Nashville, Tennessee- More than a Honky Tonk

Nashville, Tennessee- More than a Honky Tonk

Set and Rise is headed to Nashville!

Nashville, the capital city of Tennessee, has a rich history and large impact on American culture. It began with Native Americans and French-Canadian settlers living and trading furs until the area was abandoned around 1740. Fast forward to 1779 when the Overmountain men settled and started to develop the strategic location on the Cumberland River. Nashville has been home to two US presidents and many musicians that have risen to fame. Nashville is a must-see city for anyone interested in some classic American history. Let’s dig into the brief summary of what you should KNOW-BEFORE- YOU-GO!

GETTING THERE: The easiest ways to get to Nashville is by air with arrivals in Nashville International Airport (BNA). Many can also easily drive to Nashville from other cities in the United States. Click here to quickly and easily search for flights.

CLIMATE: Nashville does enjoy all the seasons. Summer is usually hot and muggy while winter is cold and wet. The average temperature during summer is around 80-85 °F and in January, the coldest months average about 39 °F. What’s the current weather in Nashville? Click here.

MONEY/CURRENCY (CREDIT CARDS, DEBIT CARDS, TIPPING, ATMS): The main currency is the United States Dollar with all restaurants, stores, and hotels accepting credit cards, debit cards, and cash. While ATMs are readily available throughout the city, many will charge a fee for each withdrawal. Tipping is customary and averages 15-20%. Download a tipping app on your phone for quick and easy reference.


1. Andrew Jackson Hermitage

2. Grand Ole Opry

3. Tennessee State Capitol

4. Tennessee State Museum

5. National Museum of African American Music

6. Ryman Auditorium

7. Country Music Hall of Fame

8. The Parthenon

9. 12 South Neighborhood and “I Believe in Nashville” mural

10. Belle Meade Plantation

(e-mail for a full detailed itinerary)

5 Fast Facts:

1. Nashville was founded on Christmas Eve in 1779.

2. Nashville is home to the only full-scale replica of the Parthenon.

3. The famous Grand Ole Opry was originally named the WSM Barn Dance.

4. Nashville hosts the world’s largest songwriter’s festival called Tin Pan South.

5. While visiting the Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville, President Theodore Roosevelt coined the phrase “good to the last drop” after drinking a cup of local Nashville coffee. The Maxwell House coffee company still uses the slogan today.

5 Things to Pack:

1. Comfortable walking shoes.

2. Sunscreen, especially if you are visiting during summer months.

3. A couple of nice outfits perfect for a nicer dinner, show or night out on the Honky Tonk Highway.

4. Light jacket for evenings when there can be a chill once the sun is gone.

5. Light backpack to keep your water bottle and stash souvenirs from great vintage shops throughout town.

(I have a full packing list I would love to e-mail to you)

 What are you most interested in doing on this trip? Let me know when we chat about your next trip to Nashville!!!

River Cruising- Take a chance and never go back!

Exploring the Rhine and Danube Rivers

If you are just getting ready to take your first European river cruise, or you’ve been on several, you will want to consider both the Rhine and Danube Rivers. There’s a reason why they’re the most popular river cruises in the world!

First to note:  The Rhine and Danube River cruises have some similarities.

Stahleck Castle overlooking the Rhine River with Viking Longship

The Viking Longship Njord near the town of Durnstein on the Danube River.

They flow through some of the most scenic places in Europe. You will see bustling cities, charming villages, and even picturesque fields. Castles dot the countryside.  Also, BOTH rivers will have you cruising through several locks along your trip. These engineering marvels will have you captivated. They will meander through beautiful scenery and engage all of your senses. Stimulating the “Thinkers Mind” and educating while immersing you on all the local culture. It is the differences between the Rhine and Danube River cruises that are likely able to help you choose which cruise is right for you. 

The Food:

The Rhine River will take you through the Black Forest of Germany where you can enjoy an afternoon tea, complete with their famous chocolate cake. Entrees will include hearty meals featuring sausage and pork. Fine wine will also be available in the form of Rieslings which are produced from the grapes in the area. 

