Doughbird- Moab, UT

Doughbird- donuts, chicken, coffee. Any questions?

This little gem can be found in Moab, Utah. The city is famous for being close to Arches National Park (which you can read more about here), Canyonlands National Park, biking and more. In fact, there is so much to do in the surrounding areas that makes it a very popular stop for all kinds of people that can get quite crowded during peak seasons.

Alright, enough about the city. Lets talk Doughbird.

You can find this bakery right off of main street. If your hotel is close enough, we would highly suggest walking there because parking is scarce, especially on the weekends.

Once you walk through the door, you are greeted with the sweet smells of freshly made and glazed donuts, brewing coffee and chocolate. You can see the case of donuts in front of you as you step forward to place your order. Our favorites were the square croissants. They were so buttery, flakey and had just the right amount of sweetness to give you the hiking energy you need for the day. Some other flavors they have include dulce de leche cheesecake, cookie dough and many more.

We ordered ours to go and had a picnic at the national park- I would highly recommend doing this. It was so much fun and we were all sugared up and ready to hike after breakfast!

What about the chicken you ask? Well, we only stopped for donuts this time around since we were going to be out hiking all day and didn’t want it to get cold. Next time we find ourselves in Moab, we will definitely make a point to try the chicken because we hear it is very good!

If you try their food and absolutely fall in love, they do have a small section for selling their merch including things like t-shirts, coffee and coffee cups.

Have you ever tried Doughbird? Let us know what your thoughts are in the comments below!

Hanging Lake, Colorado

The hike to see Hanging Lake is challenging, but very rewarding. The views from the top are worth every stair that must be climbed. It isn’t a long hike- only about a mile and a quarter- but it is very steep, gaining about 1200 feet in elevation.

Getting There

Hanging lake can be found in Glenwood Canyon off of interstate 70. This is also a very cool drive as you snake through the canyon next to the White River. Even if you don’t do the hike, the drive is worth it!

There is a fee required and the most up to date information can be found on the Glenwood Springs website. Fees must be paid in advance and you must choose a time slot to visit. When you arrive, you have to show the ranger your reservation so they are able to verify you are visiting on the correct day and time. This helps reduce crowds and helps alleviate parking issues.

The Hike

As we mentioned earlier, it isn’t the length that makes the hike strenuous, but the change in elevation. The lake is nestled way up in the surrounding canyon but once you make it up there, you can sit at a bench, relax and take in the rewarding views.

The trail is a dirt path that has some stone steps and bridges to cross the river. There are markers and occasional benches to stop and catch your breath. The views while hiking to the lake are also gorgeous so make sure you take them all in!

The Lake

Once you near the top, the trail narrows and there are some steep drops off to the side. This part does not last long- just a few more stairs and you will be rewarded with the views of Hanging Lake!

The lake is a breathtaking clear blue-green color surrounded by the dark green of the pines, orange of the rocks and white of the bridal veil falls pouring into it. You can even see some fish swimming around in the lake! There are a few benches way up here where you can rest and just be in the moment.

Things to know before you go

  1. There are no bathrooms or water fountains here. Be prepared before you arrive.
  2. Good shoes are a must! There are lots of rocks, roots and branches that you can trip on and hurt yourself if you aren’t prepared.
  3. Pets and bikes are not allowed on the trails.
  4. You must have a reservation in order to visit. The rangers will not allow you to hike without one.
  5. Swimming and fishing are not allowed in the lake.

Have you visited Hanging Lake? Do you have any more questions about the park and surrounding areas? Send us an email or let us know in the comments below.

Happy hiking!

Horseshoe Bend

Page, Arizona- a quaint town found just south of the border between Arizona and Utah. It’s easy to just glance over this city on a map, but if you actually go and visit, you will quickly see why it is one of our favorite places in the United States.

On the south side of town lies Horseshoe Bend. The park and overlook consists of a parking lot (accessible for small visiting fee depending on the vehicle) and a short trail from the parking lot to the overlook. At the end of that trail is some of the most beautiful landscape we have ever seen. We highly recommend visiting at sunset so you can see what we saw- the red rocky canyon glowing with the light of the setting sun, beautiful clouds lit up by the sunset and hundreds of shades of blue and green swirling in the mighty Colorado river.

