SAVANNAH, GA | TRAVEL DIARY

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Going to Savannah was not part of Nathan’s original plan when putting together our Hilton Head Island getaway trip for my birthday (Read our full travel guide to Hilton Head HERE ). However, when he accidentally spilled the beans about where we were going, I knew we HAD to fit in a trip to Savannah as well!  We both had never been before, but I had heard so many amazing things about this historic city.  At first, we were just going to make a day trip out of it since Savannah is only about 1 hour south of Hilton Head Island but after doing some research we quickly realized we wanted to spend a little more time here. We only had so much time allotted for this trip, but we were able to put together an extra 24 hours to make the trip to Savannah happen!  So we jumped on AirBnB, booked a one bedroom condo, and the plans were set!  

We had no idea how quickly we would fall in love with Savannah.  Its a charming and quaint southern city where huge oak trees filled with Spanish Moss shade the architecturally rich cobblestoned streets.  Walking through the historic district is honestly like taking a step back in time.  We stayed at a cute little AirBnB off E. Gaston Street, right across from Forsyth Park- one of the largest, and most well know city parks in the historic district of Savannah.  It was a great location and we were in walking distance to nearly everything. 

One of our favorite memories was strolling through the enchanting streets of Savannah, stopping at nearly all of the 22 historic squares that are found from E. Gordon St all the way down to the Savannah River.  These squares are surrounded by some of the most beautiful churches (The Cathedral of St.John the Baptist will take your breath away), historic homes, gorgeous inns and rich history that we have ever seen!  It was a truly incredible experience!

We were also blown away by the food scene in Savannah!  We ate some of the best food we’ve ever had on this trip- and trust me, we ate WAY more than necessary, but were trying to squeeze in as many culinary delights as possible in our 24 hours!

Our only wish is that we could have spent more time in Savannah!  Our best advice would be to spend a couple of days here if possible.  We can’t wait to plan our next trip to this incredible city!

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FOOD/DRINK


TREYLOR PARK - this was our first stop in Savannah. Literally.  Our AirBnB wasn’t quite ready, and we were really hungry so we stopped here for an early lunch.  This hip spot is known for their quirky menu and creative flavor combinations such as the fried chicken waffle fries nachos and PB&J wings, we had both and it was incredible!  And the best part: they have a dog friendly outdoor patio, so Reggie got to hang out with us too!

THE OLDE PINK HOUSE- this is one of Savannah’s most famous restaurants, and came highly recommended by many people, so we definitely wanted to have dinner here!  We knew it would be a bit more on the pricey side, so we choose this restaurant for my actual birthday dinner!  The Olde Pink House is set in Savannah’s only 18th century mansion, and specializes in Lowcountry cuisine.  Nathan and I both had the Crispy Scored Flounder which was served “whole fish” style.  Neither of us had seafood served this way before, but it was absolutely delicious!  We would highly recommend this restaurant for a special occasion or date-night. 

CAFE M- a lovely piece of Paris right in the heart of downtown Savannah.  Great spot for a quick breakfast, coffee, tea or some baked goods! We both had amazing lattes and were able to try a homemade Cronut for the very first time!ROCKS ON THE ROOF-  We both loved the vibe of this edgy, hip rooftop bar located on top of The Bohemian Hotel.  They feature a great mix of handcrafted cocktails which you can enjoy by cozy fire-pits, while enjoying breathtaking views of the Savannah River and all of historic downtown. 

LEOPOLDS ICE CREAM- going to Leopold’s is like taking a step back in time to a classic ice cream soda fountain shop- complete with striped hats and the friendliest staff!  When we arrived, the line was out the door, so we knew all the hype about this Savannah-staple must be true! Nathan and I both had a couple scoops of their seasonal flavors, and it was absolutely delicious!

RIVER STREET SWEETS - this was the most recommended shop on famous River Street, and I can see why!  I swear you could smell the heavenly pralines and fudge from down the street!  They have every type of candy you could ever imagine, but are most well know for their world famous pralines.  Bonus tip: if you walk into the door on the right hand of the store, you’ll be treated with free samples! You can thank me later!

ROCKS ON THE ROOF-  We both loved the vibe of this edgy, hip rooftop bar located on top of The Bohemian Hotel.  They feature a great mix of handcrafted cocktails which you can enjoy by cozy fire-pits, while enjoying breathtaking views of the Savannah River and all of historic downtown. 

