Archive of ‘Travel’ category

girls’ mountain weekend

Before November gets away from us, I want to share one of the most fun parts of October, both this year and last year. In my post on my quick trip to NYC I touched on the drastic difference between the mountains and the city, which was especially noticeable after visiting them only nine days apart.

Girls' Mountain Weekend | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Girls' Mountain Weekend | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Girls' Mountain Weekend | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Girls' Mountain Weekend | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

We started the weekend off with brunch at a quaint coffee shop “in town.” I always find it so funny that we “go into town” when we visit. That is such a novel concept for me – the girl who takes public transportation to work. After brunch, we took our time meandering along the winding Blue Ridge Parkway, taking in the beautiful leaves and the fog rolling between the mountains. We hopped off in one of the towns along the parkway and stopped at a corn maze, which has likely already changed over to be a Christmas tree supplier. The whole weekend was what I imagine to be the quintessential fall mountain weekend: slow breakfast, Blue Ridge Parkway drives with changing leaves, and a corn maze to top it off.

Girls' Mountain Weekend | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Girls' Mountain Weekend | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Girls' Mountain Weekend | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Girls' Mountain Weekend | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

It was so special to be able to spend some girl time together before this lovely long-time friend had her baby (welcome, baby Fletcher!). It was such a fun, and much-needed relaxing trip in the midst of an otherwise busy time. In this time of daily texts, fawning over the new life that our friend is nurturing, and giving thanks for all we have, I am more grateful than ever for these lifelong friends of mine. These friends who have been and always will be there for me, who support me and encourage me, and who lift me up and pray for me when I need it most. We have memories together dating back to when we were toddlers, and needless to say, have gone through lots of life changes together, but this sweet season of encouragement through our life changes is one of the best ones.

new york through an iphone

I mentioned in my November goals post that October was a busy month, both for work and in my personal life. The two biggest, and most fun, parts of the month were the trips I took: a girls weekend in the NC mountains to visit a friend who is due with her first baby any day now, and to NYC for a work conference. Which the changing leaves and cooler temperatures, both were such amazing places to visit in October.

After visiting the mountains, New York was a stark, but fun change. The leaves in the city were changing colors and the weather was crisp and cool, especially on my last day. I have been to New York in October before, but this trip convinced me that October is the best time to visit the city. It was beautiful and just what you expect from New York in the fall.

NYC October 2017 | www.passthecookies.com

NYC October 2017 | www.passthecookies.com

While I came for a work conference, I stayed with one of my college suitemates and had so much fun seeing her favorite places and exploring the city on my own. I wish I could do it all over again. Since I was only there for a short period of time, I packed light and left my camera behind, so these iPhone pics are all I have from this trip. They aren’t the best quality, but they still show New York in it’s fall glory.

NYC October 2017 | www.passthecookies.com

My flight didn’t leave until the afternoon the day after the conference, so I had the whole morning to wander and chose to do so on the upper west side. I decided to immerse myself in the New York way and grabbed a hot bagel from Absolute Bagels to eat on a park bench in Riverside Park, just one block away. I have been to NYC multiple times, and have spent time in Central Park, of course, and even Prospect Park, where my half marathon finished two years ago, but had never been to Riverside Park. It was amazing! The three-level park extends most of the way down the west side of Manhattan, sandwiched between the Hudson River and beautiful brownstones. There are bike paths that wind though the park and playgrounds every few blocks. I always find it amazing how great New York is about creating and maintaining green space. While I was eating breakfast I saw crews cleaning the paths, blowing the sand from the sandboxes out of the playground area, and picking up trash from the edges of the streets. The whole park was immaculate and peaceful, even though there were bustling streets just one and two blocks away.

NYC October 2017-7

NYC October 2017 | www.passthecookies.com

After my bagel and UWS wanderings, I made my way to Columbia University, grabbed coffee, and explored campus until I had to head to the airport. Campus was very pretty, but not what I expected. The buildings seemed to all be in different styles of architecture and were on different planes. I’m sure if I had been able to stay a little longer and walk around more the design may have made more sense. Despite the confusing planes, it was cool to walk off of busy streets with tall buildings onto a typical college campus. It didn’t feel like it was in the middle of NYC at all.

