{Gallivant} The Zillertal & Salzburg, Austria

For Father's Day this year I put together a book of photos for my Dad from a family trip to Austria that we took a few years ago. While making the book it was so sweet to go through the photos and look back on our trip, and I decided to put together a post highlighting some of our favorite parts!

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We flew into Munich, Germany, from which we headed to Mayrhofen, Austria, an adorable village in the Tyrol region, right in the middle of the Zillertal valley. It's cobbled streets are lined with cozy restaurants and alpine shops, and there is a lift right outside of town to take you up the mountain. 

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Future Mr. and Mrs. Richey :-) We got engaged 3 months later.

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Fun fact: This was the first time that John and I skied together! John is an avid skier, and when we started dating it was a major criteria for him that I knew how to ski...thankfully I did, although it took me two years to prove it to him. 

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We spent our days in Mayrhofen on the slopes, taking in the views of the Alps and enjoying runs longer than any you can ski in the US. Since you can ski between mountains and resorts, you can sometimes go for almost an hour before hitting up a lift! 

Aside from the long runs, one of my favorite parts of skiing in Europe are the mountain restaurants that stud the Alps. You will be skiing way up there, surrounded by peaks as far as the eye can see, and then round a corner and find a cheery wooden hut built into the side of the mountain with outside lounge chairs, local dishes of pasta and schnitzel, soups and salads, local beers, cappuccinos, and the richest hot chocolate. Definitely beats our American ski lodge fare if you ask me, and the views cannot be beat...

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I think we would all agree that the best skiing we did was on the glacier across the valley from Mayrhofen. We would jump on a bus and head up there in the early morning and spend the whole day tearing down treeless slopes, before reuniting at the bottom for a celebratory end of the day bier. After a round and some snacks we would load up all of our gear and head home on the bus, with legs that felt like jello and grins plastered on our still pink faces. 

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We stayed at the Alpendomozil Neuhaus Hote while in Mayrhofen, which we loved. (I particularly adored the elaborate included breakfast spread most of all: made to order eggs, local charcuterie and cheeses, fresh yoghurt and fruit, smoked salmon, all sorts of bread and toast options...) Our rooms were in the newer wing, and were simple (think Scandinavian--all white and blonde wood, sparse furnishings) but very comfortable. In particular, our bathroom always smelled so alpine and I am immediately brought back to that room when I distill eucalyptus in our shower at home. 

We didn't spent too much time in our rooms, though, as when we got back to the mountain we all usually headed down to the spa and sauna, where there were a series of showers, plunge pools, steam rooms, and saunas to help relax and unwind after a long day on the slopes. It. was. heaven, and...nude! I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that, in the spirit of fair warning, but this is Europe after all....There were separate male and female sides, although there were some crossover areas where we utilized our towels and strategic timing, but it really wasn't a big deal. Wild, right?!

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After celebrating Christmas in Mayrhofen, we headed to the city of Salzburg for the rest of our trip!

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Salzburg, even in the dead of winter, was stunning. All the lovely pastel colors of Eastern Europe, cobblestone streets, a medieval fortress, and all sorts of holiday activity. We spent a day doing a Sound Of Music themed tour, where we drove all around the city and then out to some surrounding towns to see where the Von Trapps lived as well as where the movie was filmed, including the church where Maria and Captain Von Trapp were married. My mom, a huge fan of TSOM, was in heaven. We also ate our weight in Mozart chocolates, and loved strolling through the old part of the city as well as along the river. 

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We ate some amazing meals in Salzburg, including our multi-course New Years dinner. My favorite part of our time in the city, though, has to have been the concert we attended after that dinner, in the castle that crowns the city. An orchestra played some of Mozart's classics, and then afterwards we all went out onto the balcony overlooking the whole city and sipped champagne as fireworks went off both above us and below. From where we stood we could see countless smaller displays going on in every direction, of all shapes and sizes and colors. It was like watching confetti pop all over the city, and it was the most magical way to end our trip. I'll never forget it.

