USA

A Long Weekend in Greater Williamsburg, VA

The following post is from a sponsored trip with Visit Williamsburg

Williamsburg, Virginia.

There’s over four centuries of history in this celebrated part of America. If you grew up on the East Coast, chances are you ventured to the Greater Williamsburg (including Jamestown and Yorktown areas) in grade school. You probably explored historic Jamestowne and Yorktown, and watched history come to life in Colonial Williamsburg.  But have you thought about returning?

Travel + Leisure named Greater Williamsburg as one of the top cities in the United States “to stay, travel, and more.” There’s everything from picturesque bike trails, to thrilling amusement parks, iconic golf courses, a Tasting Trail packed with breweries, wineries, and distilleries, and so much more in Greater Williamsburg. While you could pack a lot into a 24-hour trip, we highly suggest adding at least one more day (we’re sure your boss won’t mind) - there’s just too much to see!

Here’s what we think you should do:

FRIDAY MORNING:

COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG

Breakfast at Aromas Cafe: We can’t think of a better place to kick off your time in Greater Williamsburg than with breakfast at the cozy Aromas Cafe! You can’t go wrong with their Bacon & Eggs platter, and their French Press is top-notch. Sit outside and enjoy the sights and sounds of Williamsburg.

Explore Colonial Williamsburg: Just a five-minute walk from Aromas Cafe is Colonial Williamsburg, the world’s largest living history museum. Watch as history literally comes to life as you venture through

Can we eat at Aromas every day?

We loved exploring Colonial Williamsburg

FRIDAY AFTERNOON:

Lunch at The Trellis Bar and Grill: Located in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg, The Trellis Bar and Grill has a fantastic seasonal menu and a welcoming patio that’s perfect for a warm, sunny day. Try the fish tacos!

Beer at Virginia Beer Co: Spend the rest of the afternoon at Virginia Beer Co, part of the Williamsburg Tasting Trail - it’s a brewery, tap room, and beer garden all in one! At 4pm on Fridays a new cask ale is tapped, and from 6-9 they have local singers, songwriters, and musicians playing in the beer garden. You’ll be tempted to stay all night! (They have rotating food trucks in case you stay for dinner!)

Yummy lunch at The Trellis Bar and Grill!

FRIDAY EVENING:

Dinner at Amber Ox Kitchen & Brewery: If you’re hungry and looking for a change of scenery, we highly suggest Amber Ox Kitchen & Brewery, another Williamsburg Tasting Trail brewery. From Fried Pimento Cheese, to Chicken & Waffles, to the popular AO Burger, it’s modern pub faire with a nod to local ingredients.

Stay at Woodlands Hotel & Suites: Comfy, conveniently located, and affordable. The perfect starting point to your Williamsburg adventure, the Williamsburg Woodlands is centrally located right next to Colonial Williamsburg. Their shuttle makes the trip stress-free and convenient! And Sally loved it!

SATURDAY MORNING

YORKTOWN

Coffee at Mobjack Bay Petite Café and Coffee Roastery: You won’t find a more charming spot for coffee than Mobjack Bay Petite Café and Coffee Roastery, located in the Historic Cole Digges House on Main Street in Yorktown Village. This quaint coffee and tea house specializes in freshly roasted coffee (roasted on-site!) and mouth-watering pastries. Enjoy them in their pretty courtyard, or take them to go and explore the historic sites of Yorktown!

Sailing with Yorktown Sailing Charters: See a different side of Yorktown, from the water! Yorktown Sailing Charters offers daily 2-hour sightseeing cruises that take you along the banks of the picturesque York River, past Yorktown Battlefield, Victory Monument, naval warships, and more! It’s an awesome way to learn more about the area’s history, and you’ll even get the chance to help sail!

SATURDAY AFTERNOON:

Lunch at Carrot Tree Kitchens: Steps from the Riverwalk Landing Pier is Carrot Tree Kitchens, a delectable little cafe that prides themselves on their baked goods and healthy (and hearty) sandwiches and wraps. Our favorite? “The York Town Onion”, a wrap filled with hummus, greek olives, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and of course, carrots. It’s healthy, filling, and super delicious!

Segway Tour through Historic Yorktown: Right next door to Carrot Tree Kitchens is Patriot Tours and Provisions, an adventure company that offers daily Segway tours through Historic Yorktown! We suggest the one-hour “Breeze” tour, which gives you a quick, condensed look into Historic Yorktown, and is a great intro into riding a Segway if it’s your first time. They’re a blast!

