I love calling Southwest Michigan home for so many reasons. In addition to being located along the gorgeous shores of Lake Michigan, it's also one of five American Viticulture Areas in Michigan. The sloping terrain, mild temperatures and variety of soils make it the perfect location for growing grapes and other fruits that serve as the inspiration for a vast array of award winning wines. In fact, our growing season has been compared to noteworthy destinations such as Bordeaux, France and Piedmont, Italy.
With more than 20 wineries dotting the landscape along the Maker's Trail, you can easily enjoy an afternoon or an entire weekend with a glass in hand. In fact, I've lived here for over six years and still have yet to make it to all of our wineries. But fear not, I have done my fair share of sipping (all in the name of research of course) and am sharing my top picks for planning a tour along the Lake Michigan Wine Trail.
Over the years I've had friends move all across the country and aside from missing them dearly, the one upside is that each time I have to say goodbye I get to add another new city to my bucket list. My friend Ellie recently moved to Cleveland, Tennessee which is just outside Chattanooga and I recently boarded a plane for a girl's weekend reunion. Although my visit happened to be during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a time I'm sure no traveler will ever forget, we still had a few days to get out and enjoy the city. Read on to discover my list of Chattanooga highlights, perfect for a one or two day visit.
When most people think of a trip to L.A., a bustling city with lots of traffic is likely to come to mind. And while that may be the case for downtown Los Angeles, just west of the city is the not so hidden gem of Malibu.
Home to 21 miles of coastline and nearly three dozen beaches it's no wonder countless celebrities call this city home. While on our recent sister trip to California, we made sure to dedicate one whole day to exploring this coastline paradise. Since we were staying in Santa Monica it was only a quick 20 minute drive with lots to see and do. In addition to the activities listed below, you can opt for a more adventurous afternoon with trails that weave through canyons, waterfalls and grasslands in the Santa Monica Mountains.
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Located only an hour and a half from downtown Denver, we knew we had to make a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park on our recent weekend getaway to the Mile High City. As much as I travel, I had never been to a National Park before and was excited to check this one off my list. And boy have I been missing out all these years! Rocky Mountain National Park was absolutely breathtaking - I've never seen anything like it before. We only had an afternoon to enjoy the beauty of the park so we tried to pack in as much adventure as possible in a short amount of time. After a delicious breakfast at Denver Biscuit Company, we hit the road for Estes Park and arrived around 10:30 a.m.
Roads in the park are busiest from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. during the summer months which boasted over 4.6 million visitors in 2018. Plan to arrive early or late to avoid crowds. Parking can also be hard to come by in certain areas of the park, with popular trailheads filling up as early as 6:30 a.m. We opted to park at the Estes Visitor Center (which has a garage and many free all day spots) and hop on the free shuttle bus. Although the bus is free, you'll still need to purchase a one day park pass ($25) in order to board the bus. Once you've got your confirmation email, be sure to screenshot it as service/wifi is limited when you get in the park. We took the Hiker Shuttle at the Visitor's Center up to the Park and Ride lot. There was open parking in this lot so you can try and drive up to this lot as well. From here we boarded a second bus to Bear Lake for our first hike of the day.
I love creating detailed travel guides to ensure you get the most out of your time. On this blog I'll be sharing some of my past trips in hopes that it helps you plan your next adventure. Pack your suitcase you never know where I'll be heading next!
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