Ring of Kerry, Ireland: Vistas, Limericks, and Spoons

Our next adventure to Ireland was a drive around the Ring of Kerry and visiting a quaint pub in Limerick.  Here is this leg of the trip:

Killarney to Limerick

W. B. Yeates

The Ring of Kerry is an 111-mile scenic drive around the Iveragh Peninsula. On the drive there, we stopped by the church where W. B. Yeates is buried.

I remember taking Humanities in college and reading poems by Yeates. As an Irish poet, Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in December 1923. He is buried at a small church and with a very unassuming grave.

His epitaph contains the last lines of “Under Ben Bulben“, one of his last poems written before his death:

Cast a cold Eye
On Life, on Death.
Horseman, pass by!

The Ring of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry is a beautiful drive reminiscent of some of our great California scenic coastal drives.

Ring of Kerry 1

Ring of Kerry 2

Ring of Kerry 3

On one of our stops along the way, we stopped into a small gift shop. Cameron tried on Irish hats.

Cameron Hats

We also found a crest with our surname. It says that Miller came from Irish and Scottish heritage with a name of Muilleoir. It was common for families to change their last names to a more English sounding name when they migrated to America.

Miller Crest

On to Limerick

Once we visited the Ring of Kerry, we stayed in Limerick. If you remember from Humanities, a limerick is a humorous poem containing just five lines. The first, second, and fifth lines must rhyme and the third and fourth lines have to rhyme with each other and have the same rhythm.

Our tour director challenged each of us to create a limerick. By this time in the trip, we were in a routine of traveling by bus to see fantastic sites, drinking lots of the local beer and Irish whiskey, and getting up early each day to start again. Here was my limerick:

Guiness, Jamison, Irish Cofee and the like,
Have clouded me memory of our time last night,
We danced and sang and partook some more,
When at “last call” they told us it was quarter past four.
I awoke at noon in a terrible fright to find that the bus was nowhere in sight!

Yet Another Pub

In Limerick, we found a really cool Irish pub, with the best Irish singers so far.

Limerick Band

If you want to hear a clip of their music, click here.  They really made the evening fun. They taught us a traditional Irish dance and they had several people come up on stage and play spoons. Of course, Cameron was chosen and he played spoons like he knew what he was doing.

Cameron Playing Spoons

After the band stopped playing, we went downstairs and hung out for a few more hours. There were 2 Irish girls sitting in a booth downstairs playing and singing traditional Irish tunes. They were not paid to do it, they were just having fun — that’s the way it is in Ireland. The drummer from the band we were listening to earlier joined in and they all entertained us for hours.

Next Stop: Galway

We spent 2 weeks on this trip to Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland, so I will continue chronicling our journeys over the coming weeks. The next blog will cover our visit to Galway – a bustling college town.

If you are not subscribed to our blog and would like to subscribe so that new posts come directly to your email, scroll up to the right top section of this page and type in your email address.

If you missed the prior posts, you can see them here:

 

 

Cork and Killarney Ireland: Kissing the Blarney Stone

After visiting Waterford, we made our way to Cork and then to Killarney. Cork is the 2nd largest city in Ireland and looks very industrial.  Cork was settled in the 6th century and was taken over by Vikings in the 10th century (around 915 A.D.). One of the big attractions of Cork is the Blarney Castle, more about that later.

Cork

Killarney is a beautiful lake-side city complete with green rolling hills and a deep lake. It won the Best Kept Town award in 2007 and in 2011 it was named Ireland’s tidiest town and the cleanest town in the country by Irish Business Against Litter. We boated around the Lakes of Killarney and took a “jaunting car” (horse and buggy ride) around the beautiful Killarney National Park. More about that later.

Killarney

To get your bearings, here is the trip route (the light red shade is from the prior days):

Waterford to Killarney

Blarney Castle: The Gift of Gab

When visiting Cork, we stopped by the Blarney Castle. According to Irish folklore, anyone who kisses the Blarney Stone receives “The Gift of Gab” (ability to speak eloquently). The Blarney Castle is a medieval fortress that dates back to the 10th century.

