It’s been a hot minute since I’ve shared a weekend highlight. One, because last year it felt like a cardinal sin if you had an ounce of fun or socialized with anyone — and this year, is just an awkward light-switch back to normal, so you better be prepared to live life like last year never happened! Sorry, not quite there – and have been taking baby paired with big steps into trying to get back to live pre-19.
But we had the most perfect weekend away, so I just had to share a few highlights from our time away.
Our annual STBC trip. A trip to the cabin means an automatic trip to our favorite spot, Southern Tier Brewing Co. We first went to STBC in 2013, and have made it back almost every year since as it’s our annual tradition. We usually make it there in the fall so that we can enjoy their fall seasonal beers, but we got there a little earlier this year! Luckily they had their fall beers on tap – so I was able to have my fave Warlock. The forecast for the weekend, specifically Saturday was looking like a wash, but we were going to try and arrive to STBC when they opened at 11am, so we could snag an optimal covered outdoor spot since we brought Moz. Well, when we were heading out, the forecast looked like it was clearing up, at least for our morning timeframe. It couldn’t have worked out more perfectly. We got our prime covered, outdoor seat – avoided the crowds – and splurged on some yummy eats and brews! And by the time we left, it was a crazy downpour, so it was seriously the definition of perfect timing.
Homemade, local ice cream! I wanna scream right now — I ate real ice cream… in a cone… and didn’t die! After being diagnosed lactose intolerant almost 6-years ago, I just came to grips that I needed to opt for dairy-free or yogurt-based ice creams to avoid a problem. BUT after going on this gut cleanse, I was interested in trying out ice cream again, I think a big thing that helped is we went to a homemade local ice cream spot near the cabin. I really wanted cookie dough, but they didn’t have the flavor (can you even believe?) so I opted for buckeye and thin mint. Thin mint was definitely where it was at – I wish I had a whole cone of thin mint. It was basically amazing.
Cabin life. Our cabin getaway is a family home, so we are so lucky to be able to enjoy our time away, make memories with a quick drive to the middle of nowhere. Once you arrive at the cabin, you’re just welcomed with a sense of relief — the real world is so far away, even when you’re scanning work emails or posting something for a client. The covered deck is perfect for early morning breakfast and late night game nights with fun lights, tiki torches and quiet ambiance of nature. Even with the rain, being “stuck” inside is welcomed, because either way it’s a retreat and a break from the real world. We love our walks around the grounds, our morning coffee, sleeping in, and making breakfasts.
Between the rain working out with our schedule and being able to get our STBC trip in – to enjoying some ice cream – having a fun game night – and then meeting some fun farm animals at a neighboring farm, the weekend was simply perfect.
B and I are fresh off a family trip to the beaches of the East Coast – but more specifically Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Typically with my vacation recaps I love to share mini guides of things to do, food recaps and other fun more touristy tidbits, but since this was a family trip to celebrate my MIL’s 60th – we ended up going with the flow vs. planning out every meal and our days like we typically do for trips. So, here is my mini highlight reel of our trip – which happens to include some food and drinks.
Heirloom was an Instagram find that turned out to be one of the nicest and most delicious dining experiences we have ever had – it also happens to be a James Beard Mid-Atlantic Award Winner. Seated right in the heart of downtown Lewes in an old house – this is a darling place inside and out. I was so glad we were able to get there with B’s brother and SIL for a much enjoyed dinner. We even got a nice shaded patio spot, although the interior of Heirloom was so quaint and cute. The silverware and dishes were vintage and mix-matched and the service was impeccable. When it came time to ordering, we all enjoyed a starter – I got the Baywater Farm Field Greens Salad and B ordered the Atlantic Octopus a la Plancha. For dinner we both ended up getting the Crispy Skin New Jersey Tilefish, not only was everything platted beautifully but everything tasted divine. I truly didn’t want to leave! B even splurged on dessert and ordered the Dark Chocolate Budino mouse – which was also delicious – at least I am told! The four of us all enjoyed our dining experience and were happy we went.
