Monday, December 13, 2010

The Incredible Christmas Place

Looking for a place to find all of your holiday decor? Try The Incredible Christmas Place located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
The Christmas Place has everything related to decorating for the holidays. If it can be imagined then the store probably has it.

The Incredible Christmas Place has been open since 1986 and was started by Hurshel and Marian Biggs. The shopping complex is over 43,000 square feet and has a Bavarian-style shopping village theme.

Not only do they carry everything for your Christmas decor needs, they also carry Halloween decorations. So the next time you need some decor check out the Incredible Christmas Place. If you can't make it to the actual store, check them out online.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Piece of History

The Lorraine Motel located in Memphis, Tennessee will forever be a part of history. The site of Martin Luther King's assassination still stands in tact and preserved as it was in 1968.
The Motel was not just for travlers but was also used a place of residence. After the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., The Lorraine Motel remained a functioning hotel until 1988 when the last holdout tenant was evicted. However, no one has stayed in rooms 306 & 307 which belonged to MLK at the time of his death.
Even though the hotel still remains and unused as a dwelling, it is now home to the National Civil Rights Museum. The Museum is located right beside the hotel and is home to artifacts of MLK and documents the Civil Rights Movement. 

The Lorraine Motel is a national landmark in the Civil Rights Movement and a large part of history. If you're visiting Memphis, then do not leave out seeing this historic site. 

The National Civil Rights Museum is open: 
Monday 9:00 a.m-5:00 p.m.
Closed Tuesday
Wednesday-Sunday 1:00p.m-5:00p.m.
Special hours exist June-August so check before planning a visit. 

Admission is $13.00 per adult. 
Other prices vary.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Besides gambling, Las Vegas has a plethora of shows. The best show on the strip can be found at the MGM Grand and it's name is KA
KA- A Cirque du Soleil Show 
(Photo Credit: Google Images)

KA is a spectacular, acrobatic live performance which tells the tale of two Imperial twins, a brother and sister, who are separated during an attack on their Palace. They travel through many terrains and embark in hard journeys to be reunited together and claim their land. 
(Photo Credit: Google Images)

The show has a narrative story unlike the other Cirque shows and is easy to follow from beginning to end. Instead of dialogue, the story is told through music and actions. The stage is ever changing and the sets become things never imagined. 

If you're in Vegas this is one show not worth missing! I've seen it twice and it's worth the time and money. I also suggest picking up the soundtrack in the gift shop after the performance. The music is inspiring and you'll find yourself humming it for hours. 

The show is located at the MGM Grand and reservations are recommended. Prices begin at $116.00 but can be found on discount ticket sites for less. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sandia Peak Tramway

The Sandia Peak Tramway is the worlds longest passenger aerial tramway.
The Tram is located in the Cibola National Forest of Albuquerque, New Mexico and boasts an average of 275,000 passengers a year. The Tramway was constructed in 1964-1966 and cost 2 million dollars. 

Passengers soar to the top via the western face of the Sandia Mountains. Once at the top passengers step out of the tram to be at 10,378 ft. elevation. 
Once passengers reach the top, they have the options of strolling around the observation paths or even having a bite to eat in the restaurant. One thing is for sure, you'll have great views of the entire city. 

In addition to the great views, you can also spot wildlife. Animals such as eagles, cougars, foxes and various species of squirrels have been spotted. 

If you're visiting Albuquerque this is a must on any "to-do" list! Tram operating hours depend on the season so make sure you check their schedule before visiting. In addition to the restaurant on top of the mountain, there is a gift shop at base. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Balloon Museum

The Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum 
The Balloon Museum presents the development of balloons through the years by using historical, scientific and artistic objects documenting the achievements made in the field. 
The museum boasts over 50 historic and modern gondolas with many of them complete with the balloon systems. The museum begins with a tour guide giving a brief history and then patrons are left to self guide through the building. Their volunteers are available for questions.
Visiting the museum is definitely worth seeing and you'll never look at balloons in the sky the same way again. 
The Museum is located at 9201 Balloon Museum Drive NE in Albuquerque New Mexico. 
Open Tuesday-Sunday 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Newport Aquarium

The Newport Aquarium houses thousands of animals, sea creatures, tropical birds and penguins. The Aquarium is located in Newport, Kentucky on the Levee and only minutes away from downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. 

