Archive of ‘Travel’ category

Summer in Jacksonville, Oregon

visiting Jacksonville Oregon

Visiting Jacksonville Oregon

On the great Road Trip 2017, the last stop we made before California was visiting Jacksonville Oregon. It’s a small town in the Southern part of the state with cute main street with shops. I actually found Jacksonville on a suggested list of ghost towns to visit in Oregon. It’s far from a ghost town, but it is quaint and full of historical buildings. It’s definitely worth a visit!

visiting Jacksonville Oregon

Where to Eat in Jacksonville Oregon

For lunch, I chose a little cafe called The Cheesemonger’s Wife. They had a cheese plate for only $11 that came well stocked with plenty of cheeses, olives, crackers and jam. The restaurant was gluten free friendly and many of the ingredients were local. They made delightful sandwiches and coffee too.

visiting Jacksonville Oregon

What to wear when visiting Jacksonville Oregon

I found Jacksonville to be an Instagrammer’s paradise. The historical details I mentioned earlier include brick facades, antique murals painted on walls, and pretty flower gardens. So put on your best outfits, bloggers! Shop Lilly Pulitzer dresses like the one in these pics here.

visiting jacksonville oregon

Do you have a favorite small town to visit in the summer? Tell me about it in the comments! I’d love to add more destinations to my travel wishlist.

How to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Driving Lessons

I’m learning to drive a stick shift!

I’d tried driving stick a handful of times before, without much success. The first time was in a friend’s Honda in Minnesota, then a minivan when I was an au pair in Switzerland, then in a Mini in Italy, then again in Minnesota in a Mazda.  So I can say that I’ve been given driving lessons in three countries and still haven’t learned. But in my defense, 2/3 of those places were pretty hilly.

When I came out to California earlier this summer, I knew that I would eventually have to learn because it’s the only car available to me here. How bad could it be?

It was pretty bad.

I’ve stalled in intersections. I’ve had drivers honk at me. I’ve panicked when a Tesla pulls up right to my bumper when I’m stopped on a hill. I’ve had times when I came really close to giving up trying to learn. But with practice, it’s starting to click.

And I have to tell you, I have so much respect for people who drive stick now. So much respect. If you’ve only driven an automatic, you just have no idea how much harder other drivers are working to do things you take for granted.

I’m still intimidated by the highways here, because California drivers are intense! And as for parallel parking on Steiner Street in downtown San Francisco, yeah that level of expertise is a loooong way off. It’s hard for me to face my fears and take risks, but I’ve got to do it and drive just a little farther every day.

how to get out of your comfort zone

How to get out of your comfort zone and try something new

Here are three things that have helped me so far in my new endeavor that takes me out of my comfort zone every time I get in the driver’s seat.

A calm attitude. When I get impatient or anxious while driving stick, I’m more likely to make sudden movements like releasing the clutch too quickly and stalling.

Put pride aside. It’s okay to be a beginner. I announce it loud and proud with a bright yellow magnet on the back of the car that says “Learning to Drive a Stick Shift.” Seriously, this is the best thing I’ve done while learning to drive stick shift.

Keep going. Giving up is tempting, but most things do get easier with practice. I’m so proud of my ability to drive stick now. I feel more capable and confident having this new skill.

What’s one thing you’ve done to get out of your comfort zone and try something new?

Exploring South Dakota’s Black Hills

Thanks to the South Dakota Department of Tourism for sponsoring this post. I’m excited to share part 1 of my recent cross-country road trip with you!

Leaving Home

Arriving at the Badlands as the sun turned the rock formations to gold was therapeutic, to end a long day’s journey with such a beautiful destination.

History of the Badlands

I picked up all the brochures about the Badlands because the history of the place is so interesting. The Lakota Sioux and the French settlers both called the place the Badlands in their respective languages. After driving through the flat expanse of South Dakota, to find this serene change in the cartography is stirring. It’s been described as otherworldly, and I have to agree. There’s plenty of history within the Black Hills region as a whole as well. The South Dakota Board of Tourism can help you plan a history-rich visit.

The following day we saw Mount Rushmore, which is a must see if you’re in the area, but there’s also so much more to the Black Hills region. Other destinations the area include Devils Tower and more. We had so much ground to cover on the journey we could only spend one night, but there was absolutely more to see so take your time in the Badlands region.

Dog Friendly Badlands, South Dakota

Bringing a dog? Perry was allowed on the trails with us, which isn’t the case at all National Parks. But keep pets leashed at all times! You can see the sign in the photo warning about rattlesnakes. I did observe a few places that looked like a place a rattlesnake would like to live. We were happy to find plenty of dog friendly choices for places to stay as well. This link has a dog friendly itinerary for the Black Hills and more info on places to stay.