Henlopen State park beach
We lucked out for our second beach day with a warm, yet overcast day so we were truly able to enjoy the weather, sun, sand and surf for a nice long chunk of time! It was perfect for the whole family, and there was even a mini competition of who could find the coolest sea shells from the ocean. The State Park is a $10 day pass admission, but definitely worth the entry fee and extra drive for a super clean beach and a lot more space from all of the other beach goers. Not to mention, the extensive beach made for a lovely long walk away from the crowd making it feel like a bit of an escape and like you were on your own private beach! B of course especially loved it because he is the true pieces in this family, loves the water and the waves and definitely got his water kick. We even got to see two different schools of dolphins out in the distance which made this day a little extra magical.
dogfish head brewery
Another highlight that was a must during the week was going to Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, DE. B and fam went to Rehoboth about eight years ago and made a stop at the brewery too – so ever since then I’ve had some minor FOMO about wanting to experience one of B’s favorite beer breweries myself. Plus, we’re always down for a brewery visit, filled with chats, sips and snacks.
The experience at Dogfish was overall a good one, there were some technical difficulties ordering and getting our bevies when we first got there, as they’re still keeping a few of their safety precautions in place throughout the dine-in experience. Once that was figured out, the guys were able to taste a few new beers and we all enjoyed some of their yummy eats. One of B and I’s things whenever we’re at a brewery, no matter what is to order the pretzel — welp, we splurged and cheated big time on our diet, but it was so worth it and so delicious! For the record, I did eat a delicious salad before, so they did a good job on all kinds of foods.
We of course snagged a photo in front of the famous Tree House – the entire campus is impressive and massive and apparently has grown significantly, but not surprisingly since B last visited!
lots of family time
The pros and cons of living near family is you get to see them more often, but not always for long periods of time. This was our first family vacay with B’s family, so we definitely had a lot of family time throughout the various activities during the week – beach days, pool days, putt putt, dinners in, dinners out and morning coffee. We made sure to celebrate my MIL’s 60th with surprise decorations that stayed up all week around the beautiful house we stayed in. We also treated her, to her favorite Key Lime pie accompanied with some singing and birthday wishes and custom beach themed cookies. We enjoyed afternoons in the hot tub, had a fun and competitive night playing LRC, and even let the guys cook for us a few nights which was just as good as eating out!
It’s always great being able to visit a new place with B and have more of a beach vacation – one of my first in my later years. The weather was nice and warm, so it really felt like Summer as we kicked off the season at the beach — now we just have to keep those Summer vibes going!
The weather has been full on Summer and with Memorial Day and an upcoming vacay to the beach on the horizon – we have been on full Summer mode, which meant giving our wardrobe a little upgrade! Yes, I’m going to share some of my hubby B’s Old Navy Summer pieces too, cause they’re super fun. From the beach or pool, to exploring the town or lounging at home – we’re beach vacation ready thanks to Old Navy. #NotSponsored
his & her swim
For Her: I always love to get a few new separates each summer season, I also love Old Navy’s high-rise bikini bottoms, so when I saw this floral pattern and leopard print, I ordered both immediately. The floral is no longer available, but they have so many cute colors and prints! Fun bottoms are an easy way to mix up your suit with your favorite neutral top! Although, I feel like I need these pink bottoms now – they would look super cute with B’s flamingo print bottoms.
For Him: I couldn’t resist upgrading B with some fun suits, the prints offered for the men are also fun! Plus, Old Navy is our go-to, especially for B because he is 6’6″ and we are able to order in Tall for a majority of pieces, including their swim trunks. We got these black and white palm print and then a fun pink flamingo print.
his & her daywear & Date Night
For Her: I got a few high-waisted shorts last year from Old Navy, so this year I focused on adding in some more tops and other pieces – like a white jean skirt. I was having some flashbacks to my adolescence when jean skirts were a thing, and I love this new addition to the wardrobe and it can be dressed up or down from day to night. I also ordered the Oversized Boyfriend Shirt in Pink (no longer available in pink) – as it would be great over a bathing suit, tank or even a dress at dinner. Finally, I love the linen-blend maxi t-shirt shift dress in black, the mountain dusk color is also stunning. This is another great piece to dress up and down as you transfer from shopping to cocktails.
For Him: For B, we kept it simple but love to add a few button down t-shirts into his rotation, especially for vacation! Whether you like some a little more bold or subtle – the printed short sleeve shirts offer both and again we’re able to order these in a Large Tall, which fit B perfectly. We added a fun Lobster print tee to the rotation and then a brighter multicolor palm tree print, he can rock both of them.
his & her loungewear
It wouldn’t be vacay without a little lounging! These are also just classic pieces that we love to get from Old Navy each year.
For Her: The crewneck sweatshirts are a favorite year round – as soon as I saw this tan sweatshirt with pink and green palm trees, I was instantly swooning and wishing we were on a plane to Palm Springs. I immediately Added to Cart. I also love the ‘Be The Love’ gear, and had to grab the crop tank top to match the sweatshirt I already have. I ordered a Large and love how this crop is roomy and fits so nicely. The everyday tank is just a basic piece that you need in every color – so comfy and just works for everything.
