B&B’s Are Cool Again: How the Inn at English Meadows Shifted Our Perspective

Have you heard the news? B&B’s are making a comeback.

What for so long has been considered “outdated” and “old school” is being reinvented. For awhile it seemed as though millennials (ourselves included) had moved away from traditional B&B’s - as boutique hotels, larger chains where we can use our points and “status”, all-inclusives, and even Airbnb’s had taken the lead… But friends, the tide is beginning to turn.

We just returned from a stay at The Inn at English Meadows, a charming B&B in the seaside town of Kennebunk, Maine. From the friendly Innkeeper, to the attention to detail, to the seemingly endless amenities… this experience has completely changed the way we view B&B’s. Here’s why:

1. The Experience

Now, this is the first time we’ve ever stayed in a B&B together. We’ve always had this perception that it would feel like we’re sleeping in a stranger's home, and that just sounded weird. We were SO FAR OFF.

We checked in with Elizabeth, the innkeeper, who offered us some cookies and a tour of the property. It was something out of a movie. Fireplaces crackling, freshly baked cookies, cozy sitting rooms, and lush grounds complete with comfy places to sit and relax. We could’ve easily spent our entire trip at the Inn - and never need to leave!

Elizabeth was amazingly attentive - making sure that our every need was met. Restaurant recommendations? She sent us to the best spots in town. Best drive to find fall foliage? Done. Looking for lighthouses? Here’s a list of the closest ones to town. She was like our private concierge, and we truly wouldn’t have done and seen all that we had if it wasn’t for her!

We often stay at hotels that include breakfast. Which typically means it’s a standard continental buffet, nothing fancy. Not at The Inn at English Meadows! Included with your stay is a 3 course breakfast - and it all looks (and tastes!) as though Martha Stewart herself made it just for you! Fresh baked scones, scrambled eggs with goat cheese and asparagus, pumpkin pancakes with cinnamon butter… these were honestly our favorite meals of the entire trip! Oh, and did we mention we dined in their garden patio? It was a dream!

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2. The Amenities

The Inn at English Meadows has 13 rooms - all of which are beautifully decorated. They feature Vera Wang and FRETTE bedding, flat screen TV’s, fluffy towels and robes, Malin+Goetz toiletries (our favorite!), and so much more. These rooms have more amenities than most nice hotels would!

There were multiple mini fridges around the home, stocked with water bottles and seltzer water for guests to enjoy. They had a station for hot coffee and tea, available 24/7, and had freshly baked cookies for guests to enjoy every afternoon. If guests were in the mood for a cocktail or a glass of wine, Elizabeth and her team were happy to serve. Like we said earlier - our every need was met here!

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3. The Affordability

When you factor in all of the amenities (three course breakfast, coffee and tea, cookies, etc.), a B&B like the Inn At English Meadows can be extremely affordable. There aren’t any added “resort fees”, and all of the little added costs like water bottles are taken care of! That may sound little - but those things add up over time. Add to that the convenience of having it all at your disposal, and it’s truly an amazing value!

Have we convinced you to try a B&B yet? We hope so. And we hope you’ll start with the Inn At English Meadows… we can’t wait to return!

Quick Southwest Road Trip: Exploring Horseshoe Bend and Zion National Park

Since our big “Month Long Roadtripping Extravaganza”, we’ve been itching for an excuse to get back on the open road. After stumbling upon some photos and doing some research, we decided to do a last-minute trip to Page, Arizona and Zion National Park. The amount of natural beauty and grand landscapes that we saw in four days still has us shaking our heads in awe… this trip was life-giving to us in so many ways, and it’s SO DOABLE. Here’s what we did!

Let’s start with Page, Arizona.

You’ve probably never heard of this little town before, but bear with us. It’s located next to Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon, and countless hikes and areas to explore. It’s an affordable town to stay in, and it’s incredibly close to all of the action. We stayed at the Hyatt Place Page/Lake Powell, and it was great. Big, clean rooms, hearty breakfasts, stunning views, and a helpful staff. We highly recommend it!

