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Made it to Scotland!

Scotland Day 1 & 2 — Inverness to Skye

Sunrise at Beach Cottage B&B, Inverness, Scotland. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

Good morning from Scotland! We’ve just returned home from our 15 day trip through Scotland, London, and Paris, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it! Over the next few weeks I’ll be recapping and sharing everything with you here: where we went, where we stayed, and especially what we ate! :)

Tips for Traveling to Scotland! What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

We dropped Miley and Howie off with my mom and dad where they got to chase squirrels, lizards, and sleep in the bed every night. Our flight was from Atlanta with a quick layover in Amsterdam and then on to Inverness, Scotland. Kevin was stressing the entire eight-and-a-half hour flight because we only had a short one-hour layover in Amsterdam, and we didn’t have a boarding pass for our next flight on the small airline, Flybe. We’d have to get off the first plane, possibly go through customs or passport control, make our way through the large Amsterdam airport, find our next gate, get our boarding passes, and get to the gate in less than an hour. We were told there was a strict policy of the doors closing 15 minutes prior to takeoff. To make things even more stressful, there’s only one flight out of Amsterdam to Inverness per day, so if we missed this flight, we’d be stuck there until the next day, missing this first part of our itinerary in Scotland, which was Loch Ness, and something Kevin was really looking forward to.

Tips for Traveling to Scotland! What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

Fortunately, we were able to make it to the ticket counter with a little time to spare, and even though we still had a bit further to go to get to the gate, we felt pretty good on time. But just as we started to relax, the agent tells us that they can’t find Kevin’s ticket. They found mine immediately, but Kevin’s was not showing in the system. The agent was very nice, made a call, but then all we could do was wait. It wasn’t like she was working on her computer trying to find it, we just felt helpless standing there! But fortunately once again, with just a few minutes to spare, they found Kevin’s ticket and we were on our way. We were even at the gate about 5 minutes before they started boarding. We hopped on our colorful little prop plane and headed for Scotland!

In hindsight, Kevin thinks it might’ve been safer to book a direct flight to Edinburgh, then drive north three hours from Edinburgh to Inverness, but it just seemed like a lot of back-tracking to drive north, then south, then south again past Edinburgh. The way we planned was to start at the very top in Inverness, then work our way down to Edinburgh then onto Newcastle to take the train to London.  Plus we would not have felt like driving after that long flight, especially in a big city and Kevin’s first experience driving on the other side of the road, and it would’ve been dark before we got to Inverness, and we would’ve missed out on our first night in Inverness. Which is why he picked the other way in the first place. So I’m glad it all worked out! :)

Renting a Car & Tips for Traveling to Scotland. What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

I’m very pleased to report that Kevin did awesome driving on the opposite side of the road! He handled the maze of roundabouts like a pro. We drove from the countryside with roads (more like paths) only big enough for one car, where you’d have to pull over to the side of the road to let a car coming from the opposite direction pass, to big cities with 8-lane roundabouts as interstate exits. He was a natural. :) (However, we are never, ever driving here!)

Before we left, we downloaded Scotland maps to our GPS and brought it with us to help navigate while driving. However we quickly learned that most Scottish addresses don’t have street names, let alone street numbers, so we often had to either use the internet on my phone to lookup the GPS coordinates and use those, or just find the general location on the GPS’s map and use that as our destination. There were lots of street signs though, and the roads were well marked, so fortunately Scotland was pretty easy to navigate! :)

Beach Cottage B&B, Inverness, Scotland. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

Our first destination was the Beach Cottage B&B in Inverness, Scotland. This place was gorgeous!! This was our view from the Moray Room. The B&B sits right at the tip of a cape on the shores of the Moray Firth, so you get both sunrise and sunset views over the water.

Inverness, Scotland. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

The B&B is only a 10 minute drive from Inverness city center, so after we settled in we headed to the city for dinner. If you’re interested, I’ll be doing a separate post of “Everything I Ate In Scotland.” Stay tuned!! :)

Inverness, Scotland. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

Loved the architecture in the city!

Sunrise at Beach Cottage B&B, Inverness, Scotland. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

This was our sunrise view the next morning from our B&B.

Sunrise at Beach Cottage B&B, Inverness, Scotland. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

It was seriously so secluded and peaceful out here. The next closest thing to the cottage is a mile away, so you have the whole beach to yourself.

Sunrise at Beach Cottage B&B, Inverness, Scotland. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

Loved taking a morning walk on the beach and watching the sunrise in Scotland.

Sunrise at Beach Cottage B&B, Inverness, Scotland. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

This is the view on the other side of the cottage, where the sun sets at night.