For Him: Again, we love Old Navy’s tank tops for me – no farmer’s tans are allowed in this house! Plus, they’re perfect for a beach vacay and can be dressed up or perfect for lounging around post pool and before dinner. The flamingo print was too fun and subtle not to pass up, we also snagged a plain black and a black and white palm print for B. And not to be TMI, but we grabbed B some fun Summer patterned boxer briefs – again we couldn’t pass up the flamingos and even a fun lemon print!
A few other finishing pieces that we got were flip flops, dressy and casual – some fun pairs of sunglasses and a few other nice tops that just scream Summer! It’s fun to actually shop for going places vs. a dooming future of no plans and staying at home.
Eating in Jackson Hole this vacation was definitely different than others! Luckily, when we were booking our condo, we made sure to get a place that had a full kitchen — as we planned to make a majority of our meals at our condo. We also wanted to make sure to support local shops, as this entire year has impacted on all levels — so I reached out to my cousin A, my OG JH partner in crime, for her recommendations and every single one of them was on point.
Cowboy Coffee Co.This is a popular spot, and surprisingly one we’ve never tried before! The wait was nearly 30-minutes to grab some coffee, so maybe order ahead, although it was definitely worth the wait. I was pleasantly surprised at our coffee from Cowboy Coffee Co., we probably would’ve been there almost every day, if the wait wasn’t as long as it was. You can order and ship their coffee online, so we just might be doing that to enjoy a taste of Jackson, because we did not make it back after our first time.
Pearl Street Bagels.YUM! Pearl Street Bagels is strictly take-out at the moment, which worked perfectly for us. They closed up their storefront to allow ordering via windows and a wait outside. We ended up stopping here two mornings, the first time we grabbed coffee and bagels to go, and went to sit out at a Teton look out and had an incredible breakfast view. B had the salt bagel with fresh herb cream cheese, and I got an everything bagel with their veggie cream cheese. The second time I went for the cinnamon raisin bagel with honey walnut cream cheese. I definitely preferred the everything bagel route, so my vote is that savory is the way to go! We also each got their ‘Shot in the Dark’ aka black coffee with a shot of expresso – also delicious coffee if Cowboy Coffee Co. is too busy for your liking.
Calico. Located closer to Teton Village, this spot looked so cute for a dining experience — I wish we would’ve planned to go for a warm day to sit outside. But, instead, we opted for drive-up take out for a contact-less experience and even better, incredible food. We enjoyed it so much that, we ended up going back for a second night for more and new things! The caesar and huidekoper garden salad’s were delicious, the entree size was perfect for leftovers for the next day. The side size, was also more than enough to have along with your main meal. We also got the Calico Garlic bread, both times, so good, and were even better with the side of two meatballs. The BBQ Chicken pizza was delicious, as we did a pizza and salad night the first time. Some how, I missed their signature double chocolate cake the first time we ordered, but didn’t the second – it was ah-mazing. Seriously, everything we got was delicious, I can only imagine how it would’ve been dining there and getting a taste of their cocktails.
Cafe Genevieve. This was our one and only dining out experience, luckily we were able to take advantage of a less than popular time (late afternoon) and snag an outdoor seat. We love Cafe Genevieve’s brunch, so although it was a little after 2pm, we ordered a bloody mary and mimosa to celebrate our arrival, as this was literally our first stop once we left the Jackson Hole Airport. We kept it simple and ordered their famous pig-candy bacon and then each got two eggs any style, which included eggs, more bacon, toast and the perfect amount of hash browns. This was also our first time dining ‘out’ since March, as we haven’t been back at home. It was weird, but relatively quick and delicious – as we definitely didn’t dilly-dally.
We definitely saved some money, as we did not dine as much as we would’ve — and saved on ordering drinks out, as we made one trip to the grocery store and liquor store when we first arrived and stocked up on what we would need for the week! We packed our lunches and snacks for our hikes and whenever we were out for the day, so we also saved there and made breakfast at the condo with coffee almost every morning too. There are so many more spots to explore, but for this trip, we kept it safe and got to-go for 99% of our meals!
Well it’s been about two weeks since we’ve been back home and almost fully recovered from our incredible trip. Being out west in Jackson Hole, is just unreal. As soon as we landed, it was insane endless rolling mountain views any direction you turn and there was also a huge weight lifted. Waking up at our condo the first morning in Teton Village, was just pure happiness.