*** A few places that were recommended, but we didn’t get a chance to try:

Back in the Day Bakery, Huey’s, Lulu’s Chocolate Bar, Artillery, Top Deck, The Lady and Sons, Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room 

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THINGS TO DO


FORSYTH PARK - our AirBnb was right across the street from this historic park, so we woke up early the morning we were set to leave, and walked around the park with Reggie.  This park is known for the iconic fountain off the entrance of Bull and Gaston, and is beautifully landscaped with rose gardens and lined by the classic Spanish filled oak trees. 


WALK RIVER STREET - this is by far the most well known street in the city!  Its adjacent to the Savannah River, and has an array of different souvenir shops, restaurants and local vendors and artists !  We walked all up and down the street, but also enjoyed stopping to sit and watch the massive cargo ships sail in and out of the port.

EXPLORE THE HISTORIC DISTRICT - we explored all around the historic streets of Savannah, marveling at the the gorgeous homes and mansions.  This city is full of incredible architecture.  Make sure to check out each of the city’s squares (theres 22 in total) to see all the different statues, sculptures, and rich history.  If you’re short on time, at least check out Jones Street, this had the most beautiful homes in my opinion.   

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OTHER ATTRACTIONS/THINGS TO DO:

Shop Local

Trolley Ghost Tour

Wormsloe Plantation

Tybee Island

Check out local museums, such as the Telfair Museum or SCAD Museum of Art

Tour Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

What are some of your favorite places to see and things to do in Savannah? We would love to hear any and ALL of your recommendations, because we are already planning our next trip back! If you haven’t been, and have any specific questions about our trip, let us know in the comments below! Thanks so much for reading and we can’t wait to share our next travel adventure with you all!!


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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC | TRAVEL DIARY

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For my 30th birthday, Nathan surprised me with a trip to Hilton Head Island, SC.  I was SUPER excited because I remember going there as a child, and having so much fun!!  We both have been so busy with our jobs, launching the blog, wedding planning, etc that we were both really looking forward to this trip and some much needed rest, relaxation and quality time together! We stayed at Sonesta Resort (read our full review HERE) which was PERFECT because it offered so many amenities, not to mention we could walk right to the beach and its central location made it nice when exploring the island.  Watch our full review on Sonesta Resort HERE.

Some of my favorite memories from this trip were waking up super early to watch the sunrise on the beach, chilling by the pool in our favorite little cabana while sipping on the absolute BEST key lime colada EVER, and going to the beach at night with Reggie…watching the stars and seeing how bright the moon shines over the ocean.  

Hilton Head Island is definitely a very chill vacation spot, you don’t have to worry about getting dressed up when you go out to eat (I’m talking a cute sundress and flip flops) and most places are dog-friendly (which was a HUGE plus for us since we brought Reggie with us!).  They also have some AMAZING seafood restaurants, and so many indiscreet places offering awesome lowcoxntry foods!  Our best advice would be to pick a couple of favorites that you might like to check out, and just go with the flow to see where the day takes you!


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BREAKFAST/COFFEE

JAVA BURRITO- this was by far the most highly recommended breakfast spot, and I can totally understand why!  Think locally sourced fresh food burrito bar meets your favorite trendy organic coffee shop.  Whether you want to stop in for a signature coffee drink, like the honey lavender latte, or put together the freshest breakfast burrito you can imagine, this place is definetly worth checking out for breakfast or lunch!

THE FRENCH BAKERY- we found this place by my friend Maddie’s recommendation, and we had the most lovely breakfast here one dreary morning!  They have a wide variety of homemade baked goods, baked fresh every single morning as well as a small menu of traditional breakfast items.  Nathan and I got a box of assorted pastries (the chocolate filled croissant was my FAVORITE), and two lattes, and ate breakfast in the park across the street which overlooks the bay. 



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LUNCH


CHAR BAR COMPANY- vinyl records line the walls of this laid back spot offering gourmet burger, craft beer and homemade shake.  Nathan and I went here for an early dinner one day, but I also think it’d be a great spot for lunch! We sat outside on their dog-friendly patio,  Nathan got the “Dirty South” - a burger topped with pulled pork, red pepper jelly, pimento, bourbon bbq sauce and topped with a fried green tomato.  I went a little more adventurous and did the “Wine Jam”- a wagyu beef burger topped with bone marrow butter, basil, prosciutto, port wine onion jam and Boursin cheese.  Obviously we both left extremely full!! 