SATURDAY EVENING:

Beer at Brass Cannon Brewing: If you haven’t already noticed, we’re big fans of the craft brewing scene in Williamsburg, and Brass Cannon Brewing (also referred to as “The Cannon”) is another brewery that shouldn’t be missed. It’s veteran owned and a favorite among locals, snag a seat at the bar and you’ll be making new friends in no time!

Dinner at Casa Pearl: Oysters and tacos may sound like an odd pairing, but this locally-sourced, latin-inspired, southern seafood joint sure pulls it off well! Casa Pearl is what we like to call “relaxed elevated”, serving fancy cocktails and small plates in a modern and surprisingly casual environment. We know you’ll love it just as much as we do!

SUNDAY MORNING:

JAMESTOWN

Duck Donuts:  In our opinion, nothing says “Sunday Funday” more than donuts for breakfast! So before making the drive to Historic Jamestowne, take a detour to the famed Duck Donuts, that serves delicious made-to-order donuts that melt in your mouth. You’re welcome in advance.

Historic Jamestowne:  Walk in the steps of Pocahontas and John Smith! Historic Jamestowne is the original site of the first permanent English settlement in America. Seeing this up close is incredible, considering it’s over 400 years old! Taking it a step further, you can visit the Jamestown Settlement, a living history museum that brings it all to life. Fascinating!

Exploring Historic Jamestowne with Sally

Alli with Pocahontas

SUNDAY AFTERNOON:

Beer &  Lunch at Billsburg Brewery:  You can’t beat the views of the James City County Marina at Billsburg Brewery, and the beer is especially tasty on a warm afternoon! They have daily rotating food trucks serving local grub, and occasional live music! See what they’re serving (and who might be playing) here!

Kayak James City County Marina:  If you’re feeling up for an adventure, rent a couple of kayaks (or a tandem), and take them around the historic Powhatan Creek and Jamestown Island! You can even bring your pup along for the ride (but they must have a life vest)!

SUNDAY EVENING:

Wine tasting Williamsburg Winery:  Situated on the 300-acre Wessex Hundred Farm, Williamsburg Winery is a quite the destination, and their tasting room is a stunning spot to sample some of Virginia’s best (and award-winning) wines!

Dinner at Cafe Provencal:  After you’ve sampled Williamsburg Winery’s many famous varietals, head to their on-site restaurant Cafe Provencal, where they take farm-to-farm dining to a whole new level. Showcasing the bounty of Virginia farms, their culinary team creates mesmerizing Provence-inspired dishes that are as pretty to look at as they are to eat!

It’s a perfect place to end your long weekend in Williamsburg… and we suggest planning your next trip back over one of Cafe Provencal’s tantalizing desserts! ;) Happy travels!

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48 Hours in Pittsburgh

“Pull up a chair. You are welcomed here.”

Never have we ever connected to a city’s slogan more than in Pittsburgh. When we think of a city that embodies acceptance, community, and friendliness, Pittsburgh is instantly the city that comes to mind.

From the friendly couple that we met at a brewery on our first night, to the chatty college student we sat next to at Primanti Brothers, to our artsy barista at Constellation Coffee, there’s something different about this city. And we’re convinced it’s the people. They instantly feel like family, making Pittsburgh instantly feel like home. It’s incredibly special.

But beyond the friendly locals, Pittsburgh is also an incredibly beautiful, progressive, and fascinating place. So much so, that we’re already looking for an excuse to go back. But in the meantime, we’ll reminisce and look at pictures and guide you to our favorite spots in “the Burgh”. Here’s where to go if you only have 48 hours!

Obsessed with the City of Bridges!

DAY 1

Coffee at Espresso A Mano: You know a coffee shop is good when there’s a line out the door. Don’t let the line deter you, it moves fast - and the coffee is worth it. Grab a vegan donut while you’re there, too.

Breakfast sandwiches at Pear and the Pickle: We take breakfast seriously, and breakfast sandwiches even more so. The ones at Pear and the Pickle aren’t fancy, but they’re melt-in-your-mouth good. And you can play board games while you wait for them, which is a win-win in our book!

Take a ride on the Duquesne Incline: Voted one of the “Top Ten Sites in the World for Viewing a Cityscape” by USA Today, the 140-year-old Duquesne Incline not only offers picture-perfect views, but it puts the ‘fun’ in funicular! And the ride is dog-friendly, too! ($5 round trip for adults, $2.50 for kids. Don’t forget to bring cash - it’s cash only!)

Visit Randyland: Most artists wouldn’t be willing to open their private courtyard to the public, but Randy Gilson isn’t like most artists. Everyday from 10am-7pm, visitors are welcome to explore his many eccentric art displays around the property, and if you’re lucky you’ll get to hear from Randy himself!

