We just spent the last 3 weeks on an epic road trip around the United States and even though I can honestly say I nearly kissed the ground when we came home on Tuesday, looking back there are so many great memories!
Week one we went to Michigan - Toledo - STL and then back to Chicagoland for 12 hours. My second youngest cousin got married in Toledo and the whole fam showed up to make it a night to remember! Then we headed to St. Louis over my birthday before heading back home to do laundry and re-pack.
Check out some of our highlights from week one of our road trip:
We love to travel (as many of you have probably noticed by now) and though we love to check out new places we often find ourselves in Florida. Before we moved to Chicago two years ago my husband (Joe) had taken a position based in the greater Miami area and we were thrilled. What’s not to love about the sunshine, palm trees, sunny days and beach life?! Our excitement was short lived when we found out his contract was cut short. Until the next opportunity to live in the sunshine state slides our way we continue to visit, soaking up as much sunshine and beach time as we can.
We went back to the Miami area last month and had the pleasure of staying in Doral, an area we had not experienced before. This is a quick drive from Miami International Airport, 25 minutes from downtown Miami and 35 min from Miami Beach. This area boasts numerous golf courses and a more relaxed atmosphere than the bustling vibes of Miami.
Our first night in the area we stayed at Trump National Doral. This property, a renowned golf resort, is situated on four courses: The Silver Fox, The Red Tiger, The Golden Palm and “one of golf’s most iconic courses”, the Blue Monster. One of the other noteworthy amenities is the Rick Smith Golf Performance Center; complete with LED lighting for evening play on the driving range and a club fitting area.
While Joe does love to golf we chose to take our time and enjoy the beautiful pools, equipped with luxurious cabanas and water slides; perfect for the entire family. We spent very little time in our room and as much time as we could poolside where we enjoyed delicious, fresh fare and cocktails while soaking up the sun.
There is no question of how good you will sleep after a day full of golf thanks to one of the most comfortable mattresses we have experienced at a resort. Pair that with room darkening curtains after a hot shower in the luxurious bathroom and there is no wonder why we suddenly felt like we were on a vacation fit for a King & Queen.
There are two separate pools, one for the families and one for adults only make for a perfect getaway no matter what type of vacation you are looking for. Take your kids to on tropical adventure with a waterslide, basketball hoop and more while you enjoy sunbathing next to the zero entry pool. No kids? No problems - the adult only pool with full service cabanas and jacuzzi provides the perfect retreat for those of us looking for a little more of an adult friendly afternoon.
We may be 34 and 40 but you better believe we still tried out the water slide for ourselves and had a BLAST! Who says fun is only for the little ones?!
There is no question that you will feel like you are on holiday when you visit one of Trump’s properties. One needs not to be partial to a certain political party to enjoy some of the best and most friendliest staffed resorts. Everyone who assisted us made us feel welcome and at home and were never without a giant smile on their face.
We would absolutely come back to this property and even bring our friends and families; there is a little something for everyone!
Check out this video I took when I went down the water slide:
To find out more about this property go to the following:
Website | Instagram | Facebook | Reservations
We were in St. Louis for my 34th Birthday this week (it was the 13th)! I have not been down to the Gateway arch in nearly 10 years but I am loving what they have done with the National Park area! There is so much green space to enjoy a stroll!
Did you know that the Gateway Arch is only 4.5 hours from Chicago? It also is the tallest Arch in the world as well as the tallest man made monument in the United States!
Last time we visited SOBE Miami, we had the pleasure of experiencing Drinkhouse Fire & Ice, an awesome bar that indulges your senses with both a room made of ice and also a room with fire dancers. If you are looking for a unique date night we highly recommend giving this place a try, you will not be disappointed!
First you will bundle up with a fur coat and boots to visit the arctic bar where you can drink out of glasses made entirely of ice and sit on a throne fit for Jack Snow himself!
After you have the opportunity to warm yourself in the main bar area with a variety of exciting elixirs and entertainment.
History buffs would find it impossible to be disappointed in this city. Every turn has a historic footprint and there are many different ways to learn about them. From boat tours, walking tours, a visit to one of the many museums and parks, strolling through the classic neighborhoods or simply by asking every bartender for their own personal scoop.
Mary Baker Eddy was the first person to start a global newspaper, that’s right a WOMAN started the first global newspaper. The organ in her first church in Boston, The Mother Church, is one of the largest organs in the entire world. It boasts a sound that is comparable to that of an entire orchestra when played!