NYC October 2017 | www.passthecookies.com

NYC October 2017 | www.passthecookies.com

NYC October 2017 | www.passthecookies.com

NYC October 2017 | www.passthecookies.com

It was fun to explore new places and return to some of the places we went last time (because you can’t have too many Levain Bakery cookies). By the end my trip, I felt like I could navigate the city by myself. With each trip, I see new places and enjoy the city even more. I don’t have plans to go back anytime soon, but looking at these photos makes me want to book a ticket.

NYC October 2017 | www.passthecookies.com

charlottesville and richmond

At first, I wasn’t sure how to feel about this post. It is a reminder that our plans for this trip took a sharp turn soon after we arrived, but also a reminder of the great trip we made out of plans b, c, and d. Months ago, before any news of protests came out, we planned a weekend trip to Charlottesville and the surrounding areas. We asked our UVA friends for their recommendations and put together a list of things we wanted to do, see, and eat. The prices for hotels and Airbnbs in the downtown area were pricier than we were expecting, so we decided to stay in a small town a bit outside of Charlottesville. This ended up being the biggest blessing, as we couldn’t have predicted our drastic change in itinerary, or the necessity to stay out of the city during the crazy weekend of protests.

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

Our original plans for the weekend included a winery, a day exploring UVA and downtown Charlottesville, and maybe a tour of Monticello, if we had time. The winery was our first stop when we arrived on Friday afternoon, and where we learned that we should stay away from Charlottesville on Saturday because of the violence expected at the protests. At the time, our plans for Saturday revolved around spending the entire day in downtown Charlottesville. We quickly rearranged things and booked our Monticello tours for a day sooner than expected, hoping to still be able to pop into Charlottesville for dinner in the evening.

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

After the winery, we stopped for dinner in Charlottesville and had a short chance to walk around UVA, which neither of us had ever visited. The campus was beautiful in the dusk lighting, but all around town extra security guards in highlighter yellow vests were patrolling the streets, restaurants were closing early, and residents were clearing out. People were truly afraid of what was to come. As we headed back to our hotel outside of town, news stories started popping up about the rallies that had already begun by the Jefferson statue where we had just been standing alone, not even thirty minutes prior.

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

We got an early start on Saturday with 9:00 tour of Monticello, which turned out to be a great way to spend the morning. We stayed as long as possible, taking in all of the tours that were included in the admissions ticket, including the guided house and garden tours, and a self-guided tour of the cellars and graveyard. There were many other people who were in the same boat as we were – just trying to stay out of the city – so an early start allowed us to beat the crowds and soak in the cooler temperatures. The visitors’ center was a short walk from Jefferson’s house through the trails, and was flanked by a museum, a great gift shop, and a cute café. In hindsight, I’m glad we had so much time to spend at Monticello. There was so much you could learn about Jefferson and his prized home.

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

As we drove down the mountain from Monticello, we saw signs for a pick-your-own orchard. With nothing else to do, we followed the signs to rows and rows of apple trees, peach trees, and grape vines. A cute general store perched on the hill, welcoming us with apple cider doughnuts and cookies, hard apple cider, and peach soft serve ice cream. We grabbed a bag and walked up to the peach grove, where the peaches were ready for picking. From our spot on the top of the mountain, we could look down over Charlottesville in the valley below, a helicopter circling above the streets. The interactions we had at this farm were so genuine. Like at Monticello, most people at this pick-your-own place were trying to keep their families out of Charlottesville during the protests. We conversed with Hispanic families, Muslim families, and African American families, many who were camped out on the ground with umbrellas for shade with plans to stay on the mountaintop until things calmed down in the town below.

