Wynwood Walls-Miami,Florida

In 2009, Wynwood Walls launched during Art Basel, by the late Tony Goldman. Goldman wanted to transform the warehouse district of Wynwood and visualized a uniquely curated art experience like no other. Since then Wynwood has grown into Miami’s only outdoor street art park, boasting more than 40 murals. It features some of the worlds most amazing artists and muralists across the globe.

Wynwood is located at 2520 NW Second Avenue, on the mainland side of the city, nestled between Little Havana and Downtown Miami. Giving new life to a once rundown neighborhood, this outdoor museum of street artist has become a must-see destination when in Miami. Wynwood Walls is free for the public to explore.

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I Flew Spirit Airlines For The First Time And Would Do It Again – How To Fly Spirit Airlines and Not Empty Your Pockets

Like most people, I was looking for a flight and was drawn to the low prices of Spirit Airlines. A round trip from Detroit to Ft. Lauderdale cost me just $130! But of course, I’ve heard many many negative reviews about their hidden fees. But to my surprise, these fees were not hidden at all. I took the time to weigh my opinions. Here’s what I found.

Photo Courtesy of Spirit Airlines

Flight are offered as a “bare fare”. This means the price you see for the flight is just for the flight and nothing else. No luggage, no carry on, no in-flight snacks or beverages. You will be charged for everything, so you have to be smart to avoid being that person that complains about Spirit because they failed to read the 20pt bold fine print.

Last week I flew to Ft. Lauderdale for a 2-day stay. I was able to get all my clothes and such in a backpack that was within their allotted dimensions. “Your Bare Fare® includes one personal item, one that can fit entirely into an 18″ x 14″ x 8″ size box.” Now you will definitely have to be strategic when packing if you go this route. It’s definitely easier to do if you’re traveling to somewhere warm. The lighter you have to dress, the fewer clothes you have to pack. It will also depend on how many days your trip is. I had a late flight so I decided that I would just wear the same thing I flew in with as I would flying back out. I only had it on for a couple of hours. I also wore a hoodie, a jacket, a pair of converse. Everything else went in my backpack.

What I packed for my 2-day stay:

1 dress

1 skirt

2 tank tops

2 pajamas

1 jumpsuit

2 pairs of flip flops

1 swimsuit

1 coverup

Small crossbody purse

Hair bonnet

1 face/body bar soap

1 travel face/body moisture

Travel Toothpaste

Toothbrush

Floss

Sunscreen

Deodorant

1 Lip gloss

1 lipstick

CC Cream

Mascara

As you can see, I had a very minimal wardrobe. It felt kind of good not to overpack, like I usually do. Not having so much to choose from takes out a lot of the stress of trying to figure out what you want to wear. And you’re not feeling what you’ve packed there’s a Target in almost every city. Keeping toiletries and beauty products to a minimum will also help. Use travel tubes when you can.

To avoid check-in fees ($10 to print each boarding pass.), check in and print your boarding pass at home. If you don’t have access to a printer, just opt for the e-boarding pass to be emailed to you. By doing this you will also avoid having to wait in a long line to check in. Just go straight to the security line!

Spirit Airlines does not provide any inflight complimentary services, such as drinks and snacks. A lot of people seem to have a really big problem with not getting a tiny bag of pretzels and a half cup of soda on a two-hour flight. Is it really that serious? No for me. I brought a small bag of roasted almonds, an orange, and bought a coffee at the airport to hold me over till I got to my destination. And let’s not forget, you can always eat before heading to the airport. It’s really that simple.

Snack & Beverage Menu

When checking in, you will have the option to pick a seat but will cost you up to $50. If you don’t mind risking sitting in a less desired seat choice, or you don’t mind not sitting with the person you’re traveling with, let Spirit pick your seat and avoid the fee. The seats are pretty close but definitely not uncomfortably close, at least not for me. I was actually surprised at how much room I actually had. If you’re a taller individual, I could see it being a problem. You might want to upgrade to an oversized seat. This upcharge will run you an additional $12-150 if booked in advance.

Another complaint I’ve heard about Spirit is their frequent delays. My flight was actually delayed, but to be fair so was a few other airlines. I definitely understand that things happen and they can’t control the weather. I’d much rather get to my destination safely if it means to wait a couple of hours. If potential delays are a concern, book your flight according and allow time to get to where you’re getting on time, even if it means getting there hours before you need to. I would definitely suggest not getting on the last flight and choose the earliest flight as possible.

