Melinda Ratchford

Belmont, NC

What made you want to travel to Scotland?:
“We had traveled numerous times to Ireland, Wales and England and only once previously to Scotland. Love the Outlander series and it convinced us to travel there!”

What were you celebrating while traveling in Scotland?:
“We went for our 40th wedding anniversary. Since we married we have traveled to 49 of our 50 states (plan on Oregon in 2018) and multiple other European countries, Greece, Italy and Turkey. We have three grandchildren and we have taken them since they were young (both individually and together)to New York, Atlanta, San Francisco, Washington, Boston, Martha’s Vineyard, England, Ireland and Paris. We tell them there will be no money left for them when we die but, oh, the memories we have made with them.”

What were your top 3 sights that were on your wish list?:
“Isle of Skye, Isle of Mull and western Scotland. Made it to all of them. Found that we liked western Scotland better than eastern Scotland. Isle of Mull was to go to ancestors (Maclean) Duart Castle….the roads were very intimidating and we took an early ferry home. Don drove over 900 miles and it was simply exhausting. I saw so much more because I was not driving!”

*Tough question alert! What was the best part about your vacation?:
“Walking in the small towns such as Oban; going to Talisker and Oban Distilleries; going to numerous free museums; eating toasties and drinking ciders and scotch (not together)….just seeing another view of how people live on a day-to-day basis.”

What made you want to book with Tenon Tours?:
“I liked your website. I asked for information and was connected with Taryn Harrison. We communicated for over 8 months and we now consider her not only an amazingly knowledgeable travel person but a friend. It was such a personalized experience. I knew pretty much what we wanted to see; she knew the best ways and places to get us there.”

How was your experience with your Personal Sales Representative?:
“Taryn was so warm and we felt as if we were her only customers. She always responded within a matter of hours and never hesitated to give us more information to help make up our minds about places and . She managed our trip as if she were going along with us!”

Were there any parts of your trip that you wish you were better prepared for?:
“Not really – Tenon gave us a great deal of information and we read many travel books and did research on reputable sites on the Internet. There were no real surprises just typical small issues when one travels anywhere.”

How was the weather in Scotland?:
“As I read, there is no bad weather in Scotland; simply poor choices of clothing! It was amazingly nice – not as much rain as thought but some days were just dreary.”

Did travel insurance come in handy for you?:
“We always purchase travel insurance. At our age (69/74) one can never have too much security about the future. We also purchased tire insurance with our rental car….absolute necessity!!”

Were you able to meet any new friends during your Scottish Vacation?:
“Cathie who runs Time Out B&B in Balloch is worth the trip. She is funny, warm, welcoming and a native of Scotland. Also, A woman in Edinburgh stopped me on the street and asked for directions. I happened to have been where she wanted to go and was so delighted to help her. She was from NY and we are from NC….she said she had a friend who was moving to a small town in NC – come to find out it was Belmont where we live!”

What are your favorite souvenirs you brought home?:
“600 pictures – one of which is a bartender (Oscar) in Inverness across from our hotel who is the doppelgänger for our 20 year old grandson, Chase.!”

Where do you want to travel to next?:
“Taking two of the grandchildren next summer to another location….haven’t decided where and they say it doesn’t matter!”

How did you feel about driving on the “wrong” side of the road?:
“Don adapted beautifully….he was a driver’s ed teacher early in life. The issues are that the roads are really narrow and” staying out of the ditches” is not just a funny thing to say.”

What tips do you have for others planning a self-drive tour?:
“Understand that the driver does not get to see much of anything except the road; cities are not generally user friendly to anyone in a vehicle; one meets all types of vehicles including bicycles, carts, motorcycles, big rigs, etc. on the various types of roads….”

How did you go about planning your itinerary, picking sights, arranging them and figuring out how long to stay?:
“Read, read, read and work with Tenon Tours…tell them what you like – castles, cathedrals, wooly pigs, book stores, distilleries, Outlander, or whatever else draws you to your destination. Read multiple accounts of various tourist sites as well as off the beaten path types of places.”

Any advice for the roundabouts while driving?:
“They make excellent sense…I learned to say as the co-pilot..roundabout coming up in 1 mile…go straight out the other side or go all the way around to the far right side….sometimes GPS saying 2nd or 3rd exit did not count all roads off the round about. Don’t ever stop – just keep going in a circle if you miss the exit…always give a signal! Know the rules before you leave home!”

Do you have any other advice for future travelers?:
“Try to spend 2 nights in most locations – get the lay of the land and rest up a bit….a nap a day is an amazing refresher!”

Thank you for traveling with us Melinda & Don! We certainly hope to assist you again in the future

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