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville | www.passthecookies.com

After seeing the news as the day and evening went on, our plans shifted even further and we decided that it would be best just to skip Charlottesville altogether. Instead, we used the extra time to stop in Richmond on our way home for a coffee date and some bakery hopping. Growing up, we only lived about 2 hours from Richmond, and drove through all the time on our way to visit friends and family, but we never stopped along our road trip or made a destination of it. As crazy as it is, this trip was my first time in Richmond!

A Weekend in Charlottesville and Richmond | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville and Richmond | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville and Richmond | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville and Richmond | www.passthecookies.com

We researched the best (read: cutest) coffee shops on our way through Virginia, and took recommendations from the baristas on the best bakeries in town. I find that sometimes you can do all of the research you want, but the local recommendations are the way to go. They didn’t disappoint. After a lavender latte we met up with my sister, who was in town for a wedding, at Sub Rosa, a wood-fired bakery. I’m convinced Sub Rosa is the best bakery in Richmond, which is totally biased since it is the only one we visited, but it was that good! They had more than five types of croissants and every single thing we tried was amazing. I think we need to make this a regular pit stop on our DC road trips. If you are in the Richmond area – try it! Pictured here are the salami and cheese croissant, the chocolate blueberry croissant, the fig and manchego croissant, and the raspberry and goat cheese croissant. We split an almond croissant between the three of us to take home as well and it was the most amazing almond croissant I have had outside of France.

A Weekend in Charlottesville and Richmond | www.passthecookies.com

A Weekend in Charlottesville and Richmond | www.passthecookies.com

We came home from our weekend saddened by the events in the city we planned to visit, but happy for the chance to focus on good company and the new places we would not have otherwise discovered. I hope to go back to Charlottesville soon to enjoy all the city has to offer.

blacksburg girls weekend

A few weekends ago, my mom and I drove up to visit my sister in Blacksburg. Despite having three girls in the family for almost 23 years, we had never taken a trip with just the girls before this! What were we thinking?! The excitement leading up to the weekend and the absolutely wonderful time we had together confirmed that we were crazy for not taking the time to plan a girls weekend before, and that we will absolutely be doing girls weekends more regularly. According to my mom, this will be at least an annual tradition, but I think she is hoping for more than once a year ;).

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

Personalized gift boxes, my talented sister’s cute chalkboard wall designs, homemade chocolate hazelnut babka, and pizza dough proofing in the kitchen greeted us when we arrived. All three of us went into the weekend with big plans to move my sister from one room to another in her shared house, decorate her new space, and take some time to have fun and relax together. The chalkboard depicts our weekend filled with homemade pizza, moving, yoga, coffee shops, street festival exploration, a winery tour, and brunch.

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

We quickly popped champagne and got started catching up and talking about our grand decorating plans. The whole weekend we joked that other people wouldn’t find moving and rearranging rooms a relaxing vacation, but we were all so excited about it. We’re a strange bunch, but having the same idea of fun is one reason our girls weekend was so great.

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

We stayed up late moving furniture and chatting both nights, and spent the morning soaking in the glorious mountain weather (aka no humidity and mid-70 temperatures) while we walked around the cute community craft festival with tea lattes in our post-yoga clothes. Does it get any better than that? I really don’t think so.

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

The winery was only a blip in our weekend, as we arrived for the tasting soon before the venue was closing, but the location was beautiful and a great excuse for us to get fancy.

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

Blacksburg Girls Weekend | www.passthecookies.com

It was the perfect weekend with some of my favorite people. I’m already excited to start planning the next trip with just the girls :)

los angeles part II

Welcome to the second installment of my Los Angeles trip! If you missed the first, check it out here.

On Sunday, our last day of the trip, we drove out to Santa Monica and up the Pacific Coast Highway 1 to Malibu, where we stopped and walked down the cliffs to the Pacific Ocean. I have been to the Pacific Coast in both San Francisco and San Diego, but the water in Malibu was much more clear and blue than I remembered it being in either of the other California cities. We spent our day wandering around cute towns and driving along the PCH1 with the mountains on one side and the ocean on the other.

