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Friday, April 6, 2018

Dirty Thirty!

Making memories. Living for those moments that are impossible to put into words. Laughing. Taking pictures. Remembering that time we.... and that time we...

March 2018 - A well-planned and most terrific vacation celebrating our son's Dirty Thirty. He chose Nashville & Memphis, Tennessee for this momentous occasion!

Thanks for getting us started, Sierra!! 

First stop - Nashville, Tennessee!!

Check out these walkin' shoes that carried our son from one end of Tennessee to another! What you may not notice - the open flap under the toes!

Air B & B did not let us down this trip - staying in the 12-South neighborhood of Nashville. This two-story gem was an older farmhouse on a huge lot, close to all manner of local stuff. Check out Frothy Monkey for coffee, Bar Taco for anytime tacos, and Five Daughters Donut Bakery for some of the most incredible croissant donuts. Most important - easy for our Uber drivers to come grab us!

Pear Blossoms in Springtime Tennessee


And a little bit of snow on the ground one morning.

It was hot and it was cold and it was rainy and it was magic. 

We thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame

 and The Grand Ole Opry, along with a few downtown watering holes on Nashville's Broadway ... The Stage, Robert's Western World, and Tootsie's to name a few.

We visited historic Fort Negley ...

... and snuck into an abandoned baseball field.

We were enchanted by the men's bathroom at the Hermitage Hotel ...

And climbed a buncha steps to the capitol building with everything in bloom - and a gorgeous drizzle.

Franklin, Tennessee is a short drive from downtown Nashville. The Carter House sits on a piece of preserved land trust sharing the Battle of Franklin * November 30, 1864 during the height of the Civil War. The Carter Family farmed about 300 acres of land and owned 28 slaves. The family and some of their neighbors holed themselves up in the basement for over 5 hours as the battle raged on above ground. An amazing site to see!

Bullet holes - still showing daylight! 

 One of the slave cabins.

 Artillery & My Hubby

Just down the road apiece, stands the beautifully restored Carnton Home and its two fabulous cemeteries.

The McGavock Confederate Cemetery 

The McGavock Family Cemetery 

So much to see and do in Nashville, and we loved every single minute. 
But, oh, the food and drink. This town has so much great food... and drink! 

Burgers at Gaylord's, a Marriott venue near The Grand Ole Opry. 

Fried chicken and barbecue just about everywhere, including Hattie B's, Arnold's Country Kitchen, Peg-Leg Porker, and Martin's BBQ.

Oh, and a little bit of beer and dairy-free ice cream to boot!!!

The Picnic Tap & Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream!

Sampling ... lots of sampling -                    

Nelson's Green Brier Distillery, Nashville Craft Distillery, and Corsair all met with our approval!

Oh, and a visit to Santa's Pub too.

Mighty unusual, even by our low-brow standards.


Celebrating Dirty-30 with a doggie bowl of beer at The Villager Tavern. Somethin' Special for sure - AND, Zach & Sierra beat us in darts that night. Jeez.

But our favorite eatery by far in all of Nashville was Husk! I cannot imagine a more perfect brunch. A warm and welcoming home with gracious service and helpful suggestions. Well-crafted cocktails, and a meal that goes down in memory as something more than magical. Delightfully different - regional specialties and bites to share. And share we did. Smoked Trout Deviled Eggs, Carolina Rice Gold Donuts, the Husk Cheeseburger, French Toast with Peanut Butter & Apples, Country Fried Steak, Coddled Eggs, and an Eggs Benny with Bologna that'll knock your socks off.

 Pics just outside Husk - Brunch & Love!

No driving trip is complete without a visit to a winery that serves 22 pours in one visit (I'm the DD)


and a hand-hewn log cabin distillery, all followed up by some of the best barbecue we've ever encountered.

If you're passing from Nashville to Memphis, get off the Highway for Century Farm Winery and the

Samuel T Bryant Distillery. 

But a bit further down the road, head over to Helen's Bar B-Q in Brownsville, Tennessee. You will not regret this sampling of love and good pig! Helen's was the most unexpected surprise of our entire trip - pulled pork sammies, ribs, and barbecue nachos ... who'd have thunk that?

Now Memphis is a totally different animal. Moving across the state from Country and Rock 'n Roll

to Soul and the Blues. The architecture is different and the vibe is different too.

Mural art across from the Hotel Chisca in downtown Memphis.


