Category Archives: Adventure

February 18, 2016

ADVENTURING IN ASHEVILLE


For Valentines I surprised Dustin with a getaway trip to Asheville for camper hangs, breweries and bar-b-que! We left work early on Friday and made it around 4 in time to see the Silver Bette in the daylight, just look at how adorable she is!

I didn’t feel like fooling with my DSLR so I snapped all weekend long using my Iphone, not mad how the photos turned out either! Here goes our full recap, with first a tour of our home away from home on wheels –

Our Spartan was manufactured in 1955 by the Spartan Aircraft Company who made their start making war planes during WWII. After the war Spartan began making these huge luxury rolling caravan’s. The first Spartan Camper was made in 1948 and the last Spartan was manufactured in the early 60’s before the company closed it’s doors for good in Tulsa Oklahoma. The Bettie is similar to an airstream, but with MUCH more headroom and space inside and with even more history! –Air Bnb post

Bette had a full kitchen complete with retro pots and pans for cooking. Not pictured is the old school crimson fridge with the most adorable ice box (aka freezer) inside!

There was a TV but we didn’t bother turning it on, just listened to classic rock on the little radio on the left.

After we explored and unpacked we went to Haywood St. for pre-dinner drinks and apps at Oyster House Brewing. We split a dozen raw oysters, a new acquired taste of my adult tongue, and each had a beer before going to our dinner destination Buffalo Nickel.  We had deviled eggs, Dustin’s all time favorite food, they were yummy and got his seal of approval. For dinner I got the pumpkin ravioli that had lump crap, cranberry, brussels petals, mushrooms, brown butter, sage and lemon-HELLO DELICIOUS! They made the sage like kale chips, not sure how but it was very impressive. Dustin got the North Carolina shrimp- tasso ham, October beans, shellfish tomato broth, grits and fennel. He said it was the best shrimp and grits he’s ever had! I had a bit and would agree, wow!  After dinner we moved over to the game room side and played some pool and darts with locals. A restaurant with games is a winner in my book!

The following day we started with brunch at Sunny Pointe Cafe which came highly recommended.  We were warned about the wait but were told it was worth it. So we toughed out the hour and something wait and they were right, WORTH IT!

HELLO BEST HEUVOS RANCHEROS EVER!

Savory black bean cakes served with Snow Creek chorizo sausage, feta cheese, roasted tomatillo salsa, and herb tossed spuds topped with two free range eggs any style, cilantro crema, and crisp tortilla strips.

Seriously though. That dish went above and beyond. We also really liked the biscuits and gravy and had a bunch of leftovers that we threw all together (with some bbq) and had for brunch Sunday. Have I mentioned breakfast/brunch is by far my favorite meal?

Also, this bloody mary was gorgeous. Dustin said it tasted real good too. I can’t mix tomato juice and coffee but if I could I would have been all about it. Server said they picked the ingredients from their very own garden!

Going out of order here but keeping with the food theme…Buxton BBQ! I had seen this pop up a few times during my web searching and could tell by the menu and graphic design work, it was up our alley. We ate an early dinner here after brewery hoping. After the huge brunch we skipped lunch and were about starved and that’s when we spotted the HASH FRIES. A mound of waffle fries topped with bbq hash, buttermilk gravy and pimento cheese! We died and went to a smothered-n-covered heaven! We sipped local brews before our dinner came which looked something like this:

When it comes to bbq joints Dustin and I both usually get a pulled pork plate. Then I usually order the beans and whatever else sounds good.  We knew our dinner would be fantastic after the devouring of the hash fries and it really was, especially the brussels sprouts!

If you can believe it, we had made room for dessert. It just didn’t feel right leaving without trying the banana pudding pie. Despite the full belly ache that followed, it was so worth it! What made it stand out was the salted graham cracker crust. Mmmmm

We sat at the bar to avoid waiting which gave us THIS view. Open ceilings, exposed bricks, unenclosed kitchen-like being in a big loft!

Now on to brewery hopping!

Not in order but here’s where we went and how we felt about it –

Lexington Ave Brewery – Dustin fell hard in love with their “Thumper” Belgian Tripel. He said it was his all-time favorite of the trip.

One World Brewing – This was an accidental discovery when we were walking to a different destination and HAD to seek warmth. Glad we needed the heat because this little underground brewery was a good find! We both enjoyed the farmhouse ale.

