Rochester Lilac Fest 2017

The first few beautiful weeks of Spring always smell so nice. Pause for a moment and take a deep breath. What do you smell? Grass clippings, budding trees, blooming flowers…

One of my favorite smells of Spring are Lilac’s. At Rochester’s Lilac Festival, you can walk the paths smelling the Lilac’s fragrant smells. At the end of the paths you reach a smorgasbord of food trucks and vendor stands. Grab a carnitas taco or a sushi garbage plate while you watch the band of the night play over the noises of the roaring crowd.

Photo found on: http://keywordsuggest.org/gallery/830729.html

 

Photo credit: https://www.rochesterevents.com/lilac-festival/current-lineup/

Lilac Festival is one of the largest free festivals in North America. You won’t find another one like it in our country. Many of the festivals’ Lilacs reside in Highland Park, a park that has about 150 aces of rolling hills and botanical delights. The first lilacs planted here date back to about 1890 when several thousand shrubs were planted. 8 years later, a random festival broke out and around 3,000 people traveled to Highland Park to see these magnificent flowers. Today, the Rochester Lilac Festival draws in about 500,000 people annually to this ten-day FREE event.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy the beauty and smells of Spring.

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Throw-Back Thursday: The Petrified Forest

When I was a kid, my parents took me to The Petrified Forest in Arizona. Standing in the desert, I would pick up these rocks and admire them wondering how on earth they became these beautiful and unique pieces of art. Actually, I probably thought of them as just awesome rocks! But now as an adult, I still stand in the desert with the wind in my hair, admiring them.

The Petrified Forest isn’t really a forest as some may think. It is a vast desert full of fossils dating back to the Triassic Period about 225 million years ago. The fossils are sacred and should not be taken away from their site – because if everyone did there would be none left to enjoy. Many of these fossils are of large rocks and tree logs now composed of mineral deposits which give each one their unique colors. Long ago, the trees were covered by water from the rivers and volcanic ash sediment. This mixture created silica formed quartz crystals giving the logs these colors.

The visitors center in the north-end of the park is one of the best I’ve seen. It’s almost like a museum showing real fossilized Triassic animals that have been found in the park on display. You can learn a lot just by going on a self-guided tour through this building. The park itself has a long scenic road that takes you from one entrance to another making it the perfect drive to take it all in. We didn’t have a lot of time for hiking or other activities, so we took this road through the Painted Desert and Crystal Forest. We were also able to see part of the historic Route 66 route which cuts across the park and the routes’ most popular photographed car. Near this area, just outside of the park resides an older gas station still in use today with tons of Route 66 memorabilia for sale.

As mentioned above, along the scenic road there are many pull off spots to stop and take photos as well as take short walks/hikes through the desert. The drive is certainly scenic from the painted desert to the plains, it’s hard to NOT stop in AWE!

At the North entrance there are two large gift shops. Both offer you a tiny petrified rock as a welcome gift or a gift with purchase. We both were able to get a tiny one to take home with us as a keepsake. The gift shop area also has some cute areas to take photographs at.

Every time I write a blog post, whether it’s throw-back Thursday or not, I get such a sense of wanderlust and longing to go back and relive it all again. Just like the other National Parks we’ve seen, I can’t wait to go back eventually and experience it over again and even more. Petrified Forest is certainly a beautiful park that everyone has to experience at least once. ☮

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The Breaking Bad Fan Sightseeing Road Trip

Have you ever just sat on your couch and binge watched almost an entire season of Breaking Bad on a rainy day? We have and we aren’t ashamed! If you have ever seen the series it is pretty amazing and intense. Watching the chemistry teacher, Walt transform into his crime-ridden Heisenberg persona; and stoner Jessie becomes a hot headed salesman whose guilt eventually catches up with him. It’s all in the name of GREAT TV.

WARNING: MIGHT BE SOME SPOILERS FOR A FEW OF YOU!

As we were planning our cross-country road trip around the United States we knew we would be passing through Albuquerque, New Mexico – where the TV show was filmed. Walt’s house, the car wash, random streets, maybe even Walt’s grave stone. We figured it wouldn’t hurt if we wasted a little time and see what those places look like IRL.