Blarney Castle 1

There have been 3 structures erected on this site, the first one in the 10th century was a wooden hunting lodge. Around 1210, the wooden structure was replaced with a stone building that was later demolished and replaced by what is currently standing.

Blarney Castle 2

 

To reach the Blarney Stone, you climb 127 stairs to the top of the castle. For over 200 years, pilgrims have climbed the steps to kiss the Blarney Stone and receive the Gift of Gab. The stone was brought to the castle in 1314 when Cormac MacCarthy, King of Munster, sent 4 thousand men to defeat the English at Bannockburn. After the defeat, the stone was split in half and sent to Blarney. A few years later, a witch was saved from drowning and revealed the special powers of the stone to the MacCarthy’s. And the rest is history.

The climb to the top provides incredible views of the surrounding area.

Blarney Castle Views

Once you reach the stone, you must lay down on your back and bend backward to kiss the stone.

Kissing the Blarney Stone

Lots of people on our tour were hemming and hawing about germs and the like but when they got to the stone, all of that went out the window: they all kissed the stone.

Blarney Stone

The Blarney Castle is surrounded by beautiful gardens and caves.

Blarney Castle Gardens

Cameron and I wandered into some caves and almost had to climb through on our stomachs at parts. Once we reached the end of one cave, we saw lots of engravings from people that made their way here in the past.

Blarney Castle Caves

Killarney: A Land of Lakes

Our first stop in Killarney was the Ross Castle where we boarded a boat for a tour of the lake. Ross Castle was built in the 15th century by O’Donoghue Mór and was eventually owned by the Earls of Kenmare. They owned an extensive portion of the lands that are now part of Killarney National Park.

Ross Castle

Legend has it that O’Donoghue still exists in a deep slumber under the waters of Lough Leane. On the first morning of May every seven years he rises from the lake on his magnificent white horse and circles the lake. Anyone catching a glimpse of him is said to be assured of good fortune for the rest of their lives.

We took a nice boat ride around the Lower Killarney Lake and learned about the history of the area. We saw a huge eagle that was circling the mountains, we were told that there are a couple of eagles that inhabit this area.

Killarney Lake

Lake Killarney 2

Killarney National Park: Jaunting Cars

After our boat ride, we were picked up by Jaunting Cars (Horse and Buggy) and received a picturesque ride through the Killarney National Park, arriving back into the heart of Killarney.

Jaunting Cars

Check out my slow-mo video of the Jaunty Car ride.

Killarney National Park

Killarney National park 2

Killarney Town

Our Jaunting Car driver works during the summer season and he takes care of the horses in the off-season. He said the horses will gain about 100 pounds in the off-season and it takes them a few months to get back in shape.

Jaunting Car Driver

Muckross Traditional Farms

For dinner, we visited a working farm called Muckross Traditional Farms. It’s like time traveling back into the past, as they still use old-style plows, harrows, corn drills and horse-drawn mowers.

Muckross Farm

We had a demonstration of making butter without any use of electricity, as they did in older days.

Muckross Farm Butter

After touring the farm, we sat down to a traditional Irish feast — I had lamb stew and it was incredible. A couple provided entertainment which included singing old Irish songs and playing an electric bagpipe. The electric bagpipe costs about $15,000 so it’s a bit difficult for young people to take up this musical instrument due to the cost.

Muckross Farm Dinner

On our final day in Killarney, our tour guide had a photo taken of our group with Lake Killarney as the backdrop.

Group picture

Next Stop: Ring of Kerry

We spent 2 weeks on this trip to Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland, so I will continue chronicling our journeys over the coming weeks. The next blog will cover our visit to Ring of Kerry – a spectacular coastal drive with amazing vistas.

If you are not subscribed to our blog and would like to subscribe so that new posts come directly to your email, scroll up to the right top section of this page and type in your email address.

