Live From New York: Our SNL Experience

Live From New York: Our SNL Experience

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been staying up late to watch Saturday Night Live. Whether it was with my parents, or in my dorm room at college, or now on the couch with my husband (who just barely makes it to the end without falling asleep). So when we moved to NYC, I knew that getting the coveted tickets to SNL’s weekly show was at the top of my city bucket list.

I read lots of different articles and blogs about getting tickets to Saturday Night Live. I’ll link one of the more helpful ones here, but there is a ton of information online from others that have done it before. During the month of August each year, there is a ticket lottery where you can enter your name in to be chosen for tickets. You don’t get to select your show or the week if you win them, but you are technically in front of the ‘standby’ crowd if in fact you do get chosen. This means seats are more guaranteed and a little better in the studio. Information on that lottery (as well as NBC’s information on standby) can be found here.


Everything we read encouraged us to show up outside the studio sometime on Friday afternoon (the day before the show). The tickets are given out at 7:00 AM on Saturday morning, but you generally can’t expect to show up at that time and get tickets. The show we were going to was featuring Chance the Rapper as the musical guest and host, so although he is incredible – we figured he wouldn’t draw as big of a crowd as Taylor Swift, Harry Styles or BTS. (These artists drew crowds as early as the Monday morning before the show!) We arrived at the 48th street entrance at 4:30 PM, which is about 15 hours prior to the ticket release. We estimated our spot in line at about 30 or so. While you start at the 48th spot, as of this year, they now move the line at 7PM to the 49th Street NBC Studios entrance. This (as many line goers said who had done this before us) is quite an improvement to where everyone previously lined up. 49th Street is clean, wide and leaves you protected by barricades, which makes sleeping/lounging in the street a little more enticing than being on a busy exposed street.

While many fellow line-sitters around us were able to sleep for several hours of the night, John and I opted for Netflix binging and each only slept for an hour or so. This was fine for us because we had completely blocked off Saturday morning/afternoon so that we could plan to sleep after (hopefully) receiving our tickets. The Rockefeller Plaza concourse (an entrance is located right at 49th street where the line begins) is open from 6:00 AM – 11:00 PM. This is FANTASTIC because until 11:00 PM, this is where you can find food, coffee and (clean!) bathrooms. (This is also where I got to say hello to Lorne Michaels as he was leaving for the day at around 8PM, so keep an eye out for high profile faces in this area!) For bathroom needs at other times of the night, there is a 24-hour McDonalds (note: you get what you expect, but at least it’s a free facility to use) at 47th & 6th. Other line friends noted that they sometimes used the local bars if the owners were ok with it (sometimes they grabbed a beer quickly, used the bathroom and then came back to the line), and there is a local deli/convenience store close by that sometimes was available too. But your most reliable restroom option was the McDonalds, and Rockefeller Plaza from 6:00 AM – 11:00 PM.

To ‘camp out,’ we brought two chairs, two blankets (one to lay on the ground to separate our bags from the dirt of the street), snacks, iPad + headphones, a portable phone/iPad charger, and layers of clothing. At 5PM when we arrived the temperature was mild, but by 4AM it was pretty chilly, so adding layers throughout the night was crucial in staying warm. We brought cash for the dollar store around the corner and in case we wanted to grab a drink or snack off of a food truck parked near by. Our chairs have little pillows with them, which I would recommend if you intend to sleep. Our neighbor in the line used a large black trash bag to lay under her setup, and the people next to her used a tarp. She had a fold out cot that sat off the ground, and a sleeping bag and pillow. She slept for several hours, and her setup indicates that she brings those purposely to do so. (She was super nice and brought her Corgi named Devito. This was her 20th time in the line, and she had made several friends whom she’d been in line with before. There were other people that had seen the show upwards of 50 times or more, which is incredible. One guy mentioned he does this camping out gig just about every other weekend!)

We got through a whole series on Netflix and I finished a movie while we were camped outside. Several people walking by asked what we were waiting for; at times it was fun to talk to people about it, because they were genuinely interested in what you were doing and would stand around and chat for a few minutes. However, we did have just a few bothersome folks who would say things like “I would never do that,” “why in the world are you doing this?” and “you’re literally waiting all night just to get tickets?” So if you can handle the nay-sayers, it really wasn’t bad at all. A tip I had read in other articles was bring a sign to put at your setup, and that way people will read the sign and not bother you with a question. (I didn’t mind chatting with people, so we did not bring a sign with us.) When the clock struck 6AM, we went for a bathroom break into Rockefeller Plaza. We then packed up our camp around 6:45 AM, eagerly anticipating the ticket release at 7AM.

They came out with the tickets at about 7:15AM, which was pretty prompt considering. At this point, you can choose between the Dress Rehearsal and the Live Taping. We gathered lots of intel from people on which one to choose, though we were pretty set on the Live Taping for our first experience. The Dress Rehearsal gives you more jokes and more sketches that eventually may get cut from the live show. This gives you an opportunity to see more of the cast, and more of a behind the scenes in terms of jokes that are written. The dress rehearsal runs a bit longer than the live show, but many say they prefer this because you see more of it. A downfall, however, is if there are celebrity cameos, or special guests, they often won’t perform during the dress rehearsal. Therefore seeing the Live Taping is the most effective way to ensure you’re seeing all of the surprises that SNL has up their sleeves for that week. When we got our tickets, we were number 35/36 in line, and number 17/18 for the Live Taping. This meant that the 30 or so people in front of us chose an even split of Dress Rehearsal vs Live Taping. I read that showing up for the dress rehearsal gives you a better shot at getting in if you are further back in the line, and the night we went about 70 people from the line got in for the dress rehearsal. They were good about telling us how many people had chosen each one when we requested our tickets, so when you request your tickets you can make your decision based on your place in line if you’d like.

We requested the live taping, and therefore had to show up at the NBC studios shop no later than 10PM on Saturday night. (We went home and slept for 8 hours, 10/10 recommend doing that if you can!) When you arrive, you are corralled in a line that is based on your numbered ticket (so there’s no harm/benefit to showing up right at 10 or earlier than that). I love that your spot in line is guaranteed at this point, especially after spending the night on the street. When they take you through the metal detector, you are continuously warned that at any point you can be ‘cut’ from the line, meaning until your butt is in a seat in the studio, you are not confirmed. (We talked to a guy behind us that said one week he made it into the studio, and there were no more seats left and was turned away – talk about crushing!) They make you turn off your phones as you get onto the elevator, so I couldn’t even text family or friends to let them know I was confirmed. It truly is a crap shoot, which was both anxiety-fueling and a little bit exhilarating. When we got off of the elevator, you are instructed to walk down a hallway where finally your ticket is taken. This is usually a pretty good sign of your attendance, but again not guaranteed. Your next steps are directly into the top of the studio (the bottom level that you often see on TV is VIPS, friends of the cast, performers, etc). From this point you give the number in your party and are ushered to your seat (if you are a large group you are split up, so just be leery of this if you go with a large group). We were seats 60A and 60B, and at this point — when our butts were in the seats — we did a little happy dance!

