Journal

Boise Field Guide

This was originally posted for my good buddies at Wayward

It’s been nearly three months since I stepped foot on Idaho soil. Having never visited, my wife and I took the leap and moved from Chicago, IL to Boise, ID. While I haven’t found a deep dish pizza that competes with Chicago’s taste, I have fallen in love with this city in the foothills. It is jam packed with accessible adventures, kind people, and micro-breweries. If you’re planning to visit Boise, this guide’s for you.


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WHERE


DOWNTOWN

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Whether you’re staying in a hotel or Airbnb, staying downtown won’t be a bad option. You’re in the heart of the city, can walk to all of the great restaurants, bars, and the greenbelt. The beauty of staying downtown is that you can wake up on Saturday morning and be immersed in the local farmers market within minutes.

NORTH END

If small historic homes are more of your thing, the North End is where you want to be. Located (you guessed it!) just north of downtown, this neighborhood separates the foothills from downtown. Hyde Park is also located in this neighborhood and boasts great restaurants such as: North End Pizza, Parrilla Grill, and Goody’s Soda Fountain. Within 15 minutes you can walk to downtown or to Camel’s Back Park and see Boise from above.

DEPOT BENCH

Located south of the river, this is the neighborhood directly west of Boise State University. Boasting walking access to Boise’s largest park, Ann Morrison Park, this neighborhood is a great option if you want to feel like a local for your days in Boise.   

 

WHAT

FOR THE ADVENTURE LOVER

Let’s be honest, if Boise has one thing going right it is the Ridge to Rivers network. This network connects hundreds of miles of hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, dirt biking, you name it trails scattered throughout the Treasure Valley area. If you’re looking for some great single track rent a bike from one of the many bike shops in Boise, such as Joyride Cycles, ride to Camel’s Back Park and take off into the foothills. You can rent bikes, get to the trailhead, and be gone for 3+ hours all without ever getting in your car. That’s the beauty of how accessible the foothills are.

Looking for something a little more low key? Take a hike at Hillside to Hollow Reserve. You won’t believe you are a less than 10 minute drive from downtown once you get on the trail.  

During the summer months you can rent or bring tubes and float down the Boise river. There is a shuttle service ($6) that picks up at Ann Morrison Park. You can float 5 miles (around 2 hours) back to Ann Morrison. Additionally, you can head to Quinn’s Pond for SUP or do freshwater surfing on the Boise River.

Visiting during winter? Leave downtown and be on a ski lift in under an hour. Winter trips call for a quick trip to Bogus Basin where you can ski and snowboard for the day. Additionally, many of the popular hiking trails can be used for snowshoeing during the winter months.

FOR THE LIFE OF THE PARTY

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While the deep dish pizza may not compete with Chicago, Boise’s beer and cider scene is top notch. With multiple breweries, a Basque district, and a great local restaurant selections you will not go hungry… or thirsty. Boise Brewing has been awarded 4 years in a row for various beers in their selection. 8th Street is home to many great restaurants and drink spots such as: The Mode Lounge, Bittercreek, Eureka!, The Matador, Funky Taco and right around the corner you will find Meriwether Cider Co. For dessert be sure to stop by The Stil for a wine + ice cream flight.

If you are a fan of live music head to The Knitting Factory or Nuerolux for a great show. There are plenty of local bands that are consistently booking venues each weekend.

While this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this city of trees, it should leave you wanting to extend your stay on the next visit to Boise.

Keep up with Cody’s adventures in Boise and beyond with his newsletter and Instagram

Top 5 Travel Apps For Budget Travel

I recently posted a video (watch below) covering 5 apps that have helped Sarah and I save money! Knowing some people would rather read while on the commute I wanted to list them fro you here. Happy Traveling!

Hopper

Pros: Easy to use interface, allows you to watch flights for specific dates and sends notifications on when to buy, can customize which airlines you want to see (Basic Fares: Spirit, Frontier, etc.), price predictions, can customize layover restrictions, has desktop website.

Cons: Southwest not included - this is not Hopper’s fault, it is the business model of Southwest to not work with any third party affiliates (still a bummer though), no longer able to choose flexible dates,

Who’s it for: Planners. If you are someone who plans trips months in advance you will save a lot of money utilizing Hopper. International travelers will also benefit from the time and effort saving options of Hopper.

