January 28th, 2018

First day of school

Home and Garden Show

Yesterday we went to the Home and Garden show in VA Beach. Overall, it was more focused on home things (gutter repairs, siding, etc). There were several plant vendors and garden set ups, which were fun to see. We also bought some fun things as well!

First day of school

These look like fun!

11 U.S. Cities Perfect for a Weekend Getaway
Katherine LaGrave by Katherine LaGrave
February 01, 2017
When vacation time is precious (though seriously, you should be taking more vacation), a three-day weekend may seem like the only manageable trip you can take. Or maybe you're tacking a weekend on to a business trip. We get it. So we rounded up a variety of U.S. cities that will keep you busy for three days, but won't leave you overwhelmed. The next time you're looking to take advantage of a three-day weekend, here's where to start.

San Diego, California
Where to stay: Fairmont Grand Del Mar, which is part California castle, part golf resort, or the newly renovated Omni San Diego Hotel.
How to spend your time: Cover as much as you can of the 1,200-acre Balboa Park, spend a day on Coronado Island, and end each night with a sunset at Sunset Cliffs. Eat your fill of California burritos at Nico's Mexican Food, and drink your fill of craft beer from breweries including Ballast Point, Mike Hess, Stone Brewing, and AleSmith. Surf (or, at least, try to, at Del Mar or La Jolla Shores). Go south of the border, too, with Turista Libre, which takes travelers to hyper-local spots in Tijuana and Valle de Guadalupe.

Denver, Colorado
Where to stay: The Art Hotel, a quasi-art museum where pieces like Jim Dine’s Yellow Rushing Toward Me and Ed Ruscha’s Industrial Strength Sleep are permanent guests.
How to spend your time: After checking into the Art Hotel, spend an afternoon at the seven-story Denver Art Museum with Monet's Le Bassin des Nympheas and Paul Klee's Palace Partially Destroyed, followed by a meal at Avelina. On day two, take advantage of the newly revived Winter Park Express Ski Train, which goes from downtown Denver to Front Range’s Winter Park Resort in two hours. Come warmer weather, head 16 miles west of downtown Denver to the nearly 900-acre Red Rocks Park, which has miles of hiking trails, sandstone cliffs, and a geologically formed amphitheater that's hosted everyone from The Beatles to Stevie Nicks.

New Orleans, Louisiana
Where to stay: Soniat House, a Traveler Gold List hotel with the New Orleans monopoly on wrought-iron railings, gently weathered walls, and period furnishings.
How to spend your time: Eat at Shaya and Brennan's, both of which made our best restaurants in the world list, and the latter of which has been firmly entrenched in the French Quarter since 1942. Follow each of these itineraries around our favorite neighborhoods: The Warehouse, Lower Garden District, Bywater, and, yes, the French Quarter. Crush a bag of beignets at Morning Call, which has much shorter lines than Cafe Du Monde—and pristine City Park views. When the sun sets, go beyond Bourbon Street, and don't miss music-driven evenings on Frenchmen Street, which has the Big Easy's best live jazz.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Where to stay: The Sofitel for short stays, and the ROOST Rittenhouse for when you return to the city for more than a weekend.
How to spend your time: A day in Fishtown, namely to wait in line for Pizzeria Beddia and crawl from microbrewery to microbrewery. A day of museum hopping—the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation, the Rodin Museum. A day of walking: Wander along North 3rd Street (duck into Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction) and East Passyunk (play a 60-minute 'Escape the 80s' game) before dinner at Michael Solomonov's Dizengoff or Zahav, where you'll dip into some of the best hummus in the country. Finish at Hop Sing Laundromat, a somewhat-hidden cocktail bar and rite of passage.

Baltimore, Maryland
Where to stay: The Ivy Hotel, where rooms come with sunken tubs, soft cashmere throws on canopied beds, and extras like free movies and minibar booze.
How to spend your time: Eat your way from one new restaurant to the next before (shh) everyone else gets in on the secret: think Argentinean empanadas at Bar Vasquez; seafood risotto at Cosima; tea-smoked duck breast at Gunther & Co., and barbecue-flavored ice cream from food hall R. House. Stroll off the calories along the historic Inner Harbor, and hop on an hour-long tour, by boat, of what has been deemed one of the most underrated cities in the U.S. Catch a show at the gorgeous, refurbished Hippodrome Theatre. Allot three hours for the Baltimore Museum of Art; and get lost in Lexington Market, which is like the Pike Place Market of Baltimore—if Pike Place had been open since 1782, that is.

