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What’s on your ‘Bucket List’ of places you want to go before you die?

The Bucket ListInteresting blog post I read this morning.  Seems there’s a movie out on DVD and BluRay Disc called The Bucket List starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman (two of my most favorite actors!) in which they make a list of things to do before they die.

In Yahoo News today, Bill Clinton was talking about his own list of things to do before he kicks the bucket including having grandchildren and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro before the snow melts (which is supposed to happen in the next 20 years).

While I have achieved most of my to do list wants, where travel is concerned there are a few places I feel it’s a necessary must to go to or return to.

#1 Burbank, California

Burbank, California, is at the top of my list and the reasons are very personal.  I used to live there years ago as a wee child but unexpectedly I had to leave to go live with my grandmother 3,000 miles away on the east coast.  I’ve almost gotten back there several times, then something comes up and I had to cancel the trip, but the heart yearns to go back and clear up a few things.

#2 Sedona, Arizona

Let me tell you..if there ever was a place that would turn me on more than anything, it’s Sedona, Arizona, for it’s spiritual healing. I’ve never been to a vortex but people tell me they definitely feel a difference in the air.

#3 Grand Canyon

I have never been to the Grand Canyon.  I have lived in Burbank California, the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and have traveled to Quebec, Canada, so there’s not much of this country I haven’t seen and then some, but somehow, I’ve always missed the Grand Canyon.

#4 Palm Springs

I have no idea why Palm Springs, California, is one of the places I feel I need to go before I die, but I’m picturing renting a beautiful house with a pool out back with lots and lots of cactus with lights surrounding the pool and of course palm trees (I have a secret cactus and palm tree fetish). And the sunsets would be spectacular against the backdrop of the mountains!

#5 Las Vegas, Nevada

The lights, the action, the close proximity to California (grin) are all only a part of the reason why I have to see Las Vegas, Nevada, before I die.  Okay, the casinos, too, as much as I hate to admit it.  The last time I played the slots was in Harrington, Delaware, and I walked out $500 in the hole.  Never went back and I love those one armed bandits.  Give me a trip to Vegas and I can’t guarantee my will power will hold out!

#6 St. Croix, Virgin Islands

Okay, I’m one of  two million people who would die to visit St. Croix but my reasons are those balmy ocean breezes, cute cabana boys and an island getaway suited to my tastes!

#7 Washington, D.C.

Am I the only one who hasn’t been inside the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.???  Oh and the White House!

#8 New York

Not just New York, but Manhattan!  I’ve actually been there once but it was on a tour bus.  This time I’d like to take a few friends (or family) and go see it on my own time.  I’d walk Central Park, watch a show at NBC Studio in Rockefeller Center and stay in one of those luxury hotels on Broadway and I just might take a boat ride out to the Statue of Liberty and just stare at her.

#9  Disney World, Orlando, Florida

Yeah, yeah, I guess I’m the only one who hasn’t been to Disney World, either!  I lived in Fort Lauderdale for awhile and never got over there even once.

#10 Rocky Mountains, Colorado

Being a mountain lover, I would LOVE to see the Rockies!

So, how about you?  Do you have a Bucket List of places to go before you die?
Until next time, wavinghand

Island Chick

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Top Five Things To Do on Whidbey Island, Washington

I have a special guest today!  Marilyn Randall from Whidbey Island, Washington, is here to give us the low down on the top five things to do on Whidbey Island!  If you would like to be a guest on my blog to talk about your traveling experiences, we’d love to have you!  Click on my contact page for email instructions.

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The Top Five Things To Do on Whidbey Island, Washington

Whidbey Island is a magnificent island in the glorious waters of the Puget Sound, near Seattle Washington. Reached only by the ferries that travel their routes on a regular schedule or driving across two islands and bridges from the mainland at the north end, the island is a little known jewel of the many pacific northwest islands including the San Juan Islands that are another ferry trip away from Whidbey. Traveling the length of the island and taking time to visit the many wonderful scenic sites is something everyone should experience once in their lifetime. Surrounded completely by the waters of the inner sound, the shipping lanes connecting Seattle to the world pass the length of Whidbey Island’s west coast, where the views from the shore of this island, as one overlooks the spectacular Olympic Mountains across the water, are magnificent.

