So You Want To Be A Cowboy - G Bar M Ranch, Montana by JD Andrews

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MONTANA

        The G Bar M Ranch

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You don't come to the G Bar M Ranch in the foothills of the Bridger Mountains in Montana to relax and unwind. This is a family owned, fifth generation, 3,200 acre, working horse and cattle ranch where guests that want to experience the real life of a ranch hand come to cowboy-up.

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You will be helping with the day-to-day activities of the ranch: Caring for the horses, checking fences and helping moving cattle from pasture to pasture. 

Actually you can participate as much or as little as you'd like with many other activities available such as fishing, hiking, wildlife photography or just relax by the fire with a good book.

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Buttons the goat thinks he is a cow because he never had any goat companions growing up sone now shuns them so he can stay with the cows.  This summer Buttons went to the mountains with the cows … and this weekend Mike got a call from a rancher all the way on the west side of the Bridger Ski hill “your goat is over here!” So Mike headed over there with his trailer to pick Buttons up. It's about 12 miles away from the G Bar M Ranch.

Buttons the goat thinks he is a cow because he never had any goat companions growing up sone now shuns them so he can stay with the cows.  This summer Buttons went to the mountains with the cows … and this weekend Mike got a call from a rancher all the way on the west side of the Bridger Ski hill “your goat is over here!” So Mike headed over there with his trailer to pick Buttons up. It's about 12 miles away from the G Bar M Ranch.

This is Shep - Mike’s trusty cowdog

This is Shep - Mike’s trusty cowdog

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The owners are Mike and Maria Leffingwell who enjoy sharing their Western heritage and the ranching way of life.

Maria will even share her famous apple pie recipe with you -

Their food is so good, they were recently featured on the Cooking Channel - Check it out HERE

 

Their family have been ranching in southwestern Montana for over 100 years and have been welcoming guests since the 1930s. They can accommodate up to 15 guests per week who are lodged in the ranch house or cabins.

It's fun to study the map in the dinning room to see that guests come from all over the world:  New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, all of Europe, even Africa. And of course from every state in the United States and most of the provinces in Canada.  It has wide appeal to guests who are looking for an authentic working ranch vacation.

It's fun to study the map in the dinning room to see that guests come from all over the world:  New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, all of Europe, even Africa. And of course from every state in the United States and most of the provinces in Canada.  It has wide appeal to guests who are looking for an authentic working ranch vacation.

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I really loved my stay at the ranch! It was nice to get away and just enjoy the views and the real outdoor life plus Mike and his family couldn't have been nicer (the apple pie was AMAZING!)

For more information about the G Bar M Ranch - Click HERE 

Volcan Villarica - Pucon, Chile by JD Andrews

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One of Chile’s most active volcanoes, also known as Rucapillán, a Mapuche word meaning "Pillan's house"

My Top Things to Do in Pensacola Florida by JD Andrews

My first trip to Pensacola was last November while doing research on an article for Visit Florida. (confession: when I was a kid, I thought it was pronounced pepsi-cola) On my second day in town I was contacted by Visit Pensacola asking if I'd like to be shown around. After a few hours seeing the sights, I couldn't believe how much there was to do and see in this town that's only 45 minutes away from Alabama. My surprise and excitement was over whelming and I kept on saying "this place is great, more people need to know about Pensacola" After the trip, I contacted Visit Pensacola hoping we could work together and a few months later, I was back in town exploring and sharing more of my new favorite destination. 


THE NATIONAL NAVAL AVIATION MUSEUM

Admission is FREE! It's the world's largest Naval Aviation museum and one of the most-visited museums in the state of Florida. With over 150 beautifully restored aircraft representing Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Aviation. Plus the world-famous Blue Angels are based at NAS Pensacola, and can be seen practicing over the Museum most Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from March to November.

Open Daily 9am - 5pm

http://www.navalaviationmuseum.org
1750 Radford Blvd., NAS Pensacola, FL 32508


BEACHES

I live in South Florida, we have beaches, parking is expensive, they are crowded and in the shadow of massive condos. If you like big, beautiful, un-crowed beaches with FREE parking - Pensacola should be your next destination.

Another thing you won't see in South Florida (unless there's a hurricane) is surfing! Also these beaches have been ranked among the best in the country by USA Today, TripAdvisor and the Travel Channel.


PARKS

Big Lagoon State Park - A 705-acre Florida State Park located approximately 10 miles southwest of Pensacola.

Perdido Key State Park - A 290-acre Florida State Park located on a barrier island 15 miles southwest of Pensacola.

Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park - A 4,290-acre Florida State Park preserve located 10 miles southwest of Pensacola.

Fort Pickens - Area of Gulf Islands National Seashore - Fort Pickens is the largest of four forts built to defend Pensacola Bay during the American Civil War. Great beaches here as well!


HISTORY

Historic Pensacola - Come explore the 8 1/2 acres and 28 properties, eleven are open to the public.

Pensacola Lighthouse - Built in 1859, climb 177 steps up for one of the most beautiful views on the Gulf Coast. Open Daily 10am - 5:30pm

Downtown - More and more chic shops and trendy restaurants are  showing up around historic Palafox Street, the city’s award-winning main street.  


WATER SPORTS

Aquatic Charters - Dolphin Cruise onboard Chase-N-Fins - A 2 hour Dolphin adventures in Pensacola Bay and surrounding waters. Learn about dolphins and the history of the area.

I didn't have enough time but there is tons more to do:

Parasailing, fishing, diving, snorkeling, surfing, paddle-boarding, sailing, wind-surfing, jet-skiing, kayaking, etc.


EATS

There are so many great bars, coffee shops and restaurants in Pensacola, below are the ones I had a chance to visit.

The Drowsy Poet - Great coffee shop, where the locals go.

McGuire's Irish Pub  - Estimated, over a million dollar bills hang from the ceiling and walls.

Flora-Bama Yacht Club - Right on the border, great food and views.

Native Cafe - My favorite B-fast place, get there early, always a line.

Old Hickory Whiskey Bar - mmmmmm whiskey

Five Sisters Blues Café - historic and delicious!

The Grand Marlin - Amazing location on the water with great seafood.


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Visit Pensacola but as always, all opinions photographs and text are all mine.