Category: Travel

5 Favorite Denver Breweries

favorite denver breweriesColorado is known for its craft beer and since its recent influx of transplants (yours truly included), breweries have been popping up everywhere. As a self proclaimed beer aficionado, I’ve taken it upon myself to sample around town to find my favorite breweries. Here is my list of the top 5 in Denver, though I’m sure there are plenty out there who would disagree with me.

5 Favorite Denver Breweries:

  1. Comrade: A little off the beaten path, but a good neighborhood spot for locals and a fun place for non-locals, like myself, to visit. Their beers are great and they have plenty of games to keep you entertained.
  2. Ratio: A mid-century brewery located in RiNo with beers that relate to the mathematic theme. They have a large indoor space with an equally as large outdoor patio for summer months.
  3. Great Divide: Probably the most well-known Denver brewery, but a night spent here is never dull and the beers are classics and will not disappoint. I’ve still never toured the brewery so I can’t speak to that, but everyone who has been enjoys it.
  4. Crooked Stave: A sour bar located in The Source, an awesome collaborative space that combines restaurants, bars, and retailers, in the RiNo district. If you aren’t a fan of sours this brewery will more than likely not be on your list, but if you do you will love sampling all they have to offer.
  5. Strange: My personal favorite brewery in Denver. It is a smaller space nestled in an industrial area west of downtown. The tasting room is relatively small, but they have a fun outdoor area as well. Their grapefruit IPA is my go to!

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Travel Guide: Steamboat Springs

travel guide steamboat springsWhen my friend suggested we tag along for a weekend in Steamboat Springs for a water ski tournament I instantly agreed. I’ve been dying to check out the town since I moved to Colorado and it seemed like the perfect opportunity. We drove up Friday after work and got to see most of the views before the sunset including a gorgeous lake parallel to the road that reflected the sunset and all its color.

The next morning the skiers attended the tournament and my friend and I took off to explore the town. We stayed within walking distance of downtown so it was a nice stroll. We stopped in a few shops and browsed the local farmer’s market which contained a larger variety of goods than most including jewelry and clothing vendors.

After our shopping, we met up with more people from our trip to hike to Fish Creek Falls. This was a short hike to the base of the falls where you could sit and listen to the water. We took advantage of this setting to get to know one another better while enjoying a beer. We then headed to the ski lake to watch our friends compete for a bit. After the tournament we grabbed some happy hour beers at Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill.

We made our way back to the condo we were staying in and made a huge family dinner for everyone. After eating more than our fill, we decided to head out for a night on the town. We sampled a few of the local bars and Steamboat’s nightlife did not disappoint.

The following day we made our way to Strawberry Hot Springs where we dipped our toes in a few pools (some were extremely cold and others extremely hot!), but decided to hang out in the more tepid pools. The springs are nestled into a scenic area and make for a relaxing natural spa. The drive back to Denver was bittersweet, but it was great to see the surrounding mountains during the day. All in all, Steamboat is the perfect weekend getaway and I hope to make a trip up there this winter to ski!

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Travel Guide: Washington DC

travel guide dcI have been looking for an excuse to visit my brothers in Washington DC for a while now and when my mom suggested we all convene there for July 4th, I instantly agreed. I haven’t been to the DC area since circa second grade and was dying to explore the area with more mature eyes. Despite the overwhelming southern humidity that I had forgotten about, it was a fabulous trip.

We started the weekend by biking around Capitol Hill near the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Capitol itself. We biked down to the Washington Monument and around the mall which was an awesome way to see the city and work up an appetite. We were pleasantly surprised to find that one of my brother’s friends got us reservations at Rose’s, the most amazing restaurant tucked into the cutest neighborhood. They have small plates so it’s best to order a sample of everything and share with the table. We had one of the most unbelievable meals of my life here!travel guide dctravel guide dcThe next day was the 4th and despite the rainy start, we managed to have a fun day. We strolled through Eastern Market sampling peaches and taking in all of the vendor’s merchandise. We biked to the White House and around town to Good Stuff Eatery where we shared some delicious milk shakes and fries. Their food is the real deal, y’all. That evening we watched the fireworks from the top of a parking garage overlooking the city and devoid of crowds. It really was an awesome way to take in all of the city’s 4th celebrations.

