Local Travel

Local Travel

“Pitt-stop” in Pittsburgh, PA

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A long weekend without our two little monkeys boys is a rare find. Don’t get me wrong, we love our little guys to pieces, but 3 whole days without a diaper bag, wondering if we have enough formula, snacks and spare undies, and being able to pack the car with just a couple overnight bags is a great little break from our daily routine.

We’ve always heard how similar Cincinnati and Pittsburgh are in terms of size, and scenery and couldn’t wait to see it for ourselves when we were invited to a friends wedding. About 5 hours and 2 stops for junk food later, we were circling the downtown area a few times to familiarize ourselves with the area (Okay, fine. we missed our turn. Twice. Anyway….) then made our way to our hotel to check in.


Omni William Penn Hotel – I wish I could tell you just how beautiful this hotel is. The gold, the chandeliers, the history – the Omni William Penn is grand and gorgeous and just breathtaking. Our stay here was fantastic. From the valet, to the front desk to the concierge and housekeeping, the staff was friendly, welcoming and incredibly helpful (providing information about the hotel, directions to restaurants and even tracking down a bandaid for my blistered feet after a day of wandering around in what I thought were comfortable sandals.) Our room was clean and inviting with not only standard bathroom amenities, but plenty of plugs and built in USB port chargers, and night stands with motion lights at the floor – one of our favorite features of the room (easily amused? Maybe. But we may have googled where to buy them on our way home.)


Primanti Bros. (Market Square) – We’d originally had reservations at a wood fired pizza place, but after hearing from my brother in law that this was “the Skyline of Pittsburgh” we knew we had to give it a shot. We’d also filled ourselves with Doritos and Mike & Ike’s on the way so we thought a sandwich shop would be a little lighter. We were wrong. We were so so very wrong. These sandwiches are gigantic on their own, piled high with meat, cheese and their signature slaw, then to top it all off (literally) they stuff it with a side of fries. Amazing. We’ll definitely be back, but we’ll definitely be sharing.

Altius (Mt. Washington) – We knew we wanted to treat ourselves to a nice dinner while we were child-free. What we didn’t know was that a strong recommendation would lead us up a hillside to an incredible view and an even more incredible meal. I had a filet, Jimmy had a pork chop and we spent nearly two hours talking about how delicious everything was. My only disappointment was being too full to order dessert.

Speakeasy (Omni William Penn Hotel) – I could have stayed here for the duration of our stay. Easily the coolest place we went to and arguably one of the best “lounge” type bars I’ve ever seen. It was uncovered just 8 years ago and had been hidden since 1937. This place does everything right. Music from the 1920’s-1940’s playing in the background, low light and a very exclusive ambiance. The best part … crystal barware. Give me some champagne in a pretty little crystal coupe and I’ll give you all my money. We practically had the place to ourselves which we learned from the doorman is quite the rarity.

The Terrace Room (Omni William Penn Hotel) – We had a delightful breakfast in the Terrace Room with an array of hot tea, coffee and a buffet that offers anything you could ever want. I opted for the smoked salmon avocado toast and it was everything I’d hoped for. The room itself is less like a breakfast room and more like a ballroom – just as beautiful as the rest of the lobby area.

We’d never been to Pittsburgh, but we can’t wait to go back. A fun and unique city that will make you feel at home but with a personality all its own.

Local Travel

National Parks Itinerary

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I’ve always been what some may call, a girly tomboy. Oxymoron you say? I know. But when you find a better way to describe a gal who loves spending a day in the mall ALMOST as much as a day in the mountains, you let me know.

I’m notorious for elaborate dreams (most of which I try to bring to fruition but, ya win some ya lose some – see our last post where I confessed my paleontologist dreams.) The my most recent glimmer in my eye is America’s National Parks – and I’m determined to explore them all. I’ve tackled a few, but recently I checked off a couple more!

We’re big itinerary people, especially our mom who devised a VERY detailed itinerary –sorry, but there will be no rest for the weary for those who wish to replicate this trip!

Day 1: Downtown Moab and “glamping” at Under Canvas Moab 

** if anything is synonymous to a “girly tomboy” it may be glamorous camping.

Day 2: Canyonlands National Park and a drive to Old Town Albuquerque

Canyonlands, National Park, number one, was on our drive out of Moab and is not one that should be skipped! The sites are breathtaking and there’s plenty of short hikes for those just passing through (like us!) .

