Weekend Getaway: Asheville

We’re heading to Asheville, NC later this month for Sarah’s bachelorette party. I’ve actually spent a decent amount of time in Asheville the past few years, and since graduating college, I’ve probably visited about 2-3 weekends per year. It is such a beautiful area and the town itself is a ton of fun!

You can’t go to the mountains of North Carolina without doing some hiking or other outdoor activity. I like to visit the North Carolina Arboretum or find a trail in the Pisgah National Forest. Bonus - Both hiking options are either near or located off of the Blue Ridge Parkway, so it’s nice to relax after a hike by cruising down the Parkway while enjoying the spectacular views.

There are two things you can’t miss while you’re in Asheville.

  1. A visit to the Grove Park Inn for sunset cocktails on the terrace.

  2. Brunch! Along with everyone and their brother, my two favorite brunch spots are Early Girl Eatery and Tupelo Honey Cafe, but the city offers lots of other delicious brunch options.

Sarah’s bachelorette party won’t be the first one I’ve attended in Asheville, but it is the first one I’m planning. I have a tendency to re-visit my favorite places without branching out. I've drafted a tentative itinerary, but other than dinner reservations at The Junction, we're not tied to any plans. I'd love any and all suggestions for your favorite places to check out in Asheville!

 
 

 

 

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day in elementary school was just the best! I loved picking out my box of Valentine cards, carefully tearing down the perforated lines of the card stock, selecting which card I would give to my closest friends and secret crush, and taping a piece of chocolate on each one. I loved decorating my shoe box that would become my Valentine mailbox and making crafts out of pink and red construction paper and doilies. I loved looking through all of my cards during my afternoon ride home on the school bus. Seriously, it was one of the best days of the year! Then middle school happened, and Valentine's Day became one of my least favorite days. It became a stressful holiday where I had to think about romance or worse - the lack of romance in my life, depending on the year. Although I've been fortunate enough to have the BEST Valentine the past few years, it still stresses me out. Candlelight dining and the pressure to make the evening feel special is just too much for me.

Around this time every year, Jay and I hesitantly look at each other and agree to not exchange gifts. Inevitably, he'll surprise me with flowers, and I'll make him a sweet treat. We'll decide to do something together because that is way more fun than receiving heart-shaped jewelry. A couple of years ago, I happened to be in San Antonio for a work event that ended on Friday, so Jay flew up and joined me for the rest of the Valentine's weekend. We rode bikes to missions along the river, ate well, and enjoyed the 75 degree weather. It was the best!

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This year, we have less time to get away and are planning a longer trip for later in the year, so we're heading to one of my favorite places in Central Kentucky - Shaker Village! We are spending the night, going to brunch, and if the weather cooperates, hiking and exploring the village in the afternoon. It should be just long enough to feel like a mini-getaway.

If you haven't been to Shaker Village recently, it has seriously gotten cool. There are so many events I want to go to in the next few months, from beer and bourbon tastings to concerts to yoga and paddle boarding. We're heading to the Bee My Honey Brunch, which couldn't be more perfect for us with brunch fare, honey, and bourbon.

One thing that I do like to do on Valentine's Day is have a festive outfit. Since it falls in the middle of winter, little red dresses and pink skirts are out of the question in Kentucky. Because we're having a casual Valentine's Day, I'm all about being comfortable and wearing practical clothing. Here's what I'll be packing for our weekend...

Sweater    Blouse    Jeans    Nail Polish    Bracelet    Flats

 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on Valentine's Day! Some people love the romance and others prefer to pass on celebrating. What will you be up to?

Cheers!

Laura

Christmas in the Bluegrass

 
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There's just nothing like a Kentucky Christmas, and signs are popping up everywhere that the Christmas season is upon us. Just this week I felt my first true nip in the air. While I consider myself more of a warm weather kind of girl, a nice chill just seems right for December. Today we are outlining our top picks of things to do in the Bluegrass for Christmas. We've picked activities in several locales, so whether you live in Louisville, Lexington, or a small town, you may be able to find something on this list for everyone.

Family Fun

4th Street Live Ice Skating (Louisville)

Triangle Park Winter Ice Village and Skating (Lexington)

Christmas at the Galt House (Louisville)

Reindeer Ramble 5K (Lexington)

Southern Lights Holiday Festival (Lexington)

Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting (Somerset)

Shows

The Brown-Forman Nutcracker (Louisville)

Bowling Green Orchestra Holiday Pops (Bowling Green)

Radio City Rockettes at The Grand Ole Opry House (Nashville - This is obviously not in Kentucky, but it is a fun show and close enough for many Kentuckians to visit.)

