Another year in the books… crazy right? The holidays came and went so fast! I spent Christmas at home in Bloomington with the hubs and my younger sister Madeline. There was lots of cooking (shrimp & grits a la Tupelo Honey Cafe) and a Harry Potter/Star Wars movie marathon. Pretty perfect if you ask me. The day after Mad and I met our mom in New York city to see Beautiful on Broadway and do some shopping, more on that later. You should know though that Beautiful was incredible; go see it ASAP if you can! It’s been a whirlwind of a break but it’s been wonderful to take a break from work and spend some time with family. I’m currently sitting at my desk at home, soaking up my last day of vacation doing some trip planning (plotting) and goal setting for the year.
2017 Travel Goals
Pack Light (er)
Like I mentioned before, I went to New York for a few days on a girls trip. I packed an insane amount of clothes. I packed a rolling duffel bag to the brim with like 12 outfits 3 jackets, and two pairs of shoes. INSANE. I tallied up what I actually wore: 4 outfits, 2 pairs of boots, and 2 jackets. Next time I fly by plane, I’m going to do my damnedest to get everything in a carryon bag. I’m thinking of upgrading my luggage to see if the smaller size will keep my overpacking in check. I love the hard top carryon from Away (with USB charger); it is the perfect size and supposedly indestructible. Not sure if packing light on a road trip is in the cards though… way to easy to throw in last minute items in the back seat. I really need to study the ways of Alex from Travel Fashion Girl. She’s a packing pro.
Explore more of Indiana
Some people think of the Midwest as flyover country but there are a lot of cool towns to explore and people to meet. I’ve lived in Indiana for a few years now and so far only really explored Indianapolis (which is awesome btw). This year I’m planning on checking out New Harmony, home to The Roofless Church among other architectural gems, Madison, a historic town known for antiquing, and mid-century modern mecca, Columbus.
Go Camping More Often
I really do like camping. Remember my 5 camping essentials post? I’d like to take advantage of our proximity to the Great Lakes and venture north in the summer months to do some camping. Being able to camp not in blistering heat is appealing, and it just looks so freaking gorgeous. Ryan led a snowshoeing class in Manistee National Forest in Michigan a few years ago and his photos were breathtaking, so much snow! I’d love to see it that area when it is lush and green in the summertime.
Go on a Yoga Retreat
I’m a big fan of yoga. I started practicing yoga regularly when I attended graduate school several years ago. It’s an incredible way to decompress not to mention make you stronger. I read about yoga retreats all the time and I think 2017 is the year for me to try one. I’ve had my eye on the Free People Escapes – yoga/fitness retreats to destinations like Palm Springs, Sonoma, and Nicaragua all curated by Free People (swoon). I also discovered Y7 Yoga Studio in New York recently via their Instagram account. They’re the first hip-hop yoga studio in the country and their sessions are categorized as “the best sweat drippin, beat bumpin hour of your life.” Sounds fun right? I can’t make the retreat they have coming up in Costa Rica but it looks like a blast. Hopefully they’ll do a few more this year.
Where are you headed in 2017? Happy New Year!
Check out my Top Posts of 2016
- Stay Skin Smart this Summer
- 5 Islands to Visit in Georgia Now
- How to Beercation in Tampa
- Local’s Guide to Georgia Florida Weekend
- Local’s Guide to Charleston with Annie Reeves
I love shopping for gifts during the holidays; getting someone something that they would like and use is an art. Whether you have a backpacker or weekend warrior on your gift list, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite things that any traveler would want. READ MORE
A few weeks ago, I spent a beer filled weekend in the Bluegrass country with some wonderful friends. Picking up where I left off last week with part 2 of my Lexington beercation.
Breweries and pubs are the unofficial community centers in a city. Once you pull up a stool and order your first beer, you can learn a lot about a place. Everyone knows Kentucky is bourbon country, but it’s becoming quite the destination for craft beer. My previous trip to Lexington barely skimmed the surface of the beer industry so this go round I was determined to get my fill. With seven breweries and counting, my local Lexington friends showed me a great time. So much so that this weekend guide will be posted in two parts. Cheers!
Lexington Beercation: Day 1
I arrived at Celia’s house Friday afternoon and after a quick bite at her house, we set out for Lexington. Our first stop was the Pepper Distillery Complex and more specifically Crank and Boom Ice Cream Lounge.