Los Angeles | www.passthecookies.com

Los Angeles | www.passthecookies.com

Los Angeles | www.passthecookies.com

Los Angeles | www.passthecookies.com

Los Angeles | www.passthecookies.com

The blooms in Malibu were unbelievable! Wouldn’t you love to have this as your doorway?! (more…)

los angeles part I

Last month I spent a long weekend in Los Angeles with three of my childhood friends. We all grew up at church together and have kept in touch as we have gone to different colleges and moved to different cities. Three of us live in cities and towns across North Carolina and our fourth friend has lived in Los Angeles for about two years now. We have been trying to make plans to visit her since she moved to California, but with four different schedules to juggle, it wasn’t easy. After two years, the announcement of a baby on the way for one of our lovely NC ladies kicked all of our booties into high gear. Sometimes all you need is a nonnegotiable timeline to get things done. ;)

LA-4

LA-3

Our trip was a quick one (we took an early flight and arrived in LA on Friday early afternoon and took an early flight out of LA on Monday morning), and we really only had two and a half days to fit things into our trip, but we made it work! Two things surprised me about LA: it was very chilly, especially for June, and there was no public transportation! I have always heard about LA traffic and how terrible it is, but I didn’t realize that they don’t have a good public transportation system! Every other large city I have visited in the US has some kind of public transportation, and as someone who commutes by bus every day it was shocking to me that LA doesn’t!

LA-2

LA-1

The temperature didn’t get above the mid-70s, with the classic West Coast lack of humidity. The low humidity felt nice, but left us layering sweaters and jackets when it got windy or when the sun went down. As I type this, the temperature is 93 with a heat index of 103 in North Carolina, so it was very different from what we were used to and expecting. 75 in LA did not feel like 75 in NC. It was beautiful, but unexpected, and honestly, a little chilly.

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LA-9

We spent some time wandering around Echo Park and eating at delicious local restaurants, but also made sure to hit up Shake Shack and see some of the Hollywood stars on our first night. In the few days we had in the city, I feel like we got a great view of a lot of areas, as we drove around different neighborhoods and up and down the mountain to Griffith Observatory. There was a huge event going on at Griffith Observatory the weekend we were there, so we didn’t get a chance to see the view from there, but we saw a beautiful sunset from the top of another mountain one night and over the water from the Santa Monica Pier another night.

Los Angeles | www.passthecookies.com

Los Angeles | www.passthecookies.com

Los Angeles | www.passthecookies.com

One of our favorite places (hence all of the photos) was The Last Bookstore. It is a book-lover’s paradise. All four of us were immediately enamored and spent over an hour looking around at all of the different sections. If you are in LA, whether you like reading or not, this is a great place to check out. There are thrifted books that people have sold to the store (I got two books for $4 each!), and new books that have just been released. The combination is so unique because you can get great deals on books you recognize, but also see all of the current raves. The bookstore’s second floor is more artistic than the downstairs section. Books create tunnels and windows, local artists studios line one wall, and you can find old books sorted by color (fillers for those perfectly styled bookshelves).

Los Angeles | www.passthecookies.com

Los Angeles | www.passthecookies.com

Next up, Santa Monica and Malibu!

weekend in philadelphia

Wedding season is in full force, both in our lives and in this time of the year. We have attended three weddings in three states in the past six weeks, and have wedding festivities of some sort almost every weekend from now until the next wedding in mid-June. With Will’s medical school schedule being so out of our control, it can sometimes be difficult to plan these trips far enough in advance to buy reasonably priced plane tickets. So far, the weddings have fallen perfectly in line with his weekends off (how that happened, we still aren’t sure, but are oh so thankful), so we have been able to make some epic, quick-turnaround road trips out of these last couple of weekends. We have driven through eight states, crossed time zones, and had an absolutely wonderful time visiting new places, catching up with friends and family and celebrating new marriages. One of the weddings we recently attended was in Philadelphia, a city I had never visited.