The show itself was incredible. Michael Che served as the warm up for the crowd (if you’ve ever seen a live taping of anything, or even gone to a comedy club, you know there’s a performer who gets the audience excited and hyped — this is especially important to a group largely made up of people who slept on the street the night before!). Then Keenan Thompson and three of the female cast members (Heidi, Ego, and Chloe) warmed us up even further with a performance of Gimme Some Lovin’ by the Spencer Davis Group which was a fun intro! It was so cool to see the cast hug and laugh with one another and the host before the show. From watching the sets change, to hearing the producers count down to show time, it was an incredible experience.

I want to leave some of the behind the scenes magic out for those of you who might experience this yourselves, but I do have to talk about a hilarious part of the show we did not anticipate seeing. The host is involved in just about every sketch, so they need to be out of one scene and into another very quickly. In order to do this, SNL has one of their producers (or handlers??) quite literally drag the host off set and back on set. It was one of the funniest parts of seeing the behind the scenes. Imagine when your mom was mad at you when you were misbehaving in the grocery store and she dragged you down the aisles; this was EXACTLY what this female handler was doing to Chance the Rapper. It was comical. I’m sure it was necessary, but definitely comical.

At the end of the show, there are barricades set up at the 49th + 6th street entrance for those audience members to meet and greet any of the cast that comes out to visit at the end of the show. We were able to meet Alex Moffat, Melissa Villasenior, Kyle Mooney, Beck Bennet, Aidy Bryant, and Chris Redd. (Just one or two of the other cast members came out after left at 2:15 AM. We learned that higher profile characters, Keenan Thompson, Kate McKinnon, Chance the Rapper, Cecily Strong don’t typically come out at the end of the show.) We then slept until noon the next day, and had happy comical dreams of SNL.

After sharing our experience on social media, I got some feedback from others that had done it in the past. For example, some say that they have showed up at 4:30AM and have been able to get a seat at the show. For our first experience, I wanted to make sure that we had the best chance of getting seats, so I have no regrets for the camping outside experience. But if you feel like you can gamble, we’ve heard between 3-6 hours before can sometimes still get you into the show.

If you’ve made it to the end – you’re probably an SNL fan who is interested in potentially doing this yourself one day! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out – I’m happy to pass on any knowledge that I can regarding our SNL experience!


Charmed in Charlotte

Charmed in Charlotte

The Perfect 3-Day Getaway in Charlotte, NC

Charlotte, North Carolina is a booming, beautiful city that is quickly becoming home to many new families each year. Whether it is the progress in local economic development, the warmer climate with many hikes and lots of outdoor draw, or the growing beer and local food scene – Charlotte is the perfect place for a weekend trip! For us, it also means visiting two of our closest friends and their adorable puppy-children, so that’s just one more reason to love this city! [For more of our friends’ Charlotte adventures, follow Taylyn and Ross!]

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Sycamore Brewing selfie. Special thanks to Tay & Ross for hosting us!

Friday: Check Out The Beer Scene

With its growing and thriving beer scene, Charlotte has plenty of opportunity to drink the local brews. Whether you want to walk or drive to different breweries, there’s definitely something for everyone. If you’re a beer-lover who appreciates the art of the craft – Old Mecklenburg Brewery is where you should begin your beer tour. When they opened their doors in 2009, they were the only local brewery in Charlotte! Now one of many breweries, OMB still stands out with its indoor rustic charm and is 8-acre outdoor beer garden surrounded by 100-year-old oak trees with an atmosphere welcoming to any family, dog owner, or beer-loving-millennial. They’ve got a great selection of classic beer choices, with their own spin on a few as well. You could spend several hours here playing corn hole, sitting by a fire pit or listening to live music during special events.

You’ll also want to hit up Wooden Robot, a brewery in Charlotte’s South End offering a fun, casual atmosphere with lots of beer variety. A newer brewery in Charlotte, their playful name matches the spirit of the brewery – with beers like “Nuts and Bolts” and “Barking Up The Right Tree.” Sit outside or inside on comfy couches or bar stools, and make sure you get a flight of their cleverly named brews!

Sycamore Brewing, also in Charlotte’s South end, is not only home to some great beer, but also to (I hope you’re sitting down for this) Food Truck Fridays. Food Trucks ranging from sushi, tacos, burgers and more line up on Sycamore’s property on select Friday nights to offer drinkers a bit of sustenance while they have a few brews. Sycamore’s got a great indoor feel, but most people flock to the massive outdoor patio with community picnic tables, where there are a ton of opportunities to pet neighboring dogs. (That’s really what everyone wants at a brewery right – cute dogs, good beer and food trucks?)

Finish up your Friday at Sugar Creek Brewing Company, with great beer, 90s music playing upon entry, a beautifully lit patio, and a massive connect four set begging you to play. With large glass windows in their tap room you can see right into their brewery, showcasing their huge stainless steel equipment adding to their industrial vibe. Sugar Creek probably had one of the more extensive beer lists, with lots of featured brews and rotating taps. Definitely a place to get a flight of four, I recommend the Raspberry White Ale and the Java Porter!

Saturday: Visit the U.S. National White Water Center

The U.S National White Water Center could easily provide you a full day of activity in Charlotte. Who knew this large city was home to the world’s largest man-made whitewater river with a wide range of outdoor activities including whitewater rafting and kayaking, zip lines, ropes courses and more! Choose either a full day pass for all available activities, or pay for just one activity (we chose a ropes course!) for a few hours of fun. With plenty of diverse ways to play, any family or group of friends could stay for as little or as long as you’d like at this amazing facility.

After you’ve worked up a sweat, or been dunked in the white water river, make sure to stop at the Pump House Beirgarten for a cold beverage. With a variety of local beers on tap, you’ll be able to sit at picnic tables overlooking nearby rafters with a 360-degree view of the center. You can grab small snacks at the beirgarten, or head up to River’s Edge restaurant, with a wide menu of wine, beer and food. Smokehouse style dishes are also offered onsite at the Land Yacht.

On Thursday and Saturday nights throughout summer and early fall, the White Water Center also offers a River Jam, presenting local and national music acts to entertain guests after a full day of activity. Bring your camping chairs or hammock and set up directly in front of the stage surrounded by the man-made whitewater river.

Note: If you only wish to attend the White Water center for the food, music and libations- you pay $10.00 per carload to enter the facility; you don’t have to buy a ‘pass’ to spectate.