To even further you saving, join their $9 Fare Club. For an annual fee of $59, you’ll have access to their lowest available fares and discounted online bag prices. These savings also covers everyone on your booking. Read about it HERE.

In my opinion, Spirit Airlines is very upfront about their fees. If you take the time to read their rules and restrictions carefully, you won’t be surprised with additional fees at the airport. It’s that simple.

My first flight with Spirit was a pleasant one. I would definitely fly with them again. The flight crew was lively and very nice. I sat next to nice people. The planes were very clean. Other than the flight delay, everything went as good as it would on any other airline. I look forward to booking my next flight.

Taste & Explore: Hilton Head Island

I just spent a most relaxing 5 days at Hilton Head Island. Most of which was spent either at the pool or the beach. With temperatures well into the 90s, that’s the only place I wanted to be.

With that being the case, I didn’t really get to fully explore the island as far as food and attractions. But I did squeeze a few spots in. On one morning my friend and I headed out to find a coffee shop. Through the Yelp App, we were able to discover Caretta Coffee Co. It was actually only one of a few coffee shops even open on a Sunday.

You could tell by the long line that had already formed. We decided to wait it out. In addition to espresso, Caretta Coffee Co. also offers wine, beer, and brunch cocktails.

On this visit I ordered a Dirty Chai Latte. I had never had one till that day. My friend I was with got me familiar with this awesomeness. So a Dirty Chai Latte is a Chai Latte with 2 shots of espresso. I thank the talented baristas at Caretta Coffee for an amazing first experience. I’ll be getting that again!

The next day, we headed to the beach to catch some morning rays. The beach was only few minutes walk from where we were staying. I couldn’t pass up a trip to the beach with it being that close.

I really love being by water. The sound just puts me in a very relaxed state of mind.

A few days later we ventured out to check out a few more places. Our first stop was to Low Country Backyard, where guest are delighted with a delicious menu full of Lowcountry Seafood and Cuisine.

We were not too hungry so we decided to order cocktails and dessert. I went with the Moon-A-Rita, a margarita made with South Carolina Moonshine. That was quite tasty. My friend got a Backyard Stormy, a rum based drink. It was also tasty. We shared a slice of homemade Key Lime Pie, but I could have easily eaten a whole pie by myself. It was soooooo good. The pie was perfectly made with the right amount of sweetness. It made me very happy. I really enjoyed the warm hospitality. Our waiter was very pleasant and accommodating.

Photo Credit: L. Price

Next we decided to check out another coffee shop called Java Burrito. If you’re craving a burrito and a good cup of espresso, this is the place for you. This fast casual restaurant offers fresh food sourced locally with out the use of artificial preservatives and growth hormones. I was only interested in their caffeinated offerings, so I headed to the coffee shop portion of the establishment. I was happy to see that the coffee bar also used locally roasted organic beans, milk, and syrups.

After studying their menu, I decided on one of their seasonal selections, a Honey Lavender Latte. It was quite lovely. Before leaving to head back to the beach house to put my feet back in the water, I noticed that they had a self-served photo booth right outside their door. How fun!

Ok! Now back to the pool!

Taste & Explore: A Travel Guide to Cleveland, Ohio

Last week I traveled with my mother and daughter to Cleveland, Ohio. It was our first road trip of many together.  We were pretty excited to explore the great city of Cleveland. I had contacted Destination Cleveland for an itinerary of things to do during our stay. Their list included various attractions and places to eat as well. We also had a list of places we wanted to check too. Because we were traveling from Toledo, Ohio, our road trip was only about 2 hours. We left early Wednesday morning to get the most out of our 2 days in Cleveland.

10:45 AM

We arrived in Cleveland at about 10:45 AM. The first stop I wanted to make was to Brewnuts. I’ve been kind of stalking them on Instagram for months now. I really wanted to go early since they have a reputation of selling out early in the day. Brewnuts is located in a neighborhood on the West Side of Cleveland called Detroit-Shoreway. This donut shop is the result of two genius Clevelanders, Shelley & John Pippin, who quite their jobs “to pursue their three favorite things: donuts, beer and Cleveland.” Today, Brewnuts is serving up delicious craft beer based donuts and is being stalked by people like me.

