Tag: USA

Tips for Trolley Pubbing

Are you looking for a new way to explore a city? A method that allows you to see the sites, drink, visit local watering holes, and get some exercise? Then a pedal-powered bar is just the thing for you!

I have seen these pedal-powered bars around on social media from friends. I thought it would make the perfect activity for a celebration of some sort. Well, that celebration was my dad’s birthday. We opted to go with Trolley Pub in Durham due to plans for the weekend, and it was an absolute blast. Check out my tips to make the most of your ride and time with friends!

Before Your Tour

The number one thing you should do before arriving at the pick-up location is to have everyone in your group sign a waiver. We ended up doing this in the car on the way. (Oops!) By doing this step ahead of time ensures a quick departure. Also, make sure you have your license and some cash on hand for your pit stops.

Next. Create your playlist. Almost all of the trolleys come with a stereo system of some sort, so create a killer playlist that will last the duration of the trip. Most rides last about 2 hours.

Last. Check the route your trolley will be taking and see if there are any additional pit stops you want to add to the list. Most companies have a flexible policy as long as the stop works with the route. If you are concerned, be sure to reach out prior to your ride.

Food and Decorating

Most trolley pub companies allow you to bring your own food. So pack a bags with some of your favorite snacks, keeping in mind that some foods are easier to eat when pedaling than others. Also, bring a cooler with your favorite beverages. Even though you’ll be stopping at bars along the way, BYOB is recommended (as long as it doesn’t come in glass). We opted to stop at one of the local breweries and grab a couple of six-packs to go.

Decorations are highly recommended, especially if you are celebrating something! Just make sure you bring your own supplies to attach it to the trolley, like masking tape; that the sign on the back doesn’t cover the turn signals; and that whatever you hang won’t hit your friends in the face as you ride. But have fun and get creative!

On the Bike

This is pretty common sense, but just have fun! Follow the rules set by your driver and just enjoy yourself!

Happy pedaling!

Have you ever done a pedal-powered bar before? What advice would you add?

Mount Cheaha

Take a trip to Mount Cheaha, situated in the Talladega Mountains, and visit Alabama’s highest point at 2,407 feet above sea level. Located in Cheaha Resort State Park, the state’s oldest continuous operating state park, this mountaintop destination is the perfect day trip for anyone in Atlanta or Birmingham.

There are several hiking trails around the park, but none take you directly to the summit. If you desire to reach the summit by foot, then I recommend taking the Cheaha Express and cutting across to one of the roads that lead to the summit. If you would prefer to drive, like us, then there is a road that takes you directly to the summit.

The highest point in Alabama is marked with an observation tower named Bunker Tower. This tower was completed in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. In fact, the Civilan Conservation Corps statue in front of the tower is the only CCC statue in the state of Alabama. The wing to the right of the main tower is home to the CCC museum. I highly recommend taking a look around, as it is very educational.

Have you ever climbed the highest point in your state?

Checking In: Hotel Finial

Checking In is a series for reviewing properties, whether it is a hostel, hotel or other forms of accommodation. To suggest a property please send us an email.

This post is brought to you by Hotel Finial. I received a free stay at Hotel Finial in exchange for writing a review on the blog. All opinions are my own. Thank you for your support surrounding sponsored posts. 

I have mastered the art of weekend getaways. Whether it is a day trip up to the North Georgia mountains for wine tasting or driving a few hours to check out a nearby city, I am always looking for something to do on the weekends. A few weekends ago, I was provided the opportunity to visit a city I had never really explored before and to stay in one of the city’s historic hotels.

Situated on a hill above downtown Anniston, Hotel Finial is located in a Queen Anne Victorian mansion that was built in 1888. Prior to being a hotel, this mansion was home to some of the city’s most prominent families including the McKleroys, Wilsons and Kirbys. Each of these families are honored with suites named after them in the main house.

The hotel features 61 rooms including five suites. Four of these suites are located in the main house, the three mentioned above as well as a Ballroom Suite that is the entire third floor of the main house.

The last suite is The Cottage, where we stayed.

(Check out this video for a walking tour of The Cottage.)