Sunday: All About The Dough

Sunday Funday is all about eating, right? See how full you can get yourself on your Sunday with donuts, crepes and pizza. Here were three of our favorites:

Sugar Donuts offers gourmet, handmade donuts with flavors galore. I’m a traditional donut lover myself so I sampled the glazed donut (and was not disappointed!) but you could go big and try one of their crazy flavors like Maple Bacon!

Hazelnuts Creperie is a breakfast or brunch treat for any crepe lover out there. Choose between breakfast crepes, savory crepes, or sweet dessert crepes – filling them with everything from eggs, nutella, buffalo chicken (not all at the same time, unless that’s your thing) and more. Take friends – you’ll want to get one of each of the crepe styles and share bite-for-bite! I went with a dessert crepe, stuffed with banana, chocolate chips and peanut butter.


Inizio’s Pizza is a local pizza shop that offers authentic Neapolitan style pizza. We ordered three different kinds (three flavors, four pizzas, six friends – carb-loading at its finest!) of pizza and we were not disappointed. Pistachio, Margarita and Diavolo (a spicy meat style pizza) were all delicious – though the pistachio was the group favorite overall; this pizza is made with pesto sauce, lumps of delicious mozzarella and crumbled pistachios covering the top.


If you’ve got additional time in this city, Charlotte is home to an expanding city center, local hikes, and Bank of America Stadium where you can catch the Carolina Panthers on Sundays. With so much at your fingertips, it is easy to fall in love with the Carolina Charmer that is CLT.

Happy Travels!

K Lo

10 Things You Must Do In Oahu, HI

10 Things You Must Do In Oahu, HI

‘Living Aloha’: a motto that Hawaiians live by. You’ll find that sentiment on street signs, at the top of brochures, and on restaurant menus. It means to be kind, support one another, and live freely. After a week of living aloha, it’s easy why some may vacation to this beautiful state and find themselves moving there in the future.


There is so much to do and see on any of the Hawaiian islands. But don’t go to Oahu without seeing or doing the following 10 things:

  1. Diamond Head
  2. Hanauma Bay
  3. Haleiwa & The North Shore
  4. Paradise Cove Luau
  5. Lanikai Beach
  6. Downtown Waikiki
  7. Waikiki Beach
  8. Aloha Stadium Swap Meet
  9. Pearl Harbor
  10. Sunset on the Leeward Side

1. Hiking Diamond Head:
If you’re looking for adventure on Oahu, look no further than the Diamond Head State Monument that was once used by the military as a post to prevent attacks against Honolulu. The breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu make this 300,000 year old crater hike (not for the faint of heart) absolutely worth the trip. If you wake up on the brave side of the bed that morning, there are two ‘restricted’ areas you can climb to for 365 degree views of Honolulu, where there are less hikers for a prime photo op. Make sure you grab a coconut and drink straight from it with a straw at the end of your hike!

2. Snorkeling in Hanauma Bay
I have snorkeled in the Bahamas and Antigua before, and the snorkeling trip to Hanauma Bay was by far the most spectacular. Visitors must pay to park and enter this natural preserve, where Hawaii is devoting time and money to protecting the coral reef. Down a steep incline (oh yea, you’ll definitely want that panorama shot!) you’ll trek toward the beach, where you can enter the cove full of fish and other sea life. The water is very shallow, and one can easily swim to any part of the cove in the calm, clear water. You can easily spend hours at Hanauma Bay, whether it’s relaxing on the beach or swimming with the fish. Author’s note: Watch out for the eels. Hanauma Bay was the most impressive snorkeling I’ve ever done, but after my ‘eel sighting’ it was also the most terrifying.

3. Road Trip up the North Shore & Visit Haleiwa
No matter where you’re staying on the island, make sure you take a day to spend on the North Shore. On the way up the coast, stop at the renowned Dole Pineapple Plantation (oh and do yourself a favor and get the biggest cup of Dole Pineapple Whip ice cream that you can possibly hold in your hands). Fun fact: This plantation is also home to the world’s largest maze! Once you head to the shore, there will be lots of cool local beaches to visit. Here you can catch some serious surfing action in the winter time, or spot sea turtles in the summer. Drive through the quaint, revitalized town of Haleiwa. There are tons of local boutique shops, yummy restaurants, and my husband’s personal favorite – Matsumoto’s Shaved Ice. We ate at a restaurant right across from the beach called Beach House, that featured an innovative menu with lots of delicious fish and seafood options, boasting a beautiful view of the sunset from the double-decker patio. Bonus: Vampire Diaries actress Nina Dobrev was dining two tables down from us at this restaurant – so be on the look out for celebrity sightings at this tucked away gem on the North Shore.


4. Attend a Luau in Paradise Cove
The luau was one of our favorite activities on the Island. Not only were the Mai Tai’s flowing with authentic Kalua Pork, but it was an opportunity to get a taste of the culture of Hawaii with all of the comforts of a backyard party. Fire dancing, catching fresh fish out of the ocean, and spear-throwing were some of the fun activities offered. My in-laws (who had been before) loved the experience all over again, and my parent’s had a wonderful time getting their names translated in ‘Hawaiian’ and my Dad even got a (kids-face-paint) tattoo on his face. There are Luaus all over the island, but I would highly recommend the Paradise Cove Luau. They offer three different kinds of seating and packages, with varying pricing. The food, whether you choose served or buffet style was quite good – considering this luau is attended by ~800 people per night. (That’s a lot of Kalua pork!)

5. Touch the beautiful sugary sands at Lanikai Beach
Lanikai Beach is on a side of the island where the beach houses make you think you’re in the Beverly Hills of Oahu. Beautiful, exquisite beach houses that are located along sugary, white sand with crystal clear water. This was one of my favorite parts of our Hawaii trip; we drove around the south east side of the island, with picturesque mountains to our left and white sand to our right. We even stopped into a few open houses (window shopping of course… prices starting at $1.1 M!) to see the view from these fabulous beach homes. This was no HGTV Beachfront Bargain hunt, but it was sure worth looking around to see the walkouts right on to the beach. Lanikai Beach is also close to Kailua, both with public access beaches to check out for the day. Don’t go to Oahu without seeing this lovely side of the island. You’ll feel like you’re walking in flour!

6. Downtown Waikiki
Even on a relaxing beach trip, you’ll want to take a day to visit the hustling bustling city center of Waikiki! Whether you’re looking for breweries, great restaurants or great shopping – Downtown Waikiki has it all. You could spend an entire day walking around and spending all of your vacation money. You almost can’t go wrong with any of the local spots, but don’t miss out on Maui Brewing Company Taproom (not the original brewery, but a great taproom with a variety of beer and a fun beach vibe) or Waikiki Brewing Company which is Waikiki’s first and only brewery.