Walk the Strip District: Located on the banks of the Allegheny river, just outside of downtown Pittsburgh, is the popular shopping and dining neighborhood The Strip District. This revitalized industrial neighborhood is packed full of international grocery stores, independent merchants, local retailers, shops, restaurants, and more. Make a stop at the Second Floor Bar at The Pennsylvania Market for a cocktail or two, and maybe even a slice of pizza! (It’s gooood.)

Catch the sunset at Point State Park: Take an early evening stroll around the tip of Pittsburgh’s “Golden Triangle” at the stunning Point State Park! You’ll have a panoramic view of the city, and there’s no better place to be at sunset!

End the night at Grist House Brewery:  Rotating food trucks, solid craft brews, and a dog-friendly outdoor area, we’re big fans of this spot. Grab a seat at one of the many picnic benches outside, and be prepared to make some new friends!

Incredible breakfast sandwich at Pear and the Pickle

The Duquesne Incline!

Amazing view from the top of the Duquesne Incline

Lovely afternoon at Randyland!

Randy himself!

Yummy pizza at the Second Floor Bar

Hanging at Point State Park

Sally loved Grist House!

DAY 2

Coffee at Constellation Coffee: This small, cozy coffee shop is a little off the beaten path (in the Lawrenceville neighborhood), and that’s exactly why we like it. It’s a local’s spot with strong coffee and knowledgeable baristas.   

Grab a juice to-go at Pittsburgh Juice:  Still thirsty? Make a stop at Pittsburgh juice, where you’re sure to find a healthy, satisfying, and organic juice or smoothie. (One of our favorites is the Green Goodness.) Cheers to your health!

Tour The Andy Warhol Museum. Did you know that the pop art icon Andy Warhol was born and raised in Pittsburgh? We didn’t either! The Andy Warhol Museum tells Andy’s story and explores his legacy through his personal art collection, archives, and more. Guests can even star in their own short film, inspired by the Screen Tests Warhol created in the 1960’s!

Try the iconic sandwiches at Primanti Brothers: “You can’t go to Pittsburgh without getting a sandwich at Primanti Bro’s” - every Pittsburgh local. And they’re right. Stuffed with house-made coleslaw, fresh cut fries, tomatoes, provolone cheese, and your meat of choice, it’s a sandwich experience unlike anything we’ve ever had. Extra props if you can finish it!

Walk the Bridges: Known as “The City of Bridges”, Pittsburgh is full of them (446 to be exact). You’ll need to walk off your Primanti Bro’s sandwich, so we recommend crossing oer the Alleghany River at 6th, 7th, or 9th street. Each of those bridges (the Roberto Clemente Bridge, the Andy Warhol Bridge, and the Rachel Carson Bridge) are beautiful and open to pedestirans. They make for a great photo opp, too!

End the night at Tako: Elevated tacos with a global twist, Tako is unlike any taco shop we’ve ever been to. From the decor to the spices, it’s original and it’s exotic. With raving reviews from Zagat, Thrillist, Eater, and more, visitors will definitely need a reservation. Make sure you try their famous Korean Tacos!

One of our favorite pieces at The Andy Warhol Museum

There are 446 bridges in Pittsburgh. How many can you visit?

*This list should keep you very busy during your 48 hours in Pittsburgh. Note that we tend to move quickly when we’re in a new destination. So you might want to cut back or simplify this list as you see fit. And be sure to leave a comment with your favorite Pittsburgh spots, as we’re sure to be back soon!

Top 10 Instagrammable Spots in Pittsburgh

Having never been to Pittsburgh before, we were instantly amazed at how beautiful, both architecturally and naturally, the city is. From towering bridges to green, rolling hills, Pittsburgh is a photographers (and Instagrammers) dream.

While it truly was hard to narrow down our list to only ten spots, we’ve compiled our ten favorite “most Instagrammable spots” in the “Burgh”!

10. MILLIE’S ICE CREAM

I mean, who doesn’t love to ‘gram’ a sweet treat?! Millie’s is a made-from-scratch, small-batch, all natural ice cream shop that’s as cute and Instagrammable as it is delicious. Just make sure to snap the picture before the ice cream melts!

9. PRIMANTI BROTHERS

Known for their signature sandwiches filled with grilled meat, melted cheese, coleslaw, tomatoes and french fries, the Primanti Brothers is #foodiegoals! With multiple locations throughout the city, you have ample chances to get the shot (and eat it, too)!

8. MARKET SQUARE

Located in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, Market Square is a hub for locals and tourists alike with many restaurants, bars, and shops. The towering, symmetrical reflective buildings glisten in the daylight, making it a picture-perfect photo opp. (If the weather is warm, we dare you to jump in the fountain!)