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In Salzburg we stayed at the Hotel Elefant, which, although it didn't have the same caliber of breakfast spread that we had enjoyed in Mayrhofen, was comfortable and in a fantastic location. Definitely worth looking into if you are looking for a place to stay in the city. 

Thank you to my mom and dad for including us on this lovely trip! It has been so fun to reminisce on it, and is giving me some serious wanderlust! Luckily, we have some exciting plans in the works for later this summer, so stay tuned...

xoxo,

Emily

PS. Looking for trip inspiration? Check out some of our other gallivants: Paris, St. Lucia, Martha's Vineyard, VermontCornwall New Orleans.

PSS. Like what you are reading? Go ahead and subscribe by entering your email address into the form on the left-hand side of this page so that you never miss a post! Or, you can follow me on Bloglovin. Also, follow along with The Gallivant on  pinterest, instagram,  and Twitter!

{Gallivant} Martha's Vineyard in 72 Hours

We're back! It's been a wild few months, and I am looking forward to cultivating some much-needed margin in the next month as we get ready for our move. I've missed blogging frequently and can't wait to catch you all up! As always, thanks for checking in--I know you all have busy lives as well and it means so much that you take the time to check in with The Gallivant. 

Martha's Vineyard | The Gallivant

At the end of August I headed up north for one of my best friend's (Lindsey) weddings in Westport, MA. The weekend was lovely, and it filled my heart to watch our sweet friends become husband and wife. John made it up for the night, and we spent the evening dancing under the stars, next to the sea, with all of my family and closest friends from childhood. Pure magic. (Also, definitely stalk #joshandlusayido on instagram...gorgeous.)

John unfortunately had to head home bright and early the morning after the wedding, but I was lucky enough to get to tack on a few days of vacation. After taking a quick dip off the dock with the happy couple, my brother, Blair, and I hopped into the car and headed off to catch the afternoon ferry to Martha's Vineyard! 

Martha's Vineyard | The Gallivant
South Beach | Martha's Vineyard | The Gallivant

Growing up we spent many a week of family vacation on the Vineyard, and I also went to summer camp on the island all through high school. I worked at that camp, FOCUS, for entire summers in College, and met John during a middle-school week that we were both leading. (And the rest is history...) To say it's a special place to us is an understatement. 

The island is full of wonderful beaches, pastoral scenery, amazing restaurants, shops, and farm stands, and I wanted to be able to get a little taste of all my favorite spots over the three days I was there. If you are thinking about making a trip over to Martha's Vineyard know that there is enough to do and see to fill up weeks of time, but you can also get a good overview and be utterly enchanted by the Vineyard in just a few days. I get asked for recommendations all the time from people visiting the Island for the first time so I put together a little list of the places I would recommend to someone who only had a few days to explore.

1. Beach

Martha's Vineyard | The Gallivant

The beach is a no- brainer while on the Island. Depending on the time of year the beaches can be crowded, but there are plenty of options if you prefer a little more privacy. Some great ones open to the public are South Beach, Menemsha Public Beach, and Great Rock Bite (This one is for the adventurous but so worth it--the hidden beach is quiet and private, and if the tide is right you can swim out to the great rock and spend the afternoon jumping off.) 

If you are lucky enough to be either renting or staying with someone in West Tisbury or Chilmark then definitely head down to Lambert's Cove (West Tisbury) or Lucy Vincent Beach (Chilmark.) These private gems are only open to residents of their respective towns but are among the nicest beaches on the island. 

2. 7a Foods

7a Foods | Martha's Vineyard | The Gallivant
Martha's Vineyard | The Gallivant

I love 7a for their breakfast sandwiches and selection of local coffees. My mom and I popped in one morning and got the home-made biscuit, bacon, egg and cheese with fresh greens and it was delicious--flavorful without being super greasy. Peruse their small local grocery and dry-goods section and pick up a pie for dessert made by the Pie Chicks. (We did, and we think it may be the best pie on the Island.) Also, pop into Alley's General Store next door, and peruse their whimsical selection of art supplies, home goods, stationary, food, toys, candles, and more. 