Sunrise at Beach Cottage B&B, Inverness, Scotland. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

After breakfast we packed up and set out for our Loch Ness Cruise and Urquhart Castle tour!

Urquhart Castle at Loch Ness, Inverness, Scotland. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

Urquhart Castle sits right on the shores of Loch Ness. The castle is in ruins now, but there were signs, maps, and images all over depicting what the castle would’ve looked like in its day, and detailing what each building was used for.

Urquhart Castle at Loch Ness, Inverness, Scotland. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

You could still explore some of the buildings, like the one above. You could go down to the cellar or climb the narrow, spiral stone staircase all the way up to the roof for views of Loch Ness.

Eilean Donan Castle. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

That afternoon we made our way west to the Isle of Skye, where we’d be spending the evening. Along the way we stopped at the picturesque Eilean Donan Castle.

Eilean Donan Castle. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

The castle and grounds were lovely. On a nicer day, you could walk the short path along the loch to the village of Dornie.

Eilean Donan Castle. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

I’ve always heard about the unpredictability of Scottish weather, but you guys. I have never, ever experienced such torrential winds anywhere in my entire life! I am from Alabama and have been through hurricanes and tornadoes, but I have never experienced winds this strong! It was unbelievable. They would literally knock a grown man over.

Eilean Donan Castle. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

Since it was so windy, we decided to explore inside the castle, which was neat — and a very nice refuge from the wind!! :)

Tips for Traveling to Scotland! What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

Of course, just a few miles down the road, the sun was shining with barely a cloud in the sky. It was still pretty windy though! :)

Wilmar Bed & Breakfast, Isle of Skye. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

We made it to our home for the night, the Wilmar Bed & Breakfast at Carbost on the Isle of Skye. These were our beautiful accommodations in The Edinburgh Room.

Tips for Traveling to Scotland! What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

After settling in, we decided to go for a hike and watch the sunset at Talisker Bay. Here is an example of the type of one-way roads I was talking about earlier that we drove on for a lot of the trip!

Tips for Traveling to Scotland! What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

Gorgeous, quiet views.

Tips for Traveling to Scotland! What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

When we got to the small pull-off where we parked for the Talisker Bay hike, we found this funny little peacock completely obsessed with his reflection in the car in front of us! :) He circled the car several times admiring himself and trying to figure out how to get inside the reflection, lol!

Talisker Bay, Isle of Skye. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

It’s about a 2 mile / 40 minute easy walk from the car park to the beach, with gorgeous views along the way.

Talisker Bay, Isle of Skye. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

There were sheep everywhere just freely roaming along the path. We saw several sweet little baby lambs.

Talisker Bay, Isle of Skye. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

The beach was stunning at sunset!

Talisker Bay, Isle of Skye. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

There was even a waterfall off in the distance.

Sunset at Talisker Bay, Isle of Skye. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

Could not get over this fiery sky!!

Talisker Bay, Isle of Skye. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

Here is some more info on the Talisker Bay Hike, including directions and GPS coordinates if you’re interested: Talisker Bay Hike.

Talisker Bay, Isle of Skye. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

The warm sunlight reflecting off the stones and water at sunset turned everything golden and magical.

Talisker Bay, Isle of Skye. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

One of my new favorite sunset views.

Talisker Bay, Isle of Skye. Tips for Traveling to Scotland -- What to Do, See, & Eat. www.kevinandamanda.com

Golden and pink.


View Scotland Day 1 & 2 – Inverness to Skye in a larger map

Here’s a map of our route for our first two days in Scotland. Click on any of the icons for more info.

More to come soon! :) Next we hike the Fairy Pools, drive down the coast to Oban to see the Cave of Melodies, then make our way over to Edinburgh! :)

Stay tuned! :) xoxo

 

Follow along on our Scotland, London, and Paris Vacation!

Scotland

Scotland Day 1 & 2 — Inverness, Loch Ness, Skye, and Talisker Bay
Scotland Day 3 — Skye, Fairy Pools, The Highlands, and Oban
Scotland Day 4 — Islands of Scotland: Mull, Iona, and the Cave of Melodies
Scotland Day 5 — Fa’side Castle, Edinburgh
Scotland Day 6 – Edinburgh & Castle Driving the Coast of Scotland
Everything I Ate In Scotland

London

London Day 1: Notting Hill, Seven Dials, and The London Eye
London Day 2: Tower of London, Borough Market, and Big Ben
London Day 3: Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Fortnum and Mason
London Day 4: Bakery Hopping, Harrods Food Hall, and the London Tower Bridge
London Day 4: Sunset at The View from The Shard
Where We Stayed In London: Hotel Indigo Tower Hill
Everything I Ate In London

Paris

Paris Day 1: Sunrise and Sunset at the Eiffel Tower

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60 Responses
  1. Lena Felix

    Love that post! I’ve just been to Scotland a few weeks ago and I loved it so much! Isle of Skye is just stunning, isn’t it?! :D Your pics are amazing!

