15 Real Northeast Ohio Haunted Places

In the spirit of Halloween, it’s time to start sharing articles about haunted places. Let’s start with my home city, Cleveland. When I was in high school, my friends and I use to find scary places to go. Were they really haunted? No, probably not. But the fear of the unknown was enough to give us the shivers. But what if those places were really haunted.

The Cleveland Scene put out this article: 15 Real Northeast Ohio Haunted Places. Some that jump out at me are:

1. Old Chestnut Grove Cemetery: Who wants to be haunted by a witch that was buried and possibly executed at this graveyard? Not it!

2. Lima TB Hospital: Hospitals are scary enough when there are people working in them. Abandoned hospitals give me the creeps.

3. Mansfield Reformatory: This one has gained national attention on ghost hunting shows and is the setting for Shawshank Redemption. You never know what crime the ghosts following you committed. Good luck if you go to this one!

All the places on the list are creepy in their own right. Enter at your own risk! You never know what, or who, you’ll run into.

Image courtesy of Google Images 

Undiscovered Disney Parks on TLC: What you may not know about Disney

World of Disney

Sometimes I find myself getting wrapped up in TV shows about travel. I’m sure none of you are surprised and find yourself in the same boat that I was in on the other weekend.

I turned on TLC after waking up and was sucked into the world of Disney. I just returned from Orlando the night before from a business trip, but had a taste of Disney Parks while I was there. I curled up in bed and took in all the information this TV special had to offer.

Here is what I learned about Disneyland (California) and Disney World (Orlando):

1. Downtown Disney is home to an indoor amusement park, DisneyQuest. Here you’ll find arcade games and motion simulators, but there is one thing attraction here that stood out to me. You can build your own roller coaster and test it in an F-16 simulator. It’s called CyberSpace Mountain. Talk about cool.

2. Be a NASCAR driver at Richard Petty Driving Experience. I feel like this one is a nice little get away for the adults on the trip. Get your adrenaline pumping by getting behind the wheel of a real NASCAR race car. Suit up and hit the track — after a few must-know lessons from the professionals.

3. Take in the sights parasailing. Disney’s Contemporary Hotel sits right outside Magic Kingdom. The lagoon has boat rentals and you can also go parasailing. Who wouldn’t want to look down on the majestic sights of Magic Kingdom from 100 feet above the Contemporary Hotel?

4. Take a surf lesson, or show off your skills, at Typhoon Lagoon. You can rent out wave pool before or after park hours to have a Private Surf Party with 25 of your closest friends. Not a surfer but want to learn? Typhoon Lagoon offers lessons, too. With 12 people in the class and the perfect waves being made, you will be standing up on the board in no time.

5. Be in the “in-crowd” at Club 33. Walt Disney himself opened Club 33 at New Orleans Square in Disneyland in May of 1967. It was the only place in Disneyland he could break from the crowds to park-goers. It takes a lot to get into this club, so you have to be patient. It’s so secret I don’t think there’s a webpage for it. Note: This is the only place in the park that serves alcohol.

6. Get VIP treatment with Disney World tours. If you want a peek into the behind-the-scenes of Disney, sign up for the Keys to the Kingdom tour. You’ll get to see the preproduction center and explore some of the tunnels located under the park. Would you rather have someone be your personal guide? Sign up for the VIP tour. Your guide will show you how to navigate the park, help you gather fast passes and get you to your shows on time. Essentially, you will get to relax and enjoy the day a little bit more.

7. Transform into a princess at Bippity Boppity Boutique. I think this is every girls dream when visiting Disney World. A Fairy Godmother will help turn you (or your child) into a little princess. Full costume, make up, hair and nails are part of the package. You can do this at Cinderella’s Castle or at Downtown Disney.

8. Experience the seasons at Disney World and Disneyland. 

  • Spring: Disney’s California Adventure Food and Wine Festival offers 600 cooking classes and different foods and wines from around the world. Epcot’s Flower and Garden festival is a sight to be seen because of all the intricate characters and structures made out of flowers. Also, learn tips and secrets from Disney’s horticulturists.
  • Fall: Epcot has its Food and Wine festival in the fall. Halloween at Magic Kingdom won’t be intimidating for the kids. The Not-So-Scary Halloween Party makes Halloween fun. There is a specialty parade even featuring the Headless Horseman.
  • Winter: Christmas is in full swing at Disneyland and Disney World. The decorations are overpowering. You can even expect some fake snow to set the mood.

9. Personalized fine dining experience at the Grand Floridian. Want to really impress your loved ones? Visit Victoria and Albert’s at the Grand Floridian and book the Chef’s Table. Chef Scott Hunnel invites you into the kitchen and customizes the dinner menu for you. Want to remember what you eat? No problem. You get to take home the menu with you.

10. Disney Vacation Club resorts offer you more. Staying onsite at a Disney hotel gives you added perks. You can utilize Disney transportation and experience the Extra Magic Hours at theme parks. Want a unique experience? Stay at the Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs. If you like camping, you’ll love glamping.

11. Don’t forget about Disney After Dark. There is a nightly fireworks display at parks that will keep your mesmerized. At Magic Kingdom, hang out to see SpectroMagic. There are more than a million lights in this parade. The whole parade is set to a musical score, keeping you entertained the entire time.

A big thank you to TLC for airing Undiscovered Disney Parks and sharing all this awesome information. For all my Disney lovers out there, I know they appreciate it, too.