You can find a lot of self-guided sightseeing tours on websites such as: https://www.visitalbuquerque.org/albuquerque/film-tourism/breaking-bad/

Walter White’s House

Walt’s House is not just a prop – a family has been living in this house for about 40 years. So if you do go for a drive-by, be very respectful and do not step on their property. When we drove by, we parked across the street as to not be so obvious. To our surprise, the couple who owns the house was sitting on lawn chairs in their driveway. We stepped out of our vehicle to take a photo, and the lady told us not to come any closer, but we could take as many photos as we’d like. As we did, the man asked us where we were from and tried to have a conversation with us. They are very nice if you show respect. The address of the house is 3828 Piermont Dr. As you will see, the house looks exactly as it did on the show, the only thing added are the NO TRESSPASSING signs and video cameras watching your every move.

A1A Car Wash

Breaking Bad turned a family owned car-wash into an A1 empire! Octopus Car Wash, formally known as Walt’s A1A Car Wash on the show, is a very popular car cleaning hot spot in Albuquerque. The car wash is located at 9516 Snow Heights Cir NE. We weren’t planning on seeing this place, but as we were driving down the street we just so happened to notice it looked familiar! There was such a long line we didn’t bother washing my car – although I wish we had!

Biking Tour

If you’d like to see a few places while getting your cardio in – try the Ultimate Biking Bad tour.

Photo: http://routesrentals.com/blogroll/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/biking-bad-breaking-bad-bicycle-tour-abq.jpg

Walter White’s Tombstone

Photo: https://assets0.roadtrippers.com/uploads/poi_gallery_image/image/319787791/-strip_-quality_60_-interlace_Plane_-resize_1024x480_U__-gravity_center_-extent_1024x480/poi_gallery_image-image-223c9107-42da-403d-aec3-2e17bfdd1338.jpg

Walter White has a tombstone IRL. When the show ended, fans had a funeral on Oct 19th, 2013. The tombstone was placed at Sunset Memorial Park cemetery first, but after many complaints for obvious reasons, the tombstone now resides at a local strip mall as a tourist attraction. The address of the mall is 6855 4th St. NW. Read more here.

Now, go enjoy your Breaking Bad Sightseeing Road Trip!

“Tread Lightly”

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Plant & Sip Event

Surely, a lot of you have probably attended a paint and wine event – but have you ever attended a Plant & Sip event? As many paint and wine events popularity are slowly declining, businesses are looking for more and more ways to bring customers in and build relationships. For a local floral and wine gift shop, Stoney Acres, I pitched an idea of a Plant & Sip event and we all ran with it. With about a month of planning, we were able to come up with a unique idea that only few across the nation have done before and it was a hit!

Stoney Acres’ Plant & Sip Event – Feat. Elk Mountain Winery

The Plant & Sip event consisted of a creative afternoon making a tabletop terrarium garden while tasting Elk Mountain wines. It was such a blast to see how popular the event became with mostly word of mouth, tickets sold out in a snap. Events such as this is a great date idea to do in your local hometown. It is also a great idea to do while traveling so you may act as a local and meet people. The people you meet may also help you discover what else in their town you should see and do.

A lot of events like these I tend to find on Facebook Events. I love looking up in the city I’m in to see what may interest me. You can find anything from free to cheap events such as local festivals, yoga classes, and small release parties. Instead of looking for a tourist activity to do, why not look for a local event to do? They tend to be cheaper and more fun anyways!

Side note: – “Facebook Events also helped me find a face painting event for

dia de los muertos at The Flwr Shop in Nashville!” See photo below, post to come soon.

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Blink & You’ll Miss It – Field of Peace

As you’re traveling down Texas Route 66, you have to keep your eyes peeled for unique and easy to miss roadside attractions. Similar to that of Cadillac Ranch, the Field of Peace is covered in spray painted art. If you haven’t heard of Cadillac Ranch, or haven’t seen our latest “Blink & You’ll Miss It” piece, click here.

