Running Travel

Nashville I Rock N Roll 1/2 Marathon 2018

Another amazing trip to Nashville to run the Rock N Roll 1/2 Marathon. This has become my final race each season and there’s no better place to celebrate 9 months of running than in my favorite city! Nashville has become very near and dear to me. My kids and I (the hubby isn’t on board just yet) dream of living there one day. Maybe that’ll happen and maybe it won’t, but there’s no doubt, Music City will be visited as much as possible. We try to make it up several times a year. Exploring and searching for new adventures in the city and of course visiting some of my favorite spots.

We try to make it up several times a year. Exploring and searching for new adventures in the city and of course visiting some of my favorite spots.

The Rock n Roll race series has always been one of my favorites. They are well organized and provide runners with anything and everything they need to make it a fun and successful experience. Historically, Nashville is a HOT race. Every year, I pray for cooler weather, but for some reason we don’t get lucky. Record-breaking heat and the hills make for a tough couple of hours. This year started a little cooler than normal, but the heat came shortly after mile 6. Even though the course is tough and the weather isn’t ideal, it remains my all-time favorite race. 2019 will be my 5th year in a row running the Rock N Roll 1/2 Marathon, so I have to train hard and pray hard for bearable temps. Maybe I’ll get lucky….

Day 1….My sister (who ran her 2nd 1/2 marathon with a PR) joined me this year. We flew Southwest on their early morning direct flight to BNA. We took it straight to Caviar & Bananas in The Gulch for the yummiest breakfast in the hipster area of Nash. Of course, we rented an adorable AirBnB apartment in the 12 South Area, which is close to all the thing we love. Draper James, Uncommon James and I+W to name a few. My sister had never been to Nashville, so we started at the top of Broadway and worked out way down stopping in several honky tonks, grabbing a beer at each and always leaving a $5 bill on the way out for the talented band. After a few hours on Broadway, we headed to the Westin to check out L27, a newly renovated rooftop bar. Pretty cool views and a nice drink selection. Dinner was at one of my favs, Urban Grub where the oyster bar will knock your socks off!

Day 2….Breakfast at Biscuit Love (the best OJ and Bonuts you’ll ever have), stopped by Tribe Kelly (LOVE this boutique!), The NASH Collection store, picked up our race packets, which is always an easy task (another reason why I love the RNR race series), checked out what was new in the running world and headed back out to find more fun. I love finding new murals in Nashville. Some are traditional and remain the same year after year and some change often. The city is full of artistry and I love that part about it. Dinner at The Farm House did not disappoint. All fresh, local, organic dishes and highly recommended. Close to Broadway and super convenient. A little walk down broadway, then back to our apartment to get ready for the race!

Day 3….Race day is always exciting. The start is on Broadway and the sunrise is gorgeous. Thousands of runners line the street and get ready for 13.1 (or 26.2) miles. All walks of life run this race and I love seeing the different ages and nationalities. From elite runners to first timers, it’s a joy to run alongside them. The finish line at Nissan Stadium (Home of the Tennessee Titans) is a good time. Lots of food and post race activities. I love getting my medal and taking pics along the river, across from the Nashville sky line. I also love walking across the Shelby Street Bridge back to Broadway for the BEST views and photo ops. And, because its a post race tradition for me….a quick stop by FGL House for a Music City beer and pretzel (the best pretzel you’ll ever have). We then took a drive over to Arrington Vineyards and it was gorgeous! We had a wine tasting at the barn, a short walk from the main building. There are so many beautiful spots to relax and enjoy your wine. You can bring in your own coolers, which is nice. I want to go back and spend an afternoon there. Dinner that night deserves its own blog entry. Vintage of 5th is without a doubt my FAVORITE restaurant. Nestled in the up and coming trendy Germantown, it is everything I want in a restaurant. Everything about it is a 10! I cannot wait to go back there this fall and enjoy the outdoor patio. After dinner, we went back down to Broadway for one last country music fix before heading home.

Day 4….off the BNA! Southwest Airlines offers non-stop flights from Tampa to Nashville at super convenient times and great rates. We typically rent a car because they are very reasonable. I use Lyft when going downtown (parking is tricky down there), but drive everywhere else. Nashville (for now) is driver-friendly.

See you soon, Music City!


Washington DC

I recently graduated from Leadership Bartow XVII, a 2 year developmental program that builds leadership skills, encourages volunteerism and educates the class on city, county and local government as well as our local tourism. I learned more than I could have ever imagined. Once a month we visited everything from horticulture nurseries, chemical plants, city facilities, government facilities, local farms, public schools, art museums, historical sites, local colleges, Our States Capitol in Tallahassee and last but not least, we visited The United States Capitol in Washington DC. This trip was incredible. All adults, no kiddos this time, which is rare for me.

I soaked it up and left inspired.

I had been to DC in the late 90s visiting a college friend and went back in 2012 to run the Marine Corps Marathon. This trip was different. I wasn’t in charge of the schedule or agenda. It was educational and fun and a gorgeous time of year, because the cherry blossoms peaked just as we arrived. This was definitely a highlight for me, as it was on my bucket list.They could not have been more beautiful.

We were non stop for 3 days. From Union Station to The White House, Lincoln Memorial, The Mall, Washington Monument, The US Capitol Building, Arlington National Cemetery, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, US Naval Academy, The District Wharf, a yacht cruise down the Potomac River and into Annapolis, Maryland for the best crab everything at Middleton’s.