7. RANDYLAND

One of Pittsburgh’s most celebrated and beloved artists, Randy Gilson, opens his Randyland courtyard (nearly everyday between 10:00am and 7:00pm) for visitors to explore and photograph his creative, eccentric, and ever changing public art displays. It’s colorful and random and quintessential for your “Instagram Flow”. ;)

6. THE ANDY WARHOL MUSEUM

Not only is The Andy Warhol Museum absolutely fascinating (you’ll want to devote at least a couple of hours to explore), but it’s also extremely instagrammable. While you’re not allowed to use a flash, you’re more than welcome to take pictures… and you’ll be tempted to snap a pic (or two) in front of every wall.

5. POINT STATE PARK

This National Historic Landmark and park has absolutely stunning views of the city and the surrounding rivers. Point State Park is one of the most iconic places in downtown Pittsburgh, and it’s easy to see why. Snap a pic by the famous fountain, and stay for the sunset. It’s magical!

4. MATTRESS FACTORY

A contemporary art museum with whimsical, eccentric, and progressive art installations, there isn’t a room in The Mattress Factory that isn’t Instagrammable. Two of our favorite exhibitions for taking pictures are the Repetitive Vision Room and the Infinity Dots Mirrored Room, both by the celebrated artist Yayoi Kosama.

3. THE PENNSYLVANIAN (UNION STATION)

Originally constructed in 1900 for use as Pittsburgh’s Union Station, The Pennsylvanian is now one of the city’s most sought-after wedding destinations, and rightfully so. Its handcrafted, dome-shaped rotunda is as awe-inspiring in person as it is in photos.

2. THE BRIDGES

You can’t visit Pittsburgh without snapping a photo on a bridge (or two, or three!), because after all, there are 446 of them, and it is the “City of Bridges”! Some of the most iconic bridges are the Roberto Clemente Bridge, the Andy Warhol Bridge, and the Rachel Carson Bridge, known collectively as the Three Sisters, and happen to be the only trio of identical bridges in the US! Also not to be missed are the Fort Pitt Bridge, Smithfield Street Bridge, the Hot Metal Bridge, and the 16th Street Bridge. But no matter what bridge you choose, you’re bound to get an epic photo!

1. DUQUESNE INCLINE

Number one on our list is the 140-year-old Duquesne Incline, named by USA Today as one of the “10 Most Beautiful Views in America”! Take a ride on the picturesque funicular, then enjoy the extraordinary views of downtown Pittsburgh from their breathtaking overlook. It’s what we like to call, “Instagram gold”!

Did we miss any spots? Let us know if you have any favorite “Instagrammable” places in Pittsburgh that we should check out next time!

Looking For an Adventure? Check Out The Smokies Summer Giveaway!

What are your summer plans? Y'all know how we love a good road trip. The only thing that would elevate the trips we've been taking in our little Toyota Rav4 would be if we could hop in an RV. How much would Sally love that?!?

With that in mind, we recently learned that RVshare is doing an incredible giveaway, with a four-day, three-night trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. You can enter the giveaway here!

We drove through he Great Smoky Mountains last month, and were obsessed with the endless forests and panoramic views. The Great Smoky Mountains encompass over 187,000 acres of forest spread across 2 states. What you probably didn't know is that it is the most popular national park in the USA, ahead of the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite. Have you been? Hopefully you're starting to realize that you're missing out. 

For the giveaway, the grand prize winner will receive a free RV rental, a free campground stay, and a $1000 cash prize. To enter, you must live in the US, you must be over the age of 25, and you should probably love the RV lifestyle. The winner will be selected at random, and you can increase your entries by doing the following:

  • refer friend to enter by sharing the link with them

  • follow RVshare on social media

  • retweet the giveaway on Twitter

  • answer RVshare's bucket list question

  • and more!

You can enter to win the Smokies Summer Giveaway anytime between June 3rd, 2019 and July 1st, 2019, which gives you only two weeks to get as many bonus entries as you can – so act fast! We can’t wait to find out who wins and to share the thrill that RVing gives millions of families every year. Thanks for playing and good luck!

Nothing better than exploring National Parks!

Nothing better than exploring National Parks!

Road Tripping This Summer? Stop in Dubuque!

One of our favorite parts about roadtripping is the quaint small towns we stumble upon. Towns that take us by surprise, towns that have character and charm, towns that easily fall under the radar... We get almost giddy when we discover a new “hidden gem” of a spot - because we get to share it with you! That’s what we love about this big, beautiful country that we live in… there is still so much to discover.

Most recently we happened upon one of those places, Dubuque, Iowa.

