Tag Archives: Travel

Starting a New Year, Let’s Revisit Some of My Favorites

Hello Everyone!

It’s been a little while since you’ve heard from me. For the past year, I’ve been working on finishing up my MBA and have only a couple more months to go. (Hallelujah!) I think about Down Home Traveler often and have a ton to catch up on including trips to Kansas (I saw Toto), Chicago, Nashville, Maine and Vermont. Last year was exciting!

It’s always wonderful to plan trips at the beginning of the new year, both near and far. To provide a little bit on inspiration, I wanted to share some of my favorites and hopefully inspire and hear some about some of your upcoming trips!
Vermont, Hike, Winter, Snow, Forest, Snow Covered Trees, Richford Vermont, Green Mountains

Take a Hike: I have to be the only one having a backwards seasonal depression – I’m missing the white powdery snow. It’s a great time to get outside and enjoy what there is to offer. Take a hike or go skiing/snowboarding if you’re a little north of Texas or get on your bike or put your hiking boots (or rubber boots as of late).
[Note: If cold weather isn’t for you, I’ve got that covered too. Vermont is great for hiking, fishing, canoeing and an all around exploration of what we love best – the outdoors.
Texas – we went to Knobb Hill Mountain Bike Trails in Roanoke a couple weekends ago and it’s definitely worth the trip!}

Fredericksburg, Texas, VisitFredTX, Wine Trail, Hill Country, Fredericksburg To Do, Becker Vineyards

Fredericksburg, Texas. In Texas and needing a break? Plan a trip to Fredericksburg, Texas. Wine, distilleries, food, hiking, wonderful people and comfort in wonderful B&B’s and Inns all around town. This is truly a unique and affordable getaway for anyone.
Alternative: Dripping Springs, Texas. A short drive outside of Austin, Dripping Springs is flourishing with unique lodging locations, distilleries, wine and production of olive oil.


While you’re in Fredericksburg, I HIGHLY recommend Lost Draw Cellars. Their wine is fantastic but this is more than wine tasting, it’s a piece of Fredericksburg history. If you’re lucky, Troy will be in and he is not only one of the three owners but he is the sixth generation Fredericksburg community member. His family helped to establish Fredericksburg and he believes in keeping the community close. Definitely a place to stop and we can’t wait to go back and visit.

Dancehall, Texas, Historic Places, Bar, Bluff-Dale, Small-Texas-Towns,

Is a day trip what you’re looking for? Maybe something out of the ordinary? Look no further than The Greenwood Dancehall and Saloon in Bluff Dale, Texas. If you blink, you may miss this town – so be ready. A little rustic and full of “country eclectic” decor.

Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival, Fort Worth Texas

Each spring, the Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival comes to life. This is by far one of my favorite events and showcases the best of Fort Worth. Whether its BBQ, desserts, whiskey, wine, beer, breakfast, burgers or even food trucks, there will be something for you. Come with an empty stomach, stretchy pants or a loose belt because this will be one of the best food festivals you’ll get to enjoy in Texas!

Sugarhouse, Maple Syrup, Vermont Maple, Vermont, Northern Vermont Maple, Tradition

Maple Sugarhouses. If you’re in Vermont, it’s almost time to enjoy the sweet, sweet Maple gold! There is absolutely nothing like the smell of a sugarhouse and the taste of the freshest maple syrup. Take a drive, look for the steam coming from the sugarhouses and stop in for a visit. It’s the best time of year. [Note: Keep the annual Maple Syrup Festival on your calendars at the April.]

I can’t wait to hear what you have planned for 2018 adventures! What’s on your list?

Vermont, Lake Carmi, Scenery

Welcome to Vermont – Part II

If you’ve had a chance to view Part I of our trip to Vermont, it’s pretty obvious we were having a lot of fun with plenty of activities. With this being Spencer’s first trip to the Green Mountain State, there was ample opportunity to play the part of a tourist. Even if it’s your home state, there’s always ample opportunity to be a tourist – whether it’s something that you may have never experienced or visited, ask “why not?”!

Here are a few adventures we went on in Northern Vermont. If you’re planning a visit (or being a tourist for a day yourself), we highly recommend them all!

Wine Tasting at Borden Valley Winery, Cambridge.