I spent the last 5 days checking out Boston with one of my besties and we had a blast!
This was my first time in Boston and I had no idea what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised at the cleanliness and overall vibe of the city itself. I also loved how there was a wide span of things to do, a little something for everyone.
There was no shortage of amazing food (especially seafood!), stunning architecture or
Long Wharf, Boston Harbor & a Sunset Cruise
We had the pleasure of viewing 4th of July fireworks on the Charles River and they were some of the most spectacular that we have ever seen!
Chinatown and more
Totally missing all of the fun in Jamaica today, ESPECIALLY the cliff diving at Ricks Cafe, Negril!
If you are heading to Jamaica anytime soon we defiantly recommend this as a day trip, good for young and old people alike! Insider tip: The sunset is where it's at with this hot spot, plan on coming with time to dive or swim but staying long enough to catch the beautiful sunset.
21 day’s ago we were all in Antigua celebrating our friends at their “Red-y to Wed” Rehearsal Dinner and Party! We has such a blast together color coordinating it up!
To say “London is calling” is definitely an understatement! I lived in London 10 years ago for a short 6 months but that is all it took for me to fall in love with the city and make lifelong friendships. Though the beach has been our recent quest for our travel adventures London always has a unspoken pull, like an invisible magnet.
One of my bestie's recently got married and had a destination wedding in Antigua, so as you can expect we HAD to go! We chose to fly in to ANU a few days before everyone else and stay on the south side of the island to explore more and boy was it an adventure!
We chose to stay at Vine Cottages, the most charming places perched on a hillside with views for days! Normally these cottages are for long term stays but because of damage done by Hurricane Maria our cottages decided to not only drop the price but open up to short term guests just like us! Please note that, while they are still in repair mode at the cottages they are up and running and everything is looking good! The bar/restaurant has not reopened yet but the rest is coming along nicely! Stays from people like us will help to make the repairs possible in time for their tourist season this year hopefully!
Antigua Yacht Club, Pigeon Point Beach & Falmouth Harbour
We spent the afternoon wandering around the east side of Falmouth Harbour, discovering Flatties Flame Grill (the burger here was amazing! Sorry we ate too fast for pictures!), Grabbed a cold one and some chief supplies a.k.a. Citronella candles and matches at English Harbour Gas Station and made sure to wander around the pier at Antigua Yacht Club Marina.
After time well spent exploring we headed a few minutes walk to Pigeon Point Beach. This beach is lined with trees, some of them poisonous but don’t worry they have signs pointing them out. As you walk through the trees you will come to a small beach with beautiful sand and stunningly clear waters that is surrounded by hills that beg for an Instagram shot. We very much enjoyed our time in the water here, the beach is peaceful and tucked away, perfect for a romantic afternoon.
We rented a car and so we found it only proper that we drive NE to Devil’s Bridge. This point is on the Atlantic side and is worth the drive if you are already on the E, NE or SE parts of the island. If you are staying on the western side of the island we recommend adding Half Moon Bay/Bach to this trip as Devil’s Bridge only requires 15-20 minutes.
**A note about Half Moon Bay: Every year during off season a red seaweed burdens the north and eastern shores of the island. It rips free from deep in the sea as far east as Africa and works its way towards the Caribbean. This year the seaweed is so bad that they cannot keep up with it. As they clean the beach the next day it will be back and twice as bad. While this keeps some workers in business it has damaged the tourism industry in this area no question. We saw only 3 other people walking around near Half Moon Bay while we were there. The beach was completely covered in seaweed.
Shirley Heights & Block House
Antigua and Barbuda, like many of the islands in the Caribbean, were impacted greatly by the wars back in the 1700’s. There are many military structures still remaining and are well worth a visit. While Block House is not standing anymore the ruins can still be seen. The powder house remains intact and is a very interesting piece of architecture for it’s time. A powder house is where all of the ammunition and gunpowder were kept. Shirley Heights, now known for its stunning view, was a key player as it is perched on top of a mountain and one is able to see all boating activity in English and Falmouth Harbours. Note: Nelson’s Dockyard is considered part of this area and is included with your State Park entry fee but we did not have time to explore it.
Hi, I'm Ally!
I am a transplanted Chicagonlander who absolutely loves experiencing life! Many years of traveling, living all over the world, experiencing many hard and equally as wonderful things have led me to where I am today and I am so happy to share that with you through our GNO events, on our sites and by connecting with all of you!