While my hometown does not have Uber (yep, we’re that small), when I travel for work or when I go out with my friends their big cities, we take an Uber. I don’t even have the app on my phone. For the handful of times I’ve been in an Uber, I sure have some weird stories, though.
Demigods | Cleveland, OH
HANDS DOWN THE WEIRDEST RIDE OF MY LIFE. I hopped in the back of a beat up Uber with 4 other friends. (I refuse to sit in the front seat.) The radio was playing this demonic scream music and apparently the drive was listening to this tape that kept repeating things like, “The demigods are pleased. You have made the demigods happy with your sacrifice. The dark lord is pleased with your sacrifice.” I could not hear this, but Aubrey was in the front seat and witnessed all of this. And the driver didn’t speak a word to us. After we got out and Aubrey shared the extent of the creepy drive I scolded her UP AND DOWN about how it was HER JOB TO GET US OUT OF THERE. Sheesh. Talk about traumatizing.
Train Trapped | Columbus, OH
We were on our way to a concert and we were all a bit buzzed. Our driver was awesome, though. We were safely crossing a double set of train tracks WHEN THE GATES STARTED TO COME DOWN. Our car was between the two tracks while trains went past on either side of us. There was plenty of room for our car on that little stretch of asphalt, but it was still SO freaky and surreal.
Meet My Son-in-Law | San Antonio, TX
First and foremost, this Uber ride was a total bust. We were headed to a diner featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and when we got there they were closed due to a busted pipe. The driver took us back to our hotel but on the way he saw his future son-in-law unloading a truck and put the window down to point him out to us and have a quick hello with him.
We once got an Uber driver to take us through the Taco Bell drive thru. That was a great night until I fell on my face. LOL. We also had a driver get us stuck in TWO HOURS OF POST-CONCERT TRAFFIC. He then started watching IG videos of the concert WE WERE JUST AT on his phone (my personal version of Hell). I almost murdered him.
Honestly, I think Ubers are so weird. Our parents specifically told us NOT to get in random cars with strangers… and that’s the whole concept of Uber. Handy? Yes. Safe? Eh. Jury is still out in my opinion.
Last week K and I spent six days in Scottsdale, AZ. I told everyone we were going to Phoenix, but after we got there we realized we were actually in Scottsdale- which is a totally different animal.
Anyway, we vacationed over K’s birthday, but it was less of a b-day trip and more of a (much needed) escape. We work a lot, K owns the business, and we’re usually tied up with business stuff while on the road (for business). It was nice to travel with no agenda.
We work with awesome people who took over our job duties & put out most of the fires at home. And we have a dog/house sitter who keeps the home calm in our absence. Thank JESUS for the people in our lives.
I’m modeling my trip recap after Alexandra‘s travel posts.
(Thanks for the inspo, friend!)
Where We Stayed:
Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia
Pros: It was a gorgeous resort with nice (heated) pools, complimentary bike rentals (which we didn’t do), two delicious restaurants, a spa (did not visit), and cafe with drinks, pastries, and custard. The location was great & our room was stunning with a great view of Camelback Mountain. The valet service was so attentive and friendly and quick.
Cons: It was a pricey… and nothing was included. You had to rent the open and empty poolside cabanas if you were interested in poolside shade. The walls were paper thin- kids and adults walking up and down the corridors could be heard and K even got to listen in on a domestic argument next door while I was poolside. I’ll be honest, I didn’t feel like we got our money’s worth. The weather prevented me from lounging around the pool all but one day- and even if I’d spent all 6 days doing that, I’d have to sell a kidney to buy one drink a day while lounging. So… next time we’re Holiday Inn Express-ing it 😉
What We Did:
We arrived late Monday night. Tuesday through Friday we did…
A Train Ride on Verde Canyon Railroad (Clarkdale, AZ)
Such a cool experience. We booked first class tickets and had complimentary champagne, appetizers, and our own table & soft seats. Each cabin had an attached open-air car for 360º viewing. Our stewardess was great, the info was interesting, and, even though the weather was less-than-great (rainy & cold), we saw some beautiful things. The ride back was a little long and boring (K wasn’t a fan) since it was the same rails we rode out on.
A Spring Training Baseball Game (Goodyear Ballpark- Goodyear, AZ)
When in Rome… right? We’re not huge baseball fans (I went to one game last year), but we figured since we were here with an open schedule (and a hankering for beer & ‘dogs), we’d pop in for an Indians game. Bonus: They won!