7a Foods, 1045 State Rd., Tisbury, MA 02575

3. Menemsha Harbor + Larsens Fish Market

Menemsha | Martha's Vineyard | The Gallivant
Menemsha Harbour | Martha's Vineyard | The Gallivant
Larsen's Fish Market | Martha's Vineyard | The Gallivant
Larsen's Fish Market | Martha's Vineyard | The Gallivant
Larsen's Fish Market | Martha's Vineyard | The Gallivant

Menemsha is "up-island" from a lot of the main action but well worth the drive. The working fishing village is quintessentially New England with it's coastal cottages and fishing vessels, surrounded by lush greenery and tall coastal marsh grasses leading down to the waterfront. Come mid-day and head to Larsen's Fish Market for a lunch of the freshest lobsters, oysters, or clams. The lobster comes straight out the steamer and onto your plate, and is served simply with drawn butter--exactly as it should be. On your way out grab a few containers of smoked blue fish paté, a Villa family favorite. We love it served on crackers as an appetizer, preferably sitting outside with a cold drink. 

Larsens's Fish Market, 56 Basin Rd, Chilmark, MA 02535

4. Morning Glory Farm

Morning Glory Farm | Martha's Vineyard | The Gallivant
Morning Glory Farm | Martha's Vineyard | The Gallivant

Morning Glory is a local produce paradise, and conveniently about 10 minutes from where we stay. Everything is grown in their fields all over the island, from the freshly cut flowers and herbs, to big red red tomatoes, to berries that fill pies and pastries. When my family stays on the Vineyard we embrace shopping in the euro-fashion, picking up fresh ingredients at Morning Glory each day for that night's supper. While there I also picked up a copy of this beautiful cookbook

Morning Glory Farm, 290 W. Tisbury Rd., Edgartown, MA

5. Juliska Outlet

Juliska | Martha's Vineyard | The Gallivant

I have a major crush on Juliska's tableware (and just on tableware in general) and love perusing their store in Vineyard Haven. The best part? They have an upstairs that is chock full of seconds (pieces with slight imperfections) that are hugely discounted, and many of them are barely noticeable at all. They have many of the classic french-inspired patterns, and I especially love their serving dishes and bakeware. This time around I made a Christmas wish-list because (hopefully) by Christmas we will be moved and have a new kitchen. (Wherever that may be...more on that soon.) 

Juliska lovers--the outlet ships, so if you have a favorite pattern or piece then give them a call and they can put you on a list for when it comes in stock! 

Juliska, 23 Main St., Vineyard Haven, MA 02568. (508) 562-4010

6. The Port Hunter

The Port Hunter | Martha's Vineyard | The Gallivant
Port Hunter | Martha's Vineyard | The Gallivant

The Port Hunter is my favorite place on the island for drinks and oysters, and hipster-prep ambiance. We love the big Gulf oysters down here in Pensacola, but there is just something about the smaller and brinier cold water New England Oysters that hit the spot on a mid-summer evening, especially accompanied by one of the Port Hunter's craft cocktails. On my last night my friend Jen and I headed to Edgartown to catch up over drinks, the lavender vodka concoction for her and smoky mezcal margarita for me, both fantastic. 

The Port Hunter, 55 Main St., Edgartown, MA 

If I had had one more day I would have loved to have stopped by Chilmark Chocolates (the best chocolate ever. End of story.) and have dinner at State Road (my favorite restaurant on the Island, and definitely one of my favorite in general) but there just wasn't time. Hopefully next summer! I am so grateful for the time I had on the Island--Even though it was quick there is just something about the Vineyard that works wonders on my heart. 

