My wife and I travel to the Starved Rock area in Northern Illinois quite often (see previous articles). It’s gorgeous and great room/cabins in the grand lodge in the park. We also love to go in to the quaint town of Utica. Historic town with so many cool things to see but always relaxing.
This was our first chance to stop at August Hill. The winery itself is a few miles away but the tasting room is right downtown. It is amazing. A beautiful mod feel that would fit in anywhere in a huge metro or Napa. Still it is in a tiny town.
A fantastic tasting setup in a stunning room. You can get small plate food items hand carried into the gorgeous lounge area if you wish to buy wine by the glass or bottle and relax. Plus wine! Guess what? The wine is excellent as well. Often not true of these smaller Midwestern wineries. This is outstanding (and yes I’ve been all over the world as a fighter/travel writer). I love the Chambourcin (in fact there is a bottle staring at me in my office!) Try it. Now check out the pictures and enjoy. Talk after the jump.
I can’t say it enough. Come to this area and definitely come to August Hill when you do. Trust me. I travel all over and it’s world class yet warm and classically Midwest. I should add that the staff was amazing. Great service. Great knowledge. Go!
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As you know, I love to do extra pieces from the places I travel that are just random pictures. It give you a feel for what a place really looks or feels like. I want you to have an idea of what a place really is, not just standard travel blog jargon and puff.
In the case of my recent extended trip to Nashville I took so many pictures that I will do the random walk in several posts( besides the feature pieces).Why so many pics? The Place is vast, diverse and amazing. Enjoy!
This place is stunning and massive. At Christmas time you can wander for days and feel the season. You can see my review of the hotel in the archives as well
Just for fun I’m going to post pictures of beach shots I’ve taken on various trips. I relax on the beach. Write on the beach. Train Muay Thai and other martial arts on the beach and relax with my fighters there. It’s a place my wife and I Just finally calm down and be(maybe with a cocktail). It’s a place my mind goes if I need to escape for a minute (somebody just elbowed my head in the ring lol). Use these pictures to get there. I won’t muck them all up with more words you don’t really care about. Nature says it all
My dad’s family moved from the native territory (called reservations elsewhere ) to drill the oilfields in Southern Illinois. AS a child we spent a ton of time in this area hiking and eating. Much of it is beyond rural lol. Great food, beautiful scenery and cool country folk. It is truly it’s own little world. Great state parks including Garden of The Gods and Cave In Rock ( famous from movies).as well as others. Much of the area still has native culture (Cherokee and osage which is my heritage). It creates an interesting area full of food, music and a love of nature. I’ll be doing more in depth posts including hotel stays and restaurant reviews . For now take a look at the natural beauty. It’s a great place for an inexpensive trip, and worth it no matter where you are from.
Don’t overlook this great area to take a trip. Nature, food and country culture. You can’t go wrong with that!
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Just for fun I thought I would toss on a few outtake type shots from various trips. Trips from all over for fighting, writing and also my daughters dance comp(maybe some rodeo for my son). I shoot a lot of background stuff for extra and not all of them are great, but all tell a story about people/places and surroundings. Take a look and enjoy. Branson. Virginia Beach and Colonial Williamburg, Destin, Daytona plus Chicago and Vegas. Heck even some I don’t know( West Virginia, Gatlinburg and who knows lol).
I’ve done a bit on this area but I just found a few more shots from this hotel itself. We were there for an event so I was not able to put together tons for a full review( relaxing after the event lol). The hotel was nice and not expensive. Nowhere near as luxurious as I often stay but great. In fact some things made it even better. The deck and deck bar were awesome. Seaboard cool with a touch of class. The week I was there I lost count of how many weddings were there.
It’s on the Chesapeake Bay where it meets the Atlantic so not the meat market beach. Serene but active at the same time. Gorgeous beach homes around. You could see the storms roll in and watch the gulls in the changing sky. Sit on the deck and have a cocktail. Night was especially perfect. Looking fro crabs and watching groups of people working nets for them. Camp fires on the beach. Sitting on the deck and getting a cocktail late into the night watching the waves and hearing the workers on tankers in the bay speak in various languages. Truly an experience. We also saw tons of dolphins just hanging out close to shore. Hopefully I will get a chance to do a full travel piece before long on this area and hotel, in the meantime enjoy the relaxing pictures.