If you missed the prior posts, you can see them here:

 

 

 

Waterford Ireland – Studs, Crystal, and Craic

After a couple of days in Dublin, we began our journey towards Waterford, Ireland. If you’re unfamiliar with Ireland, here is the route of that trip.

Dublin to Waterford

Waterford, Ireland

As far back as I can remember, we’ve bought Waterford Crystal Christmas ornaments and items for the china cabinet. It was a treat to visit the factory where these heirlooms are all hand-made.

Waterford Crystal Factory

Waterford Crystal is almost as old as the United States, it started in 1783 by George and William Penrose. Upon the death of the owners, the business was sold several times. In 1825, Great Britan and Ireland placed a hefty duty on glassware and this eventually caused Waterford to go belly up. However, in 1947, Charles Bacik and Noel Griffin reopened Waterford Crystal and it has thrived ever since.

The artisans of Waterford Crystal go through intensive training. They first go through 5 years of apprentice training before they can test as a Master. If they fail to pass the Master test, they normally leave the company. If they pass the test, it takes another 3 years to become a Master artisan.

Waterford Master Aristan

I was really surprised at the types of crystal they make. It’s not just vases, glasses, and ornaments — you will find NBA and NCAA trophies and all kinds of odd uses of crystal.

 

Irish National Stud Farm

On our way to Waterford, we stopped by the Irish National Stud Farm. This is where championship horses are bred. The property is beautifully manicured and has even been visited by the Queen of the United Kingdom.

Irish Stud Farm Grounds

Irish Stud Farm House

It’s amazing how much they charge to breed Champion studs. The most expensive Stud on the farm is Invincible Spirit. His stud fee is £ 120,000 — that’s $158,168! This horse is bred about 4 times a day so he brings in $632,672 per day. Now that’s some serious money!

Invisible Spirit.JPG

Invisible Spirit Stud.JPG

Japanese Gardens

On the grounds of the Irish Stud Farm sits a Japanese Garden. It’s an incredibly manicured garden of various native (and even some non-native) plants.

Japanese Garden Bridge

Japanese Garden

Jack Meades Original Irish Pub

We had a special dinner at the Jack Meades Irish Pub. This is a traditional Irish pub that carries a lot of history.

Jack Meade exterior

The pub dates back to 1705 and it has been in the current family since 1857. As you walk into the pub, you must duck your head because the ceiling height is only about 6 feet and some of the header boards are just over 5 feet high. As you look around the 200 square foot bar, you see locals bellied up to the bar sipping Guinness.

The upstairs is bigger and that’s where we had dinner. A local talent serenaded us with Old Irish songs and we all sang along. Danny Boy and 40 Shades of Green were the crowd pleasers.

The singer also told us about Galway girls. Galway is a coastal town we visited later and they supposedly have the most beautiful Irish girls there. Most have dark hair and blue eyes. They think this happened as the Spanish visited the coastal city and left a bit of their heritage behind.

The singer also said that in recessionary times, they converted the upstairs of the pub into a funeral home because in Ireland they like to celebrate a person’s life by pounding pints of Guinness. This was a logical fit and it ran as a pub/funeral home for many years.

I had the best seafood chowder I’ve ever tasted at this pub — it was  a wonderful night of craic.

Next Stop: Cork and Killarney

We spent 2 weeks on this trip to Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland, so I will continue chronicling our journeys over the coming weeks. The next blog will cover our visit to Cork and Killarney.

If you are not subscribed to our blog and would like to subscribe so that new posts come directly to your email, scroll up to the right top section of this page and type in your email address.

If you missed the post covering Dublin, you can read it here.

 

 

Dublin Ireland – 10 million pints of Guinness

We just finished up 2 amazing weeks visiting Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. We visited lots of interesting sites so I will be creating a series of blogs that highlight our adventures.

Guinness Storehouse

After traveling the red-eye flight to Dublin, we arrived early at the hotel but the rooms weren’t yet ready and wouldn’t be for several hours. Our tour guide suggested we visit the Guinness Storehouse — a museum and brewery for the nitro infused creamy beer called Guinness.