The Viking Longship Mani passing the town of Lorchhausen, Germany in the Middle Rhine Valley.

Local specialties on the Danube River include Goulash and Schnitzel, pastries, and traditional apple strudel. Street food favorites such as Hungarian Langos and Chimney Cakes can be enjoyed year-round. And don’t miss the famous Apricot Brandy made in Dürnstein, Austria.








Art or Music?:

Although both rivers go through historic centers, the ones on the Rhine are larger and more modern. These include Amsterdam, Basel and Strasbourg with museums and a thriving art scene.

The Danube River’s cities have more of an old world feel, with music playing an important role. In fact, classical music performances occur on a daily basis.


Do you become energized by them or do you prefer to get away from it all? The Rhine River is typically busier. This means more ships on the river and cities which can be a bit more crowded. Some of those ships will be much larger and not nearly as sweet as yours.

Danube River Cruises have a greener feel, with fewer ships and people on the river.


If it is possible to summarize a feeling into a phrase: The Rhine is perfect for those who like romance and fairy tales, art, and are more comfortable with crowds. The Danube, an old world feel, fewer crowds, and classical music.

Once you think you know which cruise is right for you, reach out to your friendly travel advisor : ) You’ll then be matched up to the correct cruise line based on what you want to see, how long you would like to be gone, and your budget. Then you’ll be on your way! You can check out more here: My personal Viking Website!

I hope you take the time to connect with a travel agent and review all the specials and options that are available to you. Click here to connect with Set and Rise Vacations

Planning Your Jamaica Getaway

Planning Your Jamaica Getaway

Jamaica is a Caribbean Island steeped in history and culture. Jamaicans are proud to share their country, traditions, and beauty with its near 4.3 million visitors each year. With the national motto of “Out of Many, One People” and unofficial motto of “One Love” you can expect to be welcomed warmly. Journey through the country’s six unique areas with me and discover which one might be the best fit for your next vacation.

But first for you history buffs….. a little Island History.

The history of Jamaica begins with Arawaks, or Tainos, that migrated to the area about 2,500 years ago. They named the island Xamaca which is the land of wood and water and settled near the coasts for easy fishing. Xamaca was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1494 on his second voyage to the Indies. Unfortunately, Columbus’ discovery and claim of the land by the Spaniards led to the eventual extinction of the Arawak population.

After years of struggle and internal strife among the Spaniards, (which from the previous paragraph, it should come as no surprise that these guys never seemed to get along) the English overtook the island in 1655. Upon their surrender, the Spaniards released their slaves who became known as Maroons. Over the following years, the English depended heavily on African slaves that were shipped to the area for sale.

As you would expect, the slaves tried again and again with various rebellions to become free. There are stories about Queen Nanny, a brave lady that worked to lead Maroons to safety in the northern mountains of the island until a treaty was signed in 1739 granting them about 2500 acres of land. Slavery was eventually abolished in 1808 followed by emancipation in 1834 and full freedom in 1838.

The Jamaica we know today became its own independent nation in 1962. It is a member of the British Commonwealth but is not dependent on Britain. It is a strong, thriving nation of 2.9 million people across 4,244 square miles.

Fewf. Finally. So, to summarize: The people of Jamaica worked from 1494-1962 to become its own independent nation. A well-earned achievement. It now is set up to just spill over its own unique Island Vibes.

Jamaica is divided into six (6) unique areas with its own feel. From the most romantic spot for honeymooners to the perfect wellness retreat for the yogi inside you to the crazy fun at Carnival, visitors are bound to find something that suits their travel styles when they visit this amazing  island.   

1.) Kingston- the capital city, is known for its a mix of night life, gastronomy, art, and music. But Kingston is most famous for its birth of reggae music which is celebrated every February and the city has the most recording studios per square capita in the world. It further received recognition in 2015 when Kingston was named a UNESCO Creative City of Music. Before you enjoy the fetes, or parties, each night, be sure to check out the Bob Marley Museum. For those that like to enjoy the culture through cuisine, plan a visit around the Blue Mountain Culinary Trail. This trail is a combination of about 15 eateries, coffee farms and mountain views. After a perfect lunch, consider stopping into the National Gallery to enjoy Jamaican art. This museum is the largest public art museum in the English-speaking Caribbean.

