The History of Saratoga, New York

Happy Independence America! I’ve already watched some Fireworks to get in the spirit of our Independence, which occurred on July 4th, 1776, when the colonies wrote the Declaration of Independence. But did you know that my hometown, Saratoga Springs, New York has a lot to do with America winning it’s Independence?

In the past, I’ve written some detail about Saratoga National Historic Park, but I wanted to write another post on here of the history and the park in itself now that it’s Spring and you can really see what it has to offer.

While the Declaration of Independence was written in 1776, the war for freedom was just beginning. In fact, in September of 1777 through October of 177720180609_113958 the Battle of Saratoga began and is now known to many history buffs as the “Turning Point of The Revolutionary War”. It was in October of 1777 when British troops surrendered to American troops, a battle that would change the tide of the Revolutionary War in favor of the American colonists. This battle was significant because other countries, like France saw what happened and joined the war to fight for the freedom of America.

I love the history of Saratoga for this specifically, there is so much you can see and understand in just a few hours. To think that you can walk on land that was once walked on by the very people who gave this country it’s freedom always blows my mind.

When visiting the National Historic Park, you can experience it in many different ways in the Spring and Summer. You can walk the trail or bike it (roughly 9 miles), you can drive through it, or even take a horse (if you have one). There are reenactments done at different points in the year, as well as guides and maps that can explain everything to you. We went for a bike ride (it’s a hilly 9+miles if you do this) and stopped at each section of the trail to see views of the battlefield and read the markings left to explain the significance of each site.

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It’s a great location to learn some history, get some exercise or even go to read and have a picnic. I’m hoping to have a lovely picnic there before the year ends — it’s on my summer bucket list. Once you’re done here, you can head to the Saratoga Monument and Victory Woods where you can learn more about the battlefield. Before walking through Victory Woods, you’ll pass through a cemetery filled with headstones from the 1700 and 1800’s, there could literally be Revolutionary and Civil War heroes buried in this cemetery. It’s an eerie feeling but one that helps you appreciate the magnitude of their sacrifice.

So, again, Happy Independence Day America! I’m so lucky to live in an area that had such a significant impact on our freedom.

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Why You Should Travel With Your Girlfriends Once a Year

A few weeks ago I wrote about why I love to travel so much. After writing that, I thought about all the people I have traveled with — Groups of couples/friends, family, my boyfriend, my boyfriend’s family and my girl friends. It got me thinking about why it’s so important to not always travel/vacation with your significant other (sorry bud, love you!)

Every year for the past 3ish years, my girlfriends and I try to do a girls weekend. From that experience we’ve gone to Maine, Florida, Philly, and to each other’s hometowns. Experiences apart from the people you see all the time is good, I am in awe of the people that do solo trips, if I felt more comfortable with it I would do it in the heart beat.

Part of my big reason for traveling with my girlfriends is because I don’t see them as much as I would like and it’s sometimes easier to talk about all the girl things in your head without your significant other’s being there. It’s also an easy way to make memories and to reiterate how important your friends are to you (I am not a fan of the people who forget about everyone else when they start dating their significant other). Without them you wouldn’t be the person you are and some good quality time with them is necessary at least once a year, and not because of a celebration but because of how much you value your friendship.

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Last year I was lucky enough to experience that 3 separate times with different friends and I loved Every second of it. While 3 times was amazing, I’m hoping for even more time spent with them this year.

Do you guys do solo travel trips? Go traveling with just your friends? Do you have rituals or a certain amount of occurrences a year?

72 Hours in Chicago (Part I)

We finally made it to Chicago! Lucky for us we had a wedding to go to which finally got our butts moving to the Midwest.

I’ve always wanted to head to the Windy City, it’s been on the bucket list, so I took my handy travel notebook from owlcrate and went exploring. Before I dive into the highlights here’s some things to keep in mine in relation to transportation. The “L” is so simple and affordable. A 3-day train pass is only $20.00, I think on the first day we got our money back. You can also use the Metro (though only if you’re leaving the city) and Uber or Lyft if you really can’t get someplace any other way (we ran into this when we were leaving the Cubs baseball game).

Okay! Now on to where to eat, what to see and where to go!

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Where to Eat

Like any city, Chicago is known for its food (especially it’s pizza) and while we had some dish deep pizza, it wasn’t my favorite. But there were SO many other places that were delicious and I’d recommend to anyone. One of those being Big Star. 20170831_130347

The tacos were SO good, and you could get a pitcher of Margaritas to share at the table as well. Not only were the tacos delicious but the atmosphere was pretty awesome too. Basically you got one of the above tacos an order, you could mix and match what you wanted and then it was delivered family style. It was different, but delicious — if/when we go back, I wouldn’t be angry if we went there again. Big Star isn’t expensive either, it was $30 a person but only because we got Margaritas. You could easily go there for cheaper without the alcohol.