Download Hopper at: www.hopper.com

HotelTonight

Pros: Amazing deals on last minute hotel rooms, membership program gives deeper discounts the more you book, beautiful interface and great room information, member reviews and photos uploaded to the app.

Cons: mobile only, daily drop is only available once per day including all locations (can be tough if road tripping),

Who’s it for: Last minute travelers, business travelers who have flexibility, solo travelers, couple travelers, digital nomads.

Download HotelTonight at: www.hoteltonight.com
Use my promo code SHOWARD227 and you'll get $25 off your first booking.

Google Maps Explore

Pros: Most commonly used navigation and review system on the planet, has everything including upcoming events, restaurants, cocktail spots, etc.

Cons: If you don’t like Google?

Who’s it for: Anyone and everyone

Download Google Maps at: Android | Apple iTunes

The Outbound Collective

Pros: Community driven, real people means real reviews, a great way to see where locals are spending time outdoors when traveling to a new city or region.

Cons: Being 100% community driven it may not show all available trails in the area.

Who’s it for: Outdoor lovers, travelers looking for day hikes, people looking for new camping spots in their region, outdoor photographers.

Join The Outbound Collective at: https://theoutbound.com/

Airbnb

Pros: In almost every location around the world, flexibility for budgets, size, amount of people, and location.

Cons: Airbnb’s will not come with the hotel amenities some travelers may be used to. That being said, the options to choose exactly what you location and budget is should take care of this if you do your research.

Who’s it for: Any travelers spending more than 2 nights at one location, travelers looking for a home away from home, travelers with dietary restrictions.

Join Airbnb at: www.airbnb.com
Use the link above and receive $40 off of your first trip!

I hope these apps make traveling as enjoyable for you as it has me. For more information on each app, check out my YouTube video below!

Any questions shoot me an email or comment on my YouTube video.

 
 
The Dispatch 6.18.18
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The Dispatch

Happy Monday! Welcome to The Dispatch, a quick rundown of what I'm digging this week. My goal is that each dispatch will be equal parts adventure, inspiration, and enjoyment. 

In case you missed it...

I spent the evening in Millennium Park showcasing what I love about the famous park in the heart of Chicago.
As Sarah and I approach the end of our time in Chicago, be on the lookout for more videos highlighting our favorite spot around the city.

Need some Monday motivation? 

Listen to this great commencement speech given by author Brendan Leonard at the Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning. It'll get you going. 

One of the craziest races I've ever heard of

The Speed Project is a 340 miles relay race from LA to Las Vegas. No Rules, just runners, RV's, and ruthless terrain. The Tracksmith team just published their lookbook revisiting their team's experience. Complete with amazing images, audio samples, and written commentary about the journey. It is a must read! 

Enjoy The Dispatch?

I'd really appreciate you forwarding to a friend if you enjoy these weekly emails. 

 

As always, I love hearing feedback. What do you want to see more of? Which piece was your personal favorite? Other Suggestions? Hit me up! You can send a tweet to @howardventurous or shoot me an email. 

Hello, World!

The Dispatch 6.11.18
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Thanks for tagging along. If you enjoyed this email do me a favor and forward it to a friend. I owe you one! 

Cody Howard
@howardventurous

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The Dispatch

Happy Monday! Welcome to The Dispatch, a quick rundown of what I'm digging this week. My goal is that each dispatch will be equal parts adventure, inspiration, and enjoyment. 

In case you missed it...

I didn't end up getting the job at Moment. While at first it was a bummer (as shown in the video), it has spurred on a challenge for myself to grow. That's right, I'm starting a daily vlog!
For the next 100 Days I'll be strengthening my creative muscles and creating content every single day (hopefully). Be sure to subscribe on YouTube for daily notifications when new videos are published. 