From there you’re just a quick ten minute drive to Horseshoe Bend, and we recommend going early, especially in high season. (Expect crowds year-round, but November-February are generally considered to be slower.) It’s a good 20 minute hike from the parking lot, so be sure to wear good shoes and bring water. And brace yourself for…


THE VIEWS!!


Words don’t do this place justice - so we’ll let the photos do the talking. We happened to be there during some pretty intense rainstorms… We did see some sun break through for an hour (WOO!), but we definitely were soaking wet by the end!

Now because of the rainy weather, we weren’t able to explore Antelope Canyon on this trip, which we were definitely bummed about. (Keep that in mind when planning your trip: rain = mud and/or flash floods, and if it’s muddy they close the canyons!) But we made the best of it and explored other spots - including the Glen Canyon Dam and lookout points. All incredibly breathtaking - especially if you’re scared of heights like we are!!


TIP: We think two nights in Page is perfect. That gives you ample time to see the sights, hike around, and explore. Beyond that there isn’t a whole lot to do there, and dining options are pretty limited. Pack snacks!

Zion National Park

Just two hours northwest of Page, Arizona is Zion National Park - and it just might be our favorite national park yet. We spent the last two nights of our trip at the Cliffrose Lodge, located just steps from the entrance to the park. Not only was the location phenomenal, but the newly remodeled rooms were gorgeous, and the mountain views from our balcony left us in awe. We couldn’t have picked a better place to stay!

There are several stunning hikes in and around Zion National Park, but the big “bucketlist” one for us was “The Narrows”. It’s anything but a typical hike - as you squeeze through slot canyons and wade through a river… and it was absolutely the highlight of our trip!

Things to know:

  • Rent equipment. We went when the water (and air!) was cold, so we rented waterproof pants along with boots and a walking stick. In the summertime, all you need are good water shoes and a walking stick. You might even find yourself jumping all the way in!

  • Go early. We left on the first shuttle bus at 7am (it’s only accessible by shuttle), and it was perfect. We almost always had the hike to ourselves!! But on our way back it quickly became a zoo, as it’s one of the most popular hikes in Zion. The earlier you go, the better chance you have at avoiding crowds.

  • Pack water & snacks. No matter how you do it, it’s a long hike. Plan on being gone at least five or six hours, so plan accordingly. We brought a big canteen of water and some Clif Bars to hold us over, and that was perfect.

  • Make sure you go to the bathroom. Like we said, it’s a long hike. And there’s no porta potties or rest stops along the way! There’s a bathroom where the shuttle first drops you off - so take advantage of it. ;)

Our time in Zion was limited. Unlike Page, two nights definitely wasn’t enough for all that we wanted to see and do! We recommend going for at least three nights, so you have enough time to hike, drive, and explore. Oh, and the dining options are great. Some of our favorites were Zion Pizza and Noodle Co, Thai Sapa, and Oscars Cafe!

This road trip was quick, and had a fair share of “bumps” in the road - but it’s one of our favorite ones we’ve done yet. We can’t wait to get back to Page and explore Antelope Canyon, and adventure through Zion National Park again… and maybe even bring our pup next time!

I've Got the Power: Staying Charged with My TYLT Power Backpack

Ten years ago, the way I (Bobby) packed looked much different than it does now. One small point and shoot (the Canon Digital Elphs were amazing), no cords, no phone, no personal aircrafts (hehe who knew what a drone was in 2008?), and minimal backup batteries. Fast forward to today, and I’m loaded up with 4 cameras (2 Fuji Mirrorless and 2 GoPros), a drone, an iPhone, wireless headphones, a laptop, and a Kindle. While my previous LowePro backpack did the job in terms of storing all of those things relatively well, a new backpack has taken over as my new go-to. Enter TYLT, a portable power and wireless charging manufacturer who has designed some incredible backpacks. I’ve been carrying the TYLT ENERGI Pro Power Backpack for the past few months, and I want to give you three reasons why it needs to be on your back.


