My favorite thing about living in Seattle is how close we are to a variety of breathtaking hikes only an hour or so away. In the 3 years of living here I have been on countless hikes and these so far are my absolute favorites only 1-2 hours from the city.
My favorite hike of all time which happens to also be a crowd favorite is….
Only 45 minutes away, exit 32 off highway 90, Rattle Snake Ledge offers a view that is sure to calm that ever moving mind of yours. The hike is about 2 miles Round trip and although I wouldn’t consider it hard, the last 1/4 mile can be a bit challenging. So Brace yourself and expected to be wowed.
Cedar Butte is in the Iron Horst State park parking lot right next to Rattlesnake Lake. Once parked head down the main dirt road and follow it until you see a tiny trail and sign for “Cedar Butte”. This trail is much less crowded than you will find at RattleSnake but the view is still incredible. Great hike to take dogs on and is a quick 3.5 miles round trip.
One more hike along I-90 that is worth your time and effort…
Twin Falls is also a very popular hike but for good reason. Take exit 32 or 38 and you can access Twin Falls. The hike is not particularly a hard one with 3.5 mile round trip and it is pet friendly. This just might be my new go to hike to bring visitors to instead of rattlesnake 🙂
Now heading off towards Highway 2, Northeast of Seattle
Bridal Veil Falls is an epic waterfall with amazing mountain views that you definitely will not want to miss. The first 1.5 miles is a breeze however beware of the last half mile which can prove to be a little challenging. If you have kids or a small pup you might be carrying them part of the way. Once you get to the top all those worries just disappear….
Wallace Falls which is also off of Highway 2 is another Waterfall hike that makes the tough climb worth the trouble. Wallace Falls is the most tough hike out of all of these but still is doable by my fitness levels. It is a great hike for kids and dogs as it is well maintained. I suggest going all the way to the top but if you can’t make it to the third waterfall you still have beautiful views on the 1st and 2nd waterfall stop.
My first night in New Orleans with my friend Vanessa was the perfect combination of delicious food and relaxing fun. We arrived later in the evening starving, so luckily Vanessa loves food (even more than I do) and knows how to find the perfect place. The thing I value most about Vanessa, is her love for food. She always keeps me fed and never forces fast food or disgusting food down my throat.
So we took a quick cab over from our hotel (The Omni) and arrived a pizza bar called Pizza Delicious. In the dark it was a tad bit scary and looked like a run down neighborhood despite it’s close proximity to the main strip. Nevertheless we hopped on in to check it out.
Inside, the little pizza joint was booming. It has a very organic feel, young care free employees with dreads and beards making this Seattleite and Denver resident feel just at home.
Have you ever seen a more happy diner?
Look at that magnificent slice of heaven
The pizza was a perfect New York style thin crust with tons of flavor, not your average pepperoni boring pizza. No no this pizza had zest, the perfect amount of cheesiness, and never too much sauce. If I could marry a piece of pizza, of all the amazing pizza I have had, this my friends would be the one I would get down on one knee and commit my life to forever. No hesitation.
These Badasses weren’t afraid of a little walk in the dark.
After devouring my new life partner we moved on to the next thing on the agenda. The Bacchanal Wine Bar. Bacchanal was a place Vanessa found on another blog (Still searching for the post to give some credit to the author). It was about a half mile away and perfectly walkable. The only problem is the neighborhood, it appeared that in the daytime this place was a fun indie influenced almost suburb, however what we found at night was remnants of a bad scary movie. We were walking near the train tracks beside a ton of old abandoned houses, where Katrina had taken some of the life from this neighborhood. One block from the road we were on, you could see well maintained houses and groomed yards. Unfortunately the block we walked had ghostly like houses with chain fences boarding it up meant to keep out looters, but rather with the glow of the street lights gave these independent women the creeps.
An enlightening half mile later we arrive at a cute house with jazz music pumping in from the back. We walked onto the southern style porch and through the screen door into what would be the foyer but instead was a room with a ruby glow, filled with wine bottles. At the Bacchanal Wine Bar you are able to choose from purchasing a single glass or an entire bottle. We both choose a wine choice from the chalk board menu and made our way to the back.
The backyard was too perfect with the willow trees giving a summer in the south feel accompanied by a cool evening breeze. Ahead of us there was a wooden stage with a 3 hipsters playing smooth jazz music. We found a table right in the center of it all and we able to reminisce the night away.
I highly recommend following in our footsteps. We were able to walk back to our hotel in about 30 minutes and felt fairly safe. If you scare easy I would suggest just getting a cab or ubering it from place to place. The night was a perfect beginning to our time in NOLA and I highly suggest both places!
Don’t forget your after midnight snack!
Each traveler has different things they look for in a trip. whether you need adventure, sight seeing, relaxation or food it’s important that you accomplish that goal during your trip or you will feel slighted. For me it’s Adventure, food, and alcohol. If I go on a trip and I don’t get to try several different delicious places for food and coffee I will walk away feeling that I missed something. The same goes for an adventure. In New Orleans, we were not short on delicious food. So if you are thinking of heading to New Orleans here is my list of places you must try for dinner, dessert, and a fun drink guaranteed to please even the pickiest inner fat kid.
We visited Pizza Delicious the very first night and it started our trip off with a bang. Each piece was only about $3-4 and worth every penny. It’s New York style thin crust pizza and they had local beers on tap. I highly recommend checking this place out.
We found this little gem in the Garden District after visiting a nearby cemetery. It was our last stop and despite being unimaginably full, this restaurant pulled us in for one more foodie experience. Not only does this funky little joint have fried chicken but you must mash it up with a delectable doughnut. We chose to share fried chick, waffle fries with jalapeno cheese, and a strawberry doughnut. I don’t regret one bite or pound gained.