Quote I am pondering

"History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeates."
- B.C. Forbes

 

What has me itching for a new adventure

A few weeks ago, the Kayak Libre team (Wyatt Roscoe, Luke Walker, and Andy Cochrane) completed the first documented "unsupported" single kayak crossing from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida. It took them 27 hours, 12 minutes, and 30 seconds. Check out a great article on the trip here

Enjoy the Week

 

As always, I love hearing feedback. What do you want to see more of? Which piece was your personal favorite? Other Suggestions? Hit me up! You can send a tweet to @howardventurous or shoot me an email. 
Thanks for tagging along. If you enjoyed this email do me a favor and forward it to a friend. I owe you one! 

Cody Howard
@howardventurous

Lucky friend who was forwarded this message? Sign up here

Hello, World!

Want to get The Dispatch? 

Sign up below to get The Dispatch each Monday.

The Dispatch 6.4.18
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The Dispatch

Hey *|FNAME|*, welcome to The Dispatch, a quick rundown of what I'm digging this week. My goal is that each dispatch will be equal parts adventure, inspiration, and enjoyment. 

In case you missed it...

I made a short film as a cover letter to apply for a job. Yep, Moment a brand who manufactures high quality lenses for mobile phones has a filmmaker position open.  
Ya boi figured he'd put his camera where his mouth was and create a video for their team within 48hrs after they posted the position. No word yet, but it was a great experience either way. 

What I suggest for your next read

If I was ever lucky enough to make it on The Tim Ferris Show and he asked me what book in recent memory made the biggest impact on my life it would hands down be When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. This memoir of Paul, a neurosurgical resident who is diagnosed with terminal cancer not only shook me to my core, but equally forced me to consider the priorities in our everyday lives. As someone who has lost multiple family members to cancer it hurt as much as it healed to read about the process from Paul's point of view. I cannot recommend this enough and would love to chat about it if you read.

What restored my hope for America 

This past week, a good friend of mine Luke (TW: @LukeAtMeNow1445)  shared this YouTube video experiment with me. Not only did I find the results surprising, but I was really happy where one of the cities fell on the list.
 

Now Playing

I first heard about Dr. Dog a few years ago. They were always on my "To listen to" list, but for some reason never made it into the queue. That all changed when I heard this song from their latest album. 

 

As always, I love hearing feedback. What do you want to see more of? Which piece was your personal favorite? Other Suggestions? Hit me up! You can send a tweet to @howardventurous or shoot me an email. 
Thanks for tagging along. If you enjoyed this email please do me a favor and forward it to a friend. I owe you one! 

Cody Howard
@howardventurous

Lucky friend who was forwarded this message? Sign up here


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California, USA

In the summer of 2017, my wife, Sarah, and I decided to fly 4 hours into Reno, NV and road trip across California. Packing 5 days of camping gear into a suitcase, we set off for a 10 day adventure with only a camping spot reserved at Lake Tahoe and an Airbnb reservation set in San Leandro, CA 7 days later. 

The days between were blank pages waiting to be filled. We spent 10 days hiking, chasing fog, wine tasting, driving Highway 1, and exploring the Bay. Here is a collection of the images from our journey, I hope you enjoy them as much as we did. 

Field NotesCodyComment
Find Your Dream Client in 15 Minutes

Everywhere you look, whether in a marketing book, article, or from a professional in your field you hear the phrases “know your niche” or “know your ideal/dream client.” While I agree that this is important in nearly every asset of your business (website design, branding, portfolio, pricing, etc.) I also found it extremely difficult to find!

Below is a worksheet that I personally have used to discover my dream client and base most of my business decisions on. Tested by other creatives, this tutorial will take you step by step to discovering your dream client and networking with them today!

Step 1 – What Do You Create in Your Free Time?

Another way to look at this is, what do you create, read about, watch videos on, when you have a free Saturday afternoon?

What are some of your favorite personal projects? What is it about these projects that you love?

If you had a week to create anything of your choice, what would it be?

Look at your social media accounts and choose 3-5 of your favorite posts? What do they have in common? List the similarities below:

Step 2 – Take a look at 3 Top Professionals in Your Field

Once you have them in mind, answer the following questions with them in mind. The key is to be as specific as possible, the more information you can list the better it will clear things up for you down the road!

What is their industry/niche? (example: logo design or outdoor weddings)

What is their style?