When we arrived at the corner donut a signed that illuminated on the side of the building read “DONUTS & BEER”. I was so excited!! We entered the shop by pulling on a door handle that was a pink rolling pin. Love! The inside was just the cutest! I probably took about 20 pictures before even making it to the counter.

Once we made it to the counter, we were then presented with a major decision. What donuts we were going to get! They all looked amazing! I finally decided on the Hibiscus Limeade. My daughter went for the Mocha Toffee. So how did they taste?? AMAZING!! I tried not to eat all of it and save some for later. That plan did not work out too well. This is definitely a stalk-worthy donut shop in every sense!

12:00 PM

Next, a quick stop to another cool mural by muralist, Victor Ving. I’ve been a fan of his Greetings Tour ever since I discovered on of his murals in my hometown, Toledo. What a cool way to welcome visitors from out of town! I found out where the Greetings from Cleveland mural was from the list of murals on their website. I put the location in my google maps and shorty we were there! Let the photo shoot begin!!

12:45 PM

Our next stop was to our hotel for the night. With the amazing assistance of Destination Cleveland and the generosity of the Holiday Inn Express, I was hosted at one of the most beautiful hotels in downtown Cleveland. Now this is not your ordinary Holiday Inn Express. As soon as you walk up to the building you realize that right away. Located in the renovated 19th century historic Guardian Bank Building built in 1894, this building was once one of the tallest building in America. In 1999, it was converted into a Holiday Inn Express. In 2000, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. This hotel has an incredible vintage feel about it that can’t be denied.

Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted by valet. Valeting your car is a good idea, with it being a fee of $24 flat, from check-in to check-out. In and outs are allowed as well. Located in downtown area, it’s definitely convenient to just valet and just walk around and explore rather then trying to find parking. Holiday Inn Express is also in walking distance to many coffee shops, restaurants, attractions and even a market.

Check-in was a breeze! My room was even ready early! The hotel attendant provided me with two key cards and some useful tips to make my stay even more comfortable. She also gave me two cocktail tickets to use at the hotel’s Evening Refresher. Nice!

Our room was on the 6th floor. When we got off the elevator, we noticed the floor was hardwood, which continued into our suite. I thought that was a very cool feature of the hotel. My mother really appreciated it because she suffers from allergies. Carpet is definitely not her friend. The room was very nice! It had high ceiling, huge floor to ceiling windows, and a cute kitchen and living room area. There was ample space for all of us. The queen sized beds were super comfortable! Our stay also included free WIFI, hot complimentary breakfast and a 24 hour fitness center.

Later that night, it was a tad bit chilly in the room. The heat didn’t seem to be working, so I called down to the desk and requested an extra blanket. The young lady at the desk ask if I had turned the heat on. I said yes. So she offered to send maintenance up to take a look at it along with a blanket. About 4 minutes later, there was a knock at the door. Maintenance came in to looked at the thermostat and determined it needed to be reset. They left and came back and let me know it should be warm in the room very shortly. And it was! I really appreciated their quick attention to this

*Big Thank You to Holiday Inn Express for hosting me during my stay in Cleveland. As always all options are that of my own.

2:00 PM

After getting settled in our room, we left to explore some more! Our next stop was to the the Cleveland Museum of Art. The Cleveland Museum of Art was founded in 1913 and opened in 1916. Its collection includes “45,000 objects and spans 6,000 years of achievement in the arts.” All of this FREE OF CHARGE TO ALL!!

Our visit the Cleveland Museum of Art was amazing. There was so much to see! I enjoyed stopping and speaking to Museum employees about the art. You could tell they also had an appreciation of the art and the Museum.

3:30 PM

Before dinner, we made a quick stop to the Cleveland’s oldest publicly owned market, West Side Market. Since its opening in 1912, it’s been a Cleveland landmark. This place is incredible! With I’ve 100 vendors offering baked goods, coffee, spices, and meats, it is most definitely a foodie’s playground.

5:00 PM

One block from the market, was another place I found on Instagram while planning my trip to Cleveland, Soho Chicken + Whiskey. I had to visit! I found out that on Wednesdays you can order chicken and fixings À la cart and their prices were very reasonable. Everything on the menu sounded amazing. I ordered 2 wings, rosemary waffles, and roasted asparagus. A plate of warm biscuits with whipped butter and apple butter to share was also included. It’s making me hungry just thinking about how good it was.