Cadillac Ranch

Traveling through Conway, Texas, we spotted a field full of signs. We drove by and thought, “that looked interesting, we should turn around and check it out!” We were the only ones driving down the road at the time, no other cars in sight. The field was filled with laser cut metal signs that looked like they were from circa 1970’s.

The signs showed peace symbols, pot leaves, and memorial dates. In the middle of it all stood a large cross with a “peace bench” next to it. Little did we know, it is all placed in the shape of a giant peace sign – only visible from the sky.

We didn’t stay long as there were millions of horse flies buzzing around us. Every other second I felt the pinch of one biting me and ran to the car! I had bug bites for weeks after. Aside from that, we do certainly suggest you scope out the fields as your driving through Conway as to not miss this unique roadside find. If anyone else has any other information about how this field came about, please let us know. Also, check out this additional description about the Field of Peace written by Travis Good.

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Places We’d Like to Travel in 2017

As winter storm Stella hits Upstate New York, we are left with wanderlust. Wishing we were somewhere warmer with a drink in our hand laying out on the beach – or camping in the woods listening to the tree frogs chirp. To be anywhere, but here. We wanted to compile a list of places we’d like to see this year, no matter how far out of reach they might be. We’re in the process of buying a house, and we couldn’t be happier! But, with buying a house comes costs which will limit us this year as to how far and how often we can travel. Hopefully, this list we’ll be able to complete and maybe you can too! Even if we make only half of the list happen, I will be content.

 

PLACES TO VISIT IN 2017:

 

  • Sanibel Island/Cape Coral –
Four Mile Island

For the past few years, we’ve been traveling every September to my parents house in Cape Coral. It is something we look forward to doing every year. Since I was a little girl, I’ve been going to Sanibel Island, my family’s favorite beach. So each year when we go to Cape Coral, we always have to take a short drive to Sanibel Island to reminisce. I love showing Shane all the different things that island has to offer. In Cape Coral, our favorite place to go and explore is Four Mile Island, see our post here to read more.

 

  • Chimney Bluffs State Park, Wolcott, NY –
Photo taken by: https://emilyberkson.com/

This place is on the list because it is only about an hour from our house now. This state park is on the South side of Lake Ontario featuring beautiful large clay formations. These clay formations have existed for thousands of years shaped by glaciers from the last Ice Age. Sadly, the clay formations are eroding a little each year. I thought it would be a nice little overnight camping trip or day trip to explore more of the area to which we’ve moved to.

Photo taken by yours truly: Crystal Rock Photography

Update: We hiked almost 3 miles of this beautiful state park this past weekend. It was our first travel destination to be crossed off this years’ list. The bluffs were breathtaking and the weather was perfect. I didn’t want to leave! Blog article to be posted soon!

 

  • Eternal Flame Falls, Erie County, NY –
Photo taken by: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/AF8cKTxvNZU/maxresdefault.jpg

Another bucket list worthy place in New York is Eternal Flame Falls. Located in a small section of Chestnut Ridge Park resides this small waterfall. At this waterfalls’ base, an eternal flame is visible nearly year round. The flame is fueled by natural gas and may be extinguished and lit occasionally. This means, sometimes the flame can go out, but you may bring a lighter with you and relight the flame while you’re there. This sounded like such a neat thing to see that we wouldn’t be able to see anywhere else. It may be the perfect overnight camping trip this Summer!

 

  • Yellowstone/Jackson Hole, WY –

 

This one may be a little further out of reach for us this year. It’s on the list because we may be going for a family trip for my Grandparent’s anniversary. Our budget may not allow for it this year, but I would love to go back to Yellowstone. This would be my third time, Shane’s second seeing Yellowstone and it’s an amazing experience every time. No matter how many times you may go and see the geysers, Yellowstone is always changing. New geysers appear, and old ones disappear. All the wildlife and colors can take your breath away.

