Ocean City Summer 2016 Bucket List

Who else is heading to the beach this weekend? Ocean City, of course. Two years ago, I wrote a blog post about my favorite spots to visit while there.

This year, I have compiled a bucket list for this summer. Some are new, some are repeats, check it out:

  • Fish Tales – get there early, nab a hammock or adirondack chair, and sip on an ice cold beverage while the sunsets.
  • Old Pro Mini Golf – You know how people always think it is impossible to get the hole-in-one at the end and win a free game? It isn’t. I did it. I’ll do it again.
  • Fractured Prune – I doughnut know what a weekend to OC would be without this place.
  • Kayaking – a peaceful morning paddle to help balance your weekend out.
  • Backshore Brewing – still one of my all time favs. It’s a chill spot complete with boardwalk people watching.
  • Hooked – a nice change of pace from many OC restaurants. Also has a cute little outdoor bar if you are looking to keep it more casual.
  • Barn 34 for brunch – haven’t been yet, but that’s what this list is for, right?!
  • Thrasher’s or Boardwalk Fries – or BOTH – give me all the fries, topped with all the vinegar and all the Old Bay.
  • Yoga on the Beach – I love me some yoga, but then you put it on the beach… yes please.
  • Liquid Assets – you run in to restock your beach house bar, you get distracted with some cheese and charcuterie boards, and before you know it, you’re hanging out at the bar, feasting on some shrimp and grits. It happens. Embrace it.
  • Macky’s – what is a Maryland summer without a bucket of Orange Crush and as many bros as the eye can see?
  • De Lazy Lizard – the open air tiki bar on the bay is refreshing. For the young parents out there, there is a huge playground for the kids.
  • And if I am temporarily missing Baltimore – Ropewalk or Abbey Burger should help ease the pain.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend and enjoy your summer downy oshun, hon.

 

Travel Blogging: BS in Asheville

Growing up, we often spent our summer vacations one of two ways. Visiting my grandparents at the beach or my father would pick historic locations for us to visit. We are talking no Disney World for little Becky, more along the lines of Colonial Williamsburg and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water. At the time, I might not have been able to fully appreciate this, but I do remember one of my favorites being the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. I had not been back there since I was a kid, but had heard many friends speak highly of Asheville. That meant the minute Southwest had a sale, we grabbed some tickets to Charlotte and asked a couple friends to road trip to Asheville with us.

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When we arrived to town, we were getting a bit hangry and headed straight for the White Duck Taco Shop. I would highly recommend it, with it’s great outdoor seating and delicious tacos of all flavors. Since we were in the River Arts District and had nothing on our agenda, we decided to wander through the working artist studios, which surely got the creative juices flowing.

One of our favorites was Jonas Gerard. As we were looking through his gallery, he was there with his quirky commentary and was quick to encourage his patrons to touch the paintings. He did this by insisting his employees put up more “Please Do Touch” signs around the gallery. We were also able to stay when the mood struck and he wanted to paint. He set the mood with some really loud music and as he painted, we were able to take in all the inspiring messages in his studio.

With more breweries per capita than any other US city, we knew we had to check out some local beer and found ourselves at Wedge Brewery.

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I quickly found a friend… who then met another friend.

We opted to travel to Asheville in the fall in order to take in all the colors of the changing leaves. We went for a beautiful drive on part of the Skyline Drive and hiked in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I felt like we were in a Jeep commercial. 

In Japan, they have a word, Shinrin-yoku (森林浴), which translates best to “forest bathing.” While at first, it seems like a comical translation, I think they are onto something. Hiking in the US often means your walk has to be long and vigorous. As opposed to setting out to accomplish something difficult, I enjoy the perspective of the Japanese where you immerse yourself in the forest for the sake of relaxation and stress management.

After our hike… or bathing… or walk, whatever you want to call it, we built up quite an appetite and headed to the Corner Kitchen for a late brunch, complete with a bloody mary. If it’s good enough for Obama, it’s good enough for me.

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While in Asheville, we had one of the best meals I can remember at Curate. The menu was full of tapas and the waitress was very helpful. She took us through each section of the menu, letting us know the chef’s favorites and guiding us on our food journey.

While we thought Curate would be a tough act to follow, we found ourselves at Sovereign Remedies, an adorable light filled corner bar with craft cocktails. You are sure to find something to fix what ails you there.


While we weren’t able to visit the Biltmore this past go around, we will without a doubt be back to Asheville soon. Plus, I hear there is a tubing trip that takes you by some of the breweries. Yes please! 