Who do they work with? (example: USA Brands, couples in the age range of 25-35, food & beverage)

How did they get started? (This might take a little research, try visiting their website’s “about me” section if you’re having trouble. Interviews are another great way to find out this information)

Step 3 – Who Have Been Your Favorite Clients?

 Think back over the last 12 months, pick our 3-5 of the favorite clients you have worked with. If you don’t have 3-5 clients to choose from you can still do this exercise - Base on your dream client (hint: use your top professional answers as guidance)

What is their age, gender, and income level?

What is their style (be specific, what sets them apart, lifestyle, clothing, etc. ?

What are their values?

What specifically comes to mind when you think of them?

Step 4 – Find the Common Ground

Next, merge all your answers. What similarities do the top professionals have with your favorite past clients?

Does your dream client match up with your favorite personal projects?

Write down all of the common traits below.

Final Step – Network Your Niche

Afte completing Step 4 you should no have the perfect profile of your dream clien!

Keeping your dream client in mind look at your portfolio.

Does t speak directly to your dream client?

Is the copy generic or re you sing the actual language your dream client use?

Are your images, designs, work examples tailored t our dream client’s niche?

If so, write down 5-10 potential clients within your dream niche and reach out them. Send them a short and tailored email with examples of your work (precisely tailored to them).

I hope this helps you gain an Understanding of your dream client and start conversations with them as early as today! For a printable PDF version sign up here. 

If you have success using this guide or feedback, drop a comment below I would love to hear from you.

 
 
InspirationCody
Wandering In Wisconsin
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Life had been moving just a little too fast over the last few weeks so we decided to take a weekend and visit Wisconsin to get away. After grabbing a rental car we were on our way, Spotify playlist and relaxing thoughts in tow.

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First stop was Madison, WI. A place that all of our friends rave about, but Sarah and I had yet to visit. Upon arrival we quickly realized the "relaxation" factor we were searching for was nowhere to be found in Madison this weekend. Earth Day protests scattered the city leading to the capitol building's lawn. On top of the protests, the Midwest Horse Fair, and Wisconsin football spring game were also being held that weekend. Nevertheless, we wanted to see what Madison had to offer, so we enjoyed walking around town and soaking in the good weather.

Madison is a gem of a city, it has the perfect mix of college town and active city. Surrounded by lakes, mountain biking, and plenty of shops it would be hard to find yourself needing something to do. We headed to Tipsy Cow  for lunch and enjoyed the best cheese curds I've had in my life. They lasted maybe 3 minutes. From there we strolled back to our rental car and headed Lake Geneva, WI. 

Enjoying a beautiful Wisconsin sunset in our rear view mirror we used one of our favorite apps Hotel Tonight to book a room at The Abbey Resort, who kindly upgraded our room free of charge upon arrival! 

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Waking up on Sunday morning, we enjoyed breakfast at Lake Geneva's Simple Cafe followed by window shopping their historic downtown area. From there we headed to the Lake Geneva Shore Path, taking in the beautiful weather and views. The lake is lined with beautiful homes in every direction. 

We ended our time in Wisconsin with a quick picnic at the park, then headed back to Chicago for another busy week.  

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Hanging With the Howards - A Quick Weekend in Chicago
  Sunset over Chicago from the Signature Lounge at John Hancock Tower

Sunset over Chicago from the Signature Lounge at John Hancock Tower

One of the best things about living in Chicago is that it is centrally located and obviously a large hub of the country (and world).  We frequently have friends and family either passing through town or looking to spend a long weekend checking out the city.  Recently, we were able to show off the city to two of our good friends, Brady and Kelsi.  