Penske Racing Museum (North Scottsdale)
We’re race fans so we took advantage of this free museum. If you don’t care about Formula One or NASCAR racing, this isn’t for you. It takes less than an hour to walk through, it costs nothing, and it’s located in the middle of luxury car dealerships (which we also wandered through). Definitely interesting for car/racing people!
Desert Monsters UTV-ing (Tonto National Forest)
We booked the sunset tour through this guided utv company. It was AWESOME. We got 2+ hours of guided utv-ing through the desert and we were provided with helmets and goggles and bandanas (to keep). Since it rained earlier in the week, the trail was bumpy and puddle-y and everything you want in an off-road experience. There were multiple opportunities to switch drivers, the tour supplied water bottles and snacks, and the guides were so informed on desert life. This was the coolest (literally- it was chilly) experience!
Goodguys Spring Nationals (Scottsdale, AZ)
By happy coincidence, there was a huge car show going on the Friday/Saturday we were in town. Obviously K was gunning to check it out so we got our tickets and spent Friday morning and early afternoon wandering around thousands of cars. I walked over 4 miles at the show.
Where We Ate:
We had a few meals at our hotel and they were admittedly very delicious. The restaurants at the hotel were Prado, Centro, and Crave (cafe).
Roaring Fork (dinner)
If we ever go back to Scottsdale we are visiting this place again. Delicious salmon (me) and steak (K).
Daily Dose (breakfast)
I am still dreaming about the Strawberries & Creme waffle I had!
In-and-Out Burger (dinner)
We were in the place so we did the thing. It was a good meal- I get the hype.
Delicious barbecue AND THEY GIVE YOU COMPLIMENTARY DONUTS WITH YOUR BILL.
When we were in Scottsdale we spent quite a bit of time in Old Town. That’s where the cute shops, cafes, and restaurants can be found. Most of the actives we did were 30+ minutes from our hotel, so unless you just want to shop & eat, plan to rent a car and put on a few miles.
Fun fact? I brought a coat and left it on the d*mn plane. Thank goodness the pockets were empty. The army green coat in all my pics was an emergency purchase from GAP in Scottsdale. I love my new coat more than my old one, though…. So who’s the real winner here >>>?
I was fussy about the weather (couldn’t be helped) and the cost of our hotel amenities (my stupid error), but we had a really nice, relaxing trip. We filled our days with yummy food and activities that we love. We never felt rushed or stressed to get anything done, and I loved every laid back minute 🙂
For the link-up today I’m recapping some of my fall adventures! I didn’t share about my trip to Daufuskie Island in October or our Halloween party at the start of November or our most recent trip to Colonial Williamsburg. So today I am 🙂
This is gonna be a long one…
Daufuskie Island, SC
Aubrey wanted to vacation with Kayla & me at the end of October, but her girlfriend Megan was offered a free stay at an island condo that same week. We urged Aub to GO on that vacation and take advantage of the opportunity. And then Megan invited us to secretly come along!
The island was small & adorable. It was too cold to swim in late October, but we spent lots of time outside in shorts and sweatshirts. We stayed from Thursday morning to Sunday morning.
You access the island by boat. There’s a slow moving ferry (runs on a schedule/takes an hour to cross) and then there are water taxis. Megan kindly arranged for our crossing on a taxi. The ride was cold and awesome and quick- about 25 minutes- and the two different captains we had both had dogs onboard.
The island had a very small general store (a few necessities but mostly souvenir-like items), a school, a fire station, and some small businesses. We visited the rum distillery, the two little wineries, the wood shop, & Lucy Bell’s Cafe. There was also a golf course and coffee shop on the island but we never found them.
We used a golf cart to get around the island. Might I recommend a gas powered cart over an electric one? Ours died twice. We charged it at the fire station and bummed a ride home from a fireman the first time. The second time it happened we left it at the station and walked the 2+ miles home.
Aubrey is a chef & she cooked for us most of the week. (She relaxes by cooking- no one forced her.) Our food was SO GOOD all weekend. Aub even sent us home with breakfast sandwiches when we left on Sunday morning.
It was a really nice trip. Almost everyone was friendly and helpful, we got to explore and nap, and I only came home with 56 mosquito bites. (I think I got them on the last night while collecting firewood.) I’m so glad Megan invited us along!
2018 Annual Halloween Party
I know everyone is in Christmas World and long past Halloween, but I wanted to share pictures of the party. 🎃 We throw one every year, and I love seeing the costumes and visiting with our friends and family!
I sucked at taking pictures this year. Food included the puking pumpkin, a veggie tray, dead man’s toes (smokies wrapped in bacon baked with brown sugar), buffalo chicken dip, & pizza.
