travel

A trip To Heron County Park Wetlands(sooo cool)

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You just never know what you will run across. Marsh land isn’t common in the central Part of Illinois. Yep it is in the southern part of the state ( you’ve seen U.S Marshalls lol). This area is really unusual here.

It’s actually the North end of Lake Vermillion. Not much like it in this area. A true wetlands. Marsh, bog and just beautiful. They have a great observation tower but also a 950 ft floating boardwalk. You will see eagles, geese and ducks plus birds that I have no clue what they are. And I’m Native American. It’s a great place to relax and refresh. Plus there are a ton of great restaurants close by (look for a piece on our trip to the Nugget soon).

Just a few Miles North of Danville Illinois on West Newell Rd, it is a world class experience for zero cost if you are in the area. Worth the trip if you aren’t!!! Come see us!!!

 

A Great Visit To Mackinaw Valley Winery

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So we finally made it out to this place. Friends had told us for years to go. It’s not that far but given our schedules on the road it had just never happened. Soooo glad we did. Sandy and I loved it, and we have been to a lot of amazing places.

Beautiful grounds and facility with great service all while being so relaxing. I’ll wait to write a ton more as we go to various concert events but I wanted to give you an idea of just a normal outing here. A relaxing hour in the afternoon or an evening adventure.

First, the drive out there is great. Heading out of Bloomington IL starts like everything but as the cool old barns and hills pop up , the drive gets interesting. When you arrive you will be impresses with the look. Cool house that they seem to just keep adding on to. You can see the vines and I really like how they mark what they are( if you like wine , it’s nice to know). An incredible little shop with gourmet items as you enter and then the tasting room. You get three free tastings and then each after is a dollar. You can also buy a glass($6 on average) as well as beer. This part is awesome because as you will see in the pics, they have a gorgeous deck to sit on and relax.

In the warm months they have a great concert series which the grounds are perfect for. Sandy and I will being hitting that this year and you know those pics will show up right here. For now, enjoy the pictures and we will talk after the jump.

You should definitely check this place and it’s wines out. Great place, great wines and a great time. Take the time to go. Check out their link here for directions and more info. Mackinaw Valley Winery and definitely tell them Bob and Sandy from the Combat Sports Lifestyle blog (and Team Transcend ) told you to show up. Follow us on twitter @combatsportlife . Also contact us to come to your place.

Nelson’s GreenBrier Distillery In Nashville(great tour/tasting)

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This little tour and tasting at Nelson’s GreenBrier was not even close to what I expected. That’s an awesome thing. The tour was full of history and whisky knowledge. Bits about the area and the people in the 19th century who made it originally.

The story of how grandchildren found out about the company and recipes after having basically vanished for 100 years is amazing( I’ll let you learn about it on the tour or website). Charlie and Andy Nelson tell the story far better than I ever could.

What I can say is the whisky is awesome. I liked it all, my wife liked the bourbon, hence the reason we bought the bourbon(expect a tasting review here soon). As you finish the tour of the historic building and great thoughts from the guide, you get a great tasting in a cool bar area. From white whisky to sour mash. Thoughts on each and the history of each. Our guide Joel did a perfect job of explaining while letting us come to our own conclusions. Truly one of the best historic tours I’ve been on(and I travel constantly!). Add to that the fact that the whisky is world class and you just can’t beat this as an outing. Right off downtown Nashville in an area you wouldn’t expect, it’s just a great way to relax and spend some time. Take a look at some pictures and catch the link after the jump.

 

If you are near Nashville TN or just want to take a great trip for history/whisky then go to Nelson’s GreenBrier Distillery  and tell them Combatsportslifestyle sent you( and Bob & Sandy Tompkins!!!). Follow them on twitter @TNWhiskeyCo and follow us @combatsportlife. Email us for pr details at tompkinscontent@gmail.com

Random Pictures From Gaylord Opryland ( Get to know the place)

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I do a ton of random walk features everywhere we travel to. Like I always say it’s a great way to get to know how a place looks and feels. Not just the stock media photos every travel blogger gets and tries to write an article around.

I took about 3000 pictures while we were in Nashville. A solid 2200 of them were inside the Gaylord. So much history. Glitz, music and just an unusual feel that I don’t find often . The pics in this post are just from all over the complex(truly one of the largest places I have ever wandered around. Go there, hang out and just see what you run into. No plan, no agenda just wander. Enjoy the pictures and then book a trip there.

There isn’t a reason to not stop by this place if you’re in Nashville. It’s like walking through a cool, glitzy museum with food and booze! Better yet, stay at Gaylord Opryland

Walking Around Delta Island At Gaylord Opryland (so cool )

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When you go to the Gaylord Opryland you will struck by it’s size. I you read the review I did recently you can see all about that. The best part is the different atrium sections each with their own look, vibe interesting features. This piece is about Delta island.

It’s massive. Shops, restaurants and bars as well as gorgeous water features. Heck you can take a guided Delta boat tour. It’s that big. I literally spent hours wandering around it. I went multiple days. Grab a cup of coffee or a cocktail and just enjoy it.

The architecture and old jazz playing reminds you of New Orleans. Interesting little places to shop, stands with drinks and sooo much more. It was probably one of my favorite parts of our week at Gaylord Opryland. Truly a world class experience. I will let the pictures speak from here out.

You need to put this place on your list soon. If you get to Gaylord Opryland tell them you saw it on Combat Sports Lifestyle.

Speaking of lifestyle, check out today’s sponsor Legacy Home & Ranch !!!  Great products from custom couches to coffee and saddles. Take a look at the cool Western Lifestyle products they have.

Kitschy Fun At Willie Nelson And Friends General Store(Pictorial)

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Just across the road from Gaylord Opryland is a little strip that has three very cool places along the store front. The Nashville Palace which you can learn about in A post from last week here. There is  a Cooters store and museum( it’s own post soon) but today we talk about the Willie Nelson And Friends Museum and General store.

I love roadside tourist kitsch. Look at my Florida articles and you will see tons of pics from hokey little shops. To this day they scream vacation to me. It also is the type of place I can find a snow globe for my daughter! When she was young it was something she always picked up when we traveled. On trips when I was fighting and she wasn’t there or my wife going to conferences, we still got them for her. Now as Sandy and I travel for all these things and pr work, our daughter still wants them(yes even as an adult). This was the place I knew I could find it.

The Willie Nelson And Friends Museum and General store is cool kitsch(hey It’s the awesome Willie Nelson!!). From clothes and tourist type gifts to food items and Willie Nelson memorabilia. Of course they have snow globes!!!

If you are in Nashville and just want to relax and enjoy a little time being a country music tourist, you should definitely stop by this place. I loved it and will definitely stop again. Scored the snow globe too! Now relax and check out my pictorial from the store.

 

If you are in Nashville you really should stop by and see this cool ode to Willie Nelson. It’s just plain old country fun.

Willie Nelson General Store

Random Walk Pictorial Nashville Pt1

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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!