Monday, July 10, 2017

A Girls Trip to Nashville, TN

Nashville is the perfect destination for a girls trip. The city is booming with live music, amazing food, and a thrilling nightlife. We spent an extended weekend in music city and were not disappointed!

Where to Stay
We stayed in an AirBnB and had a great experience. I would highly reccomend renting out a house rather than a hotel. Even though we were not at our rental much it was nice to have a kitchen and living room area.

Daytime Activities
Nashville has so much to offer. We were able to easily fill up our days with various activities. Here were some of our favorites.

Country Music Hall of Fame
Country musics fans must visit the Country Music Hall of Fame. There was so much history and artifacts for all to enjoy. We really enjoyed our time at the museum. It was well worth the $20 admission fee. 

My sister and I outside of the Country Music Hall of Fame

The rotating exhibit was Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash 

Bill Monroe's mandolin Gibson F-5

The girls outside of the Hall of Fame

Tour the Ryman 
The Ryman is another historic stop for country music fans. It was really neat to learn the history of the building and see the stage where so many great country artists made their debuts. The tour was quick and only $12. 

Outside the Ryman

Live Music
Music is abundant in music city. It would be a shame to not check out some of the live music Nashville has to offer.

Blue Bird Cafe
Watching a live performance at the Blue Bird Cafe was on my bucket list. The atmosphere is amazing and the performances even better! Being so close to the song writers and hearing the story behind each song is really something special. Be warned: tickets must be purchased in advanced and they go fast! I had 3 devices up to get tickets and settled with my second choice on time/date. We sat with a family that had been trying to get in for 3 years! It was well worth the trouble to go though!

The girls and I outside the famous Bluebird Cafe

Grand Ole Opry
Watching a show at the Grand Ole Opry was another bucket list item for me. When we went, there were no "famous" artist performing... yet. We actually got to see Brett Young at his debut Grand Ole Opry show, who now has multiple singles on the radio! Pretty neat!

Brett Young performing for the first time at the Grand Ole Opry

Bike Bar
If drinking and meeting new people sound good, then a bike bar is a must! This was probably my favorite activity from the entire weekend. We were able to rent out our seats individually (a lot of cities only rent out the whole bike bar) which was perfect for our group of four. We paid $20 each for 2 hours of biking and drinking around downtown Nashville. I would highly recommend looking into it, we had so much fun! 

Our bike bar crew

The Gulch
The Gulch is a great part of Nashville to grab a bite to eat and do some shopping. There is also a really awesome mural to get a picture with while there

Wings mural at the Gulch


Franklin, TN
Looking for more shopping? Then take the short drive to Franklin, TN. The downtown area is filled with cute shops and boutiques.
Downtown Franklin, TN 

Nashville has a booming nightlife. We spent most of our time downtown. Broadway is lined with bars and people. The bars do not have covers but expect drinks to be around $10 minimum. A few of our favorites were Honky Tonk, a three leveled bar with bands on each floor, Crazytown and Tootsies.

Honky Tonk was one of our favorite bars 

View from a rooftop restaurant 

Nashville is the perfect city for a girls trip! We had a blast and I cannot wait to go back! 

Have you been to Nashville? What was your favorite activity? 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Top 5 Things to do on Cape Ann, MA

Cape Ann is a rocky cape located northeast of Boston, Massachusetts. With its peaceful coastline and iconic northeast flare, it is the perfect seaside escape. Here are the top 5 things to do on Cape Ann.

1. Whale Watching
Whale watching is a must do while visiting the northeast and there is no better place to do it than Cape Ann. Grant and I went through Capt. Bill and Sons Whale Watch out of Gloucester, MA and had a great experience. We were able to see humpback, fin, and minke whales as well as a basking shark on our tour. I would go again in a heartbeat. For more information on whale watching on Cape Ann go here.
Humpback whale

Basking shark

Fin whale

2. Explore BearSkin Neck 
BearSkin Neck is located in Rockport, MA. The area is loaded with local shops and delicious  dinning. We had a great time exploring and taking in all of the northeastern architecture. Parking is a challenge in the area though, so expect to park a distance away and walk.