7. Waikiki Beach
You can’t skip this tourist destination, at least not if it’s your first time to Oahu! Pro-surfers, want-to-be surfers, paddle boarders – no matter what kind of water sport you want to play (or watch!) you’ll find it here. Our family took out an Outrigger Canoe in which all six of us paddle in a large canoe and catch waves like you would on a surfboard. It was a lot of fun, and prepared us perfectly for the beers that were waiting for us after. A well deserved reward after catching waves (bro!). [Tip: Go early to get a good parking spot near the beach – it can be a mad house due the tourist nature!]


8. Aloha Stadium Swap Meet
The Swap Meet, aka Flea Market, was a great experience that my husband and his family used to attend every week. On Wednesdays and Sundays, Aloha Stadium – Home of the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, opens up it’s parking lot to a plethora of local vendors, selling everything from freshly made pastries, to homemade jewelry, sweatshirts, hats and any kind of souvenir you could ever hope to find. Not necessarily your prime upscale shopping you might find in Waikiki – but a must-stop location for authentic Hawaiian goodies and chatchskis.

9. Pearl Harbor
This historic site is definitely not one to miss on your trip to Oahu. There are lots of free as well as pay-to-see areas of this monument, including submarine tours, opportunities to meet Veterans, and the Arizona Memorial where you can view the sunken ship in the harbor, serving as an active grave. Plan to get there early (people stand in line as early as 5AM) to get a (free) ticket to the Arizona Memorial. They only offer so many tickets per day, and they are always in high demand. It’s a humbling, somber visit – and definitely a worthwhile day spent in Hawaii.

10. Sunset on the Leeward Side of the Island, Ko Olina
Paradise Cove (luau) is located on the West Side of Oahu, so if you’re not staying on that side – the luau is a great opportunity for a beautiful sunset on the leeward side of the island. Even if you’re not staying there, pop into the Disney Resort Aulani right next door to Paradise Cove. It’s a beautiful resort that you might want to stay in the next time you visit Hawaii! Make sure you make it to this side of the island for for unique shopping and restaurants, including a great place with live music and lots of local beer on tap called Monkey Pod. Ko Olina also boasts a beautiful golf course and lots of great family resorts with private and public beach coves. We stayed at the Ko Olina Beach Villas, and had beautiful sunset views off of our balcony every night.


Enjoy, travelers. You may not want to return!
Aloha, and cheers!


Asheville Vibes: Southern Charm in a Mountain Town

Asheville Vibes: Southern Charm in a Mountain Town

Asheville, NC: a mountain town where we quickly found out everyone was much cooler and more trendy than us, and made us adamantly eager to be a part of it. The beer, the food, the art and the culture – all specifically finding a niche in one magnificent southern city.

Hello, Asheville 

My husband and I drove the seven hours from Frederick, MD to Asheville, NC on a beautiful Friday afternoon, getting us to our hotel around 10:00 PM. We stayed at the Aloft Hotel in Downtown Asheville, a unique hotel in a perfect location. The hotel was located on Biltmore Ave., a street that runs through the heart of Asheville, surrounded by local restaurants, great breweries, and unique art galleries. We met our friends who drove up to meet us from Virginia Beach, and decided that after a long day of driving, a drink at the hotel bar would suffice until we hit the ground running on Saturday morning. The Aloft had a hotel bar on the main level, where they also housed rescue dogs in hopes that visitors of their hotel would adopt the rescue animals. We would soon find that Asheville was a very dog-friendly town, something that made us like it even more.

Saturday morning started with brunch at Chestnut Restaurant and Bar in Downtown Asheville. This was located right across from our hotel, and had great menu options. I recommend the Avocado Toast, served with bacon and fresh fruit. Oh, and of course a Mimosa on the side.

Avocado Toast with bacon & eggs. MVP: the mimosa.

Next up was The Amazing Pubcycle – which was the most surprising (-ly fun) part of our trip. My husband had booked it impromptu the day before we left for Asheville – four seats on a 12-seater bike that ‘pedals’ through Downtown Asheville with a tour guide and strict BYOB rules. Little did we know this would be such a highlight of our trip! The Pubcycle picked us up right at our hotel, and we climbed on with cans of local beer in tow. The four of us (and eight of our closest new friends) pedaled our way through Asheville, learning about monuments, parks and historic buildings. We were greeted on the pubcycle by our guide Danny, who showered us in funny jokes and classic hits of the 80s, 90s and today. The 40-minute tour only cost $15.00 per person, and was worth every penny. One and a half hour tours were also available, stopping at two breweries on the way. Since we had a full day ahead of us, I’m happy we chose the 40-minute ride, though I think my preferred mode of transportation from now on is absolutely group-cycling. We sang, we drank, we laughed – no better way to start our Saturday in Asheville.

After we begrudgingly exited the pubcycle, we began to make our brewery rounds. Hold on to your seatbelts, folks, because our little foursome covered a lot of ground and drank a lot (a lot) of beer over the course of the next two and a half days. Below are my reviews for our Saturday & Sunday circuit of breweries, including a mean taco stop, some out-of-this-world biscuits (we’re talking like Chris Pratt Guardians of the Galaxy ish), and an amazing experience at the famous Biltmore Estate.

Saturday Shenanigans

Wicked Weed: One of two brewery locations in Asheville. This brewery had two levels, and an outdoor seating area. Of their two location, this WW offers a wide variety of beer selections, including stouts, Hefeweizens and some sours. Their downstairs level is a ‘themed’ level with servers dressed in ‘wicked’ attire; a sorceress, a hot wench, and a mythical creature were among the people who served us. There was an additional outdoor seating area on the lower level. The blueberry stout, and a fruity saison were among our favorites at this location.

Bhramari Brewing: Our favorite ‘small’ brewery of the trip. This was not a brewery we had heard much about, but we were so happy that we stopped in. Around the back of the building where you enter, there was corn hole, size-large drinking jenga and more outdoor games. We had two flights of delicious beer, and a delicious spent grain pretzel (made from the grain that they’ve used to make beer) served with a jalepeno cheese, and (duh) French fries. Among our favorite beers was an “All The Boys” ‘milk shake’ mango IPA, and The Good Fight – a sour pale ale. The Carolina Common was a seasonal beer we liked, and we were overall impressed by their selection of beers. Definitely make time on your trip to Asheville for this brewery.

Wicked Weed Funkatorium: The king of all sour brewery locations. This is the second location of two in the WW franchise, specializing in only sours. We tried five or six different sours in a flight and weren’t disappointed by any. The vibe of this brewery was great, almost like you were sitting in a medieval times meeting room, where everything was wood and the beer was just as solid. A favorite at this brewery was ‘Oblivion,’ a red wine barrel aged sour with blackberries.

Catawba – South Slope: One of our favorite sours of the trip was this brewery’s “Sour Zombie” which is a sour version of their “White Zombie” beer. This was a huge room with vaulted ceilings and an industrial feel, packed full wall to wall of people lining up to try their beer. We felt as though we were in a ‘fancy garage’ giving it a welcoming vibe to all who entered.


