Visiting Kentucky: Red River Gorge, Churchill Downs, and More!

Visiting Kentucky: Red River Gorge, Churchill Downs, and More!

Last month, I hit the road to Kentucky with my S.O. and family. We saw and explored a lot during the three-day road trip.

We left Green Bay, WI on a Thursday night to begin the drive. After a few hours, we made it to Fair Oaks, Indiana. We decided to spend the night at the Fairfield Inn by Fair Oaks Farm.

This hotel was very cute and unique. The outside looked like a literal barn, and an actual farm was a short walk away. It was fun to explore the farm store, the hotel, and the property that the hotel was on. I appreciated the very *aesthetic* cow statues that were in the lobby.

Staying here gave us all the rest we needed to continue the drive Friday morning.

It took most of the day to make it to our cabin in the Red River Gorge area in Kentucky, but we made it before dark. We stayed at the “Along the Ridge” rental. It was roomy, beautifully tucked away, and it even had a hot tub.

On Saturday, we went on a few hikes. First, we explored Gray’s Arch. Then, we walked across the Sky Bridge. Both trails were gorgeous with amazing views. As someone who doesn’t typically hike, I found these trails more than doable. It made me want to explore more hiking trails on future trips, as well as back home.

After a long day of adventuring, we made it back to the cabin to enjoy family time and mules.

We got up fairly early the next day to finish sightseeing before heading home. On the road to Churchill Downs, we got to stop at a Buc-ee’s. I’d describe it as the Disneyland of c-stores. Seriously, they had everything (not to mention a bronze beaver statue in front of their store).

Arriving at the Churchill Downs gate was incredible. I felt like an ant next to the entrance. In case you didn’t already know, Churchill Downs is where the Kentucky Derby happens, but they host other horse races throughout the year. It was cool to see the place and a few races in person. Of course, I had to get a mint julep to really take in the atmosphere.

We got back to Green Bay early Monday morning, so after some sleep, it was time to get back into the swing of things. I feel like we definitely made the most of our time in Kentucky, and I enjoyed seeing so many new sights. I’d love to go back sometime and maybe even see the Kentucky Derby.

Have you ever been to Kentucky? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments or on Instagram. Let’s chat!

Chicago Trip Recap

Chicago Trip Recap

Last weekend, my S.O. and I went for a weekend trip to Chicago. We definitely made the most of our two full days in the city.

Our first stop upon arrival was the Starbucks Reserve Roastery that’s downtown. Fun fact: this is actually the world’s largest Starbucks! I ordered us a couple of cold brews and a big cinnamon roll. It was delicious, of course.

Once energized, we headed over to Shedd Aquarium. It had been years since I was there, so it was cool to see it again! There were tons of exhibits to check out; we almost didn’t realize that there were multiple floors. The shark and stingray section has remained my favorite.

After exploring the aquarium, we got checked into our hotel.

We decided to stay at the Moxy since it was walking distance from everywhere that we wanted to go. Our room was on the third floor, so it ended up having a nice view.

We hung out in the lobby bar after getting settled and grabbed drinks. We discovered a lot of new games; the Moxy had a bunch of card, board, and other games just sitting out. Quickly, Space Force became an addiction.

Soon it was time to grab some dinner, so we headed over to Radio Room.

I ordered some fish tacos and a drink by the name “Spice World.” I couldn’t resist ordering a spicy marg named after the Spice Girls.

The next day, we grabbed coffee at Heritage and then grabbed breakfast at Edie’s. If you like pink, you’d love the interior decor of Edie’s. It was a super aesthetic place with a good menu.

Once again caffeinated, we walked over to Millenium Park. We walked around and took a bunch of pictures in the bean. We also stumbled upon a mini-golf course, so we gave it a go. Each hole had its own Chicago-themed challenge. I was not victorious in this game, but it was still very fun.

Once we covered everything that we wanted to see at the park, we headed to Navy Pier.

We rode the huge ferris wheel and grabbed a marg at Margaritaville. Is the ferris wheel overhyped? Maybe, but if you didn’t ride it, did you really get the Navy Pier experience? Also, it is pretty cool to look out on the city from that height. I’d say it’s worth the ride ticket.

After a while, we left the pier to do a bit of shopping. I scored a cute top to wear to dinner at Zara (you may have seen it on the ‘gram, here). Speaking of dinner, we ended up at Pink Taco! I enjoyed their shrimp tacos and a cilantro cucumber marg.

The next day, it was time to head back home to Green Bay. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t exhausted after our big walking day. It felt good to have the time to sleep in and then make the drive back.

It was fun to see the windy city again. I’m sure I’ll be back sometime!

Have you ever been to Chicago? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments or on Instagram. Let’s chat!

Planning a Trip to Chicago

Planning a Trip to Chicago

Warning: I may be posting (too many) Instagram pictures from the Windy City soon.

Recently, I got a mini-trip to Chicago all planned and booked! I’m looking forward to taking a few days off and exploring. I’ve been to Chicago many times before, but it has been a while since I’ve actually been downtown.

I’m planning on enjoying some of the classic tourist spots, like Shedd Aquarium and Navy Pier. Also, you can’t forget Millennium Park and the world’s largest Starbucks. Of course, I’m looking forward to some iconic Chicago deep-dish pizza too. If you have any recommendations, let me know!

