A Day in Virginia Wine Country

wine tour charlottesville

A few weeks back, my girlfriend, Morgan invited a few of us on a girl’s day full of wine tasting around Charlottesville. If you’ve never been to the area, you’re missing out. There are dozens of wineries, cideries and breweries in and around the city – all within a few minutes drive of one another. The area is beautiful and the proximity makes it the perfect place to enjoy a wine tour.

It was a beautiful Sunday in mid-August. The sun was shining, but the humidity was no where to be found. The four of us packed our snacks and hit the road for four wineries in the area. I’m no wine expert, but when Dad is on Finn duty and I have the afternoon free of responsibilities, it’s rare to find me turn down any type of wine!

Pollak Vineyard

We started in Crozet, Virginia at Pollak Vineyard. The 360 degree mountain views make it a winner in any category, and any bride-to-be would be lucky to celebrate their big day there. However, the Pollak family makes wine as a passion, and because they are so focused on the wine-making, they do not throw events. It’s an admirable move, in my opinion.

The Vineyard boasts 31-acres complete with a tasting room, patio, pond and endless rows of grapes. On the day of our tasting, we arrived well before noon, did a tasting inside and pulled up a chair on the patio to enjoy a bottle. It was a great first stop on our tour!

wine tour charlottesville

Veritas Vineyard & Winery

It’s hard to determine which winery has the best views, but Veritas is certainly up there. I had been to the winery many times before, but had never actually had a tasting. Veritas throws great events throughout the summer and has the perfect space to do so – over 50 acres of land and nestled right into the Blue Ridge Mountains.

When we arrived, we opted for a tasting first. We met the sweetest lady, LB, who told us all about her grandson – who just happens to be the same age as Finn. She even talked Hannah and I into becoming Wine Club members! I think I’ve already got my monies worth out of that decision ūüôā

After our tasting, we sat on the deck and enjoyed the views. The best part of the day was the conversation, which ranged from work, to celebrity crushes, to who knows what else!

wine tour charlottesville

Afton Mountain Winery

After Veritas, we went up the mountain a few miles to Afton Mountain Vineyards. It was a quick stop, with just enough time for a tasting, but we did manage to get a group shot in front of the views! It was certainly the most casual of all the vineyards we visited that day and I’m looking forward to going back and spending a little more time.

wine tour charlottesville

Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyard

We ended our day a Pippin Hill, one of the more desirable wineries in the area. The views are breathtaking, the tasting room is gorgeous, and the wine is delicious. They serve great food as well!

When we arrived we decided we needed to take¬†all the pictures. We skipped the tasting and decided to just order a glass of wine and eat as much food as possible. After four wineries, we were all having wayyyy too much fun ūüôā

wine tour charlottesville

wine tour charlottesville

wine tour charlottesville

wine tour charlottesville

We really didn’t need the beautiful scenery and great wine to have a good day. These girls are so much fun, and afterwards I realized I had finally formed a group of people that make me feel like I belong in Charlottesville. It’s a reminder that it doesn’t really matter where you are, but who you are with that matters in life!

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Travel Bucket List: International

international travel bucket list

A few weeks back I put together my US Travel Bucket List. Today, I’m opening that up to the entire world. Yikes! How can I choose just five places I want to go in the entire world?! I’m the first one to admit that I’m a terrible traveler. I have developed anxiety as I’ve gotten older and¬†stepping outside of my comfort zone is not as easy as it used to be. That being said, I still love to travel. I love to explore and learn new things and experience what it would be like to live in a new place.

I’ve done a little bit of international traveling – certainly not enough to brag about. I visited my sister in Germany when I was a senior in college. We spent a week exploring Heidelberg, Munich, Fusen, and other parts of Southern Germany. By weeks’ end I remember feeling so humbled by the adventure and so exhausted from the language barrier. David and I traveled to Belize for our honeymoon, a much more relaxing trip, and hardly felt international at all.

My International Travel Bucket List is a bit random, and maybe even trendy, but I had to start somewhere!

1. Iceland

international travel bucket list

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Iceland is a hot place to travel right now since they’ve been pushing tourism and their stop-over status. It truly is a brilliant marketing strategy – since it’s started I’ve known about a dozen people who have traveled there. I mean, it looks like such a magical place, and so unique! I’m going there – and soon. Who’s coming with? And for those of you who have been, what’s a must-do?

2. New Zealand

international travel bucket list

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This one is for David. When I talk about traveling, all he wants to experience is the fly fishing in New Zealand. Can you really blame him? I mean, those views! Plus, I’d get a trip to New Zealand out of the deal. I can’t really complain. I joke because his travel bucket list revolves around fishing – but it truly can bring you to beautiful places!