Day 2

8:00 AM

Thursday, we got an early start on the day and headed across the street to Pour Cleveland to grab some espresso. Located in the heart of downtown Cleveland, Pour Cleveland is a multi-roaster pour over and espresso bar. They strive to “serve really good coffee and make people happy.” And that is exactly what they did on my visit. The baristas were very friendly and made everyone in my party very happy. What a great way to start the day! In addition to serving and array of espresso and tea beverages, Pour Cleveland also offers fresh pastries, catering, brewing equipment, power sourced tables/ free wifi and good vibes. They even featured my daughter on their Instagram account!

9:00 AM

The day before we noticed a market not too far from the hotel we were staying at called, Heinen’s. Heinen’s is a Cleveland based family-owned grocery store that’s been around since 1929. Today the founder’s grandsons keep the legacy alive with 23 neighborhood stores across Northeast Ohio and the Greater Chicago area. The downtown Cleveland location is a sight to see. Located in the historic Cleveland Trust Rotunda building, this grocery is like no other. It’s definitely a downtown Cleveland landmark. When you walk through the doors you just have to stop and admire the beautiful architecture of the inside. The ceiling is just breathtaking!

Once you get done taking dozens of pictures of the ceiling, you realize this “grocery store” is not just like any other grocery store you have ever been in. This place is a foodie’s paradise. There is an insane selection of artisan cheese, meats, local products, and prepared foods. I imagined this to be the spot to grab lunch if you worked downtown. On the second floor you will find a very large selection of craft beers and wines. They also hold several wine tastings and dinners in this department as well. I was totally in love with Heinen’s!!

10:00 AM

Back up street we walked to find the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Inside this building historic building you with learn about what a bank does in its Money Museum. My daughter enjoyed all of the interactive displays throughout the museum and of course getting a bag of shredded money at the end. The Money Museum is free for all!

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I’m on the dollar bill!! 💰 #TravelWithSage #ThisIsCle

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12:00 PM

After a short rest at our hotel, we continued our day of adventure at the Great Lakes Science Center. With the mission “to make science, technology, engineering and math come alive”, they are also making it fun. Just ask my daughter! What a cool place! We started our exploration of the center in Cleveland Clinic Dome Theatre to watch a very interesting film called Amazon Adventure. Watching it under the gigantic 6 story high domed screen made the film even more interesting.

Next we explore the HUNDREDS of hands-on exhibits. It was science overload and we LOVED it!!! My daughter was very sad we had to leave. She could have been there all day. This is a must-do attraction for kids and adults alike.

*Special thanks to the Great Lakes Science Center for providing complimentary tickets to me. As always all options are my own.

4:30 PM

We decided to check out one other local coffee shop before heading back called Passengers Cafe. This Ohio City coffee shop is located in the lobby of the Cleveland Hostel. They offer amazing espresso drinks, bagels, toast, and local pastries. Head upstairs to their cool rooftop situation, perfect for sipping lattes.

5:00 PM

Our last stop before heading home was to B Spot Burgers. B Spot Burgers is located right outside downtown Cleveland in Westlake, Ohio. This restaurant is the brainchild of Food Network Iron Chef, Michael Symon. The menu had so many delicious options! I order The Gobbler with rosemary fries! So good!! AND I was excited to see that they had a pickle bar to further dress my burger. Be sure to check out their happy hour menu for more delicious deals!

Cleveland is an amazing city! I definitely need to come back and do some more exploring. I need about a week there! If you’re planning a trip to Cleveland, Ohio in the near future consider adding these places to your itinerary.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The greatest stories and biggest names in rock and roll shine on at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2015. The experience includes four theaters, multiple interactive stations and seven floors that tell the story of the world’s most powerful art form. Visitors can pay homage to rock icons and see video, artifacts, memorabilia and other cool, “one-of-a-kind” stuff on display at the Rock Hall. The Rock Hall is dedicated to exploring the past, present and future of music and the cultural context from which it emerges.