SALTY DOG CAFE-  located at South Beach Marina Village in Sea Pines, this is a quitisential Hilton Head favorite.  I hadn’t been here since I was about 8 years old, so of course I had to go back to see if it was as cool as I remembered!  Its a whole tiny village of little shops and spring-off restaurants but the original Salty Dog offers casual bar food, with great views of the bay and often live music on their outdoor patio.  Side note: you actually are not allowed to have your dog on the outdoor dining patio, so you’ll have to leave your fur baby at home ( we learned this the hard way lol)


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DINNER

HUDSONS- one day I was craving a fried shrimp Po-Boy, so we googled where we could find one and this place was the first to pop up, so off we went!  Turns out, it was WAY worth it!!  This place has such a cool history!  The restaurant itself is an old oyster factory started in 1912, and the company still employs one of the two remaining fishing fleets on the Island, which means your seafood is served straight from their docks to your table…it doesn’t get more FRESH than that!!  Nathan and I both got the shrimp po-boys with hushpuppies (which are AMAZING), a couple of tropical drinks, and enjoyed the open-air views of the Port Royal Sound.  Hudson’s is a must in my opinion, even if you just go for a cocktail to watch the sunset!

SKULL CREEK BOATHOUSE/DOCKSIDE- probably the most highly recommended dinner spot, and trust me, it didn’t disappoint!  These side-by-side restaurants both offer incredible views of Skull Creek!  Dockside is the newer restaurant, and offers a gorgeous dining room indoors if needed due to weather.  The Boathouse is the original restaurant and definitely has a more laid-back island feel, offering a HUGE outdoor bar and patio.  If there is a wait-time, they have a common area complete with lawn chairs, yard games, a playground, etc.  We ended up getting a high-top table at the Boathouse right away!  We both got the seafood sampler platter and shared a basket (or maybe 2) of the hushpuppies which were SOOOO good!  We chilled here a good part of the night, enjoyed the amazing sunset over the sound, and listened to the live music! The patio at the Boathouse is dog-friendly!

A LOW COUNTRY BACKYARD- this place has a super unique atmosphere!  The outdoor patio is set under a huge tent with live oak trees and wood chip flooring, making you feel like you are literally in the comfort of your backyard!  This restaurant is known for its homage to low country fare, so we both got the classic Shrimp & Grits and we would highly recommend it!  Live music starts at 6pm, but be prepared for a wait because seating is limited, especially outside!

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*A few places that were recommended but we didn’t get the chance to try:

Skillets Cafe, Frosty Frog Cafe, The Old Oyster, Poseidon, Frankie Bones, The Jazz Corner, Coco’s on the Beach

PLACES TO SEE/THINGS TO DO

SHELTER COVE- this is a newer area with shopping and restaurants as well as a beautiful new park complete with an amphitheater that houses year round festivals and live events.  

HARBOUR TOWN- another area with boutiques, restaurants and activities.  Also home to the iconic red and white striped Harbor Town lighthouse, which offers an amazing view of the entire marina as well as a museum that you can tour daily. 

COLIGNY PLAZA- full of shops, restaurants and live entertainment.

RENT BIKES- this is a great way to explore the island AND get your exercise!!  Our resort had a bike rental, but there are plenty of companies on the island you can rent from if you are unable to bring your own! 

Have you ever been to Hilton Head Island? If so, we would love to hear about some of your favorite places in the comments below!! As always, thanks so much for reading and stay tuned for our next Travel Diary!

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SONESTA RESORT HILTON HEAD ISLAND

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For my 30th birthday in August, Nathan surprised me with a trip to Hilton Head Island.  Well, let me take that back.  He tried to surprise me, but accidentally gave away the secret about 2 weeks prior to us leaving (he can NOT for the life of himself keep a surprise) but I still had no idea where we were staying. So when we finally arrived to our destination and pulled into the drive of Sonesta Resorts, I was blown away with the beauty of our home-away-from-home!  From the Spanish filled oak trees lining your drive in, to the lush landscaping, Sonesta does an impeccable job at making you feel like you just arrived to an exclusive tropical getaway.  So whether you have Hilton Head Island on your radar for your next family vacation or maybe a romantic getaway with your significant other, we thought it would be fun to share with you our favorite aspects of Sonesta Resorts Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  Check out a video of our first impressions of Sonesta Resort HERE. 