Now you know my favorites, but I'm curious about yours! Have you ever been to Martha's Vineyard? What were your favorite spots?

xoxo,

Emily

P.S.  Like what you are reading? Go ahead and subscribe by entering your email address into the form on the left-hand side of this page or follow me on Bloglovin so you never miss a post! Also, follow along with The Gallivant on  pinterest, instagram,  and Twitter!

 

 

 

 

{Gallivant} Mobile, Alabama

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While John was away during his detachment we talked about trying to take a little (reasonably local) trip when he got home, to celebrate his graduating Primary. Fast forward a few weeks, and this past weekend we hopped in the car and headed over to  nearby Mobile for a little getaway! 

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 John was on base till the early evening  so we headed straight into the Garden District to Kitchen on George.  Situated right in the heart of the Oakleigh Garden Historic District of Mobile, Kitchen on George is a sweet spot. The warmly-lit bistro atmosphere is a wonderful compliment to their farm-to-table menu, and everything we ate was delicious. We started with tempura-fried okra as well as blackened alabama shrimp and goat cheese grits, both of which I intend to try and replicate at home. I inherited my love of okra from my mom, and while John could do without the slightly slimy texture, I love it. The shrimp were juicy and flavorful, while the goat cheese grits were simply out. of. this. world. Silky, creamy, with a slight tang from the goat cheese. (take me back.)

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For our mains John ordered seared duck and I went with a classic roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and green beens, smothered in thyme gravy. If you follow me on instagram (@evr_thegallivant) than you may have noticed that we are in the midst of the Clean Slate Challenge, but we decided to take a night off. Read: John knows I can't resist experiencing local flavor as a part of exploring a new place, and he acquiesced to my foodie soul. 

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We were spending the night at the gorgeous Battlehouse so after dinner we made our way downtown. We dropped our bags in our room and headed down for a night cap in the Royal Street Tavern, where we sipped a cocktail and listened to some great live music. 

Saturday morning we grabbed a quick breakfast at the hotel, packed up, and headed out to Theodore  to visit the Bellingrath Gardens

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We spend the afternoon meandering down winding paths lined with blooming azaleas and cammelias, stopping at fountains and along the bayou on the way. Most of the garden hadn't bloomed yet but it was a gorgeously warm  day and the beds were still full of lovely winter color. 

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A froggy friend!

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Handsome man. 

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We have visited some pretty epic gardens together--Versaille, Tuileries, Kensington, etc--and this lovely Southern estate  definitely holds it's own.  A must-see for sure  if you are in the Mobile area, and a lovely way to spend an afternoon. 

Bellingrath Gardens,  12401 Bellingrath Gardens Rd, Theodore, Alabama, 36582

Kitchen On George, 351 George St, Mobile, Alabama (251) 436 8890

The Battle House, 26 N. Royal St, Mobile, Alabama (251) 338 2000

xoxo,

Emily

P.S. Like what you are reading? Go ahead and subscribe by entering your email address into the form on the left-hand side of this page so that you never miss a post! Or, you can follow me on Bloglovin. Also, follow along with The Gallivant on  pinterest, instagram,  and Twitter!

Anatomy of a Camping Trip

Three Forks

Three Forks

A few weeks ago we went camping with some friends (and Flynny) in northern Georgia, at the Three Forks campground, right off the Appalachian Trail. Located in the midst of the Chattahoochee National Forest, the camp grounds were gorgeous and was just a quick walk away from the trail up Springer Mountain. Springer Mountain is not only the tallest peak in Georgia, but also part of the Appalachian Trail---almost the southernmost part, actually.

Hmm..Navigating or checking scores?

Hmm..Navigating or checking scores?