Children’s Museum of Cleveland

Excitement, enrichment and inspiration await during an afternoon of creative play at the new Children’s Museum of Cleveland. From thinking like scientists to embracing their inner artists to designing, building and exploring a pretend city, kids can write their own script in this open- ended learning environment. Families can get hands-on in the new Wonder Lab with water tables and magnetic walls; create their own masterpiece in the Arts & Parts room and discover their own adventures throughout this former Millionaire’s Row mansion, the stately Stager- Beckwith home.

Greater Cleveland Aquarium

The Powerhouse, located in the West Bank of the Flats, is now home to the 70,000-square-foot Greater Cleveland Aquarium. The historic building includes eight galleries and over 50 exhibits with aquatic life from around the world. Visitors have the chance to dive right into interactive experiences with stingray and tortoise encounters and aquarium feeding times. One of the most exciting exhibits includes a sea tube that allows visitors to experience life under the sea in a clear, 150’ walk through tunnel.

Cleveland Museum of Natural History

From dinosaurs to diamonds, the Museum is a beautiful blend of traditional and interactive galleries that show kids of all ages how history and art connect with the natural world. At the Ralph Perkins Wildlife Center and Woods Garden visitors can marvel at bald eagles, owls, foxes, bobcats, deer and other animals in this 2.2 acre outdoor gallery that connects to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. The different mixture of creatures, ranging from endangered animals to animals that have learned to live with humans makes this nature center unique.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo & Rainforest

Home to more than 3,000 animals located throughout 165 rolling wooded acres and a two-story Rain Forest full of exotic creatures and striking plant life from across the globe, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Rainforest is one of the city’s must-see attractions. Families can get “nose- to-trunk” with a six-ton elephant at the five-acre state-of-the-art African Elephant Crossing, the nation’s first LEED certified major outdoor animal exhibit.

Thank you Destination Cleveland for all your assistance during my stay in Cleveland! I look forward to returning soon! #ThisIsCle

My First Airbnb Experience – Battle Creek, Michigan

My family and I were planning a quick visit to Battle Creek, Michigan and needed a place to stay. There isn’t too many options in little ole BC, so I told my dad about Airbnb. I pulled the website up and searched for hosts in Battle Creek. I found an amazing one right in the downtown area. He took a look and very quickly agreed to book it. I was excited, as this was going to be my first Airbnb experience as well.

Booking

After finding a place that satisfied all of our needs, booking was very easy. Several previous 5 Star ratings on the hosts made the decision even more easier. Because I was a first time user, I was able to use a $40 credit that was given to me. After I was verified by Airbnb, I was almost immediately confirmed by the Airbnb host, followed by several messages about gaining access to the loft.

Check-in

Prior to arrival, our hosts, Cody and Caitlynn, sent me a code to get in the door. There was a keypad entry, so no keys to lose! Yay! The place was very easy to find and was located right in downtown Battle Creek. There was free parking in the lot in back of the building, and free 2 hour parking on the street, in front of the building. I entered the code. Access granted!

The Loft

The loft was beautiful! So this Airbnb has a little history behind it. Back in 1914, Allesandro Ratti built this building for his men’s clothing store. Above the shop, he ran a 15-room hotel for Italian immigrants like himself, who can to Battle Creek to start a new life. In July 2017, Restore (269) owners, Cody and Caitlynn Newman, bought the building as part of their restoration and development business. Today it’s a beautiful AirBNB! I love that they kept the historic architectural charm in it, then added some contemporary style to the space to make it unique.

Airbnb Battle Creek

This two bedroom loft has everything you will need for an amazing stay in Battle Creek, Michigan. The bedrooms are very spacious and has plenty of closet space for all of your belongings. If you’re planning on an extended stay, both bedrooms also has a large dresser in them. Enjoy a good nights sleep in its very comfortable queen bed complete with quality sheets and down comforters. I slept like a baby!

Airbnb Battle Creek

The bathroom is amazing! It’s equipped with a rainfall shower system, a beautiful claw foot tub, and a contemporary sink. It’s huge! The hosts were also very accommodating by providing a few essentials such as soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, and bubble bath for that amazing tub.

Airbnb Battle Creek

I absolutely loved the kitchen. It was beautifully designed with a mix of vintage and contemporary design and appliances to compliment the loft. It was also equipped with many kitchen essentials, such as dishes, glasses, utensils, and cookware. There was even a few snacks to enjoy! A Keurig was also provided along with a nice selection of K-cups. Off the kitchen was the dining room area with a table that could accommodate six diners. The table was made from a door! Very nice touch.