  2. Amanda Keeley-Thurman

    Isn’t Scotland awesome? We stayed in Glasgow for a month and used it as a jumping off point for many other areas of exploration throughout Scotland. I could have been there a lot longer though. Your pictures are beautiful.

  3. Sharon

    This is beautiful! I wish to visit Scotland 1 day :)
    If time and finance permits!
    But if you don’t mind sharing, how much did u spend (excluding flight) in this 3 places?
    Just for accomodation, food & car rental?

    Thanks!

  4. Michelle

    Hi Amanda, I came across your blog after googling for many ideas and itineraries for a great road trip through the Scottish Highlands.

    We are planning to do roughly the same itinerary, starting off with inverness and driving down to isle of skye and towards edinburgh. Could you share where you spent the nights and how many? We are planning to go from a Monday to a Saturday and taking the train down on Saturday to London and was wondering if that was enough time to roughly cover the itinerary you covered as well?

  5. Avia

    Lovely post! Sadly this time I’m only going to Edinburgh for 3 days, and there isnt time for me to explore the highlands. After reading your post, definitely gonna go to these places next time I’m there! :)

    And where did you guys rent the car from? How did you return the car in the end!

  6. Lucy Lam

    What beautiful pictures!!! I’m so happy that you had a wonderful time!!! Kevin … you da man!!! I emailed all my girlfriends to show them what a wonderful husband you are!!! Amanda .. you deserve it … here’s to many more happy times together!

    Lucy

  7. Catherine

    I’ve enjoyed reading your post, and seeing your lovely photos of such familiar places (Scottish and live on the west coast of Scotland) :) However, can I just make one reference to your comment:

    “we quickly learned that most Scottish addresses don’t have street names, let alone street numbers,”

    Ummm…actually the reverse is more accurate. The majority of us do have house numbers, street names and post codes. Villages, towns and cities would struggle without them. Some of the more sparsely populated areas in the Highlands and Islands possibly have less detailed addresses, but I think the days of the local postie getting the Amazon order to Mrs Findlay in the third house down the street from Mrs McGregor’s bakery are way in the past. :)

    Glad you enjoyed your holiday. :)

    1. Scottish Lass

      Hope everyone is sitting down as someone from the East Coast of Scotland is about to agree with someone from the West Coast ;P

      Also agree that most Scottish addresses do have street names. On the occasions that we DON’T have a number, we DO have a house name and ALL houses have a postcode!

      Amanda, I’ve been enjoying seeing the UK through your eyes as a Brit who lived in Atlanta (amongst other US cities) for a few years. I have to say though that the best comparison I can draw as to how some of your impressions may have been misled is: imagine I went to Tybee Island and then said that equals America ;) On the subject of fair comparisons, eating black pudding at a B&B is like eating grits at an IHOP. Real grits=yum. IHOP grits, shudders… {:D You’ll just have to come back & I’ll give you some proper black pudding (and red pudding and white pudding and heck fruit pudding while we’re at it ;P Oh and Lorne sausage, I thought it was illegal not to have Lorne sausage in a Scottish B&B breakfast…)

  8. Karen @ Sugartown Sweets

    Absolutely stunning photos! I’ve always wanted to visit Scotland, and with your beautiful pictures, I sorta feel as though I have! My sweet hubby and I traveled to Europe last summer which included visits to both London and Paris. I’m so looking forward to seeing the rest of your journey.

  9. Alison

    Beautiful pictures!!! Just stunning! Please tell me what camera and lens you take with you when you travel. I am going to Europe this summer and just don’t know if I want to bring my Canon 7D with several lenses or get a good point and shoot. Would love your input.

    Thank you

  10. Hidayah

    The photos are stunning. I never realized how beautiful Scotland is till now. Definitely has to go into my bucket list this one. Thanks for sharing and putting it out there. :)

  11. Marie Spiess

    Wow your photos are amazing. Do you use photoshop or do a lot with the camera. Love the castle on the road to Skye. Thanks for sharing

  12. Shinee

    Wow, your photos are GORGEOUS! What an awesome trip! We’re planning a trip to Europe at the end of the year. Scotland was not in plan, but now after reading this post, I think we absolutely have to go there. I can’t wait to read about your trip to London and Paris, because those cities are #1 and #2 on our list. Thanks for sharing!

