The best part of waking up early is getting to see a gorgeous sunrise.
The best part of a nutritious breakfast is how it fuels you well for the day.
The best part of a bowl of ice cream is how delicious it is! Though science would say the first eight bites.
The best part of visiting friends is creating new memories and reminiscing on old ones…well, unless the food is amazing, in which case that’s pretty great too.
The best part of working hard is the financial freedom you can create for yourself and how you can spend the money.
The best part of living in Florida is the sun and the Disney time.
Hope you’re enjoying the best parts of your week, even if there’s a lot you’d like to change.
Last weekend, Ross and I, for the first time, met up with a couple that we only met because I started the Facebook group Disney World For RVers. Lily and Anthony are, as it turns out, absolute gems of human beings, full-time RVers, fellow geeks and nerds and just truly lovely, kind human beings.
We spent four hours hanging out, and if Disney Springs hadn’t closed an hour prior, we may well have stayed even longer than that! We enjoyed dinner at Cooke’s of Dublin (amazing gluten-free food for me!), wandered World of Disney a bit and then had delicious goodies at Amorette’s – two out of three were gluten-free! In fact, I took home a mini-cake that I indulged on during the week too. Yum. Coffee cream…
We wish them the happiest of weddings this week and a beautiful life together, and we look forward to spending more time together soon.
Here are a few pictures from our fun!
If you haven’t figured it out yet, Ross and I spend a lot of time at Disney World when we are in Florida. In fact, it’s our favorite thing to do in our free time, in part because we want to get as much value from our passes as possible. But every now and then, we get an itch to check out a non-Disney spot, and that’s just what we did on Friday for Valentine’s Day.
After spending the morning working (me) and waking up (Ross), we made our way toward Sanford, a town the bloggers Technomadia had fallen in love with. It’s got a great downtown, with friendly people and excellent food, and we also found a wonderful used bookstore/record store etc. with great deals. Parking wasn’t too stressful and we loved our visit to Wondermade for local marshmallows and delicious ice cream.
They also have a great coffee shop where all the proceeds go to fight sex trafficking, and another ice cream shop across the street serves ice cream and waffles for the same cause. The coffee shop also had a board where you can pay a cup of coffee forward for the next person who needs it. So sweet!
After enjoying our Sanford visit, we hoped back in the car to drive another 40 minutes or so to DeLand, and we were not disappointed! We came for a museum event that was kind of a bust, so we skipped that, but we got a primo spot downtown for their Friday farmer’s market (tons of arts stuff, food trucks, health supplements…it was awesome!) and we had an amazing time meeting people and exploring it all. After that, we made two more stops for ice cream (ever important for the ice cream blog!) before making the drive back through Orlando to our RV park.
It was our kind of Valentine’s Day, with treats and adventures and quality time. It also confirmed that we’d be excited to spend more time in both locations, especially DeLand, so if we ever decide we want to live in Florida in the future, we’ve got more options.
Hope you had a nice holiday too, and even if not, know we are sending our love from Florida to you!
Thanks for reading, and have a great week!
Let’s be honest – the main reason Ross and I are spending the winter and spring in Florida is that we want to go to Disney World. So it shouldn’t surprise you that attending the Festival of the Arts has been a priority for us.
If you’ve never been, we highly recommend visiting at least once. Here are five compelling reasons to try it!
1. Broadway Performers
I almost called the festival performers free, but then I remembered you paid a lot to get into the park. But however you think of it, you can see some outstandingly talented performers at Disney World, and during the festival, talented Broadway performers abound. If you have the chance, I highly recommend catching Heidi Blickenstaff like I did!
2. Tasty Food and Drink
There are some delicious treats during the festival. It’s harder to find gluten-free options than I’d like, but since I’m not celiac, I have more options than a lot of folks. One of my absolute favorite treats is trio of drinking chocolate! You’ll find this in the American pavilion. Adding alcohol is an option, but I’m a purist when it comes to drinking chocolate. 🙂
Ross recently got one of Joffrey’s specialty coffees with a donut – he went for a white chocolate something or other and a red velvet donut that looked and tasted decadent, according to him. Super fun!
3. Amazing Artwork
Throughout Epcot, you’ll find incredible originals and prints, much of it on a Disney theme and much of it just really beautiful and unique. This is the only time of year to see most of this work in person.