White Duck Taco: Imagine anything you could possibly throw onto a tortilla, and then imagine getting the thing you’ve always wanted on Christmas morning – this was White Duck Taco. From Steak and Cheese tacos (my personal favorite) to Spicy Buffalo Tacos, to the Pork Belly Tacos, you could literally fulfill any craving you’ve ever had at this great restaurant. The line out the door was both warrented and worth the wait. The four of us walked out with 10 tacos to share, and we all basically fell into a food coma after eating our weight in meat-wrapped-flour. A MUST-visit in Asheville. (Author’s note: there are positively no pictures of this stop, as the tacos were devoured before my brain could even process taking a photo. YUM.)

Green Man Brewery: This brewery started as a small, open air brewery and has now expanded into a large industrial building down the street. You don’t have to walk far to see both the ‘old’ and ‘new’ so I recommend trying to hit both. (Both have the same beers.) I had probably one of my favorite beers at this brewery (the ‘new’ location) Snozzberry Barrel Aged Sour; a beautiful pink/purple color with the right amount of fruit and a perfect amount of sour.

Burial Beer Company: This brewery had a great outdoor area, with a bar indoors as well as a bar and kitchen outside. We went around the twilight hour making the outdoor lights and picnic tables a desirable atmosphere. We recommend you try Deep in the Orbit Sour Pale Ale, or the Surf Wax IPA.

One of the two outdoor bars; obviously cheesin’ because I just pet a dog.

One World Brewing Co.: Located in the basement through an alley hidden away, this brewery is a great stop to have a beer if you need a cool place to take a break. With a basement like atmosphere, we’re happy we dropped in to end our night. Not necessarily a must see, but also not a bad selection of beers either.

All trying to make it through our last brewery of the day…

Sunday Funday

(Author’s Note: It was extra hard to get up on Sunday morning after all of the beer fun we had on Saturday… but we pressed on.)

Biscuit Head: This restaurant was recommended to us by several friends. We waited 45 minutes to get into this restaurant, but it was worth every minute of the wait. Do not miss this restaurant on your Asheville trip, and do not skip out on the Gravy flight. We tried a Sweet Potato Coconut Gravy, a chive and pork sausage gravy, and a fried chicken gravy in our flight. With so many options on their menu, it’s easy to divert to something interesting and unique, but I chose to stick to the classic choice: biscuits and gravy. I had the classic gravy smothered in two biscuits and a side of bacon – it was voted in our foursome as the best meal of the morning! Also, if you get just plain biscuits with your meal, there are several different jams and jellies – everything from sour cherry to bananas foster! Stick to the classics, or get a little crazy: at this restaurant, they can’t do anything wrong. Bonus: they have a “Put some south in your mouth” shirt; you may want to buy that as well.

Biltmore Estate, Home of the Vanderbilt’s: You could spend an entire day at the Biltmore Estate, originally built as a home for the Vanderbilt family. Spend the money to tour the house, a two our tour that will leave you in awe of one man’s vision and one family’s home for years before the Great Depression. You will see only 35 of the 255 rooms in the Vanderbilt home, but it will leave you speechless. My favorite part was the basement, where George Vanderbilt’s daughter and her husband hosted a New Year’s Eve party; they drew and painted murals on the walls according to their NYE theme, and the murals still cover the walls, untouched, today. George Vanderbilt also had a private bowling alley in his home, as well as an indoor swimming pool (shown below). On site restaurants and beautiful gardens make this an ideal photo spot (#selfielife), and a great way to spend a beautiful warm afternoon.

Antler Village Winery: This Village full of restaurants, shops and the featured winery offers much to anyone looking to stay on the Biltmore Estate property even after walking the house and the gardens. You can receive complimentary wine tastings, learn the history of the on-site winery, and participate in fun activities on the premises, such as a ‘grape stomp’ where you get to experience what it’s like to stomp on wine grapes. If you’re interested in staying on property, the Biltmore Village offers two hotels right on site for guests who wish to immerse themselves in the Biltmore Estate for the weekend. Definitely plan to spend a full day on the Estate to catch everything you’ll want to do!

Catawba – Biltmore Village: This is brewery number two in the Catawba brewery family, offering a great second location just minutes from the Biltmore Estate. The King Coconut porter was a favorite at this location, though we liked just about everything they had on tap. Similar to their original Catawba location, they had the White Zombie, an IPA you definitely will want to try.

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Hi-Wire Brewing – Big Top: A close second when it came to our favorite small/local brewery in Asheville. The Citra Gose was my favorite beer from our trip, and that emerged from this brewery. They had corn hole, a food truck, and a great theme for the brewery that was built around a circus, hence the name ‘big top.’ Hi-Wire also has two locations, but we only made it to this one on our trip. Definitely a worth wile stop, with a patio for bringing your dog or sitting outside, or simply a nice open area to gather a group of friends.

Farm House Burger: A local, grass-fed burger place that stole our hearts with good burgers, good fries and great beer on tap. Hint: try an adult milkshake that’s made with one of the local beers on tap. You won’t be disappointed! (Author’s note: we went on National Burger Day! I think that made the burgers taste even better.)

Celebrating National Burger Day the right way.

Thirsty Monk: A great local stop with lots of local breweries beers on tap, as well as their own beer! Three different levels in this bar: a cocktail lounge with limited seating and a variety of specialty cocktails, the main bar with lots of beer on tap, and the basement which features a variety of styles in Belgium Beer. We stuck to the main level, but definitely try to hit all three!

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Asheville Brewing Co: Great pizza, great logo (seriously, you’ll want a t-shirt). Not our favorite beer during the trip, but they’ve got a wide enough selection that you’ll be able to find something you like!

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Memorial Monday

Hole Doughnuts: An adorable little hut in the Riverside district of Asheville, owned by a former Disney actress and her husband. The doughnuts are the size of your face, and are made hot and fresh right in front of you. Seriously, you can sit at the ‘doughnut bar’ and watch them be made. There’s only seating for about 20 people at a time, so you’ll wait in line to be served and to sit. Between the four of us, we ordered 14 donuts, and they were all gone within minutes. Tip: get there early to reserve your seat in their outdoor blue ‘doughnut bus’ – a table for four built into an old bus that sits on their property with their logo painted on the side. Our favorite flavor of doughnut was the cinnamon toasted almond doughnut, with the beignet doughnut taking up a close second.

