Take Your Dog

Take Your Dog

In the mood to spend a day exploring but only have a few free hours?  Why? Because there is no one to let the dog out.  Ever happened to you? We love our dog, but he does cramp our style. When there have been weeks where it seems like he has been alone too much – or we just find ourselves with a full free day and want to run around without having to stop back home mid-day, we find a way to bring him along. It’s a little more work but can definitely lead to a fun and different way to spend the day. Luckily there are many places these days that allow dogs.  I’ve had good luck at local restaurants and breweries or wineries with outdoor seating, parks of course; ice cream shops, coffee shops, farmer’s markets, outdoor concerts and sometimes an outdoor tourist attraction (like a walking tour – self-guided or not). A few tips to make for an easy day: Call ahead to make sure your pup is allowed. Combine a variety of activities – some food, some walking, maybe just some hanging out Check the weather – nothing worse than a wet dog in the car! Be a good dog owner – bring along water and poop bags and pick up after your dog Ready for an example?  If you live in the Indianapolis area, here is a fun day with your dog: The day must start with coffee, right?  Luckily most coffee and bagel shops are happy to have your dog join you. Once everyone is fully charged, a little walking seemed like...
Adventure is Everywhere

Adventure is Everywhere

Think you live in a place where there is nothing to do? I hear that all the time regarding my state and I disagree. With the right mindset and a little creativity, you can find adventure wherever you live. You don’t need to travel out of the country or even out of your town. I’d be willing to bet you can find something fun and interesting to do wherever you are. Once you learn that adventure seeking skill you can use it wherever you go to create more excitement in your life. To prove my theory, I’m embarking on a really long (like probably a few years) experiment to find something enjoyable to do in every county in Indiana. Let’s face it, Indiana isn’t a vacation hotbed – most people head to a big city or the beach for their annual vacations, so I figured if I can prove that my middle of the country state has something interesting to do EVERYWHERE, my point will be made! There are 92 counties in Indiana, so it’s a pretty daunting task. You can expect to start seeing posts each month covering a county or two (or three). I’ll still continue to share other trips, travel info, ideas for things to do, etc., this will just be a fun little addition. Luckily for me, I’ve already covered a few so I have a bit of a headstart. I’ll come back to this post and add links as I complete each county. I’ve broken down the state into regions and to keep it simple, I just followed how Visit Indiana categorizes them. Ready...
Blues and BBQ in St. Louis

Blues and BBQ in St. Louis

A big thanks to Bi-State Development and Explore St. Louis for sponsoring this trip. All suggestions and opinions are 100% my own. When you think of Blues and BBQ, what city comes to mind? Is it Nashville or Memphis, TN for BBQ? New Orleans or Chicago for the Blues? Although those might be the places that you automatically think of, now that I’ve spent some time exploring St Louis’s rich heritage for both, I know it’ll be my first pick! Ready for a fun day in St Louis enjoying both Blues and BBQ? I’ve got you covered. Start your day at the National Blues Museum located in downtown St. Louis. This relatively new museum (opened in September 2016) chronicles the history of the Blues and highlights Blues musicians, events and influences. The Blues is all about feelings and emotions and therefore is music for everyone. In addition to some amazing exhibits and historical artifacts, the museum offers a fun, interactive experience where you’ll actually get to create your own Blues song. While you are touring the museum, you’ll stop at several stations and add typical Blues elements. When you are finished, you’ll end up with a Blues song made just for you. Pretty cool, right? Both in the 1920s and after World War II, there was a large migration of southerners moving north to urban areas such as St. Louis and Chicago – with them, came their music – the Blues. As Americans moved, the Blues were introduced to more people and record labels started taking notice. This is how the historical southern or country Blues morphed into electric...
Raise a Toast to Hamilton County Wineries

Raise a Toast to Hamilton County Wineries

Whether traveling or at home, I enjoy visiting wineries. I love trying the different wines, enjoying the relaxing atmosphere and learning about each one’s history. Lucky for me, there are some fabulous wineries just minutes from my home in Noblesville, Indiana. With warmer weather finally coming to the Midwest, it’s the perfect time to visit one of these favorites. Grab a delicious glass of wine, indulge in some snacks, listen to music, enjoy a beautiful patio – all of this and more awaits: Urban Vines in Westfield is my go-to location when I’m looking for a fun and relaxing evening out. It’s perfect for date night, girls night out or even just enjoying an afternoon of playing cards while listening to music. Urban Vines offers a delicious array of white and red wines, their own beers and even ciders. In the summer, the wine slushies are a dangerous delight. With weekly Bingo or Trivia nights, live music most weekends and tasty “create your own” charcuterie platters you can’t go wrong with visiting this favorite of mine. I share more details on Urban Vine in my 5 Fun Fall Adventures in Hamilton County Post. Sugar Creek Winery is the newest addition to the wineries in Hamilton County. Sugar Creek has an upscale, outdoor vibe and an amazing outdoor firepit. The vineyard is located in nearby Montgomery County and produces many of the grapes that create their delicious varieties of wine. Sweet Water doesn’t serve food, but that means you get the fun of bringing in your personal favorites. Learn more about Sugar Creek in this post on Sugar Creek Winery....

Chicago for Tweens

I recently had the opportunity to visit Chicago with just my son. For school-related reasons my daughter (and therefore husband) couldn’t join us so it became a fun one-on-one trip. Not something we get to do often, so it was very special. We arrived Friday night to our amazing room at the Wyndham Grand – it was the perfect location, easy to get everywhere and with awe-inspiring city views. Once I parked my car, we used Uber or good old-fashioned walking the rest of the weekend – it was lovely to not think about driving, parking, etc. However, I do want to caution everyone to be very careful with valet parking – we ended up with some issues that I’m still dealing with – and this was at a very nice hotel and expensive parking spot. Thanks to our Chicago CityPASS, we knew our Friday night adventure would be the 360 Chicago Observation. After enjoying the views – loved the ice breaking up on the water – we walked across the street to do a little shopping at The Water Tower. I actually remember shopping there as a kid so it was nostalgic to share that experience with MY kid. As we had a full day planned for Saturday, we just grabbed quick salads and “fancy” drinks at The Cheesecake Factory just outside the mall. I rarely do chains when traveling, but that’s what my kid wanted and this was his weekend … The next morning started bright and early with the goal of seeing how many museums we could visit in one day (and still enjoy them!). We also...

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