Those dragon toes (the grapes) were a new addition. SUPER easy and a huge hit.
Soak a whole bunch of grapes in vodka for at least an hour (in the fridge).
Remove grapes and dry them. Prick them with the toothpick and partially dip them in heated caramel and roll them in crushed peanuts. Refrigerate so they firm up & serve ’em.
I made some mummy & witch cupcakes, too.
The guests that came in costume were ah.may.zing. Our friends did a duo lamp theme- she was the leg lamp (above) and he was the PIXAR lamp. We also had a bearded friend come as Paul Bunyan, complete with Babe the blue ox. We had a Bob Ross (plus his wife as a tree and newborn daughter as a happy little cloud) and a kitty and a butterfly. These were our costumes:
I won’t lie. My absolutely favorite costumes were my brother-in-law and his wife. I freakin’ screamed when they walked in the door…
*In between the Halloween party & Williamsburg we threw my mother-in-law a surprise birthday party. We also traveled to Indianapolis for five days on business. And I was also sick- BLEH.*
My brother lives two hours south of us so my mom LIVES for holidays and family vacations. This year she combined the two and whisked us all away to Virginia.
This was my second trip to Colonial Williamsburg. Back in April K and I visited Gettysburg for our anniversary. I really love historical sites- there’s something eerie and whimsical and humbling about them.
We split our time between Williamsburg (Th/F) and Jamestown (Sat). It was in the 40s and awfully chilly, but the holiday cheer kept us warm.
My favorite building in Williamsburg is the Governor’s Palace. I feel instantly transported back in time when I walk through that structure (above). Both Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry called the palace their home post-colonial era. And the gardens out back freakin’ give me life. I love walking through them (below).
We had the pleasure of listening to a crazed right-wing “christian” shout about how we’re all sinners while we waited for lunch. I honestly though my dad (a republican), my brother (a devout Christian), and K (just a take-no-sh*t kind of guy) were going to drag his ass behind ye old courthouse and beat some sense into him… LOL. We took a selfie instead.
Then we were off to explore the book bindery and the printing house.
On Saturday we ventured to Jamestown but it was p.o.u.r.i.n.g. They had a really really nice museum with a special exhibit on the women of Colonial Jamestown, though. We probably spent almost 3 hours in the museum. We skipped the outside village, though 😦 Cold and wet would NOT have been a good look on any of us.
We ended Saturday with some outlet mall shopping and an evening screening of The Grinch (which was SO cute). Then we hit the road Sunday morning and headed home.
And with that I can now officially close the door on fall.
I’m sooo looking forward to this month. It’s a somewhat lazy month with lots of holiday parties. We’ve got no travel planned (so far… that can always change). It’s the calm before the 2019 storm. I’m very excited about it and ready for it 🎄
Tell me about your fall adventures! Is December a slow or crazy month for you?
In linking up with Kristen today for What’s New With You, I figured I’d share about our Gettysburg anniversary trip.
If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I really enjoy celebrating things. I constantly have friends and family over for parties or plan a special trip out for birthdays & holidays. When it comes to our anniversary, we always try to do something special. The last time we travel-celebrated was in 2015 when we went to Niagara Falls for our 2nd anniversary. Originally I wanted to do something BIG this year for #5 like a cruise or an all-inclusive resort, but after being sick at the start of April and traveling +3 weeks already for work this year, I was a little burnt out and in need of a nearby quick trip. We’d never been to Gettysburg and we’re big history lovers, so it was the perfect choice!
I married a work-aholic and I know that. His job stresses him out but he loves it, so I try to be respectful of that when I plan trips. As such, our Wednesday morning started at work. We finally left town a little after 10am.
We checked into the Gettysburg Hotel a little after 4 pm, dropped our bags in the room, and set out on foot for some dinner. It was sprinkling slightly but we didn’t have to venture far. We crossed the street and found The Pub & Restaurant. It was welcoming and quaint and very unoccupied.
After nomming on some Maryland Crab Bisque, Spicy Chicken (for me), and Meatloaf (for K) we took a short walk around the square. The rain was only spitting here and there, and the sun was shining so we hardly noticed.
We got some milkshakes from the Cannonball Olde Tyme Malt Shop and then we compromised. K wanted to watch the Cavs game so we pushed our movie date to the next night.
We scheduled a guided tour at 9 am on Thursday morning so we were up for breakfast bright and early! We had Bananas Foster French Toast (K) and Texas Toast Egg Sandwich (me) at our hotel’s restaurant, One Lincoln. It was so yummy and our server was super friendly.
