The Museum of America and the Sea

I was stuck in Marietta, my new home address, and I have thought that a vacation is long overdue for me. Since I can’t go on overseas trip yet so, I have decided to just do a road trip within the United States. I was looking on the map of the US on what states I haven’t visited yet. I am currently still in the Eastern part of the country, thus, doing a road trip to states closer to my location would be a plus. I’ve been already to New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and so on. It appeared that I haven’t gotten to the New England states of New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, but I’ve been to Rhode Island a couple years ago. New England states are also known for its Colonial past, Atlantic coastline, forested mountains and awesome autumn scenery. Anyway, as I was reviewing the New England states, I have decided to visit all of those states. First on my list was Connecticut.

Connecticut is the southernmost state in the New England region. The state is named for the Connecticut River which is a major US river that bisects the state. The word ‘Connecticut’ is derived from word and spellings of the Algonquin which means ‘long tidal river’. I got only few hours to see the state hence, I picked a destination that has a tourist attraction and can also save me hours on traveling and seeing the other New England states. I went to Mystic, CT. It has the nice seaport and was featured on a magazine few years back about nice places to visit in every state. I made up my mind and went to the Museum of America and the Sea, Mystic Seaport.

(check for the full story at http://www.thelonetravelercarl.com/2018/05/25/the-museum-of-america-and-the-sea/)

Mystic Seaport has an entrance fee of USD28 per head. This entrance fee entitles the bearer to roam around the museum, discovering how the old life of the people of Mystic. There was a lot to see and it was very informative about the gold old days and ways.

(check for the full story at http://www.thelonetravelercarl.com/2018/05/25/the-museum-of-america-and-the-sea/)

It has various attractions such as collection of ships, old houses, stores, restaurant, museums, and historic vessels. Upon entering the museum, tourists are welcomed with this ship, the L.A Dunton.

(check for the full story at http://www.thelonetravelercarl.com/2018/05/25/the-museum-of-america-and-the-sea/)

It is the last example of early 20th century New England fishing vessel and it offers a glimpse of the long past seafaring days.

Other attractions in the shipyard museum were;

(check for the full story at http://www.thelonetravelercarl.com/2018/05/25/the-museum-of-america-and-the-sea/)

It also has this Stillman Building which is a museum for whaleships and the history of whale hunting and the whales uses. They named it, ‘Voyaging in the Wake of the Whalers’.

(check for the full story at http://www.thelonetravelercarl.com/2018/05/25/the-museum-of-america-and-the-sea/)

Voyaging in the Wake of the Whalers is a new exploration of America’s historic and contemporary relationship between whaling and whales. The museum has exhibits that showcase artifacts and artwork alongside with audio-visual presentation. The exhibit pushes past the mechanics of whaling to show the richer and deeper stories of the people, places, whales, and ships that were impacted since the Morgan’s construction in 1841. Exhibits such as;

(check for the full story at http://www.thelonetravelercarl.com/2018/05/25/the-museum-of-america-and-the-sea/)

On the second floor of the Stillman Building, a much detailed history will be explained. History about how the ships and sailors work is waiting for guests from a well-experienced museum curator.

The exhibits were well maintained and very informative. I stayed in the museum for almost half an hour. It was really nice. When I got out of the museum, I walked on to the direction of the Captain W. Morgan whaleship.

The Captain W. Morgan whaleship is the last of an American whaling fleet and the last wooden whaleship in the world. The ship is now the country’s oldest commercial ship afloat. Now, it is the flagship of the museum. Visitors are allowed to board the ship. Just be cautious when going around coz you need to watch your head due to low ceiling.

There are more to see in Mystic Seaport Museum but I got to go to my next destination. It was a nice day indeed and very educational for me. The watercraft collection at Mystic Seaport is the largest of its kind in the United States. It includes four National Historic Landmark vessels such as the Morgan, the Dunton, the Sabino and the Emma C. Berry. I didn’t get to take photos of the other ships since I was out of my budgeted time in Connecticut.

For travelers out there, if you happen to be in Mystic, CT, go and see aboard the Museum of America and the Sea and its collection of historic vessels that span both time and culture.

For more information, visit their site here.