Guiness Storefront

We’ve had Guinness before but during this trip, we grew quite fond of this original craft beer. It was sold in every pub at a cost of about $3 pounds (about $4 US Dollars). Compare that to $7 in a bar in the states — a great deal. Guinness is a hugely successful company, brewing 10 million pints a day in Dublin.

If you like beer and the science behind making it, you will enjoy the Guinness Storefront. They have lots of interesting ways of showing how beer is made — most of the demonstrations are backed with video and other audio/visual aids. They also have an entire floor dedicated to how they’ve marketed the product over the years. It was fun to see really old commercials and how they targeted their sales.

Included in the price of admission is a trip to the Gravity Bar to get a free pint of their nitro-infused brown ale. This is on the top floor of the building and it overlooks Dublin so it has incredible views of the downtown area as well as the surrounding mountains. Great beer and beautiful scenery, can it get any better?

Gravity Bar at Guinness

How did you find it?

After we returned from our trip to the Guinness Brewery, we met our other travel companions. This was a Trafalgar tour, so we were traveling with 27 other people. One of the couples we met were Australian and they were a lot of fun. When we met them, I talked about our trip to the Guinness Storefront (they arrived later and did not go).

After I described it, they said: “How did you find it?”. I answered, “we caught a cab outside of the hotel”. They then repeated, “so how did you find it?”. I reiterated that the cabbie knew the directions.

Then they just started laughing hysterically. Then they said “I think in American English, I meant “how did you like it?”.

Nancy Hands

We got our first Irish pub experience at Nancy Hands. This is a late 1800’s pub with lots of tradition.

Nancy Hand Pub and Restaurant

Back in the last 1800’s pubs could not sell beer during 2 hours of the day (that time was called Holy Hour). There was a bartender named Nancy that illegally sold beer to local soldiers during Holy Hour. She would pass the beer through a hole in the wall and the only thing they saw was her hand — that’s how it got its name.

Nancy Hand

Nancy Hand Pub

Glendalough

Located about 30 minutes outside of Dublin stands Glendalough — a Medieval monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin.  St. Kevin moved to this area to become a hermit and monk but word travelled quickly across the area and people migrated there just to be near him and to follow his example.

Glendalough

The drive to Glendalough is inspiring itself. Beautiful rolling green hills lined with purple heather. In fact, Johnny Cash wrote a song about this area called 40 Shades of Green, it is now an iconic Irish song.

The surviving buildings and graves at Glendalough date back to the 10th century.

Glendalough Graves

Glendalough Graves

Around 1042, timber from Glendalough was used to build the second longest Viking ship ever recorded.  A replica of this ship can be seen in Roskilde, Denmark.Viking Ship

Taylors Three Rock

On our last night in Dublin, we learned what it was like to have “craic” (pronounced CRACK). On our cab trip to Guinness, our cab driver introduced us to the word. He said it was an Irish word that’s hard to explain even by the Irish. When you go out, meet people, have great conversations, and just have an incredible time, you just had “craic”. There’s an interesting article that explains it better, you can visit it here.

Taylors Three Rock is an Irish Night Club and Cabaret. When it was first described, I figured it would be a corny tourist attraction but we had a really good time. We experienced authentic Irish cuisine (I had lamb stew) and a passionate crew of Irish entertainers that included song, River dancing, and bagpipes.

They picked Cameron out of the audience to go on stage and play a traditional Irish drum. He was a bit embarrassed but did a great job entertaining the crowd. After that, everyone in our tour knew Cameron’s name and graciously volunteered him for many more events over the next 2 weeks.

Next Stop: Waterford

We spent 2 weeks on this trip to Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland, so I will continue chronicling our journeys over the coming weeks. The next blog will cover our visit to Waterford and the incredible Waterford crystal factory.

If you are not subscribed to our blog and would like to subscribe so that new posts come directly to your email, scroll up to the right top section of this page and type in your email address.

Exploring Charlotte North Carolina

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on our travel blog because we finally moved into our new home and we have been staying put. Since January, lots of things have happened.