  No trip to the bean is complete without a group selfie

No trip to the bean is complete without a group selfie

Our friends opted to take Amtrak to Chicago from Kansas City.  Traveling by train can be a relaxing alternative to the chaos of an airport or a tiring drive.  After we met up back up at our apartment, we took them to our favorite neighborhood taco shop, Antique Taco.  This taco shop on Milwaukee Ave in Wicker Park, is often overshadowed by Big Star, which is located about two blocks away.  At Antique Taco, you won't have to wait 3+ hours for a table and the tacos, in our opinion, are much better.  Start the meal with chips and guac or their chili cheese curds, eat a lot of tacos, and end the meal with a slice of key lime pie from Bang Bang Pie

After dinner, we took Brady and Kelsi to a Chicago Bulls game.  With so many sports teams in Chicago, it is never a problem to find tickets to an in-season game.  Bulls games always offer a lot of additional entertainment throughout the game, adding excitement to the game itself.  After an exciting overtime game ending with a Bulls win, we wrapped up the evening at Scofflaw.  Located in Logan Square, this bar is cozy with fireplaces, couches, yummy gin and tonics, and most importantly, the complimentary, warm chocolate chip cookie at midnight.  It is a perfect place to unwind on a cold Chicago night. 

  Brady + Kelsi outside of the Tribune Tower

Brady + Kelsi outside of the Tribune Tower

The following morning Brady and Kelsi set out on their own to check out the Shedd Aquarium and Navy Pier.  We met up with them at Millennium Park to snap a few pictures with the Bean.  From there, we made our way to the John Hancock tower via Michigan Ave.  One of the best views of the city is at the Signature Lounge located in the Hancock.  At no charge (besides the cost of an overpriced cocktail) we took in sweeping views of the skyline. 

Is it really a trip to Chicago if you don't have deep dish pizza?  We don't think so.  We enjoyed some deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati's.  We saved room for dessert and headed back to our neighborhood.  The best ice cream sundaes are found at Margie's Candies located at Armitage and Western.  Be prepared for a wait if you choose to sit inside or get it to go and eat it along the nearby 606 if weather permits!  Either way, think boats of hot fudge, mounds of whipped cream atop gobs of ice cream, and zero room for disappointment. 

Brunch is another popular activity in Chicago--really anything food related is great in Chicago if you haven't gotten that yet from this trip.  Brady and Kelsi enjoyed a final meal in Chicago at Kanela Breakfast Club.  Everything on the menu sounds delicious and is delicious.  You can't go wrong with whatever you choose.  

We love hosting and were happy to have Brady and Kelsi in town for a quick weekend.  Our guest room is always open if you don't mind a twin size bed! 

60 Degrees in February?!

When the weather takes a turn for the better, people come out of hiding in Chicago.  Everyone is out and about, getting their sunshine fix and enjoying what this beautiful city has to offer.  A few months ago we made our way up to Rogers Park, the northernmost neighborhood in Chicago.  We loved the eclectic mix of people and the quieter beaches.  

As soon as we knew the weather was going to warm this weekend, we wanted to return to Rogers Park and Edgewater, simply to walk along the beach.  Foster Beach is much quieter than North Avenue Beach while still large and accessible.  It is a great option for days like this weekend where we wanted a bit more solitude while still enjoying the lake and sun. The Lakefront Trail begins on Ardmore Street and takes you out to the beach and continues south until 71st Street on the South Side.      

Field NotesCodybeachComment
Five Reasons To Get To Your Local Conservatory

It's January in Chicago and we just had 60 degree weather... on a Saturday! We weren't sure to blame global warning or thank the Lord, but decided to get outside and take advantage of it. After enjoying a walk on the Lakefront Trail and through Lincoln Park Zoo, Sarah mentioned heading into the Lincoln Park Conservatory

After stumbling around in awe for the next hour or so we realized conservatories are some of the best kept secrets in Chicago (and probably every major city). We've taken it upon ourselves to brainstorm reasons why you too should go enjoy the closest conservatory. 

  1. Get Lost in Nature, While Living in a City
    Do you live in the city and ever just want to be out in nature? We do all the time.  It is a great way for us to witness the beauty of nature without leaving the city. It almost tricks your mind into thinking you've just started a hike in the jungle, until you remember there is a ceiling above you. 
     
  2. They are Romantic
    There is something about being surrounded by gorgeous greenery, bright flowers, and bubbling waterfalls that makes you want to be with someone you love.  A conservatory is a wonderful place to share a conversation or just hold your partner's hand as you meander through the lush scenery.   Take a seat on one of the benches and enjoy the company and beauty of your surroundings. 
     