As I mentioned in my flight recap, we chose Jackson Hole, because it’s a familiar place. This was B and I’s third trip together and my eighth trip total. So that alone was super special, as I’ve been fortunate enough to essentially grow up going to Jackson Hole with my extended family, creating amazing memories. And now being able to come back with B, for a third time, is just so lucky. Jackson has truly been a safe haven for me, and always deemed a second home with my cousin A, and I couldn’t think of a better time, for when I needed to return to my home away from home than this year. As much of a city girl that I am, and I know my friends will agree, the mountains and Jackson bring out another part of me, it’s that feeling of being safe, feeling alive, and just plain happy. Ok, now queue the mini photo reel below from my years going to JH.
With this being our third trip together, we knew there would be a lot of things we would be able to do safely, and we knew there would just be some things that wouldn’t be happening. We were also perfectly content being in our condo and planned accordingly from a food perspective and even packed our go-to games to have on hand (deck of cards, uno, and yahtzee – yes we are 100). Even still, we had another memorable trip with a lot of great moments, so instead of sharing every single one, here is our highlight reel.
B’s Highlights: Our first night, maybe 30-minutes after being at our condo, we cracked open bubbles/wine and were going to enjoy a happy hour on our little balcony. We were Facetiming with my parents and all of a sudden, B said something and points. And he is pointing at none other than a momma moose and her baby, casually walking by the walkway and over to some bushes for a little afternoon snack – not even 20-feet away from us. It was incredible! We were elevated and surrounded by deck, so we were at a safe distance to watch and admire these two beauties. It was a pretty awesome welcome.
B’s favorite activity was our impromptu Grand View Point hike around Two Oceans Lake and Emma Matilda Lake. We opted for the 4-mile hike towards Grand View Point vs. Emma Matilda, since we’ve ventured there before, so Grand View was a new one for us. We ended up hiking a bit longer than planned and probably rounded out at about 9-miles total — it was an exhausting day. The hike was good, until about the last mile that was just switchback after switchback and a stiff incline. The view was incredible of the Grand Teton range, and we finished up along Emma Matilda.
My Highlights: Our second night in Jackson, we headed up to The Deck on the Bridger Gondola from Teton Village for happy hour. They had mini bottles of my favorite bubbles, so we grab a few from the cafe and scored a bench away from everyone and soaked in the views and laughed the night away. B even teased me that he’s never seen me talk so much, I’m sure it was the bubbles talking a bit, and just being so happy to be in Jackson. We went another night for drinks, but it was a little later than the first time and we were welcomed by a stunning cotton candy colored sunset.
I also really enjoyed our hike around Colter Bay – it was quiet and peaceful and had incredible views of the mountains along Jackson Lake. We took our time exploring and enjoying the views, including finding a nice little spot along the lake for a lunch break. Another highlight of mine, was visiting the Geraldine Lucas-Fabin homestead, established in 1913, this cabin has unobstructed views of the Grand Tetons and is a quiet, off the beaten path spot — we had the whole place to ourselves. I was just so content sitting on her front porch, listening to the trickling of the Snake River and soaking in the mountain views.
We made sure to stop at the go-to spots that are always a must see including the T.A. Moulton Barn which we stopped back for a second time to see it snow covered. Yes! We got a taste of winter on our second to last day there, and woke up to 6-inches of snow — it was absolutely beautiful and felt like a winter wonderland, although the wind storm that brought the winter weather definitely did some damage and took down trees throughout town and even on popular hiking trails.
We also stopped briefly at Jenny Lake, but only at a look out for a quick peak and some photos – as this was definitely a very popular stop, and way to busy for our liking. We even avoided visiting town, except for early mornings and made sure to be in and out to avoid the masses for popular hours like lunch or dinner especially over the weekend. Traffic alone around town and even getting into the park at times was really backed up, I’ve never seen it like that before — even visiting in prime summer season in years past.
We also made sure to wake-up one morning to watch the sunrise at Schwabacher Landing which is another well photographed spot that showcases the Tetons in a reflection of the Snake River. We also got to watch an Elk while we snapped photos of the sunrise, he was in prime photo position and showing off his rack – it was also like 30-degrees at sunrise that morning, so we didn’t stay too long! Speaking of wildlife, we were super fortunate to see our fair share of Moose, obviously our first day, but then we would see a few in the pond along the windy Moose-Wilson Road. One morning, we stopped and probably watched a moose for about 40-minutes, as she ate in the pond, made her way across the pond, up the ridge and right up to the look-out with all of us onlookers! We also saw two bears – one swimming at Oxbow Bend and the other again on the winding Moose-Wilson Road because she ran across the road right in front of us! We were able to watch her along side the road for a bit before she headed further in. We of course saw a few distant herds of Buffalo, and a few Elk in the wee morning hours before when we were headed to our sunrise spot.