At the Aquarium you can feed the birds, walk with the penguins and even pet a shark! Open 365 days a year to the public, the Aquarium is a great place to spend your day. It's great for single travel or with the family. 
No matter what your favorite attractions are they have something for everyone...
They also have daily shows of divers and feeding and the Aquarium boasts a walk thru tunnel where sea animals can swim directly over top and around the public. 
The Aquarium is very affordable at $22.00 per adult ticket and an annual pass is worth purchasing for only a few dollars more. So the next time you're in Newport make sure you check out the Newport Aquarium doors open daily at 10:00am.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Griffith Observatory

Perched on top of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park, sits the Griffith Observatory. 
Boasting some of the best views of the city and sky the Griffith Observatory sits 1,134 ft above sea level and can be seen from many parts of Los Angeles, CA. Currently in it's 75 year of operation, the museum offers inside exhibits and telescopes for star gazing. There is also a cafe and sitting area in addition to a gift shop. 
The Observatory location also offers a great view of the Hollywood sign...
In my travels, I've visited the Observatory twice, once in the day and once at night. In the daytime expect a crowd but once nightfall hits expect to be hiking up the hill because there will no parking and the crowds will be very thick. At night, the views of the city are worth the parking hassle! Locals bring out their telescopes for star gazing and invite everyone to take a peek at the stars through their lenses. 
So if you're traveling to Los Angeles even for a small amount of time, the Griffith Observatory is definitely worth seeing. The drive is easy through Griffith Park and the views are spectacular!

The Observatory is open Wednesday- Friday Noon-10:00pm and Saturday-Sunday 10:00am-10:00pm. Closed on Monday and Tuesday. Admission the grounds and building are free. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Arcade Restaurant

Arcade Restaurant located in the heart of dixieland is not just a restaurant but also an iconic landmark. Arcade should be visited by anyone traveling to or thru Memphis, Tennessee. 
Arcade has been serving the public since 1919 and continues to do so daily. Be warned, they close at 3:00pm. Sadly for me, I got there too late one day and had to wait till the next morning to experience their food. 

I did have the pleasure of stopping there for breakfast and I was not disappointed. The meal was prepared quickly and was quite tasty. The menu offered numerous selections and the prices were more than reasonable. In this economy that's a definite plus! 
(Hash browns and toast)
Apart from the scrumptious food, the atmosphere at the Arcade felt nostalgic. The decor of the restaurant and it's location in downtown made me feel as if I was sitting there eating breakfast in the 1960's. It's also conviently located a few blocks from the Lorraine Motel, the site of Martin Luther King's death. 
Do you think you've heard about the restaurant before? Well guess what... you probably have! Arcade has been seen in tons of films such as: The Client, Mystery Train, Great Balls of Fire and Walk the Line. So not only can you get a great meal for cheap, you can also sit and walk where celebrities have been. Elvis use to be a regular at one time! 
I highly suggest stopping by for some food the next time your in Memphis! Also, don't forget to pick up a t-shirt on your way out (I bought the gray & white one). That way you can let everyone know about your experience. I know I'll be stopping back in the next time I'm in Memphis! 

Arcade Restaurant is located downtown at 540 South Main Street, Memphis, TN. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Don't Miss the Salt

Located in the great Smokey Mountains of Gaitlinburg, Tennessee is the one and only Museum of Salt & Pepper Shakers.
When entering the museum I became overwhelmed with how many S&P shakers there were on display. I had no idea that there had even been that many different ones manufactured over the years but indeed there has been. The Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum has the goods to prove it.
Hall after hall is categorically filled with the owners personal collection. The collection includes everything ranging from kitschy 1970's pieces of fruit to expensive crystal sets. Not only does the museum boast over 20,000 shakers on display, it also has a wide variety of sets for sale in their gift shop. The museum also houses the largest pepper mill collection.
I even experienced a flashback moment to my childhood, when I looked over and saw a set that use to sit on my grandmother's kitchen table.
(The mouse sitting inside the cheese)
Another great thing about the museum is the admission fee... it's only $3.00 and is a self guided tour so you can look at the collection until your heart is content.