1. The Battery

The most important feature of the backpack is the 20,100 mAh lithium ion battery. It has a designated sleeve, but is removable and can be used in any bag. The battery includes a variety of ports (USB Type-C, USB Type-A with Quick Charge 3.0, USB Type A, and micro-USB), includes multiple cables for each port, and a zippered accessory bag where you can store it all. The battery is big, but it’s worth it, because it lasts a long time and is able to efficiently charge multiple devices.

2. The Durability

The bag is made of water-resistant polyester, and so far has stood the test of global travel and a 5000 mile road trip. Hiking in the rain on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, touring around Ireland for two weeks, and being thrown in and out of our car (basically our home) while traveling for 5 weeks with our puppy, this bag has some mileage on it. Yet it looks as good as new, the zippers are still functioning flawlessly (most are water-resistant too), and all the compartments are holding strong.

3. The Compartments and Overall Design

The backpack is a great size, but only if you like having your pack be organized. The 12 pockets allow for a variety of items, but won’t allow for a ton of bulk space. There’s a laptop compartment that fits a 15” device, and across from it is a zippered pocket that fits a tablet. I found that you could also wedge a neatly folded jacket or sweatshirt in this area too.

The front-opening bay (the largest compartment) is where I store my drone, camera, lenses, and a few small clothing items. There are plenty of small zipper pockets and organizers in this bay that I use to store my headphones, memory card readers, portable hard drives, pens, etc.

For me, this backpack is awesome because I love to be organized. I spend time specifically deciding what pocket or compartment is for what thing, and I stick to that. If you’re not organized, you may just want a normal backpack because you will lose things in the ENERGI Pro. It’s up to you!

If I had to choose my highlights of this bag, it’s the small touches that go a long way. This includes the sunglasses compartment where I can store fragile items, the small compartment you can unzip and pull out for your water bottle, and the slots on it that allow for you to slide it over the handle of your roller bags. It’s the little things…

TYLT has been ahead of the curve with their designs and quality, so give them a try! Their backpacks will keep all of your gear charged, so you’ll never miss a shot again!

24 Hours in Kansas City

Blitzing through Kansas City for a weekend can be overwhelming. The options are unlimited when it comes to what to eat, see, and do… Narrowing it all down can be impossible!! But don’t fret - we’ve compiled a 24 hour itinerary of our favorite KC spots that will keep you buzzed, full, and entertained. Be warned… following this itinerary will have you longing to come right back to KC!

9:00AM: COFFEE & A BOWL OF CEREAL AT THOU MAYEST

What better way to start your day then at hip coffee shop with a full-blown cereal bar?! $5 at Thou Mayest will get you a hot cup of coffee and a hefty bowl of Kix (or Froot Loops, Captain Crunch, Honey Bunches of Oats… heck, they’ll even mix them all together for you if that’s your style)!

10:00AM: TOUR THE NELSON-ATKINS

Fine art, iconic architecture, and free admission… The Nelson-Atkins Museum is one of the best in the country. Not only do they feature a strong collection of Impressionist paintings (Van Gogh, Cézanne, Monet), they’re also famous for their extensive Japanese collection of art. It contains more than 2,000 pieces ranging from the 7th century C.E. to the early 20th century! And don’t miss the gigantic shuttlecocks outside the building!

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1:00PM LUNCH AT JOE’S KANSAS CITY BBQ

You can’t go to Kansas City without experiencing Joe’s Kansas City BBQ. This world-famous BBQ joint is known for its ribs, “Z-man” sandwich, brisket, and more. Oh, and did we mention that it’s in a gas station!? Get here early, as this place has a cult following - and the line can take awhile! (But trust us - it’s worth it.)

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2:00PM SHOPPING & BREWERIES IN THE CROSSROADS

The Crossroads is one of our favorite areas in Kansas City. It’s filled with craft breweries, eclectic shops, and tons of tasty spots to eat. We suggest spending your afternoon here, shopping, drinking, and maybe even striking a pose or two by one of the dozens of murals! Four spots you should check out are, Casual Animal, Brewery EmperialEast + West and Christopher Elbow Chocolates.