I scheduled a two hour driving tour with one of the Gettysburg Licensed Battlefields Guides. They give you the option to hand over the keys and be chauffeured around the park while they explain the battles, landmarks, important people, and scenery. It was an awesome tour.
Our guide, George Maturi, gave use the basic rundown of each day. Gettysburg was a three day battle and for the first 2/3 it really looked like the south was going to win. Thanks to hubris, luck, and a little talent, the north pulled out a win and the south didn’t win the war. (If they’d won Gettysburg the south was convinced that they would’ve won the Civil War.) Of course, victory didn’t happen without sacrifice- thousands upon thousands of lives were lost each day of fighting.
After our tour we decided to peruse the museum, get some Starbucks, and drive ourselves around the park, stopping at whatever caught our interest during the tour. We had a gorgeous day to cruise around. A little windy, but sunny and clear.
We had a late lunch at food 101 and I ordered a Salmon Avocado Sandwich that has forever set the bar for sandwiches. Seriously. It was IN.CRE.DI.BLE. I don’t even know what K was eating because I had such a moment with my food…
After lunch we popped into the hotel so K could nap while I journaled. We went to see Isle of Dogs at the theater just around the corner (Majestic Theater) at 4:15 pm, then ordered dinner in and relaxed all evening. I love that we went to see that movie because Wes Anderson is one of my favorites and it just felt so perfect that his new movie was in theaters over our anniversary date.
We said goodbye to our hotel on Friday morning, picked up some coffee for moi, and headed back home so K could check in on the office before the weekend truly started.
If you decide to explore Gettysburg I would say it’s a 2 or 2 1/2 day adventure. We skipped Jennie Wade’s house, the David Wills House, and the Eisenhower Farm, but they each would’ve taken two hours or less. I would HIGHLY suggest the guided in-car tour. You can opt for longer than 2 hours AND you can ask them to focus on specific things if you want to (i.e. certain days or battles, specific regiments, etc.). I’m very glad we had a guide!
So tell me, have you ever been to Gettysburg? (I can’t believe both K and my 8th grade D.C. trips skipped this National Park!) Have you seen Isle of Dogs? How do you typical celebrate anniversaries?
One Saturday afternoon K and I were watching our weekend staple- Aerial America- and we came across the episode featuring Ohio. We were excited to recognize almost all the landmarks, but it got us thinking about the place we’ve never been in this great state. I suggested an Ohio bucket list for us to work on over the course of our lives (because let’s be real- we’ll probably live here forever) and K agreed! A while back I shared some Midwest weekending ideas so you’ll see them show up here, too.
(I want to note that K and I have different definitions of “fun” so we probably won’t go to all these places together. He doesn’t like amusements parks or caves like I do so some of these will be explored with friends or family!)
Alright, here is our list of must-visit Ohio landmarks, museums, festivals, and tourist traps!
American Sign Museum (Cincinnati, OH)
Ashtabula County Bridges drive in the corvette
Belamere Suites Hotel [stay]
Brandywine Falls in the fall
The Cleveland Arcade/Hyatt [stay]
Cleveland Cavaliers at the Q
Cleveland Indians game at Progressive Field
Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland Museum of Natural History
Cleveland Orchestra outside at Blossom Music Center
Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
Franklin Park Conservatory
German Village (Columbus)
Gervasi Vineyard [stay]
Great Serpent Mound (Adams County)
Greater Cleveland Aquarium
Hocking Hills State Park
Hot Air Balloon Festival (Jackson Twp. or Marysville)
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Ohio Caverns (West Liberty)
Ohio State Reformatory
Pine Tree Barn [eat]
Ravenwood Castle [stay]
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens
Stockport Mill Inn [stay]
Sweet Carrot (Columbus) [eat]
Taste of Belgium (Cincinnati) [eat]
Toledo Museum of Art
Troy Strawberry Festival
West Side Market (Cleveland)
The Wilds [stay]
Zoar Village (near Bolivar, OH)
(And Surrounding Areas…)
Mammoth National Park (KY)
Mackinac Island (MI)
National Corvette Museum (KY)
If you pop over to the new OHIO tab on the blog you can see which ones we’ve already been to! I opted to leave this list unmarked in case you wanted to snag it for your next Buckeye State adventure! I have a feeling that we will alter and add to this list as cool things cross our radar. Also, when we have kids I imagine our list was expand. 🙂
Tell me, have you ever been to these places? Where would you go first??