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Visa to the Commonwealth of Australia

It has been more than a month that I haven’t posted in my blog after migrating all my articles from my previous site. It also happened that the northern hemisphere of the world is under winter season and people tend to hibernate with this kind of weather. Thus, I ended up to be a home boy for quite awhile. Anyway, while I was under the roof of comfort of my apartment, my mind was somewhere else. My brain kept on wandering and planning on my next trip. Then, I opened my blogsite and checked the menus and discovered that I’ve only been to two continents still. I looked on the map of the world and has decided that my next trip will be somewhere south and in a different continent aside from Asia and North America. It was then finalized that I’ll be going to Australia. Since I am holding a Philippine passport, I need a visa to get to Australia and here is the process I needed to follow.

Visa is a form of documentation issued by the nation’s government allowing the bearer to enter or leave that country.

(check for the full story at http://www.thelonetravelercarl.com/2018/03/30/visa-to-the-commonwealth-of-australia/)

Commonwealth of Australia is a country and sovereign state in the southern hemisphere, located on its own continent between the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Its capital city is Canberra and its largest city is Sydney. Australia is the sixth biggest country in the world by land area, and is part of the Oceanic and Australasians regions. Oceania or Australasia region is a region that includes Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, and several other island nations in the surrounding area.

Getting a tourist visa to enter the country of Australia is easy. As a start, travelers can lodge their application online which I also did by myself. You just have to have all the necessary documents in hand to finish your application within a day. Mine, it took me a week since I was also busy working and I have to go to the county library to have my paperwork scanned and sent to my e-mail for them to be ready to be attached as application documents. Once you have all the documents needed such as:
1. Passport Bio Page
2. Recent Passport-size Photo
3. National Identification Card (I am a legal permanent resident in the US, so, I have to add it to my application.)
4. Previous Travel Stamps in your Passport (It really helped a lot if you travel frequently.)
5. Travel Itinerary
6. Pay Slips
7. Bank Statements or Proof of Sufficient Funds (I included my credit cards.)
8. Visa Application Fee (It cost AUD140 for the application with AUD1.37 as handling fee. as of 03/08/2018)
Then, you are ready to follow these steps:

First, Find out what kind of visa you need.

Australian Visa application has different classes and subclasses. The main reason of your trip to the land down under will determine the appropriate visa application. It will also set the criteria you are eligible for applying a visa. Several choices are Visitor Visa (subclass 600), Partner Visa (subclasses 801 & 820) and many others. To find out what classification, you can visit the Department of Home Affairs site by clicking here.

Second, Create an ImmiAccount.

Apply online by visiting this site https://online.immi.gov.au/lusc/login and create an immiaccount. This is where you will put all the information. This is also where you are going to attach your documents and pay your application fee. Your account will be your source in getting updates on your application.

Third, Filling out the online application form.

Once you got your ImmiAccount, you can start filling out the online application form. Make sure to answer the questions and provide information that are true and correct. Information include personal data, travel dates, travel history, proof of sufficient funding for the trip, and many more.  If you plan to visit some of your friends, relatives, or family member, you are required to put their pertinent details.

Fourth, Attach the required documents.

To meet the requirements of your application, you need to attach your scanned paperwork. These paperwork are important such as passport pages, bank statements and financial capabilities, itinerary, visas from other countries, residence status in your home country, evidence of employment, letter of invitation from relatives or friends if you are visiting them, certified copy of birth certificate, and so on.

Fifth, Make a payment.

The last part after attaching the scanned documents is reviewing all the information that you put in the application. Once you submitted them, make a payment thru credit card. Credit card fees apply. The visa fee differs in the type of visa you applied for.

Sixth, Wait for the processing time.

It takes about 20 to 33 days to have your application reviewed but for the meantime, just wait. You can always visit your ImmiAccount for information on your visa application.

(check for the full story at http://www.thelonetravelercarl.com/2018/03/30/visa-to-the-commonwealth-of-australia/)

The whole process was easy. The platform of the online visa application was user friendly and straightforward. I lodged my application on the 8th of March, 2018. By March 16th, I got my granted visa letter from the Australian Government giving me a year validity to visit the country down under. Now, I am just waiting for an affordable airline ticket to check Australia off of my list of places I would love to visit.

Sailing the Caribbean Sea

I have never tried to go on a cruise and since I am already living the American dream so, I have thought of venturing on a Caribbean cruise. The Caribbean is close to the state of Florida, a convenient location for out-of-state travel. It was in the month of November where most states in the northern part of the United States are getting colder each day, thus, I have decided to go somewhere south and sunny by choosing in sailing the Caribbean Sea thru Carnival Cruises.