Where we stayed: A couple hours drive through the barren desert later and we arrived at the Hotel Parq Central in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The hotel was once a hospital…making my old soul / nurse heart sing!

TIP: This hotel is about 20 minutes from where you can catch a shuttle for the balloon fiesta but, if you plan to stay there for the event, you have to book about one year in advance.

Day 3: The International Balloon Fiesta 

**fun fact about me, I have a strange obsession with hot air balloons and this event was a balloon lovers’ DREAM.

TIP: get to the park and rides no later than 4:30 AM and bring a HEAVY coat!

Day 4: The Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe

Santa Fe is about a 1 hour, easy drive from New Mexico.

Our main reason for visiting Santa Fe was to see The Loretto Chapel. If you haven’t heard of the mysteries that lie around there spiral staircase take a moment to do a little reading. It may boost your faith in the process!

Day 5: Petrified Forest National Park and Drive to Sedona, AZ

Next up, another drive by park viewing! On our way to Sedona, we were able to hit a little bit of route 66 and drive through Petrified Forest National park!

Where we stayedJunipine Resort

Where we ate: Oak Creek Brewery

Day  6: Sedona

Up at the crack of dawn to catch our Pink Jeep Tour of the Sedona red rocks. Highly highly recommended!

Where we hiked: Devil’s Bridge : listed as moderate ( and if you’re from Ohio, its extreme. Scrambles galore!)

Where we ate: The Cowboy Club

Day 7: A drive to the Grand Canyon for Mule Riding

If theres one way to see the Canyon, it by mule back. While we didn’t go into the Canyon… stay tuned for day 8.

Where we stayed: El Tovar

Where we ate: El Tovar conveniently has a nice restaurant located in the hotel, reservations are strongly recommended.

Day 8: Plane over the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, and Rafting on the Colorado River. 

Now, if theres ANOTHER WAY to see the canyon, its by plane and raft. This is an experience with a view that I will never forget. The day was packed full of activities and was included in an all day tour.

TIP: Bring water proof gear and warm clothes if going in the fall months!

Day 9: Monument Valley

If you’re a western fan or grew up loving John Wayne movies like I did, Monument Valley is a must see! I couldn’t tell you how many times I said the scenery looked “like a back drop”. We arrived around 2 pm, and were able to hike a few hours before checking in to our sunset horseback riding tour! The view from Monument Valley at Sunset was like nothing I have ever seen before. It was almost like stepping back in time.

Where we stayed:The View

  • The naming of this hotel could not be more accurate. We stayed in the cabins due to the raving reviews they received and I have never been more willing to wake up at 5 am than I was the next morning because … THE VIEW.

Where we hiked: Wild Cat Trail

Where we ate: The View Hotel ( the closest restaurant on the reservation)

Tips: If you’re going on the sunset horseback tour-bring a warm coat! I went from tank top to down vest in about one hour!

Day 10: Back to Salt lake to catch our plane back to Cincinnati

The most bitter sweet ride ever. Ten days of constant movement, I will admit, was exhausting but, it was completely worth it and was spent with two of my most favorite people.

Im now even more in love with the National Parks Service than I was before! So I leave you with a question, where to next?!

Local Travel

Young at Heart in Columbus, OH: Day 2

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Like we said yesterday, viewing a city, especially your favorite city, is so refreshing and fun to see through the eyes of a child. And thats exactly how I felt on Saturday morning. Why? Well, first of all, it was a game day (once again…go bucks.) Second, we were taking my nephew to Jurassic Quest –  America’s largest and most realistic dinosaur event featuring more than 100 dinosaurs!

Let me pause here to say that I always wanted to be Ellie Sattler in Jurassic Park when I was growing up–my childhood passion for paleontology wasn’t one that would exactly soar in Hamilton, Ohio so, here I am. Jessica, Pediatric Nurse on the weekdays; Aunt B, Dinosaur enthusiast, on the weekends.

Our first stop was, once again, coffee and breakfast. The Homewood Suits Columbus / OSU on Lane Avenue serves a great continental breakfast … helloooo hand made waffles!

We then made our way to Jurassic Quest at the Columbus convention center.

