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Florida Travel: Riding Lessons and Trail Rides at Horsing Around Ranch in Lake Suzy

Posted by on 10:36 pm in Featured, Florida Fun | 1 comment

Florida Travel: Riding Lessons and Trail Rides at Horsing Around Ranch in Lake Suzy

Like many girls growing up, I loved horses and dreamt of having one and riding it through the fields and woods of my Western New York backyard. We had a barn where my dad and siblings kept a horse but my siblings and I ended up with goats and chickens instead. As a nearly-50-year-old adult, I still get all the feels when around horses and couldn’t wait to say, “giddy up,” I found out my former gym trainer opened a horse ranch in Lake Suzy. About a year or so after moving into my new digs in North Port, Fla., (I purchased my house in 2012), I stopped going to the Port Charlotte gym I had been a member for several years. Al Thurston was my trainer, who had success in training beauty queens and bodybuilding champions, and I enjoyed his salty personality. However, the gym was no longer convenient in an ever-busy life, but, thanks to Facebook, I’ve remained connected to Al. While helping others become the best they could be, Al started rescuing horses, some of which needed rehabilitation. He told me to date he’s rehomed about 50. Over the weekend, I experienced the evolution of his horse rescue, Horsing Around Ranch, LLC, located in Lake Suzy, Fla., near Port Charlotte. Here, visitors can enjoy a guided trail ride (about 90 minutes) through the Florida wilderness or take English or Western riding lessons. The fourth Saturday of the month is Dude Ranch Saturday with trail rides, a cookout, bonfire, games, and good old chilling out (bring the bug spray and sunscreen!). Pony rides are also offered for kids. Some of the horses at Horsing Around Ranch have been rescued while others have been cared for all their lives. In addition to horses and ponies, a tribe of lively goats entertain visitors. I cannot wait to return and share the experience with friends. This is a fun activity to do when visiting Southwest Florida! Reservations are required and can be made by calling Al Thurston at (941) 979-7293  or visiting the Horsing Around Ranch, LLC website.  The ranch is located in Lake Suzy, a short distance from Port Charlotte and minutes from I-175 at Exit 170. You will drive through a residential community (I thought I was going the wrong way!) and the ranch is located behind Faith Preparatory School of Lake Suzy. Giddy up! Horsing Around Ranch, LLC SW Academy Dr. Lake Suzy, Fla. Tel: (941) 979-7293 horsingaroundranch.com Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to support this blog, my traveling habit, and my special-needs...

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Florida Freshwater Fishing: Landing My First Largemouth Bass

Posted by on 10:54 pm in Featured, Florida Fun, Nature Travel | 0 comments

Florida Freshwater Fishing: Landing My First Largemouth Bass

Fog was heavy and created an eerily beautiful landscape in the Babcock/Webb Wildlife Management Area. Navigating my car through the campground, the landscape of slash pine trees and saw palmettos looked as though it was strewn with cotton and a light layer floated above Webb Lake. I worried I would miss the boat ramp where I was meeting my guide for a morning trip. I pulled in as my Southwest Florida freshwater fishing guide, Debbie Hanson, had just launched her jon boat and just after 8 a.m., we were on the Webb Lake fishing for largemouth bass. Other than a few casts with my fly rod several months prior, this was the first time truly fishing Webb Lake and in a boat, no less. Motors cannot be used on the man-made, 395-acre lake and Debbie’s boat is equipped with a trolling motor, along with a pair of oars. Thankfully, the oars were only used when I interviewed Debbie and not because the trolling motor failed (because it didn’t). Empowering Female Anglers Debbie Hanson is the founder of SheFishes2.com, a website about empowering women to become competent and confident anglers. Let me correct that because SheFishes2 is more than a website, it’s a mindset and community led by Debbie. I have known her for several years and she has invigorated my interest in fishing. Debbie’s grandfather introduced her to fishing as a young child which has turned into a passion. Now, she is inspiring others, especially women, to get outside and wet a line. Debbie has coordinated fly-casting events for women in conjunction with West Wall Outfitters in Port Charlotte and has led introductory to freshwater fishing classes for women at Bass Pro in Fort Myers. She has also spoken on several panels about fishing in general. Now, she is a Southwest Florida freshwater fishing guide with Webb Lake being one of her fishing spots. Freshwater Fishing in Southwest Florida: Webb Lake Although *I think* I could have done it (because I attended one of Debbie’s freshwater classes), she rigged my hook with a Yamamoto Seko worm in watermelon color. She suggested where I should cast and within minutes, maybe seconds, I had hooked my very first largemouth bass! Cautiously, I reeled in the bass hoping it would not jump off the line. Just like life, there have been many times where I have experienced the excitement of hooking a fish, reeling it in, then dealing with the disappointment when the fish breaks free. When it was close enough to the boat, Debbie scooped it up with a landing net (specifically, a net made by Isafish which is fish-friendly, so to say, because the net is made of soft rubber and won’t harm the fish) and I contained my excitement as she handed it to me for a photo. At 47 years old, this was my VERY FIRST LARGEMOUTH BASS! But because I’m 47, I felt I had to contain my excitement to Debbie because it’s one of those experiences, like other experiences in life, that I should have experienced by now. When I finally confessed it was my first one EVER, Debbie shared in the excitement. Silly as it may be, reeling in this first fish gave me a bit of confidence. I successfully hooked and reeled it in...