Thank you, Asheville, for filling my soul with all the art you had to offer and for being so adorably dog friendly! See you again soon.

 

 

Travel Blogging: BS in Aruba

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On Christmas Eve last year, we were on our way home from spending a week in Aruba with a few good friends. I figured since it has been a year, I would jump back in time and share a few photos. Pretend I was back in the Caribbean, if only for a few minutes.

It felt a little weird being in warm weather during the holiday season, kind of like the weather we are experiencing in Baltimore today, except much dryer and sunnier. The water was so clear and gentle, so much so that we were able to find Mr. Stavely’s lost wedding ring when snorkeling… thanks, Russ!

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We picked Aruba as a destination because Southwest recently opened direct flights there. In under 5 hours, you could be in the very south of the Caribbean. On a clear day, we could see Venezuela from the backyard of our rental home.

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It was almost surprising to me how small the island was. We were able to explore almost all of it on ATVs in one day. I loved the mixture of cultures. Depending on who you encountered, they could have spoken a variety of languages. English, Dutch, Spanish, and the local tongue, Papiamento.

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We stayed in a rental house on the south end of the island near Rodgers Beach and Baby Beach.

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It was further away from the larger towns and tourist attractions, but close enough to drive to if we wanted.

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We discovered some of the best Cuban sandwiches and despite the language barrier, the best service at a restaurant called Rincon Criollo.

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With our toes in the sand at the Flying Fishbone, we devoured fresh ceviche while watching fish hop around the water at sunset. The name of the restaurant is not a coincidence.

Although, some of the best nights were spent grilling at our house, watching the sunset from our backyard, enjoying freshly made margaritas (again, thanks Russ!), and hanging out with our Aruban kitty.
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Naturally, I found other 4 legged, feathered and scaly friends as well.

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If you are lusting for a warm adventure this winter, I would highly recommend Aruba! Locals and visitors aren’t joking when they refer to Aruba as “one happy island.” Everyone we encountered was very kind and helpful. We never felt pressured to purchase anything or take any tours. The only time we felt like tourists was when Geronimo would break out his selfie stick…

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Travel Bloggin: BS in Portland

Over the summer, I shared the first two stops from our anniversary trip to the Pacific Northwest. Stop 1: Seattle, Stop 2: Olympic National Park. Turns out I never shared Stop 3: Portland! I found the photos below set aside as I was cleaning off my old iMac and now it is time to share with you!

I have to admit that half the fun of Portland was getting to Portland. We took the train. I’m a big fan of train traveling, if only there were faster ones in the US. We traveled through the lush forests of the Pacific coast and found ourselves in Portland.

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It didn’t take long for us to explore around town. We asked the waitress at breakfast what she would recommend to do, she didn’t have any specific recommendations, but did say anything outside since it was abnormally sunny and hot and that people in Portland “get crazy when it is sunny.” After wandering the streets and shops of Portland in the morning, it was perfect timing to watch the USA vs. Belgium World Cup game at Deschutes.

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Sadly no win, but I couldn’t complain that I was spending a Tuesday afternoon at a brew pub, enjoying a flight of local beer with my husband.

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I was really into our hotel as well, the Jupiter Hotel, which is a mid-century motor-inn turned boutique hotel, complete with chalkboard doors.

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And courtyard chandeliers… Not to mention the Doug Fir Lounge, which is by far one of the coolest music venues I have been to.  It is like you are in the basement of a log cabin with some friends playing in a band, but that band happens to be Spanish Gold (feat. Patrick Hallahan of My Morning Jacket, Dante Schwebel of Hacienda / City and Colour, and Adrian Quesada of Brownout… yep, not too shabby.)

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We continued our trip with more brewery visits, including Base Camp Brewery. As a dark beer lover, I couldn’t say no to a S’mores Stout and to my delight, it came served with a roasted marshmallow.

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And you know me, I cannot resist taking a picture of a VW bug. Yellow punch buggy, no punch back!

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I wish we had more time at each stop, but our trip was a lovely taste of what the Pacific Northwest has to offer. I cannot wait to plan a trip back. In the meantime, I will dream of frothy microbrews, artisan coffee and getting lost in a forest that spits you out on a dramatic coastline.

Travel Bloggin: BS in Olympic National Park

The other week I shared some photos from Seattle, where Mr. Stavely & I went to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. This week, I want to share when BS in BMORE adventured to the Olympic National Park. We rented a car from Seattle, took a ferry and road tripped to the coast. It was simply stunning and quite relaxing.

