Our Dog Friendly Guide to Lubbock, Texas

Road tripping through the US with Sally, our lovable little bernedoodle has been quite the adventure. It’s what we would imagine traveling with a toddler would be like - lots of “potty breaks”, frequent nap times, the occasional stop to “get the wiggles out”... you get the picture. We’ve also learned that some towns are more dog friendly than others. One place that has really impressed us with their dog-friendly options is Lubbock, Texas. Honestly, if Sally could talk she’d already be begging us to take her back!

Here’s our Dog Friendly Guide to Lubbock, Texas. You can rest assured that all of these places have been Sally approved!

ACTIVITIES:

Bruno Steel House: If you’ve read our previous blog about Lubbock, you’re already aware of how cool this home is. What we failed to mention is that it’s also a great place to bring your pup! Located above a sparkling lake in Ransom Canyon, there are nature trails nearby and plenty of areas for you and your dog to explore!

Wagner Park: One thing we LOVE about Lubbock (and Texas in general) is their abundance of spacious green parks. Wagner Park was one of our favorites, and we’re pretty sure it was Sally’s favorite too! Pack a picnic, bring a book (and maybe a squeaky ball), and you’ve got the makings for a perfect afternoon!

Texas Tech University: Texas Tech University is the nation’s second largest campus, which means there is a lot of space to walk and explore with your pup! There’s even an app (called Art Trek) that acts as your tour guide as you wander past the various artwork around campus. It tracks your location and can share about the 100+ pieces of art throughout the four campuses of the Texas Tech system. It’s a fun way to see the school, and exercise your fur baby!

Sally wishes our home had a view like this!

Such a huge park to explore!

Love exploring Texas Tech with Sally

RESTAURANTS:

J’s Creamery: Does an all-natural frozen custard shop count as a restaurant? We sure think so! J’s Creamery is not only mouth-wateringly good cones, sundaes, splits and more, they also offer “Puppy Cones” for dogs! Better yet, they’re free with a purchase!

The Range: A driving range/restaurant/bar/outdoor games concept that’s dog friendly… does it get any better than that? The Range is really something special, and is truly fun for the whole family. Sally was so mesmerized by our golf strokes,  that we almost forgot she was there!

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop: While we didn’t get a chance to go to Fuzzy’s (there was just too many restaurants to try!), Lubbock locals swear by this place. Praised for their chips and queso and crunchy tacos, Fuzzy’s outdoor patio is also a great dog-friendly option!

DRINKS:

The Brewery LBK: This modern, downtown brewery has a big wrap-around covered patio that’s perfect for warm, summer afternoons. You may even spot Mayor Dan Pope, who loves pups just as much as he loves a cold beer! Make sure you snap a pic if you do! ;)

Two Docs Brewery: At Two Docs Brewery, the atmosphere is just as amazing as their beer! Our favorite place to sit with Sally is on their outdoor patio - where you’ll find plenty of picnic benches and an area for cornhole!

The Garden: This lively craft beer garden has games, live music, and some of the best weekly specials in town. Not only that, but they love dogs! We spent an entire evening there, playing games, making friends, and relaxing with with Sally. It was fun for the whole family!

Mayor Dan Pope and Sally!

Sally had to read all the rules first :)

The Garden is a great spot to hang out for a drink!

This is just tapping the surface on all of the dog friendly places and activities in Lubbock. We’re sure to be roadtripping through again soon, and when we do, we’ll be sure to add to this list. In the meantime, we’d love to know what it’s missing! Feel free to leave a comment and let us know where we need to bring Sally next time we’re in town - and check out our Guide to Lubbock for more not-to-miss spots!