  3. Practice Your Photography Skills
    Conservatories are a great place to practice and take photos of all types. Obviously you can take photographs of the beautiful plants, landscapes of the room, but we also witnessed a number of people taking engagement or portrait sessions with the plants acting as a beautiful backdrop. If this is your reason, we suggest visiting an hour or two before sunset to get beautiful golden rays streaming through the glass ceilings.
     
  4. A Beautiful Spot to Get Away
    Sometimes you just need some alone time. When we visited there were plenty of people enjoying books, meditation, or just relaxing on the benches scattered throughout. This is a quiet place to get some deep thinking done and escape any other distractions.
     
  5. They Are Free (At Least in Chicago!)
    If you are looking for a free way to spend the afternoon, conservatories are just the ticket. Whether it is in addition to any of the reasons above or just something free to do for a couple hours, the conservatory is not a bad option.  (You may have to do some research of your own to see if your local conservatory offers admission free of charge.)

These are a few of the many amazing reasons to visit your local conservatory. Your local park district does a stellar job of keeping them beautiful.  Now go take advantage of it!

 

Hail, Hail, Hail, Alma Mater
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Cody and I met back in college while attending Kansas State University.  We love our college town of Manhattan, Kansas and sharing the same Alma Mater makes our college years that much sweeter.  It also makes trip back to Manhattan filled with friends, laughter, and countless shared memories.

Although we have been married for almost a year and a half now and graduates of Kansas State for almost three years, we still had yet to return to Manhattan together since graduating.  While taking a trip to see family over Thanksgiving, it was obvious that we needed to stop in Manhattan for a football game against our biggest rivals, the Kansas Jayhawks.  

We knew that we would not have much time in Manhattan before we would have to continue home to Chicago, so we didn't book a hotel room or make any plans other than obtaining tickets to the football game.  

Sometimes not having a plan tends to work in our favor.  We left bright and early from Wichita to make time for tailgating before the game started at 11 AM.  If you ever find yourself passing through Kansas on I-70, Manhattan isn't a place to be missed, especially on a Saturday game day.  Tailgates spread across the open fields and parking lots.  We popped open a couple beers and enjoyed the time with old friends before heading into the game.

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Besides football, there is always something to keep one occupied in Manhattan, including lots of great restaurants.  After the game, we headed to our favorite place for a late lunch at Taco Lucha.  Lucha shares a kitchen and is connected with So Long Saloon, another great place to grab a bite. Taco Lucha offers the best tacos I have ever had.  (Sorry to the hundreds of places in Chicago).  We both started off with a Nancy-a pineapple beer- and their famous chipotle raspberry black bean dip.  That was quickly polished off and followed by a few of their tacos, including their buffalo chicken taco, our personal favorite.  

Some other phenomenal restaurants, bites, and places to enjoy friends are The Chef, Bourbon and Baker, Bluestem Bistro, Varsity Donuts, and Harry's Restaurant.  For as small of a city as Manhattan is, it has an incredible restaurant scene that will take anyone by surprise.  Unfortunately, we did not have time to visit all of them, but we will be back!

In the evening we hit up some of our favorite bars including Auntie Mae's and Rock-a-Belly Deli.  Both offer a broad drink menu sure to please everyone.  Auntie Mae's has a photo booth, that for $3, gave us some quality pictures during our college years.  We ended the night at the Varsity Donuts truck to really relive college by eating late night corn dogs and grilled cheese mac & cheese.  Neither are to be missed for those late night cravings.

Our favorite app for last minute hotel deals, HotelTonight, saved us again.  We were able to snag a room at the Bluemont Hotel.  The hotel is only a couple years old, offers spacious rooms, great service, and the best location in town.  It is situated on the corner where Aggieville, Manhattan's bar district, meets campus.  We highly recommend this hotel! 

Our time in Manhattan was too short but every minute was filled with laughter and lots of solid reminiscing.  We love Manhattan and we hope any and all visitors do as well! 

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One Night in Seattle

It's safe to say one night in Seattle will leave you only wanting more... but that's all the time we had. After taking a beautiful Amtrak ride from Portland, we arrived at a rainy Seattle with just over 24 hours to explore before our flight home. 