Bhramari – New to the brewery scene and was only serving one of their own beers, the Carolina Common, producing notes of caramel and sweet corn. Tasty! This was another spot we stumbled in for warmth. We are never strict schedule followers so popping into unplanned breweries was fun to us!

Catawba – Is next door to Buxton BBQ and has the same open floor plan with lots of different seating areas, some made of old barrels. We were too full after the BBQ so we split the White Zombie White Ale but at dinner had tried the Farmer Ted Cream Ale which made my top picks list.

Funkatorium- The funkier side to Wicked Weed and the East Coast’s first ever sour dedicated taproom! This was our favorite stop! I wish we had gone there earlier (it was the last stop of Saturday night and I was tired) but when we return it’ll be our FIRST revisit location!

Wedge- We got a small flight of 4 and gravitated towards the smoky ALT bier “sticke” which is a Dusseldorf style. The tasting room is small but the outside area is it’s selling point. Too bad it was a high of 22 degrees otherwise we would have been all about the corn hole!

Thirsty Monk – Not sure how many beers they actually brew but they were only serving 3 of their own that day. I got the blonde and Dustin got the barley wine style ale.  He likes this type of beer a lot and thought theirs was on point. The blonde was easy drinking. They have a lot of other people’s beer on tap but not sure we’ll go back. Feel like there’s better breweries to hit up.

Wicked Weed- This place is popular! The first attempt of visiting was a flop because they were at capacity and had a long line of people waiting to get in. Waiting in 20 degree temperatures with a wind chill that made it feel like the teens-no way jose! We went back the next day. I tried the Orange Peel-named after the neighboring music venue-and thought it was just OK. Dustin got something aged in bourbon barrels and liked it a lot. Now that I’m thinking of it, I don’t think Dustin met a beer he didn’t like, HA! My coworker had an old friend that worked there that I tracked down and he gave us some samples that were tasty.  Next time it’d be nice to fully experience this spot as well.

Of all the beers we tried we felt like the most unique were the sours from Funkatorium so we brought home three! The La Bonte with figs, the Oaxacan that’s aged in tequila barrels and the bourbon oblivion.  How cool is that carrying case!?

Aside from breweries, we popped into a few boutiques I had found after researching online. In downtown we went to Old North, a rad shop for men and women.  We found Dustin a handsome short-sleeved gingham shirt that’ll be real nice when it gets warmer. Also went into the best antique shop I’ve been in a while, Lexington Park Antiques. You could seriously get lost in there for hours!  Horse + Hero has fun art and for cute gifts hit up Whist and Duncan & York.  My favorite non-beer stop was Flora, a flower and plant boutique that also specializes in wedding and event styling and floral design. JUST LOOK!!! >>>

We popped in on Valentines Day.  I picked out a small planter and air plant. When we were checking out I was asked “want me to doll this up?” YES PLEASE! The gal filled the planter with rocks for the air plant to rest on and then handed me the above bag with a sweet corsage attached. Man, I just love places that go above and beyond! It’s currently drying out because it’s too pretty to toss. Flora is a must visit! As well as Asheville, but maybe when it’s a little warmer!

 

December 28, 2015

2015: AT A GLANCE

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This year has been a great one, I mean afterall I did get married and go on an amazing honeymoon!

There was a lot of fun stuff that went down before October 31st, so I wanted to recap 15 blogged about highlights. Here we gooo!

(Above) That time we got a custom stamp by a local maker and made our own save-the-dates, not pictured is our also diy’d wedding invite. Lots of work but worth the beautiful outcome!

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Big highlight was going to New Orleans with two of our favorite couples and not having planned it on purpose but it happened to be Saint Patrick’s Day weekend!

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After a long time of gawking behind a computer screen, a wish of mine came true when I attended my first Kinfolk supper in Nashville!

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Hair finally got long enough for a milk maid braid, whoop! Also, wore last year’s Kate Spade sunglasses Christmas gift approximately 322 days of 2015 :P

One thing I noticed while going through this year’s blog posts was that there wasn’t a ton of outfits but more lifestyle which is the direction I want this blog to go in. So far so good, however, I need to post a lot more this coming year!

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Watching my friend elope at Hangout Music Festival was a memorable day!

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Having a press pass at the Fest and getting super close to my favorite bands was also awesome!

