include an Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary with the Bird of Prey Center and a Free-Flight Aviary. This was the first of its kind in the country and permanently injured or non-releasable native Florida wildlife would call the sanctuary their home. More wildlife exhibits were introduced and included River Otters, Bobcats, Florida Panthers, Tortoises and Bald & Golden Eagles.

The 60 acre botanical gardens showcase over 3,000 rare and exotic species of tropical, subtropical and native plants and trees. If you have the chance to visit South Florida definitely add Flamingo Gardens to your travel plans, you won’t be disappointed!

I hope you enjoyed this travel snippet, thanks for stopping by!!!

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All photos taken by Maria Vidaurre at Flamingo Gardens

Destination Key West

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Key West, Florida the southernmost point in the continental USA and also the westernmost island connected by highway in the Florida Keys. There are more than 800 Florida Keys stretching over 180 miles but only 43 of them are inhabited. The island of Key West is fairly small running 4 miles long and about 1 mile wide.

In 1912 Henry Flagler built his railroad down into Key West connecting it to the mainland. Sadly on September 3rd 1935, Key West was hit by one of the most powerful hurricanes to date, “the Labor Day Storm” and it washed the railroad away which cost Flagler $20 million dollars to build. The railroad was never rebuilt but instead was replaced with a highway.

The scenic drive into Key West on the 110 mile Overseas Highway is simply spectacular! On your drive you’ll enjoy the natural coastal beauty as you cross a total of 42 bridges including the infamous 7 mile bridge which is my favorite. There are plenty of great restaurants, shops and art boutiques to stop at along the way.

There are a lot of interesting sites to visit in Key West including the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, a must see, showcasing artifacts and treasures from the Atocha. President Truman’s Little White House with guided tours and lots of US history. The legendary novelist, Ernest Hemingway resided in Key West and did a lot of his writing in his home which is now open for tours and home to about 60 cats. But keep in mind these are just a few of the fun places to visit while in Key West, there are plenty more.

I’ve saved the best for last as the sunsets in Key West are simply breathtaking. If you do nothing else but take a sunset cruise you won’t be disappointed. You’ll be in awe as you enjoy Mother Nature at her finest while cruising the ocean, there’s nothing quite like it!

I hope you enjoyed this little travel review and are able to visit the Florida Keys some day. Thanks for stopping by!!!

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“Every sunset is an opportunity to reset.” ~Richie Norton

All photos taken by Maria Vidaurre

Thoughtful Thursday Anna Ruby Falls, Georgia

Anna Ruby Falls photo by Maria Vidaurre

There’s something to be said about slowing down and spending time in nature. This past fall I was fortunate to take a hiking trip to northern Georgia with my husband. One of our visits was to Anna Ruby Falls which is in Unicoi State Park, located just outside of Helen, Georgia. It was a stunning drive to the falls as we drove on the windy road through the forest with accents of mother nature’s foliage of yellow, orange and red leaves glistening in the sunlight.

The hike to the falls is about a half mile on a paved path. Officially it’s .4 of a mile, but my Garmin and phone tracker showed it was a bit more. Nevertheless, it was a majestic hike the entire way as the path followed the creek and you were serenaded by the flowing waters. The path was a little steep but there were plenty of benches along the way to rest if needed.

James H. “Captain” Nichols was a Civil War Colonel who retired and moved to Nacoochee Valley in 1870. Even though he had been promoted to Colonel he was reverently referred to as “Captain.” While out horseback riding one day, Nichols discovered the falls and named them after his daughter, Anna Ruby.

The falls are made up of Curtis and York Creeks that run down the steep slopes of Tray Mountain in 2 falls. In the photo above Curtis Creek Falls is shown on the left and drops 153 feet and York Creek Falls is shown on the right and drops 50 feet. These 2 falls combine to create Smith Creek which is what you see when walking on the path.

I hope you enjoyed this little travel tidbit. Anna Ruby Falls was a beautiful place to visit and I hope you’ll be able to visit it too!

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“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” ~ Lao Tzu

All photos were taken by Maria Vidaurre