Staycation: Exploring Home

Huntsville, Texas

Home of the Bearkats

The Piney Woods

And of course The Prison (there’s actually several)

I think Huntsville gets a bad rap, you know because of the large population of prisoners and college kids, but personally I love this growing town.

According to a recent article I read, Huntsville is the 5th fastest growing city in the state. Now I know that might seem a little scary to the original Huntsvillies but I am excited about the growth and development!

Our rapidly growing town has so much to offer but yet still holds that small town authenticity.

Hidden Food Gems

Whether your in the mood for Japanese, Cajun, or El Salvadoran food, Huntsville offers it all. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Latin Food
  • – Hands down our go to Latin food place is Carbonero. They offer a variety of food but specialize in El Salvadoran cuisine. The owner is always so welcoming and friendly, service is great, drinks are fantastic, and the pupusas are the best!
    • Steak
  • – We’ve all dined at those expensive chain steak houses which in all honesty aren’t too bad, but nothing beats and original family owned steakhouse. If you’ve never been to 1836 Steakhouse you’re missing out. The restaurants itself is housed in a beautiful historic mansion. It’s been renovated numerous times and is quite beautiful. Our favorite dining experience is upstairs in the attic bar. Not only do they have delicious, perfectly cooked steaks, they have an array of creative appetizers and drink! (Try the friend goat cheese, sangria, and Caesar salad with housemade dressing)
    • Cajun
  • If you’re from the south, you know all about crawfish and Cajun food, and if you’re into all of that goodness you have to try Arnaud’s Cajun Kitchen. This fabulous food truck is situated in its own little food truck park (so if you’re not a fan of Cajun you have several other options). Arnaud’s isn’t just crawfish, they have it all…boudin, boiled shrimp, crab, and so much more.
    • Deli/Sandwiches
  • – If you’re looking for a sandwich, salad, or any other home town deli dish you have to check out Five Loaves Deli. This family owned gem is one of my absolute favorites and has been since college. I’ve never been disappointed in any meal I’ve tried here!
    • Something Different
  • If you’re tired of burgers and fries and the same old thing then you have to check out Potato Shack. This unique restaurant bar is literally potatoes in every way, shape, and form. Chicken fried steak stuffed potato? Sure thing! Boudin stuffed potato? They’ve got it! They have other menu items such as salads, wings, and funnel cake fries (yes you read that right). The atmosphere is always friendly and laid back, great owners, awesome staff, daily drink specials…we just can’t get enough of this place!
  • We’ve pretty much grabbed a bite to eat at every restaurant, diner, and dive in Huntsville and have rarely been disappointed. This small town has a lot to offer so come check it out for yourself.

    http://www.carbonerorotisserie.com/

    https://www.1836steakhouse.com/

    http://www.arnaudscajunkitchen.com/

    http://www.fiveloavesdeli.com/

    http://www.potatoshackhuntsville.com/

    Christmas in Gruene

    Last weekend we were fortunate enough to get away from it all and bask in the Christmas spirit of Gruene, TX. Not only is Gruene our favorite little getaway, but there’s always so much to see and do. We were able to enjoyed the Christmas festivities including:

    • watch the Pony Express ride into town
    • shop at the Ole Gruene Christmas Trade Market
    • hear Christmas carols for a local choir
    • and my favorite, witness Kris Kringle light up the town

    Gruene already holds a special place in my heart, and when you combine that love with the spirit of Christmas, it became a magical vacation.

    I would definitely recommend Gruene to anyone who hasn’t been. Even if you can’t make it for a special holiday event, this special little town is chock full of love and adventure.

    Check out some of our favorites when you plan you visit!

    • Check in to Gruene River Inn for fabulous service, rustic decor, jacuzzi tubs, and unbeatable river views
    • Dance at Gruene Hall (this is mandatory)
    • Grab a pizza and listen to some music at Infernos Pizza
    • Have a Batman and Robin at Mozies while you snack on their amazing garlic fries
    • Shop shop shop!
    • Sample some wine at the Grapevine (try the blackberry)
    • Shop at the Gruene Olive and sample their innovative oil and vinegar blends
    • Share apps or have dinner at The Gruene River Grill
    • And finish the night enjoying free music at the outdoor venue Oma’s Secret Garden (recently renovated)

    I hope you fall in love with Gruene just like me and my Bearded One ❤️

    Gruene River Inn Views

    Wine at he Grapevine

    Gruene Hall

    Kris Kringle Lighting the Town

    Oma’s

    See You Next Year Colorado

    Once again Colorado exceeded our expectations. Between the five of us on this trip we probably took a thousand photos (I’ll upload more in this post ). Honestly, pictures alone can’t capture the natural beauty Colorado has to offer. If you’ve never experienced the Rocky Mountains, put them on your list, there is something for everyone in the mountains.