First, I took a consulting job with a company in North Carolina. An old friend asked if I would help his company develop a workflow solution for a fast-growing healthcare firm that specializes in collecting insurance claims.  I accepted the consulting gig in mid-January and I am having a blast working on the project.

I hear you saying “But wait: you’re retired!“. You’re right, but retirement is all about being financially free to choose what you want to do. At times, it may be traveling and goofing off and others it may be working on projects that excite you. That’s exactly what I’m doing now and I only work part-time so I still have time to embrace my passions.

Secondly, our youngest son, Ryan, graduated Cum Laude with a Physics major and Mathematics minor from the University of Florida. This young man is crazy smart and we are really proud of him (must have gotten his genius from Lynn).  He landed a job in Charlotte, North Carolina as a Data Scientist / Business Analyst. He loves the new job, we recently traveled to see him.

Visiting Charlotte

Charlotte is a clean city with a hip vibe. It has a rich history as a town that started the gold rush. A 17-pound gold nugget was found in 1799 and lots of immigrants migrated in. But then the California gold rush hit and most of these opportunity seekers headed west. Charlotte was founded in 1768 by King III of England and named it after his wife, Queen Charlotte.

Charlotte North Carolina

Charlotte, North Carolina Charlotte, North Carolina

Today it’s a huge financial district, second-largest banking center after New York City. Lynn read about this huge statue of a head in one of the office parks and we visited it. It was very interesting, it was created in layers and the layers spin and line up to make a face. Bizarre but very cool. Here is Ryan and Kayna in front of the statue.

Ryan Miller and Kayna

Charlotte, North Carolina Charlotte, North Carolina Charlotte, North Carolina

When we were there, Nascar was in town and we got to check out the cars and there were lots of concerts and events going on downtown.

Charlotte, North Carolina Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte has a huge man-made lake called Lake Norman. It is 33 miles long and 9 miles wide. It offers swimming, boating, canoeing and pretty much any water sport you can imagine. We drove up to the state park and rented canoes for only $5 an hour — great price and a lot of fun.

Lake Norman, Charlotte

What’s Next?

We are planning a trip to Ireland and Scotland in late July. A couple of summers ago we took Ryan to Europe so this time, we are taking Cameron. It will be a lot of fun to spend some quality time with Cameron and to see the sites together.

Meet my Mom: The Christmas Baby

It’s a great time of year, almost Christmas. It’s special not only because of the Christmas festivities but also because it’s my Mom’s birthday. I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce her to you, she is a very special woman.

The Early Years

Mom’s name is Linda and she grew up in a small town in Georgia. We’re talking really small — less than 3,000 people live there. She married my Dad at a very young age. It was not uncommon for couples to marry young back then, she was only 15. My Mom was a beauty — I’m sure my Dad wanted to take her off the market. By the time she was 24, she had 3 kids, I am the middle child (on the right below).

Mom when she was Young

As was common in the 60’s, my Mom took care of the home. She cooked 3 meals a day. Not small meals, we’re talking incredible meals that normally consisted of a couple of meat dishes, 3 to 4 vegetable dishes and biscuits. She also kept a spotless home. I remember every Saturday was cleaning day, the entire family would pitch in.

Here are just a few things I fondly remember about growing up in our home:

  • Sharing great meals every day
  • Dunking my toast into my coffee then eating it
  • My Mom rubbing my back until I would dose off to sleep
  • Watching I LOVE LUCY and other sitcoms at night
  • Hosting fish fry parties with friends while my Dad played lead vocals in their band
  • Picking vegetables from a huge garden, shelling peas and butterbeans
  • Feeling a sense of being safe and protected

The Middle Years

After the kids were off to school, my Mom started a home business. She was a good seamstress and made clothes for herself and others. I can remember clothes patterns in drawers scattered about the house. From those patterns, she would create nice looking dresses and coats. With a great sense of style, she put all her energy into making these wonderful clothes. Both Mom and Dad were Entrepreneurs, maybe that’s where I learned it.

