Joy Domain

Travel, Outdoor, Photography

Joshua Tree National Park + San Diego — December 29, 2022

Joshua Tree National Park + San Diego

Duration: 11/24/2022 – 11/30/2022

Outline: San Diego – Joshua Tree National Park – Palm Springs – San Diego

Many of my friends had recommended San Diego and they said it’s the most beautiful and comfortable city to visit or stay. I have also read a lot of travel blogs and heard praises about San Diego of their April wildflowers and family attractions. But as you know, I am not a big city fan, so this time I choose San Diego as my Thanksgiving vacation destination is just because of the warm climate and its vicinity of the Joshua Tree National Park.

We spent 7 days in total, but the first and the last day were mainly on flight. The airflow was very unstable in Sierra Forest area, so our plane experienced quite a bit turbulence. After we arrived San Diego, we drove two and a half hours to Palm Springs. We spent the 2nd day at Joshua Tree National Park, visited two attractions near Palm Springs and went back to San Diego on the 3rd day. We stayed at San Diego for the rest of days.

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The Biltmore Estate — October 27, 2022

The Biltmore Estate

I might be accustomed to the laziness brought by the pandemic, which caused the travel journal that was supposed to be done in July to delay. Now I want to conclude that trip.

Three months ago …

We wanted to try sth different from our normal travel style – which was always filled with outdoor activities – thus we chose to experience a two-days leisure trip at the Biltmore Estate during the Independence Day holiday weekends. Biltmore Estate is located at Asheville, the north western part of state of North Carolina. It’s about 5 and a half hours drive from Louisville Kentucky.

If you come to Asheville and you will only visit the Biltmore Estate, then I highly recommend you to book the estate packages. The estate official website usually provides several different packages depending on the seasons. At the time we visited, we purchased the Monet & Friends package, which included house museum admission, Monet & Friends exhibition admission, exhibition keepsake, unlimited wine tasting, and two nights accommodations with breakfast. They also have packages for Leonardo De Vinci exhibition, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. We chose to stay at Village Hotel, which is relatively cheaper compared to other two hotels on the estate. The restaurant of the hotel was really good.

Now I’m going to share the highlights of this trip.

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Land Between the Lakes — June 12, 2022

Land Between the Lakes

Land Between the Lakes (LBL) is located on a forested peninsula between Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake in West Kentucky and Tennessee. The attractions include Elk & Bison Prairie, Homeplace 1850s Working Farm, Golden Pond Planetarium, Woodlands Nature Station. It also provides multiple outdoor opportunities: 106 miles of horse trails, 100 miles of trails for off highway vehicle, 70 miles mountain biking trails, 100 miles hiking trails for relaxing walks and backpacking, 22 boar ramps for sport fishing, and 250 days a year for season hunting.

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Olympic National Park — June 12, 2021

Olympic National Park

Duration: 5/28/2021 – 6/4/2021

Outline: Seattle – Hurricane Ridge – Sequim – Sol Duc Rain Forest – Mount Storm King – Lake Crescent – Forks – Rialto Beach – Hoh Rain Forest – Ruby Beach – Kalaloch – Lake Quinault – Seattle

Keyword: Road trip; Olympic Peninsula; Rain forest; West Coast; Hiking; Museums

While COVID hasn’t ended in US, the vaccination did bring more confidence to people who haven’t travel for a while. During this year Memorial Weekends, I saw the news from Zion National Park that visitors got into the line to wait park shuttle for almost a maximum of 2 hours. I believe Zion is not the only story, people were seeking for an opportunity to have some fresh air. Since I’m still a little bit worried about being exposed of a massive people gathering, I selected to visit Olympic National Park since it hasn’t reached its peak season during July and August.

When people talk about Olympic National Park, these words usually pop up: “Primeval Forest”, “Snow-caped Mountains”, “Indian and Pioneer History”, “Sparkling Streams and Lakes”, “Spectacular Coast”. Yes, Olympic National Park, which is located at Olympic Peninsula west of Seattle, lives up to its reputation to become one of the most diverse national parks.

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Florida National Parks — December 6, 2019

Florida National Parks


Duration: 11/23/2019 – 11/28/2019

Outline: Everglades NP – Coral Castle – Biscayne NP – Turtle Hospital – Robbie’s Marina – Dry Tortugas NP

Keyword: Road trip; Lighthouse; US 1 Highway; Miami; Deep sea fishing

Florida state has three national parks: Everglades, Biscayne, and Dry Tortugas. Everglades NP is well-known for its unique tropical wilderness and ecosystem; 95% of Biscayne NP area is under the sea; Dry Tortugas NP has a massive Fort Jefferson which was the third largest costal fort in US. In overall, these national parks offer completely different views than others.