Airbnb Battle Creek

The living room space was very cozy. There was a very chic red couch and a couple ottomans to kick your feet on while you enjoyed the fireplace. The perfect place to sip on a cup of coffee on those chilly mornings. The living room also had a flat screen tv with cable and DVD player. If you’re traveling on business, this loft also has an workspace that is furnished with a desk and comfortable chair.

The design and detail that was put into this loft really is amazing. My family loved our first Airbnb experience thanks to Cody and Caitlynn. If you find yourself in Battle Creek, Michigan, do yourself a favor and book your next Airbnb stay with superhosts, Cody & Caitlynn.

Airbnb $40 Travel Credit

5 Rust Belt Cities to Explore

The Rust Belt region of the United States is mainly comprised of the states within the Great Lakes and the Midwest. It was once the industrial heartland of the entire country. Today these cities are regaining their economic status and becoming vacation destinations for many across the US and beyond.

DEFINITION of ‘Rust Belt’

“Rust Belt is the colloquial term used to describe the geographic region stretching from New York through the Midwest that was once dominated by steel production and manufacturing. The Rust Belt became an industrial hub due to its proximity to the Great Lakes, canals, and rivers, which allowed companies to gain access to raw materials and ship out finished products. This region received the name, Rust Belt, in the late 1970s after a sharp decline in industrial work left many factories abandoned and desolate, causing increased rust from exposure to the elements. It is also referred to as the manufacturing belt as well as the factory belt.” -via investopedia.com

Here are five Rust Belt cities that everyone must explore:

1. PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

One of the many reasons people may want to visit Pittsburgh would be the fact that there are more bars per capita than anywhere else in the country.  Some of these bars can be found hidden within basements, mills, and old workshops.  Everyone must visit the Penn Brewery, the oldest and largest of the microbrews in the city, which is full of German cuisine that pairs beautifully with the ales. Food enthusiast will want to entertain their taste buds at Smallman Galley. Museum goes head to Carnegie Museum Art, Andy Warhol Museum, or the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh to explore the city’s rich history.

2. CLEVELAND, OHIO

Art, culture, and rock and roll can now be found within Cleveland which now brings thousands of people to the city every year.  Contemporary art can be found at the Museum of Contemporary Art, while performances can be watched at any of the nine theaters at the Playhouse Square Center.  The best museum in the city is the Museum of Natural History, but the most famous attraction is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

3. BUFFALO, NEW YORK

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Home field defended. 👊 #GoBills

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Buffalo is a major sports town, so anyone who visit will want to catch a baseball game at Coca-Cola Field, a hockey game at the KeyBank Center, or a football game at the New Era Field.  The observation deck at City Hall is the best place to capture spectacular views of Lake Erie. The Buffalo River and Forest Lawn is the perfect destination for long walks and picnic lunches.

4. MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN

Milwaukee has changed quite a bit since 1846, but it is still full of adventures as well as secrets. Visitors will want to begin with the numerous museums, including the infamous Harley Davidson Museum. The Milwaukee Public Market is a must visit destination for everyone, as it is a truly iconic experience. It is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat for lunch.  The oldest buildings in the city can be found on Old World 3rd Street. Every Happy Days fan will want to have their photo taken with the Bronze Fonz on Wells Street in front of the River.

5. GARY, INDIANA

People spend a lot of time outside in Gary, Indiana and visitors will want to join them at the beautiful Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.  This shoreline covers fifteen miles of Lake Michigan’s southern shore and is filled with wetlands, beaches, rivers, and dunes.  People can spend their days hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, and camping.  During the winter, skiing and snowshoeing are the sports of choice.  Marquette Park is another outdoor option and Patterson Island is one of the most beautiful places within the park.

While cities may not be filled with industrial jobs any longer, they still very much filled with numerous activities and adventures for people to enjoy. Plan a visit and see exactly how interesting and exciting these destinations are.

5 Local Gems Not to Miss in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Yesterday I received a call from a friend inquiring about the itinerary of the day . I didn’t have plans and neither did she. That never stopped us from having the most amazing impromptu adventures. This is what I love about my friend, she is ALWAYS ready to go! Everyone should have a friend like her in their circle. A friend who’s always down for an unplanned adventure. If you don’t have one , get one! It’s also cool to actually be that kind of friend. Don’t be so hung up on planning and sticking to the schedule. Forgot the schedule and explore!!