When I was in middle school, my Dad built a lake house and we spent most of our summers water skiing. Mom was athletic and a good skier, she could ski slalom (on one ski). At age 12, I was the youngest kid on the lake to learn to ski barefoot. It took me an entire summer and lots of knots on my noggin to learn how.  Thinking back, I probably got my love of water and the ocean from my Mom, as she always feels at peace there.

During high school, my Mom opened a clothing store called The Outpost. It was the trendiest store in our town and was a big hit with young adults. I loved it because I got to wear cool clothes to school as a way of advertising. This was yet another example of her entrepreneurial spirit.

The Later Years

After high school, my Dad and Mom parted ways as I went off to college. These were exploratory days for my Mom as she never really got to sow her oats because she married so young. She lived life to the absolute fullest. That’s probably where I get my adventurous side.

Mom Middle Age

For work, Mom retooled her skill set and learned to cut hair. She became part owner in several hair salons over the years and built a good clientele of customers.

More Recently

My Mom turns 73 on Christmas Day and we are planning a visit so that our kids can see her. Here is a recent picture of Mom, my older sister and younger brother. My Mom’s still as beautiful as ever.

Mom Recent

Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you!

About Us

Steve and Lynn Miller reached financial independence in 2012 at age 50 and now enjoy traveling, fitness, cycling, photography and lots of other hobbies. If you like this blog, you might also like Steve’s We Retired Early blog where he blogs about lifestyle freedom, financial independence, and cool mobile apps.

 

Happy Thanksgiving – Latest Happenings with the Millers

With Thanksgiving coming up next week, we wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope everyone has a great week of family time, football, and lots of turkey.

In September, we returned from spending the summer in Colorado. We spent the majority of the summer in Fort Collins and were able to spend lots of time with our oldest son, Cameron. We finished up that trip with a couple of weeks in Telluride, here is a picture if you missed my last post.

Waterfall across the road in Bridal Veil Falls

Progress on our House Building Project

As many of you know, we sold our condo in Florida in April and are building a new home only about a block from the beach. They’ve made great progress on the house, we hope to move in around mid-February. Here are some pictures of the progress:

Exterior Shot

Here you can see the proximity to the ocean, only about a block away.

Exterior From Above

Friend from Down Under

For those of you following our blog for a long time, you may remember that when I retired in 2012, we set off for 3 months of travel to Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, Peru, and the Bahamas. Since we have a dog, we needed someone to watch her during our travels.

We found Rhonda Braban and her husband through TrustedHousesitters.com. Rhonda is Australian and has a passion for travel. They did a great job of taking care of our black lab and we’ve become great friends in the process.

Rhonda loved Rosemary Beach so much she decided to come back to visit this year. She stayed about 3 weeks in October and we got to spend lots of time with her. She is truly a free spirit. We spent time dining out, swimming, boating and hanging out on the beach.

Rhonda 1 Rhonda 3 Rhonda 4

What’s Next

We will not be traveling again until next year, we plan to stick around as the house is being built because decorating and picking furnishings takes a lot of our time.

I’ve been working on building my other blog (check it out at http://www.WeRetiredEarly.com), where I talk about lifestyle freedom, financial independence and technology. It is more of a professional blog, where I blog several times a week. I am using the WeBeTripping blog solely for travels and updating friends and family on what’s going on in our lives.

Lynn and I have also been helping a friend build followers for his blog, you can see his blog at http://www.TheTriggerBoxBlog.com. This allows us to work a couple hours a day and still enjoy the early retiree lifestyle.

I’ll leave you with a few pictures I’ve taken recently at home, the weather is still nice (between 70 and 80 degrees) — it’s definitely the nicest time of the year here. Happy Thanksgiving!

Beach 1 Beach 2 Beach 3 Beach 5

About Us

Steve and Lynn Miller reached financial independence in 2012 at age 50 and now enjoy traveling, fitness, cycling, photography and lots of other hobbies.