Sierra Nevada: I cannot say enough about this marvelous brewery on the outskirts of Asheville. While it was mostly a walking town for us, heading to Mills River, NC took us about 20 minutes in a car. It was most definitely worth it. At first we were going to avoid any ‘large scale’ breweries, as we typically like to hit and support all of the local brewers on our trip. But as this was on our way out of town, we decided why not – let’s give this one a shot. Whether or not the Memorial Day Monday had anything to do with the popularity of this brewery, we’ll never be sure; however, this brewery had great food, great beer, live music on an impressive outdoor amphitheater space, an enormous fire pit, rocking chairs, outdoor seating, a wrap around bar indoors… the list goes on. Make sure you don’t miss this brewery, even if you have to drive just a little bit. The Otra Vez is their Gose, and it is delicious. My husband enjoyed the Tropical Torpedo, a seasonal twist on their Torpedo IPA. Bonus: they let us sample their new Oktoberfest beer that will be coming out in fall – definitely be sure to pick that up in stores! A flight is a way to go at this brewery on account of the mass amounts of beer they make at this brewery and taproom. Make sure to try the House Pizza and duck fat fries – you won’t be disappointed.


Sierra Nevada

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So if you’ve skipped to the bottom of this atrociously long blog post about the city of Asheville, here is the definitive ranking of our top 5 that you must-see and must-do in this mountain town:

Experiential Happenings:

  1. The Amazing Pubcycle – Downtown Asheville
  2. Biltmore Estate, House Tour & Winery Visit – Biltmore Village
  3. Biscuit Head – Biltmore Village
  4. Hole Doughnuts – Riverside District of Asheville
  5. White Duck Taco – Downtown Asheville

Here for the Beer:

  1. Sierra Nevada Brewery & Taproom – Mills River, NC
  2. Bhramari Brewing Co. – Downtown Asheville
  3. Hi-Wire Big Top – Downtown Asheville
  4. Wicked Weed & Funkatorium – Downtown Asheville
  5. Green Man Brewery (new location) – Downtown Asheville

This is a city we will definitely be traveling back to… after, of course, our livers recover from our first go’round.

Cheers! KLo

Date Night: Par for the Course

Date Night: Par for the Course

Liberty Mountain Resort is a resort located in Fairfield, PA, just 45 minutes from Frederick, MD. My husband and I first stumbled upon this resort when we were looking for a venue for our wedding two-and-a-half years ago.

So often I see friends and family ask for a weekend destination that is reasonably priced and not a daunting distance away. When we stumbled upon Liberty, we couldn’t have been more pleased with what we found, and they continue to impress us as we continue to visit. In 2014 when we were checking out LMR, there were some really great features that sold us on this venue. Not only was the wedding site gorgeous (Boulder Ridge Lodge; in the spring, it’s a wedding venue and in the winter it is their tubing site!), but they had an on-site hotel as well as a bar/restaurant for rehearsal dinner and post-reception fun. It made for the perfect wedding experience for us. As of 2016, they opened a brand new hotel with two new restaurants and two new wedding venues. We got married at LMR on July 4, 2015 and every now and then we try to return to spend an evening or a weekend in a place that will always feel romantic to us.

BUT ~ if you’re not totally sap-attack like I am, and are simply looking for a great place to escape for the day or weekend, Liberty is a great place, that offers so much, without having to go far.

LMR - Front


The Golf:
Many assume that Liberty Mountain Resort is a ski resort and nothing more. While it does boast great trails for skiers and snowboarders in the winter for a cozy ‘snowed-in’ feel, the spring time is equally enjoyable (if not more enjoyable for us warm-weather lovers!) to visit. Their 18-hole golf course offers beautiful views of the mountains that surround the resort, with holes that are both challenging and pleasant for the player. The cost is reasonable during the peak season, but if you can sneak in in the ‘off-season’ (before Memorial Day) you get really great rates to play a round of 9 or 18. John and I played a round of 9 on the beautiful 70-degree day in March, and while the course hadn’t fully recovered from the snow and winter yet, it was still a beautiful day to be out.

LMR - golf view

The Food:
Liberty has opened two new restaurants within their new hotel. The Eagle and The Owl and Ike’s Chophouse. John and I visited The Eagle and The Owl after our round of golf, and couldn’t have been more pleased with the food, service and draft beer selection. While it is the off-season and generally everything is a bit slowed down at the resort, it was still great to be able to dine al fresco and enjoy our pub-style food (crab dip appetizer, each with different burgers as our entrees) and craft beer. Ike’s Chophouse is a little more upscale, featuring a more extensive menu such as charcuterie, filet, crab cakes, rack of lamb and more. These two restaurants are added to their pre-existing option, McKee’s Tavern, which is a great place for a sandwich and a beer in a very casual, low-key setting. Each of these options offers something for everyone.

LMR - Eagle & Owl
Inside The Eagle and The Owl, extensive seating with direct access to patio. Great beer on tap!


The (Brand New) Hotel:
The new hotel at Liberty is stunning on the inside, with new beautiful rooms to stay in as well. It adds more space at the resort to the already renovated slop side hotel. You can’t go wrong with either option if you’re looking for a spacious and updated room. The Highland Hotel’s new lobby offers a two story fireplace with views overlooking the patio and golf course. Below the two levels of rooms, there is a beautiful new spa, indoor pool and Golf Simulation center with attached pro-shop for golfers. Whether you are a couple, a group of golfers, or a group of ladies looking to get away – the new Highland side offers so much to choose from. The Highland side is where The Eagle and the Owl and Ike’s Chophouse are located, and slope-side is where McKee’s Tavern is located. The slope-side also has the outdoor pool area and tiki bar in the summer.

LMR fireplace
The beautiful two-story fireplace.

The Ambiance:
The Eagle and The Owl features live music on the weekends, and a shuffle board table in their trendy bar and restaurant area. On the outdoor patio, a large fire pit with comfortable couch seating invites you out for a beer by the fire (when the fire calls, you listen) and beautiful mountain views.

LMR - Fire
I swear beer by the fire makes it taste better.

While this trip was only for a day-date/night to celebrate spring and warm weather, LMR is a great way to feel like you’re getting far away from it all without having to go far for even a full-weekend getaway. And I’ll take just about any reason to celebrate! (This weekend, I celebrated-no-bystanders-hit-by-Kelsey’s-golf-ball while playing a round of nine…)


Adventure in Denver

Adventure in Denver

Another three-day weekend, another travel opportunity! We love holiday weekends so much that we got married on one, purposely to have the opportunity to travel in celebration every year. [Author’s note: This trip was so packed with beer, snow and fun that it has taken my body an entire week to recover, and my mind an entire week to grasp everything that we got ourselves into. I have spared no detail!]

This excursion took us to Denver, CO – a state that neither of us had been to before. We wanted to explore this city that is known for its mile-high elevation, its local craft breweries, and its superbly-cool culture. (Seriously, we were worried we might not be ‘cool’ enough to fit in… jury’s still out on that theory.)