My dad and I went to the Holocaust museum the next morning. This was a chilling experience, but such an incredible way to honor the victims and their families. After the museum, we met up with everyone on the mall and biked to a great lunch at Duke’s Grocery near Dupont Circle. After refueling, my mom and I strolled through the National Gallery to check out our favorite impressionists. That night we made a low country boil (god, I miss the south) and then headed to a bar to watch the U.S. Women’s team DOMINATE.travel guide dctravel guide dctravel guide dcOur final day was spent touring the monuments on and around the mall. We started at the Washington monument and made our way to the World War II memorial. From there we walked to the Lincoln Memorial and made our way through the other memorials in the area until we reached the Jefferson Memorial. The architecture of these memorials is breathtaking.  It is so awesome to be able to explore the unique design styles of each of these monuments and all are free to visit. We all reconvened for an amazing lunch at Zaytinya, a Mediterranean restaurant with some of the best pita and hummus I have ever tasted. After lunch I had to head to the airport, a bittersweet ending to a great trip. I was absolutely blown away by Washington DC and all it had to offer and I will most definitely have to revisit in the near future.

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Travel Guide: Yellowstone

yellowstone national parkAs much as I love to travel, I’m ashamed to say I’ve seen very little of my own country. Being out west has made many areas more accessible (don’t get the wrong idea, this isn’t New England people!) so I’ve been trying to take advantage of my semi-close proximity to things. A friend of mine invited me to accompany her and some girlfriends to Yellowstone National Park for Memorial Day weekend. I gladly accepted without knowing most of the group and am happy to report that this was one of my most memorable trips.travel guide: yellowstone When we arrived, it was overcast and threatening to rain at any moment, but that did not make the trip any less beautiful. We rented a car and entered from the North Entrance and began our decent into the park through Mammoth Hot Springs. We spent much of the day exploring the many geysers on the north and west side of the park. The natural colors and textures that can be found in these areas is absolutely incredible. Trust me, I had to practice some restraint while adding photos to this post!
travel guide: yellowstonetravel guide: yellowstoneyellowstone national parktravel guide: yellowstonetravel guide: yellowstone We made our way to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and despite the rain, it was an incredible view.yellowstone national park
yellowstone national parkMy favorite part of the trip was the Grand Prismatic Spring. Again, due to the water temperature and algae species, the color of the water can change, making this spring absolutely gorgeous. I couldn’t even capture all of its color in these photographs.
travel guide: yellowstonetravel guide: yellowstoneyellowstone national parkyellowstone national parktravel guide: yellowstone Our last day was a sunny drive through the eastern and northern side of the park as we made our way back to the North entrance. We got to see Yellowstone’s varied landscape and ecosystems in a (seemingly) short drive. 
travel guide: yellowstone The best surprise was seeing this guy on our way out of the park. I understand this is a wild animal, but he looked so cuddly it was tough to resist!
travel guide: yellowstone Yellowstone is a bucket-list must for any kind of traveler. I’m not super outdoorsy and I survived! Its natural beauty is unlike anything I’ve seen before. I think next year Glacier National Park will be at the top of my list!
x B

Travel Guide: Barcelona

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Barcelona is one my favorite cities in the entire world – perhaps even my favorite. I studied abroad there in 2007, so I’m always happy to return. Over Easter, I was lucky to visit for five days and the city was as amazing as ever.

We stayed in the Raval area (not far from where I lived), located in the old part of town. I’m most comfortable in this neighborhood and love it for all its quirks, wonderful restaurants and everything in between. The city is a great size with much of it being walkable, or a short metro ride away.  You can also be on the beach or up in the hills within an easy walking distance.

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The first day we were there we walked around most of the city.  We saw the MACBA, Cathedral, Plaza Reial, El Born, Santa Maria del Mar, Ciutadella Park and Barceloneta. Weather was fabulous and it was great to wander through the city’s familiar streets. We had lunch at one of my favorite restaurants: La Pizza del Borne. As you’ve probably guessed by the name it’s not traditional Spanish food, but it’s delicious. We finished the day with a spectacular show at the MNAC fountains.

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On the next day we visited Park Güell, although not the most famous bit because you have pay and there was a massive line for the entrance. The weather was much warmer than anticipated so we escaped the afternoon heat for a leisurely Spanish lunch and siesta.  Later that evening we wandered up Passeig de Gràcia and had some delicious tapas before heading back to Las Fernàndez, a restaurant located just a few doors down from the AirBnB apartment where we stayed.

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Sunday morning we got up early and hiked up Montjuïc to visit the Miró Museum and check out all the Olympic sites.  We continued up the hill all the way to the castle before heading to the Palau de la Música for a flamenco performance.

