Our last night of vacation was exciting, because we watched an amazing lightning storm off shore. There are many historic lighthouses to see along the way, and one that is open for tours.
Climbing all the stairs is worth it for the view at the top. We drove through several quaint towns which are tourist friendly with plenty of local restaurants and ice cream shops. Our trip to the Outer Banks was the best vacation idea ever.
Smith Mountain Lake offers about five hundred miles of shoreline, and affordable, available rentals from either private owners or property managers. You can either choose to rest and relax or take advantage of the many amenities the area has to offer such as golfing, horseback riding, boating, fishing, hiking, or other.
If you are in the mood to drive around, Smith Mountain State Park is nearby, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and several local wineries that offer tours. The entire area is very scenic and relaxing, it is the perfect spot to choose for your next vacation.
Newport lies on the edge of the Ohio River and you can take either of a couple of bridges across the river and into Cincinnati. From there you can catch a Reds game or enjoy all that Cincinnati has to offer including Kings Island Amusement Park. Newport itself by day boasts a wonderful Aquarium with the most delightful Penguin exhibit anywhere.
There is also very cool shopping. But it is at night that Newport really shines with venues like Fat Fish Blue that offer the opportunity of a good meal and fine live music virtually every night. Small and not very crowded, Newport Kentucky is a small vacation town you will enjoy!
The lodge itself is beautiful with a pool and a hot tub and a beautiful restaurant with a view of the mountains. At Thanksgiving each year there is a wonderful buffet with every food imaginable. The only downside to this lodge is that it can be quite expensive depending on what kind of room you want and what time of year.
The Ferry in itself is a wonderful trip, as it winds through the islands of the Puget Sound making short stops along the way, before it reaches Vancouver. As the ferry pulled away from the Friday Harbor docking area, I knew I had to go back to take a longer look. As with anytime up in that part of the Pacific Northwest, I always advise going in the early fall days of late August and early September.
The chances of a sunny cool and crisp day are greater and all the islands are less crowded. I saw pods of Orcas on a whale watching tour, visited the really informative Whale museum and took a trip around the back of the island to Roche Harbor which is a day's visit in itself.
There's the Hotel de Haro to explore and the mysterious and beautiful mausoleum a short walk away that is really unique and interesting. Just writing about Friday Harbor makes me start dreaming about visiting again soon.