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We stayed two nights in the mountains, and spent all day Saturday hiking the 10 miles up Springer Mountain from Three Forks. The hike was perfect--moderately challenging and scenic from start to finish. We made our way through the forest along trails covered in red and gold leaves until we arrived at the outlook at the summit, where we ate lunch as we looked out over the Blue Ridge Mountains. The view was stunning, the air crisp and clear, and our legs were tired in the best way. The night before we had eaten on the road and arrived super late and gone straight to bed, but that night, after finishing our hike, we sat around a huge fire and cooked dinner and smores (duh) while sipping our fave bevvies and having a hilarious time together. Both nights we fell asleep while listening to the sound of the river flowing right next to our campsite, and our second night we all woke up to a wild thunderstorm in the middle of the night! Luckily our tents rocked, and we managed to stay dry and cozy. 

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View from the summit of Springer Mountain

View from the summit of Springer Mountain

John and I both consider ourselves outdoorsy, and have no problem roughing it, but this time around we knew we were not going to have to hike in our gear so we packed a bit more comfortably. Aka...we totally glamped, and it was awesome!  Here is our list of essentials to take your trip from camping to glamping in a cinch. 

1. Tent: We ordered this two person tent a week before our trip, and were so impressed with it. Talk about bang for your buck! It rained both nights of our trip, and this little guy never leaked. We highly recommend it-- just make sure you practice setting it up before you leave for your trip (spoiler alert: It's a piece of cake) in case you have to set up camp in the dark like we did!

2. Air Mattress: Did I mention we glamped? I laughed at John when he told me he wanted to get an air-mattress for our weekend, but boy were we glad we did! I mean, why not?! We brought this model in a queen and loved it, especially the rechargeable battery-powered pump. 

3. Cozy Blanket: Sleep with it, wrap up in it after taking a dip in the icy mountain stream, use it as picnic blanket--it's practical and snug. 

4. Flash Light: No brainer--no one wants to venture in the woods to pee in complete darkness. 

5. Camp Stove: We brought this little one burner (along with a couple extra propane bottles) and it was so easy to use-- perfect for pancakes in the morning as well as burgers at night. 

6. Backpack (Or slackpack, as John calls them): Essential for carrying water, snacks, lunch, dog treats, extra clothes, wine, you name it. 

7. Complete Pancake Mix: Its as easy as add water and pour. No eggs, no oil, no measuring. Pancake breakfast? Yes, please. 

8. Ground Coffee + French Press: This is sophisticated camping. No need to go without your daily fix. And besides, how lovely does waking up while taking in the sounds of a nearby stream and chirping birds while sipping a strong cup of Italian roast sound?

9. First Aid Kit: Unforseen injuries will ruin your otherwise perfect weekend. Come prepared. 

10. Cheese + Crackers:  Fireside appetizers? Yes, please. 

11. Bevvies of Choice: Wine for the ladies, dark aged rum for the men, or whatever floats your boat. 

12. Dry Firewood: Just in case it, you know, pours at some point and everything flammable is wet. 

13. Cooler: A big cooler is perfect for storing meat, cheese, milk for coffee, along with any other perishables, and it doubles as extra seating. 

What not to bring: Technology and a bad attitude. This is an adventure! Try to stay as unplugged as possible and embrace the wilderness and any curve-balls it may throw at you. 

One final note: I cannot recommend camping in the Fall enough, especially if you can get to the Blue Ridge Mountains. The weather was cool, but not cold, and the foliage was surprisingly good. (I am a tough critic, being from New England.) Also, we loved Three Forks, and will definitely go back at some point--it was remote but accessible, and the camp sites were nicely spaced (you never saw your neighbors) and very clean. 

For more information on camping and hiking in Georgia, check out Atlanta Trails and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. 

xoxo,

Emily

P.S. Like what you are reading? Go ahead and subscribe by entering your email address into the form on the left-hand side of this page so that you never miss a post! Or, you can follow me on Bloglovin. Also, follow along on instagram and pinterest!