4. Meet the Artists, Be an Artist
You’ll also be able to experience art in a whole new way – meet and greet, grab signatures, watch artists at work and try your hand at creating, whether in a free workshop or one you pay for. Be sure to book ahead of time if you’re interested in a workshop!
5. Experience Epcot With New Eyes
One of the best parts of festivals at Epcot is that everything just feels different. There are new things to see and do, and wandering through it all can take up a day or a half day of its own. The other benefit of this is that you may find the crowds are less busy than usual when you check out a ride. And if you hit big crowds somewhere, it’s fun to wander elsewhere instead.
Have you been to Epcot’s Festival of the Arts? I’ve been to three of the four they’ve had so far, and I’ve really enjoyed them. What did you think? And if you haven’t been, what would you be most excited to check out?
The bad news? We are still sick! I’ve managed to fight it off pretty well, but Ross has been really hit hard by this thing. He saw a doctor today and was told the sore throat is caused by a sinus infection…so he’s on meds for that. Super annoying.
The good news? We felt healthy over the weekend, so we got out to the Magic Kingdom on Saturday, and on Sunday, we had a delicious meal and visit with my dad and his wife at Bird of Paradise in our favorite part of Orlando. Amazing fresh food, great desserts in the same shopping area and of course excellent company.
I’ve been well enough to work and mostly walk outside daily, so that’s been great, and we are thankful to have what we need to get through illness, frustrating as it is.
This weekend I’m leading a musical theater performance and history workshop for adults – it should be a blast!
We are seeing great growth in our virtual businesses, and we are gaining clarity on our next steps. We have so much to be thankful for.
Also, a special shoutout to my brother Scott and his partner Kailey – our Christmas gift is amazing and we will share it as soon as we have a place to hang it.
Hope you all have an illness-free week!
Life is great here in Florida – unfortunately we just spent $1,100 on needed maintenance on our car (time for a timing belt, and the water pump was leaking), but besides that we’ve had cooler, sunny days, plenty of work and great times at Disney World.
We are back as annual passholders at Disney thanks to our Florida residency, so I wanted to share some photos from our holiday visits to the parks. We enjoyed holiday flavors (like the gluten-free cookie butter sundae!), beautiful decorations, special puppets in Animal Kingdom and of course I had to ride the Jingle Cruise.
Hope you’re all having a great January so far!
Thanks for reading!
Wow, it’s hard to believe 2019 is ending and 2020 is beginning! We have managed to fit so much into this year, it’s really been a banner year for us. So here are some of the highlights of where we’ve been and what we’ve accomplished this year, with a few musings for the future.
We started the year off in New Mexico, and we actually spent almost six months there, with ample time in Tularosa/Alamogordo and Deming, where we threw down routes with a state park pass for hiking and history and trips to Tucson, AZ (the desert museum is always our favorite), El Paso, TX (free theater, yoga and flying out of the airport to NH), Las Cruces, NM (ukulele festival and of course all of the free museums and parks) and Silver City, NM (performing, good eats, amazing shops and ice cream). We also spent time in neighboring cities, including a few visits to Roswell to perform, explore and eat excellent ice cream. In May and June, we shifted north, basing ourselves south of Albuquerque mainly, with visits to ruins, time in Taos (the best chocolate ice cream ever!), Santa Fe art explorations for our anniversary and of course a full week falling in love with Albuquerque during the Senior Olympics. We performed a lot throughout New Mexico, with the anchor being at yoga studios, which meant meeting people and, for Jamie, lots of free yoga classes!
At the end of June, we headed north, dusting off our Harvest Hosts path rather than going the campground route, and fell in love with new parts of Colorado, including Pueblo, Old Colorado City in Colorado Springs and a variety of Denver suburbs, with an RV park bordering a huge park perfect for Jamie’s walks. While staying there, Jamie flew to Slovenia, and while Ross’ promised work fell through, he took advantage of the location to see more of the music and comedy scene in Denver and get further work done on his ukulele course. We also performed together in Denver at Your Mom’s House.