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6:30PM DINNER & DRINKS AT THE RIEGER

Since 1915, The Rieger has been a Kansas City institution. Once a hotel, it’s now one of the best restaurants in the city. The food is hearty and innovative and the cocktails are strong. Speaking of cocktails, make sure you book a table at Manifesto, the speakeasy in the basement of the Rieger (Sorry, no photos of the speakeasy. They ask you keep your phones away in this epic bar!).  

10:30PM JAZZ AT THE GREEN LADY LOUNGE

There’s no doubt that the jazz scene in Kansas City is alive, thriving, and growing. Everyone we asked would tell us that the best place to catch a jazz performance is at the historic Green Lady Lounge. They’re open seven days a week, and you’ll never have to pay a cover charge. Obsessed yet? Wait until you get there. The decor inside will make you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time, and the music will have you bee-bopping in your seat!

10:00AM BRUNCH AT THE CLASSIC CUP

End your 24 hour tour through Kansas City with brunch at The Classic Cup. They’re a local favorite, and for good reason - their food is good. Bobby’s still dreaming about their egg sandwich! Need to walk off your brunch? Check out Made In KCBaldwin, and Charlie Hustle!

There you have it. 24 hours in our new favorite city. We guarantee that by the end of your sprint through KC, you’ll love it just as much as we do!

Something is "Brewing" in Kansas City...

Attention beer drinkers! From casual sippers to aficionados, Kansas City needs to be on your radar. Many people are surprised to hear that their craft brewery scene is hopping (get it?) - and getting bigger! The creativity, attention to detail, and infectious pride in their city and in their craft, makes this a really special and unique hub for craft beer. So, next time you’re in Kansas City, take our advice and go on a “Tap Tour”! Here are the places that you shouldn’t miss:


BREWERY EMPERIAL

Colorful and eclectic, we liked Brewery Emperial as soon as we walked in. Their master brewer Keith has spent his career in great beer establishments, and this brewery has been his dream. Emperial is a place that attracts foodies, beer-ies (is that a thing?), hipsters, or anybody just seeking supreme quality food, beer, and atmosphere. You’ll feel right at home, and your tastebuds will thank you!

CASUAL ANIMAL

“Laid back beers that tap into your wild side” is Casual Animal’s motto… and we couldn’t love it more. Maybe it’s because their beer was incredible (Bobby got a pale ale or 2, and Alli got a yummy cider), or maybe it’s because they have animal masks that you can wear. Between the beers, the masks, and the free shuffle board, we had a great time at Casual Animal! Definitely a must-stop on a tap tour!


BOULEVARD BREWING COMPANY

The largest specialty craft beer brewer in the Midwest, Boulevard Brewing Company is definitely the most well-known brewery in Kansas City. Typically that would deter us from going, but this place is something special. 

It’s two levels of entertainment, the first being an “experience area” where you can learn about the history of boulevard and their approach to making beer. The second floor is a 10,000 square foot beer hall, complete with 24 beers on draft, a full menu, views of the city, and an interactive photo booth that we DEFINITELY took advantage of.

As with our first two spots, the beers were great. We definitely blitzed through on this trip, and plan on spending a lot more time at Boulevard on our next tour of KC. They have so many beers to try!

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Have time for more? We’ve yet to try Border Brewing CompanyDouble Shift Brewing Company, and Torn Label Brewing Company, but we’ve heard great things. All of these are located in the Crossroads area, making them a walkable distance from each other. 

Lastly, we can’t forget to mention one of our absolute favorite places to grab a beer in Kansas City, Bar K Dog Bar. Now, this isn't a brewery, but they DO serve beer, and the concept is absolutely incredible. It's a dog park, restaurant, bar, and coffeehouse - all in one! You can have a drink, hang with friends, and watch as your pups frolic through their MASSIVE dog park. There's even a groomer on-sight to clean up your dog before you leave! Is this not genius or WHAT?!

Try as many of these spots as you can “beer” (too much?). And let us know what you think! We’re “hopping” for an excuse to come back (we think we’re funny).