Horseshoe bend has become quite popular over the last few years and if you decide to visit at sunset, we highly recommend showing up early for a few reasons:

  1. Parking. If you get here early enough, you will have plenty of space to park. You do have to pay a small fee when you arrive and the lines can get backed up as people have to fish for their wallets and loose change in the car. NOTE– this is NOT a US National park, so national park passes will not be accepted here
  2. Walk. Once you get your vehicle parked, it is a little over a half mile walk to the edge of the canyon where you will get the best views of Horseshoe Bend. Plan to take some time walking there and enjoying the sights on the way. The trail is fairly flat and it is paved, making it a relatively easy walk there- just plan ahead and be prepared for a light hike.
  3. Amazing views. The views here are incredible- especially as the sun begins to set. If you arrive early, you can explore Horseshoe Bend from many different angles and observe how the landscape changes with the changing light. The middle of the bend contains a paved viewing area with a safety fence, but the rest of the bend is unpaved and contains no barriers for the edge of the canyon (about 1,000 feet above the river!). There is much to explore but do so at your own risk.
  4. Busy. As we mentioned earlier, this place is very popular and can get very busy. The earlier you arrive, the easier it will be for you to get some great pictures of the bend without having to edit out other visitors. Remember, Instagram doesn’t always show the truth!

If you do visit Horseshoe Bend, remember to be kind and patient with other visitors and help keep this amazing place beautiful by taking any trash with you when you leave.

Have you ever visited Horseshoe Bend? Let us know what you thought about it! Send us an email or just add a comment below- we love to talk about travel and are always looking for new ideas.

Cheers!

Cream and Amber

Cream and Amber is a small book store in Hopkins, Minnesota. They offer a large selection of new and new-used books for sale along with local trinkets, small stickers, local art and other book related items.

In addition to books, they also sell coffee, tea and espresso beverages. They even have a few local beers on tap- hence the name Cream and Amber. There is a meeting room in the back that is a perfect space for a small book club to meet and can be reserved for this very purpose. There are also some tables in the back where you can sit and read a new book and enjoy a beverage while doing so. There is also a small outdoor patio where you can enjoy your beverage and book while enjoying the flowers and sunshine.

If you are in the area and want to support your local bookstore be sure to stop in and say hello, grab a coffee and browse the shelves. In addition to in store shopping, you can always visit their website to shop and ship books wherever you want.

Looking for a gift idea for a book lover in your life? Check out their monthly subscriptions where you get a new book every month along with a bag of coffee beans roasted in the Twin Cities. These subscriptions can also be shipped wherever you need it to go.

Whenever I am in Hopkins I try to stop in just to say hello and to see what is new. The employees are so friendly and are eager to give recommendations and help you find your new favorite book.

Happy Reading!

Minneapolis- St. Paul Airport (MSP)

Of all of the traveling we have done over the years and airports we have been to, MSP is one of our favorites, especially Terminal 1. It is clean, modern, convenient and the employees here are all MN nice! Whether you are starting your trip from here or you just have a layover, there is something to keep the boredom at bay while you wait for your plane.

Arcade

In the rarely used A concourse, you will find a small arcade. There is hardly ever anyone here because it is so tucked away, making it a great reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the airport. There are some old school games here like Pac-Man and a few multi player games too. There are even some comfy chairs and bigger tables, making it a fun place to hang out if you have a few hours to wait.

The Art Gallery

In the C concourse, you will find a collection of art with local scenes. There are lots of couches and chairs here also that are quite a bit comfier than the ones at the gates. If you like watching planes, that’s OK too! There are huge windows here you can look out of while enjoying some R&R before your travels.

The Food

MSP airport is one of the best airports in my opinion, because of all the choices of food! There are lots of fast food/ grab and go options if you are in a rush, but there are a lot of nicer, sit down places that offer full menus of food with a lot of options- including vegetarian! One of our favorite places to stop if we have time is Black Sheep for their woodfired pizzas.