The itinerary for the 7-day long Caribbean cruise goes like this:

Day 1: Sail Away

Day 2: Half Moon Cay, the Bahamas

Day 3: Nassau, the Bahamas

Day 4: Fun Day At Sea

Day 5: Amber Cove, Dominican Republic

Day 6: Grand Turks, Turks and Caicos Islands

Day 7: Farewell Day At Sea

For full story, check at http://www.thelonetravelercarl.com/2018/01/12/sailing-the-caribbean-sea/

For my Sailing the Caribbean Sea vlog, just check this out.

Florida, the Sunshine State

I’m back posting trips in the United States. I was out of the country for almost a month and when I got back here in the US, it was fall season but the temperature just kept on dropping. I was not ready yet of the cold weather matched with gloomy surrounding. I was feeling sad and lonely so, I have decided to take a trip to a place where I can see the sun rays. I went to Florida, the Sunshine State.

(check my full story at http://www.thelonetravelercarl.com/2017/12/08/florida-the-sunshine-state/)

Florida is the southernmost state in the southeastern region of the United States. The state is bordered with bodies of water of Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, and the states of Alabama and Georgia. The state is the 22nd most expensive and the 3rd most populous in the US. Tallahassee is the state’s capital.

(check my full story at http://www.thelonetravelercarl.com/2017/12/08/florida-the-sunshine-state/)

I stayed in South Beach, Miami for the main reason that is famous to a lot of tourists. It has the beaches, the fun, nightlife, the freshest seafoods, and the sunshine. I arrived in Miami International Airport at midnight and the drive from the airport to the hotel I booked was almost half an hour. When I got to the hotel, the front desk informed me that my reservation was cancelled since the system rolled over after midnight and that time was already 30 mins past midnight. I ended up having no hotel to stay for the night. I hopped to hotels lining the Collins Avenue but I never intended to check-in a hotel that costs more than $50 for a 10-hour stay. It took me some few calls and checking hotels until I found one hostel that wasn’t fully booked. It was an adventure strolling around the streets of Miami Beach early dawn but I felt safe coz there were crowds all over the area and partygoers. Finally, I got to rest on a comfy bed.

Early morning, I got out of bed. It was probably around 0700H and directly headed to the shore for a quick sunrise pictorial. The weather was fantastic. The breeze from the sea was perfectly cold, tolerable to wear a beach outfit, the sun glared that was good enough to get a tan, and the sands was acceptable with not so strong waves from the sea.

(check my full story at http://www.thelonetravelercarl.com/2017/12/08/florida-the-sunshine-state/)

After my stroll, I went to stores and restaurants near the beach. I got to dine in one of the restaurants in Ocean Drive. It was an Italian restaurant in Ocean Drive and I ordered a grilled salmon since I’ve been craving for food that comes from the sea.

It so happened to that it was Veteran’s Day and they have a parade to thank the veterans for their service. I was already sitting in the restaurant that I don’t have to move an inch to see the parade.

(check my full story at http://www.thelonetravelercarl.com/2017/12/08/florida-the-sunshine-state/)

When my tummy was full, I have decided to roam around the area. I passed through places such as the Lincoln Road Mall, World Erotic Art Museum, the Wolfsonian-Florida International University, and South Pointe Beach.

(check my full story at http://www.thelonetravelercarl.com/2017/12/08/florida-the-sunshine-state/)

I got tired and went back to the beach and sat on the sand looking at people swimming, getting a tan, and doing their business. It was a nice view with the waves, the sun, feeling the sand, the sea breeze and I also met a friend from France.

(check my full story at http://www.thelonetravelercarl.com/2017/12/08/florida-the-sunshine-state/)

When the sun set, I headed to a restaurant for dinner. I was in Madero and ordered their signature sausage and a dessert, gateau —-. Then, I walked back to my hostel and called it a day since I got a cruise to go the next day.

(check my full story at http://www.thelonetravelercarl.com/2017/12/08/florida-the-sunshine-state/)

Florida is indeed the Sunshine state and sunshine for me brings happiness. The whole time I was in Miami Beach, I had fun and everything was just nice. It was an awesome trip I had over there and one of these days, I’ll be back in Florida to discover the other parts of the state.