Day Trips Road Trips Travel

Spring Break – Seaside + Boca Grande, FL

We started out our spring break road trip with a quick stop by Devil’s Den. I’m not a huge fan of freezing cold spring water, but its been on my bucket list for a while now. It’s hard to believe we live so close to so many beautiful springs and there are several I haven’t been to. Devil’s Den did not disappoint. Although a tad too touristy for my taste, it was gorgeous. Family friendly and easy to find. We took our own gear (snorkel and water shoes), but they do have rentals. We opted not to get wet suits, but you can for a more enjoyable time. The divers carry rank, so if there are divers present, you are asked to move to the side and allow them to enter. This can cause a back up, but we were lucky and didn’t have to wait too long. Best advice is to arrive early.

After Devil’s Den, we headed northwest to Seaside. Seaside is an adorable Florida beach town on the Gulf of Mexico. “30A” offers miles of beautiful white sand beaches, adorable shops and yummy food. Food trucks are all the rage these days and Seaside has some fantastic ones. One of my favorites is Five Daughters Bakery, a super cute airstream serving the best made from scratch, organic donuts. I discovered them in Nashville & was excited when I found out I could have one in Florida! Raw & Juicy is another one we love. They have a small cafe and an airstream. They make the best organic, raw, vegan juices and smoothies. Even my kiddos enjoy them! On this trip, we ate lunch at a local Seaside fav, Bud & Ally’s (Coastal Living ranked it one of the top 10 Best Beach Bars), breakfast at The Great Southern Cafe, Dinner at Harbor Docks (Destin) and lunch at Chairing (Grayton), In addition to Seaside, Santa Rosa, Grayton and Destin span along 30A and offer lots of accommodations (hotels, beach homes, campgrounds, condos, etc) and a ton of restaurants and shops. Best advice when visiting these beaches: bring your bike!

Bikes are a must, because parking is limited and well, you’ll look better on a bike in Seaside.

After a wonderful visit to north Florida, we headed south to Boca Grande for Easter. Easter is one of my favorite times on the island. The crowds tend to get larger every year, which is the only downfall of being on the Island this time of year. There is always a huge easter egg hunt downtown that the kids LOVE. Volunteers throw out thousands of pieces of candy and the kiddos rush out to fill their baskets. The Sunrise Service on the south end of the island is always beautiful and heart filling. I especially love how each denomination on the island is represented at this service. We have some super fun Easter traditions on the island that my family cherishes. As times change and the kids grow older, I hope they continue to love it as much as I do.

Park City, Utah

Skiing Travel

Park City, Utah

My family loves to ski. We try to make it out west at least once a year to hit the slopes and escape the Florida heat. This year, we tried a new mountain. My friend E and her son invited my son and I to travel with them to Park City, Utah. She grew up in Salt Lake City, so Park City was where she learned to ski. We were lucky to travel with a Utah native who knew the super fun runs, downtown hot spots and yummy eateries. I always enjoy going to places I’ve never been, so this was a treat. We flew Delta non-stop to Salt Lake City. I loved the fact that the ski resort was only 25 miles from the airport. Typically, when skiing in Colorado, we have a 2-3 hour drive, so it was nice to get to our destination within a half hour.

We stayed at a friend’s condo, but there are so many accomodations to chose from. Park City Resort offers ski in, ski out and there are several rentable condos just steps from the lift. We purchased our lift tickets ahead of time and saved about $75. We rented our boots and skis from Jake’s Ski Rentals and they were great. Very helpful and steps away from the lift. For me, the first day on the slopes is always the hardest. Because I only ski once a year (and getting older), it takes a little while to get my legs working properly. Like riding a bike, you never really forget how to ski, but it’s nice to loosen up on a few green runs before heading down some blues. The views were breathtaking. The runs were fun and some were challenging. Luckily, mother natured dumped an enormous amount of snow a few days leading up the the trip. It snowed for the first 36 hours we were there, so conditions were phenomenal. After the snow stopped, the blue bird days that followed were perfect.

We made some great memories and laughed a lot. Traveling with friends is fun. Traveling to new places is fun!

We had dinner at Chimayo; a fabulous Mexican/Southwest restaurant on Main Street. I’m pretty sure we ordered at least 5 different items, all of which were wonderful. The house-made sangrias were superb! High West Distillery was also a neat bar/restaurant. They operate a full service distillery and restaurant in an old, rustic building. If you google Park City, High West is undoubtedly mentioned. E said the High West Maple Syrup was a must buy and she was right, it’s yum! No Name Bar had a cool vibe as well…a must-see if in town. Perfect view of the city at night from their roof-top bar. Lots of adorable stores, art galleries and boutiques downtown. We tried Five5eeds for breakfast one morning, but it got mixed reviews from the 4 of us. It was decent, but not a place I would try again.

On one of our ski days, we took the shuttle over to Deer Valley. This day was my FAVORITE. I loved the runs. The trees and winter backdrop were so beautiful. Lunch at The Stein Eriksen (a celebrity hot spot) was impressive where they served up the best grilled cheese and tomato soup I have ever had in my entire life. The boys enjoyed the buffet and had hundreds of items to chose from. Apres Ski was wonderful at the St Regis. A quick trolley ride up the mountain takes you to an amazing bar/restaurant with breathtaking views, great wine selections and delicious homemade hot chocolate.

On our last ski day, my son tried out the mountain coaster and zip line. He loved them both. After a week of skiing, the hot tub was a must each night. We made some great memories and laughed a lot. Traveling with friends is fun. Traveling to new places is fun! When it was time to head back to Florida, we headed back to Salt Lake and toured Temple Square. A beautiful area in the City rich with history. A great way to end the week. We headed back east exhausted, jet lagged and very grateful. Thank you, E & E for a super fun time!