Road Trips

Nashville girls trip Day 2

We started off with breakfast at Proper Bagel.  We ordered a trio of tasty toast and the must-have lavender honey iced latte.  You have to try it.

Proper-Bagel

Avacado Toast, Pruchetto and Fig, and Peaches and Cream with a honey lavender latte.  Bring it on.

Proper-Bagel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After fueling up we couldn’t wait to check out the 12 South neighborhood.  This place is a little piece of heaven.  Shops, Restaurants, Murals for photo ops and the cutest flower truck to take home a bouquet.

Amelia’s Flower Truck cruises around town but lucky for us the truck was at White’s Mercantile.  You can pick flower stems to create your own bouquet.

Amelias-Flower-Truck

 

 

 

 

 

Shop til we drop time.

Draper James is Reese Witherspoon’s boutique.  They have the sweetest southern style clothing and accessories.  The shop is pricey but it worth a trip into browse.  They even greet you with a sweet tea to enjoy while you shop.

Draper-James

Draper-James

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are so many fun murals and painted walls to get your photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next door to Draper James is Sprinkles Cupcake ATM.  OMG, WHAT!!  This concept is genius.  I had to get a couple cupcakes for my boys.  I opted for the pumpkin and sprinkle cupcakes. They loved!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After shopping, photos and cupcakes we needed some pampering.  We had set appointments for blowouts at Parlor 3.  This salon is where Nashville celebs get their hair done.  The owner works with Carrie Underwood.  One of my favorite bloggers, Living with Landon always talks about Parlor 3.

My stylist was Derick.  He just moved to Nashville from LA and was so sweet.  He said it was his first job in a salon.  He had been working with celebs in LA and NYC doing celebrity events.  He was modest about the celebs he had worked with but on his IG account @derekpeterw, he has pics with Khloe Kardashian, Gweneth Paltrow, Whitney Everport,  Rebecca Romijin and tons of others.  I loved feeling like the celebs do for an afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

Tip:  If you are in Nashville, go to Parlour 3 on Saturday.  They said Saturday is there slowest day but book in advance.  We had the best service and time.

After getting our hair done we were ready for a night out in Nashville.  The first stop was The Thompson Hotel.  They have a swanky rooftop bar called LA Jackson that overlooks the Gulch.  It was the perfect night.  We order some cocktails and an app and enjoyed the fresh air and Nashville glow.

LA-Jackson LA-Jackson LA-Jackson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LA-Jackson

 

 

 

 

 

Since we had our dancing shoes on, we headed to Broadway we went to Acme Feed and Seed.  This was a four-floor honkey tonk on Broadway.  Each floor had a totally different vibe.  We spent most of the night on the first floor listening to the live band, watching the bachelorette parties, and dancing.

Thankfully The Mariott Renaissance Nashville was a quick uber ride back.

Acme-Feed-And-Seed

 

Acme-Feed-And-Seed

 

 

 

 

 

Another amazing day in Nashville.  If you missed Girls Nashville Weekend Day 1 check it out.  Stay tuned for more Nashville excitement.  Are you ready to grab your girls and go?

Nashville here we come!  We have been planning this girls weekend for months.  On our agenda: Shopping, spa treatments, great restaurants, photo-ops, and fun night life.

From St Louis, it took us about 4 41/2 hours to get to Nashville.  We arrived just in time for lunch so we headed straight to Caviar and Bananas.  I heard about this place from one of my favorite Nashville bloggers @Living with Landon

Caviar and Bananas

 

 

 

 

 

This place is gorgeous.  It’s a fast casual cafe and market.  We created our own sandwiches and salads.  They have huge pastries, cookies the size of a dinner plate, a coffee bar, wine, brunch, cheese plates and Fro-zay that looked AMAZE!

Curious about the name?  I was.   An employee told me originally it started as a market and expanded into a cafe selling everything from Caviar to Bananas.  Clever.  The decor alone made me so happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had manicure appointments booked that afternoon at Poppy and Monroe a natural salon in Germantown.

We got relaxing gel manicures, picked the perfect neutral nail color #30 and soaked up the peace and quiet without having the kids around.  Next time I want to try the sugaring which is a natural alternative to waxing.  Have you tried sugaring?  The salon also has amazing natural skin care, jewelry, and other goodies in their gift shop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After our mani’s we walked to a cute shop Alexis and Bolt Boutique.  You have to check out their greeting card selection and other cute gifts and clothing.