In his spare time, Steve blogs and develops mobile apps. His latest project is an app that allows you to countdown the days to retirement or financial independence: http://www.CountUsDown.com/Retirement.

If you like this blog, you might also like Steve’s We Retired Early blog where he blogs about lifestyle freedom, financial independence, and cool mobile apps.

Turquoise, blue and emerald

Fish beneath our Feet: A week in Bora Bora

After 10 years of tirelessly toiling everyday, we sold our business. As a celebratory vacation, we decompressed in Bora Bora for a week. It was like no other vacation we’d taken before.

Bora Bora

Bora Bora

After our jet sat down, we immediately boarded a boat that reminded me of something George Clooney would be cruising along in while visiting Venice.

Retro Boat

Retro Boat

In short order, we arrived at the Four Seasons hotel. It was no ordinary hotel. In fact, our home for the next week was a self-contained bungalow with sections of glass floor where fish swam beneath your feet.

Over water Bungalows

Over water Bungalows

We spent our days on the water. Mastering a Yolo board, sailing, swimming with sharks, or jet skiing.

Yolo

Yolo

Cameron mastering a watercraft

Cameron mastering a watercraft

Each morning we would wake up and take a dive into the ocean from the balcony of our over-the-water bungalow.

Our morning diving platform

Our morning diving platform

Mid week, we boarded a helicopter for an aerial view of the island where you can experience the expansive turquoise, blue and green.

Turquoise, blue and emerald

Turquoise, blue and green

The grounds of the Four Seasons were immaculate as if specifically designed for postcards.

Incredible flora

Incredible flora

Perfectly groomed beaches

Perfectly groomed beaches

Manicured grounds

Manicured grounds

A week came too soon. As we watched the sunset of our final night in paradise, I began to reminisce of how it all started 10 years earlier — with a dream of retiring early and enjoying lifestyle freedom while we were young and energetic enough to enjoy it.

Sunset in Bora Bora

Sunset in Bora Bora

I can’t believe we pulled it off.

About Us

Steve and Lynn Miller reached financial independence in 2012 at age 50 and now enjoy traveling, fitness, cycling, photography and lots of other hobbies.

In his spare time, Steve develops mobile apps. His latest project is an app that allows you to countdown the days to retirement or financial independence: http://www.CountUsDown.com/Retirement.

If you like this blog, you might also like Steve’s We Retired Early blog where he blogs about lifestyle freedom, financial independence, and cool mobile apps.

Postcard from Telluride

Finishing up our summer travels, we spent 2 weeks in Telluride, Colorado. It had been about 10 years since we last visited Telluride, I had forgotten how beautiful the town is. If you would like to see a slideshow of pictures we took while in Telluride, click here.

Welcome to Telluride

In fact, I would say Telluride and the surrounding area is probably the most beautiful mountain area in America, based on all of our travels.

Bridal Veil Telluride

Telluride is pretty remote. It takes 6 to 7 hours to get there from Denver and once there, it is a true mountain town. There are no major chains (Starbucks, Walmart (thank God), etc), so you better stock up on things before you get there.

Lake around Telluride

You come to Telluride to unwind or take in some outdoor sports. There are lots of mountain biking and hiking trails. However, riding a road bike is a bit of a challenge here, with only about 3 miles of paved trails. The town is small, but it has lots of cool boutique shops.

Telluride

Telluride has a lower and upper mountain level. The lower part of Telluride is the town and about 2,000 feet upwards is a town called Mountain Village (that’s where we stayed). Oprah Winfrey has land up there and plans to build something in the future. The houses are spectacular and they have a beautiful golf course in Mountain Village (too spendy for me, they wanted $195 a round).

Mountain Village

Opposite to Mountain Village is a high mountain range where Tom Cruise owns a house. It’s now for sale for $59 million, a bit out of our price range. The picture below is on a road that leads up to where his house is, as you can see it’s incredibly picturesque.

Road to Tom Cruises house

One of the attractions of Telluride and surrounding towns are old ghost towns left after the mining dried up. We visited Animas Forks Ghost Town and several others around the Ouray area.