A Friend I Haven’t Seen For 11 Years

A friend I haven’t seen for 11 years has been living in Washington, Georgia for 5-6 years. We used to be co-workers in a bank way back 2006. We were cream of the crop and excelled in all that we do. We became friends, more like close friends and everything we did was history. We were Washington Mutual’s telephone banker. Washington Mutual was one of the best financial institutions back in the old days but was bought by J.P Morgan Chase Bank during the global crisis back in 2007. I quit my job before it was completely handed to JPMC and went to my chosen profession. I haven’t seen her after that until she left to Georgia with her husband and son. We just kept in touch through social networking sites such as Facebook.

I drove from South Carolina to Washington, Georgia which was about 2-3 hours from Aiken. I arrived in Washington, Georgia at about 1000H. When I got out of the car, we were just so happy to see each other again and nothing has changed. We were still like the immature telephone bankers even though it has been a decade. We talked and talked about the people we used to work with, reminisced the experiences we had, and even tried to call some of our other friends online. The first day was filled with excitement in getting to know what we have been doing in our lives. She and her family offered to be the host of my trip and I am so glad. They offered the guest room and I took a quick nap from the long drive while she was planning for the itinerary for the afternoon and the next day trip.

I was taking a nap when my phone beeped. I got a message asking if I am ready to go swimming. They have decided to go to Washington Swimming Pool since their son wants to dip in the pool. It was almost 95 degrees in Georgia that day so, it was a good idea to dive in.

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Washington Swimming Pool

But I am not used to going swimming under the heat of the sun and it was also at 1300H so, I just stayed under the patio umbrella. We only let their son enjoy the pool while we were just talking and looking at kids having fun. After an hour or two, we left coz her husband has to work. At 1730H, we have decided to go to the mall. The nearest mall is Augusta Mall which is almost an hour drive.

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Augusta Mall

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Inside Augusta Mall

We only did window shopping and bought some snack for her unico hijo. 2 hours later, they took me to Augusta Canal Historical Trail. The trail is near Marriott Hotel and is good location for exercising.

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Augusta Canal Historical Trail

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Marriott Hotel

Augusta Canal is a historic canal located in Georgia, is supplied by the Savannah River and passes through levels in suburban and urban Augusta before the water returns to the river at various locations. It was devised to harness the hydro power at the fall line of the Savannah river to drive mills, to provide transportation of goods, and supply water in the municipal. It is the only canal in the United States which still continues to be used for its original purposes of providing power, transport and municipal water.

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Augusta Canal Historical Trail

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Augusta Canal

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Augusta Canal Viewdeck

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Augusta Canal

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Otters in Augusta Canal

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Jessye Norman Amphitheatre in Augusta Canal

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View of Downtown Augusta Skyline from Augusta Canal Trail

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Augusta Canal Trail Fountain

We left the trail at 1730H and headed home and called it a day. I went to sleep early from getting exhausted driving. On my second day in Georgia, they decided to show me to one of the famous amusement parks in Georgia. We went to Stone Mountain Park which is near Atlanta.

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Stone Mountain Park

Stone Mountain is a quartz monzonite dome monadnock with carvings that depict three Confederate figures during the Civil War: Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis. The theme park is located at 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd, Stone Mountain, GA 30083. It has a lot of activities and hosts festivals and events. To know more, just click here.

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Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis

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Stone Park Theme Park has attractions for all ages such as dinosaur explore, dinotorium, 4D Ice Age, Stone Mountain Museum, Summit SkyRide, Scenic Railroad, and many more.

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Dinosaur Explore

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Ankylosaurus or the Fused Lizard

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Parasaurolophus or the Similar Crested Lizard

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Dilophosaurus, the fast moving carnivore

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T-Rex

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The most famous dinosaur

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Dinotorium

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On our way to ride the train

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Great Locomotive Chase Adventure Golf

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Riding the train for the Scenic Railroad

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Live Show from the Scenic Railroad

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Stores at Stone Mountain Park

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Directions at Stone Mountain Park

We spent almost the whole day in Stone Mountain Park but we still missed the main attractions which were the Summit SkyRide, to get on top of the Stone Mountain and also the fireworks. The weather that day was not in our favor that the park has to cancel any attractions that has something to do with the sky. But I still had fun though. Then, we left Stone Mountain Park and discussed on where to dine for supper. We have decided to go something Asian, Korean to be precise, so, we went to Iron Factory in Athens, Georgia.

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Iron Factory

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Miso Soup

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Fresh Pork Belly or Samgyupsal

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Then, we went to explore Athens after eating.