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费城巴恩斯基金会 (Barnes Foundation at Phily) — November 18, 2019

费城巴恩斯基金会 (Barnes Foundation at Phily)

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Girl in Gray-Blue (1889) by Renoir

今年九月底去费城开会,抽空参观了一个集中收集印象主义和后印象主义画作的艺术博物馆 – Barnes Foundation。更准确的说,应该称之为一个致力于艺术教育的基金会。

创始人Albert Barnes出生在费城。自获得医学学位后,游历德国转攻化学。回国后投身于药企,发家致富,从此开启了收集画作和艺术教育之路。基金会至今已经收藏了900多幅画作,涵盖范围之广包括印象主义,后印象主义,现代主义,写实主义,非洲,埃及和希腊艺术等等。

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Glacier National Park — August 5, 2019

Glacier National Park


Duration: 07/20/2019-07/25/2019

Outline: Logan Pass – East Glacier – Many Glacier (Grinnell Glacier) – West Glacier – Fishing

Keyword: Road trip; Grinnell Glacier; Logan Pass; Wildflowers; Fishing

Glacier National Park, which is also called the “Crown of the Continent”, is located at northwest area in Montana. It’s on the US-Canada border and is a sister park to Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada. The visitation to Glacier NP has increased dramatically during the past 3 years, compared to the first time when it hit 1 million visitation in July 2017.[1] It’s probably because scientists have estimated all glaciers may disappear by 2030.[2]

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Great Smoky Mountain National Park — June 1, 2019

Great Smoky Mountain National Park


Duration: 05/25/2019-05/27/2019

Outline: Cades Cove Loop – Ripley’s Odditorium – Synchronized Fireflies – Skylift Park – Clingmans Domes – Salt & Pepper Museum

Keyword: Road trip; Biking; Synchronized fireflies; Cades Cove; Clingmans Domes

Great Smoky Mountain has been the most visited national park for at least 70 years, which beats Grand Canyon NP and Zion NP as the second and the third.[1] I guess the biggest reason might be it closes to major cities and small towns. We drove from Louisville, passed through Lexington/Knoxville, and arrived at Friday night before Memorial Weekends.

The park has two main entrances by connecting with Highway 441: Gatlinburg, TN on the north, and Cherokee, NC on the south. There are many accommodations in Gatlinburg area as it’s very close to the north entrance and has various restaurant options, but be prepared for the crowds especially for holidays. Not recommend to stay in Pigeon Forge town, as you might get stuck on the road to Gatlinburg due to the traffic jam in Gatlinburg!

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三亚小记 — March 29, 2019





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Denver – Rocky Mountain NP – Great Sand Dunes NP — October 21, 2018

Denver – Rocky Mountain NP – Great Sand Dunes NP

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Duration: 09/01/2018-09/06/2018

Outline: Denver – Rocky Mountain NP (2.5 day) – Great Sand Dunes NP (1 day) – Denver

Keyword: Road trip; Hiking; Alpine; Sand Dunes

Colorado is an ideal destination for people who likes traveling. Aspen Mountain is the holy place for skiing in winter. Four national parks (Rocky Mountain, Great Sand Dunes, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and Mesa Verde) provide most diverse and gorgeous scenery. Multiple rivers, lakes, and mountain streams let Western Colorado become one of the best destination for fly fishing.

The idea of visiting Colorado just came in mind 10 days before the planned setting off date. I have thought about this popular place for many times, but it’s really hard for me to find a two-three week vacation to cover all places in one trip. Then I just decided to break it down to several small trips. This blog recorded the days I spent in Denver, Rocky Mountain NP, and Great Sand Dunes NP during Labor Day Holiday.

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Mammouth Cave NP – Wild Cave Tour — August 18, 2018
Bourbon Distillery – Four Roses — July 9, 2018
Las Vegas – Death Valley – Zion — June 30, 2018
Maneki-neko — May 31, 2018




These pictures were captured when I visited Lucky Cat Museum in late April. It was located at Essex Studios in Cincinnati, Ohio. The museum is opened from 3pm to 6pm, and it has several art walks throughout the year. The owner of this museum is Micha Robertson. She has spent almost 13 years for collecting 1,000+ lucky cats from various sources. I’m glad that she guided me through the collections and told me tons of stories about the lucky cats. She was a very nice lady and I had a great experience.

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Bourbon Distillery – Woodford — April 29, 2018

Bourbon Distillery – Woodford



Today we visited one of the oldest bourbon distillery in Kentucky – Woodford Reserve Distillery. It is located at Versailles City and 50 miles southwest from Louisville.

Bourbon is a type of American Whiskey. It’s a distilled spirit made at a minimum of 51 percent corn and aged in oak barrels. It’s acknowledged to be a symbol of south America and strongly associated to Kentucky. Although the origin of Bourbon is not well documented, the distilling industry was brought by Scots to Kentucky since 18th century.[1]

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2017 Christmas Trip (US 1 Highway + Yosemite NP) — February 1, 2018