Lubbock, Texas :: Don't Underestimate This Gem of a Town

If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you probably know that we’re on a big cross-country roadtrip with our Bernedoodle, Sally. We’re two weeks in, and it’s been nothing short of a blast. Sure, we have our moments where we get really sick of driving, or where we ask ourselves “Why did we bring our dog again?” - but 98% of the time we’re loving it. ;)

Our first destination was Lubbock, Texas. Chances are you’ve heard about it before, but you probably don’t know much about it. If you’re like us, your first thought is that it’s “just another little town in Texas”, but we’re happy to report that it Lubbock is indeed SO MUCH MORE. From an expanding culinary scene, to a lively and art-focused downtown, plenty of dog-friendly activities, a bustling nightlife… Lubbock is a town that needs to be on your radar. We’ll break it down for you:

THE FOOD SCENE IS TOP-NOTCH

If there’s one thing we learned from our time in Lubbock, is that you won’t leave hungry. (We honestly contemplated devoting this entire blog to what we ate!) This town is a foodie’s dream, and no matter what you’re craving, they’re making it and it’s good. We were blown away not only by the sheer amount of restaurants in Lubbock, but the quality of everything we enjoyed - and we never had to wait for a table, either! A few of our favorites were:

The Funky Door: Wine lovers, this is your place. With over 650 labels of wine, nightly live music and a diverse and decadent menu, The Funky Door is a must. Another must is the “Funky Door” Fondue and their homemade Squash Lasagna - Bobby’s still raving about it!

La Diosa Cellars: Eclectic, romantic, and cozy all in one, La Diosa Cellars is our pick for an intimate and unforgettable date night. Specializing in Spanish tapas and pitchers of mouth-watering sangria, their menu is every bit as eclectic as the decor. Be sure to try the “Sardinias”, broiled Spanish sardines “floating” in garlic butter. (This rec is coming from somebody (Alli) who hates sardines, and this dish won me over!)

Evie Mae’s Barbeque: Now, we’ve had our share of BBQ over the years, and we’re excited to report that Evie Mae’s is one of the best (if not THE best) we’ve ever had. Order the “#6”, which is a glorified sampler of every meat they serve and two sides. People come from all over to enjoy a delicious Evie Mae’s feast, so prepare to wait in line. But if you’re over 21, they have FREE beer for while you wait. No brainer…

La Sirena Cocina: Lubbock locals call it “Latin-Fusion”, we call it “Really-Delicious”. Head to La Sirena Cocina yourself, order the Fried Avocado Tostada, The Kale Salad, and the Stacked Enchilada, and let us know what YOU call it! We’d be there weekly if we lived in Lubbock!

Holly Hops Ice Cream Shop: Bring your poodle skirts, leather jackets, and your cameras! We’re pretty sure you can’t find a cuter 1950’s-style ice cream shop than Holly Hops, with its retro decor, drool-worthy menu, and picture-perfect presentation. It’s like stepping back in time!

Incredible views and SO much wine at The Funky Door

Incredible appetizers at La Diosa Cellars

La Diosa’s sardines are incredible!

You won’t go hungry at Evie Mae’s

Here’s a close up of our INCREDIBLE spread

The Kale Salad at La Sirena was perfect

Everything at La Sirena was delish!

Throwback to the 1950’s at Holly Hops

We may have eaten all of this. Don’t judge.

THERE’S A LOT TO DO

“Ok, so there’s a lot of good dining options in Lubbock, but what do you do besides eat?”

We’re so glad you asked. Just like there’s a plethora of restaurants in town, Lubbock has a plethora of activities - and it’s rich in history, too. Whether you’re there for a weekend or a week, you most definitely won’t run out of things to do. Here’s some spots that shouldn’t be missed:

The Bruno Steel House: Robert R. Bruno Jr. was a famous inventor, artist, and businessman, who in the early 1970’s began construction on a whimsical steel house in Ransom Canyon - just about 20 minutes outside of Lubbock. He lived and worked on his home until he passed away in 2008, and while it remains unfinished, it’s an architectural masterpiece nonetheless.

The Range: If you’re like us, you enjoy hitting up your local driving range from time to time. Well, imagine a driving range that’s dog friendly, has a full bar, woodfired pizzas, and outdoor games! They have specials every day of the week, our favorite being $3 margaritas on Wednesdays! (Another local range is “4ore”, which is more like Top Golf - we’d definitely check this spot out next time too!)