Thanks to Hoteltonight, we were able to get a great deal at the brand new Thompson Seattle, just steps away from Pike Place Market. It was easily one of the coolest hotels we have stayed in, the staff was very friendly, and the location could not have been better. It also has a rooftop bar with beautiful views of the city and Puget Sound.  We enjoyed getting to see these views at night!

Eat: 
With our limited time we did not want to spend it traveling around the city.  We primarily spent our time in the Pike Place Market area, besides heading to the Ballard neighborhood in the evening. After spending some time exploring the Pike Place Market area, we headed over to Athenian Seafood Restaurant & Bar. This gem has been open since 1909, was featured in Sleepless in Seattle, and will fill your stomach with great seafood while enjoying beautiful views of Puget Sound. Cody enjoyed a wild coho salmon & bacon sandwich.  Sarah had the NW salmon fish & chips. Both were delicious! Heading to the Ballard neighborhood, we met up with our friend, Declan, for drinks at Ballard Station, a cool little bar owned and ran by two friends. It offered great local crafts, shuffleboard, darts, and a few TV's. We had a great time catching up and then headed across the street to Pestle Rock for some killer Thai cuisine. All three of us had great entrees and it was packed the entire time we were there. Our only caution is to take their hot indicators seriously.  It can get really spicy, really fast. 

Explore:
Pike Place Market, is a famous and extremely popular destination in Seattle. This was Cody's first time in Seattle and was a must visit for us on our short trip. Pike Place has a very special atmosphere around it. Everywhere you look there are local vendors, fish being thrown, and people enjoying the moment. MarketSpice, has been located in Pike Place Market since 1911 and makes incredible teas. Do not leave Seattle without purchasing a bag of cinnamon-orange tea.  Post Alley features more local restaurants and vendors, located just across the street from Pike Place Market. You can also visit the original Starbucks.  We are big coffee fans, but due to the limited time we chose not to wait in the line to see the inside. The Gum Wall is another great spot to visit in the area.  It is massive and everyone is leaving their mark.  Olympic Sculpture Park is a free outdoor area that is ran by the Seattle Art Museum. It features 9 acres of outdoor exhibits that are open 365 days a year. We enjoyed a casual walk throughout the park before heading down to Myrtle Edwards Park, a beautiful waterfront park. It features beautiful views of the Sound, walking and biking trails, as well as a small fishing pier. It would be the perfect spot for a picnic in the summer months. 

That is a quick snapshot of our time in Seattle. We have more and more friends moving to the area and can't wait to spend more time there. Fingers crossed it won't be raining next time, but chances are it probably will. 

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48 Hours in Portlandia

Recently, we were able to spend a long weekend in Portland, Oregon. It is a destination we have been looking forward to reaching for a long time. Many of our friends have visited and had nothing but great things to say about this PNW oasis.  Now we can confirm, this is a must visit!

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Eat:
It seemed like everywhere we turned there were great restaurants. Whether it was a parking lot full of food trucks, a local brewery, or hole in the wall restaurant, everything was great. We suggest starting the day off with a bottled Stumptown cold brew and incredible doughnut at one of the Blue Star Donuts locations. If you're looking for something more hearty, head over to Mother's Bistro & Bar. A cute, homey atmosphere with great service and an even better menu. When hunger arose at any time after 12PM, we found 10 Barrel Brewing in the Pearl District to be a great spot for a beer and burger. Another wonderful spot was Stella Taco.  We visited the SE location on Division. We are a couple who really love a good taco and we can guarantee Stella Taco will not disappoint! If you have a sweet tooth like Cody, Salt & Staw is the place to go.  There are tons of ice cream options and each one is special. 

Drink:
Portland has a plethora of drinking options. From micro-breweries to dive bars, you won't go wrong. 10 Barrel is worth mentioning again, we loved our seasonal brews while there. 