Walking up to the door, my buddy was super excited to see the “Long necks, T-Rex, and ….horses.” While things fell short on the equestrian front, kids can saddle up and ride dinosaurs at Jurassic Quest!

“Buddy” right before he rode a “seratritops”

We then made our way to the bounce houses. If you’re anything like us, you’ll forget your socks even when you said one million and a half times, “let’s not forget socks for the bounce house.” Don’t fret, complimentary socks were provided and he was off and bouncing before we knew it.

You’re probably wondering, ok so where are these massive dinosaurs? We had to warm up to those because they were SO realistic. I myself wasn’t so sure I wanted to turn my back on the life size, roaring T-Rex.

We took a lap around the dinosaurs, stopped to get one painted on our face (of course) and ended at the dino shop were we proceeded to spend lots of dollas on dinos #worthit. A little about the face painting station … Jurassic Quest has this amaaaazing set up where you buy your face painting ticket and reserve a spot in line via text message! No waiting in a long line with an impatient little one. We were up against a rapidly approaching nap time so we didn’t get to explore every inch of the exhibit, but there’s truly something for every kid at Jurassic Quest. From walking dinosaur rides, craft stations, science stations and green screen photography, you could easily spend an entire day there.

Tips and Tricks:

  1. Get to Jurassic Quest early, like doors open early- it tends to get more crowded in the afternoon.
  2. If your budget allows, splurge for the VIP upgrade so you can enjoy everything Jurassic Quest has to offer.
  3. Kids under 2 years old are free!
  4. Bring socks for your little dino lover so he/she can play on the bounce houses.
  5. Bring your energy. If your little guy or gal loves dinos as much as ours, you’ll be doing lots of chasing.
  6. Bring your camera – there are lots of photo opportunities you won’t want to miss!
  7. Act like a kid again. Embrace your inner Ellie Sattler and have the time of your life!

Lunch near Columbus Convention Center:

  1. North Market: similar to Findlay Market if you’re a Cincinnatian, but a unique place to stop and one of my favorites in Columbus! This place BUZZES on Saturdays so proceed with caution.
  2. Native Cold Pressed: for the smoothie and juice lovers
  3. Forno Pizza: for the fancier folks – their Hawaiian pizza is my all time favorite!
  4. Pies and Pints
  5. If you want to see campus, there are PLENTY of restaurants going north on High street!


Local Travel

Young at Heart in Columbus, OH: Day 1

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Sometimes the best way to experience a city, no matter how familiar you are with the area, is to be lead by the hand of a child. Specifically your doesn’t-slow-down-for-anything nephew. I spent 4 years exploring Columbus while attending The Ohio State University (ahem……go bucks.), attending concerts, trying new restaurants and touring the city with my roommates. Since graduation, I’ve tried to visit as often as I can and rarely do I turn down the opportunity to spend time in my favorite city. So when Em had this grand plan to pack up her two year old son and head up to Columbus for a weekend full of toddler inspired fun, my bags were practically already packed.

Both family and budget friendly Columbus OH is a great place for a little getaway, no matter your age. We had such a great time as guests of the Columbus Zoo and Jurassic Quest, we thought we’d share our faves from our little weekend trip with all of you.

Where we started: 

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium


First on our list was the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Okay okay …. first on our list was actually coffee and donuts. Anyway, moving on …  We are frequent visitors (and members) of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens. It is one of our favorite attractions in the Cincinnati area and has such a wonderful reputation … so why visit the Columbus Zoo? Because, not all zoo’s are alike, especially the Columbus Zoo! New animals, exhibits, rides and attractions make every zoo a completely different experience. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is the home of Jack Hanna, and the new NatGeo WILD show, Secrets of the Zoo and is known for its manatee rehabilitation and gorilla surrogacy programs.

What we loved most:

  • Stroller/wheelchair accessibility – The Zoo is nearly completely flat (a welcome difference if you’re used to schlepping a wagon or stroller through the hills at the Cincinnati Zoo) Automatic doors were also everywhere. Being 8.5 months pregnant, Em decided to rent a motorized scooter so she would be able to keep up with us and found all the automatic doors to be incredibly convenient.
  • Dinosaur Island – If there’s one thing my nephew loves more than a trip to the Zoo, it’s dinosaurs. He’s obsessed. So naturally we couldn’t pass up Dinosaur Island exhibit and boat ride

  • Heart of Africa – Seeing zebra, giraffe, antelope and other African animals all playing and grazing together was unlike any other Africa exhibit we’d ever seen. A definite must see! Also, I highly suggest embracing your inner child and jump in line to ride a camel – because I sure did.


