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A week in Vermont

10/27/2017

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Mike and I took a trip to Vermont earlier this month. For the first few days, we stayed in Stowe, with Mike’s parents and sister, celebrating his parents’ 30th wedding anniversary and our negative one anniversary. The main drag is quintessentially New England and there were some nice shops and restaurants. It was Columbus Day Weekend and we weren’t the only people who had the idea to visit the area, so getting seated at dinnertime was a bit of a comical challenge and, as a result, we didn’t try too many restaurants. But that’s ok, because we were really just there for the company anyway. One day, we took a memorable, rainy hike up Mount Mansfield, which is the highest mountain in the state. Other highlights include: sampling cheese at Cabot, discovering the hammock chairs of my dreams, visiting the Trapp Family Lodge and eating a cheddar everything biscuit from PK Coffee.

We spent the second leg of the trip in the Burlington area by ourselves. Technically we stayed in Charlotte, in the most charming converted barn that was so lovely that we had a hard time leaving. One of the best things we did was fill a growler at Fiddlehead Brewing and take it next door to the BOYB restaurant Folino’s Pizza. The salad and pizza we ordered were not only incredible, but the service was excellent. It was one of those date nights that goes unexpectedly well and you wish you could relive over and over again.

We also really enjoyed spending the day at Shelburne Farms, which abuts Lake Champlain and is beautifully and lovingly maintained. We spent a while with the animals and walking the grounds before watching the sun set from the lawn at the inn on the property, fancy drinks and all. Other highlights include: buying complementary flannels at Vermont Flannel, finding my wedding dress (!!) at Everthine Bride, eating gingerbread pancakes at Penny Cluse Cafe, picnicking at Charlotte Beach, sitting by the fire at our little cabin and our Airbnb hosts’ famous ginger chocolate chip cookies.

A trip to Portland, Oregon

09/21/2017

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Earlier this month, Mike and I spent a week in and around Portland, Oregon. Sadly, a large wildfire started burning the day we arrived, so for most of our trip visibility was poor and everything was covered in soot. We had never experience a wildfire up close and personal and it was just awful to think about its devastating impact.

Despite those circumstances, we had a wonderful visit with friends and family. Half of the time we stayed in Happy Valley with the sweetest, most adorable hosts ever, Jean and Jeff. From there, we took day trips to see the coast (Cannon Beach) and to do some hikes (Mirror Lake Trail and Silver Falls State Park).

The rest of the time, we stayed in the Pearl District with Natalie and Scott, exploring downtown by foot. Other highlights include: eating Salt and Straw not one, not two, but three times, seeing the sea lions at Buoy Brewery, visiting Powell’s Books and the Pittock Mansion and the International Rose Test Garden, discovering sour beers, relaxing with Roan on a rooftop and sitting around the dinner table chatting for hours.

Thanks to Hanna Martens for taking the last photo of me in the water.

Traverse City, Michigan

09/19/2014

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I graduated from college a few weeks before Michael’s 21st birthday, so it seemed to us that there was cause for some celebration. We knew we wanted to travel but we weren’t sure where exactly to. Being the planner and researcher that I am, I set out to find a destination that fit within our parameters. We wanted to go somewhere neither of us had ever been, we wanted to be able to drive there to save money by forgoing a flight and we wanted the location to have both a lot of outdoor activities and a lot of good food. Europe was high on our list, but you can’t drive there. Bummer. We had both been all across New England, to Washington, DC and to South Carolina. Where else could we drive?

Traverse City, Michigan, that’s where. Admittedly, we got some strange reactions when we told people where we were going. “What’s in Michigan?” Well, actually, a lot. We had a wonderful trip and I highly recommend Michigan as a travel destination.

I had never seen any of the Great Lakes before, so I was amazed at the enormity and beauty of Lake Michigan. I kept saying “The water looks so tropical!” We were there in mid-July, but unfortunately the water was still chilly.

We booked a suite in Traverse City through Airbnb and used it as our home base. We enjoyed our hosts, their kitty cats and the delicious breakfast with fresh fruit and homemade breads we were served every morning. The city was full of charming houses and great restaurants and centrally located between most of the sights we wanted to see. We were there during the annual National Cherry Festival, but we mainly stayed away from the tourist attractions it provided.

I found this guide from The Fresh Exchange really helpful when it came to deciding what to do while we were in the area. Ultimately, we hiked near the White Pine Campground in Empire, took the scenic drive through Sleeping Bear Dune Park, kayaked along the Platte River, visited Pyramid Point (don’t miss this), went to the Dennos Museum on a rainy day, read and swam at Glen Lake and did tastings at both 2 Lads Winery and the Northern Latitudes Distillery. We ate at the food trucks at Little Fleet (good, nice atmosphere), Amical (really really yummy), Om Cafe (meh/overhyped), 7 Monks Taproom (great burgers) and Thai Cafe (huge tasty portions). We also shopped at Oryana, a local organic market, and got warm almond croissants from 9 Bean Rows. Oh, and I had a particularly good latte from Brew, which I thought had a great business concept– coffee during the day, beer at night. Most nights when we got back to our room we bingewatched Sherlock in bed.

Everything was so beautiful to look at that simply driving around was fun. The sand dunes were just unbelievable and it was really fun to see kids and families alike climbing up and down. As you can tell from the first picture of this post, the dunes were so high that from the top everyone looked like ants.