Every morning, Hotel Finial starts off with a delicious Southern breakfast prepared by Charlene, the hotel’s chef, that you can enjoy in one of the four dining rooms. All the dining rooms are located in the main house and include the original hardwood and fireplace from the 1800s.

My favorite part about the hotel, though, is the details! The intricate fireplaces and stained glass really bring character to the main house. And don’t miss Spencer’s Bar located in The Carriage House on the property.

So, whether you are passing through on I-20, traveling on business or looking for a weekend getaway, I highly recommend booking your next Anniston stay with Hotel Finial.


This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.

The Model City {Anniston, AL}

At the foohills of the Appalachians lies the sleepy city of Anniston, Alabama. Located just 60 miles from Birmingham, Alabama and 90 miles from Atlanta, Georgia, this city makes the perfect weekend getaway destination for either city. Check out this list of things to see and do during your next visit to The Model City.

Museums

There are two museums located in the city of Anniston: Anniston Museum of Natural History and Berman Museum of World History, which are conveniently located right next door to each other. We opted to explore the Natural History museum since my mom tried to take me as a kid.

The Anniston Museum of Natural History was established in 1930, has seven permanant exhibits and is a proud member of the Smithsonian Affiliate Membership Program. In addition to the 2,000 natural history items on dispaly, there is also a wildlife garden, nature trails, and open-air animal exhibits. This is definitely worth the visit to Anniston alone.

Wall Art Scavenger Hunt

If you are looking to familiarize yourself with the city of Anniston, there is a great walking tour that will take you through historic downtown and show off various wall murals sponsored by local businesses. It is definitely a fun little scavenger hunt, and you get to walk past some cute antique stores along the way.

Oldest Saloon in Alabama

Did you know Anniston is home to the oldest saloon in Alabama? The Peerless was established in 1899 and joined the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

The Peerless Saloon and Grille is located on the corner of 10th Street and Atlanta Avenue. The Grille is a full-service restaurant that offers some tasty offerings. We highly recommend checking out their Shrimp & Grits and Reuben. Righ next door is the Saloon if you are looking for an evening cocktail and good music. Be sure to take a look at the mirror behind the bar, it has been in the building since 1906.

Mount Cheaha

Mount Cheaha is the highest point in Alabama, and it is only 45 minutes outside of town. It is definitely worth the day trip to say you have been to the top of Alabama.

Hotel Finial

Last, but not least, you will need a place to stay. Be sure to check out historic Hotel Finial.

 

What do you want to see and do during your visit to Anniston?

The Windy City {Chicago, IL}

Chicago is a city that has been on my list to visit for awhile, so when The Tall Man texted me about an opportunity to go for a weekend, my immediate answer was yes!

The Tall Man and I flew in early on a Saturday morning, and we immediately hit the ground running. When you only have a limited number of hours in a city and your one evening is for a work event, you take advantage of every minute! Here are our suggestions of things to see and do when you have a very short amount of time to explore The Windy City.

The Chicago Bean

The Chicago Bean is probably one of the more popular sculptures in the city and is a “must” for most tourists. The Bean creates the perfect opportunity to capture the city’s skyline and get yourself in the picture. Located in Millennium Park, Cloud Gate (the actual name of the sculpture) was created by  British artist Anish Kapoor and completed in May 2006. The sculpture is open 24-7, but it is definitely more crowded on the weekends.  The Bean also overlooks the McCormick Tribune Plaza, which serves as a public ice skating rink in the winter months and dining plaza during the summer.

360 Chicago at John Hancock Center

There are several places throughout the city to get glimpses of the skyline, but the two more popular options offer 360-degree views of the city from above. The first is the Skydeck at the Willis Tower and the second is 360 Chicago at John Hancock Center. A lot of people opt for the Skydeck, but after asking around and doing our research we decided to take on 360 Chicago and its Tilt! We ended up having a beautiful clear day to see all of Chicago, and we got a kick out of the Tilt experience. It is definitely worth adding to your list!