For dinner, a Nashville BBQ joint came highly recommended.  Martin’s BBQ. They are known for the “Redneck taco” and brisket sandwich.  There was a long line but it moved quick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After dinner, we had to make a sweet treat stop to 5 Daughter’s Bakery.

We indulged in the decadent Maple, Chocolate, and Purtin.  These are 100 layer cronuts.  They are unlike anything I’ve tasted nothing like a regular donut because they have 100 layers of heaven in each bite.  YUM!

 

 

We stayed at the Mariott Renaissance Downtown.  It was a perfect location.  Everything we wanted to see and do was within a few miles.  Our room overlooked from a distance Broadway and all the Honkey Tonks. There is a Starbucks in the lobby for coffee if you’re a coffee fanatic like me.  Parking tip:  We parked across the street at the Nashville Public Library garage for $13 a day (there is a covered cross walk to the hotel on the 4th floor) vs. the hotel valet $40.

We packed a lot into our first day.  Day two includes Proper Bagel, 12 South Shopping, Roof tops, mural photos, and more.  Are you ready to get your girl gang together and go?

Hey guys, I wanted to get you all the details from our amazing weekend at Echo Bluff State Park.  If you love being outdoors this state park needs to be on your bucket list.  It’s only 2 1/2 hours from St Louis and is absolutely beautiful and is great for small children, family reunions, girls weekends, and for couples too.  Here’s the details from my trip.

Where we stayed:

The Betty Lea Lodge has regular rooms, cabins with 1- 4 bedrooms, or large stacked duplex and even camping sites.

Here is our 2 bedroom cabin (they are a year old everything is nice and new)

 

 

Here is the Lodge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where we ate:

We ate at the Creekside Grill in the Lodge for breakfast and lunch.  They had all the typical grill foods.

We also ate at Dos Rio’s a Mexican restaurant in Eminence and had hand dipped ice cream at Dino Mart

 

 

 

 

 

What we did:

Hiking:   Painter Ridge Trail South Loop, Painter Ridge Trail North Loop, Current River Trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy the crystal clear water at Sinking Creek in front of the Lodge.  Note:  Bring your water shoes, bring floats, nets water toys and buckets for the kids.  You’ll find lots of critters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nature Playground, this playground is top notch.  My boys loved climbing, sliding and running all around the beautiful landscape.

 

 

 

 

Sarah’s Scoop:  

There is little cell phone reception in the area so have a plan ahead of time

The Lodge has board games for use in the main lobby

If you want to roast s’mores let the front desk know and they will make sure the fire pit is lit.

Other Activities in the area:

What to bring:  Water shoes and water toys and floats, water proof case for your phone, s’more supplies or you can purchase in gift shop.

I promise you will not be disappointed but call in advance they were booked months out when I made our reservation.

Hope you enjoy!!  XOXO  Sarah~

Roadtrip part 2.  We started off our trip in Bentonville AR and are now at Big Cedar Lodge.

Big Cedar Lodge– was created by Bass Pro Shop founder Johnny Morris when he purchased the existing property in the area, known as Big Cedar Hollow, in 1987.  Since then, it’s grown into one of the best wilderness resorts in the U.S.  It covers 800 acres that overlooks Table Rock Lake in the Ozark Mountains just outside Branson, Missouri.

If you like being surrounded by gorgeous natural scenery while still enjoying premium facilities and amenities, this is a wonderful destination.  This is one of my favorite places in Missouri.

Big Cedar Lodge offers plenty of outdoor activities for all ages.  Having two very active little boys, this is music to many parents’ ears.

The main lobby is tastefully decorated in a rustic theme.  While I checked in, my boys played with the Lincoln Logs on a game table, which would’ve kept them busy for hours.

For dinner we ordered some pizza from a local place, while playing some of the board games you can check out.

For dessert, we headed to the campfire area for s’mores.  They had several fires going and each family got a s’mores kit.  The weather was fantastic, and we were serenaded by the sound of hundreds of tree frogs croaking.  To cap off our evening, we hit the links at the fishing-themed mini golf course located next to the campfire area.