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Discover Florida’s Downtowns with Free Smartphone App

Posted by on 7:07 am in Florida Fun, Travel Resources | 0 comments

Discover Florida’s Downtowns with Free Smartphone App

Florida boasts a rich history and a free smartphone application published by the Florida Humanities Council shares some of the Sunshine State’s most intriguing stories. Called Florida Stories, users can download the free app to explore more than a dozen downtowns through self-guided audio walking tours.

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Solitude and Reflection in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Posted by on 10:52 pm in Politics, Solo Travel | 0 comments

Solitude and Reflection in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

It’s been more than a year and I have a boatload of experiences still to share including a visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. The visit came about because I was in the nation’s capital attending the inauguration of President Trump then attended the Women’s March the following day. 

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Pet-Friendly Florida: Fish, Food and Fun in Daytona Beach with a Dog

Posted by on 2:39 am in Featured, Florida Fun, Travels with Dog | 0 comments

Pet-Friendly Florida: Fish, Food and Fun in Daytona Beach with a Dog

Beach. Spring break. NASCAR. Bike Week. These are some of the things I associate with Daytona Beach and never would have thought this popular Florida East Coast destination is dog-friendly. Boy, was I wrong!

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Florida Travel: What to Do in Punta Gorda & Englewood Beach in 2018

Posted by on 9:57 pm in Featured, Florida Fun, Nature Travel | 2 comments

Florida Travel: What to Do in Punta Gorda & Englewood Beach in 2018

‘Tis the time of year for my annual month-by-month listing of what to do in the Southwest Florida community of Punta Gorda and Englewood Beach (basically Charlotte County) in the New Year. As usual, most activities can be enjoyed anytime of the year. And, I hope you try something that pushes your personal boundaries in the New Year because that’s how you learn, grow and maybe find your new passion.

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Unique Christmas Gift: Save Snowmen From Extinction and Give Earth a Fighting Chance

Posted by on 2:53 am in Disclosure, Featured, Fuzzies, Gadgets & Stuff | 0 comments

Unique Christmas Gift: Save Snowmen From Extinction and Give Earth a Fighting Chance

I have a request of you this holiday season and hope you will join me in this crusade. Together, we MUST stop snowman extinction! Okay, that is a little silly, but seriously, the clock is running out in both days until Christmas and in the negative impact humans are making on our planet.

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Pet-Friendly Florida: I Stayed at a Red Roof PLUS+ Hotel and Cannot Believe the Experience I Had

Posted by on 12:14 am in Featured, Florida Fun, Solo Travel, Travel Resources, Travels with Dog | 2 comments

Pet-Friendly Florida: I Stayed at a Red Roof PLUS+ Hotel and Cannot Believe the Experience I Had

Recently, I stayed at a Red Roof PLUS+ hotel and cannot believe the experience I had with my dog. Yes, I admit I am a bit jaded when it comes to hotels. When I was younger, I stayed in ratty roadside motels that were a little suspect. As I grew in my career and travel blogging, I have since stayed in a range of accommodations that can be described as simple to stately and plain to posh. 

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Florida Everglades Open for Business After Hurricane Irma

Posted by on 11:42 pm in Featured, Florida Fun, Nature Travel | 2 comments

Florida Everglades Open for Business After Hurricane Irma

My eyes watered with sadness as I drove through Everglades City on my way to Chokoloskee and spied the piles of debris sitting by the road, eyed blue tarps, and saw some closed businesses with obvious damage. These manmade hills were made of toilets, bedding, and a mish-mash of what were once personal effects and home fixtures damaged by the storm’s fury waiting to be hauled away, more than two months following the storm. It was a sad scene to absorb.

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Man vs. Dog. Why a Canine Companion is Better than a Human One.

Posted by on 11:36 pm in About Me, Solo Travel, Travels with Dog | 2 comments

Man vs. Dog. Why a Canine Companion is Better than a Human One.

Seemingly unlucky in love, am I better off with a canine companion than a man in my life? After spending Thanksgiving alone (by choice) I hopped in the car and headed to the Everglades for a couple of days with my dog in tow. Hours spent driving meant idle time which always gets my mind churning.

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