Walk the Magnificent Mile

The Magnificient Mile is a 13-block stretch of North Michigan Avenue that runs from the banks of the Chicago River. These blocks encompass over 400 stores and 200 restaurants. It aslo has some incredibly rich architecture, and we definitely want to do an architecture tour on our next visit.

Explore Museums

Chicago has a plethora of museums on a variety of subjects. We opted to take on the Museum of Science and Industry, located in Hyde Park. We only had a few hours to explore, but this is definitely on our must-see list when we return. The three exhibits we saw were: the museum’s first exhibit, Old Ben No. 17; the Mirror Maze; and Toymaker 3000. Some exhibits have an additional charge to your entry ticket, so make sure you check as you plan your visit.

Check out this video of me getting lost in the Mirror Maze.

Food

The Tall Man and I like trying “local” restaurants when we visit new cities. I put it in quotes because they may be a chain restaurant in the area we are visiting, but it is something we can’t get at home. During our visit, we checked out a couple of seriously good restaurants in the city. See below for our list and recommendations.

Park & Grill – Located in the McCormick Tribune Plaza under The Bean, this restaurant was our first taste of Chicago. It is on the pricey side (especially for lunch), but the food was amazing! We recommend the Shaved Prime Rib Sandwich and the House Roasted Turkey Sandwich.

Shula’s Steak House – This steakhouse is located in the Sheraton Grand Chicago (our hotel), and it is where The Tall Man’s work event was hosted. We had a delicious prime rib dinner and enjoyed the company of The Tall Man’s co-workers. If you get the opportunity to get a delicious steak in Chicago, I highly recommend it. It was probably one of the best steaks I have had in a while.

Eggy’s Dinner – For brunch on Sunday, we chose Eggy’s Dinner. I’m so glad we ended up at this place. It was a super small, very cute space and the food was really good too. We recommend the Cinnamon Roll Pancakes and the Eggy’s Crepes.

 

What is the one must-see item for you in Chicago?

Checking In: Sheraton Grand Chicago

Checking In is a series for reviewing properties, whether it is a hostel, hotel or other forms of accommodation. To suggest a property please send us an email.

Having never visited The Windy City, I was eager to jump on the plane and explore this midwest concrete jungle and all of its neighborhoods. This trip was booked through The Tall Man’s work, and they did a great job selecting the hotel.

The Sheraton Grand Chicago is located in the heart of the city. The hotel overlooks the Chicago River and is within walking distance of Navy Pier, Michigan Avenue, Loop Business District, Art Institute, Grant Park, Buckingham Fountain, architectural river tours, shopping, dining, and entertainment.

The hotel also houses one of the top steak houses in America, Shula’s Steak House. In addition to incredible food and service, the restaurant doubles as a museum full of game balls and photos celebrating the only undefeated team in NFL history, the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

If you are looking for a comfortable hotel that makes exploring The Windy City easy, then you need to book a stay at Sheraton Grand Chicago.

 

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.

Vulcan, The Keeper of Birmingham

Situated on top of Red Mountain in Birmingham, Alabama sits the world’s largest cast iron statue: Vulcan.

IMG_4162

Now you are probably thinking why does a classic southern city have a Roman god as its symbol?

Birmingham, founded in 1871, has a deeply rooted history in the steel and iron industry. With rich veins of coal, iron ore and limestone this city boomed as an industrial city. To help advertise the city and state, Birmingham officials funded the building of a cast iron statue to be revealed at the 1904 World’s Fair, and thus Vulcan was born. Designed by Giuseppe Moretti, Vulcan was revealed on June 7, 1904 and moved back to the city in 1905.

Since his move to Vulcan Park on Red Mountain, Vulcan has been the keeper of Birmingham.

If you are looking for a unique perspective of the Magic City and want a history lesson of it’s industrial history, check out the Vulcan Park & Museum. The museum offers an interactive experience of Birmingham and Vulcan’s history.

What is your favorite sight in Birmingham?

Throw Tea into the Sea

During my last visit to New England, The Tall Man and I ventured down to Boston before my flight out to do a little touristing! We opted to check out the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, which is absolutely perfect for any history lover.