 

 

{Gallivant} From California to Massachusetts

Map of Cross Country Road Trip From California to Boston

          A few weeks back I had the pleasure of driving cross-country from Carmel, California to Hamilton, Massachusetts with my Godmother, Libby. Before we left, we spent a few days in Carmel and Firebaugh exploring (I had never been to California before!) and getting ready to leave. You can read about our time here and here

A lovely rose in Firebaugh, CA

A lovely rose in Firebaugh, CA

           Why drive cross-country? Well, air travel is wonderful for us humans, but not quite as convenient for our furry friends--and my Godmother has a few of those. Also, driving cross-country has always appealed to me for the adventure as well as the opportunity see parts of our country that I have never seen over the course of one big trip. From start to finish we hit thirteen different states, seven of which I had never been to before. (California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts)

Long Horn and Angus cows in Firebaugh, CA

Long Horn and Angus cows in Firebaugh, CA

Long Horn Cows in the San Joaquin Valley
Pistachio Trees | Firebaugh, California

Pistachio Trees | Firebaugh, California

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^ My very first view of the Pacific.

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My lovely Godmother

My lovely Godmother

          On the day of our departure we made sure we had everything we needed, lunch/snack were packed,  and that all of our furry friends were accounted for and ready to go. Sweet old yellow lab? Check. Funny little jack russell? Check. Hound? Check. Fluffy lion-esque chow? Check. Convention of cocker spaniels? Check, check, check, and check. 

Our first leg was from California to Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Donner Pass, California

Donner Pass, California

          We drove along through forests of redwoods and mountain passes, most notably Donner Pass. (Named after the Donner family of cannibal fame...) Despite it's gruesome history, the pass and lake below were beautiful.

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          After a few hours of driving we entered Nevada and the desert, which was beautiful in an equally but very different sort of way. The colors (ochre, red, rust, sage, purple, beige, etc) are just so different from the landscape that I am used to seeing in the East. Libby insisted on doing most of the driving for this leg so that I could really take it all in without having to focus on the road. She's the best.

Daisy and Rocket, two of our road buddies. 

Daisy and Rocket, two of our road buddies. 

          After a full day of driving we made it to Salt Lake, where we posted up for the night. In the morning we headed over a mountain and into Park City where we had a yummy breakfast with some good friends who just moved to Utah this year! It was so fun to catch a glimpse of their new life and see a bit of Park City--now I can't stop dreaming of coming back with John to ski... #shred

The evening glow over the mountains in Wyoming.

The evening glow over the mountains in Wyoming.

         After breakfast, a quick doggy walk, and hugs good bye, we kept heading east on rt. 80 through Utah and into Wyoming. 

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         I visited Wyoming with my family when I was a kid and had the full ranch experience, as well as driving through Yellowstone. I have such fond memories of that trip, and have since considered Wyoming to be one of the most incredible states I had ever been to--driving through this time only reinforced those memories. We drove through plains studded with snow breaks and antelope, with rolling hills which gave way to the snow-capped Tetons in the distance. For most of the day there wasn't a human structure in sight. 

         Gas stations were few and far between, but every few hours we would see a sign for Little America, which Libby kept saying we had to stop at. Eventually we saw it a few miles down the road--a little oasis of for road-weary travelers. We turned off the exit and arrived at the nicest rest stop I have ever laid eyes on, complete with cute hotel and beautiful landscaping. After fueling up we headed inside and perused the aisles of fun Wyoming souvenirs including jig-saw puzzles, cowboy hats, and kitchy gizmos galore. We grabbed a few little presents for Johnboy, and then headed to the cafe area (like I said--nicest rest stop ever) to grab some soft-serve for the road, before getting back on Rt. 80 and driving a few more hours to our next stop: Denver. 

(If you are driving along rt. 80 through Wyoming you have to stop at Little America. I promise--you will be so pleasantly surprised.)

Colorado Mountains near Denver

Colorado Mountains near Denver

Road Buds. 

Road Buds. 