My first food memory was eggs benedict at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington DC. I was not a big fan; the hollandaise sauce confused me. I was 6 at the time and have learned my lesson. My first GOOD food memory was in Paris. I was 14 at the time, exploring Paris with my aunt (who speaks fluent french thank goodness), and cousin, eating everything in sight. Paris gave me my first taste of goat cheese, first hazelnut crepe, first sip of red wine, and many more. Dining for hours, no tvs, no smartphones, just people eating together and enjoying the moment, everything about the food culture in France enchanted me. You can feel the love in their food. Or maybe it’s just all the butter; either way it is so good. Since my family is coming to Bloomington to visit, there’s no traveling for me this Thanksgiving. But last week I decided to do the next best (and cheapest) thing… cook my way to France via beef bourguignon. I’m not sure where I had my first bowl but it is one of my favorite French dishes. It’s rich, delicious and perfect for this time of year.
I started this blog a while ago as a hobby to document places on the road when I worked as an architectural surveyor at the Community Design and Preservation at the University of Georgia. Back then my trips were paid for but now most of my trips are on my own personal dime because I love to do it. I’ve gotten a lot of questions lately about how I fund these trips so I thought I’d talk about it here. The truth is traveling, even in the US, is expensive. With hotels, restaurants/bars, museums and other entertainment, expenses add up fast so I try and earn as extra cash throughout the year to help offset the cost of my trips. These are three things you can start doing now to earn and save extra money for travel.
It’s time to fill up the travel fund.
Photo credit: Lauren McCurdy
I’m from Birmingham originally but my family moved to St. Simons Island when I was about five years old; I like to claim both as hometowns. I returned to the Magic City for college, attending Birmingham Southern College, a small liberal arts college outside the city hub. The city has changed a lot since I left in 2006 so I thought it best to share a local’s perspective on Bham and why you should visit. This brings me to my friend and guest blogger this week, Lauren McCurdy. Lauren and I met a few years ago at the Beer Bloggers Conference in Asheville, North Carolina. I noticed her Good People Brewing Co. (Bham brewery) t-shirt and was excited to chat with someone else from the South. We quickly realized that we both attended Birmingham Southern a few years apart. On such a small campus (1200+), it’s hard to believe we never met during our time at BSC but I’m so glad we connected over beer years later. Beer friends really are the best friends. So without further ado…
Before moving to Maui in 2007, I didn’t hike often and certainly didn’t own any appropriate outdoor shoes. After about a month on the island, we planned a full day trip to Hana complete with a hike to Waimoku Falls in the Haleakala National Park and Ryan realized he needed to remedy my footwear issue. I bought my first pair of Chacos the day before our trip. Little did I know, I’d be wearing them a lot more than a few times a year.
Let me preface this post by saying I’m not a rugged camper. I didn’t do a lot of camping growing up aside from summer camp in North Carolina so when I met my now husband ten years ago, I wondered if I’d be able to enjoy being in the outdoors as much as he did. I was absolutely pampered on many early camping trips to ensure my good time, but these days I really do enjoy getting outside and unplugging from all of the screens in my life for a few days. Ryan and I spend a lot of time outside in the summer but once the temps drop out of the 80s we hit the trail even more. With September coming to a close (can you believe it?), the weather is perfect for camping and hiking. Over the years I’ve realized I don’t need a lot of stuff to enjoy a weekend in the woods, but I do bring a few things to make the experience more comfortable. READ MORE
I’ve lived in Bloomington for three years now (hard to believe!), and last weekend was my first visit to one of our local wineries. I’m mostly a beer and cocktail drinker but when you receive an invite to attend a private winery tour, you say yes. Last weekend the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail invited a group of bloggers to visit the Butler Winery to learn more about wine making and the wine trail. As a curious connoisseur of all booze, I happily accepted.
Indiana Wine Heritage
Wine making in Indiana dates back to the 1840s with the Huber family planting vineyards in Starlight, Indiana that would later turn into the Huber Winery. Prohibition slowed things down but the tradition of Indiana wine making made a comeback in the 1960s. In 2003, nine wineries in the region came together to create the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail as a way to guide people through the region and introduce visitors and locals to the unique wine being made in the region. The trail consists of nine wineries in south-central Indiana: Butler Winery, Oliver Winery, Brown County Winery, French Lick Winery, Huber Winery, Turtle Run Winery and Winzerwald Winery. Most of the wineries would be an easy day trip from Bloomington, Indianapolis, and Columbus, Indiana and a nice weekend getaway for Chicago or Louisville, Kentucky. The Indiana Uplands region was designated as an American Viticultural Area (good for growing grapes) in 2013 with just 200 acres under cultivation there is room to explore and grow. READ MORE