Food

Christmas Tea at Shaker Village (Harrodsburg)

The Whistle Stop Cafe Holiday Dining (Glendale)

Christmas Markets

Wine+Market Holiday Open House (Lexington)

Christmas Market at Michler's (Lexington)

This is certainly not a comprehensive list of holiday events in the Bluegrass, but it is some of our tried-and-true favorites! We'd love to hear your  picks for holiday happenings!

Cheers!

Laura & Sarah

Weekend Roundup: 24 Hours in Nashville

This past weekend, Jay and I headed to Nashville for a quick 24 hour trip. While we planned the trip around the afternoon Vanderbilt vs Kentucky football game, we managed to pack a ton of other activities into our schedule. We’ve both spent considerable amounts of time in the city and certainly have our favorites that we like to hit when we’re in town. Because Nashville is booming right now, it’s always a tough to decide whether to check out a new hot spot or stick with our favorite hangouts. Since we were in the city for such a short amount of time, we decided it would be easier to revisit some of our well-loved establishments.

Eats:

Mas Tacos: Mas Tacos is in the revitalized East Nashville neighborhood, and there are LOTS of great dining options nearby. Mas Tacos is in an unassuming building across from Pharmacy Burger (another favorite), and it was the perfect place for us to stop for a quick lunch on our way into the city. The hours are somewhat limited, so I recommend making sure they’re open before you get there. The chicken tortilla soup is a MUST!

Mas Tacos

Rotier’s: Rotier’s  is restaurant we like to visit near Vanderbilt’s campus. It is a hole in the wall, and you’re only going to see locals and a few college kids here. We were really hungry after the game, so we stopped by for their French bread burgers, which is what they’re known for, sweet potato fries, and a chocolate milk shake. If you’re looking for comfort food and a reprieve from Nashville’s trendy scene, this is the place to stop.

Puffy Muffin: Popular with Brentwood and Franklin’s older ladies-who-lunch on the weekdays and families on the weekends, the Puffy Muffin has a terrific lunch and brunch menu as well as outstanding baked goods. We popped in for a couple of cookies to enjoy as an afternoon snack. The worst thing about this place is trying to pick just one baked good.

Drinks:

Tavern: Tavern is a gastropub that has a lunch, dinner, late night, and brunch menu. I think their food is decent, but with so many other great restaurants in the city, it isn’t my first choice for a meal. When we come to Nashville, we typically spend at least part of our trip in the West End near Vanderbilt’s campus, so we frequently stop at Tavern for a drink before a Vandy football or basketball game or to grab late night snack after a fun night out. The vibe here is casual, so I didn’t feel like too much of a schlump wearing my game day attire when we stopped for a pre-game beer.

The Patterson House: The Patterson House is in Midtown, and it is the place to stop if you are looking for a quality craft cocktail. Their offering are extensive, and truth be told, I’m not sophisticated enough to recognize many of them. The crowd at The Patterson House is definitely not who you’re going to see dancing the night away at a honkytonk on Broadway. It is set up like a speakeasy with a very intimate setting. My favorite seat is at the bar because it is fascinating to watch the bartenders assemble the intricate drinks. Be prepared to wait for a little while if you come after dinner, but it is definitely worth the wait. This was our last and favorite stop on Saturday night, and the boys both ordered bourbon drinks. You can take the boys out of Kentucky…

Shopping:

My mom, sister, and I frequently make trips to Nashville specifically to shop. Opry Mills is an indoor outlet mall next to the Opry Land Hotel, and we like to go to the Green Hills area if we are looking for slightly more upscale stores that we don’t have in Kentucky, like Nordstrom or Restoration Hardware. We didn’t do much shopping on this trip, but I convinced Jay to stop by Draper James, the new flagship store for Reese Witherspoon’s new apparel line. The first detail I noticed upon entering was the smell of magnolia blossoms. Jay was escorted to the “porch” area and read basketball blogs on his iPhone while I swooned at the clothing and accessories. The store is crisp and fresh, so the clothing really stands out. Here are a couple of my favorites.

Outdoors:

Radnor Lake

We finished out trip with Sunday morning at Radnor Lake. After griping about my feet during a strenuous 10 mile hike in Pisgah National Forest on our one year anniversary trip last month, Jay made me purchase a pair of real hiking shoes. Not pictured because they are NOT CUTE. I tried them out on our morning hike at Radnor Lake State Park, which is a really amazing oasis just south of the city. We saw lots of deer and wild turkeys, and there were still some trees with leaves turning before the winter. Take Granny White Pike to get there from the city. You’ll have major house envy, and you may get a glimpse of a country music star walking to their mailbox.

Where are your favorite places to visit when you're in the Music City?

Cheers!

Laura