The Mall

Need to do some last minute shopping? MSP airport has you covered! Whether you need some Minnesotan souvenirs, a new book or magazine, toys and snacks for the plane or anything with Prince on it, you can find it in the Mall! Located right in the middle of the terminal, you can’t miss it. It does get fairly crowded here, so if you are looking to do some laid back shopping, you might want to look elsewhere.

We hope you find this guide helpful for your journey! If your final destination is Minnesota, check out some of our other guides for some ideas of things to do in the area!

Happy Travels!

Afterword Tavern and Shelves

I am always on the hunt for unique independent bookstores to visit when we travel anywhere new. When we were in Kansas City, we found this gem that I am very excited to share with you!

Afterword Tavern and Shelves is a unique book store can be found in the Crossroads district of Kansas City. They offer a smaller selection of new books, but they also have a full bar that serves a rotating menu of book themed cocktails! There is an abundance of cozy seating and large tables perfect for meeting up with friends and chatting about books together.

The interior of the shop is small, but cozy. It is decorated with brick walls, large open bookshelves and candles which give this place a very warm and inviting feel.

After you are done browsing for the perfect book, be sure to stop at the bar and try one of their delicious cocktails to pair with your new book. If you are local to the area, they also offer a subscription where you can get a new book and a bottle of wine to go with it- a great gift idea for anyone who lives in Kansas City!

If you are planning on visiting Kansas City, check out our guide to 3 Days in Kansas City for some ideas on other things to see and do in the area.

Let us know what you think when you get a chance to visit!

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, Idaho

Have you ever wanted to feel like you are on another planet without needing a spaceship, gear and a lot less planning? Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho might be just the place for you!

This place is in South Central (a.k.a. out in the middle of nowhere) Idaho. As you drive along Highway 26, you will see a lot of flat land covered in sage bushes, some mountains and buttes off in the distance, but not much else. As you get closer to the park, you will start to see these strange black rocks laying all over until that is all you see covering the ground.

Once you get to the park, you will be able to see all kinds of strange volcanic rocks and formations. The park lies on the Great Rift volcanic rift zone which is how all the strange rock formations and rugged terrain came to be. This is one of the few places in the world where you are able to see these kinds of rocks and formations. It is a great place to visit if you like geology!

Things to do

Stop at the Visitor Center

Here you will be able to pick up a map and get some ideas from the rangers for what kinds of activities to do depending on the time of year you are visiting. There are also nice bathrooms here and will be the last with sinks you will see in the park. There is also a museum where you can learn about the geology of the area, including what different kinds of rocks are present in the park, types of lava flows that occurred here and how they were formed. In addition to rocks, the museum includes exhibits about the plants and animals that call Craters home. Lastly, there are exhibits on the peoples who have traveled through Craters many years ago and about the astronauts that came to Craters in preparation for their missions to the moon!

Hike up a Spatter or Inferno Cone

These strange formations are formed from the last little bits of magma that came bubbling to the surface. As the rocks erupted and hardened, you can see these cones that look like hills made of black gravel and strange hollow rocks. If you decide to hike up to the top of the inferno cone, you will get a great vantage point of the park and can see just how big the eruptions actually were.

Camping

There are a few different options for camping at the park. First is the Lava Flow campground. Here you will find sites with a charcoal grill and picnic table; however, there are no hookups available here. There is also an area available for group camping if you are visiting with more than 8 people. Lastly, if you are feeling brave, there is backcountry/ wilderness camping available. For more information about camping at the park, check out the NPS website for Craters of the Moon.

Explore the park via snowshoes or skiis

This park and visitor center remains open during the winter months. Craters is a completely different kind of wild in the wintertime with the white snow set against the black volcanic rocks. Snowshoes are available to rent from the visitor center and you can find trail maps to help guide you through the park in the snow.

Gaze at the Stars

Since there is really nothing anywhere close to this park, it gets very dark at night which makes it perfect for stargazing. Whether you are camping or decided to just come for a few hours after dark, on a clear night you will have an awesome view of the night sky and will see a mind boggling amount of stars. This is a great experience at any of the National Parks if you get the chance!

