garlic and olives in the sarlat market

A Guide to Visiting Sarlat

Sarlat-la-Canéda is a lovely French village in the Dordogne Valley.  It is home to the highest concentration of medieval, Renaissance, and 17th-century architecture of any town in France.  Its picturesque lanes and facades display the privileged status Sarlat received in return for its loyalty to the French crown during the Hundred Years’ War.

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montane river

Gimel-les-Cascades

Gimel-les-Cascades is a small commune in the Corrèze region of France.  Not in my France guide book, this tiny town is truly a hidden gem.  It is a picture-perfect French village and was one of my favorite places in the Limousin and the surrounding area.

I was thankful to arrive around lunch time, as most everything closes between 12-2 in the Corrèze, and I didn’t have to contend with any traffic. As such, somehow, I managed to drive my giant rental car through the few narrow streets that we were wide enough for only one vehicle at a time. 

There was so much to see in Gimel-les-Cascades including remains of castle La Rouche Haute, Church Saint Pardoux and its treasury, Chapel of the Penitents, the home of Gaston Vuillier, and of course the waterfalls for which Gimel-les-Cascades is named.

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jollity farm in correze

Life on a French Farm in Corrèze

Trusted Housesitters

I wanted to go to the French Open in Paris for a day, but it was a long way to go from the USA without other plans.  Having visited Paris previously, I was looking for other options when I found a “housesit” in Lagraulière, a town in Corrèze on a website called Trusted Housesitters.  There are several other similar ones, but basically the site matches house and pet sitters with homeowners who need help with pet and home care.

I paid my application fee for the site, applied to the job in Corrèze which includes details about the owners, pets and home, and miraculously got it!  After some communication back and forth, I booked my plane and train tickets in preparation for my next adventure.

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barn near nashville

Top Things to Do in Nashville

While most people have heard of Nashville, Tennessee, I imagine not as many have heard of Nashville, Indiana.  Nashville, Indiana is a small artist community located in Brown County.  A few years ago, Nashville was named as one of the 20 Best Small Towns to Visit by Smithsonian Magazine.

I stumbled across the town nine years ago during my year-long road trip around the USA and have wanted to return to stay at the nearby Story Inn which is rumored to be haunted.  Finally, I made my return trip after going to Kentucky for the Derby.

I arrived Sunday night and stayed through Tuesday. Monday and Tuesday are very quiet days in Nashville. Some of the restaurants and museums are closed. I liked the quaintness, but for those who want more activity, visit on a weekend, as Nashville is a popular tourist destination and hopping.

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the roses at The 145th Kentucky Derby

The 145th Kentucky Derby Weekend

I’ve always wanted to go to the Kentucky Derby, but have never been able to talk anyone into going with me.  Either they’ve been once, and that was enough, or they weren’t interested due to the exorbitant price of a seat. 

Finally, I decided to go on my own through my vacation club Dreamtrips, who offered a package that included three nights at a hotel in Lexington (not Louisville), transportation, a reserved seat in the Grandstand for the Derby, a horse farm tour, and a bourbon tasting for only $1,860 after I applied 630 points.

Given a package from the Kentucky Derby for the same seating with the addition of a concert, food and beverage cost $1,799 not including lodging which was $1,600, I thought I got a pretty sweet deal. 

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living room at Graceland Mansion

A Guide to Graceland

A Guide to Visiting Graceland

So, I have wanted to visit Graceland for some time now.  Don’t ask me why because I’m not an Elvis fanatic nor do I know much about him.  But I feel as an American, it’s my duty see what all the craze is about.

Over the years, I’ve scanned Graceland’s website thinking I might get to Memphis soon.  Tickets used to be a reasonable $30, but recently with a massive renovation to the complex, the price to enter has sky rocketed. Tours range anywhere from $41 to see the mansion only to $174 for the Ultimate VIP experience.

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