 

  • Kawartha Lakes, ON, Canada –
Photo taken by: https://bohobeautiful.life

I am a huge fan of Boho Beautiful’s workout videos on Youtube. They are always going to amazing and beautiful places all around the world. About a year ago, they posted a video of them in Kawartha Lakes and it looked like a really pretty place to visit. I mainly put this on the list because it’ s one of the places they’ve visited that is relatively close to us. I would love to camp out by the lake and hike the many trails there.

 

  • Cleveland, OH –
Photo taken by: http://cityhub.movoto.com/1459257016293_where-to-live-in-cleveland-without-a-car-featured.jpg

Ok, I had to put at least one city on the list! I would love to see every major city in the U.S., and with as many places as we’ve been to, we aren’t even close to completing that goal! Cleveland isn’t far from us either and it would be a fun weekend trip. Maybe stay in a little apartment with Airbnb or a bed and breakfast. Visit the many museums and breweries and see the nightlife… Cleveland has a lot of potential for a fun couples weekend.

 

  • The Jell-O Museum, Le Roy, NY –
Photo taken by: https://www.theclio.com/web/ul/20069.40835.jpg

Before we moved here, we had never heard of such a thing, a Jell-O Museum. Little did we know, Le Roy, NY is where Jell-O was born. In honor of us becoming New Yorkers, we feel the need to go to this museum!

 

  • New York City via Amtrak –
Photo taken by: https://smartgrowthamerica.org/app/uploads/rochester.jpg

We are really close to the Amtrak and I think we should take advantage of it. So, we’ve decided we would love to take a train ride to New York City and have an overnight. Find a small apartment to stay in on Airbnb and take in the sights of Manhattan and Times Square. I’ve never seen the Statue of Liberty, so that is definitely on my bucket list, too!

 

  • Balloons Over Letchworth –
Photo taken by: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/7tb7-fEjLhU/maxresdefault.jpg

Another one for the bucket list, a hot air balloon ride. I’ve always wanted to do it, but have never gotten the opportunity. We found out at Letchworth State Park, they do hot air balloon rides over the falls. It is also rated one of the top 10 hot air balloon sightseeing tours on www.fodors.com, see the article here. It’s a little pricey, about $250 per person, but we can dream!

 

Stay tuned as I’m going to keep updating this list. When we actually start to plan a little road trip, I will put our itinerary for you to view. Later, of course we will write a separate post about our experiences! As always, thank you for reading. Comment below if you have any budget friendly North East, US places you’d like to see us visit. 

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Blink & You’ll Miss it: Cadillac Ranch

Just off Texas’ Route 66, in the middle of a dirt field, lies a Cadillac graveyard. If you blink while your driving past, there’s a good chance you might just miss it. This isn’t just any graveyard or car junkyard, this is Cadillac Ranch. It’s open to the public, with fresh spray paint cans lying on the ground just waiting for you to indulge your artistic (wanna be graffiti artist) senses. Yes, you can draw on the cars whatever you desire and as much as you’d like.

Cadillac Ranch began in 1974 showing the evolution of the car line from about 1949-1963. These cars were probably just Junker cars that someone wanted to make into art back in the day. Facing nose down, deep in the dirt, the Cadillac’s are shown in a way that is similar to the angles of the Great Pyramid of Giza.  They were moved around back in the 90’s to be closer to the expressway and away from the growing city. In fact, they are still located on private land, but visitors are encouraged to trespass and paint.

The cars have layers upon layers of paint showing the history of all those who have visited. We had such a great time stopping at this unique roadside attraction. It was such a joy to come together with others and spray paint private property 😉

Driving down Route 66 or through Texas anytime soon? Cadillac Ranch is a must see! There’s no where else like it. Pack your bags, bring some paint, grab your date, and have fun!

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A Romantic Night in a Hotel – But Not in the Room

When you picture a romantic night in a hotel, it’s easy to immediately picture it to be in your hotel room. But what if the romance could still be in the hotel, but outside of your hotel room? Hotels such as Aloft in Minneapolis or Four Points Sheraton in Brentwood-Nashville has a bar, live music, or even a bon fire outside for you to enjoy and more. All of this without leaving your hotel room. Why don’t you make a date out of it?