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Friends rented a party bus and 22 of us hung out and partied on Lake Lanier till way past the sun going down!

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My bridesmaids threw me the dreamiest boho bridal shower. Just look at that backdrop!

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Dustin invited a bunch of us to Daufuskie where we tried to catch alligators and got a really big kick out of it, captured here by our friend Cristi!

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Our mode of transportation while on the island. We have some fun (and dangerous) memories on this thing!

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Feel like I’m getting the hang of this whole cocktail recipe and styling thing.  Need to keep it up, practice makes perfect!  This was the best of all of them, see full post here.

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Realizing I spent a good bit of time in Nashville, because: COURTNEY! Becoming close with this lady has been awesome. She’s always up for a good time, fashionable, ridiculously kind and generous and really really healthy which has rubbed off on me!

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Hit up several vineyards in 2015. Not surprising if you knew me because I love me some chardonnay!

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Loved our weekend getaway before the wedding. Georgia in the Fall is something else!

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2015 had several collaborations with brands, which is my favorite part of blogging. The best was with Williams-Sanoma when Dustin and I staged a camping adventure in our friend’s backyard. Since then we took out all the gear for a real trial and give everything from that post a seal of approval!

Obviously, these are the just some of the highlights and there was definitely more to our lives than what hit the blog. For example, we see a lot of music but I rarely blog about it because I usually don’t bother shooting but this is one of our favorite things to do!

And this doesn’t include some of our personal highlights, the low points that is reality and little moments I take in privately.

2015 was a solid year!  2016 has some competition!

Have a safe and happy New Years Eve!

November 20, 2015

OUR HONEYMOON | MISC

In between the adventurous outings we took we also did some low key stuff around Tulum.  Like, starting each day with a big ole breakfast!

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This particular feast was at Ahau’s restaurant.  Before this trip I was never one to eat beans in the morning but after having smashed black beans with most of our meals, I’m sold!

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Our first beers of the trip in the shuttle from the airport  // A church on Cozumel

Where we watched the sunrise our first morning // Workin’ it in Tulum

Beach finds // Roadside dream catchers where I found the one we took home. Between Tulum and Coba there are several small roadside villages that had the best handmade souvenirs. This is where I’d suggest to shop for blankets, dream catchers, ceramics, baskets.

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Lunch at Ahau. Dustin got the octopus and really enjoyed it, the tacos were O-K, they could’ve used some Cholula or salsa but all they had was the habanero FIRE sauce. Their drinks never disappointed- we especially liked the house margaritas.

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This shipping container boutique called, La Troupe, was loaded with bohemian pieces-both for the home and your closet. It’s right down the way between Casa Jaguar and The Hartwood.

In addition, there were a lot of great shops connected to hotels as well as restaurants, for example, Lol Tulum inside Posado Margarita.

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Besides the stands in route to Coba, the locals selling around the road along the hotels (Quintana Roo 15) were also excellent spots to shop for souvenirs.  This is where I bought a good quality traditional Mexican blanket for a fair price.  When I looked in downtown they weren’t as nice and often not even made in Mexico.

Dustin enjoying a Coco Loco, which is a coconut filled with all the boozes!  //  Ahau seating  + happy hour

The enchiladas at Ziggy’s sounded good, but with added fried eggs, even better!   //  The coolest shop in downtown Tulum, she shooed me away after snapping these photos, oops!

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The best tacos we had were at Mateo’s! Crispy baja style mahi, mmm, making me hungry just thinking about it!

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Obsessed with all the tropical plants, especially cacti!  Years ago when I went to Hawaii I plucked a little cactus while hiking to take home. But at the airport they had an agriculture check point making sure people didn’t leave with wildlife and so I had to toss it. Learned my lesson and didn’t attempt this trip!

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Dustin surprised me with this Triangl swimsuit a few months ago to bring on the honeymoon. He did good right? So many textures and stitching, it’s the most unique swimsuit I’ve ever owned. If you’re interested, just know, they are made for tiny Australian surfer babes..I had to size up and still feel like I’m squeezing in!

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At one point, while sitting on the beach we were approached by two small children who were peddling bracelets, wool animals and fruit. I bought my mom a souvenir and the below bracelet I’m wearing. They were the cutest, however, a hotel staff member came over and told them to leave and at first I thought “oh come on, cut these cuties a break” but then we found out the little boy had stolen a man’s wallet the week prior!  Either way, they were freaking adorable!