2.) Port Antonio- is defined by nature and is locally referred to affectionately as “Portie.” Through its rains and lush greenery, it was established for its coconut and banana exports along its rivers. This is also where much of Jamaica’s history with the Maroons began, the descendants of escaped slaves who established free communities in the mountains. You can learn more about their history at the Charles Town Museum and Asafu Yard. The ideal place to ponder all that history is on a boat tour to the Blue Lagoon. This magnificent lagoon is breathtaking with its perfect blue color caused by its near 200-foot depth. Another beautiful Instagram-worthy spot is Reach Falls on Driver’s River. The adventurous surfer staying in the quaint town can enjoy the waves off Long Bay Beach.

3.) Ocho Rios- is where most of the adventure options are located between the Caribbean Sea and the Blue Mountains. Bob Marley fans can participate in a tour of Nine Mile, the small village where he was both born and buried. The active traveler can zipline or bobsled down Mystic Mountain. The curious can go underground to see the Green Grotto Caves full of hidden waterfalls, stalagmites, and stalactites. This cave was even once used as hideouts by Spaniards and then by smugglers running arms to Cuba. The must-do activity in Ocho Rios is to climb the famous Dunn’s River Falls. Form a human chain to help each other up the falls before you relax for the afternoon.

4.) Montego Bay- is the resort city set by the sea. Some call it Mo Bay for short. This is the area most known to visitors looking for a great all-inclusive resort with the white sandy beach or a great golf course. You can enjoy great history when you visit the Rose Hall Great House where infamous Annie Palmer lived to torture her husbands and slaves, Johnny Cash fans can visit his home at Cinnamon Hill Great House, and swing by Sam Sharpe Square to see the statue of the man that helped lead the Christmas Rebellion of 1831 to fight for slaves’ freedom. For those that are looking for a simple, relaxing way to connect with nature, a ride down the Martha Brae River on a guided bamboo raft may be the perfect activity.

5.) Negril on the western tip of the island is where people go for romance and relaxation. This area became a popular place for backpackers and hippies to visit beginning in the 1960s and their lifestyle stuck around the area for decades to follow. Negril is home to the famous Seven Mile Beach which offers the quintessential white sandy beach and clear water. Lovers can enjoy the perfect island sunset on the west end cliffs after you sometimes find cliff jumpers there performing jumps from eight to forty feet. And the more adventurous visitors can cliff jump too. This is also the best place in the island to plan your scuba, snorkel, and deep-sea fishing excursions.

6.) South Coastis the most low-key section of the island and is considered to be “off the beaten path.” Consider this part of the island if you want to disconnect from the hustle of everyday life. South Coast is mostly defined by its mountains and quaint villages. And these villages work hard to protect their wildlife with the Galleon Fish Sanctuary and Fonthill Beach Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. Connect with wildlife on a safari tour on the Black River or enjoy seven different cascading waterfalls in the YS Falls.

Jamaica is an island easily accessible by air or cruise ship and has so much to offer that this island will not disappoint. It’s one of the most affordable all-inclusive locations. You could have a great 10-night vacation that covers each of the six distinct areas. Prefer a long weekend getaway that focuses on just one? I would love to help you determine which area best fits your travel style.

Contact Set and Rise Vacations today to get the conversation started Vacation Planning Session Form – Set & Rise Vacations (


5 Mistakes to avoid at an All-inclusive resort

5 Mistakes to avoid at an All-inclusive resort

An All-Inclusive resort vacation are a dream! White sand beaches. Great service. Delicious food. Everything you could need is at your fingertips.

To keep that dream from turning into a nightmare, make sure to avoid these costly mistakes.

1. Choosing the wrong resort.

Don’t you do it. Don’t you dare book that resort without consulting a travel agent! While all-inclusive resorts vary widely based on service, food, amenities, and activities, the biggest considerations are location, theme, and guest demographics. It’s important to have a clear picture of what you want and plan from that view. 