Upcoming Events at The Columbus Zoo: 

  • Colo’s Classic car show (October 7th)
  • Boo at the Zoo (Last 2 weekends in October) – pumpkin-palooza carved pumpkin display, pumpkin smashes for animals and treat stations for the little ones!
  • Wildlights (November 15 – January 6) The Columbus Zoo is lit up with more than 3 million lights and several animated light shows.

Suggestions and Tips: 

  • After purchasing tickets for a few of the rides, we came to the realization it would have been more cost effective to purchase a wristband than to buy individual tickets for the attractions.
  • For our next visit we will likely bring some healthy snacks along. (Check the cooler/bag policy before packing!) We had a hard time finding healthy options for lunch, but on a 90 degree day we opted for a double scoop ice cream cone from the little ice cream shop just inside the gates.

Where we Stayed: 
Homewood Suites Columbus/OSU

This was the perfect place for us to stay after a long day at the zoo. Huge rooms and a full kitchen were perfect for a take out dinner from Hudson 29 next door (because an un-napped two year old in a restaurant may as well be a time bomb.)

A clean, well kept pool provided a relaxing after dinner activity and I took advantage of the spacious fitness center … while pregnant Emily took advantage of having a whole bed to herself and total control of the thermostat.


Local Travel

“Bloom Where You Are Planted.”

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“Bloom in the garden where He has planted you

…radiate the beauty and fragrance of His providence” 

Saint Francis de Sales

There’s something about going back to your hometown. Ease, simplicity, comfort. Something about knowing the back roads, shortcuts and local favorites that makes you immediately feel welcome and at rest. Both of us have had the “move away” itch from time to time. For me, it was Nashville, Tennessee – for Jess, it was New York City. Yet, something kept us right here in Ohio. Even when Music City and The Big Apple tug at us from time to time, we’ve never been able to pull up our roots, pack our bags and go.

Scrolling through Instagram, it’s easy to feel the need to compete. Fashion, travel, parenting, home renovations, fitness … no matter the topic, we’ve all felt the pressure to do more, be more, go more, spend more. Social media can make you feel like you couldn’t possibly be happy, truly happy, right where you are, with what you have, with who you have. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve found myself playing the “I wish ….” game from time to time … perfection, wealth, beauty, “success.” Jess and I have talked about this plenty of times, but we’ve always come to the conclusion that we are happiest with simplicity and familiarity. For us that means living “in the garden where He planted us.”

We’re hometown girls and that’s okay. 

    While we’ve toyed with other plans since college graduation, we’ve learned to accept that God’s plan for us didn’t involve a busy bustling city or the country music capital. No no, we were meant to stay right here and create a blooming, beautiful, “fragrant” life without leaving the state where we were born.

We were meant to let our lives blossom right where our roots began and that simplicity is what brings us true happiness. Our family is here, our traditions are here, and our hearts are here. And here we’ll stay. 

Be happy with your little corner of His garden, wherever that may be. For some of us it’s where we grew up, others have been transplanted and have nurtured a new garden. Wherever God has led you, create a beautiful life right where you are with the people who love you.

You’re comfortable. You’re happy. You’re home. Let that be enough.

Local Travel

Backstage at Music Hall

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One of Cincinnati’s most famous, and in our opinion, most beautiful landmarks recently underwent a massive facelift. Originally we thought, how could anyone possibly make it any better? It’s architecture and history are so iconic to our dear city we were a bit anxious when we heard about the renovations so we’ve had all our fingers crossed that the renovations would be more of a restoration. The word renovate for us carries the connotation of modern updates, busting down walls, tearing up original flooring … our love of HGTV is very much to blame.

Emily’s husband, Jim, is a member of the BOLD group with United Way, a group dedicated to teaching its members how to get involved in their communities by serving on boards for local non-profits. As a team-building event, the group got together last weekend for a backstage tour of Cincinnati’s Music Hall, led by the Society for Preservation of Music Hall.

Cautiously optimistic about the new updates, they followed their tour guide, a member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for more than 35 years, through the doors. Inside, it is still the same gorgeous building, but now looking more beautiful than ever. Her high ceilings and columns topped with gleaming capitols, catching all the light in just the right places.