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Until 2003 Volkswagen was manufacturing the old style beetle in Mexico.  They were everywhere!  We thought it was so neat we talked about renting one for day but we got used to getting driven and didn’t want to drive ourselves, worrying with GPS  // Once again, happy hour!  // Outside the Tulum ruins  // Hipster cactus

 

So this is all the cushioning between the thrilling adventures I shared in the last post. Seriously, from 8am – midnight(ish) we were going nonstop!  Dustin joked we needed a post-honeymoon vacation and as funny as it sounds, he was right. But instead, started back at the jobs the following morning after arriving back to a much colder ATL >>>

Next up is pretty photos of Casa Jaguar, Have a good weekend!

November 18, 2015

OUR HONEYMOON | WHAT WE DID

Get ready to scroll, this is a long one but full of cool adventures, so you won’t regret!

We went into the honeymoon having decided that we wanted to really pack it full of adventures but were going to wait to plan the exact itinerary until we got there to see the forecast. So each morning we’d wake up, get breakfast and discuss the day’s plan.

[First real day, Tuesday} we abnormally woke before the sun, stupid early, and decided to take advantage and watch the sunrise. I never do this, I’m a terrible morning person, but starting off our honeymoon and marriage with something so peaceful felt so right!  That day was forecast to be the prettiest day of the week so we wanted to do a big outing of cenotes and a lagoon with a company our friends recommended.  Since our cell phones didn’t work we counted on WIFI and by the time we reached out to them and heard back we had missed the departure. I immediately started regretting our laid back approach but Dustin assured me we’d find something equally as awesome and he was right.  We spoke with the gal at the front desk who suggested the Muyil ruins followed by floating the neighboring lagoon and she said you could do all of it by hiring a taxi driver for the day.  So we flagged down a taxi and met George who was friendly and very knowledgeable and didn’t know it yet but was stuck with us for the remainder of the day!

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My exploring + going swimming outfit: Free People tunic, Victoria secret suit, Chuck Taylors, UO hat and Le Spec shades.

Not that I remember all that much but I actually minored in Anthropology so visiting Mayan ruins was something I always wanted to do!  Every bit as mind blowing as I’d hoped!

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We had gotten to Muyil around 9 something and had the whole site to ourselves!  We took our time at each temple and did some exploring off the paths in the jungle and found a little cave with bats that Dustin heckled. The whole time we were obsessed with the bats, mostly cause it was the only wildlife we saw in the jungle and cenotes. I long to see a monkey or sloth in the wild!

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Because the structures are smack dab in the jungle they often had trees and plants growing straight through them! This is also the reason why a lot of them needed to be reconstructed when they were discovered.  A mix of rain, plants, wind, shifts in the earth and a lot of other factors had the Mayan villages in rubble and some parts are still in rebuild mode. We were amazed by the condition that some up-and-coming rebuilds were in.. we thought “now that’s a tough puzzle to put back together!”

We were told by a guide on a later excursion that the Mayans wouldn’t have used the reinforcement concrete you can see in between the stones.

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After we had our fill of the ruins we were ready to get in some water and asked George for a lagoon floating recommendation and he said he knew just the guy that would take us out. Little bit of negotiating later we loaded up in a long minimal boat, just us and one non-English speaking “captain” and set out. Ran on the open water for a bit, then went through one canal, popped back out to open water then after running a little longer reached another canal that he instructed was where we’d be floating.

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The spot we unloaded at was called Sian Ka’an and is steps away from a a Mayan archaeological site!

It’s crazy to think about them toting all these stones out on this tiny piece of land in their makeshift boats.  This area, including Muyil, were part of a huge trade route along the Caribbean.  The most common goods traded were Jade, obsidian, chocolate, honey, feathers, chewing gum, and salt. (via Wikipedia)

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These cacti were growing on the roof of the little house. We saw them a lot while floating in the trees and every single time I thought they were snakes!

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The drop-in site ^

The current was so strong it required no swimming at all! We sat back in our life jackets worn as diaper floats and took it all in.