This Museum shouldn't be missed. It's fun, interesting and affordable. The Museum is open Monday-Sunday from 10:00am-4:00pm est.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Pumpkin House

Named by the locals, The Pumpkin House of Kenova, West Virginia boasts over 3,000 hand carved pumpkins each October. 
(Photo Credit: Mark Webb/The Herald Dispatch)

What began as a fun, humble activity has in recent years grown into a nationally known event. In it's 30th year, displayed at a historical, 1891 Victorian Home, owned by Ric Griffith (the town's mayor) the house becomes transformed each Halloween season into The Pumpkin House
Griffith begins preparing in September by ordering pumpkins and then as the time grows closer volunteers are gathered for 6 days of carving and gutting. On average 500 pumpkins are completed each day leading up to show time- Halloween! Pumpkin carvings range from Presidents, animals, sports teams to religious symbols... A little bit of everything!
To complete the look of the pumpkin house, a choreographed musical number is completed with a wall of pumpkins. The music featuring the theme from Pirates of the Caribbean. 
(Photo Credit: Mark Webb/The Herald Dispatch)

So if you missed it this year, I'm sure you can catch it next year! The Pumpkin House is located at 748 Beech Street, Kenova, West Virginia.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Roosevelt Hotel

On a recent trip to Los Angeles, California, I had the pleasure of staying at the Hotel Roosevelt. The Hotel Roosevelt is located in downtown Hollywood and is within walking distance to many well known attractions such as the Kodak Theater, Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theater.
The Hotel Roosevelt has long been a hollywood haunt. Everyone from movie stars such as Marilyn Monroe to music legends such as Blondie have stayed there. The hotel was also the location of the very first Academy Awards Presentation. Most recently the hotel has been seen as the backdrop on MTV's The Hills. The pool and outdoor bar area is a mecca for celebrities to hang out and be seen.

During my stay, I found the front desk staff friendly, welcoming and helpful. The valet was also friendly and even suggested great places to dine at and spot celebrities. However, wait time for the vehicle was sometimes long, so call ahead! That way the car is ready and waiting.

As for the actual room, we had a Deluxe room 2 double beds which was roughly 400 square feet. The room was clean, included a mini fridge with a mini bar and snacks, had a flat screen tv and came with C&O Bigalow bath products for the bathroom. The beds were comfortable and the decor was brown and white with a sepia tone celebrity photograph as the wall decor.
All in all, I'd say if you were looking for a hotel in Hollywood that's close to all the attractions and even has it's own history then the Hotel Roosevelt is the choice for you!

Monday, October 25, 2010


One of my favorite places to visit every time I'm in Orlando, Florida is Gatorland.
I first went to Gatorland in the early 1990's and fell in love with the place. On my most recent trip in August I had the pleasure of adding to my Gatorland memories.

If you've never been to Gatorland then you're in for a unique experience! As soon as you walk through the gates you become surrounded by alligators, crocodiles turtles and other wildlife.
The reptiles are so close to you but far enough away for safety. Besides being able to walk around the grounds viewing the reptiles they also have a feeding show, a gator wrestling show and opportunities for the general public to feed them.
As I mentioned before, Gatorland has other wildlife animals on their property. Beautiful birds are spread out all over their property and have no problem being close to people. They're a great bonus to the alligators. The scenery is also wonderful.
Not only was Gatorland a fun place to spend the day, it was filled with friendly and helpful employees that made this day of travel a memorable one. Not traveling with family or friends? Who cares... you can have a great time here alone!

Gatorland is open daily 9:00am-5:00pm and is located on Highway 441 just North of Orlando.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Welcome Note

Hello and Welcome! 
I'm Jennifer Marie Olivia (JMO) and I'll be your guide here on JMO Travels. I've been traveling around the world since I was a child and nothing has ever made me happier. There's just something about being out on the road, visiting new cities and exploring new attractions that's always brought a smile to my face. What else can I say, I love it! 

During all my years of travel, I've visited some great attractions, stayed at some fancy hotels, shopped at chic stores and discovered delicious foods and often at times it was because I went off the beaten path. Yes, there's some great tourist locations everywhere, but sometimes the most special places are only found by word of mouth. Here you'll hear about some of those places.

Along with going of the beaten path in my travels, I've learned that many people hate to travel alone. Yet, they all had one thing in common, they still wanted to travel. I'm here to tell you that you can travel independently. Due to my schedule a lot of my travels have happened when I was alone. I'm living proof that you can be safe, have fun and get to explore major cities. Male or female, in a group or individually travel is for everyone. 
Here at JMO Travels, I will be sharing all of my globe trotting ways! Expect to see tons of travel tips ranging from restaurants, attractions, shops, hotels and much more! You'll also be seeing reviews, suggestions and tips on how to make traveling cheaper, simpler and stress free. I hope you'll stick around and come back. 

Till the next travels,