Explore the Caves and Lava Tubes

When the lava was flowing through this area many years ago, a system of caves and tubes were created underground. Some of them are small and you need to crouch down to see anything, while others are huge and you need to be careful not to get lost in them! There are quite a few marked caves that you can go spelunking in that are right off the main trails. The Indian Tunnel cave even has stairs that make getting into the cave to explore a lot easier. NOTE- you will need a permit to go in any of the caves. These are free and can be picked up at the visitor center.

Things to keep in mind

  • This place gets HOT in the summer. There is not very much shade and the black lava rocks just absorb heat all day. Bring a lot of water with you and make sure your water bottles are full before you do any hikes- even short ones. Water bottle filling stations can be found at the visitor center.
  • Keep the bats safe! If you go into any of the caves, do not wear any clothing or shoes that you have worn in any other caves!!! It is possible for you to transmit diseases to the bats that call these caves home without even knowing it. More information can be found at the visitor center.
  • Don’t get lost off-roading. This park is huge and there is a lot of backcountry space to explore, but there is also not a lot of cell phone reception in case of emergency, so be careful if you decide to explore off the trails.

Have you visited Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve? Do you have any more questions about the park and surrounding areas? Send us an email or let us know in the comments below.

Happy exploring!

Featured Fall Getaway- Duluth, MN

Are you looking for a place to getaway this fall? Perhaps somewhere you can see the beautiful fall foliage, walk along the coastline of the largest Great Lake, and try some fabulous fares and brews? If the answer is YES, Duluth is just the place for you this fall!

There is so much to see and do here that visiting Duluth could easily be something more than just a day trip. Stay the weekend and see all the great things this Northern City and the surrounding area has to offer. This guide encompasses some of our favorite things to see and do and places to eat in the Duluth area. We hope you find it helpful and take the time to visit this fall.

First of all, lets talk food and brews. There are so many great options including Fitger’s, Clyde Iron Works, Canal Park Brewing and many more. Conveniently, our top three places offer scrumptious selections of both!

Fitger’s Inn is a historic establishment that has been around since the mid- 1800s! It is even registered as a national historic place. The brewery survived prohibition by crafting soda and candy instead of ales. Today, it is a restaurant, brewery and hotel all in one! It is located right on the coastline of Lake Superior and has trail access to the Duluth Lakewalk. There is also a mall underneath the inn with an assortment of small boutiques where you can shop for unique gifts. Inside the brewhouse restaurant is a classic take on American fare. We really enjoyed the burgers- especially the Minnesota wild rice burger and the apricot ale.

Clyde Iron Works is located in a bright, beautiful and modern remodeled historic machine factory hidden on the south side of town. As soon as we walked through the door, our mouths were watering from the pleasant aromas of their spectacular homemade sauces and doughs. We really liked the homemade stromboli and wood-fired pizzas. They have plenty of seating, and they also host events here if you are looking for a wedding venue or hosting a large party. In addition to being a great stop for food, they are also opening up their own craft brewery soon. Unfortunately, the beers weren’t ready when we stopped here last time, but we look forward to trying them next time!

Last but not least, Canal Park Brewing is another brewery and restaurant that is splendidly located right on the coast of Lake Superior. They have a lot of space indoors, but if you are visiting on one of Duluth’s rare warmer days (summer doesn’t last long up here!), Canal Park has a spacious patio right on the edge of Duluth’s harbor. Inside or outside, Canal Park features close up views of Lake Superior and Duluth’s port. We always enjoy their unique takes on American fare. We especially enjoy their fish tacos and mango habanero burger. They have an extensive craft beer selection, but our favorite is the Nut Hatchet brown ale.

In addition to excellent food and drink at Canal Park Brewery, they are also in a prime location for shopping. Along Canal Park, you will find blocks of small touristy shops where you can get stickers, postcards, t-shirts, etc. There are also some small art studios that feature prints, pottery, glass and more that are made by local artists.