PET-FRIENDLY

Ok, so this was a huge PLUS for me!  We love traveling with Reggie, our 4 year old Cocker Spaniel. So it is super important to us that wherever we stay is not only pet-friendly but pet accommodating as well. All guests traveling with pets are given rooms on the first floor, which may not be great for views (our room overlooked the pool which I actually didn’t mind) but is awesome in terms of convenience.  We have stayed in other hotels where the pet-friendly rooms are on the higher level floors which is a pain when it comes to letting your pet outside during the day.  With us being on the first floor, we had easy access to the outdoor space to take Reggie for walks, and it was also super convenient to let him outside multiple times throughout the day when we were just hanging out at the pool!  The grounds of the hotel are also very pet friendly!  There are multiple pet baggie stations next to the walking paths around the hotel property itself, which was nice because of course I forgot mine!  The hotel grounds have a path around the pool and pond area that we would take Reggie around each morning, and Shipyard Plantation itself is full of miles of walking trails! Another aspect I really appreciated was that daily cleaning service of our room was still provided.  Other hotels we have booked with in the past absolutely do not service the room if you are boarding a pet.  Not at Sonesta!  All we had to do was put Reggie in his crate, and call when we were ready to have the room serviced and the cleaning staff showed up right away!  This was a HUGE plus, especially when your going to and from the beach, because you guys know how sand gets EVERYWHERE, and even more so with a pet!  Speaking of the beach, one more perk!  The beach outside of Sonesta is pet friendly except from 10AM-5PM.  We took Reggie to the beach every morning to watch the sunrise, and every evening to watch the sunset!  He even made a few friends!  Overall, Sonesta Resort was extremely pet-friendly and made us feel right at home with our furbaby.


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ROOMS

Our rooms were really comfortable, spacious, modern, and clean! The king size bed was super comfy, we had a little seating area with a loveseat, a mini fridge where we kept some basic grocery items and of course we both appreciated the coffee station complete with a Keurig and assortment of K-cups.  The seating area on the patio was spacious, enough room to hang towels and store beach chairs, coolers, etc although perhaps not that private since we were directly off the pool.  The little luxuries made this room one of a kind. When the lights are off and you hop out of the bed, there is ground lighting that lightly dims the floor so you can see where you are going without turning on a light (Nathan personally loved these lights and kept saying we needed to include this feature if we ever build our own home)! The beds were extremely comfortable, and included extra pillows which I personally love.  There was even a nice robe in the closet to use at your leisure, a nice little relaxing touch. 

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POOL

The pool was definitely our favorite hang out spot!  There are two pools at the resort.  The first, is a large, walk-in, outdoor pool.  It was very spacious,  had plenty of seating (you didn’t have to fight over lawn chairs or struggle finding a spot), and really had a nice luxurious feel to the area.  We always picked a spot closest to the pool bar, because their Key Lime Coladas were out of this world!  We had at least one every single day and they were absolutely delicious!!  A few days we even got extra fancy and snagged one of the cabanas!  Unlike most hotels, the cabanas at Sonesta are FREE and on a first come, first serve basis!  These were great for when we spent the entire day at the pool, the perfect cozy shady spot to lounge, take a break from the sun, and enjoy a nice nap!  The second pool, was a smaller, completely shaded pool with a small hot tub.  We liked this spot in the evenings!  We would grab a couple cocktails, relax in the hot-tub and then just hang out in the airy cabanas and watch the sky turn different shades of pink as the sun began to set!  Very dreamy and relaxing!

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BEACH ACCESS

Another perk of Sonesta Resort, is that all you have to do is take a short walk down a beautifully lined pathway and you have immediate beach access.  This was super convenient because we could come and go to the beach as we pleased!  Nathan and I brought our own beach chairs, but the resort has chairs and umbrellas that you can rent by the day if you need.  Or you can reserve one through the beach patrol for the day, and they will set up the chair and umbrella for you!  If you are staying for a couple days, though, we would definitely suggest bringing your own beach gear because it can get kinda pricey renting each day.


