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Stirling, Scotland isn’t as well known as say Edinburgh, Glasgow, or Loch Ness.  But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have places of interest, especially if you are interested in William Wallace.  The most famous leader in the war for Scottish Independence, Wallace’s history ties closely with Stirling.  And even if you don’t know much about Wallace, this is the perfect place to start learning.  But don’t miss out on Stirling’s other historic sites as well.

As Stirling is less than an hour from both Edinburgh and Glasgow, it is perfect for a day trip.  Here are 3 places we think you should visit in Stirling.

jackdaws at stirling castle in scotland

jackdaws perch atop Stirling castle

 

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motif #1

Motif #1

As we were discussing Gloucester on Monday, we thought it was the perfect segue to show you another little gem from the area.  Sitting minutes away is another small seaside town, Rockport, Massachusetts.  And it is there you can find this famous fishing shack located on Bradley Wharf, Motif #1.  Technically this is a replica as the original didn’t survive a blizzard in 1978, but this is considered the most painted building (by artists) in America.  We think you can see why.

Click on the photo for a larger view!

 

A couple of years back we went to Gloucester, Massachusetts for a wedding.  To make the most of our time in the area, an area we had never visited prior, we went for several additional days and toured around.  One of the things we did was take a whale watching excursion.  We had previously seen whales in the wild swimming and breaching off the coast of Cabo, Mexico, but had never taken a boat trip out into the ocean to try to experience them up-close.  This was the perfect place to do this tour as we saw a handful of humpbacks and 2 other variety of whales as well, the minke and the fin.

These are just some of the photos from the amazing experience.

whale watching in massachusetts

this is what we saw the most of, tails gently gliding back into the water

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Pike Place Market is one of the largest tourist attractions in Seattle, Washington.  Located near the waterfront, there is lots to see and do here.  For instance, you can watch fish throwing at the stalls, buy beautiful flowers, or head inside to the large joke shop.  And if you are a coffee drinker, a visit to the first Starbucks is a necessity.

We spent a day wandering the market and wanted to share our favorites things from the day that we think you will enjoy as well.

pike place market sign

Pike Place Market’s entrance sign

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We have had the pleasure of staying at the Hacienda Encantada on 2 separate occasions.  Jenny’s parents have a timeshare at the Hacienda and have allowed us, graciously, to take their week.  So the hotel stay was free for us but we would have gladly paid to have enjoyed a resort like this.

The Hacienda Encantada sits on the Southern tip of the Baja California Sur overlooking the Sea of Cortez.  It is about a 30 minute drive from the closest airport located in San Jose del Cabo.   We have rented a car both times and driven ourselves down but it is not a must.  You can get a taxi or a resort shuttle as well.

the Hacienda Encantada

the Hacienda Encantada seen from the beach below

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The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C. is an unexpected treat.  Unlike many of the other famous memorials, like the Lincoln Memorial, we had heard very little of this place before we visited the U.S. capital city.

So what is is like?  It is in essence a large outdoor walk through depiction of his 12 year presidency, including scenes from the Great Depression, and waterfalls representing the turmoil faced during his terms in office.  The park can be broken up into 4 “rooms” each representing a term of his presidency.  Within the rooms you will find sculptures, waterfalls, and of course depictions of Roosevelt himself, including one that was added 4 years after the memorial initially opened showing Roosevelt in his wheelchair.

Roosevelt statue at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

Roosevelt with his dog Fala

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Zion National Park in Utah has a tremendous variety of trails to pick from for hikers.  However, as we aren’t experienced hikers we opted for a beautiful, and relatively easy, hike during our visit.  Plus it was sunny and extremely hot the day we were in the park, not exactly perfect conditions to be exerting ourselves on a strenuous hike.  We decided to try the emerald pools trail.

lower emerald pools

this waterfall spills from the middle pool into the lower pool

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Blarney Castle is just one of those places you MUST see while in Ireland.  In our opinions, it is the most popular and well-known castle to visit in the whole country.  In fact, millions have visited it over the years and it was at the top of our list as well.  We knew we couldn’t miss out on seeing this beauty during our road trip in Southern Ireland.

blarney castle

the famous Blarney Castle

And although everyone knows about kissing the Blarney Stone, did you know there are other things to enjoy doing your visit?  Let’s take a look.

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