Ahhhhh Puerto Rico, I’ve missed you so! It seems like both 2 and 20 years ago I first landed on your enchanted island, when in fact it was merely 6. Yet this time around, I only thought I was fully prepared for the journey. Same cities, same lodging, similar travel plans, but with a different travel partner and a few more years under my belt. Lucky me, I also came home with more than a suntan and great memories…

Yes- it’s true. Not only did Broc finally propose, he proposed with THIS!

But I’m getting ahead of myself…The vacation was pretty amazing as well. I documented the trip with my iPhone as best I could and put together a little video of our week. You’re welcome for skipping the 60 page book of details like last time. ;)

Puerto Rico Vacation from megan knight on Vimeo.

I also want to give credit to some of our favorite places & spaces that I continue to feel are a “must do”when visiting Puerto Rico. And a few warnings as well.

Day 1: Old San Juan

Old San Juan is still one of my favorite cities ever. We stayed (again) at Da House, this super eclectic hotel in the heart of the city. It’s very affordable ($112 total/night) and super fun in that you get to pick your room based on how close it is “to the party”. That would be the street, which is literally a party outside the window all hours of the night, every night. Since Broc and I aren’t really partiers anymore (besides the occasional holiday, wedding or snow day), we’ll probably stay somewhere different on our next trip to the city. However, I still highly recommend it for the location and experience.

Note: you do not want to rent a car if you’re staying in Old San Juan. We landed in San Juan late and had already reserved one for the week, but I didn’t think about the parking situation, or lack there of. We tried to get directions to one of the parking garages but it’s not easy navigating the tiny streets by foot in the day, much less at night in a car. We thought we found a safe place near a serious looking building but, as it turned out the next morning, that seriousness was a post office and the parking spot came with a $75 ticket. Best bet is to take a cab to and from the city, then use the car to travel the rest of the island.

Day 2/3: Palmas Del Mar

It’s hard to describe this little jewel on the southeast corner of the island, except for what it is: a gated resort community on steroids. I also wouldn’t call it a vacation destination of the island, but Broc had a good friend who’d recently moved there with his family and thus, a free place to stay. It’s absolutely beau.ti.ful and very un-Puerto Rican, compared to other parts of the island, but if you’re looking for 360 degree views of ocean, golf courses, palm trees, yachts and ultra-luxiousious homes & condos- Palmas is your dream come true. The people are all American too, and as rich in ideas & innovation as wealth, so it’s a pretty nice place to visit- or live…

Day 4/5: Vieques

I have not been to Europe yet, but I have been to Hawaii & every other beach-front city in the US, and nothing compares to the beauty of Vieques. It’s simply gorgeous, raw, and as close to heaven as I can imagine. There’s absolutely nothing fancy about this tiny speck of undeveloped land in the middle of the Atlantic (except maybe The W, we wouldn’t know), but that’s what I love about it the most. And the horses! Did I mention I’m in love with wild horses???

Note: the first time I came we had not problem catching the ferry to Vieques, but I’d read online that times had changed, and that was no lie. We arrived 2 hours before departature and stood in the sweltering heat for tickets for a good 90 mins before we realized they’d sold out. Thankful for iPhones and our friends from Palmas’s advice, we raced to a tiny airport in Ceiba
(about 30 mins from the Fajarado ferry) and paid $32/person/way for a 10 min plane ride across the ocean to Viequs. And it was SO. WORTH. IT. I will never do the ferry again.

We stayed at a very plainly stated home from AirBnB and rented the owner’s, Paul – a Kansan- beater blazer to get around. And it was perfect. This island is a back-roaders paradise- all you need is a pair of wheels, some Medalla (local beer), a bathing suit and a beach towell. Snorkeling gear optional (and not really needed, at least we didn’t see much this time of year). Paul’s place provided all of that, a comfortable king bed & bathroom and was centrally located between the only two towns in town; you go left to get to the beach bars & hidden beaches or right to the city-center and mile-long pier. I think the bio-bay was literally across the road and through a few patches of palm trees. (You can’t go to Vieques without kayaking in the biobay, and I again recommend Abe’s!)

All the food is great (although some, better than others) and all the beaches are gorgeous. The weather is perfect (even if it says it’s going to rain- it suppodisly does every day but we only saw 1 shower and that was in the rain forrest) and the people so warm & friendly. I couldn’t recommend this place more than anywhere else on earth. And it’s a US territory- so no passport and basic Spanish optional.

Please, just go.

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How is it possible that Christmas has come and gone? It always does it like this- there’s so much build up and then it passes just as quiet as a mouse!
Christmas 2013 was wonderful and I am so fortunate to have so many great friends and family to share it with! Blessed is not even the word…
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My holiday weekend started off Saturday night with our annual PNS Christmas party with all my best girls. We are going on our 8th Christmas together and our traditions have become more and more special the older we get. With kids and husbands and jobs and states to keep us apart, we always make time for each other. I love my friends.
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Couldn't ask for better girlfriends

Lindz and Sarah

Ah Heather- we miss you so!