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THE GROUNDS

Upon arrival at Sonesta, I was immediately impressed by the grounds of the entire complex.  They really do an excellent job in making the space feel extremely plush, and beautiful.  From the well-maintained pathways around the facility, to the pristine ponds,  the property itself is nothing less than luxurious!  There are several seating areas around the grounds, whether you want to spend the day reading a book in one of the hammocks or enjoy a cocktail at one of the cozy fire pits, there really is a spot for everyone! I also appreciated the family-friendly aspects they included like corn hole stations, areas where you can watch turtles, and even the cutest little snack shops where they offered tasty little treats and snow cones!

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FOOD

Sonesta Resort offers several restaurants with both indoor and outdoor dining options.

HEYWARDS RESTUARANT : serves breakfast daily and also dinner, focusing on the traditional Lowcountry fare.  Don’t forget about their amazing desserts!! 

SEACREST TERRACE & PATIO:  Located directly next door to Heyward’s Restaurant.  This restaurant is open every day for lunch only, and offers a cool and casual indoor/outdoor dining option.  

BAYLEYS BAR: located in the heart of the modern resort lobby, this is the place for a quick coffee in the morning and your favorite tropical cocktail at night!

SWEET CANE BAR & GRILLE: this is the poolside bar that offered Nathan and I’s favorite cocktail of the week: Key Lime Colada!!  They have an array of different tropical drinks, daily happy hour promotions, and lunch items made to order. 

SANDBAR AT MARKER 72:  this is the newest Beach Bar for Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island and Shipyard Plantation.  With a rustic wood covered beach deck setting and tables overlooking the ocean and lagoon this bar instantly gives you that beach vacation feel.  They had live entertainment every day from about 12-3 pm, which you could enjoy at the bar or even while relaxing at the pool!

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ARUM SPA

Arum Spa is one of the newest spas in Hilton Head!  And although I didn’t enjoy a spa experience myself (I definitely wish I would have) it looked like a complete relaxation oasis!  Whether you have an hour, or a full day, they can accommodate all of your needs!  Arum Spa offers an array of different treatments such as massages, full body treatments, facials, or even full day customizable spa packages to give you the best experience possible, and its sure to calm your mind and lift your spirits!

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ACTIVITIES

Sonesta Resort offers an array of recreational activities, from bike rentals to paddle boarding, kayaking, tennis or helping you book a round of gold at one of the many courses around the island!  They also have a 24 hour fitness center (which we used a couple times during our stay), complimentary shuttle service around Shipyard Plantation, concierge, and a kids activity program just to name a few!  Honestly, the activity Nathan and I enjoyed the most was taking long walks on the beach with Reggie, enjoying the sounds of the ocean, and catching every sunrise and sunset that we could! 

Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island is a true tropical oasis, and we felt like we were on a relaxing tropical getaway the moment we stepped into the lobby!  The views, easy beach access, luxurious grounds and accommodating staff make this a truly relaxing stay!  Whether you’ve been looking to plan your first trip to Hilton Head Island, or come here every year, we highly recommend you check out this resort for yourself! You’re sure to have nothing short of a relaxing and magical stay at Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island. 

Thank you so much for reading, and if you have any questions about our stay, let us know!



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RED RIVER GORGE

When Nathan and I first met, one thing we had in common was our love for the outdoors.  Hiking is something we have always enjoyed doing together, with Reggie too, of course!  So we were super excited to find out that Kentucky has so many awesome places to hit the trails!  Our very first Kentucky-hiking excursion was to Red River Gorge, you can watch the full experience HERE !! The Red River Gorge is part of the Daniel Boone National Forest, and has nearly 70 miles of hiking tails that wind through the forest.  

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Let me start off by saying, the drive alone is totally worth the trip to the Gorge!  Talk about scenic!  With picturesque winding roads, and cascading mountaintops, it is a truly beautiful drive! I can only imagine how awesome it will be in the fall, when all the leaves start changing colors!  Our first stop was the Gladie Visitor Center.  Call us dorks, but whenever Nathan and I visit a new hiking spot, we ALWAYS go to the visitor center.  We like to get maps so we can plan out our stops for the day, plus the staff is usually super helpful in pointing you towards the best trails according to the length, ruggedness, or difficulty you are looking for!  