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I was in the boat when I took this photo but this is what we floated down, mangrove lined trenches with clear fresh water. I’ll admit I was spooked because of the spaces under the trees and the thick grass, I mean, who knows what was hiding in there! I kept imaging a crocodile grabbing me and the headlines that followed “Newly Wed Eaten Alive on Honeymoon in Front of Husband” Yep, welcome to the odd place that is my mind!

After this we went and partook in happy hour. Just as we did most days after our adventuring!

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Wednesday we took the hotel’s advice again and used a company called Yucatan Diving and Travel to take a snorkeling trip off Cozumel.  The owner of the company and our guide for the day, Manuel, picked us up and took us to Playa Del Carmen to catch a ferry to the island.  During the ride Manuel entertained us with his stories, he’s got some crazy ones, like getting stung by five different lion fish! After about an hour drive we got to the ferry port and found out we missed it and would have to catch the next one. So we walked around for a bit to kill time looking at all kinds of touristy things in Playa Del Carmen, like a spider monkey on a leash and man dressed as a traditional Mayan warrior…you know, the type area you’d avoid most days but take advantage of when you’re bored! Then it was time to load the ferry which was pretty much like an airplane on water; indoor seating with reclining seats and cold air conditioning. I passed out immediately, as I do in any bus/plane/car!

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From the ferry we grabbed a taxi then hoped on a smaller boat-the 3 hours of travel/killing time was more than we imagined but was definitely worth it!

The trip included two stops, the first was El Cielo or “The Heaven” in Spanish, a shallow area crawling with gigantic starfish.  I’ve done a bunch of snorkeling but seeing all the starfish was like nothing I’ve seen before!

The second stop was a reef that we swam along for a bit then Manuel guided us to where the continental shelf starts to slope. We went from shallow to 30-50′ then it was the bluest blue we’ve ever seen and that’s when we were informed it went to 3,000 feet deep. Three thousand feet. NOPE. I wanted to dip out of that area real quick but Dustin was mesmerized. I mean the blue was so pretty but again, the unknown (just like with the mangroves) freaked me out big time!

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Under water images are from Manuel’s Gopro.  Guess even after getting stung five times he’s not afraid of approaching a lion fish!

The boat ride back we got in a storm that had us dodging the stingy rain bullets so we sat on the back of the boat and were fed Coronas by the crew. When in Mexico…!

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Thursday was a nasty rainy day which always calls for shopping!  We went to “downtown” Tulum which ended up being a big disappointment.  I had set my expectations a little to high and was let down. The shopping was cheesy the food options seemed Americanized. I would avoid next time or do more research on restaurants since some of the spots down alleyways looked cute. But for shopping I’d just stick with the road along the beach near all the hotels. More tips later!

Friday we wanted to do the big Mayan site, Coba. Leaving the hotel the gal at The Beach front desk asked if we needed a taxi and called their driver on deck, Alex. He was awesome!  It was another day of a lot of travel and he drove real fast and played music videos on his Ipad which kept us distracted from the fast driving.

Since we were doing cenotes after the ruins Dustin and I both wore waterproof flipflops which unfortunately were not the best shoes for exploring.  Therefor we got a tricycle taxi which ended up being the best idea!  Our “driver” was named Jose’. He was Mayan and part of the team that restores Coba.  With his decent English we were able to learn a lot from him and got a two for one, ride + guide!

Hearing facts are one thing but when you see everything up close it’s another and Coba is very impressive! I wanted to bring my camera to each of the rest of the spots but the forecast called for rain and I didn’t want to risk it so the rest are all Iphone pics. Better to share with cell phone photos than not at all!

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A lot of the city has been restored but there are several elements that are original and untouched. I’m not entirely sure about the tablets above but from what we gathered they were authentic. The bottom building was a watch tower and is completely solid. Dustin and I both liked this puffy pyramid a lot and took extra time to explore around the base.

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Yep, we climbed to the top with all the other thrill seekers! I’m not going to lie, I got freaked out with the height which is not my usual fear (sharks are #1!) I think it had to do with the steep factor and being above the jungle canopy, caused some vertigo! Going down I took one step at a time putting the weight on my right leg and stepping down with left. No joke, I was sore until last week!!

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Jose led us on the tricycle to this hidden walkway and insisted we walk down to see the ruins at the end.  We were so glad we wound up with him as our driver and that he knew of this spot! He said most people either don’t see it or their tour guide doesn’t have enough time to show them. It’s hard to choose a favorite but I thought this was so special, besides the colossal mosquitoes, it was our favorite site!