Photo of the Week: A Buckeye Autumn

IMG_0360

I don’t know about you, but I love the fall season. Crisp temperatures, bright sunshine and vibrant leaves fill your days. On my day off this past Friday, I took an impromptu drive through the Cleveland Metroparks with my camera. I stumbled upon this amazing place, Wallace Lake. Trekking down a little slope, I found myself staring at this view. Now, I’m not a big nature person. I’ll admit, I love the comfort of my home. But I hung out here for a bit and took in how awesomely beautiful nature really is.

London, England: Harry Potter Tours

Hogwarts

Hogwarts

I think from previous posts it’s pretty clear that I love Harry Potter. I am a fanatic. It should come as no surprise that part of the allure of London is going on Harry Potter tours. The Warner Bros. Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter is one the comes to mind. As I start to plan a trip to London, this is where I start my voyage.

From the research I have done, this is any Harry Potter fan’s dream come true. Leavesden was the home of the Harry Potter movies for 10 years. After the films wrapped, all the sets and props were left onsite. So what do you do? You set up a tour. Genius! But what are some of the things I would do given the opportunity to go?

1. Ride a broomstick. Yes, you heard me right. Muggles can sit on a broom in front of a green screen and take flight like the cast did. Want to remember it forever? You can purchase a photograph or DVD of your broom riding experience.

2. See the Great Hall. This is an iconic part of the film. All four houses gather here and the war in the last book has a large presence here. Really I would love to have a meal in the Great Hall and sit at the Gryffindor table. Do they allow this?

3. Walk Diagon Alley. I’ve visited Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Orlando, but walking through the set of the real Diagon Alley would be something special.

There is another tour that caught my attention: Muggle Tours. This seems like a fun group of Potter Heads that take you to unique places that are seen in the film. Like where, you ask? The tour highlights include:

  • The entrance to the Leaky Cauldron
  • Several locations over which Lord Voldemort’s death eater wreak havoc
  • No. 12 Grimmauld Place
  • The location where the Triple Decker Knight Bus squeezes through two London buses

If you’ve never been on the website Trippy, go and sign up! It’s a place to get peer-to-peer information on travel. Ask questions. Give answers. It’s a GREAT community. I asked about HP tours in London and got an awesome answer.

I also stumbled upon this Buzzfeed article: The Super Fan’s Guide to Harry Potter’s London

The possibilities are endless when it comes to Harry Potter! These tours are on my bucket list plan for London. Do you have any other advice for HP fans visiting London? Share in the comments below or on Twitter @tripintotravel.

My 2015 Bucket List

As I look at my ever growing bucket list, I think it’s time to set some attainable goals on what I can do in 2015. When I say “attainable”, what I really mean is best case scenario. It’s time to make stuff happen!

United States

1. San Francisco, California
2. Nashville, Tennessee
3. Austin, Texas

United Kingdom

1. London, England

For me, this is a tall order to complete. I may not get to do all of these in 2015. But, I will do planning for all of these next year.

Share your advice with me about visiting these places! I have heard nothing but amazing things,  but would love to hear specifics about what you think I should do, when I should go and for how long I should visit.

What to do in Kennebunk, Maine

Kennebunk is a beautiful town in Maine. Small and quaint, there is still so much to do in Kennebunk and the surrounding towns. Here’s my go-to guide about what to do when you’re visiting Kennebunk!

1. Town of Kennebunk: There is an all-day breakfast joint, fittingly called, All Day Breakfast. The food is delicious and fairly priced. Who doesn’t want to eat breakfast food at all times of the day? For dinner, hit up Sebago Brewing Company. Of course, you should visit the beaches, which I wrote about earlier.

2. Kennebunkport: Locals and tourists alike will line the streets of the Port to enjoy the scenic atmosphere of a true New England town. There are specialty shops that line the streets and draw you in. I wrote about my favorite shops in a separate post. The prices are high, like in any tourist town. But window shopping is worth the walk.

3. Wells: If you’re looking for some family fun, drive on over to Wells. Start the day off with some mini golf at Wonder Mountain Fun Park. If it’s raining, you can hit the local movie theater. Grab a snack at Big Daddy’s Ice Cream. It’s a popular joint each night, so be prepared for the lack of seating at peak hours.

4. Kittery: Need to shop at some shops you know and love? Hit up the Premium Outlet Mall in Kittery. This outlet mall spans down a road, so you’ll have to drive from strip to strip. If you can find a good deal, it’s worth it!

5. Saco: If you enjoy people watching and want to get in the thick of the tourist activity, go to Old Orchard Beach in Saco. There is a small, beachfront park, Palace Playland, that reminds me of a hometown fair. One gem that I found in Saco was Bay View Beach. It was a clean beach that was not crowded.

As you can see, there is a lot to do when visiting Maine. You can fill your days with fun activities and enjoy the beautiful scenery while you’re exploring. Have I convinced you to plan a trip to Kennebunk?

Photo of the Week: Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney

When traveling for work last week, I took the opportunity to go to one of my favorite places in Orlando — Downtown Disney. Here you’ll find restaurants, Disney shops, lego sculptures and more. Want nightlife? Go to the entertainment side of the complex. Catch a movie, see live music at the House of Blues, or immerse yourself in La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil. Visiting with the family? Go to DisneyQuest or stop by DJ Kids Dance Party at the Waterside Stage. No matter your age, there is something for you to do at Downtown Disney.