Texas Tech University: At 1,839 acres, Texas Tech University is the nation’s second largest campus, and it’s absolutely beautiful. We spent an entire morning walking around the grounds of the campus, admiring the buildings and their wide array of public art sculptures. There’s even an app (called Art Trek) that acts as your tour guide as you wander past the various pieces. It tracks your location and can share about the 100+ pieces of art throughout the four campuses of the Texas Tech system. Such a fun way to see the school!

The Buddy Holly Center: You can’t go to Lubbock without visiting The Buddy Holly Center. This iconic musician, singer and songwriter who helped pioneer the 1950’s rock and roll movement was born and raised in Lubbock, and they have built an inspiring center in his honor. You can tour the museum filled with memorabilia (including the glasses he wore), visit his sculpture, and see the house where his band (The Crickets) recorded!

The National Ranching Heritage Center: A museum of ranching history, the National Ranching Heritage Center features fifty authentic ranch buildings dating from the late 18th to the mid-20th century. It’s absolutely fascinating and beautifully done, and one of the most intriguing museums we have been able to visit. (Plan on spending at least a couple of hours, it’s extensive and not something you’ll want to rush through!)

Not a bad view to wake up to. Right?

It totally looks like a spaceship!

Nothing beats a day at the range with some good drinks

Sally was annoyed that she couldn’t chase the balls :)

Texas Tech has a beautiful campus

A Robert Bruno sculpture at Texas Tech

Alli trying to rock out with Buddy Holly

Family photo in front of the Buddy Holly Center

Los Corralitos building (circa 1780) at the National Ranching Heritage Center

An old school house

An steam locomotive at the National Ranching Heritage Center

COFFEE, BEER, AND CHILTON’S - A PLENTY

If you like to drink, you’ll LOVE Lubbock. From their array of coffee shops and breweries to their eclectic cocktail bars and welcoming wineries - there’s something for everyone in this charming town! Due to our short visit we weren’t able to experience them all, but a few of the ones we did get to experience are:

Yellow House Coffee: This cute and cozy little coffee shop is as hip as it is delicious. We loved their coffee, and we also loved their avocado toast!

Gold Stripe Coffee Roasters: The two brothers behind Gold Stripe Coffee Roasters know what they’re doing - their coffee is strong and silky-smooth, and their cappuccino is just as tasty as it is pretty!

The Brewery LBK: Located right in the heart of downtown Lubbock, The Brewery LBK has a fun and intriguing variety of craft beers. They also have a full bar - where we experienced our first “Chilton” (Lubbock’s specialty cocktail), consisting of vodka, lemon juice, and club soda!

Two Docs Brewing Co: We’d quickly become regulars at Two Docs if we were Lubbock locals. Not only do they make some quality ales, their outdoor patio is a blast! It’s the perfect place to go unwind after a long day, play a few games of cornhole, and enjoy a fine selection of craft beer.

The Garden: A lively craft beer garden with games, live music, and some of the best weekly specials in town. It’s a great place to meet up with friends, or make friends! On Wednesdays they have $1.50 Domestics and Wells… we’re pretty sure that’s cheaper than water!

McPherson Cellars: What used to be a Coca Cola bottling plant in the 1930’s is now the industrial-chic winery and tasting room of McPherson Cellars. Whether you schedule a guided tour of the winery, or simply pop by for a tasting, you’ll instantly feel right at home... And you’re bound to leave with at least a bottle or two!

Cheers to a fun night at The Garden!

The wine at McPherson Cellars was tasty!

IT’S AN ARTIST’S TOWN

You can’t drive through Lubbock for more than five minutes without passing a colorful mural or spotting some intriguing street art. It’s everywhere! There are plenty of galleries and museums to meander through, but if your time in Lubbock is short, here’s a few murals that you’ll most likely spot in town:

The “LBK” mural (painted by artist Joey Martinez, located at 1219 Ave. A)

The Lubbock, Texas/Sunrise Mural (located at 1106 5th St.)

LUBBOCK (painted by artist Joey Martinez, 1413 19th St.)

The Made in LBK (located at Sugar Brown’s Coffee - also a must-visit, 1947 19th St.)