After the tour of Coba we hopped back in the taxi with Alex who took us down a long and bumpy road to our first two cenotes.

I’ve said this word a few times already but for those of you who may not know-I didn’t before planning this trip-they are a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath (Wiki) They were a water source for the Mayan people and considered sacred.

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First stop:  Multun-Ha. After showering, which all cenotes require so you don’t mess with the eco system with your lotions etc, we walked down a spiral wooden staircase that led us to a platform that had a few stairs leading to the clearest and coldest water I’ve ever swam in!  There were 3 other people that were finishing up so the cave was pretty quiet. We swam around soaking in all the beauty and then it was off to stop two..

Choo-Ha. We didn’t swim in this one. Instead we did a lot of gawking and bat watching. The stalactites and stalagmites were massive!

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After the Coba cenotes, Alex mentioned Zacil Ha being on the way home and an easy drop in so we said “why not?!” and tried it out.  It was different from the other two as it wasn’t a cave but an actual sink hole, so basically a beautiful fresh water pool!  We jumped off the deck, hand in hand, a few times then called it a day. On the way home we stopped at a few roadside Mayan stands I’ll talk more about later.

Saturday we hit up Alex again to take us out on another day trip! Morning called for better weather so we first hit up Akumal, a small beach community between Tulum and Playa Del Carmen. This came recommended by a friend here in Atlanta. She told us her favorite adventure was swimming with the sea turtles. I don’t know how but I didn’t take any (good) photos of the beach area. But I will tell you it was magical! We swam with a dozen sea turtles, big ole stingray, hundreds of tropical fish and our guide Darwin. You don’t really need a guide but getting one included the gear and required life jacket so it made sense to us. Too bad we didn’t have an underwater camera, I would love to share!

After Akumal was the biggest cenote trip, Pet Cemetery.

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Lots of Americans had told us to check out Dos Ojos cenote but the locals (including Alex and Manuel) were telling us that Pet Cemetery was better so we listened to them.  Pet Cemetery is on the same road but way further down.  There were more potholes on that road than the whole city of Atlanta! It seemed like we were never going to get there (noticing a trend here? lots of long roads to get to the good stuff) but when we did we realized we were in for more than we bargained – in a good way!

Dustin and I along with 4 other folks, including the guide (this cenote requires one) floated through a cave wearing life vests and snorkels for a little under an hour.  Some parts were lit with florescent lights and others the only light source was our two flashlights!  To keep things preserved they asked us not to touch anything.  However, in the some spaces it was so tightly lined with stalactites we couldn’t help but bump into them! I would like to give myself props because I kept cool the whole time when one of the other girls was wigging out over spiders, bats and the darkness. I will admit one point where Dustin and I were in the back of the line and the two flashlights were up front which made me nervous enough to request Dustin hold one and then all was fine.

Pet Cemetery was the winner in our books. They were all so different and I’d suggest to try as many as possible. Never know what experience you’ll stumble into!

After exploring all these cenotes on top of the water and diving down just a little made D and I want a scuba certification. It’d be so incredible to get deeper, though I don’t know about swimming through the underwater tunnels. That would take some guts!

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Last site was the Tulum ruins. It was along the beach and more open than the others.  By this time I thought I couldn’t be impressed, after all we had seen/hiked/swam I was becoming unimpressionable (and down right tired) but this place was outstanding! It covered a lot of ground and really felt like stepping into ancient city since you could see the neighboring structures whereas the other two ruin sites were spread out and tucked into lush vegetation.  After this, it was back to happy hour and our final beach hangs.

I told you we packed it in!

This isn’t even it! I mean, it’s all our adventures in a very summarized nutshell, but we did other stuff too, like ate and shopped. Which is the next post :)

Tips for taking these trips:

Pay a taxi driver to be personal driver for the day and ask hotel if they have one on deck.
People told us the locals appreciated US dollars but it didn’t seem to be the case, better to have pesos.
Also, use bank ATMS versus privately owned-saves you money!
Get to things early! You’ll have less tourists.
Invest in a decent dry bag and rash guard, I loved mine that had a zipper, Dustin bought for cheap at REI.
Bring own snorkle and mask, we had ours for some trips and they were better and less chewed up.
At the ruin sites, wear old sneakers or hiking boots.