We almost perfected our tri-pod selfies during our trip. It was something I decided to purchase once we booked our trip, knowing we would primarily be solo and in need of some good couple shots with the gorgeous backdrops that are ever changing and never ending. Although, we were those people, who when we did ask for a photo to be snapped of us by a stranger, had our masks on and hand sanitizer was out and shared! I know people were looking at me like I was a crazy pants, but hey we still have to be smart and safe. We were also the people on hikes who had our masks on when we passed people, and got way out of the way — again I know our fellow hikers were looking at us like we were being extra.
Jackson is always someplace I dream about visiting and getting back too. It’s always a place that makes my heart melt and makes it so full at the same time. Jackson is a place we will always go back to, because as I mentioned it is near and dear to my heart, with many thanks and gratitude to my extended family for incredible summer vacations. Until next time, I miss the mountains already…
So B and I did a thing. We went on vacation… in 2020, can you even? I know, very controversial and even more so because we got on an airplane. So I’m going to break it all down, from our decision making process, why we decided to, and how it was from checking in, boarding and being on the plane itself. Although, I would also like to clarify and confirm – we’ve been quarantining since we’ve been home for a total of 14-days (Day 12, today!). And just because we traveled in a more controlled environment, we still have certain feelings about doing other social things during this time and the amount of people we see — that may make us hypocrites 🤷🏼♀️, but we look at each situation differently, including our decision to fly.
Our Decision Making Process & Why. This was not an easy decision and a bit of a rollercoaster. It started mainly because we had a trip planned in March for my birthday – aka prime corona shutdown time. So we were able to get a flight voucher and our hotel accommodations as a hold for a future trip. Initially our flight voucher was set to expire by the end of the year. Obviously as this pandemic has persisted, airlines have adjusted policies and have also taken a huge hit overall (airports included). So we always had a thought that we might “need” to go somewhere before the end of 2020. Long story short, we attempted to plan this trip for three different timeframes, and backed out the first two.
Finally, the flights to one of our favorite destinations – Jackson Hole, Wyoming – were too good to pass up. In all transparency we’re used to paying $600+ per person, and our flights were about $640 round trip for both of us – which also happened to be just a little over our flight voucher from our March trip. So to be able to go to Jackson Hole for the same price we were going to spend going to Philly, seemed like a no brainer. We also chose to go to a place we were familiar with, a place we had a feel for where to go, where not to go, where we to stay, and knew that we could do things for the most party socially distant and avoid crowds once we arrived. I also didn’t want to regret not taking a trip to a place that is so special to me.
Weighing the pros and cons of getting on an airplane was another factor. I’ve been pretty open about my anxiety this pandemic has brought onto me. Booking the trip gave me anxiety, thinking about getting on a plane and being around people gave me anxiety (still does), and flying on the airplanes gave me anxiety. BUT, I know the safety precautions being taken by the airlines both for passengers and from a cleaning perspective have only increased — and I know others who have flown and have said nothing but positive things. Plus airports and airlines have made wearing face coverings mandatory, so if we’re all wearing masks, we are all helping each other out, right?
How It Was. We had an early morning flight out to Jackson Hole by way of ORD (Chicago). We flew American Airlines, again because that was who our flight voucher was with, unfortunately American (and United) don’t keep the middle seat open. Knowing this, we ended up paying for our seats a few days before our flights to ensure we were next to each other and pick where we felt comfortable being – since we had ‘Basic Economy’ seats. Also knowing this, B was a trooper and sat in the middle seat while I was in the window seat. Two of our four flights were only two seater planes, so it was a moot point, but we were still able to sit with each other!
Checking In & Security. We wiped down the touch screens at check-in, but going to an attendant to help us was available too, as it wasn’t very busy. Going through security there were helpful floor dots to designate a 6-ft distance, so it was easy to maintain. When you show TSA your boarding pass and ID, they will ask you to pull your face mask down so they can see your full face, to check your identity – so don’t be alarmed! Otherwise, everything was pretty normal.