IT’S AFFORDABLE

And you want to know what the BEST part of Lubbock is?! It’s affordability! Lubbock has almost everything that a bigger, more well-known city has, but at a much lower price point. From accomodations (we stayed at the Hyatt Place and loved it!), to restaurants and activities, you’ll spend a fraction of what you would in a metropolitan city.

A cozy place to rest our heads (Sally too!) while in Lubbock

Have we convinced you to visit Lubbock yet? We sure hope so. We can’t wait to return and see more of the sights, experience more of their growing culinary scene, and hug our friends that we made while we were there…. Road trip, anyone? ;)

5 Reasons To Visit Helsinki

When you’re looking to book a European getaway, Helsinki probably isn’t the first spot you think of. If you’re like us, you’re constantly dreaming about adventuring through Rome or Paris… but Helsinki, Finland?  What’s even there

It’s time to let you in on a little secret… Finland is cool. And it’s just getting cooler.

We just returned from spending a week in Helsinki, not knowing what to expect. We went with zero expectations, and we can honestly say that it blew us away. We’re already planning our trip back - that’s how epic it was.

Here’s why you need to go, too:

1. IT’S EASY TO GET AROUND

Maybe it’s our old age, but we dig a place with good public transportation. Don’t get us wrong, we still walk everywhere (we averaged 7 miles/day in Helsinki), but it’s nice to have options, you know? Public transport in Helsinki is incredibly clean and easy to use, and consists of bus, tram, metro, local railway and ferry services. You can purchase a Dayticket for unlimited use on public transportation for up to a week, making it easy to zip around the city!

Morning walks at the Helsinki Cathedral

The bus system is so easy! And affordable!

2. THE INNOVATIVE CULINARY SCENE

We’d go back to Helsinki just for the food. Seriously. They have everything - from traditional Finnish cuisine (reindeer, lingonberry porridge, bear stew), to trendy vegetarian restaurants and dumpling shops… it’s impossible to go hungry! See a list of our favorite Helsinki restaurants here.

Delicious first meal at Ravintola Savvotta

Dumplings in Helsinki? YES!

3. MUSEUMS THAT ARE REALLY COOL

Shhh.. don’t tell anyone, but we’re normally not big museum people. We get bored. Not the case in Helsinki, every day we went to at least one museum - we couldn’t get enough! From colorful and interactive art exhibits at the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, to learning about mammals at the Natural History Museum of Helsinki, to the whimsical architecture at the Amos Rex, we were mesmerized by Finnish history, culture, and arts. And there were still so many museums that we didn’t have time to see!

Living in a Dr. Seuss book!

The most massive game of telephone?

Incredible exterior of Amos Rex Museum

These are all of the components of an iPhone side by side!

One of our favorite exhibits! These light bulbs represent dandelions. So pretty!

4. THE PLETHORA OF SAUNAS

Fun fact: There are more saunas than cars in Finland! The population of Finland is just over five million, and there’s three million saunas - that’s one sauna per household! For Finnish people, the sauna is the place where they relax, spend time with friends and family, and find physical and mental healing. It’s a way of life that we can definitely get behind, and there are some pretty remarkable saunas sprinkled around Helsinki. Two must-try saunas are:

Löyly

Löyly is a pampering and soothing oasis on the Helsinki waterfront. Its modern, wooden architecture is jaw-droppingly beautiful, and the interior is just as stunning. Book your sauna session in advance, take a refreshing dip in the Baltic Sea, and enjoy a drink by the fire.

Löyly is nestled against the frigid Baltic Sea

Allas Sea Pool

Located in the middle of Helsinki, right next to the Market Square, Allas Sea Pool is one of the most picturesque sauna experiences in town. Their hot and cold pools overlook the harbour, and we recommend taking a dip right around sunset.

Amazing views of the city from Allas!

5. THEIR OBSESSION WITH COFFEE

If we learned anything during our time in Helsinki, it’s that the Finnish take two things very seriously - saunas and coffee. They have legal coffee breaks (two 10-minute breaks a day, to be exact), and most drink around 3-5 cups per day! Many cafes will even include a free refill with your cup of coffee, and Cafe Regatta will actually give you 5 cents back for each refill or “santsikuppi” you drink! Other coffee shops that shouldn’t be missed are Good Life, Kaffa Roastery, and Kuuma.