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No trip to Barcelona is complete without a visit to some Gaudí buildings.  One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to the Palau Güell.  It was under renovation every other time I’ve been in Barcelona so I never knew it existed. The house reopened in 2011 and was one of Gaudí’s first commissions.  Compared to everything else in the city, the place was practically empty.  It was built between 1886-1888 and the family lived there until the 1930s.  It even had a rooftop with some lovely views of the city and some chimneys in a classic Gaudí style.

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After our visit we had a wonderful menù del día at iposa, in one of my favorite areas of the Raval/Ciutat Vella.  With full bellies, we trekked up to the Sagrada Família to tour the basilica and even went to the top of one of the towers. The day ended at Ambar, located right on the corner of Rambla del Raval, known for excellent cocktails and perfect for people watching.

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We spent our final morning at the Picasso museum, wandering the Barri Gòtic, and finally visiting La Boqueria. (We attempted to visit there two other times but it was shut due to holidays.)  All good things must come to an end, so we reluctantly had to pack our bags and return to London. If you’ve never been to Barcelona, or even if you have, it’s always worth a visit. She never disappoints.

x K

Leighton House Museum

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In an effort to get out and do more things around London, my boyfriend and I set out to explore some of the lesser known sites in London. On Sunday we visited Leighton House Museum in Holland Park.  It was the former home of English painter, Frederic Leighton. Leighton was an avid traveler and collector, so much of his home was designed to house his collection and also included a large studio. One of the most notable rooms and elements of the house is the Arab Hall, which includes mosaics and tiles from his travels to the East. The other striking room is the upstairs painting studio with large windows overlooking the garden.

In addition to seeing the house itself, the museum regularly holds exhibitions there. During our visit, we saw A Victorian Obsession, an exhibition of paintings from the Pérez Simón collection.  The paintings are on display throughout the house, including some of Leighton’s own.  Overall the exhibition and house is very well kept and was an enjoyable morning out.  It’s probably not a museum anyone would seek out if they’re just visiting London for a few days, but if you have some spare time I’d recommend it. It’s also in the fancy Holland Park area so it’s quite fun to have a look at all the massive houses as you stroll to and from the museum.

x K

Travel Guide: Breckenridge, CO

breckenridge,coI was lucky enough to have my dad, brother, and close family friends come out for a long weekend of skiing earlier this month. We had a range of skiers from pro to first-day-on-the-slopes so I had to choose a resort that was accommodating for all. I landed on Breckenridge since it is my favorite resort nestled in the cutest of mountain towns.

We stayed in a complex within walking distance of both the lifts and the town. This made for convenient skiing and post-skiing entertainment. There are lots of great restaurants in the town and most are budget friendly compared to other ski towns. We grabbed happy hour beers which turned to dinner at Breckenridge Brewery, a family friendly establishment playing basketball on multiple screens — great for our sports loving crew.

breckenridge, coThe next two days were filled with skiing (and minimal falling). We even went off of the peak of one of Breck’s 5 peaks. This was labeled “blue”, but it was definitely tough! Thank god there is no footage of me trying to ski down it. It wasn’t pretty. We also got to check out Breckenridge’s night life by exploring a few local bars. All were pretty laid back with fun games and great music, definitely my kind of scene. We filled the afternoon and evening hours by recovering, exploring the local shops, and playing lots of cards a board games.

breckenridge, coOverall, Breckenridge is a great town for all ages and skiing levels. There are other forms of entertainment including snow shoeing, snow tubing, and a roller coaster on the slopes. The terrain has a wide variety from beginner to expert so you can never get bored. And if they slopes aren’t appealing to you, the town is quiet and quaint, with delicious coffee and food around every corner. They also have a large art scene which I have not explored as much, but would love to on future trips. If you are looking for a great mountain get away, Breck is the place!breckenridge, co

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Travel Guide: Stratford-upon-Avon

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Stratford-upon-Avon is a small town in the Southwest corner of England and is best known for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare. For that reason, it has become somewhat of a tourist destination.  I visited there a few years ago when my mom visited, and ended up back there a few months ago to meet some friends. The second visit was just as nice as a the first and I’m happy to share my picks of the city.

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Running through the middle of the city is the River Avon surrounded by a pretty park and public space. The Royal Shakespeare Company theatre also sits right on the river. A theatre has been on the same site since 1879, but was destroyed in a fire in 1926. It was rebuilt in 1932 and redeveloped in late 2010.  The theatre hosts several productions a year and attracts a large number of visitors.  Even without seeing a production, there is quite a bit to see in the building including costumes, restaurants and a viewing tower that offers lovely views of the surrounding countryside.