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The first night, we stopped at the Lake Crescent Lodge. It was incredibly peaceful. The view is absolutely breathtaking. Sadly, they messed up our reservation and we didn’t get one of the adorable cottages right on the lake.

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On the day of our anniversary, we took a hike to Marymere Falls. We reminisced on how our wedding took place at Falling Water and decided we should try to find a new waterfall every anniversary. Cue TLC’s “Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls” now..

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After checking out of Lake Crescent Lodge, we hit the road. This is when I informed my husband that we were in the middle of vampire country and that, as much as I would like to, I promise not give him a Twilight tour of the area (although I did mentally as we drove around).

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From Lake Crescent, we drove out to the coast near La Push, stopping for a hike to Third Beach. We hiked through the forest for a little over a mile, which makes you feel like there is no way you are near a beach, then, all of a sudden, it opens up and you hike on down to the beach. If you get the tides right, you can even wander down to a waterfall there.

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We found some heart looking leaves and silly faces left by previous hikers.

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After that, we picked up some BBQ from Forks Outfitters and continued our drive south to Kalaloch Lodge. When we checked in, they asked what brought us to their lodge and after our answer, they quickly ran and grabbed some champagne flutes on the house for us to cheers to our anniversary. How nice!

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The cabin we rented even came complete with 2 walking sticks. I mean, no joke, complimentary walking sticks. I had to grab a photo.Olympic National Park

Before dinner, we wanted to explore a little more, so we headed to Ruby Beach. Again, breathtaking.

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Our little cabin on the cliff, overlooking the beach, with no wi-fi, no cell signal and no TV, was definitely one of my all time happy places. This is somewhere, without a doubt, we need to come back and spend more time!

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I was sad to say goodbye to Kalaloch Lodge, but we were off to see more – time to go to Portland! Come on back to see my next post on that portion of the trip.

Travel Bloggin: BS in Seattle

To celebrate our 1 year anniversary, Mr. Stavely and I decided we could give the “traditional” one year anniversary gift of paper, yes, paper, exciting… OR we could give the gift of traveling somewhere new together. We had never been to the Pacific Northwest before and it looked gorgeous in photos, so off we went. Our first stop was to fly into the airport in Seattle then head on into the city. We booked an apartment through AirBNB in the cute neighborhood of Capital Hill. We find when we book lodging through AirBNB it tends to be more of a deal than a hotel downtown, it is cuter and you get to live a little like a local.

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Our host gave us a few recommendations of what to do around Seattle when we arrived. One of the first was to take a stroll over to the Water Tower in Volunteer Park. He said it was one of the best views in Seattle, besides the Space Needle, and free! It was definitely an exciting walk up into the old water tower. (Thanks Mr. Z!) The weather in Seattle seemed exactly as always described, a perfectly cool temperature with some sprinkles and sun here and there.

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From there, we went through the neighborhoods, ooo-ing and aww-ing over the gorgeous homes. We stopped to have drinks and dinner at a delicious restaurant called Smith. Almost as quickly as I was falling in love with Seattle, I was also falling asleep. Seeing as our bodies thought it was 3 hours later than it was, we tucked ourselves into bed for the night.

Stumptown CoffeeThe first thing on our list the next morning was coffee. We were in Seattle after all. We walked to the local coffee joint, Stumptown. I don’t usually drink caffeine, so this was obviously a spectacle for my husband to see me so caffeinated. Not advised for day to day activities for me. I needed food and food quickly, so we headed to brunch at the Wandering Goose. All I can say is… mmm the biscuits.

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From there we nabbed ourselves a rental car and rolled on down to the Pike Place Market in our pimpin Chrysler 200. We wandered about the market, watching fish be thrown, tasting fresh fruit (my favorite were the cherries!) and trying not to buy every crafty thing we saw.

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Pike Place Public Market

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While we only got a little taste of Seattle, it was time to hop on the ferry and head to our next destination – the Olympic National Park. Until next time, Seattle!

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Stay tuned for my next posts about our adventures in the Olympic National Park and Portland.

Ocean City Favorites

Memorial Day weekend is almost here, which means many of you are heading to the beach for the official kick-off to summer. For many Marylanders, this means heading down to the shore, aka Ocean City. We all have our favorite places to hit when we are down there, I wanted to share a list of mine.