Animas Forks Animas Forks Cabin Animas Forks Animas Forks

Animas Forks

I will leave you with some pictures from our hike up to Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride. If you get a chance to visit Telluride, I highly recommend it.

Bridal Veil Telluride Waterfall across the road in Bridal Veil Falls Base of Bridal Veil Falls Top of Bridal Veil Falls

About this Blog

This blog chronicles the travels of Steve and Lynn Miller, a couple that retired early after selling their software company. If you would like to sign up to receive these blog posts via email, scroll to the top  right sidebar of this page and enter your email address.

If you like this blog, you may also like Steve’s We Retired Early blog where he blogs about lifestyle freedom, financial independence and technology.

Follow Steve: Twitter | Facebook | Linkedin

Hiking Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride, CO

We are currently visiting Telluride, Colorado. From the town, if you peer 2,000 feet up the east side mountainside, you will see a power plant that looks like a house perched upon a ledge with an incredible waterfall that gracefully falls 1,000 feet below (Bridal Veil Falls).

About 8 years ago, we attempted to hike to Bridal Veil Falls with the boys and our new dog (our dog Katie was only a few months old).  The hike to the top is close to 2,000 feet in elevation change and the road to the top is rocky. Many people drive Jeeps and pass you along the way. Unfortunately, the hike was too strenuous for the boys and a new puppy so we turned back about a quarter of the way there.

 

Bridal Veil Falls

Fast forward about 8 years later, we are in Telluride again and I think both Lynn and I wanted a second chance at the hike so we decided to give it a shot. We have been working out pretty hard all summer, so I felt comfortable that we could do it.

Just around the first set of switchbacks, you begin taking in the view of Telluride below.

Telluride Colorado

Only another 1,200 feet to the base of the falls, so we pushed on. The views are even more breath-taking.

Bridal Veil Telluride

Before long, we encountered a waterfall that crosses the road and it is wonderful. My wife remembered that this was the exact spot we turned back with our kids last time.

Waterfall across the road in Bridal Veil Falls

As we continued to climb, we noticed the views of Telluride became more impressive.

Views of Telluride

As we walked, we talked about how we love being retired and how proud we are of our kids. We reminisced about our travels and how beautiful the world is. Forgetting the strenuousness of the hike, we looked up and we were already at the base of the falls.

Base of Bridal Veil Falls

There was a young couple there capturing some pictures and enjoying the magnificence of the view.

I told my wife if she felt up to it, we could go another half mile and see the view from above the power plant. I expected her to say “No, I’m good, we got to the base.” Instead, she said “Sure, let’s do it!”.

As we started up the next set of switchbacks we met a couple that were on a 3 month trip across the western USA and were in Colorado visiting their son before they headed out on the bigger adventure. We found we had a lot in common with them and talked along the way. Time sped by, we looked up and we were already at the top of the power plant.

Top of Bridal Veil Falls

After taking in the view, we headed back down the mountain. We noticed this section of the mountain that had previously used for mining. It had an old mining railway that was obviously dilapidated. To get this section, you had to cross over a bridge that had few wooden planks left.

Crossing over to old mine

We walked around the old mining shaft and could see where the mining carts used to shuttle ore from the mountain to the mining station at the base of the mountain.

Old mining railway

However, years have taken their toll and it’s now the railway to nowhere.

Railway to nowhere

I was surprised to see that some of the old mining carts were still stacked up along the mountain ridge.

Old Mining Carts

As we headed down the mountain, we talked about how much easier the hike was down than up. My wife was a trooper. She stretched herself a bit with this hike and I was really proud of her.

About this Blog

About the Author

Steve and his wife built a software company, sold it and retired early. Steve enjoys blogging about about lifestyle freedom, financial independence and technology. If you like this blog, subscribe here to get an email each time he posts.

Steve uses Personal Capital to manage all of his finances and investments because it is free and very robust. If you would like to download a free copy of Personal Capital, you can do that here.

Follow me: Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Linkedin