I’m planning on exploring some new-to-me areas of Chicago as well. For example, my stay is booked at the Moxy downtown. I was sold as soon as I saw that the hotel had a taco bar in the lobby. I was even more excited when I saw some of the spots to check out around the Moxy. For example, there’s a radio-themed bar/restaurant just a couple of blocks down. Understandably, this may just be cool to me since I work in the industry. But, if the food/drinks are good, I’m sure I can convince my travel partner that it’s a good place to be.

Once I’m back from the trip, I plan on recapping it on the blog like I did with my Nashville getaway! Then, I can share some of my thoughts and recommendations for what to do in Chicago.

In the meantime, I do have a few tips for you if you’re planning a trip to Chicago:

Purchase your parking ahead of time. If you’re driving to your destination, plan where you are parking! Also, beware that not all hotels have parking. For my stay, I pre-paid a 3-day parking pass at a nearby ramp.

Purchase your passes ahead of time. This will also save you a headache and some money. If there is something that you want to see or do, don’t wait until the last minute to buy tickets. Often, tourist stops have higher prices at the door than online.

Stay loyal to a hotel chain. Many hotel chains or groups have loyalty programs that are free to join. I’m part of Marriott‘s rewards program, so I typically try to book with Marriott. Then, I get better rates and can rack up points!

Download OpenTable. A lot of restaurants use OpenTable to manage reservations. With the app, you can easily make dinner plans on the go and avoid waiting for a table.

Make a list of what you want to do. Prioritize the items that you 100% want to experience, and keep some bonus items in your back pocket. This ensures that you will get the most out of your trip!

Have fun! I know this is an obvious point, but it’s the most important. Sometimes staring at a computer screen and booking hotels isn’t the most exciting process, but it’s part of the bigger picture: your vacation! Enjoy the process of customizing your trip and curating an experience for yourself.

Have you ever explored Chicago? What are some of your recommendations? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments or on Instagram. Let’s chat!

Nashville Trip Recap

Nashville Trip Recap

I couldn’t have asked for a better time for my first time in the Music City. On my recent trip to Nashville, I enjoyed late honky tonk nights, lots of drool-worthy food, and an endless ambience of country music.

I’d say that my S.O. and I planned just the bones of our trip before visiting. We knew where we were staying, how we were getting there, and we had tickets for the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry. Yet, we left quite a bit of room in our itinerary to explore.

We decided to stay right in the heart of Downtown Nashville at the Moxy for a few nights. This hotel was very different than your average stay. The lobby had live music, games, a swing, and lots of lounge space. On the first night, we checked in at the Moxy bar and got our hotel keys along with a couple of drink chips.

The rooms at the Moxy were very clean and modern with an industrial style. If you ever stay at a Moxy hotel, definitely click the “bedtime story” button on the phone in your room for a laugh.

It was around dinner time by the time we settled into our room and got ready, so I booked us a reservation at The Diner. This place was a quick walk away from our hotel. I’m still thinking about the shrimp and grits that I had; it was seriously the most delicious start to our trip.

After dinner, we walked over to some of the bars. Our first stop was Johnny Cash’s bar. Here we learned that you better pay attention when the band tells you to raise your glass. My S.O. and I may have been distracted in conversation and a bit surprised when the bar went silent (and everyone was looking at us). I’m thankful for the bartender that tapped me on the shoulder so we could all get on with a “hell yeah” cheers.

After Cash’s, we checked out Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk. This spot became one of our favorites. The music was great, and the atmosphere was very fun. According to some locals, it’s one of the louder bars. That night we also went to Ole Red; it was a good time with a more laid-back vibe.

We began day two with a tasty brunch at Another Broken Egg Cafe. Pro tip: make reservations ahead of time for this place, so you don’t have to wait as long as we did.

Once we were full of coffee and beignets, we headed to the Johnny Cash museum. It was conveniently across the street from our hotel. If you’re a fan of Johnny Cash or country music history, I’d say that this is a must-see spot.

Later that day, we grabbed a quick dinner and went over to the Grand Ole Opry. It was an incredible experience to see a show at the Opry, and it was an added bonus that we got to see Jon Pardi take the stage.

The next day we went on a tour of Studio B and explored the County Music Hall of Fame. Overall, it was a really cool experience. At Studio B we even got to sit at the piano that Elvis used to record his music.

At night, we hung out downtown again. As a Big & Rich fan, I had to visit John Rich’s Redneck Riviera.

We also grabbed drinks at Miranda Lambert’s bar and Nudie’s Honky Tonk. Casa Rosa had a great dance floor and all the pink decor you could dream of. When we went to Nudie’s, it was gorgeously decorated for the holiday season.

As we walked around downtown, I did some window shopping at Boot Country. But, all I got was a photo with their giant boot. Unfortunately, I was not going to fit new boots in my luggage.

The following day, we checked out of the Moxy and into the Graduate. We thought it would be a nice place to spend our last night in Nashville. Full transparency: the hotel was gorgeous, but the service was not. I wouldn’t book a stay there again, but I would probably stop by to snap some insta-worthy pictures.

Soon after we got into our room, we went to the rooftop bar, White Limozeen. I had a “Queen of the Rodeo” cocktail, which was absolutely delicious. Later, we grabbed dinner at an Italian restaurant across the street and then watched a movie in our room. It was a good and relaxing night before traveling home the next day.

When we got back to Green Bay, we had a lot of sleep to catch up on, but it was absolutely worth it. I’m looking forward to planning another adventure soon.

Have you ever been to Nashville? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments or on Instagram. Let’s chat!