Am I the only one drooling?
Also found in the Garden District is a contemporary bright coffee and dessert shop. The prices are a little steep but the coffee and dessert provide a delicious afternoon snack that we couldn’t snub our noses at. If you are in the Garden District and in need of some coffee and and afternoon sweet, check this shop out after looking through some of the fun antique stores nearby.
Food in it’s finest art form
Now if you are wanting the best dessert of my trip don’t bother wasting money at Sucre. If you are saving those calories for something amazing, trust me go to The Domenica in the Roosevelt Hotel. Although intimidating to enter such a ritzy hotel it was worth the walk to enjoy such a succulent dessert and night cap. If you aren’t planning on dining just ask to sit at the bar, it will make you feel a little more at home in such a beautiful restaurant (talking to my budget travelers here).
After a night of drinking a great place to stop which is open 24 hours is Cafe Du Monde. They offer the New Orlean’s famous Beignets. They have a great patio area where you can people watch until the morning sunrise. Now what exactly is a beignets? As a child did you ever make homemade doughnuts? Take a biscuit from a can and drop it in oil then roll it around in some powered sugar? Take that and times the deliciousness by 1000, that is a beignet. Now my personal preference was Cafe Beignet. I found their beignets to have more crunch on the outside, where as Cafe Du Monde beignets were soft all the way through.
Bacchanal Bar has a large wine selection with a beautiful backyard setting with smooth jazz playing in the background. If you are looking for a calm fun evening you cannot go wrong with this fun venue.
Sadly I do not have any fun pictures to entertain you with this time. However I’m insisting you go have one drink at the Carousel Bar. It is literally a bar with a Carousel in it. The bar will slowly, slowly spin you around while you enjoy your drink. The drinks were a little pricey but worth the fun experience.
If you weren’t aware of the history of NOLA, apparently the french loved Napoleon. They were planning on rescuing him and what is now “Napoleons” would have been his home had they been successful. Unfortunately he died before they could rescue. Lucky for us this restaurant has delicious food and a really fun drink called “Pimms Cup”, it is their special for the past 200 years so you won’t miss it. Also if they have it in season the stuffed avocado was absolutely amazing. Especially considering we had gorged on fried food half the trip so the refreshing avocado and shrimp were perfect before a night of heavy drinking.
Oh sweet Mother’s. The haven for all those dragging themselves to your glorious food, hungover from an epic previous night. Mother’s is the perfect spot for all your hangover needs. Bloody Mary, greasy delicious food, and on point coffee. I loved mother’s and all it’s attitude. Make sure and head all the way back to the bar for my favorite experience.
One last stop is going to be…
When in New Orleans it is an absolute must that you bring home a “King Cake”. They are yummy cinnamon roll like cakes that usually contain a baby on the inside. The person who gets the slice of cake with the plastic baby is the “king” for the day. Manny Randazzo is known for having the best cakes unfortunately we were out of time and found that Laura’s had very tasty cakes that all my friends were impressed with at home! You can get small cakes for about $5 which makes for a fun present to give any friends at home.
Have you been to New Orleans? Where was your favorite place to eat or drink?
Accommodations while traveling can often be the most expensive part of a trip. Depending on your style you may normally choose a hotel, hostel, or maybe even a regular rental. Times have changed and more options are now available. AirBnB has completely changed the way we look at accommodations while traveling. They give a middle ground between budget and luxury.
AirBnB gives home owners the opportunity to rent out a spare room or even an entire residence at a cost determined by the host. Depending on the home it can often feel like a Bed & Breakfast or even a fancy rental. Using the website you are able to filter your location, whether you’d like an entire home or simply a room inside their home.
My First Booking
My first AirBnB experience was in Portland, OR. There would be two of us and we didn’t mind sharing a bed. When looking for a room I filtered through based on price and location. If you have specific dates in mind make sure to punch those in so you don’t waste time looking at options that won’t be available. Once I had a few options the most important thing for me was to look at what past tenants had to say. A good review will give you details on the room, host, and most important location specifications.
Once you decide on a place you have to request to book. Make sure you put plenty of details in the comment section when requesting to stay at someone’s house. Imagine you were renting out your room to a stranger, what would you like to know about the person staying there? Great things to put are why you visiting their city, how many people will be with you, and details on when you will arrive. The owners then have 24 hours to get back to you on whether you got the booking or not.
A few days before arriving make sure to confirm with your AirBnB host on your arrival date and time so you can meet up with them to get keys. The great thing about AirBnB is they send you a few message reminders so that you don’t forget to confirm with your host! Nice when you are busy trying to get ready for your epic trip!
My first AirBnB was a bit different than most places as the house was remodeled so that it could accommodate more than one person at a time. The entire upstairs has 4 separate rooms with their own key pad locks so that you do not need a key to get in.
The room was adorable! They had recently painted and remodeled the bathroom so everything was new and comfy. We were able to secure a room for about $100 a night and this included our own bathroom (If this is important to you make sure your room has a separate bathroom or you might have to share!)
My first AirBnB experience went over great. I didn’t feel awkward or in the way of the host at all. He made us feel completely at home but not too overwhelmed either. The great thing about staying with a local is they can give you great recommendations on where the locals eat and things the locals do!
I highly recommend AirBnb to anyone. If you don’t feel comfortable staying with someone, simply select that you want the entire home, then you have it all to yourself more than likely at a price lower than a hotel!
Would you try an AirBnB? Tell me why or why not in the comments below!
Have you tried AirBnB? If not get your $25 credit below!