        We spent two wonderful nights in Denver at Libby's mom's house--my dear Aunt MA. It was so special to get to stop mid trip and spend time with her, as well as have some time to catch up with Lib's sister Elsie and brother John, both of whom rock and I don't get to see enough! I also hadn't been to Denver since I was a baby and loved getting a feel for the area (aka falling a little in love with it), and I can't wait to go back as I have a hunch there is tons more to see and do.  We checked out an awesome church on Sunday, had a yummy lunch, and later I got a chance to stretch my legs a bit on the Highline Canal Trail--actually one of the most scenic running routes I have ever taken. 

         Our time in Denver flew by, but was so, so sweet and full. Needless to say, we were a little sad to leave, but also excited to continue East. 

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Omaha, somewhere in middle America
Get right to the heart of matters
it’s the heart that matters more
— Counting Crows

Could not get that song out of my head pretty much the whole time we were in Nebraska....

(fyi--smart people listen to Counting Crows

Crossing the Mississippi.

Crossing the Mississippi.

          The rest of our trip went by pretty quickly. I tried to tell someone at dinner the other night how pretty I thought Iowa was (all hills and little hamlets with streams running through them and trees turning colors here and there, with the occasional cow) and they looked at me like I was crazy... I am thinking that we may have hit the state at just the right time in the season. Thanks for turning out, IA. 

The Corn Crib --our beacon of hope in Iowa! 

The Corn Crib--our beacon of hope in Iowa! 

           We spent a night in Clive, IA, before continuing on to Buffalo, NY for another (short) night. (Trying to make a flight out of Boston + traveling with a pack of canine friends = no rest for the weary)  From Buffalo we officially entered New England in all it's Autumnal glory. Halfway through the day, due to a variety of factors and while speeding down the Mass pike, we decided to bag my flight and reschedule it for the following morning. As we pulled off rt. 128 my heart settled into the peace of ur-home,  and the rest of the evening was spent visiting with my godson and his lovely mama, hugging and regaling my parents with stories of our trip (somewhat deliriously,)  having a yummy dinner at the local watering hole (where I was surprised by one of my best friends and my other Godmother,) and cozying up in my very own bed.  Such a little gift at the end of our trip. 

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Lovely Fall Foliage

Lovely Fall Foliage

           Overall, it was such incredible roadtrip. The California Coast, Wild West, the Mississippi, the Rockies--it was unexpectedly moving to witness all of these landmarks which have played such big roles in American history. As we made our way across the country I felt a little more American each and every time we saw a part or place that I had never seen before. Driving through (vs. flying) helped me connect the dots and make sense of this patchwork of cultures that makes up our country. To “zoom out” in a sense and gain some perspective—see the bigger picture.

           This is why I travel, I think. As I continue to embrace the adventurous spirit created and kindled within me I have come to realize that it is fueled by a deep curiosity, a curiosity that goes beyond the desire to be an authentic patriot and world citizen. It is a curiosity to understand us—the motley “we” that makes up this world that we live in, and how we all fit together. 

            Thanks for reading and a huge thank you to my wonderful Godmother for having me along for the ride! Another huge thank you to my husband for being so gung-ho about me leaving our little home for 10 days with pretty short notice. 

xoxo,

Emily

P.S. Like what you are reading? Go ahead and subscribe by entering your email address into the form on the left-hand side of this page so that you never miss a post! Or, you can follow me on Bloglovin. Also, follow along on instagram and pinterest!



{Gallivant} Destin & Donuts

A few weeks ago John and I decided to take advantage of his last few days off before starting school again and go on a spontaneous adventure. We headed east down the coast to Destin, about an hours drive. Unfortunately the weather wasn't great, so we couldn't check out the plethora of beachy activities that Destin offers, but we were content to just drive around and see what we found. Eventually we passed through into Miramar and saw signs for the Emerald Coast Wine Cellars, and decided to check it out! 