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1. When hitting the road, it is tough to think of anything but getting through the traffic and getting right into OC, but we all need to eat dinner. Often my hunger turns quickly to hanger, which means there is no waiting until OC for dinner. I like stopping at the Jetty Dock Bar in Kent Island. It is a great stopping point, you are past the Annapolis and Bay Bridge traffic and the setting gets you quickly into a vacation state of mind. Let the week unwind while listening to some tunes and getting some grub. Bonus: for those of you traveling with a canine friend, it is dog friendly! Photo found on the Capitalgazette.com / Taken by Joshua McKerrow

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2. Sometimes the weekend doesn’t really start until you take a sip of your first beer. Craft beer and Ocean City may not seem like something that goes together, but you are far from wrong. In recent years, more and more breweries are finding their way to the Eastern Shore. One of my new favorites is Backshore Brewing, a fun micro-brewery at 10th Street on the boardwalk. Find Hammerhead’s and look for the little brewery right next door, complete with seating on the boardwalk for all the best people watching. And they serve their beer in mason jars, enough said. Photo courtesy of yours truly (My Endless Adventure)

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3. You can’t start your day off right without breakfast. Head on over to the Sahara Cafe on 19th Street to fill up. Friendly service, simple delicious breakfast foods and you won’t be mad when the check comes either.

4. After lounging in the sun all day or before a few happy hour cocktails, go on over to Crazy 8’s on 35th Street for a sandwich and some fresh squeezed lemonade.

5. If you are looking to kick-start your evening or just a little friendly competition, be sure to order a Chug-a-duck at M.R. Ducks. Amaretto + Natty Light + Duck Decoy = Pure Class and Fun.

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6. Sometimes all the fried food options in Ocean City plus a bathing suit isn’t ideal. If you are looking for a little more out of your dinner, be sure to dine at Liquid Assets on 94th Street. Bonus: they are a liquor store too, you might be able to catch a wine tasting or at the very least, pick up what you need for the rest of the night after dinner.
7. While we may not be able to watch the sunset on the beach like our West Coast friends, Ocean City is blessed with gorgeous sunsets bayside. My favorite laid back spot to watch the day come to an end is at Fish Tales on 21st Street. Get there early enough to snag one of their Adirondack chairs, hammock chairs or worst case scenario, a bar stool, which is still a great way to end the day. Photo found on of Delmarvanow.com 

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8. After a night on the town, sometimes all you need is a Bloody Mary to get you feeling normal. If you want to customize your bloody just the way you like it, head on over the The Bloody Mary bar at Pepper’s Tavern. Located on the boardwalk at 17th street, this basement bar is one of the best dive bars in town. Once you are ready to face the day again, you can emerge from the basement and catch a little sun at their picnic tables on the boardwalk.
9. It wouldn’t be a summer in Maryland without a crab feast. While there will always be an ongoing argument on where to get the best crabs in Ocean City, you can’t go wrong with the Crab Bag, Hoopers or Higgins. Just don’t forget the Old Bay and a beer. Photo courtesy of The Crab Bag. 

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10. As much as we all love Ocean City, occasionally you need an escape from the chaos. If that is the case, jump in the car and enjoy a day trip to Assateague Island. The State Park is mostly know for the over 300 wild ponies that wander the 37 miles of pristine, non-commercialized beaches. Photo found on OutsideOnline.com, Taken by YTanou Photography

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11. You can ask my husband, the secret to unlocking my mini golf skills is one, maybe two orange crushes. Once I get my head in the game, you can find me at one of the four Old Pro Mini Golf locations in Ocean City kicking his butt. From dinosaurs to dragons to pirates, they have every theme your mini golf heart may desire. Even if it is raining or unbearably hot, they have indoor locations.
12. A trip to Ocean City wouldn’t be complete without some French Fries. Be it Boardwalk Fries or Thrashers, load em up with Malt Vinegar and Old Bay and call it a day. I’m still taste testing both to find the best fry. Yes, that is my excuse. Photo found on The Blonde Banana Blog.

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13. For those of you who have more of a sweet tooth, a trip to OC wouldn’t be complete without an icecream cone from Dumser’s on 49th Street or 124th Street. Photo courtesy of yours truly (My Endless Adventure)

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14. When the time comes to go home, do not fret, there is still fun to be had. Stop at one of many produce stands along 50, support a local farm and take home some fresh produce for dinner. If you need a bite to eat for the ride, stop at The Farmer’s Wife Eatery & Farm Market in Hebron, MD.

Here’s to a wonderful weekend in Ocean City and more to come this summer. Photo courtesy of yours truly (My Endless Adventure)

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