Marilyn 1

#1. Bridge the gap…walk across the bridge connecting two islands in the beautiful Puget Sound and feel your heart palpitate as the cars cause the bridge to sway just a little from the weight of the traffic as you are standing hundreds of feet above the waters beneath this spectacular bridge. Near Seattle Washington, but tucked away on the north end of the largest island of the continental United States you’ll find Deception Pass Bridge connecting world famous Whidbey Island to the lesser known, but equally beautiful, Fidalgo Island. The drive to reach this destination is scenic and easy, but the view of the water from the bridge span is spectacular and breathtaking. Visitors can enjoy the views while walking across the bridge or hiking on the trails under the span. The beaches near this location offer magnificent views of the bridge as well as the surrounding waters and islands. Wildlife abounds and it is not unusual to see sea lions, seals, the occasional whale or sea otters and other animals and birds somewhere near the area. While parking is at a premium, especially in the summertime, restroom facilities help to make this a favorite spot to spend many hours exploring and taking in the surrounding scenery. The name, Deception Pass is appropriate as when the tides change, the waters from the inner sound rush through this narrow pass to flow viciously through to the open seas, creating treacherous, swirling, whirlpools that have been known to cause disasters for unsuspecting boaters. The waters rushing under this bridge are extremely dangerous and everyone is required to use extreme caution when navigating these waters.

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#2. If walking and hiking are important to you and you also love beautiful and serene surroundings while doing so, the South Whidbey state park, located on the West side of the island about halfway between the north end and south end might be just the place for you. The main walk is an adventure in itself, located amongst large, old trees and near the very large campground facility within the park, this hike is not for the faint of heart (or those that are not in good physical condition). The hike begins with a trail of switchbacks that eventually leads to the beach. Going down this half mile journey is a piece of cake, but returning might be a daunting task for some. As one leaves the beach and begins the climb up the bank, the wall of sixty-seven steps is a difficult task to do before beginning the switchback trail that climbs the rest of the hill. Upon completion the trip is a full mile, but worth the effort for those who enjoy a more difficult task. The beach is gorgeous and at low tide, nice, long walks along the nearly private beach is a wonderful way to enjoy the sights from the west side of the island. Caution must be taken here though to watch for the   incoming tides as getting caught too far down the shore when the tide returns might mean needing to be rescued at some point.

Marilyn 2

#3. A trip to the little village of Langley on Whidbey Island is a must do. The town is brimming with quaint shopping and delicious restaurants as well as wonderful bed and breakfast facilities. Nestled against the bank on Whidbey’s East shore, this little town is tourist friendly and provides visitors with a glimpse into the life and style experienced by residents of this unique island. A walk along the street in the heart of town shows off the wonderful views of Camano Island, the neighboring island to the east in the Puget Sound and the lights from this vantage point are spectacular at night. Antique shops, jewelry shops, trinket shops and truly unique clothing shops are a must see as is the old time grocer’s store, still located in the original building. There are banks, bakeries, and spas for everyone’s pleasure. I highly recommend a stop in this pretty little seashore village as you travel the length of the island. The people are friendly and the food is delicious.

Whale Watching

#4. Ebby’s Landing and Fortress are of historical significance on Whidbey Island. Protecting the Puget Sound and Seattle from invasion since the 1800’s, the fort sits at a strategic place along Whidbey’s western shoreline and boasts campgrounds, park like surroundings around the fort area, a wonderful lighthouse that is often open to the public and a mile long stretch of beach to rival any found on the this island. The old fortress and bunkers are open to visitors and children and adults alike enjoy climbing through the tunnels, taking in all the sights held within the walls of the bunkers and seeing the turret mounts for the cannons atop the fortress walls. The views again from this vantage point are well worth the stair climb to get to the top of the wall. The grounds surrounding the fort and lighthouse are spacious and many visitors enjoy bringing their picnic lunches and spending the day flying kites or playing softball with the family.

#5. A trip to Whidbey Island would not be complete without seeing the Greenbank Farm and all it has to offer visitors. The farm used to be a winery with acres and acres of boysenberries, which was the main ingredient in their specialty wine. Once the winery closed, the buildings were restored and remodeled to suit new tenants and today there are numerous businesses on site as well as a gourmet restaurant, a cheese and wine shop and an antique shop. During the summer the Highland Games are played here and many other organizations also use this facility for their events. It is always a fun place to go for unusual activities, especially during the busy tourist season. The grounds are well kept with lovely ponds that are home to numerous wild species of ducks and birds. The former berry field is now a busy dog (off leash) walking trail and both dogs and their human companions enjoy the romp across the meadows. The paths, and there are several, are busy in winter and summer, even when the weather is blustery and chilly.

Marilyn RandallMarilyn Randall has an extensive background in the graphic design industry. Her art background is varied, including business logo design, printing design, silk-screened shirt design and miscellaneous mediums for her paintings and illustrating.

She published her first book of poetry and prose in 2009 titled My Heart And Soul, following soon after she published six children’s books, which she has both written and illustrated.

Her newest book and first fiction novel is Quicksand. She is currently working on her seventh children’s book, which she plans to release in the summer of 2010. Originally from Medford, Oregon, she continues to write from the serene surroundings of her home on Whidbey Island in Washington State.

More information about Marilyn and the books she writes can be found at her web site www.marilynrandall.com.

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