LOVE THIS PLACE! -So much to do here

When your traveling, you may get to your destination and just want to crash on the bed in your hotel room and watch TV. It is so easy to get into that slum and not even notice it’s happening. Why be that boring couple when many hotels offer activities right in their own lobby?

Abandoned Hotel Lobby on Route 66

At Aloft Minneapolis, you don’t even need to leave your hotel to have a romantic night in. Not only were their rooms unique and slightly luxurious, their common areas were intimate and romantic. Grab a drink at the bar and sit in a quiet corner of the room on a comfy sofa, or sit by the fire pit outside. You can act like a couple again instead of feeling like strangers after a long car ride.

Photo credit: http://i.rentalo.com/images/Minneapolis-Hotels-p2_375052_8964064l.jpg

 

Drinking by the fire pit

Four Points Sheraton in Brentwood-Nashville has a great lounge area that offers live music at night. Upon our arrival, we were eligible for a free drink. So after freshening up we went to the lounge area, grabbed a drink at their lovely bar, and listened to a great cover band for the remainder of our night.

Photo credit: http://www.fourpointsbrentwood.com/restaurant-in-brentwood-tn

My favorite romantic hotel to stay for an overnight is Evins Mill outside of Nashville. Arriving there, you aren’t expected to do much. No one will judge you if you just go relax in your room or sit on your balcony listening to the tree frogs. YES, I said balcony! The place is so beautiful and serene, you can’t not relax. See my previous blog post here.

With these examples, what I’m trying to say is…

It is possible to have a date night without leaving your hotel when your on the road. Grab a drink from the bar, order in Chinese, and play a game in the lounge area. Star gaze on that balcony or go watch a band play at the bar. Wear your pajamas for all we care!

Opryland – Tour the botanical gardens inside!

Enjoy your date night 😊

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A Hidden Beauty in Oregon – Thor’s Well & Oneonta Gorge

In my opinion, our drive through Oregon was the most beautiful drive during our entire trip across the United States. I never thought Oregon would be so drop dead gorgeous. From the coast and sand dunes, to the deep forests – Oregon will leave you speechless. The Cape Perpetua area was our favorite, shown in the photo below. Here you will find a lot of roadside attractions, one being Thor’s Well.

Oregon’s Coast

Thor’s well is about 600′ deep and is able to be seen at it’s best during high tide. Unfortunately, we arrived there during low tide, but it was just as impressive to us! The well releases water which is then pumped into the air via the power of the ocean and waves. It was fascinating watching the water pump in and out.

High Tide

vs. Low Tide

One place in particular was so beautiful I didn’t want to leave and we wouldn’t have known about it if it wasn’t for Pinterest. Have you ever seen a place on Pinterest and thought to yourself, I’m going there someday? I have my own personal bucket list board that I add to just about every day! The places I visit, I put into an accomplished board. See my Pinterest here.

Oneonta Gorge is filled with beautiful hiking paths, waterfalls, and a treacherous gorge that if you are daring enough and well equipped, may hike through to get to the bottom of the mountain. It is similar to that of The Narrows in Zion, see our recent post here. Oneonta gorge in particular has water that can come up to your neck depending on the time of year. We chose to hike the 2.5 mi trail to go behind the waterfall and also to the overlook to see miles and miles of Oregon terrain. On this 2.5 mi loop, it starts at Horsetail Falls and takes you up to Ponytail Falls (the waterfall that you can walk behind). After you reach that waterfall, you will begin a steep climb to get to the overlook and then back down again to Horsetail Falls. Have a picnic with your loved one at the overlook, it is the perfect spot! It was certainly worth the hike.

Ponytail Falls

 

The Overlook

 

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The 5 Best Tips for Traveling as a Couple ❤

Travel can be an amazing adventure together. Most people say it may, “make or break the relationship.” In most cases such as ours, I can honestly say it made our relationship better. And I hope it can do the same for you. We’ve always had our issues and at the time I thought our relationship was going down the drain before our big road trip in 2015. But in the end, we came out better and stronger and developed a bond I’ve never had with anyone – And I am so thankful for that. Traveling as a unit has it’s own struggles. Hopefully our top 5 tips can help you and your lover have an amazing vacation.