Like these pics? Follow me on Instagram for more!

Fourth of July in the Black Hills

If you want to do something incredibly memorable for Independence Day this year, I found out by peeking at the event calendar that the Black Hills Rodeo is held that weekend, complete with a fireworks show. It says that most of the little towns in the area have their own Fourth of July festivals, which sounds so quaintly full of Americana I want to drive right back for it!

Save money on National Parks entry fees

One of the appealing things about vacationing in the Black Hills is the amount of memorable activities to do on a budget. If Badlands National Park (where all these photos were taken) is on your itinerary, you can save with an annual pass. We bought the America the Beautiful pass at the park gate, because we knew that would be seeing more parks on the journey. If you’re traveling with an American citizen who is over 62, they qualify for a lifetime pass to all the National Parks for only $10, so make sure to take advantage of that! We met quite a few retired folks on the journey who had the senior pass. There are also free passes available for U.S. Military, individuals with disabilities and 4th grade students.

I’m definitely yearning to see more of the beautiful United States now. Stay tuned for more about my cross country trip.

What to Wear – Get the Look

Mermaids & Summer Plans

Announcing…

Recently I posted about South Dakota travel. There was a reason for that because….I’m going on a road trip this week, one that goes through South Dakota and ends up in Northern California! After my exploratory trip to the Bay Area in March that included presenting at the Tech Fashion Week Fashion Blogger event, I decided I liked it enough to go back for the summer.

I’m excited for what the adventure holds. I’m hoping for lots of farmer’s markets, trips around the Bay Area and starting a garden in a climate where the growing season in longer than two frost-free months a year. If you have a favorite spot in California, drop it in the comments. I hope to travel around a little bit while I’m there.

To celebrate my impending departure, here’s an outfit (if you can call it that) from my last trip to California and some FAQ.

Q: What are you doing there?

A: Well last trip, I went to Half Moon Bay dressed up as a mermaid  (that Halloween costume wasn’t going to re-wear itself) and got drone footage of it so I think the answer to that question is WHO KNOWS REALLY.  But the responsible answer is I’ll be working on my freelance writing and hopefully getting really incredibly inspired by redwood trees and the absence of mosquitoes. It’s all pretty much remote work anyway so not much will change except my zip code and my ability to afford things.

Q: Where are you living?

A: In the South Bay in a house that’s way too full, a bathroom that’s way too shared, a refrigerator that’s packed and I’m just adding to the problem. I did live in a sorority house for two years so I think it will be a lot like that, but with more discussions about start ups.

Follow my adventures on Instagram to see what I’m up to.

What are your summer plans? Let me know in the comments!

4 Unique Places to See in South Dakota

This post is sponsored by Hot Springs, South Dakota and the South Dakota Department of Tourism, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

This summer I’m planning a pretty big road trip, one that goes through South Dakota. (More on that to come later!) I visited the Black Hills, The Badlands and Mount Rushmore with my parents when I was younger on our way to Colorado. It’s definitely something every American should try to see at least once. There is more to see in the area though, which is why these lesser-known tourist destinations are on my list to check out in Hot Springs, SD:

Wild Horse Sanctuaries

There are two wild horse sanctuaries you can visit and see horses roaming free in their natural habitat. Ever since I read Misty of Chincoteague at age 10, I’ve found it fascinating that even today horses run wild in the United States.

Mineral Water Health Spas

I’ve visited natural hot springs in the Colorado mountains as well as mineral spas in Switzerland and I can easily say that it’s one of my favorite vacation activities. The mineral water spas in Hot Springs, South Dakota are much closer to home and open year round.

Pioneer Museum

The area has a ton of history, so it’s fitting that there’s a pioneer museum. It would be of interest to anyone who liked my Pioneer Park post. While I’ve been to several pioneer museums as a child and for article research, I never tire of them!

 Wind Cave National Park

Here you can tour one of the longest caves in the world as well as hike through a National Park that has buffalo, elk, deer, coyotes, antelope!

If wild horses, mineral spas and pioneer museums aren’t your thing there are way more attractions to check out including a mammoth site and fossil museum. If you’ve been to the Hot Springs area, let me know what you think is the best place to check out.

What to Wear

>Summer road trip advice from a Midwesterner – here’s what you might want to pack.

1. Summer boots – good for adventuring. These come in three colors.

2. An embellished dress for looking good in your Instagram shots 😉 This one will look like it fits right in at the Pioneer Museum.

3. Cat’s eye sunglasses

4. Embellished denim jackets are everywhere now, and they’re so practical for keeping mosquitoes off!

All photos used with permission courtesy of the South Dakota Board of Tourism.

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