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The remainder of the town is very cute. There’s not a ton to do or see, but for a small town it has lots to offer. Over the course of the weekend, we stumbled upon three different food and wares markets, had two excellent lunches at little tea rooms, found a nice old pub with the best mulled wine and took a very brief river boat cruise. We wandered through the city centre to see Shakespeare’s house, checked out the old timber houses, found the church where Shakespeare is buried and walked along the river.

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Other highlights of the visit, include an excellent meal at The Encore. The entire meal was great (and one of the most expensive I’ve ever head), but dessert was incredible: a sampler platter with four different desserts. I think that was the first time I’ve ever not been able to finish dessert! We stayed at a cute little B&B about a 10 minutes’ walk from the river called Bradbourne House. I stayed here during my fist visit as well. Stratford is very picturesque and a lovely place to spend a weekend. And I’d recommend it if you’re in the UK.

x K

5 Favorites: Restaurants in Greenville, SC

restaurants in greenville scGreenville is a small city in the upstate of South Carolina nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. When I was growing up it wasn’t on anyone’s radar, but it is gaining more and more buzz as of late for its restaurant scene. Many prestigious chefs and restauranteurs are setting up shop in Greenville adding to its rapid growth rate. Though I don’t live there currently, I still daydream about its delicious food. Here is a round-up of my five favorite restaurants from around town.

  1. Tako Sushi: A combination of Asian (not just limited to sushi) and Mexican cuisine. My favorite dish is the Ahi Pokke, so incredibly good!
  2. Lemongrass: A quiet restaurant that is tucked into the heart of downtown, but some of the most incredible Thai food I have ever had. And that includes the food I consumed while in Thailand. I can’t decide which is my favorite between the Massaman Curry or the Cashew Nut Chicken, but you really can’t go wrong with anything on this menu.
  3. The Trappe Door: A relatively new addition to the Greenville restaurant scene, but it has quickly climbed its way to the top of my list. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu especially the burgers or mussels since they are served with fries and multiple flavors of mayonnaise (your choice!) for dipping. If this isn’t enticing enough, there are tons of delicious Belgian beers to choose from or even Absinthe.
  4. The Bohemian: Another quaint restaurant, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a lot to offer. The menu is incredibly varied and nothing disappoints. They are open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Once you are done eating, be sure to stop by Horizon Records to see their latest vinyl collection.
  5. The Lazy Goat: A tapas restaurant with the best brussel sprouts and fried goat cheese I have EVER. HAD. It is best to grab a seat on the patio and enjoy your meal al fresco and take in the stunning views of the revitalized Reedy River.

That’s not to say there are only five great restaurants in Greenville. Trust me, there are dozens more!

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Travel Guide: Cincinnati

cincinnati travel guideBoth sides of our family live in Cincinnati and the surrounding areas warranting a bi-annual trip every year for as long as I can remember. With work, moving, etc. this has slid to a more annual occasion. Now that we are older and easier to entertain, exploring the city is much more interesting since the city is rich with history, beautiful architecture, and natural landscape.

This Christmas we made a trip with our parents, all of the siblings, two dogs, and onesignificant other. We managed to squeeze a lot into our short visit. We went to see the Art Deco Union Terminal which functioned in it’s prime as a train station for all traffic coming in and out of the area. It is still used for freight transportation, but its terminals have now been transformed into galleries and museums.

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The following day, we took a driving tour around downtown with our grandmother as our tour guide. We stopped at the Cincinnati Music Hall with its stunning detailing. Next, we walked to see the Contemporary Arts Center, a modern marvel in the architecture world.
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We then climbed to the top of the Carew Tower Observation Deck and got to see a fabulous aerial view of the city including it’s winding river and the corresponding networks of railroad tracks and highways. We took the suspension bridge (from which the infamous Brooklyn Bridge was modeled) across the river and explored beautiful Covington, KY, where the architecture is reminiscent of Charleston homes.carew tower observation deckWe also visited the Cincinnati Art Museum located on the top of the quaint Mount Adams (sorry no photos since it was dark and raining). Their collection is extensive and boasts some excellent pieces ranging from early civilization to post modern. After our day of driving and exploring we wound down with our family at a local brewery, Rhinegeist, named by German immigrants after the area’s similarities to the Rhine River in Germany.

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I’m already looking forward to my next trip to explore more of this fascinating city!

x B