Layovers. We had two longer layovers in the much busier airport of ORD. But we found that sitting in the airports waiting for our flights, that we were able to maintain a pretty good distance from people – a bit harder in Chicago – but still attainable. For the most part people wore their masks while waiting, unless they were eating/drinking, but there were definitely a few noses sticking out, and although face coverings are required in ORD, there were a few entitled people who sat/walked around without.
Boarding. Boarding was another story, as there definitely wasn’t 6-ft. distance maintained, but everyone had their masks on and seemed somewhat aware of their surroundings – we boarded in the last group, so we also hung back and let everyone else get on first. Gate agents were also great about asking passengers to adjust their masks or put one on before they scanned boarding passes. Getting on our flights, we were able to grab sanitizer wipes that were provided by the flight attendants upon entering the aircraft, for our shorter trips from CLE to ORD. For our longer flights from Chicago to Wyoming, we received pre-packaged snack bags when we boarded that included a little water bottle, snack bag (pistachios/pretzels) and sanitizer wipes.
On the Flights. Obviously we weren’t able to be socially distant on the flight — but it was clean on the plane, even though we also wiped down our seat area with our own cleaning wipes. And, since there wasn’t inflight food/drink service, it appeared that most people kept their masks on and minded their business plus, bonus, no one seemed to be sneezy or coughy around us. So besides being a little squished (B especially) we felt good and fine on the flight. I also double masked, a paper one underneath my fabric one — which made me feel a little more protected, even if it was purely mental.
COVID Packing Tips. Fun fact, TSA is allowing 12oz hand sanitizer in your carry on which is over the normal liquid limit — you can also pack a full size tube of disinfectant wipes in your carry-on, just make sure to pull out from your bag when you go through TSA! This was huge being able to have for our condo and just an extra set on hand, especially for our long travel days.
Nothing beat the feeling of seeing the Grand Tetons for the first time from the airplane – I literally started crying I was so happy. And not because I was happy to get off the plane (I mean I was), but I just couldn’t believe we made it! It has been 4-years since our last trip to JH and ironically, which was when we were attempting to plan our wedding, so it was surreal to be back and in a safe place I like to call home especially in this crazy year.
Questions about our airplane travels? Leave a comment below!
*This year has been unprecedented for all of us, as we have all learned to navigate this “new normal” – and we can all agree, that everyone does that differently, based on what they’re comfortable with and what feels OK to them. So, before you go and judge – let’s all just remember this whole year has affected a lot of us differently and we’re all just trying to survive, the best we can
As I was sitting and thinking about my monthly Fitness Friday post, my first thought is that I haven’t put in much work this month because of our trip and now quarantining post trip. But then, I thought about our trip and the good and hard hikes we took, and the one came to mind as a perfect example of life lately and often how our fitness journey’s may not always be perfect — so I thought I’d take a moment to share.
Before our trip out west, B and I put together a list of must-do’s that we wanted to make sure we accounted for! One of B’s absolutes was hiking Mt. Rendezvous – which is a hike we’ve done before. It’s a tough one — I instantly thought back to the first time we did it with my dad, the path wasn’t clear, we did some extra back and forth and it was long, with a decent elevation climb. I was instantly having doubts we wouldn’t be able to do it again, just the two of us. But the fun part about this hike is the waffle place at the top, which is the perfect post-hike treat and you get a free ride down from the Tram!
Our plans shifted slightly, as the Tram hasn’t run all summer due to the pandemic, meaning the waffle stand wasn’t open at the top, but instead shifted down to the Bridger Gondola stop where The Deck is (a popular sunset happy hour spot). So we decided to hike to the Bridger Gondola vs. the top of Mt. Rendezvous. Luckily for us the trails leading up are better marked since the last time we were there over 4 years ago and we could still get waffles and catch a gondola ride down from the Bridger Gondola spot! So after having our plan in place, we set our day to do the hike.
Now back to the meat of the story! We woke up early the morning of our hike to head to a popular sunrise spot to see the Teton’s in a reflecting spot of the Snake River (which was incredible!) — so we had a leisurely morning after that and I personally was pushing off our hike. But we finally got started just after the lunch hour, knowing we had at least 2 hours of hike ahead of us, and wanted to make sure we could catch the gondola down!
We started and the first mile or so was just incline, after incline, after incline — we had no breaks and I got gassed early on. It was hotter than I planned too, so I let the mental battle of defeat and my body feeling defeated get the best of me and I couldn’t stop complaining. I kept having to stop, catch my breath, blow my nose (allergies were on point out west), and continue to complain — B was not having it. But we kept going, and although B said after complaint #40, “Ok, we can turnaround.” — I quickly said “No!,” and kept hiking. I’m not sure if it was from that point on or just continuing to push through the discomfort and doubt… but after awhile my attitude and negative thoughts shifted and went away. I didn’t even notice it, we just kept going, took breaks when we needed, soaked in the views and chatted along the way.