Explore:
Most of our time in Portland was spent in the Pearl District, but each neighborhood we visited had it's own great vibe. We found the best way to explore what Portlandia has to offer was by renting bikes and just going for it. Powell's City of Books is a must stop for anyone who loves to read as much as Sarah. Be warned, you'll get lost inside for hours! If you are looking to get outside, the obvious answer is going to be the Columbia River Gorge. We loved our hikes at Bridal Veil & Multnomah Falls. Portland is also home to the largest wooded urban park in the states known as Forest Park. It features more than 70 miles of hiking trails, allowing you to get some quality nature time while still close enough to jog to a coffee shop. 

We had an incredible time in Portland and are already itching to head back. If you have any questions or suggestions, let us know! 

Quick Hike to the Beautiful Bridal Veil Falls

Apparently we really like waterfalls.  Anywhere we travel to, we seem to seek them out on our adventures.  Another stop we made in the Columbia River Gorge was at Bridal Veil Falls.  The entrance to this waterfall is located just off the Historic Columbia River Scenic Highway.  

Once parked, we jumped out of the car, excited to see our first Oregon waterfall.  Bridal Veil Falls was extremely accessible and just about anyone could make the trek to the bottom of the waterfall.  There were some steep switchbacks, but roundtrip the hike is less than 3/4 of a mile.  There is a viewing point that offered great views of the falls.

In addition to a trail to the waterfall, there is also a very short trail that leads to some vantage points of the Columbia River.  Although beautiful, we were unimpressed with the fact that we could see the highway below us, detracting from the natural beauty of the area.

Bridal Veil Falls offers a quick chance to stretch your legs and a beautiful waterfall for those in the Portland area!  

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Multnomah Falls - A View Worth Fighting Tourists For
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When we were spending our weekend in Portland, one of our "must do's" was to visit the Columbia River Gorge area.  We grabbed a Zipcar for the afternoon and headed west on 84. 

Upon arriving at Multnomah Falls, we quickly realized we weren't the only ones with this idea. This is a vast tourist destination and the parking situation reminded us of that right away. After finding a spot to park, we headed past the lodge and boom.. there it is. It is the kind of view that stopped Sarah in her tracks to let out a "wow." 

Many people stop at this first viewing area to take photos and enjoy the views.  We headed further up on a trail to the iconic bridge. We recommend bringing a rain jacket if headed to the bridge or beyond.  The spray from the fall got us damp.  The bridge is a beautiful structure and gave us a really cool perspective of the falls. 

  Small waterfall at the top of Multnomah Falls

Small waterfall at the top of Multnomah Falls

We chose to continue on the trail and head for the top of the falls. From here the quick adventure turns into about 1.3 miles of straight switchbacks overlooking the Columbia River Gorge.

The view from the top makes the switchbacks worth it. We were welcomed by a small waterfall that feeds into the large drop of Multnomah Falls. From the viewing area at the top we were able to see everything below as well as the Columbia River Gorge in the distance. 

This is a beautiful and easy stop and we can't wait to come back! If you're in the Portland area, make this an afternoon adventure!

Pedaling Portland
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Portland is one of the most bike friendly cities.  Even those who might be apprehensive about city biking, should give it a whirl.  Bike paths and routes are clearly marked and many streets offer designated bike lanes.  Cars are respectful to bikers and usually give you the right of way.  

On our trip, we rented a pair of city bikes from Waterfront Bicycles located just south of Burnside Street across from Waterfront Park.  There were many bike options to choose from.  We were given a map with many different bike routes that are best to see the city.  

After we had gotten our bikes and looked at the map to get a general idea of what streets to go on, we headed out.  It was a beautiful fall day with clear skies and warm temperatures.  We primarily wanted to see Portland's northeast and southeast neighborhoods.  We first made our way over to Mississippi Street and enjoyed looking at all the cute shops and restaurants.  The next area to check out was Alameda Street featuring beautiful old homes and fantastic views of the city.  From there, we made our way south to Hawthorne and enjoyed a nice downhill ride to the Hawthorne Bridge. 

We had the bikes for about two hours and were able to hit up the majority of Portland's East side. Although we didn't make many stops, we did cruise by some tucked away parks, lots of restaurants, and a plethora of shops.  Being from Chicago, we only got honked at once for being too aggressive on our bikes. Anyone who wants to see Portland should definitely pick up some bikes for the day and enjoy the accessibility the city offers to bikers, both seasoned and novice.