Our loose itinerary included exploring the Lower Downtown ‘LoDo’ Denver near where we were staying on Friday; snowmobiling in Winter Park, CO and exploring (aka drinking all of the beer in) Boulder, CO; and on Sunday, exploring the River North ‘RiNo’ area of Denver on Sunday. (Monday’s itinerary: sobbing and whining that we’d have to head home.)


When we landed in Denver, not even the jetlag, 40-minute Lyft ride nor the time difference could stop us from having three beers with lunch at one of the most innovative tap rooms in all of Denver. Euclid Hall had unique food, and a great atmosphere with endless selections of local craft beer. The building was built in 1883 giving it a distinctive vibe, and the staff couldn’t have been any more pleasant. Euclid Hall gave us a warm welcome and knew just how to quench our thirst.

After checking into our Airbnb on 15th Street in Downtown Denver, we headed to three breweries for food and drink that evening. We loved staying on 15th because we found ourselves in the middle of everything; just one block from the 16th street walking mall, a three-minute walk to several Denver breweries, and famous restaurants including Sam’s No. 3 Diner. Friday led us on a journey to several boozy stops. [Author’s note: the beer may or may not have tasted better the more we had to drink; everyone around us got funnier, and better looking, too… weird.]

A view from our rented condo on the 35th floor.

Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
Typically we try to avoid ‘chain’ restaurants during our travel, but this particular location was recommended by locals for the vibe, food options and wide selection of adult beverage. We both found beer that we enjoyed, and the bartenders were helpful with information for we tourists. I’d recommend this if you don’t know where to get started yet on a trip, and want to start somewhere that’s got a little more variety than a typical brewery.

Strange Craft Brewery
A MUST on your trip to Denver; don’t be discouraged by the location which is in an old industrial park off by itself. This is without a doubt a place for locals, mostly everyone was decked out in Patagonia and flannels with a cool casual vibe. The brewers & staff were super-friendly, and we enjoyed a full flight of everything they had on tap that evening  Delicious beer, friendly atmosphere. Bonus: they had a taco truck on site and while they can’t take all the credit – the food was a big selling point as well.

Two breweries and lots of beer in, we didn’t realize at first that Tivoli was located on University of Colorado’s campus; this made it even cooler after the fact. Tivoli was located in an old train station that has transformed into something of a student center. We had a flight that included several wheat beers and IPAs, which were well made. Definitely one to check out if you’ve got the time and would also like to see CU’s campus.

We woke up hungover and excited to tackle Saturday’s snowmobiling adventures & Boulder exploration. We headed up the mountain 90 minutes to Winter Park, CO – a four-season resort that offers snow sports in the winter, and rafting/hiking excursions in the summer. We loved Winter Park and snowmobiled with a company called Great Adventures. Incredible views at an elevation of 11,500 feet, fresh powdery snow and an enthusiastic guide made this our favorite part of the Colorado trip. Don’t go to Denver without trekking up into the mountains; the views alone are worth the trip.


Ok, back to the beer.
Boulder, CO Beer Tour included:

Avery Brewing Co.A must, must, MUST if you are in the state of Colorado. This is a nationally known, HUGE brewery that would make anyone want to love beer, brew beer and live around the beer culture. They have a variety of choices: sours, IPAs, stouts, you name it – they’ve got it. With three different bars and a self-guided walking tour of their brewery, you can immerse yourself in their large company, while also feeling like you’re one of the locals. This brewery gave me my favorite beer of the trip, the Apricot Sour. Seriously, I could have sat and drank at this brewery all evening.

Boulder Beer Company
A local joint for Boulder-ians, though not our favorite among beers we had tasted. They did have a delicious Nitro Porter called ‘Shake’ – which quite literally tasted like a chocolate milkshake. They also had a build your own burger menu with literally any strange, unique topping you could think of; so if you want a ‘unique take’ on ‘burgers & shakes’ – go ahead and build your own burger and get the ‘Shake’ beer at this local hot spot.

Twisted Pine Brewing Co.
One of our favorites of the trip. Known for it’s innovative beer and pizza, this is a must see if you’re in Boulder. We didn’t find a beer we didn’t like among their variety, including a wheat beer infused with chili peppers ‘Billy’s Chillies’, and the music they were playing (90s!) made me want to stay at this brewery eating pizza, drinking beer, and jamming out all evening. [Author’s note: buy a hat, their logo is awesome.]

After some body and mind recovery, we woke up Sunday for our last full day in Denver. We visited the 16th Street Walking Mall, a street in Denver that is flooded with shops, and great local restaurants. We hopped on the (free public) bus to Union Station, a historic train station that has turned into a beautiful hotel with a public concourse with a bar, restaurant and area for gathering in between travel. Not only is this area of town home to the Colorado Rockies stadium, it is also the home to lots of great beer, and bonus, pancakes!

The locations we visited on Sunday included:

Snooze, an A.M. Eatery
Snooze was recommended to us by several friends who had visited Denver before. The best part of this meal was easily the pancake flights, which practically begged us to choose from the 12 or so delicious flavors. Much like our beer flights, only a different kind of carb without the hangover. We tried Cinnamon roll, Peanut Butter, Blueberry Danish, Molten Chocolate and more; we were not disappointed. Top those sweet flavors off with a hash brown the size of my fist and two delicious mimosas, and this is certainly a restaurant experience you won’t want to miss on your Denver trip.

This brewery was founded by a previous Denver Mayor, and is the oldest brewpub in Denver. It’s located in a great part of town, and the atmosphere and history alone makes it worth the stop. We recommend you get ballsy and try the Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, a beer brewed with Bull Testicals. Because you know what they say, when in Denver, try the beer with the ‘nutty’ notes. (Get it?)

Great Divide Brewery
This nationally known brewery didn’t disappoint, and they have several locations in Denver. We went to the Ball Park Tap Room location because of what part of town we were exploring, but they’ve also got a Packaging Hall that we drove by several times that looks like a great atmosphere as well. We enjoyed their Colette Farm House Ale, and the Yetti Stout, which came in a Nitro Version, as well as other variations because we visited in a cold weather season.

Crooked Stave
Easily our favorite brewery of the entire trip, for several reasons. When you pull up to Crooked Stave, you’re a little unsure of what you’re going to see when you walk in. It’s located in the back of this industrial warehouse called The Source, a hip place that is also home to many other vendors including a coffee shop, photography studio, market, and restaurant (that served meat cones, yes – like ice cream cone only with meat…). Exposed brick and floor to ceiling windows make this vibe an inviting one, intriguing to locals and visitors alike. Every single beer we tried was spectacular, they specialize in sours which drew me in in the first place! Our favorites were Batch 200, a raspberry sour, and the Petite Sour Rosé, a sweet sour that was as tart as my attitude when I’m hungry. As the last brewery on our trip, it certainly didn’t disappoint. Crooked Stave knocked it straight out of the park.