This a great area. History and seafood. Relaxing and nightlife at the same time. It truly is one of my favorite areas of the world(that is saying a lot!!!!) I would like to give this hotel another shot for a full review, so look for it soon.
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Rosemont IL and I go way back. I fought there several times including at the very cool convention center. Took my sport karate team to a National held there several times. Plus lots of conferences for business. At times I have had a love hate relationship with it. Recently they seem to have made great strides to add some cool restaurants and a great mall( wait,I’ll get to that lol). The retail and food end is growing instead of just being hotels next to a huge airport.
Recently my wife and I had some time to kill there while waiting for a flight. Her first stop, the Fashion Outlets of Chicago. Oh dear lord. I have to say it was way cooler than most outlet malls. Upscale, unusual stores and an interesting food court. Far more than I expected. And yes oh boy did she buyyyyy!!!!!
After the mall we hit one of our Chicago favorites Giordanos Pizza . Great stuffed pizza. Great bar and good beer/wine list. It is one of those places we seem to hit quite often when we are up that way. I know, we should only be at foodie type places lol. Nope, we hit those but this place is like comfort food for me. Always going to happen. Take a look at pictures from the afternoon to get an idea of the are. Ill be spending a weekend there soon and do a more in depth piece. Talk after the jump.
If you happen to be in the Midwest this could be a cool getaway weekend for you. Shopping, awesome food (yes some world class foodie places are there as well) and great hotels. Give it a look and watch for my next in depth piece. Contact us for personalized promotion including blog feature and Live Tweets (best value &best reaction). Fun, effective and inexpensive. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @combatsportlife on twitter.
Yes I am blessed to travel great places I’ve been all over and continue to. I love it and fortunately it has worked out to write a bit about it as well as get paid to promote places. That said, you find both enjoyment and article material right around you. Yes even travel articles. If you really want it and you really want to write about it, you will find it. Exotic luxury locations are awesome. So is where you live!!! Somebody wants to know about your lifestyle. Travel is about lifestyle. Local life is as well. Start there. Strangely the things people like the most when I write or promote are the goofy small town Midwest things I show. Think about it.
It is how you write about it and how you take pictures. Not trying to make it glossy. Make it cool for what it is. Pizza and High School football on Friday night are awesome. Write about it. Make them see it and feel it. For this purpose I’m going to post a load of pictures here. Only one is over an hour from m home(maybe two, I used to get hit in the head for a living) They are as interesting as my Vegas, Florida and East coast pics(or anywhere else I’ve rolled, just recent). Enjoy where you are. Be entertained by what you do. Go!
Don’t let your surroundings be boring. Make things happen. Find the excitement and snap a picture. It is all in how you view it. Start there and see where it takes you
For those who follow me you already know why I do these pieces. New people? It’s all about learning what an area is like when you go there. Not the glitzy fake shots but what it looks and feels like. Yes I get paid to Promote some places, but I always tell you what it is like. Really Iike! While I have been all over and treated to an incredible life, I’m a normal guy. I grew up throwing hay and hunting. These posts are how I show my kind of people what they should look for.
So in the continuing series of this kind of post please enjoy my thoughts, opinions and pictures on the area. Before I start the pictures which I will kind of put into areas and ideas ( I’m an old fighter not a journalist!!) Let me say that I LOVE!!!! Destin!!! The water is as gorgeous as anywhere I’ve been in the world. Great restaurants from gourmet to bar food ( my fave). Sugar sand beaches and great shopping. Above all, it has these things in a relaxed southern environment!!!! So let’s get ready to see what it looks like.
I’m going to wander a bit in these pics with a short description overall. First up some random beach shots, mostly down near embassy & the beach hut but a few other shore shots. The water here is gorgeous and some of the cleanest softest sand I’ve been on.
There are many great restaurants and bars in the area from casual Beach places to chef driven Culinary masterpiece spots. Take a look at some food and spots.
There are some very cool shopping spots from tourist kitsch stores along the beach drive (Alvin’s island) to the awesome Destin Commons.
Destin is gorgeous and relaxing with world class food and shopping. I had a great time here and look forward to sharing more about it with you. A couple more random shots just for fun
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