View of the harbor from Bearskin Neck

Iconic building in Bearskin Neck

3. Halibut Point State Park
Halibut Point State Park is also located in Rockport, MA. The park offers easy trails and serene coastal views. It is the perfect place to spend a few hours taking in the beauty of Cape Ann. For more information and pictures go here.

Lighthouse at Halibut Point State Park

4. Relax on the beach
Most of Cape Ann's shoreline is rocky but there are beaches. We stayed at Cape Ann Motor Inn which was located right on Long Beach in Gloucester, MA. The beach was absolutely gorgeous and the perfect place to relax. Grant and I ran along the beach one morning, enjoyed stargazing, and I even watched the sunrise (for pictures and more about watching the sunrise on the beach go here). Relaxing on the beach is another must while visiting Cape Ann.

Long Beach

5. Eat great seafood 
Cape Ann is a wonderful place to check out fresh and local seafood. Our goal was to try as much fresh seafood as possible and we were successful!
A few of our favorite places were:

The Pub at Cape Ann Brewing Company
We enjoyed typical bar food at the Pub and some local brews.

Growing hops at Cape Ann Brewing Company

Roy Moore Lobster Co.
Grant and I enjoyed a lobster roll and crab cakes at this small restaurant in Bearskin Neck.

Captain Carlos
Captain Carlos was the perfect place to grab a bite to eat after our whale watching excursion. The patio was a great touch as well!

Mile Marker One Restaurant and Bar
A spot for great seafood and a good bowl of clam chowder.

Outside of Mile Marker One Restaurant and Bar

Cape Ann is a beautiful place to relax and take in the beauty of the northeast coast. We had a great experience during our time here and cannot wait to come back! 

Been to Cape Ann, what was your favorite activity? Comment below! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Whale Watching off the Coast of Massachusetts

Whale Watching was one of the most humbling and exhilarating experiences. Seeing these gentle giants in their natural habitat is like nothing else. It is hard to put into words how quickly I fell in love with whales after seeing them in nature.

Capt. Bill and Sons Whale Watch
Grant and I booked our whale watching expedition through Capt. Bill and Sons Whale Watch, out of Gloucester, MA  and were not disappointed.

Laura and Grant

Our Trip
We took the Miss Cape Ann out and had a pleasant time. Miss Cape Ann was a spacious and very accommodating boat. The trip lasted between 3 to 4 hours but I could have watched the whales all day, if they had let me. At first, we wanted to be on the upper deck but it was full; therefore, we found room on the lower deck. I think finding room on the lower deck was a blessing because we were able to go inside the cabin to escape the chilly wind on the ride to and from seeing the whales. Also, we were able to stand along the edge of either side of the boat, at the front, to be in a prime spot to see the whales. If ever in Gloucester I would highly recommend Capt. Bill and Sons Whale Watch.

We paid $48 each for the trip. The price seemed very reasonable and was totally worth it. I would recommend eating before because the food was pricey and they only accepted cash on the ship.

What to Bring
Jacket- As I mentioned before, the wind from the ocean is chilly even if it is a nice day out. A jacket of some sort is a smart choice.
Camera- This seems obvious but should be said. I would recommend a camera with some sort of strap. I saw lots of phones being held out over the water. It just seemed like a disaster waiting to happen.
Sunscreen- All that sun shinning off the water will increase those UV rays, so sunscreen is a good choice.
Sunglasses- Makes it so much easier to see the whales underwater, especially if they are polarized.

During our trip we saw two humpback, 10 fin, and eight minke whales, as well as a basking shark! We were only able to see the minke whales from afar but we got a close up of two different humpback whales, a fin whale, and the basking shark. I will never forget the feeling of a humpback whale swimming right under our boat! It was absolutely amazing! The crew did a wonderful job of spotting the whales and also giving us great information about them. Whales are absolutely amazing animals and I truly hope they are around for many years to come.
Fin Whale

Basking Shark! 

We were so close that my larger zoom lens couldn't zoom out enough to get its full length in one picture

Such a peaceful animal

Humpaback Whale

I was so excited about this shot!

Everyone on the boat was looking to get the perfect whale tail photo

One of the humpback whales loved to turn on its side 

It was so amazing when they would pop up right by our boat! 

I will most definitely be doing more whale watching in my future. It is an experience that should be put on everyone's bucket list. I would highly highly recommend doing it.

Have you been whale watching? Where is the best place? Comment below!