Weekend in Philadelphia | www.passthecookies.com

I joked with Will about the daffodils in the window boxes everywhere. They bloomed in North Carolina almost a month earlier, so it was funny to see them just popping up on our weekend in Philadelphia.

Weekend in Philadelphia | www.passthecookies.com

Weekend in Philadelphia | www.passthecookies.com

I don’t have photos from the wedding itself, but the ceremony took place in one of the oldest Presbyterian churches in Philadelphia, established in 1768. As we walked around the history nerd in me loved thinking about how much history took place in the city and all of the notable figures in American history who lived there. We also talked about National Treasure scenes the entire time. That was kind of historical, right? ;)

We spent the night in a small AirBnB in the adorable Queen Village neighborhood. The quiet residential streets surrounding the apartment were lined with cobblestone streets, brick sidewalks and row houses, cute colorful doors, and flower boxes just beginning to bloom. I would definitely recommend staying here if you want to experience the charm of the city while still being close to most of the attractions.

Weekend in Philadelphia | www.passthecookies.com

Weekend in Philadelphia | www.passthecookies.com

Weekend in Philadelphia | www.passthecookies.com

We drove up for the wedding, but were lucky to be able to visit some of our wonderful college friends who now live in Philadelphia on our quick trip. They led us around many notable areas of Philadelphia as we walked from Queen Village to Old City, City Center and Rittenhouse Square. Though we were in Philadelphia for less than 24 hours I feel like we saw so much, thanks to our wonderful tour guides!

Weekend in Philadelphia | www.passthecookies.com

Weekend in Philadelphia | www.passthecookies.com

Weekend in Philadelphia | www.passthecookies.com

Where we stayed:
AirBnB in Queen Village

Where we ate:
Drinks at 2nd Story Brewing Company
Brunch at The Little Lion

What we saw*:
Independence Hall
Liberty Bell
Independence National Historical Park and Independence Mall
Reading Terminal Market – Apparently this is the place to get doughnuts. We’re marking it for our next visit!
Museum of the American Revolution – This was right across from our brunch spot and had just opened two days before we arrived! We didn’t have time to look around, but I would love to see it next time we visit.
City Hall
Cute cobblestone streets – There were many areas with these. We walked down a few adorable alleys that our friends had been to before (see the pictures above).

*We didn’t have time to go into any of these, except Reading Terminal Market, since we were in a time crunch, but we passed them and peeked in on our mini walking tour.

gift guide for the jetsetter

Moving from baking and cooking to one of my other favorite activities – traveling! This gift guide for the jetsetter is filled with ideas small and large for the frequent traveler or the on-the-go friends and family members in your life. Whether they are traveling across the globe or across town, there are items in every price range that make a thoughtful gift and help them in their busy, mobile lives. Some of these items are so useful for everyday life that I was tempted to get them for myself (looking at the travel mug, dry shampoo and clothes steamer). :)

Gift Guide for the Jetsetter | passthecookies.com

Starting with the most obvious, a duffel bag or weekender bag is a great gift for any frequent traveler. You can often find these smaller bags at great prices for their size, which makes your gift seem even more impressive ;) Duffel bags and weekenders are great for short trips and can be used as carry-on bags if they are the right size, meaning they are double as useful!

These luggage tags are so cute and a great addition to the jetsetter’s bags. The pretty hues will make it easier to find her luggage amidst all of the other bags on the baggage claim belt. These make a great stocking stuffer too!

I love all of the Rifle Paper Co. products, but their travel inspired paper goods are always some of my favorites, especially as I make it to more of the cities on their calendars and prints. This “bon voyage” calendar is perfect to help the girl on the go plan when she will be on trips and get some inspiration at the same time!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, socks are a great gift for ANYONE on your list. I always pack an extra pair of socks in my purse when I travel in case I get cold or just want to feel comfortable. I love these cute skiing penguin print socks to inspire a winter excursion!