  13. KnitterPam

    Oh goodness, those are beautiful pictures! Did you put an oil painting filter over some of them? The castle views looked so much like gorgeous oil paintings. I remember going to Inverness in my early 20’s and staying at the youth hostel there, then doing a bus tour of the Loch. Good times!

  14. Susan

    I would love to read that more detailed tutorial for the sunrises that you mention, Amanda. Judging by the love of your wonderful photos, I’m sure I’m not the only one! :-)

  15. Lily (A Rhubarb Rhapsody)

    I travelled and ultimately lived in Scotland for a couple of years. I settled not far from Inverness and attended Glen Urquhart High School (2 miles away from Urquhart Castle). I miss the highlands like no other place on Earth. I’d be back living there in a heartbeat if work circumstances permitted. Your photos captured it beautifully, glad you enjoyed it! :)

  16. Susie

    I’ve been to Scotland several times over the past decade. My last trip involved the Scottish Highland Games in Aboyne (by Balmoral), and driving those narrow Scottish roads can be rather tense. I can’t wait to hear about your adventures in London for that is my favorite place to travel. I take every even year (2014 is one) and fly over for a 2 week. (I love the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge by Parliament and Big Ben.) It’s a fabulous place to visit, and I’m so glad you and Kevin were able to enjoy such beauty, culture and history. (Oh, yes….Scotland is so windy…just think about St. Andrews and golf next time to see it on TV. It’s brutal.)

  17. Jaclyn

    Beautiful beautiful photos Amanda! And what a view from that pretty beach cottage! Glad you’re having a great time :)! Can’t wait to see the rest.

  18. KC

    You always take such beautiful photos, I feel like I’m there because the images are so crisp.
    Definitively have to add Scotland to my “Must visit list”

  19. skye

    What beautiful pictures! I would like to add – I was named after the Isle of Skye ;)
    I’ve never seen pictures from the isle, so this was very nice to look at…

  20. Brittany

    Gorgeous photos! I’m actually heading to Scotland next week. It looks like you visited Skye, Mull/Iona and Oban from what I saw on your Instagram :). We have 4 days/3 nights after flying into Edinburgh to explore the islands before we have to be back in Edinburgh (husband has a work meeting.) Was wondering if Skye is too far for the short trip and was planning on visiting Arran/Oban/Mull/Iona instead…any recommendations based on your experience? Is Skye a must see?

  21. Wendy

    Thank you for sharing these absolutely amazing photos! Can’t say I will ever get the opportunity to go to Scotland so I appreciate being able to travel through your eyes :)

  22. Denise

    I love Scotland and have been there many times. It has such a rugged beauty. And don’t you just love the Scottish accent? Looking at your pics has made me long to go again. Funny about the weather, hah! On one of our trips there, we experienced rain, snow, gale-force winds (it really is unbelievable!), hail, and glorious sunshine all in one day. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Angie | Big Bear's Wife

    All of the photos are beautiful (as always) You inspire we to travel more and more! I totally understand the scare with the plane ticket! When we went to Hawaii in February we got there early and found out our first flight had been cancelled! It was so nerve wracking trying to get another flight so that we didn’t miss our connecting flight. Glad ya’ll got everything worked out though!

  24. Elizabeth Rhyneer

    You have outdone yourself on this post. The color is outstanding, everything is so clean and beautiful. We all need to work on cleaning our beautiful land to match Scotland.
    Have more fun and upgrade to a Mercedes for Kevin to drive.

  25. Amber

    Another new follower here–we’re taking a very similar family trip in June/July, so I can’t wait to see your recaps and photos…and, most importantly, of course, read about all of the food!

  26. Heather K.

    WOW! I love all the pictures. Scotland is one of my dream trips. I actually hope to go there for our 20th anniversary in a few years. I can’t wait for more posts and photos from your trip!

  27. Melanie @ Carmel Moments

    These pictures are gorgeous Amanda! I’ve never realized how pretty Scotland is. I love the photo you captured of the peacock. Priceless!
    Hope the rest of your trip is just as wonderful!