Very quickly we decided that Chattanooga would be our best bet with it only being an hour and forty minutes drive outside Atlanta. We had no set schedule or plan, just an idea of what we wanted to experience. With that we got in the car and off we went.

As soon as we got into Chattanooga it starts to rain. Like really hard. Mind you, no rain was in the forecast! Ugh!! Not a problem for us though! We are always prepared. A couple little raindrops won’t stop this day of adventure finding. During our 6 hour stay in Chattanooga we were able to explore quite a few amazing establishments. Definitely add these to your list of places to visit next time you find yourself in Chattanooga.

1. Our first stop was to the very beautiful Hunter Museums of American Art. The museum sits on 80-foot bluff on the edge of the Tennessee River. It’s quite the sight to see. From the inside, you’ll enjoy more breathtaking views of the river and mountains. “The Hunter Museum focuses on American art from the Colonial period to the present day. The collection includes paintings, works on paper, sculpture, photography, mixed media, furniture and contemporary studio glass covering a range of styles and periods.” Yesterday we saw two very cool exhibits currently on display, UNDER THE MEXICAN SKY: A REVOLUTION IN MODERN PHOTOGRAPHY and NEW MEDIA, NEW MILLENNIUM: DIGITAL ART FROM THE THOMA FOUNDATION. When you’re done at the museum head to the Walnut Street Bridge for a beautiful walk across the Tennessee River.

2. We made our way to The Local Juicery + Kitchen where we picked up some amazing cold pressed organic juices. There were so many to choose from! I finally decided on the Sweet Heart Beet, which had apple, pineapple, and ginger in it. Sooo good! I also picked up a bottle of kombucha from Muse + Metta. I was drawn in by the bottle and immediately wanted to reuse and stick a flower in it! Upon looking closer, it read Mango Chili Saffron. Oh my! I needed to taste it. That flavor combination was screaming at me! Yes, I got it. Not only did they have juices and kombucha, you can also create your cold pressed juices, get an açaí bowls, and enjoy good vibes. Stop by in the Summer to snag a popsicle!

3. After a short walk, we found ourselves at Wildflower Tea Shop & Apothecary. It’s soooo cute! So this is where you want to go if you’re a tea connoisseur like myself. They offer a amazing selection of organic loose leaf teas as well as “bulk herbs, essential oils, flower essences and locally and/or regionally made herbal products.”

Another thing that you may find of interest is their fresh baked vegan treats. I was a very happy girl munching on my vegan ginger snap cookie! Yummy!!

4. You all know I love a cute coffee shops! And lattes!! Every city I’m in, I have to also explore the coffee scene. Using my trusty YELP app I found Plus Coffee Co. Located at the foot of Ruby Falls, this coffee shop is serving up coffee roasted by Quills Coffee. Off the seasonal menu, I ordered the Honey Cinnamon Latte. Yummmmmm!! My friend ordered a cold brew and was very much delighted.

5. Last stop of our impromptu trip was to a restaurant that was actually suggested by a young lady at the Wildflower Tea Shop. When we asked her where a good place to eat was she immediately said the Flying Squirrel Bar. Ok. Love the name! She went on the inform us of the chef driven menu and how amazing the food was. Well that’s really all we needed to hear so we headed to the Flying Squirrel Bar. We’re so easy.

This place was huge! Lots of seating options. We were seating in the upstairs lounge like area. Very nice. As we looked over the menu we became very excited. Everything looked AMAZING!! My friend ended up getting the special of the day, an Arugula Pasta with Braised Beef. She also got the Roasted Cauliflower which was in a coconut milk reduction with lime and cilantro. That was really tasty! I ordered the Falafel Burger which was adorned with house tzatziki, pickled red onions, bibb lettuce, and tomato on a Niedlov’s sesame seed bun. Now this is how you make someone fall in love with falafel! Like who needs meat if your alternative option taste like this? It was so good!! Like really good! Definitely stop here when you’re in Chattanooga. I highly recommend it!

Chattanooga is a super cool place to visit! There are so many more places to explore! Don’t forget to check out The Chattanooga Zoo, Lookout Mountain Incline Railway, and the Tennessee Aquarium!