I do lots of research before we take trips and always find travel books to be helpful. I have always loved the New York Times 36 Hours books since they are filled with great trip ideas, but are pretty enough to make great coffee table books and conversation starters. They have many variations, including specific regions and cities in the US, as well as more broad areas of different countries. To go along with the travel book, these language phrasebooks are a great gift for anyone who is planning on going on a foreign trip, but isn’t confident with their language skills. These books are pretty and so helpful when you need to know the right word for bread and how to ask where the bathroom is in a different language.

A travel mug is an easy gift for both constant travelers and just those who are on-the-go in general. They are convenient and a much cheaper (and cute) way to have coffee in the morning than a stop at the coffee shop every day. I love the ceramic ones that have started coming out – wouldn’t they be great for a car ride near or far?

One of the worst parts of traveling is forgetting things or not having the things you need on hand. These cute minimergency kits take care of that and come in so many colors and variations for anyone on your list (even one specifically for traveling!). Gift them to coworkers, friends, or in your sister’s stocking, and maybe stash one in your purse while you’re at it ;).

I always find that it takes more effort to look put-together after a long day of traveling. It is difficult to get enough sleep when you are on the go, which can affect the rest of your trip if you aren’t prepared. I love sleep masks for long plane trips (or really long car trips), especially when you are adjusting to a time change. They help you get some rest while in transit, which helps you look and feel less tired for the rest of the trip. Some of my favorite post-flight or post-travel products are dry shampoo and stay-all-day lipstick. In 1 minute you can go from a weary traveler to a fresh new girl, ready to see the sites. Face masks are a nice treat for anyone (and are great stocking stuffers!), but an especially great indulgence for those who travel often to give them some relaxation after what can sometimes be a long, stressful journey.

I have heard so many great things about clothes steamers and am so tempted to get one for myself. They are great for travelers to use when they unpack their suitcase of wrinkled clothes. There are lots of small ones that are very portable and are so affordable! This is also great for someone who might not travel a lot, but just doesn’t have a lot of time on her hands. A quick steam would be so much faster than pulling out the ironing board!

tennessee road trip

This past weekend Will and I went on a road trip to Nashville, Tennessee for a family wedding with his brother and his brother’s fiance. We stayed in the cute little town of Franklin, right outside Nashville, but made stops in Nashville and Knoxville on our way home. We didn’t get to see much, since the drive was so long and we were short on time, but we still made the most of our trip and enjoyed every place we went.

Tennessee October 2016-1

On Saturday morning our road trip crew plus Will’s mom and sister went to the nearby Factory at Franklin in search of the Five Daughters Bakery doughnut shop. The bakery was housed inside the historic building and surrounded by cute boutiques and restaurants. A large farmer’s market was taking place in the parking lot of the building, with tons of vendors and fresh, locally grown and raised foods. The inside of the factory was decorated with live trees and beautiful chandeliers juxtaposing the worn exposed brick walls, industrial metal railings and concrete floors. We only had the morning to explore, otherwise we would have spent hours there!

Tennessee October 2016-3

Tennessee October 2016-2

Above is the line for doughnuts! We can confirm that they lived up to the hype. There were so many great flavors to choose from, which made our decision difficult once we got to the counter. Eventually we picked 7 different flavors to split between the six of us.

Tennessee October 2016-4

Tennessee October 2016-5

Tennessee October 2016-6

We chose the maple glazed doughnut, vanilla cream doughnut, pumpkin spice doughnut, huckleberry doughnut with chestnut cream filling, smore’s doughnut with graham cracker cream filling, the cinnamon kouign-amann (called the “quinnamon”), and the orange kouign-amann (the “quinn”), all pictured below. The huckleberry icing was so vibrantly colored and we were surprised that almost all of the doughnuts had some kind of filling, even though they were light and fluffy and had holes in them. I also loved that they came in a pretty pink box :)