  28. Kathie

    I always enjoy your blog, but this post is exceptional. Photos are fabulous, such an interesting trip. Looking forward to your next chapter :)

  29. Cristina

    PLEASE PLEASE keep all the info coming. My husband and I are going to Paris, Scotland, Ireland and London (I think you all went to these places too?) for a “before baby/last hurrah” trip. We have been saving for a little under a year, and we are planning to go in october. Im obsessed with trip planning so ALL of the info you post, will be OH SO HELPFUL. Im so scared of the hotel portion of trip planning in Europe. We have been to Greece, Italy and Turkey and had good luck with hotels but Ive heard horror stories too. So, please post anything and everything :) Thanks! Ps- your pictures are BONKERS pretty! Are you going to print and post on your travel wall? I bet those sunrise pics will be gorgeous.

  30. Elizabeth (Silver's Reviews)

    I LOVE Scotland as well.

    The Isle of Skye is my favorite of all.

    I remember seeing a few of the things you featured in this post.

    THANKS for sharing.

    Elizabeth

  31. Sandra

    Love your blog, Amanda. We were in Scotland last summer and were at many of the spots you describe in your blog, including Urquhart and Eilean Donan castles. Aren’t the Highlands spectacular? Mystical, spooky, stunning. Regarding your gorgeous photos—are you using a filter or some other enhancer on the landscape / outdoor shots? Is there someplace on your blog that describes your equipment and technique? Thanks for sharing!

    1. Amanda

      Thank you Sandra!! :)

      You can click on any photo to see the camera, lens, and settings used to take that photo. If it doesn’t have any information, it was taken with an iPhone (iPhone 5s). I take pretty much every single landscape iPhone photo with the ProHDR app. I wrote about ProHDR and my other favorite iPhone camera editing apps here:

      My Favorite Camera Apps for iPhone and Android

      If it was taken with my camera, I edit/organize my photos first in Lightroom. I wrote about my process here:

      Why Lightroom May Be The Only Photo Editor You Need

      And then do a quick sharpen, fresh & colorful, and save for web in Photoshop. I wrote about that process here:

      How I Edit My Photos
      Saving and Sizing Your Images for Blogging

      For the sunrise and sunset photos in this post, I used a new HDR technique with my DSLR. I’d love to write about it here, but I’m not sure how much interest there’d be? It requires some dedication — I used a tripod and shot in manual. Basically, I used a tripod to take 2 photos, about 6-8 stops apart. One with the brighter parts properly exposed, and one with the darker parts properly exposed. Then I used the ProHDR iPhone app to combine them into one HDR photo. If anyone would be interested in a more in-depth tutorial, I’d be happy to share!

      Hope this helps!! :)

  32. Emma

    I’m from the UK but I’ve never visited Scotland- would you believe! Definitely wanting to after seeing these gorgeous photos though!

  33. Lauren V.

    New follower here! What a fantastic trip–the Isle of Skye is one of my favorite places in the world. My best friend was married at Eilean Donan castle a few years ago. It was amazing (and, a bit of trivia, for those who don’t know–it was the castle featured in the movie Maid of Honor, with Patrick Dempsey). Can’t wait to hear about the rest of your trip! What do you use to shoot/edit your photos? They are stunning!

    1. Amanda

      Welcome Lauren!! :) So fun about Maid of Honor!! :) I totally saw that movie!! :)

      About the photos — thank you! :) You can click on any photo to see the camera, lens, and settings used to take that photo. If it doesn’t have any information, it was taken with an iPhone (iPhone 5s). I take pretty much every single landscape iPhone photo with the ProHDR app. I wrote about ProHDR and my favorite iPhone camera editing apps here:

      My Favorite Camera Apps for iPhone and Android

      If it was taken with my camera, I edit/organize my photos first in Lightroom. I wrote about my process here:

      Why Lightroom May Be The Only Photo Editor You Need

      And then do a quick sharpen, fresh & colorful, and save for web in Photoshop. I wrote about that process here:

      How I Edit My Photos
      Saving and Sizing Your Images for Blogging

      Hope this helps!! :)

  34. Kimberly Russell

    Love seeing the pictures! They are currently filming a new series there based on my favorite book series! Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

  35. Kristin

    Gorgeous! It’s going to be so difficult to wait for updates. We LOVE Scotland & daydreamed about buying a house in Inverness. Can’t wait to see the rest!

  36. Susan

    Absolutely stunning. I just wish that I could take photos like that.

    Not only is that the same B&B near Inverness where we’ll be staying in a couple of months’ time, but the exact same Moray Room! It’s so strange to see it on a blog I regularly read. Can’t wait to see those sunrises.

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Meet Kevin & Amanda

Kevin and Amanda

We love to travel and to eat! Here we share our favorite quick and easy recipes, plus travel tips and guides for our favorite places around the world. Meet our Boston Terriers. Take a tour of our house. If you have any questions about what camera I use or how I edit my photos, check out my photography tutorials.

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