Don’t let the fact that it’s Iowa’s oldest city sway you into thinking Dubuque is outdated - it’s an epic fusion of old and new, with plenty of activities, award-winning restaurants, breathtaking sites, and a revitalizing downtown. If you’re planning a roadtrip this summer (or any time of the year), make sure you spend at least a few days in Dubuque. Here’s why:

IT’S WHERE IOWA STARTED

Like we said, Dubuque is Iowa’s oldest city, and dates back to 1833 - 13 years before the state of Iowa even existed! French-Canadian fur trader Julien Dubuque first settled in the area and befriended the Mesquakie Tribe, and the rest is (literally) history!

Known as the “Gateway to the West”, Dubuque sits along the Mississippi River, and borders Illinois and Wisconsin. We think it’s pretty rad that when you’re standing in Dubuque, you can actually see all three states!

We were obsessed with the architecture!

Love these buildings!

IT’S  AN OUTDOOR LOVERS DREAM

From picking apples in the fall, to hitting the slopes in the winter, to hiking to the Mines of Spain in the springtime, Dubuque is an outdoor lovers dream, no matter the time of year.

Summertime however, is an exceptional time to pass through, as you’ll find locals and visitors alike soaking in the sunshine - whether they’re on a pontoon in the Mississippi River or enjoying a glass of wine by the waterfront! If you’re a hiker, Dubuque has numerous picturesque trails to explore, and if you’re an adventure-seeker, their zipline is a must! There’s also kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, road biking, camping, and so much more.

IT’S A FOODIE CITY

It may sound weird, but we’d roadtrip back to Dubuque just for the restaurants! This bustling city is home to some of the best restaurants in the Midwest, each one with a unique and distinctly ‘Dubuque’ style.

Brazen Open Kitchen serves farm fresh food that is literally from local farms, and their ever-changing menu is always fresh and always a crowd-pleaser.

For an elevated and authentic Thai food experience, Pete’s Thai Kitchen dishes up family recipes that were passed down from generation to generation, in a playful and contemporary setting. Don’t miss the Pad Thai!

Located in the Historic Millworks District, 7 Hills Brewing is a modern brewpub that specializes in craft beer, craft cocktails, and mouth-watering comfort food. Their happy hour is one of the best in town!

Stone Cliff Winery sits along the Mississippi River, and is the perfect spot to enjoy a leisurely lunch on a warm, summer day. This family owned and operated winery is not only known for their award-winning wine, but for their extensive (and delicious) lunch menu, too!

Catch the sunset at Smokestack Dubuque, a rooftop venue with unparalleled views of the Dubuque skyline! Pull up a chair, make some friends, and you’re bound to fall more in love with this lively and captivating city.

Afternoon drinks at 7 Hills Brewing

Brazen Kitchen had amazing cocktails too!

Pete’s Thai made us feel like we were in Southeast Asia!

Stone Cliff Winery is located in the old Dubuque Star Brewery building

Drinks and snacks at Stone Cliff Winery. Sally is thinking the snacks are for her…

Brazen Kitchen creations :)

IT’S ICONIC

One of Dubuque’s most well-known attractions is the famous Fenelon Place Elevator. Not only are the views extraordinary, but the historic elevator is the shortest and steepest scenic railway in the world! You’ll see panoramic views of the Historic Downtown, the Mississippi River, and three states! (Do you remember which three?) Plus, the elevator is dog friendly!! Which leads us to our last point...

About to head up the Fenelon Place Elevator

IT’S DOG FRIENDLY

Our Bernedoodle Sally loved exploring Dubuque, and the city really is set up well for pets. We stayed at the brand new ? that was walking distance to just about everything, even the Fenelon Place Elevator! We took Sally to the adorable River Lights Bookstore, where they not only welcome dogs inside - but they give them treats, too!

We had a blast walking along the Mississippi River Walk with Sally, and she was permitted to join us while we enjoyed a light lunch at the nearby Stone Cliff Winery.

Our last night in Dubuque we went for an early evening hike with Sally around The Mines of Spain, which ended up being one of the highlights of our trip. (If Sally could talk, she would agree!) And pizza at Magoo’s is a must - and their outdoor patio allows pets!

Sally LOVED the Mississippi River Walk

Story time at River Lights Bookstore

Delicious pizza at Magoo’s

While we’re only beginning to scratch the surface on all that Dubuque has to offer, we hope this sparks the desire to add it to your summer roadtrip! Not only is it breathtakingly beautiful, but it’s packed with adventure - and tasty treats. ;) If you do head to Dubuque, make sure you let us know where you went and what you did! See you on the road!