Take Your Dog

Take Your Dog

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

An Adventurous Day in St. Louis

A big thanks to Bi-State Development and Explore St. Louis for sponsoring this trip. All suggestions and opinions are 100% my own. Ready for another adventurous day in St. Louis? Hopefully, you’ve planned your trip to the Arch and a fun day of Blues and BBQ in St. Louis. Don’t let your adventures end there, spend another day in the city exploring St. Louis’s newest attraction along with one of the most unusual. Personally I love a beautiful old train station, but unfortunately in many cities, as train travel has dramatically decreased, the old stations start to deteriorate from lack of interest and use. Instead of letting this happen to Union Station in St. Louis, the city has decided to completely revitalize the entire area with a new 100,00+ square foot aquarium and several other fun activities. Once completed, visitors will easily be able to spend a day enjoying it all. The aquarium is set to open later this year (2019) and I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the construction. With multiple touch tanks (stingrays!), and 43 other exhibits including otters and a super cool shark tank, this aquarium will be entertaining for visitors of all ages. After talking to the folks immersed in creating this new experience, I learned a few things that will set the St. Louis aquarium apart from aquariums of similar size. First, the aquarium is housed inside a historic building – tell me that wasn’t a challenge? So it’s automatically going to have a very different vibe than a standard aquarium. Secondly, the focus is on customer experience –  there will...
Gateway Arch National Park Experience

Gateway Arch National Park Experience

A big thanks to Bi-State Development and Explore St. Louis for sponsoring this trip. All suggestions and opinions are 100% my own. If you’ve ever driven by St. Louis, you’ve seen the Gateway Arch National Park. It’s America’s tallest man-made monument, so you really can’t miss it. It was built between 1963 and 1965 and is often referred to as the Gateway to the West. Although I’ve visited a few times in the past, my recent trip showed me how much this area has changed – for the better! You might not realize it, but the Gateway Arch is one of our National Parks. It’s considered an urban National Park – and thanks to that designation, there are extra resources and education that a state or local park might not receive. For example, if you have kids they can earn a Junior Ranger badge for visiting and filling out activities in the Junior Ranger Activity Book. These Junior Ranger programs are the perfect way to help your kids learn a little something while they are having fun. Heck, I think they are pretty fun myself! Start your day across the street from the Gateway Arch National Park at the Old Courthouse. Try to time your visit to coincide with one of the Ranger-led talks (check the website for times) These Park Rangers really know their history and make the site so much more interesting. In addition to viewing the beautiful building (just look at that ceiling in the picture below), you’ll get a good feel for the history of St. Louis, learn a little about Lewis & Clark AND...
Blues and BBQ in St. Louis

Blues and BBQ in St. Louis

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

A playful octopus and a harrowing climb …

Thanks to the Daytona Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau for sharing with us these treasures and hosting part of our visit! We enjoyed both locations immensely. All opinions and pictures in this post are 100% mine. Only 203 steps to the top … that’s what kept going through my mind as we climbed the narrow, winding staircase to the top of the Ponce Inlet lighthouse. As someone who hits the treadmill almost every day, this should be a breeze, right? Wrong! By the time we had ascended and walked back down those 203 steps, my legs were shaking. And they continued to do so for about an hour. Was it worth it? The answer is a definite yes. The views from the top were amazing and I was proud of myself for the accomplishment. Even those of us in our party afraid of heights agreed it was worth facing their fear. A short drive from our oceanfront Daytona, FL resort, the Ponce Inlet Light Station & Museum combined with a trip to the nearby Marine Science Center is the perfect respite from the beach. The lighthouse itself is a national historic landmark and was completed in 1887. It was restored in 2004 and what’s especially unique about this museum is that all of the light stations original buildings are also found right where they were when it was a working lighthouse. When you visit the Ponce Inlet lighthouse, you don’t just walk to the top of the lighthouse, you also get to see what life would have been like for the lighthouse keepers and their families. The exhibits are...

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