Spoiler: We made it to the top! But the point of sharing this story is there are times when we just plain don’t want to do anything. When we don’t want to workout, don’t want to get out of bed, don’t want to adult or feel like we can’t. Those times when we already write ourselves off and consider something a failure — before it’s even done. This whole year has sort of felt like that, the whole year has just felt like a wash, I’ve heard it from many people, it’s been more of let’s get through this year and then we can go back to normal and do all the things next year.
But, when we got to the top, I felt so accomplished, I did it, B and I did it together! And it was pushing through the negativity and setting out to finish something we talked about doing no matter what. And it felt good! I was exhausted, but after awhile the pain and discomfort became part of the hike and something I worked with, until it wasn’t a thing anymore. This hike in a beautiful place taught me a little lesson, and that is to not write off defeat before it’s ever really started.
We’ve all been pushed around and down a lot this year. That’s why we need to remember and continue to celebrate our victories when we prevail through our own mental beatings and push through the physical pain. And we need to remember and acknowledge the fact that we are strong and can push through the pain, discomfort and doubt to accomplish goals — even if that is one day at a time, one workout at a time, or one hike at a time. And maybe, this year won’t completely be a wash.
I love taking trips with B to new places we’ve never been! We always try to get a couple trips in throughout the year, some bigger and grander than the ones, and some are just longer weekends away that are more affordable and sprinkled into the mix. If you’re a working couple like B and I, not only are we juggling busy family/friend commitments and house project bucket lists, but have this thing called PTO that makes traveling as much as we want too somewhat limited… especially when you throw other life items into that PTO mix. So I’ve got a few travel trips to not only help plan out more trips, but also how to save some pennies while still exploring and eating your way through new places.
Ok! Here is how to plan an affordable and fun weekend getaway!
1. Scheduling A “Long” Weekend. We always like to try and plan trips around holiday weekends, that we already get a day off from work for, or a timeframe when we’re already going to be taking some PTO off. For me, I like to take my birthday off, and the next day (because it’s St. Patrick’s Day, and why not) — so I already had two days that budded up to a weekend! Leaving on a late night flight, on a Thursday night can also help eliminate the need of taking multiple days, giving you a full three day weekend! If you’re looking to take advantage of those summer long weekends (Memorial Day, Labor Day or 4th of July) — you’ll want to plan a bit more in advance to avoid higher fees or not being able to secure a place to stay!
2. Picking Your Destination – Part 1. If you have a destination in mind, then head down to tip #2. If you’re not quite sure on how to figure out where to go, there are a few ways! First determine how you want to get there, flying or driving?
Driving: Then if you’re driving determine what your maximum drive time will be. From there, I’m pretty old school and will pop over to Google Maps and do some ‘Destination’ plugging into of some near-ish cities or destinations that sound adventurous. Last March we headed to Chicago because it was a cool 6-hour drive and within our time limit, plus we’d never been there together – and previously we drove to Washington D.C. for a surprise trip that B planned for our anniversary.
Flying: Since we are planning for a longer weekend (3-4 days) we went to our local airports website and searched their nonstop flight destinations. Our airport flies to a lot of Florida destinations, and a few in between so I started my search there — now head to Part 2. Looking for early flight times and ensuring you’re on the nonstop are also clutch to making sure you’re getting the most time and bang for buck!
3. Picking Your Destination – Part 2. Affordable is the next piece of the puzzle, we wanted to keep our long weekend trip under $1,000 and even more so if possible ($500 – $600 was our sweet spot). So I popped onto Expedia and did a combo Flight and Hotel search for a few destinations based on the nonstop flights from our airport. We checked Miami, Sarasota, West Palm Beach, and even Charleston but they were just a tad pricey for what we wanted, and where we would want to stay in those spots. Then I pivoted to a few East Coast cities: New York City and Philly. Since we’ve been to NYC before, we passed — and Philly was hitting our sweet spot, and the Expedia search helped me narrowed down the airlines and accommodations.
Pro-tip: When you have your accommodations and airline determined, check the native websites for those vs. booking directly through Expedia — you just might find it cheaper directly through the airline and hotel (we did!)