Cafe Regatta is so picturesque!

Too much good coffee

Helsinki surprised us. We had no idea how enchanting this part of the world is, and how quickly it is evolving. From innovative restaurants, to bustling coffee shops and a growing art scene, Helsinki is on the rise. There is no better time to explore it than now - before word gets out about this charming city.

So… Meet ya there this summer?

Where to Eat in Helsinki 2019

We just returned from the dreamiest trip to Helsinki, filled with beautiful sights, mesmerizing architecture, friendly locals, and a LOT of good food. The culinary scene in Helsinki is growing rapidly - everywhere we turned there was a new restaurant popping up! As self-proclaimed “foodies” that can easily get overwhelmed in such a scenario, we’ve made a list of our favorite spots in this epicurean mecca, with the hopes that it will be of help to you. Let us know if we missed a spot! (Because you better believe we’ll be back!)

YES YES YES

What do you do when an old McDonalds is up for sale? You turn it into a vegetarian's paradise, of course! YES YES YES wins for freshest, healthiest fare - and also for the most Instagrammable restaurant in town. Make sure you try the Halloumi fries.

WAY BAKERY AND WINE BAR

This little gem of a spot is perfectly minimalistic and easy to miss, and we love it for that. Way Bakery and Wine Bar specialize in coffee, sourdough bread, natural wines, and light bites that are ideal for sharing. We suggest going around 4pm, for a pre-dinner drink and snack.

We LOVED the little shareable plates!

HILLS DUMPLINGS

Ever since our trip to Japan we have become extremely passionate about dumplings. (Bobby once ate over 30 dumplings in one sitting.) It’s an epidemic. We can’t pass them up. Lucky for us, we happened to stumble upon Hills Dumplings, who proudly serve “The best dumplings in Helsinki”, and we’ll gladly give them that title. Try the “New School Dumplings” for something fun and different!

GRÖN

Grön is a newcomer on the Helsinki culinary scene, but they’re quickly taking it by storm. Not only does it have a Michelin Star, but they were just named “The Best Restaurant in Finland”! No big deal, right? Their four-course tasting menus are plant-based, focused, and seasonal. It’s a dining experience you won’t forget. *There are only ten tables, so be sure to make a reservation in advance.

The food is art at Grön!

RAVINTOLA SAVOTTA

Ravintola Savotta serves tasty and hearty Finnish food - complete with a picture-perfect view of the Helsinki Cathedral! Their extensive menu features everything from reindeer sausage to vegan soup, and the candlelight and Scandinavian decor makes it one of the coziest spots in town!

One of the best views in town!

EKBERG

Not only is Ekberg Finland’s oldest bakery, it’s also the most delicious. Whether you grab a seat at their cafe or grab some baked goods at their patisserie, it’s a must-try when you’re in Helsinki. Try their famous Napoleon pie!

CAFE REGATTA

This traditional little Nordic cafe sits right on the water, and it couldn’t be cuter. Cafe Regatta is one of the more popular places in town, but don’t let that deter you. It’s as charming on the inside as it is on the outside, and the menu is surprisingly reasonable. Order a hot chocolate (with marshmellow), and enjoy it outside by the fire!

STORY KORTTELI

One of the best breakfasts we had during our time in Helsinki was at Story Kortteli - a restaurant tucked away on the top level of the Kamppi shopping center! Don’t let the location fool you - their dedication to quality food and modern design is truly inspiring, and the views are pretty epic too!

THE COCK

From the same team as YES YES YES, The Cock is a playful and lively neighborhood restaurant and bar that serves everything from steak frites to sushi bowls! They also make a mean Negroni.

PIZZARIUM

If you’re looking for a tasty, quick bite to eat, or you’re like us and just really like pizza, run - don’t walk, to Pizzarium. It’s Roman style pizza at its best, with plenty of toppings to choose from.

HAKANIEMI MARKET HALL

Helsinki is famous for their bustling markets, and Hakaniemi Market Hall is (in our opinion) the best. You’ll find traditional market foods and treats, making it a fun option for breakfast, lunch, or an early dinner.