Not really that into shopping? Thats OK! If you do find yourself in the Canal Park area, we highly recommend visiting the park itself. There are 2 really cool lighthouses- the Duluth North Pier and South Breakwater lighthouses- that you can walk up to and watch the huge ships sailing by on their way to and from the Atlantic Ocean. If you are interested in the big ships and want to know more about where they are coming from, going to, and what they are carrying, you can stop at the Lake Superior Marine Museum to find out all of that and more.

From the park, you will also get a great view of the famous aerial lift bridge. This bridge was built in the very early 1900s and rises over 200 feet into the air to allow boats to pass under it!

From the lighthouses, we recommend taking a walk along the Duluth Lakewalk to get some more views of the city, lake, and lighthouses. The lakewalk is about 8 miles total and the entire trail is paved making it a great option for bikes, scooters and strollers in addition to walking or jogging. If you start at Canal Park and head north, you will walk right by the Fitger’s mall and restaurant. There is also a great ice cream place called Crank and Dasher that is right off the trail if you need something sweet to continue on the lakewalk.

Another great stop is the Enger Tower. This tower was built in 1939 and can be found on one of the highest spots in Duluth. You can climb the stairs in the tower and get some beautiful views of the entire city and the surrounding area.

Heights aren’t really your thing? No worries! There are lots of other things to do here instead including picnicking, taking some hiking trails, walking through the gardens or just sitting and enjoying the nature.

If it is a bit chilly or rainy when you visit, there is a lot of indoor things to see as well. The Great Lakes Aquarium is a unique spot to spend the afternoon. You can see the local fish and learn about the ecosystem of Lake Superior. More into history than fish? Check out the Lake Superior Railroad Museum! Here you can take a step back in time and read up on the role of the railroads and how important they were in this big shipping town. You can also experience some refurbished old trains to see and feel what they were like back in the early 1900s.

The railroad museum also offers Train Excursions on the North Shore Scenic Railroad. There are quite a few different rides to choose from including a fall leaf train, short rides or all day excursions up the coast of Lake Superior, and many more. Check out their website for info on tickets and what excursions are available.

If you don’t take the train up the coast for scenic views, you can drive instead and take in the North Shore at your own pace. Along the coast is a few stops that we recommend- Betty’s Pies, Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse. Of course there are so many other beautiful places to see and countless things to do on this route, but we will focus on these three.

First up, Betty’s Pies. Pies are constantly being baked fresh here and whether you like fruity or creamy, chocolate or cinnamon, crust or crumble there is a pie here for you! They also serve food here, but we have only ever stopped for dessert. If you find a slice of pie you really like, they do sell whole pies to take home as well!

If you continue up the coast from Betty’s, the next stop will be Gooseberry Falls. This is a beautiful state park that has a huge, tiered waterfall tucked away among the trees. There is a small building here with some maps and bathrooms right at the trailhead. If you follow the trails, you will see the many falls this park has to offer. There are a few routes that are more strenuous, but there are plenty of less strenuous ones that also give great views of the falls.

Last but not least, if you continue North up the coast, you can see Split Rock Lighthouse. This historic lighthouse is perched on a cliff overlooking Lake Superior and offers beautiful views anytime of year, but is absolutely glowing in fall.

Like we mentioned earlier, there are a lot of other places to stop for arts and crafts, food and drink or scenic views with rocky beaches to dip your feet in the lake and get some great photos of the fall foliage decorating the coast.

Looking for more things to do in the fall? Check out our guide for 5 Fabulous Fall Activities in Minnesota for some other seasonal ideas.

Happy Wandering!

5 Fabulous Fall Activities in Minnesota

Once September starts, I am all ready for fall. I love everything about this time of the year- the beautiful fall colors, the weather, the sounds, smells, soups and sweaters. Fall in the Midwest is a beautiful but very short time of year. We always try to make the most of it for the short time we are able to enjoy these few fabulous fall weeks.

We created this list of some of our favorite fall activities/ places to visit in Minnesota throughout September, October and November. If you are feeling inspired to get out and see what this time of year has to offer in the Upper Midwest, this guide is exactly what you need!