October 28, 2015

EXPLORE GEORGIA

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We kept last weekend plan-less because we thought we might have lots of pre-wedding things to do but ended up with just a plan-less weekend and no big tasks at hand. Even though there was plenty of activities happening around Atlanta (Red Bull Soap Box Derby, Porch & Pies party..) we wanted to keep things slow but not boring. So, on Saturday morning we got up early, packed our camping gear and drove up to North Georgia for an overnight stay in the woods.  Once in Cleveland (GA) we decided to first head to Dukes Creek Falls, that was until we took a wrong turn trying to avoid traffic heading to Helen and wound up passing by the Sautee Nacoochee Vineyards and pulled right in!

 

 

 

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The vineyard was adorable! Though small in stature they had a lot to offer; tastings, live music with an outdoor seating area and even wine slushies! I opted for the chardonnay blend-just the right amount of tart and smooth.

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Next we set out to hike Dukes Creek Falls for sights and a relatively easy 1.9 mile round trip hike.

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This is the view from the parking lot!

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The Falls are huge! There are multiple platforms for viewing so you can see all the angles of the waterfall and creek bed. It’s really breathtaking.

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Seriously could not get over the colors! Ooo’d and ahhh’d all weekend long!

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After our beautiful hike, we went to Raven Cliffs Falls to see if there were any spots to camp and while it was pretty packed out, we found a spot near a creek that was perfect.

Couple trips to the car and back and we were set up!

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Which called for wind down beverages; wine for me and beer for Dustin!

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We brought a bundle of firewood and foraged for small pieces. “Better safe than sorry if the area’s been picked over!” -D

We didn’t hike to the falls of Raven Cliffs mostly because we both had sore backs as we’re still recouping from our car accident in May and flare ups are rare for D but, unfortunately frequent for me. I’m working on it though, through PT and massages. Plus we had already seen it together. Next time I’d like to see it again, it’s a longer hike but when you get to end it’s so worth it! Post about that trip, here.

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Dustin grew up in Boy Scouts and finished as an Eagle Scout so he knows the way around a fire and is patient with all my poking and feeding-even when it probably doesn’t need a new log!  Fires are my favorite part of camping!

Ingles really brought it strong with their muffin game, this pumpkin muffin was to die for! Not pictured is the cinnamon apple one we devoured, also bomb, so moist.

After a solid breakfast we set out for home. Then…we saw signs for a wild animal reserve and had to see what that was all about!

When we parked our car we were greeted by a fallow deer named Lucky. As a youngin he was struck by lightning leaving him with lopsided antlers, which added to his cuteness! I shared my banana with him :P

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We got the reserve’s history from the little girl who’s dad runs the place. She said that it started with one animal needing rescue which led to another being handed over then people just started dropping animals off! Some of the animals have been seized by the court and given to the reserve because the owners were treating the animals poorly.  So if you ask, is it sad? Nope! They are being well taken care of and some are living the better half of their lives inside the Chestatee Wildlife walls!

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Across the lot from Lucky were two grizzles, one of which had bad arthritis so it walked with a slow pace and a limp and seemed to love soaking in the little pool.

The coolest experience was attracting a herd of zebra over and feeding the striped beauties! Look at those ears and mohawk!

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After hanging with all the animals we thought, why not continue the festivities and hit up a corn maze! We went to the Tomato House off Cleveland Hwy which had everything you could ever imagine a roadside shop having! Seriously, the place is packed with stuff; candy, knickknacks, every genre of toys and housewares..I could go on, it’s bizarre how much crap (sorry..) is in this place! Anyways, they had a bunch of really cool pumpkins and squash –

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If you’ve been to a corn maze, you’d probably agree how it’s both pretty and creepy at the same time. There was a slight breeze making the tall plants sway back and forth, crinkling against one another. Besides the noise of cars in the distant, it was fairly peaceful.

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Bought this Stetson hat for the honeymoon but wore it all weekend. Love it! Lightweight and very comfortable.  Took some getting used to the rigid bill, figured that out quickly when getting in and out of the car, doink!

Find it here.

While this wasn’t the slowed down weekend we originally expected, it was a freaking awesome adventurous time! Love me some spontaneity!!

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CREEPY RIGHT??? Happy Halloween week!

Oh and it’s also my wedding week! Ahhhh