THROWBACK THURSDAY :: Take Us Back To Carmel, CA!

There are certain places that we crave.

Yep, that’s right. Just like we crave a good In-N-Out burger after a long trip, we crave the return to some of our favorite tried-and-true spots. The places that we know like the back of our hand, the places where we can truly relax. One such spot, Carmel-By-The-Sea, is at the top of that list. Not only did we “mini-moon” in Carmel, but we’ve made it a point to return yearly - even with our pup in tow!

The beach at Carmel is one of Sally’s absolute favorites!

So in real #TBT fashion, we thought we’d share exactly why we love Carmel-By-The-Sea, and where we stay, where we eat, and what we do if we were there right now. Because if we can’t be there today, we might as well reminisce...

STAY:

LA PLAYA: This charming, historic hotel is where we stayed when we were on our “mini-moon”, and we keep coming back. Maybe it’s the central location (blocks from the beach and blocks from the town), maybe it’s the cozy lobby and spacious rooms, or maybe it’s the champagne breakfast every morning… Regardless, it’s a gem of a spot. And remarkably enough, it seems to get better with age.

HOTEL CARMEL: New on the Carmel “boutique hotel” scene, this snug and homey  hotel has quickly become a favorite of ours. The rooms have fireplaces, there’s a nightly wine reception, the fire pit is warm and inviting, and nothing beats breakfast in their cheerful little lobby. Plus, they’re dog friendly - which is always a big plus for us!

We Mini-mooned here… and try to come back every year

Love waking up to this view at La Playa

Sally approves

More La Playa room views

The breakfast at La Playa is everything

Could Hotel Carmel be any cozier?

Fireplaces inside and out…

Cozy porches for your morning coffee

EAT:

LA BALENA: We came here on our honeymoon, and ever since then we’ve been obsessed! Delicious homemade Italian food in a hidden courtyard, it’s delightfully tucked away from other touristy options in Carmel.

LA BICYCLETTE: In our opinion, you can’t go to Carmel without dining at La Bicyclette. It’s simply a must. From their made-to-order pizzas to their homemade pasta, everything is fresh and full of flavor. The ambiance is intimate and romantic, and there’s no doubt that you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to Paris.

You can’t go wrong at La Balena

DRINK:

GRASINGS BAR: This is another spot that we first went to on our honeymoon, and have made it a point to stop here ever since! Their cocktails are second to none, and their charcuterie board is out of this world!!! But try to get here early - this quaint Carmel-by-the-Sea bar does have a tendency to fill up quick!

THE INN AT SPANISH BAY: Located on the iconic 17 Mile Drive, the Inn At Spanish Bay is well-known for their stunning ocean front views, and their nightly visit from a bagpiper! Grab a drink at STICKS, their outdoor bar, and wait for the sun to set… Before you know it you’ll start to hear the majestic sounds of a bagpiper. It’s quite the experience - and something we look forward to everytime we visit Carmel!

Grasing’s is magical!

Always bustling inside Grasing’s

Yummy appetizers at Grasing’s before dinner

Cocktails and a sunset… best end to the day at the Inn at Spanish Bay

Epic sunsets and Scottish tunes at the Inn at Spanish Bay

DO:

THE 17 MILE DRIVE: One of our favorite drives in the world (along with Highway 1) is the 17 Mile Drive… It’s full of captivating landscapes, jaw-dropping ocean views, and award-winning golf courses - so what’s not to love?! We recommend starting the drive in the afternoon and catching the sunset at The Inn at Spanish Bay (see above)!

BEACH IT UP! Pop by The Cheese Shop (a legendary little shop chalk-full of mouth-watering cheeses, wines, crackers and more), grab what you want for a picnic, and head to the beach. If you have your pup with you (like we often do), let them play off-leash while you enjoy your snacks and the cool, ocean breeze. It’s heavenly. Now we’ll mentally be there the rest of the day… ;)

One of our favorite spots on the 17 Mile Drive (you may need a helicopter to see this)

We all love the beach here :)