All posts filed under: Travel

Let me tell you about my Hamilton obsession

Made it to Day 13 of NaBloPoMo! Almost half way there, and I haven’t tired of blogging yet. 😉 I was introduced to the Hamilton soundtrack by a women’s forum in early 2016. The Broadway show was really starting to pick up steam, and the Presidential race seemed to make the story of Alexander Hamilton extremely relevant to the current political climate. With so much buzz about the show and the genius that is Lin-Manuel Miranda, I had to check it out. Thankfully, it was on both Spotify and Amazon Prime. The opening number had me hooked. If I had to describe my taste in music, I probably fall in the categories of nerd rock, sad ballads, and over-manufactured catchy pop. I’m NOT well versed in hip hop, although I do like the rhythm and beat of hip hop without paying much attention to lyrics. It took the topic of American history and the story of one of our founding fathers for me to really have an appreciation for hip hop. (Can you imagine how …

Road Trip 2017: Arkansas Days 4 & 5

Our last stop on our trip was Eureka Springs. My first impression of this tiny town was how similar to Berkeley it felt, due to the many steep hills, cute little shops, and how the homes were built on multi-levels. Some buildings had a Victorian vibe while some were quirky Medieval castles and then quaint cottages. We passed a motel site with treehouses on super tall stilts. Perhaps we should’ve opted for something like that than the plain hotel we booked. When I started researching what to see and do, the Thorncrown Chapel came up as a must-visit. Tucked among tall trees, the chapel is an architectural treasure. The geometric lines, ample natural light, and tall airy space made it a quiet place for reflection. Funny enough, the host inside the chapel came from the Austin area, and he gave me recommendations for where to eat. (Side note: When my husband went to venture out for beer, he came across a little market where the cashier was also from Austin.) As we explored more of …

Road Trip 2017: Arkansas Day 3

They don’t call Scenic Byways “scenic” for no reason. From Hot Springs, the drive through Ouchita National Forest was spectacular. The road would wind around sharp turns or long swooping curves. We experienced some really steep inclines for miles at a time. Maybe it would’ve been more fun to drive in my old GTI, but my family-friendly Outback was still a smooth ride. We booked a night at the Lodge atop Mount Magazine. As we approached the state park, we could already see sweeping views of the Petit Jean Valley below. There are signs everywhere, warning about the high cliff drops. I’m not usually scared of heights, but I kept a safe distance from the edge. When you go to visit the highest point in a state, you are obligated to hike to that exact point. So we walked the moderate trail up Signal Hill to where they have the point marked. Along the way, we noted the tiny spring flowers that were blooming, interesting fungi growing on fallen logs and (ack!) tons of poison …

Road Trip 2017: Arkansas (Days 1 & 2)

Last year, we headed west to New Mexico and Colorado for our first family road trip. So this year, we decided to head northeast to Arkansas and see what The Natural State had to offer. Even though we didn’t have to drive through desolate parts of Texas to get there, it still took us quite a bit of time to get out of the state. The best laid plans can be foiled by Mother Nature. She dropped 8 inches of rainfall the night before our trip and continued to pour down as we left early in the morning. It was coming down so hard that part of I-35 was closed due to flooding. We sat in a parking lot trying to get out of Austin metro to wait for blinding rain to ease up before we even had the chance to sit in the massive backup from the flood. It took us over 5 hours to get up to Dallas, where the rain seemed to clear. Of course, the delay in getting out of Dallas …

Inks Lake State Park

We visited Inks Lake State Park at the peak of wildflower and bluebonnet season. With our State Parks Pass in hand, we wanted to find a park that was within a short drive (in case there was a freak-out moment) so the boys could have their first camping experience. Inks Lake has waterfront cabins in addition to tent camping, and that worked out perfectly for our family. Heads up that Central Texas campsites at many state parks fill up FAST in the spring. We booked this trip a month ahead to get a Friday night spot. It only got more crowded by Saturday. Checking other parks’ availability nearby, many were booked up on weekends almost 2 months ahead. Besides our Parks Pass, the best investment we made was picking up a Chillax Hammock from Costco. They normally retail for $70, and Costco was selling them for $35. The Big Kid spent the entire afternoon and early evening, lounging in the hammock. If the night hadn’t gotten chilly, he probably would’ve slept in it too. Thankfully, my husband …

Davis Mountains State Park

My husband and I have made a few trips out to West Texas before we had kids. We camped at Big Bend National Park and made stops in Alpine and Marfa. The terrain to the west with its deserts and mountains makes us feel like we’re in a completely different state compared to the mostly flat plains of North Texas and rolling hills of Central Texas. One place that had been on our bucket list was the McDonald Observatory near Ft. Davis. Over the holidays, we picked a free weekend in January and planned a drive out west. Unfortunately, the weather was really cloudy and threatening rain, so the Star Party became an indoor affair, which was still fascinating and educational. We did manage to see Venus through the clouds, which looks like a very bright star with the naked eye. Most evenings, I’m rushing from dinner to teaching yoga to running last-minute errands, and I rarely look beyond what’s directly in front of me. I miss the stars every night. I forget how vast and beautiful the …

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