When we returned to our room, the “cookie lady” had left us some treats: “wishing” maple leaf cookies.  They’re gingerbread in the shape of a maple leaf.  They get their name because when you hold one in your hand, you make a wish and then tap the cookie’s center.  If it breaks into three pieces, your wish will come true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2-

When I woke up the next morning, I headed to Big Cedar’s fitness gym.  This facility has a lot of machines of all kinds..  After lifting weights, I went outside to get some cardio in.  I quickly found the 5K walking/ running trail on site.  Well-marked and paved, it took me all around the amazing property, where I was surrounded by the sounds of nature (waterfalls, frogs, birds, etc.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lodge had organized a kids fishing rodeo, so we hopped on the shuttle and headed to the lake.  Just like at the s’mores night, don’t worry about bringing your own supplies to Big Cedar, you’re already covered.  The staff gave my boys fishing, rods, showed them how to put a worm on the hook, and off they went!

After fishing, we headed over to the marina for the paddle boats.  We toured the lake and cove, where there’s a beautiful waterfall.  They boys enjoyed spotting ducks and turtles that were out sunning.  When we got back to the marina, we headed to the outdoor café for lunch, where we saw even more turtles on the banks.  There were several turtle families with babies, so the boys were very excited to see them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Top of the Rock

The only time we left Big Cedar Lodge, was to go to The Top of the Rock, which is a short drive north on Hwy 65 from Big Cedar.

They give you a golf cart, which an adult drives around the property on very scenic paved trails.  Waterfalls, bridges and other breathtaking nature scenes surround you during your journey.  The highlight of the drive comes when you drive into a cave with a gigantic waterfall.  After leaving the cave, we drove over several covered bridges and saw more waterfalls.  The drive lasts between 45 mins and a hour, but when done, we all wanted to go around again!  It was AMAZING!!!  Tickets are($25 for adults/ $12.50 for kids), but we all thought it was well worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just read this week that Big Cedar opened a new activity center called Fun Mountain on property.  It looks amazing.

Overall I would describe our trip to Big Cedar Lodge magical.  If you love being outdoors I would highly recommend this place to anyone.

Happy Travels to you.  Sarah

 

I’m always on the look out for healthy snacks I can keep with me while on the go that don’t require temperature control.    Here are some of my favs!  Enjoy!!

 

 

 

  1.  Think thin bar (salted carmel)
  2. Skinny Pop Popcorn
  3. Banana
  4. Sweet chili pistachios
  5. Apple
  6. Extra Gum
  7. Trader Joe’s Turkey Jerky
  8. Baby carrots

 

A goal I have for my family, is visiting all 50 states before our two boys (Logan, 6 and Mason, 3) graduate high school.   Right now we’re focusing on hitting all of Missouri’s border states.  Arkansas is a reasonable distance away (less than 5 hours), so off we headed to the “Natural State”. This was a two part trip.  First, we went to Bentonville, AR.  After that we traveled to Big Cedar Lodge, which is just outside Branson, Missouri.  More details on Big Cedar Lodge in a future post.

Bentonville is a cute mountain town with a Wal-Mart on every corner.  No surprise, because Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton is from Bentonville.

Amazeum: 

Our first stop in Bentonville was the Scott Family Amazeum.  And it was true to its name, because it’s an amazing kids museum.  Some of the hands-on exhibits included:  Load-and-Haul (simulated an assembly line-like factory), art studio, cave exhibit, cardboard box mazes, and Nickelodeon Play Lab featuring Sponge Bob Square Pants.  Our visit wrapped up around closing time, and they give all the kids streamers for a parade out the door.

 

Crystal Bridges Art Museum: 

Founded in 2005 by the Walton Family Foundation, Crystal Bridges Art Museum is a great and free destination for art lovers.  After viewing some of the art exhibits, we spent  a lot of our time exploring the trails that wind around the 120-acre grounds; which was absolutely beautiful!  It has two spring-fed ponds, with a glass-enclosed bridge overlooking them.

Downtown Bentonville:

Downtown Bentonville features the Wal-Mart Five and Dime Museum.  The gift shop is a fun stop, because it sells a lot of unique and historic items which were sold there in previous decades.  My boys chose a package of Peeps to satisfy their sweet tooth.

After a brief playground stop in Eureka Springs, we hit the road to Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri.  Stay tuned for more details on this excursion, as it’s truly one of the gems of the Ozark Mountains.