YEARS of the best times!

Chrissy & Little

Love a PNS par-tay!

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Sunday was my dad’s birthday- his 60th!- and a great birthday it was. The Knights all gathered together for the most beautiful candlelight service at New Life Church and then brunch and presents at Dad and Debi’s.
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Caleb & Cara!

with my two favorite people

Cash is the best dad!

sister and soon to be brother-in-law

and baby Will just melts my heart!

mmmmmm

like mother like son :)

did i mention how much i love her???

dad presents...

i think i need a baby!

and so does Gabby!

having fun guys?

we love a get together

first time parents- doing the best job!!!

see!

my evil twin ;)

Gash love

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Christmas Eve was another tradition- going on 32 years for me- with my mom’s side of the family. All 50 of us ate way too much and played dirty Santa over coffee and lots of laughs. I’m so lucky to come from such a close, Christian family! With tons of cute kiddo’s to photograph!

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this lovely child... i wish i had recorded her!

i could eat him up!

Aunt Linda and Adilaide- soooo sweet!

my favorite girls....

lots of Christmas love!

Preston is such a ham!

Hannah just got her present stolen...

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I have to admit I was a bit lax on the photography this year… Just too many people to visit with and it ended up sitting on the table or in my purse most of the night(s). I didn’t take ONE picture at my mom’s on Christmas morning! I know- I’m pretty sad about it too!
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Christmas night was spent with my love and his family- the lovely Spradlin’s.  Again, I am a very lucky girl… My boyfriend has the best parents EVER. I just love love them so.
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and their dogs! (This is Duke)

Jill! Maybe the best person ever....

they are still 12 at heart...

they think i'm a food photographer...

how cute was little Broc!!!

and little Joe!!!

the best pie. Ever.

i have A LOT of hair...

this says it all!

My heart is so happy as the end of this holiday season comes to an end… I give all the credit to the wonderful people in my life, and will (hopefully) remember to count my blessings every day in 2014.
The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:  the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.
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The next day i again woke up way too early to be on “island time” but my type-A person could not just lay there! We were up and out of the condo by 7:30- way before the farmer’s market vendors were even set up.

I. was. serious.

After an hour or so, though, it was in full swing and I of fell in love with it (of course). I present, a glimpse into the Hilo Farmer’s Market…

The colors of the vegetables alone had me in a daze!

Around 10 we finally made our way to our lunchtime destination: the tide pools. But the lava tree park just happened to be on the way…

It’s all too pretty- i’ve never seen this kind of beauty!

When we finally ended up at the tide pools- the most gorgeous place on earth- I could not believe my eyes. This crazy, lava beach world of crystal clear little glass bowls of fish and corral and shimmering sand was seriously the most fabulous thing i’ve ever seen in my life!

And it was in these people’s backyards!!!!

if you can’t pose here- where can you pose???

After several hours, we were finally starving enough to head south- towards the volcano (and lunch). Unfortunately you can only see the lava at night or via a two mile hike, so i settled for a stop in Volcano Village (a real town name) and was, as usual, very impressed. It was super cool there, temp wise, and we had a great lunch at Lava Rock Cafe.


And then we had this hour long drive to endure…

Pretty miserable, huh?

When we finally arrive in Kona, I had the lowest expectations; i could not imagine it more beautiful that what I’d left behind. Yet again, I was completely  blown away! It was raining when we pulled up to our “cottage”- the Haleakala B&B- aka this tropical Japanese inspired photo-shoot house!

Even through rain clouds, this view was amazing.


Dinner was at Anthony’s on the Bay- a pretty little seafood restaurant impressive for it’s view on both sides:

to the right

and the left...

The meal wasn’t bad either…

Because it was raining and we knew what we had to go back to (instead of a bar), we headed up the hill to our “resort”… sitting in a hot tub overlooking the most gorgeous island with your best friend and a glass of wine- while it’s raining!- priceless…

I also fell in love with my auto-timer…

Goodnight Hawaii!

see day 4

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I’ve been working at PrivacyStar in downtown Conway for a year this month! I can’t believe it- i hate to say time flies but my goodness it does… The 30 minute drive between Conway and LR hasn’t killed me like i thought it would and i think the decision to keep my house and make the drive was the right one.
I love love love my job and the people I work with which makes me extremely thankful, and I have even grown to like this little old town as well. Every Tues and Thurs i walk to yoga at Blackbird Academy, which is less than 1/2 mile, and today I decided to bring my camera along with me. It’s beautiful outside and while it certainly isn’t New York or New Orleans, it suits me just fine. :)
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picnic tables ready to be unloaded for toad suck festival

Kris Allen stage. I love big clocks.

toad suck square

i want a red bike...

a secret garden

..

painted brick

coming up this weekend

spring!

old fashioned barber shops

namaste!

we have hot dog stands here too!

diet. blown.

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