After Jamie returned, having said her goodbyes to her grandfather, it was a quick dash out of Colorado, with the next month spent exploring Boulder, CO (complete love and wonderful performing experience!) and a visit to Tillamook and the coast for a few days. We also stayed at a winery with hookups, washer dryer, an open schedule and the nicest people imaginable, and our Tillamook location was perfect for the beach and had absolutely amazing food and drink for purchase.
From Boulder we enjoyed the gorge as we headed north (oh, we also boondocked on the gorge, just amazing!) and spent wonderful time with family in the Eastern part of the state. They catsat for us while we spent almost a week in Seattle, having an absolutely incredible time with Jamie’s cousin, enjoying a Star Wars stage show, outstanding ice cream and our first pho in addition to a great performance. We also fell in love with Seattle, made easier with a gorgeous week of weather, and Ross bought a new game system. When we returned to Ross’ family, via some delicious ice cream, we had some RV trouble, and a generous gift made it easy to get back on the road quickly.
Then it was time to head back. We spent a great night at a brewery in Missoula (with okay beer but tasty seltzer and a great location), and Jamie and Ross went into the town and walked her old haunts, getting ice cream too of course. The next day, Jamie got a call that her grandfather had passed away and the funeral would be in four days. So it was time for quick decisions.
While Ross would take a more typical pace across the country, with a stop to see friends in Iowa, Jamie raced, loading up on a gluten-free bagel sandwich with lox in Missoula, MT before departing at noon Wednesday. She made it with minutes to spare to an 11 a.m. funeral on Saturday in New Hampshire! She also got some tasty ice cream and a nice walk in Wisconsin as well as tons of city driving experience along the way. Ross’ mom acted as her travel agent, booking motels as needed on her path.
Jamie was reunited with Ross and Squeak about a week later, and the fall was full of teaching artist work (ukulele for Ross, theater improvisation for Jamie), performing for yoga and at Amphora (so much delicious food and drink!), teaching, socializing and of course producing the musical Goblin Market at the Hatbox Theatre.
After a full fall, with amazing Hatchland soft serve and Sweetly Offbeat gluten-free cheesecakes, we spent a quiet Thanksgiving together before heading south. We spent time with Ross’ sister and husband and Jamie’s cousin and wife and new baby, visited an awesome cheap winery, had an incredible visit to Savannah where Ross declared we could move there based on the dessert cafe alone and then made it all the way to central Florida, where we are now, in time to visit Galaxy’s Edge, eat a cookie butter sundae and eat a s’mores sandwich, amongst other things, at Disney World before year’s end.
We’ve accomplished a lot this year. We’ve quadrupled our virtual income. We’ve seen tons of bucket list places and found several new places we’d consider moving to. We produced a show we are incredibly proud of.
We also hit a few snags along the way, as Jamie learned the importance of narrowing her focus as a VA and of putting excellent business management practices in place to make her as successful as she can be. Meanwhile, a ukulele course we’d hoped to finish in quarter one is still in process a year later. We’ve also had to let some of our projects, like this blog, slide sometimes to meet our deadlines. But we’ve learned a lot, grown a lot and truly accomplished a lot along the way.
Thank you to everyone who has taken lessons from us and hired us for work this year. Thank you for all of the generous gifts and for cheering us on along the way. We’ve passed the three year mark and while our path is still somewhat unclear, we are narrowing in on next steps as we prepare to settle somewhere, at least part-time, in the relatively near future.
As we gear up with ambitious plans for growth and fun in 2020, we thank you and wish you an incredible year. Happy New Year!
For those of you who’ve missed it, at the beginning of this year I was inspired to start my own Facebook group – Disney World For RVers. I started it because there are thousands of groups about Disney World, and tons about RVing, but based on my research, ZERO groups that combine the two.
It’s a relatively small but growing and FUN group of Disney nerds and RVers and aspiring RVers and I’d LOVE for you to join the group yourself. All are welcome! Join us!
Not sure if it’s something that would interest you?
Lately our conversations have included topics like:
What should you pack in your backpack/purse for a day in the parks?
Which is the best park for food?
Which is the best resort to stay at?
Plus we just love sharing our stories. Our members share their vacation photos or their day visit photos, and each week we share where we are in the country and post a throwback from a past vacation.
In other words, it’s a blast.
Hope to see you real soon!
Supporting Our Blog
We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:
- Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
- Become a patron of our work!
- Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
- Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
- Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
- Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
- Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.