4. Finding Your Accommodations. In Chicago we opted for a smaller boutique hotel, because we were able to find it more affordable than mainstream hotels (it was also in the perfect location). Again, I looked for smaller, boutiquey spots and found Sonder — they lease out rooms in buildings in the area, all with a fun style and unique name. It’s also close to the airport, so that will make it easy to grab an Uber to and from!
When you’re considering where to stay, again I like to pull up a map and look at key landmarks/destinations that we want to visit and look for some that are generally walkable!
Reading reviews is also a great way to gain insight into smaller boutiques or spots that aren’t as mainstream like a Hyatt or Marriott.
Pro-tip: If you can pick a spot that friends or family live to save on accommodations, do it! Even asking where family or friends might have a house or time share can be another affordable way to cover the cost of your stay!
5. Figuring Out Where to Eat. This is going to sound SOOO millennial, but it’s how I’ve found some great gems on all of our trips: Instagram. I start following traveling accounts for our destination and find all the foodie accounts to start creeping and finding all of the spots. From donuts, to bakeries, brunches and the best dining spots — you can literally find it all and then pop over to their websites to make reservations or see full menu offerings.
I also like to find places to eat by browsing through OpenTable — this makes it easy to book a reservation for the night your looking for, and there are often user generated and restaurant provided photos, ratings and reviews and easy to flip through menus for all their offerings. Another great way is asking for recommendations from friends or family if you know they’ve been!
Pro-tip: Make a Reservation! If you can, make reservations to ensure you’re getting into the hottest spots, when you want to eat, especially in bigger cities like Chicago, Washington D.C. and NYC the lay of the land is through reservations.
6. Planning Activities. Heading to a cities travelers bureau via social media or online is another great resource to find key locations to visit or a little less mainstream spots. Strategically planning activities around your hotel or farther away on certain days can help you optimize your travel days. Also purchasing any tickets ahead of time to visit popular landmarks is crucial, especially if you want to check those off on the early visit times!
Planning and taking that weekend getaway, and checking off more cities on your bucket list doesn’t have to eat up all your PTO or drain you bank account! We will be heading to Philly next month and I’ll be sure to share in my recaps a round up of our travel expenses along with all our yummy eats and traveled spots. Have questions? Leave a comment, below!
As the 2019 year winds down, I thought it would be fun to look back at our 2019 trips! B and I adventured to two new cities (for us) and spent time with friends and family and created new memories together. Every year, a goal of mine is to travel whether it’s new places or old favorites. B and I have so many places we want to visit – so we always try to get a few trips in each year.
Chicago, IL | March 2019
B and I have both been to Chi-Town, but never together! We took a road trip to spend a few days in the big city for my birthday – we found a cute boutique hotel closer to Lincoln Park and conveniently located next to our new favorite spot the Restoration Hardware. We literally grabbed a drink there one night and just walked around as a night cap after dinner! Of course we ate as much food as possiblewith our short trip and hit up all the tourist spots like the Skydeck at Willis Tower, the bean, took a run down the lakefront trail and got lots of steps in!
Portland, OR | July 2019
We were excited to plan our trip out to PDX to visit our old neighbors and good friends who moved out there in March. This trip was not our typical vacation since the main point was to visit and catch up with F+D! We just happened to be in a new, incredible city with killer views and so much to explore. Our trip was the perfect balance of catching up, site seeing and getting a taste of Portland! Highlights from the trip were a champagne bar, seeing Mt. Moran and our hike around Latourell Falls — the fourth of July was fun having a picnic at F+D’s house, as it felt a bit like old times. There is so much more to see in PDX — so we know we’ll be back for more.
Myrtle Beach, SC | August 2019
After a city adventure and mountain-esq trip to the west coast, we were able to squeeze the beach in too. If you’re an avid Bee reader, you know have seen the reason we head down to Myrtle Beach — which is to visit my grandma who lives in a nursing home. This trip was different, as a recent health scare made grandma more nursing home bound that usual, so instead of getting her out of there as much as possible, we were visiting her there, as much as possible. Not exactly an ideal trip to travel to Myrtle Beach to be in a nursing home, but it’s not often we see my grandma — and as I get older I’ve learned to appreciate this time more, especially since I’ve never been close with either of my grandmas growing up. We did get some beach time in between card games and coloring!
With our 2019 trips wrapped up, we’ve already started talking about our 2020 trips and even our 2021 trips! We have big plans, and big things coming up that we’ll be celebrating and lately all we want to do besides gifts or birthday celebrations are more trips, new memories and new sites to see! Where are you headed in 2020?