    From hiking, to shopping, to enjoying the small town festivities, we pretty much did it all this trip.

    This time Hoosier Pass was my favorite hike, but you can’t beat the views of Kite Lake and Quandary Peak. I’m sure we will visit all three places again (maybe eventually I’ll join the 14ers club!)

    Kite Lake

    Kite Lake Trailhead

    Hoosier Pass

    My Favorite Views

    Quandary Peak

    Fairplay

    Fairplay and Alma are still my favorite tiny towns. We went to the “TGIFairplay” free concert event and were impressed by not only the town, but the welcoming people and friendly atmosphere. If you’re in Fairplay you have to take an stroll down their streets to stop by all the little shops and admire the historical sites.

    For all my adult beverage connoisseurs check out South Park Brewery in Fairplay. Grab a Cherry Blonde craft beer at 9,953 ft, you won’t be disappointed. And if you do decide to stroll down the streets of Fairplay, swing by the South Park Distilling Tasting Room and let Megan hook you up with a fabulous cocktail! Not only did she make Amanda and I great drinks, she remembered our names and made us feel welcome.

    Cherry Blonde South Park Brewery

    Go Visit Megan at South Park Distilling Tasting Room

    Breckenridge

    We also visited Breckenridge for their Sunday Market which included lots of artisan hand made goods. It was a fun event, and we were able to walk around the town, shop, and swing by the Gold Pan (a bar established in 1879 with a rich history). I know Breckenridge is famous for skiing in the winter months but it’s just as beautiful and lively during the summer.

    This has once again been an amazing trip. Not once did I feel like there was nothing to do. Our trip was packed full of activities and relaxation. As long as I’m still impressed by Colorado we will continue to enjoy our Colorado Adventures! See you next year Rocky Mountains.

    Next years goal:

    • Hike Wheeler Lake again
    • Visit Blue Lake by Quandary Peak
    • Zipline
    • Natural Hot Springs

    Colorado: Good for the Soul

    The drive in to Colorado was breath taking. From the plains of Texas, to the rocky hills of New Mexico, then the mountains of Colorado. It’s hard not to marvel at the mountains God created and appreciate the beauty of nature. This destination truly makes my heart happy and makes all the stressors in life seem so minuscule in comparison. There’s no one in the world I’d rather share this experience with than then the Bearded One and our best friends. I don’t even think there are word to describe the joy I feel when I travel. The pure, simple bliss of not only the adventure itself but the final destination.

    Home away from home

    Our first few days in Colorado have been pretty serene. No chaos, no drama, no stress. Our Air B&B is perfect, plenty of room, and a huge deck that overlooks the mountains. If you’ve never tried Air B&B for traveling, you are missing out. This property is perfect. Not only is it nestled in the trees but there are nearby hiking trails which we took full advantage of already.

    Porch Views of Mount Silverheel

    So far we’ve spent most of our time on the deck, hiking the neighborhood, cooking fabulous meals and catching up on our favorite novels.

    We did venture out and explore the town of Fairplay. There are lots of little shops and ample photo ops in the quaint little town. We stopped by South Park Brewery which has my absolute favorite beer, a cherry blonde. We also walked around Alma, which is even smaller than Fairplay. Both are beautiful little picturesque mountain towns. Tonight, Friday night, Fairplay is having a free community concert we plan on attending, which I’m really looking forward to. We also plan on doing some mountian yoga today and hiking Mosquito Gulch, a 6 mike hike.

    Beautiful flowers throughout Fairplay

    So far this trip has not only been successful, it’s been rejuvenating for my body, mind, and soul.

    ***UPDATE: Amanda and I completed a yoga class and it was AMAZING. It was my first official yoga class and it was wonderful. My entire body was workout and I did things I didn’t know know my body was even capable of. If you’re in Fairplay stop by Open Sky Yoga for a drop in class with Jamie. She changed my whole perspective on yoga and I am bound and determined to give it a try at home ❤️