Inside the auditorium the most prominent difference is the seating. Seats are a bit wider and offer much more leg room than in the past, but mostly everything else is just as we remember. Other changes were made to improve the acoustics of the building, and the chandelier (oh, that incredible chandelier!) was taken down completely for a thorough cleaning and now hangs proudly above the center of the space, sparkling like it was brand new.

The Backstage tour is just $15 with group discounts available for groups of 10+. Children are welcome and are only $5 for anyone under 12 years of age. (Em brought her 1½ year old with no problems) Check out a list of all of the tour options available here.

We JUST booked our tickets to the Harry James dance (hosted by WMKV) in the Music Hall Ballroom and we are counting down the days. We went to the Glenn Miller Orchestra dance back in October and danced (if you can call it that) until our feet were sore. These dances are so much fun and we don’t plan on missing any of them from now on!

We can’t wait to see a performance in the auditorium! Ballet? Symphony? Pops? How will we choose!

SDJ E-Signature copy

Local Travel

Have Yourself a Merry New York Christmas


We love Christmas in our hometown, and we love Christmas in Cincinnati. We love Christmas just about anywhere, in fact. You know we’re big believers in exploring your little corner of the country. However, we’re also big believers in the fact that sometimes you have to bend the budget a bit and treat yourself to an unforgettable experience.

Jessica had always heard nobody does Christmas like New York City, so she was ready to see what all the fuss was about. Of course, NYC did not disappoint. Thinking about visiting?  Scroll on down for Jessica’s Christmas in New York City tips and recommendations:


Holiday Have-To’s: 

  • The Rockettes –  We knew we were in for a treat, but we had no idea just how wonderful this show would be. Plan to arrive 45 – 60 minutes early to avoid crowds and treat yourself to the “good seats!” You won’t regret it.


  • Central Park Carriage Ride – we spent a magical 45 minutes clip-clopping around Central Park.
  • Saks Holiday Light Show – Disclaimer: the crowds are not to be taken lightly. We stumbled upon their light show on our way to dinner and were quickly swallowed up by a sea of onlookers. Worth it, though!


  • Ice Skating at Bryant Park – Sure, Rockefeller Center is the tourist hot spot, but Bryant Park is cheaper, and tends to be less crowded. Which means … less people to witness you wipe out on the ice. $20 per person or free with your own skates. Speaking of Rockefeller Center …

  • The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center – The star of the show. The beating heart of Christmas in New York City and a definite on the must-see list.


Where we shopped: 

  • Macy’s – Nothing puts us in the mood to shop like a well-decorated department store. Hello christmas lights and red velvet … goodbye paycheck.
  • Holiday Markets at Bryant and Central Parks – a great place to find one of a kind souvenirs an stocking stuffers.


Where we ate/drank: 

  • Del Frisco’s ($$$-$$$$) – Conveniently located across from Radio City Music Hall and steaks well worth the price tag.
  • Flute – 1920’s themed champagne speakeasy with an intimate atmosphere *Swoon*


  • Da Marino ($$-$$$) – Lobster ravioli that will change your life, generous wine pours and a piano crooning in the background. Heaven with a side of marinara.
  • The Carnegie Club – warm up with a Manhattan next to the fireplace at this shmoozy cigar lounge. Easily our dad’s favorite spot!
  • Lillie’s Victorian Establishment ($$) – Victorian elegance greets you at every turn in this magical little place. Lunch served on fine china and tea in delicate porcelain had us feeling like royalty.


Where we stayed: 

  • Central Park Mariott on 54th street – the front desk staff offered to hold our bags while we waited for our room so we checked our bags and headed to lunch. This hotel was a great price comparatively for the season and was in a great location, centrally located between Times Square and Central Park.


Favorite thing we brought along:

  • A vintage fur –  because, if not in New York at Christmas time … when? Faux or authentic, bust out that vintage mink and get your Doris Day on.

How cute is our Mom? Her blonde mink bolero was a steal for just around $20 at an antique auction. 


Once all the holiday boxes were checked, there were a few more things we had to see before we left….

  • Downton Abbey Exhibit – We can’t get enough Downton Abbey, so when we found out the exhibit was in town we had to make a stop. Well worth the time and money!