1.) Don’t count on your expectations:

The first mistake you can make before going on a trip is by having high expectations. It’s easy to do, trust me. The problem with this, especially when traveling as a couple, is that both of you may have different expectations and it will be disappointing if none or only a few actually do come true. Nothing is perfect. A good way to prevent it is by discussing how each of you picture your trip before it actually begins. Sit down and have an open line of communication and make sure to tell each other everything that you think will happen on the trip no matter how silly or out of reach it may be. Discuss the smells, tastes, sounds, and sight. Honestly, it will work because each of you will know what the other is thinking. Then when you get there, you may be able to tell each other, “I told you so!” If that doesn’t happen, at least you can laugh about it and make the best of the reality of your trip!

2.) Discuss budgets:

One of the most common issues while traveling as a couple is budget. One of you may have a budget constraint or preference more than the other. All you have to do is make the other person aware of what you are willing and not willing to spend. Money should not get in the way of enjoying your trip. There are so many activities we found on our road trips that were little to no money and we enjoyed every second of it. If you think it will be a major issue – plan what to do, where to stay, and where to eat ahead of time so both of you are prepared and have somewhat of an itinerary to follow. This itinerary will be something you have both agreed with, so you can eliminate any guilt or questions you may have when you want to go to that semi-expensive restaurant or splurge on paddle boarding tours. Planning like this will relieve a lot of stress that being on the road can cause. It will also take the guess work out of what each of you are expecting on the trip.

3.) Don’t get hangry (Hungry + Angry): 

Don’t lie, we’ve all been there. It is one of the biggest causes of fights for couples while they are on the road. At least, I know it is for us. When we’re hungry or deprived of food, we may get tired and grouchy. That tired and grouchiness makes us take it out on each other, the person closest to you at that moment. With not being able to have much alone time, being stuck in a car or plane for hours, that tiredness and grouchiness can be amplified. So, take it from us and EAT! Set a time throughout the day for each meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) that both of you can agree upon and follow. I know it’s hard to stick to a designated time while on vacation, but you will be thankful you did.

4.) Compromise:

You probably already know compromise is a big part of any relationship. It’s no different from home when you are on the road. Both of you may want to do a tour and the times overlap, you may want to eat at different restaurants, maybe you want to relax and he is anxious to go exploring – the most important thing in this whole article is COMPROMISE. Although open communication is key – if you are able to communicate, then you will certainly be able to compromise. Talk about your perspective on the situation while seeing your partner’s point of view and listen. Don’t hide your feelings, but be honest. Come up with a plan, if he wants to eat somewhere that night, tell him you both can and that he must be willing to eat at the restaurant you want the next night and vice versa. It won’t be simple, but if they care to make you happy, it will work!

5.) Learn to Share:

Growing up as an only child, I have to admit – I don’t share easily. I know that may be a terrible thing to say, but it’s true! I like to think I can share, but in reality it drives me nuts. I like having my own space, packing in my own suitcase, and doing whatever I want. Not only being a couple, but traveling as a couple breaks each and every one of those wants I just mentioned. -And that’s ok! If you love them enough, you will learn how to share- quickly! I think traveling together has made me a more sensible packer. It’s a wonderful way to learn how to collaborate with one another as well as a great bonding activity. Packing together means you have nothing to hide, your open and honest with one another.

You not only share packing space, you also need to learn how to share your time. Share time with your partner and yourself. Even though you are traveling together, that DOES NOT mean you need to spend every waking moment with them – you are aloud to have alone time. Go for a stroll and explore, take a yoga class on the beach, do whatever your heart pleases and don’t feel guilty. Alone time is very beneficial for any relationship, at home or on the road.

I hope you liked our top 5 tips for traveling as a couple. It won’t be easy, but it will totally be worth it. Enjoy making beautiful memories together ♡

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