We ended Sunday with a walk through Larimer Square, filling our beer-loving faces with steak tacos and queso fundido from Tamayo. Larimer Square had lights strung from one side to the other of the main street, and in the trees above us. There were restaurants and little shops, and though it was nighttime and we couldn’t explore it as much as we would have liked, we could have easily spent a whole day eating, drinking and shopping our way through that appealing area. Definitely another must-see on a trip to Denver.

When we got up Sunday morning to fly home, our livers thanked us, but every other body part begged us not to leave. We loved the mile-high city and will yearn for the day that we can return… after we check off all of our other travel locations, of course!

Cheers (to lots and lots of beer),

Boston Or Bust

Boston Or Bust

2017, or as I’d like to call it: the year of travel. And the first trip of this exciting year was a whirlwind, wonderful trip to beautiful Boston, Massachusetts.

My husband and I arrived in Boston late on Friday night and paid for a nice comfy bed to sleep in for a few hours. Upon waking up and practicing our best Boston accents, we rented a car and drove to an area of Boston called Egleston Square where the Samuel Adams Brewery is located. We got an extensive tour of the brewery, where specialty recipes are tested, and research and development happen. We tasted some of their new recipes (Author’s Note: if you can get your hands on the new sour beer they offer ‘KMF’, never let it go!), and even got an exclusive tour of the ‘barrel room’ where only the best of the best (and the most secret of the secret) beers are kept. (Thanks little bro for the hookup!) It was amazing to see that the Sam Adams Brewery and Boston Beer Company still have a small family-feel despite being the giant conglomerate of the craft beer industry. (Downside: only one sighting of a man with a giant beard.)


Beer can only be followed by one thing in Boston: sports. (Author’s note: It can actually be followed by a lot of things, but this is one of my favorites.)

We headed for Gillette Stadium and the Patriots vs. Texans Divisional Playoff game. The stadium is surrounded by a concourse with popular shops and restaurants. If you ever find yourself in Foxborough, MA, be sure to check this area out. There are trendy bars like Howl at the Moon and Bar Louie, and also some sports-fanatic themed places. We stayed at the lovely Hilton Garden Inn that was right at the concourse, which meant walking distance to the bars, shopping and stadium. If you like country music, beer served in solo cups and piles of nachos as big as sports fans’ egos, check out Toby Keith’s “I Love This Bar.” We weren’t disappointed by the food or the servers who’s playful tempers were as quick as their wit. The CBS Sports bar felt impossibly inviting right outside Gillette Stadium with an impressive view, boasting tons of TV screens, a huge selection of beer on tap, and excited fans dressed like me taking selfies. What more could you ask for?

After dinner & drinks, into the stadium we headed for some Divisional Playoff action. It was 21 degrees with snow flurries, but the beers stayed cold, the crowd stayed loud, and the Patriots won! It was an amazing experience for a fan of football. (Not to mention we headed to Bar Louie after the game and saw 3 or 4 of the players who head there after every game! A stalker’s dream!)


On Sunday morning after mourning the fact that I may never be surrounded by that many Patriots fans at once ever again, we headed to Downtown Boston where we made plans to explore the trendy, historic and iconic parts of the city.

We stayed at “The Millennium Bostonian in Boston,” a hotel I would recommend to anyone looking for a perfectly located boutique hotel with style, charm and great customer service. Our room over looked Faneuil Hall (and iconic walking mall in Boston) and the views at night were incredible. (We requested to have a balcony off of our room, and it was totally worth the small amount of extra coin for the picturesque views.)



Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market are two areas made up of shops and restaurants, scaling from quaint, local vendors to major-scale retailers. You could spend hours in just these areas alone and still not get through everything. It was a great mix of culture and history carved in the cobblestone streets, while still providing some modern flare with new and popular brand names. We had bagels inside of the Quincy Market hall, and I couldn’t help but picture us meeting there on our corporate-job-lunch-hours. Safe to say it didn’t take me long to fall in love with this city.

Because walking around on cobblestone streets works up a thirst, we headed to The Bell in Hand Tavern, which is America’s oldest tavern. (History over drinks is my favorite kind of history.) This partially restored tavern served the best of North Eastern bites (I recommend the clam chowder! [Husband’s note: “Hey, they say it ‘chow-dah’), while sticking to the classics and keeping to the integrity of the original 1795 ale house. We drank Sam Adam’s Brick Red Irish Red Ale which is an ale only served at bars in Boston. You know what they say, when in Rome, drink the local beer. The place was packed with tourists and locals alike, making for a fun atmosphere.


We then explored the Back Bay Area, an area that reminded me of D.C. or Georgetown. Two main thoroughfares filled this part of the city with high-end shops and restaurants that were all located in beautifully restored buildings. It was in Back Bay where we stepped foot in my dream home: The Boston Public Library. Marble steps with majestic lions greeted us at the door; the architecture alone made me what to pick up the nearest book I could find and snuggle into a nook where I’m convinced modern philosophies were formed. This was definitely the most awe-inspiring part of our trip, and we explored every inch of the library from top to bottom. A definite must see on any trip to Boston. For dinner we stumbled upon a delicious pizza place on Newbury Street called “Dirty Water Dough.” It was the definition of ‘hole in the wall,’ except that it had a beautiful window area that you could literally climb into with two tiny tables to sit at. As we stuffed our face with thin-crust-cheesy goodness, we couldn’t help but feel comfortable in this trendy neighborhood around us. Cue the Zillow search for ‘homes in Boston.’



Monday morning, as we reluctantly packed our bags to check out of our third (and favorite) hotel in three days, we planned out our historic tour of part of the Freedom Trail; this trail leads visitors around Boston via a bricked path, hitting popular historic landmarks such as Paul Revere’s House, The Old North Church where P.R. hung those significant lanterns, and much more. If you’re a fan of our nation’s history, this is definitely a tour you’ll want to check out. It was a self-guided tour with landmarks and checkpoints all along the way. We finished the historic part of our day with the Boston Tea Party Museum, where we tasted the five flavors of tea that were thrown off of the ship on that historic day. We sat in a beautiful room that overlooked the harbor and sipped tea (a needed break from the low 30 temps outside!). Plus, I felt fancy calling our shared cookie a crumpet at this stop.

Finally, just as we started our trip with a brewery visit, we ended with one as well. We visited Harpoon Brewery in Boston’s desirable Seaport District where we had one flight of beers celebrating a great vacation… and a second flight of beers to deny it from being over. This is a huge brewery with an extensive tap room, a must visit for beer lovers in Boston. (I recommend their Apple Cinnamon wheat beer – not too sweet or heavy with tons of flavor!)

And so, 2017 has indeed kicked off as a year of travel. A year of exploring cities, trying out new places, and sinking our teeth into the culture that is all around us. We loved Boston’s culture, people, food and wonderful mix of historically memorable and modern. #BostonOrBust was a beautiful expedition; now on to the next one!