Tennessee October 2016-7

Tennessee October 2016-9

Tennessee October 2016-11

Tennessee October 2016-13

Tennessee October 2016-15

We spend most of the rest of the day and night at Will’s cousin’s beautiful wedding. I don’t have photos from that, because I always leave the photography to the hired photographers, since their photos are the ones that matter and are much better than I would take, but the whole event was gorgeous. It was an outdoor wedding set in the rolling hills amidst changing fall leaves that seemed to glow like fire when the setting sun hit them. Bistro lights strung from tree top to tree top above our heads at the barbeque reception, and personalized details graced every corner of the outdoor venue, that had been transformed from a cabin’s backyard. It perfectly fit the bride and couldn’t have been a more beautiful night.

We got on the road early on Sunday to head back home, leaving room for some stops along the way. Our first stop, of course, was Nashville! Since we didn’t have much time to explore (and didn’t really know what to explore), we set our priority to find a cute local coffee shop.

Tennessee October 2016-17

Barista Parlor in Germantown fit the bill perfectly. If/when we make it back to Nashville again I would absolutely go back to try the other great items on their menu and soak up the light-filled hipster shop. They are known for their bourbon vanilla latte (yes, it was delicious), but have a ton of biscuit sandwiches and other lattes that looked amazing as well. The collection of records to stock the record player in the built-in unit on the wall was as impressive as the beautifully wrapped (expensive) artisan chocolate on display, and the coffee contraptions that look like chemistry equipment. They mastered beautiful branding in every inch of the coffee shop – right down to the bottom of the mug that you only see when you finish your coffee. Aesthetics on point.

Tennessee October 2016-18

Tennessee October 2016-19

Tennessee October 2016-21

Our next stop on the long road trip back was Knoxville. About an hour before we arrived in Knoxville we started trying to find a place to eat lunch. Between the time change and the time of the day we were getting there it seemed like everything was going to be closed. As we got pulled into town we had low expectations of the city, until we pulled past entire streets of bustling sidewalk cafes. What???? We were pleasantly surprised and ended up seeing great parts of the city as we strolled from our parking spot near the theatre to the restaurant-filled square.

Tennessee October 2016-23

Tennessee October 2016-24

Tennessee October 2016-22

While it was a long trip, and most of our waking weekend was spent in the car, it was still totally worth it and filled with fun, family, great food, and beautiful fall scenes. Tennessee, you were wonderful, let’s meet up again (maybe for longer next time)!

fall foliage trips

Two weeks ago I visited a childhood friends in the mountains. It was the beginning of October but the leaves on some of the trees were already starting to change. With the cooler weather that has come this week, I keep looking around and thinking the trees should be more colorful here than they are. The combination of cooler weather and pumpkins everywhere surrounded by green trees makes me long for beautiful fall foliage that we see in photos every year around this time. The beautiful color-filled small towns of New England, pretty stoops and changing leaves in the cities, and orange, yellow and red spotted mountains are all so enticing. Last year I had the chance to be in New York in October and it was as perfect as the pictures look. I would love to take a fall foliage trip and spend time in some of the other beautiful towns and cities known for their fall charm. I have gathered a few places known for their leaf peeping below. Are there any great ones that are missing?

New England
I have seen photos of so many gorgeous places in New England that I would love to visit. From the main cities of Providence, New Haven, and Boston, to the small town main streets and quaint countrysides, all of the colors are incredible. I love seeing the brightly colored photos from these places and imagining that the streets here are filled with that many vibrant hardwood trees. Some great places to start are Stowe and Burlington, Vermont; Providence, Rhode Island; New Haven, Connecticut; and the Berkshires, Massachusetts.

Fall Foliage Trips - New England

Fall Foliage Trips - New England

Boston
We couldn’t go through New England fall foliage without singling out Boston. With so many sites to see and so much history, it is always a great place to visit. But, it looks especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves on the trees in the Public Gardens and Boston Commons are changing. Not to mention the fall foliage against the gorgeous buildings at Harvard, along the Charles River and in Cambridge. (more…)

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