1. Drive up the North Shore for scenic views of Lake Superior

The North Shore is the part of Minnesota that is north of Duluth and continues up the coast of Lake Superior all the way to Canada. There are so many scenic views and great biking/ hiking trails to explore along the coastline. Some of the more famous stops along this drive include Duluth itself, Betty’s Pies, Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse. If you continue North, there is a lot more to see and do, so take some time and explore!

We like visiting Duluth because there are so many great choices for food and drink here- Canal Park, Fitgers, and Crank & Dasher Icecream just to name a few! You can also see the famous lift bridge and watch huge shipping boats passing through on their way to the Atlantic.

Once you leave Duluth and continue northwards on Highway 61, make a stop at Betty’s Pies. They are constantly baking new fresh pies and they are available for purchase by the slice or you can get a whole pie! We recommend grabbing a slice to go and taking it with you to the next stop- Gooseberry Falls State Park. This is a beautiful place to stop and have a picnic (or a slice of pie) and walk to the falls, taking in all the beauty surrounding you.

If you continue north from there, you will come across the famous Split Rock Lighthouse. You can get scenic views of the fall foliage and the lighthouse with Lake Superior in the background. There are more hiking trails and picnic areas here as well.

There is a lot more to see and do on Minnesota’s North Shore that we do not have time to write about now, but if you make the trip up here, you will not be disappointed with a plethora of outdoor activities, jaw dropping views and quaint coastal towns.

Let us know what you like to do on Minnesota’s North Shore!

2. Visit an apple orchard/ pumpkin patch

This is one of my most favorite things to do on a sunny, cool, crisp fall day. There are so many great apple orchards and pumpkin patches around the Twin Cities area to visit! One of our favorites is the Luce Line Orchard. They have beautiful gardens, corn mazes, animals, great food and even better caramel apples. You can stop in their shop to get fall decorations or pre picked apples and homemade pies to take with you.

If you want to pick your own apples, there are rows and rows of apple trees here with an amazing variety of fresh, crisp, sweet apples for you to pick and take home with you.

This is a great place for small kids because there are short trails to walk on, lots of cute little animals to visit, playgrounds and lots of space to explore. Dogs are also welcome here and there is a lot of parking available, so you don’t have to worry about driving all the way to Waconia and not finding a place to park (even though the drive is gorgeous and makes the time in the car worth it).

Some other orchards that we like to visit include Sunnybrook Apple Orchard and Applecrest Orchards, but there are so many great ones out there to visit. Let us know what your favorites are!

3. See the pumpkin display at the Minnesota Zoo

The Minnesota Zoo puts on an amazing display of glowing jack-o-lanterns each year during the month of October. There are over 5,000 carved and lit pumpkins of all sizes and with just about any face (or animal) you can imagine! Tickets are needed for this event and should be purchased in advance. You walk along a paved trail (about a half mile) and can marvel at the sights and sounds of all the glowing pumpkins and the Halloween music playing in the background. Don’t forget to look for Waldo and Carmen SanDiego!

4. Hike the trails along the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers

These rivers are beautiful places to explore any time of year, but our favorite time to visit is during the fall when most of the leaves are in their peak color for the year. There are so many great trailheads to start from, so pick one that sounds interesting and enjoy the beautiful scenery surrounding you. There are also many orchards, pumpkin patches and small towns to tour along these rivers.

5. See the scarecrows and fall plants at the MN Landscape Arboretum

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is a great place to visit. With thousands of plants and trees to look at and miles of trails to walk, bike, or drive through, you can easily spend a whole afternoon here. In the fall, they decorate the gardens with scarecrows made of all sorts of things you can find in a garden or your own backyard.

Down the road from the Arboretum, you will find the AppleHouse. Here you can find bags of delicious apples, baked goods, caramel apples and all kinds of fall decorations available for purchase. There is also usually a truck outside selling apple cider donuts if you want something warm to satisfy your sweet tooth!


We hope you enjoyed this list of our favorite fall activities and you are inspired to go out and try some of these things too! What are your favorite things to do in the fall? Send us an email or leave a comment and let us know what your favorite fall activities are. We are always looking for something new to try!