Portland, Maine
Where to stay: The former-home-of-the-Press-Herald Press Hotel.
How to spend your time: Take the ferry to Peaks Island. Eat your weight in lobster rolls at Portland Lobster Company, and be sure to also hit Central Provisions, The Honey Paw, and Eventide Oyster Co., the "oyster bar of your dreams." (More than a dozen local craft breweries including Allagash and Rising Tide provide the drink; if you're sick of beer, try Portland Hunt & Alpine Club.) Walk scenic Fore Street. If it's open, duck into the Wadsworth-Longfellow House; if not, make for the Portland Art Museum. Hop on a bike for a 6.5-mile flat loop of Portland, which sits on a peninsula, or spend a day "hiking" 70 miles of the greater city via Portland Trails. Drive to Portland Head Light, a still-operational light station that's occupied its position five miles south of the city since 1791.

Nashville, Tennessee
Where to stay: The Thompson Nashville in the trendy Gulch neighborhood.
How to spend your time: Start the day with a cup of house-roasted coffee at Crema. Shop 12 South for a souvenir: a custom pair of jeans from imogene + willie, maybe, or handcrafted items from White's Mercantile, a modern twist on an old-time general store curated by Hank Williams's granddaughter Holly. Eat hot chicken from Hattie B's. Honky tonk on Second Avenue at Robert's Western World, or stay in the Gulch for bluegrass at The Station Inn. Spend two hours at the Frist Museum for Visual Arts, which used to be Nashville's central post office.

Charleston, S.C.
Where to stay: The Dewberry Hotel, our new favorite place to stay in the city.
How to spend your time: Take a walking tour of 18th-century architecture, and pick your favorite Georgian mansion from Rainbow Row or The Battery. Read a book beneath the 1,000-year-old, 1,700-square-foot Angel Oak Tree, and nap on the beach of Sullivan's Island. Make a reservation at Husk. Have a fried chicken sandwich (or three) at Leon's Oyster Shop—it's been known to make even the most serious vegetarian fall off the wagon, and no doubt contributed to Charleston being voted the best small city in the U.S.. To work off those calories, walk to the middle of the Ravenel Bridge (1.25 miles) for sunset over the Cooper River—or say, hey, I'm on vacation, and just have a cocktail on the roof of the Dewberry instead. Once evening has fully fallen, head inside the centuries-old Dock Street Theatre for local and Broadway touring productions.

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Where to stay: The Kimpton Grand, a renovated circa-1912 building.
How to spend your time: Make artsy Lyndale, one of Airbnb's hottest neighborhoods of 2017, your base. Pay homage to hometown hero Prince at Paisley Park Museum one afternoon, or browse where the musician himself often shopped for music at indie store Electric Fetus. Lake hop: Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun, and Lake of the Isles are all connected. Beer from Surly Brewing Company, dessert from Milkjam Creamery, and James-Beard award-winning Minnesotan cuisine at The Bachelor Farmer. Spend a few hours at the Walker Art Center, one of the country's best contemporary art museums. The American Swedish Institute is a lot more fun that it sounds; and the Jucy Lucy from Matt's Bar—a beef patty with a core of molten cheese—is even better than it sounds, intentional misspellings aside.

Madison, Wisconsin
Where to stay: The stately Mansion Hill Inn, a boutique B&B.
How to spend your time: Bike 12 miles around Lake Monona. Make like a Badger and stroll some of the 20-plus miles of trails at the UW Arboretum (or, in winter, ski, snowshoe, or hike them), before filling up on fried cheese curds and Ale Asylum at Dotty Dumpling's Dowry. Take a 40-minute road trip to visit the New Glarus Brewing Company, which only distributes in Wisconsin. Take a 50-minute road trip to the cliffs and Ice-Age rock formations of the Driftless Area. Get your art fix at the Chazen Museum of Art and the stunning, glass-walled Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Shop at the Saturday morning farmers' market on Capitol Square, reportedly the largest producer-only farmers market in the country. Eat dinner at Estrellón, and save room for the Basque cake.

Louisville, Kentucky
Where to stay: The 21c Museum Hotel, which doubles as a contemporary art museum.
How to spend your time: Get a hot brown at The Brown Hotel. Walk the Old Louisville neighborhood, which reportedly has the largest collection of Victorian homes in the country. Visit Churchill Downs. Pay tribute to The Louisville Lip at the Muhammad Ali Center. Take trip to Maker's Mark and dip your own bottle of Kentucky bourbon. Pop by the Speed Art Museum, fresh off a $50 million renovation and expansion. Hike through Bernheim Forest. Don't miss a performance from the LGBT theater troupe Pandora Productions.