3. Moraine Lake, Alberta, Canada

international travel bucket list

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I’d never heard of this place until one of the bloggers I follow posted gorgeous photos of her and her husband visiting last summer. Ever since, I’ve been dying to go. The area just looks absolutely gorgeous and relaxing!

4. Greece

international travel bucket list

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I mean, is there really a more gorgeous place than Santorini, Greece. I’ve been wanting to go here since watching¬†The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants way back in high school. My friend, Morgan, is going to Greece next month and I’ll be living vicariously through her the entire time.

5. Copenhagen, Denmark

international travel bucket list

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Europe really has a ton of place I’d love to visit, but something about Copenhagen speaks to me. Remember in¬†Weeds when Silas, Shane, and Andy move there and sell bicycles or something? Any other¬†Weeds¬†fans? LOL. Anyways, the colors are gorgeous, the lifestyle is so unique, and I can’t wait to visit.

Some runners up include Cuba (why not??!!), Portugal, Thailand, and the northern most point in Finland where Nick proposed on this last season of the Bachelor ūüėČ

What’s on your international travel bucket list?

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Our Trip to Chincoteague

chincoteague

chincoteague

chincoteague

chincoteague

chincoteague

chincoteague

chincoteague

 

This weekend, David and I packed our bags, left the kiddo and dog with the in-laws, and drove to Chincoteague Island. Neither of us had ever been (actually, that’s a lie. David’s mom later told us that David had gone as a little boy) and we needed a place to get away, just the two of us. We found the perfect spot for one night away from home!

Chincoteague is an old fishing village that seems to be stuck in time. There’s countless antique stores, a few dozen mini golf courses, and beautiful scenery – and that’s about it. Neither of us really minded that there wasn’t much to do. The entire point of the trip was just to get away and relax with one another.

We let Finn be our alarm clock Saturday morning, got him ready, packed up our car and dropped him off. We drove four hours east, and over the Chesapeake Bay bridge, to Chincoteague. Once we arrived, we had lunch, played putt-putt (and I FINALLY WON!), and hit up the Build Your Own Cookie food truck. Guys! Warm cookies – ice cream – a topping of your choice?! This is the best business model EVER! And since we were technically the first customers of 2017, we even got our cookies half off!

We then drove out onto the wildlife refuge where the wild horses live – but of course, we didn’t see any. The horses are actually what Chincoteague is known for – apparently, the horses were casualties of a shipwreck and the survivors made a home on the island. They have thrived there and each year during the summer they swim through the channel and are auctioned off to farmers. (This is how the firefighters on Chincoteague earn their money!) The horses who do not find a home go back into the wild where they continue to grow their colony.

Anyways, David and I enjoyed a wonderful seafood dinner and a stroll down Main Street on Saturday evening. We enjoyed the simple pleasure of being out of the house after 7pm – and being together! We woke up to a gorgeous Sunday morning, got on the road and took our time getting back to Charlottesville. We were recharged and ready to see our little boy!

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How was your weekend?

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Travel Bucket List – United States

travel bucket list - united states

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Ever since sharing about our cross-country road trip last week, I haven’t stopped looking up new places to visit. It’s as if I’ve been re-bitten by the travel bug –¬†all over again.¬†It doesn’t help that my sister, brother-in-law, niece, and their two puppies are currently on a cross-country road trip of their own. They are doing it right – taking their time and stopping along the way.

David and I have always been into traveling. Even if it’s just a day trip somewhere¬†nearby, if we have nothing to do, we usually go for it. Separately, we’ve checked a lot of places off – David was in the Marine Corps, so maybe some of those places weren’t necessarily by choice ūüôā Our biggest trip together was our honeymoon to Belize. We knew we wanted to go somewhere warm, where we could do a lot of outdoorsy types of things, plus it didn’t hurt that Belize is actually a huge draw for fly-fishing. David could fish, I could sit by the pool – it was wonderful. (BTW, I totally got out and fished, too!)

I was actually 15 weeks pregnant when we went to Belize, and since having Finn, our traveling has slowed a little. Now that he is getting older, David and I are starting to think of our next big trips. I have a couple of places I’d love to see here in the United States, first, before venturing internationally. I think I can convince David on a few, especially if there’s a trout stream nearby.

1. Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons

travel bucket list - united states

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I’ve lusted over photos of this area of our country for years, and I¬†have to get out there soon. I want to do all the tourist-y things – spend the days hiking, see Old Faithful, take selfies with all the wild animals.¬†I would love to take Finn here when he is a little older – so this trip may have to wait a few years.