2. Overindulging.

Just because you can eat three pounds of prime rib and a gallon of ice cream doesn’t mean you should. The same goes for trying every specialty drink on the menu. Keeping in mind that your body (and more specially, its internal functions) doesn’t know you are not at home. Think ahead an pack a little Liquid IV . Use moderation in what you eat and drink as you want to both enjoy and remember your vacation.

3. Staying at the resort the entire time.

Get out of your comfort zone! You already took the leap, take the steps, and get outside that resort. Most all-inclusive resorts are in a specific destination because of the beauty and culture, so plan an excursion to explore the area. And keep in mind that adrenaline helps to cement memories deeper into your brain!

4. Not getting to know the staff.

Learning the staff members’ names and a smile will go a long way toward making your vacation more enjoyable. Staff members who feel “seen” often go out of their way to help the people with whom they make a connection. Many resorts do allow tipping. Although it is NOT required. Be kind and exchange your currency at the airport so you can tip in the native currency. This will make it easier for the staff to use that well-earned cash. Currency info Click that link and find out more about the currency for your location. 

5. Staying “plugged in”.

It’s time to put the phone down and turn the computer off. Remember your motivation for planning your vacation and be fully present in the moment. Take the long walk on the beach. Join in the pool aerobics, dance at the glow party, cheer for the fire spinner. Really dig into this experience. You won’t regret not having your phone in your face. 

We would be remiss if we didn’t share what we think is the most important mistake to avoid: Skipping Travel Insurance! This is my favorite:

Did you know your medical insurance doesn’t cover you once you are off American soil? That’s right. You’re not covered in case of a medical emergency. Trust me. Get travel insurance!

Ready to turn your all-inclusive daydream into reality? Contact Set and Rise Vacations. We’re ready to help!

Inspiring Wanderlust in Our Children

Inspiring Wanderlust in Our Children

I think it’s safe to say that most parents want their children to be kind, well-rounded, and inquisitive little humans that grow up to be kind, well-rounded, and inquisitive adults. One of the ways we can encourage this is to travel with them, but we can’t be wheels up 24/7. There are, of course, things to consider – finances, work, and school schedules, time, etc. So how can we continue to inspire their curiosity and sense of wonder between trips? Check out these suggestions to keep your kids craving adventure.

Camera – Taking photos is fun for all ages and now they even make durable, child-friendly digital cameras. Like this one an Amazon: Child friendly camera It is exciting to see what is important to them and what interests them through what they capture. Great thing about this is they can use this at home and while they are traveling … SCORE!

Books – This is a given. There are so many books out there that can support their curiosity to learn about the world around them. Atlases, fact books, books with plots in other countries, books about traditions and culture. The list goes on. This is one we love: The Travel Book, A Journey Through Every Country In The World.

Globe – Whether the globe is interactive or old school, there is something about giving a globe a spin that makes exploring the places on them fun. It also puts into perspective for them how big the world is when they realize their home is just a small dot!

Adventure Fund – Move aside piggy bank. We aren’t saving for toys – we are saving for experiences! Having a fund designated for travel is a great way to get your children excited for their next adventure. They will be more likely to put their money towards it if the money is going towards something that you all agree on. Maybe a certain excursion or new luggage! Consider a money saving app for them like Chime.

Binoculars – Let them explore the world around them up close! They can use these when going on walks, playing hide and seek, and simply spotting nature around them. Playing ‘I Spy’ is also a fun way to put these to use. Anything is more exciting when you are looking at it close up and personal! Try out this pair great for smaller eyes: Binoculars for Adults and Kids

Local Experiences – You don’t always need to go halfway across the world when you get the itch for adventure. Visit local parks, farms, and zoos. Buy annual passes to a nearby amusement park. Take part in seasonal activities like skiing or a day trip to the lake. I always encourage families to gift experiences like these to help with cost as well.

I hope this list has inspired you to find ways to encourage your child’s wanderlust at home. Of course, when you are ready to take flight, I’d love to help you!

Contact me to start planning your next adventure. Click here to schedule a 30-minute phone call to discuss any of your travel wonders. I would love to help you plan domestically or internationally.