  • Natural History Museum – we stopped in to check out the exhibits and see where Night at the Museum was filmed.
  • Choir Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral – Catholic or not, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a welcome break from the chaos of the Christmas crowds and a beautiful choir performance that will gently bring you back to the true meaning of the Christmas season. Plan to arrive early – we grabbed coffee and windowshopped our way there.


  • Chicago at Ambassador Theater – One of our favorite movies, and we finally got the chance to see it live! The Ambassador Theater is a perfectly intimate auditorium, plan to arrive a little early (30 minutes at least) to avoid the rush!
  • Good Morning America – We decided to wander down to Times Square to see if we could catch any of the Good Morning America live shots. We got lucky and wound up on TV behind Meteorologist, Ginger Zee. 15 seconds of fame …. Check.

  • New York Public Library – where are our fellow Sex And The City fans? Carrie and Big’s wedding was supposed to be held here in the SATC movie, but the New York Public Library has so much more to offer.

Local Travel

5 Reasons to Take a Trip to West Baden Springs Hotel


Emily turned 30 last week! To celebrate, we’re giving you a peek into her surprise trip and 5 reasons you’ll love French Lick Resort & West Baden Springs Hotel


This year was a big one. Or so everyone told me. THIRTY.

Sure, thirty sounded older, but doesn’t it also sound more sophisticated? 29 year old me certainly thought so, and I was prepared to celebrate it appropriately. Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you my birthday seems to go on forever. Can anyone really fit a celebration that big into 24 short hours? I say no. 

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A little back story here: he knows I love a surprise, but also knows I will drive myself bananas trying to figure it out. So naturally, he told me 2 months ago and then … NOTHING. No clues, no tripped up words, no subtle hints or forgotten receipts left lying on the counter. I had NO idea where we were going.

What I didn’t know was my husband, Jimmy, had planned a surprise getaway for my birthday – which also happens to be our wedding anniversary.

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We hopped in the car, dropped off the kid, grabbed a coffee and were on our way.

A beautiful 3 hour drive ended at the even more beautiful West Baden Springs Hotel. We stayed Thursday – Saturday and had plenty to do. These are just a few of our favorites … in no particular order:

 1. The “Little Things” – West Baden Springs Hotel is full of tiny details to enhance your trip. Our room was gorgeous, he splurged for the Historical Room, knowing my love of antiques and old-timey details. Paned French windows with velvet curtains overlooked the atrium, a claw foot tub, and chocolates and chilled champagne, all there to greet us when we arrived. He also reserved a horse drawn carriage to pick us up from dinner (awwww…) and when we got back to the hotel, a piano was crooning in the atrium so we sat to listen for a while. The perfect ending to a busy day.

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2. The History – The original hotel, built in 1855, was destroyed by a fire in 1901, but was reopened in 1902 by then owner, Lee W. Sinclair. His new design included the beautiful indoor atrium, umbrella-ed by the “Eighth Wonder of the World” dome and a fireplace that could burn 14-foot logs. (Still intact, but not functioning – or at least not when we were there.) The hotel changed hands a few times before it closed its doors and sat empty for nearly 20 years. Read more about the hotels history here.

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3. The Dining – Our first night in French Lick we had reservations at 1875: The Steakhouse, located inside the French Lick Resort which was fantastic. Don’t leave without a piece of cheesecake! We also tried out the decadent Grand Colonnade Restaurant for breakfast and were not disappointed. The only thing better than that waffle bar is the room itself. Gilded and Gorgeous and perfectly grandiose.

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French Lick Resort is the “Birthplace of Tomato Juice.” 1875 serves each guest a shotglass of their signature tomato juice to honor this part of their history.

4. The Relaxing Atmosphere –  On day 2 I was whisked away to the Spa at West Baden Springs Hotel for a couples massage. Once we got over the implied romantics (we’re not the couples massage type, so we spent the first few minutes holding back laughter) we settled in for 50 minutes of quiet relaxation. The kind of quiet you just don’t get when there’s a 1 year old at home. 

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Spa selfies are the best selfies …

We took the rest of the afternoon to take walks and enjoy the view from the breathtaking veranda that wraps around the hotel. We chose two rockers in the sun; I did a crossword and he read the days newspaper. I could’ve stayed there all day. We let the beautiful gardens and surrounding areas lead us. To tell us their stories at their own pace.