Our favorite quick breakfast place ended up being Stan’s Donuts. The inside felt retro and sleek and the donuts were legitimate donuts. Probably the best I’ve ever had for sure. There are so many options too, ones with fruit in them, some with nutella or peanut butter — something for anyone which makes it even better. A breakfast here is an easy $6.50 and totally worth it. Other places we went included Public House Chicago, Portillos, Kanela’s (seen below), and Lou’s Pizza House. The foodies in us loved them all. For drinks, check out Tapster if you have time. It’s basically a tasting room but you get to walk up and just taste whatever you want. It’s also really affordable, we had a lot of fun here.

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The Attractions

If you’re planning to really explore, I would recommend the Go City Card (more on that in two days). There are so many places to see in Chicago that you could probably spend an entire week there (hello to all the museums).

Our first stop was to the Bean in Millenium Park, one of the staples of Chicago, after which we walked to the Buckingham Fountain which not only provided a lovely park but awesome views of the city from all sides and angles. It wasn’t on the list (or maybe it was?) but my boyfriend surprised us with the little detour. It’s really close to the Bean so it’s not out of the way in any means.

Other attractions we saw were the ones that really got my blood moving — I’m afraid of heights but I still managed to do both 360 Chicago and Skydeck Chicago. I wanted to like the Skydeck better because of the actually ledge (shown below) but it was so crowded it was kind of a let down. 360 Chicago offers some of the same views, plus a bar and the tilt (for $7 extra) which includes you tilting OVER the building (no thank you), I’ll stick to the ledge. On the left is a view from 360 Chicago, while on the right is me freaking out sitting on the ledge of the Chicago Skydeck.

But my favorite thing was the architecture tour. One of things stunning about Chicago and what makes it so different from other cities I’ve been to is that there is a river going right through it. One that people can kayak on or take a boat through that really goes through the heart of the skyscrapers. Of all the things we did, this is the one I would tell everyone to make time to do.

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If you have time, which I think you would, go see the Chicago sign, a staple of the city that everyone knows, and if you’re lucky like us, you might be able to check out a Chicago Cubs game. Very Fenway-esque, you feel like you’re walking back in time to the good old days.

Other things I’d like to do next time:

  • The Planetarium
  • Science and Industry Museum
  • Rent some bikes and bike around the waterfront/beaches

Have you guys been to Chicago? What did I miss? I’m heading there for about a day in half in October so advice is welcome!

A Visit To The Lower Half of Cape Cod

This is my last post about my Cape Cod 2017 trip and it ends with Provincetown and Truro — two of my favorite places on the Cape! Here’s a rundown of a few things you can do there to take up your time.

The Beaches

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There are so many beaches near the end of Cape Cod. Our favorites are Head of the Meadow and Ballston Beach (though Ballston Beach is “private”). I had never been to Marconi Beach before this vacation but let me tell you it was amazing! A little scary (some riptides) but so gorgeous (picture to the side). If you’re looking for beaches with some good waves, this end of the Cape will have it because they are on the open ocean side. Don’t forget though, there could be sharks (definitely some seals). Cost is roughly $15 – $20 a car load. One thing still on my bucket list here is to have a bonfire at night on the beach down here. Maybe next year? More beaches can be found here.

The Non Beach Activities

We’ve done a lot of things in Provincetown/Truro before including: whale watches, wine tasting and biking the trails in the sand dunes. Today though, I’m only going to talk about the two things we did this year. One was Truro Vineyards and Spirits, we’ve been going here every year for the past 4 years. It’s so fun, the wine tasting is pretty good but my favorite is the little outside bar they have where you can mix drinks and wine by the glass, sit out with all your friends and just relax. You can do both the wine tasting and the spirit tasting if you feel like :).

The other thing we did this year was Uncle Tim’s Bridge in Wellfleet (a little more inner Cape than Provincetown and Truro). Thanks to Pinterest, we found this little walkway through a marsh that even my cousins (who have a place in the Cape) didn’t know about. It was a nice leisurely walk with this cute bridge — worthwhile for the whole family!

Downtown

Everyone need to go to downtown Provincetown at least once in their life. Here you can catch some of the best sunsets of anywhere on the cape while you walk around the pier before you grab something to eat. There are a ton of restaurants for everyone’s style – seafood, BBQ, pizza, sandwiches, and sweets. Anything you’re looking for, Ptown will probably have. We went to the patio which I highly recommend. The food was good and it wasn’t too expensive in relation to seafood.

For snack food, I recommend the fudge factory (shown above) and Portuguese bakery (shown below). The fudge factory was delicious! We bought some bark and let me tell you, it’s not bark. We bought three bars and it was over 1lb of chocolate! So good but way more than we thought it would be.

Other activities to do at night would be karaoke or going to see a show. I personally have never seen a show but have heard it’s really fun. You can also go and get permission to have a bonfire on the beach.

Enjoy!!