2. West Coast Road Trip

travel bucket list - united states

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This was actually an option for our honeymoon. We were going to start in Seattle and drive down along the Pacific Coastline to San Diego. The Red Wood forest, the beaches, the Golden Gate Bridge, Napa Valley. I think I’d need an entire month to see everything I want to see. My cousin is getting married in San Diego next July, so I’ll be able to see a little bit of Southern California then!

3. The Badlands

travel bucket list - united states

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Do I need to explain myself on this one? I’m the daughter of a monument dealer – I was raised to be intrigued by rock!

4. Charleston, SC

travel bucket list - united states

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I’ve been to Charleston years and years ago – back when my cousin was born. I think I was in third grade and I did a report on the city for class. I have family in the area, so I’m really kicking myself for not visiting again. The city continues to impress! Plus, I’m a total Bravo junky, and Southern Charm has reignited my intrigue.

5. Asheville, NC

travel bucket list - united states

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I imagine Asheville as a much more hipster Charlottesville. More breweries, more hiking, more log cabins. Just my style!

A couple runners up – Austin (but I get to check this off my list in May!), the Florida Keys (Dad, take me with you one year?), I’d love to return to Alaska and see other parts of it, and Chicago – but this time in the summer.

PS. Fly fishing with David and our trip to Nederland, Colorado.

What’s on your travel bucket list?

 

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Why Every Couple Should Take a Cross Country Road Trip

couple take cross country road trip

I can hardly believe it’s been nearly six years since David, Juneau and I packed up all of our earthly belongings in my old Pontiac Grand Am and blindly drove to New Mexico. We had only known each other a year, but we were young, dumb, spontaneous and looking for an adventure.cross country roadtrip

Why New Mexico?

When I first met David, he told me right away that he was “moving away” the following summer. He had just gotten out of the Marine Corps and he was still figuring out what to do with his life. Turns out, David had dreams of becoming a MMA fighter. When I tell people this, they give me a strange grin – like you’d give someone if they told you they wanted to become a famous actor or singer. I still get this reaction to this day.

The thing about David’s dream was that it was never farfetched to him, and it was never farfetched to me. We still talk about what could have been. I still believe he could’ve been successful at being an MMA fighter, but we didn’t give it long enough to find out.

albuquerque, nm

albuquerque, nm

albuquerque, nm

New Mexico is actually¬†the spot to be if you’re training to become an MMA fighter. I honestly never thought about living out west. I always thought I’d end up in Nashville somehow. But love changes things and I put all my trust into David – lucky for me it worked out!

On top of all of that, we had the ability to be transient and be silly, irrational, young people. We had saved up enough money, I had a job that allowed me to work from anywhere, and we had each other. Looking back, we really didn’t think any of it through. We didn’t even have a place to live when we arrived in Albuquerque. We stayed in a hotel for three days before we found a place. But we finally found an apartment and settled in. I worked from home and David spent hours at the gym. It seems like a lifetime ago, but it was all so worth it.

The Trip Without a Plan

We started outside of Charlottesville, Virginia and took 4 days to drive to Albuquerque. We stopped in Nashville, Little Rock, and Amarillo. Gosh, there are so many memories that we still laugh about today. Poor Juneau was such a champ throughout the entire trip, but finding pet friendly hotels was always a challenge. We were able to see so much of the country, experience crazy weather (we had to stop on the side of the road in Oklahoma because a tornado blew through.. not kidding), and really bond together as a couple. We had to work as a team to figure out our route, our plan, our finances, everything. It was as if we took our relationship to the next level just by deciding to embark on this journey together.

albuquerque, nm

albuquerque, nm

albuquerque, nm

 

Of course, both sets of parents weren’t too keen on sending us out west without a plan. We were told we were crazy on multiple occasions, and we probably were. We had no idea what we were doing or what we were up against. As much as it was an adventure, it wasn’t without it’s hard times. I became homesick and eventually we decided to leave New Mexico because of it.

The Lessons Learned

If we were to move out west now, things would be so incredibly different than it was back then. Some time in between I became more high maintenance, more easily stressed about the logistics of things, and I would try to plan everything to a tee. I’m so glad I wasn’t like that when we actually took the trip. The unknown was the best part of all of it. I think every couple should go on a trip without a plan at least once in their lifetime. We learned about each other, about managing money, about traveling in general, and about what we really value in life –¬†experiences trump everything.

Even now, 3 states, a wedding and a baby later we still reminisce about our trip out west. The foundation of our relationship is built on the way to New Mexico. Some people look back and wish they had traveled when they were younger. We never have to think that way. We did it! We were young, dumb, spontaneous and adventurous!

PS. This song¬†always gives me chills because it’s literally about our life

PPS. Our time in Indianapolis and Life in Wilmington, NC.

Have you ever taken a trip without a plan? How did it work out?

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