So with our maps in hand, and the trails marked out for the afternoon, we set off for our first hike.

TRAIL #1:  SKY BRIDGE LOOP

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This was a super easy hike (ok lets be honest, it was more of a leisurely stroll) but the view was AMAZING!  Just like the name suggests, there is a natural bridge made of stone that overlooks the entire gorge! The overlook from on top of the bridge was gorgeous, but we both thought seeing the natural sandstone bridge from below was even more incredible!  

TRAIL #2:  ANGEL WINDOWS

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This was a fairly moderate hike. Nathan and I kept trying to guess what the “windows” were actually going to look like.  Turns out, neither of us were right, they were actually natural cutouts in the rock cliffs that appear to be “windows”..... but it was still fun to try and guess! After the windows, the trail keeps going to a cool little waterfall!

TRAIL #3: CHIMNEY TOP

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Another easy walk, but this one was recommended for the incredible overlook view….and man, it did NOT disappoint!  The overlook gives you a 360 degree panoramic view of the gorge.  You can view the Red River below, and we could even see people rock climbing on Half Moon Rock to the left.  Definitely one the must-see stops!

Those were the 3 main trails we hiked for the afternoon.  I forgot to mention that we did have Reggie, our cocker spaniel with us, and all 3 of these trails were not a problem for him (in case you like to take your dog everywhere you go, like we do) We stopped at one other trail that was kind of off the beaten path, but Nathan spooked me out about bears (we had no bear spray, plus Reggie was with us) so I made us turn back around!  We can’t wait to go back to Red River Gorge for more hiking and mark some of the other trails off our list.

Whats your favorite hiking spot?? We love to travel so share some ideas with us in the comments below! Thanks again for reading, and stay tuned for our next hiking adventure and don’t forget to watch the FULL VLOG on first Red River Gorge hiking experience HERE !!

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MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND AT CONNEAUT LAKE

The lake is one of our favorite places to be.  There is something about the quiet mornings, with the water so flat and calm. Spending all day in the sun with the breeze flowing through your hair.  And those warm nights filled with watching perfect, uninterrupted sunsets. These are just a few of the reasons, Nathan and I dream about living on a lake one day.  So of course, when my parents asked us to come to the lake for Memorial Day Weekend, we jumped at the chance!!  What better way to kick off summer, then being at our happy place! Watch the FULL VLOG on our weekend HERE !!

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Our first morning, we all woke up early to do some water sports.  In years past, we have done water skiing, or wake-boarding, but lately, the go-to sport is wake-surfing.  If you’re not familiar, wake-surfing is where you trail behind a boat on a short surfboard that's about five feet long and literally surf through the boat's wake without being attached to the boat.  Think of surfing, except without the ocean!  Anyway, my dad and sister love to go!  I’ve tried a couple times, but I think a bad wake-boarding fall of the past has scared me from trying new water sports lol.  However, Nathan being the adventurous one, decided he would try it! He had only gone once before, about a year ago, but was never able to let go of the rope and actually surf.  So, of course, he was bound and determined to step his game up this go-around.  And wouldn’t you know it, he got up and surfed without the rope on his first try!! Watch it all HERE !!

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On our second day, my sister, Nathan and I decided to take the jet-ski over to get breakfast! There is this cute little cafe on the other side of the lake that makes fresh donuts every day. It was the perfect morning for a jet-ski ride, sunny with a cool breeze, plus why get in the car if you don’t have to?!  We rode across the lake to cafe, and Lauren and I volunteered to run in and pick up the goods, while Nathan went for a little solo ride.  We went in only to discover…..they were OUT OF DONUTS.  Insert sad face here.  So, we settled for a muffin and a couple of iced coffees instead, which we enjoyed on the dock as we watched the pontoons and boats pass by.  We spent the rest of the day out on the boat, with our family friends, tubing and swimming! It was the perfect summer day! 

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We had a great holiday weekend, and we were sad to leave.  It was so nice being at the lake for a couple of days, and we loved spending time with family and friends!  We are already planning our next trip back home!

What’s your happy place?? We would love to hear about it below! And don’t forget to check out the vlog of our entire weekend at the lake HERE !!