The museum recommends purchasing tickets in advance, but we had no trouble getting into one of the shows.

Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum | Boston, MA

You start off the experience in a town hall type setting the night before the famous tea party. After taking on the identity of someone who participated in the Boston Tea Party, “Sam Adams” provides a compelling speech to teach you about the events that led up to the decision to destroy the tea and why this event had to take place the night of December 16, 1773.

Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum | Boston, MA Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum | Boston, MA

After shouts of “Huzzah!” and donning your secret identity, you head out to one of the two ships docked in the harbor. The museum features two replica ships of the period, the Eleanor and the Beaver.

Once on board, not only do you learn about the destruction of the 340 chests of British East India Company Tea, which weighed over 92,000 pounds, but you also get to see what living conditions were like onboard these vessels that brought trade items into the colonies. Let’s just say, you had to really love your fellow sailors as living conditions were tight!

You also get the chance to throw tea into the sea just like the Sons of Liberty.

After exiting the boat, you enter the museum for a multi-sensory experience where you get to see what exactly occurred in the days and weeks following the tea party. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed but trust me it is a very cool museum! One of our favorite parts of the museum was getting to see and learn about the Robinson Half Chest, one of only two known tea chests from the event that is known to exist.

So, if you are looking for a place to start your Boston visit we definitely recommend starting here — where the American Revolution started.

Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum | Boston, MA

What is your favorite museum in Boston?

Gateway to Maine {York, ME}

Weekend before last I flew up to New England to spend some quality time with The Tall Man before he moves to North Carolina this week. (Insert happy dance here!) During my visit, we decided to add another state to our state date list, and took a road trip to Maine!

We spent Saturday in York. It is exactly what you would think when you think of very quintessential Maine. The Tall Man and I drove to Portsmouth and then followed the highway along the coast. The weather was absolutely perfect for a windows-down drive to soak in the salt air. We arrived to Cape Neddick a little before lunch time and we made a quick visit to Nubble Lighthouse, but, unfortunately, we I was not prepared for the significant temperature drop so we didn’t spend much time walking around the town.

Nubble Lighthouse | York, ME

Instead,  we drove over to York Harbor for lunch at the Ship’s Cellar Pub in the basement of York Harbor Inn. My parents recommended this restaurant after their last trip up to New England. After a delicious lunch of lobster (a must!) we headed down to the beach for a quick walk. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating, so we drove around for a bit before heading back over the state line.

I would love to head back to the York Region and Maine for another visit when the weather is a little better!

What are your favorite places in Maine?

Historic Banning Mills

An hour west of Atlanta is the world’s longest zip line, Screaming Eagle. Surrounded by 300 beautifully wooded acres, Historic Banning Mills offers visitors an adventure resort. The facility offers multiple levels of ziplining courses, high and low ropes courses, Guinness World Record climbing wall, nature trails and more.

I surprised my adventure loving boyfriend with a day at Banning Mills to celebrate his birthday. I opted for us to participate in the Extreme Tour. This provided us the opportunity to fly through and over the treetops with around 24 ziplines and to traverse 20 sky bridges. This tour included the Sky Trek Bridge that is 600 feet long and 190 feet high over the gorge, and Screaming Eagle, which is like stepping off a 30-story building. If you are going to do an adventure course, I highly recommend this tour!

Historic Banning Mills | Banning, GA

That little dot on the bridge is me. I will say despite being terrifying (for me) the view of Snake River from the sky bridges is absolutely beautiful!

The Tall Man has already asked if we can go back to take part in their ropes courses.

In addition to the ziplining adventure, I also surprised The Tall Man by renting one of the tree house rooms for the night and ordered us dinner at the lodge. It was absolutely worth it! If you get the chance, I highly recommend dining at Banning Mills! The food was absolutely fantastic, and the atmosphere was quite intimate. The room itself was perfectly cozy, and had all the amenities of a hotel…but it was in a tree! Plus the view from the porch makes the perfect setting for sipping your hot beverage of choice before heading to breakfast in the lodge.

Next time you are looking for an adventure be sure to add Historic Banning Mills to your list!

What’s your favorite high adventure activity?