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5. The Outdoor Activities – Wooded trails teeming with wildlife surround the hotel grounds, and at varying difficulty levels, there is something for everyone. Paved paths for runners and walkers, rugged woodsy trails for hiking and mountain bikes, and gravel drives for a relaxing walk or drive through the woods. We hiked every day, first down the gravel driveway to the stables, and eventually ventured into the woods for more of a challenge, in awe of the autumn beauty everywhere we looked.

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It’s safe to say we’ll be back, and hopefully very soon!

Local Travel, Shop Small

“A Slice of Time”


Time is one of those things we never seem to have enough of; a rare commodity and a fleeting luxury that seems to slip right through our fingers as fast as we find it. How many times a day do you find yourself saying, “I don’t have time to… fill in the blank.” We race from work, from errands, from football practice and grocery stores and get home just in time to scroll through Instagram to see the friends we don’t have time to see in real life. We pull up Facebook only to ask ourselves, “How do they find the time to… fill in the blank.” We all find ourselves wishing for a chance to slow down. To stop time. To relax. To fill in that blank.

Pictured here: Our Grandma Doris and Grandpa Louie on their honeymoon in Clifty Falls, Indiana. Doesn’t everyone hike in pearls? 

We love to see the pictures stashed away in albums at our grandparents’ houses. Long weekends at Hueston Woods, day trips to Mammoth Cave. Our Grandma Doris and Grandpa Louie even went to Clifty Falls, Indiana for their honeymoon. Not exactly the kinds of trips you see newlyweds taking today. So in an effort to bring back the simplicity of the “staycation,” we went searching for local bed & breakfasts and stumbled upon just what we had in mind, Sycamore Farms Country Inn.

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Cherryl’s Kitchen: We weren’t just drooling over the food. Is this not a little piece of heaven? We couldn’t take our eyes off of her island, which is actually an antique carpenter’s bench.

We took a 35 minute drive to visit and were greeted at the door by Cherryl Forte, and her curly, canine companion, Dolly. The smell of sausage sizzling in an orange juice and cranberry sauté also met us at the door. We rounded the corner into her beautiful, new-but-charmingly-antique kitchen and immediately felt at home. Sugary strawberries, whipped cream and chocolate chips sat atop a heap of chocolate Belgian-style waffles on Cherryl’s floral china accompanied by napkins, held in place by engraved antique silver rings. Another platter held fresh egg omelets and sat beside a basket of muffins and breads still warm from the oven.

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Chocolate on chocolate waffles = Heaven on Earth

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“It’s the little things that I find so cute,” Cherryl said of the tiny details throughout her home.

Cherryl not only prides herself on her cooking, but makes it look easy. We’re fairly certain that if we tried to host a couple bloggers for breakfast, talk about her bed & breakfast and cook at the same time, that same bed & breakfast would be up in flames in no time. It didn’t take long to realize how much the three of us have in common. Not only did we all love waffles and hot coffee, but we’re also antique junkies. We shared our finds, favorite pieces and hidden-gem shops where we get all our goodies. When we asked her where she finds all her larger pieces for the house she said, “if the house wants it, the house finds it.” Each piece has certainly made itself at home with Cherryl and looks as if it was placed there the day the house was built.

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Our love of vintage treasures led us around the house as she told us about the bed & breakfast and her favorite antique pieces in each room and where she picked them up. She guided us through the historic home telling stories of her childhood, and of the home itself. Cherryl inherited the home when it was in need of some serious love and, being a woman after our own heart, “patched it up to put it back on its feet to go another 100 years.” She wants people to familiarize themselves with the agrarian lifestyle, to slow down and enjoy her “little slice of time.” Visitors can have their coffee while they watch tractors bailing hay or enjoying somewhere so quiet “you can hear the creek in the distance.”

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Sycamore Farms Country Inn wasn’t always an inn. In fact, in the 1800-1900s, the farm functioned as a lumber and grain mill. Its purple barn welcomes visitors to the Century Farm as the gravel road guides them to the front door. There are four bedrooms available for reservations. Two smaller rooms that belonged to Cherryl’s cousins perfect for a private getaway, and two larger, adjacent suites (may be made into adjoining rooms for larger groups) with perfectly decorated bathrooms, fluffy white robes and a window overlooking the farm, making it the perfect country escape.