My Georgia trip to meet my friend whom I haven’t seen for 11 years has been one of the highlights for this year. It was memorable and I can’t wait to do it again. We were planning of going on a trip somewhere and I hope it’ll come true. The whole experience was amazing even though it was just a quick visit for 2 days. Not to worry coz we have many more days to come and to have fun, for now, it’s not goodbye but see you next time.

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The Rivera Family and the Lone Traveler

Meeting Caroline in North Carolina

A friend I met in Toronto, Canada during my birthday trip last year just arrived in the Land of Stars and Stripes. Her name is Caroline and the way to say her name is Ca-ro-li-ne and not Ca-ro-line. She is from Brazil and it is her first time to set foot in the United States. Upon hearing her arrival, I decided to visit her since I got a 6-day off and planned road trip down Southeastern. It was a trip in meeting Caroline in North Carolina.

I got a side trip in Virginia specifically in Wytheville, Wythe county. After a quick visit in Virginia, I automatically headed to North Carolina. While I was driving, I got a little exhausted and I have decided to make a stopover in Winston-Salem for a change of scenery from just seeing mostly the roads and cars. When I got in Winston-Salem, it was decent with some skyscrapers. I took some random street pictures and I got to see the buildings. These were the photos I captured.

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Random Building

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Wells Fargo Building

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Winston Tower

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Winston-Salem Street

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Then, I searched the net and found this cool and flowery destination. It was a garden which is located still in Winston-Salem. It was Reynolda Gardens.

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Reynolda Gardens

Reynolda Gardens is botanical garden with 129 acres with 4 acres of formal gardens located off Reynolda Road which is adjacent to the Reynolda campus of Wake Forest University and the Reynolda House. The gardens are open daily with free admission. The gardens include woodlands, fields, wetlands, and a formal garden with greenhouse.

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Greenhouse Gardens

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The Greenhouse

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Inside the Greenhouse

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Venus Fly Trap

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Palm House and Growing Houses

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Reynolda Gardens was amazing. It has too many different kinds of flowers and plants which is a good place to spend the time from driving for about 2 to 3 hours from Virginia. But Winston-Salem was not my final destination. I went back to my car and have to drive to Chapel Hill. It was about an hour or so drive. I got to Chapel Hill at 1700H and met Caroline.

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Downtown Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill is a city in Durham and Orange counties and the home of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill along with UNC Health Care. Chapel Hill got its name from centuries ago. The location sits a top of a hill which was originally occupied by a small Anglican ‘chapel of ease’ known as New Hope Chapel thus, making it Chapel Hill.

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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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UNC at Chapel Hill Kenan Stadium

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Carolina Football Kenan Stadium

Chapel Hill is a pretty nice city. It was clean and multi diverse. By the looks of it when I was there, the city is pretty safe and marvelous with old architecture and buildings. It is also famous because of the presence of the biggest university in the state. Caroline got in Chapel Hill as a foreign student in University of North Carolina. She is currently studying and getting a degree in Mental Health. We’ve met in Toronto since we both stayed in the same hostel. We also have the same tour when we went to Niagara Falls. So, I was excited to meet here in the U.S. I treated her for dinner at Carolina Brewery.

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Carolina Brewery

Carolina Brewery is a beer brewery and restaurant/pub located in Chapel Hill. It has drawn international attention for its handcrafted beers, all brewed in-house. It was founded in 1995 and is the oldest brewery in Triangle area. The restaurant serves contemporary American cuisine and features a seasonal menu that changes 4 times in a year. We ordered Southwest chicken egg rolls which is chicken and pepperjack served with jalapeno ranch, and Chicken strips which is hard breaded chicken with honey mustard and ranch dips. Both were served as shareables. For the entrée, I chose fish and chips since I was craving for fish. It was beer battered cod served with garden slaw, house fried and tartar sauce.

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Carolina Brewery

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Southwest Chicken Egg Rolls and Chicken Strips

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Fish and Chips

The foods were well seasoned, sumptuous, and delicious. The server was really amazing. She was pretty, always wear a smile, warm and accommodating. She was also helpful since I was looking for a place to stay and gave an idea on where to search and what to wear. As a total verdict for my dining experience in Carolina Brewery, it was a 4/5. The ambience was good but the patio was a little congested and near to the street.

My whole trip in North Carolina was great. Meeting Caroline in North Carolina was the icing on the top. We haven’t seen each other for like 9 months and we never thought that we will meet again. All I can say is a road trip is always worth no matter how far it is as long as you know that in the destination, you got a friend to meet. Safe travels everyone! 😉

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The Lone Traveler and Caroline