We stayed at the historic Hotel Chisca in an Air BnB room that housed 6 comfortably, and was so close to Beale Street and all the music we could hope for.

Don't miss visiting 
One of the BEST museums in the country - The Civil Rights Museum 
Housed in the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated
Check them out at 

We danced our way through Stax Record Museum, and were enamored with the presentation at 

 Sun Records - enthusiasm for days! 


... that famous Microphone at Sun Records

The barbecue and hot chicken in Memphis were unbelievable. We couldn't resist Gus' Hot & Spicy Fried Chicken, or the delectable ribs at Central Barbecue. Probably the best que of the entire trip as far as I was concerned. 


Meandering across the Big Muddy! 


Hangin' out at The Absinthe Room

And Breakfast at Alcenia's - A perfectly delightful 
Home-Grown Love & Blessings Meal from the Owner Herself
A "Can't Miss" experience in Memphis! 

I could NOT have asked for a BETTER trip with the family. 
Both Nashville and Memphis were filled with great food and beverage experiences, 
Along with incomparable cultural sights. 
Loved it all! 

We don't always realize we're making memories,
We just know that we're all having fun. 
:) Deb  

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Kauai is Lovely!

February brings lovely temps to our Valley of the Sun, but we sought a 
very different view and headed to Kauai, Hawaii! 
Using up some of our airline and hotel points - we traveled very nicely and very affordably too. 

Welcome to Koloa Landing, Autograph Collection - a lovely respite on the southern tip of the island. 
For reservations or information check out 

Our room had an undeniably tranquil view overlooking the gorgeous Pacific Ocean. 

We wandered all over the island, taking in all the small towns...

Hanalei Bay
With it's great whale watching out past the lighthouse. 

Wailua Town 
With cemeteries and waterfalls and more.

The Fantasy Island Waterfalls

Hanapepe Town
Which was the Inspirational Hawaiian town for Disney's "Lilo & Stitch"

Waimea Canyon
Where we rode downhill on bikes in the spittin' rain! 

p.s. - this photo was NOT taken while it was raining :)

And all over Koloa Town and it's Heritage Trail

The Spouting Horn

Koloa Bay where traders shipped sugarcane so many years ago 

What is this old-fashioned contraption?? 

Prince Kuhio's Birthplace 

Check out these trees - their bottoms look like above-ground roots, but they're not! 

Botanicals in Koloa at the Plantation Gardens 
*Free to the Public!! 

Koloa Jodo Mission - a lovingly preserved temple 

I loved this island - The Emerald Isle of Hawaii. 
It is lush and green and picturesque, peaceful and so laid-back. 
You can find loads of information online through 
Trip Advisor, Eater, Yelp, and

I can't let you go without a few last faves - with no pictures. 

A great downhill bike ride: 

My favorite Book Store:
Talk Story Bookstore in Hanapepe
She had a marvelous collection of new releases and a few good oldies too. 

My favorite breakfast (had it FOUR times!): 
Little Fish Coffee Company 
Their Pakala Bowl with Acai, Fruit, Choco Chips, and Peanut Butter was 
LIFE-Changing!! Probably loaded with sugar, but who cares???
Check them out at 

My favorite burger:
Bubba's Burgers 
Yes, it's cliche and touristy, but damn those burgers were fried to perfection and delish!

My favorite touristy place:
Koloa Rum Company at Kilohana Plantation
Great experience - Roxanne gave a wonderful 30-minute tasting...
and the rum was divine. 

My favorite fresh poke (and we tried it five different places)
Ishihara Market in Waimea
The deli is in the back of the market - SO worth your time. 
No website - but right on the main drag (Kaumualii Hwy) in Waimea

And last but certainly not least...

My favorite ice cream:
The local fave is Lappert's and they had SIX different delicious sorbets. 
Ya know that dairy-free is SO in.
Their coconut passion fruit sorbet was as creamy as any ice cream can be.
If they can do it, why can't Baskin Robbins?????
They don't have a website - check them out on or ask a local! 

The Roosters!!!
These guys roam freely EVERYWhere on the island. I mean everywhere.  
They start their incessant crowing around 3am and it just doesn't stop.
But, aren't they gorgeous? That color and plumage is ridiculously beautiful. 
Their bevy of hens follow them all around the island and 
we witnessed quite a few families with new baby chicks in tow. 

Can't wait for Tennessee and Zach's Dirty Thirty next month!!
:) Deb