The cute little winery has a fun section of gifts and home decor, as well as an area devoted to tasting their local wines. Most of their wines were of the muscadine variety, but they did have a Chardonnay that we really liked, so much that we grabbed a bottle. They also had some yummy nibbles to go along with the wine, which we couldn't resist. Over all it was a really fun little stop on our tour, and we would highly recommend it if you are looking for rainy day activities in Destin. 

While Destin is mega touristy, it does have some amazing shopping. After the winery we made a few stops at some cute local boutiques, and then at the bigger outdoor mall. We didn't make it to the outlets this trip, but I did make a mental note of them (J. Crew, Kate Spade, Saks? Hello.)  

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The real highlight of our trip (at least for me) was discovering The Donut Hole on our way out of town. Earlier, when we were driving in, I had noticed a line going way out the door and begged John if we could check it out on our way back. Upon entering, we were greeted by trays of freshly made donuts, in all sorts of delicious flavors. While some of their more popular flavors were already sold out, I did snag a classic glazed and a sour cream to nibble on on the way home. The glazed was pretty standard, but the cakey sour cream was to die for. The moist and sweet flavor was offset by the perfect amount of tang, with a sugary glazed outside. Yum. 

I would love to head back to Destin sometime and try The Donut Hole's breakfast as well as their best-selling red velvet donut, before doing a little shopping. Sounds like a great morning, right?

Pensacola locals often complain that Destin has gotten super built up over the past few years, which we couldn't disagree with. Despite that, though, we did have a great time mixing it up and adventuring out of town for a few hours together. We hear about Destin all the time, and have some friends who live down there, so we were so happy to finally get to check it out. We (ahem..me) were also delighted by the treats we got to consume while there, as evidenced by the picture below....

Mrs. Sweet Tooth

Mrs. Sweet Tooth

Have you ever been to Destin? What are your favorite things to do there? Feel free to comment below!

Have a great day, honeys.

xoxo,

Emily

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{Gallivant} Carry-on Survival Essentials

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If there is one thing I learned a few weeks ago, when I got stranded in Miami for two days without my bag, it is that one must pack their carry-on strategically. You just never know when you may get stranded, and a savvy traveler is always prepared. 

I am usually pretty prepared for the worst-scenario, but last week I forgot a few essentials like my toothbrush, deodorant, and a bathing suit. Why a bathing suit? Read on for the rationale, as well as the list of what I always try to take on the plane with me in my carry-on, just in case.

The Gallivant's Guide to Carry-On Essentials

1. 1 Pair of Clean Underwear

2. Tea Bags: I love my tea so I try to pack a couple bags of my favorite types when I travel. This time around I packed chamomile lavender and mint, both of which I used over our trip. I love chamomile lavender before bed, and it did wonders to calm me down in MIami when all I wanted to do was be home. The mint also ended up being a great choice because it helped in clearing my sinuses before I finally got on the plane. (Did I mention I had a nasty sinus infection?)

3. Bathing Suit: Man, do I wish I hadn't forgotten to pack a suit in my carry-on! Instead of lounding in my hotel room for two straight days I could have been lounging by the hotel pool, enjoying the Miami sun!

4. Work: If you are planning on taking work with you on your trip always pack it in your carry-on. God forbid you lost your bag, or were stranded without it and couldn't meet a deadline...

5. Jewelry/Valuables: My mom is a stickler for this one. You may never have lost a bag in your life when flying, but don't let the first time be the time you kept all your family heirlooms in there, never to be seen again.

6. Deodorant

7. Toothbrush/Toothpaste

8. Face Moisturizer: Hotels always have body lotion, but it really isn't the best for your face. Combat dry and flaky flight skin with face lotion you stowed away, you brilliant traveler, you.

9. Reading Material

10. Chargers

Bonus tip: If worse comes to worse and you are absolutely desperate for clean clothes,  you can do as I did and hand wash some items of clothing in the sink (ie. leggings, panties, shirts) and then use the hotel blow dryer to dry them!

Happy (responsible and prepared) gallivanting!

xoxo,

Emily