Boyden Valley Winery, Cambridge, Vermont
Wine, cider, dessert wine and liqueur. Oh yes – for $10, the tasting included 7 tastings from a masterful list (of all of the above) and a very nice wine glass to keep. Afterwards, we took our glass, picked a favorite bottle to enjoy outside on the terrace and enjoyed incredible views of the Green Mountains and the vineyard grounds. Tours are available twice a day and in the fall there is a pretty great corn maze. I stuck to pretty much anything with the word “maple” – if you know me this is no surprise. That sweet stuff runs through my veins.

My personal favorite – Glogg. Holy moly! If you haven’t tried Glogg, you’re missing out. This is a  wine which you serve warm that tastes like a spice cake / loaf right out of the oven. Do yourself a favor and go to their website and just order yourself a bottle. I look forward to hearing how you’ll be ordering another!

The Old College Grounds! 

Champlain College_0085
My almamatra is Champlain College. I couldn’t have picked a better college to attend anywhere. Good ole Camp Champ as we like to call it. A lot has changed on campus since I attended and it is definitely a lot different than the University of Texas where Spencer went. We met up with an old college friend / prior employer / school mom while we were there and she took us on a tour including taking a peak into one of the dorms on campus. A lot has changed since I graduated. I can’t begin to talk about the flashbacks of this wonderful place (including being super excited to see the booths in the cafeteria for some reason). Sending photos to college friends while on tour definitely took place! It’s safe to say that some things haven’t changed. We still have the best view in town!

Champlain College_0078

Burlington – Oh Burlington.

It’s funny how you don’t realize how much you miss somewhere until you hit up the old stomping grounds. If you’re ever in Burlington and can only do three things they need to include visiting the waterfront, experiencing a brewery (there are a ton of Pine Street now) and eating downtown.

The waterfront is one of a kind. This is where you can breathe and take in the amazing scenery. It doesn’t get much better. Find yourself a swing by the lake and sit a while.

Lake Champlain Waterfront_0090

Breweries. The brew scene has blown up and they’re all great. Visit one or visit them all. We stopped by Switchback. I remember visiting this place when they had just opened. Tours were by phone call only. The owner received his degree in beer brewing from UCLA (who gave us the tour) and you could only find it in the bars downtown. Times have changed. Love their success.

Remember: Vermont has the best breweries in the country.


Eat downtown. If a chain is on your agenda, it won’t be found here. Burlington has some of the best eateries around. This trip included a trip to Kountry Kart Deli on Main Street for a Rise and Shiner – the best sandwich you will have in your life. I’m fairly certain that I haven’t had one since college and maybe never one sober and it was still as good as I remember. Sausage, egg, hash brown and cheese on a bun fresh off the grill. Dinner was at American Flatbread. Yes, these are the same pizza’s that can be found in the frozen section at the grocery store but you really need to have one in Vermont. Fresh, local ingredients paired with a local craft beer and a dinner really can’t get much better than that!

The One and Only – Vermont Sugarhouse Experience

Maple Syrup_0922a
Visit a sugarhouse and experience maple. The prime maple season is in the spring when everything begins to thaw. This is where liquid gold is made and the process is amazing (and so are the locations).

Get Outside – Hike

Mt Mansfield Summit_0121
The Green Mountains are my favorite mountains in the world. It wouldn’t be right to go to Vermont and not enjoy nature and be active outside. Spencer and I hiked Mt Mansfield, the highest peak in the state of Vermont. This trip, we took the Toll Road (read about my first hike to the summit here) and hiked two miles to the top. Lucky for us, we were the only ones on the summit. We had the whole top of Vermont to ourselves!! How incredible is that?

Mt Mansfield, Summit, Vermont, Stowe, Hike, Long Trail, Green Mountains

Spencer Takes a Ride

Ford Model A_0208
My dad is an antique car enthusiast. That’s probably putting it lightly. The man loves his old cars. I think Spencer really enjoyed checking out the vehicles and going for a ride with him.

I think it’s safe to say Vermont was a success. It goes by entirely too fast. Way too fast.

What are some things that you enjoy most about going home?

Vermont, Lake Carmi, Scenery

Welcome to Vermont – Part I

We have recently returned back from a trip to  Vermont! Why does it feel like each time we head home, there’s never enough time? Does anyone else feel like this? Vacations are important and we all need that time to completely check out – which was done. The phone was on silent, I hardly checked email and to be completely honest I think it’s safe to say I forgot what email and what day it was for most of the trip. That must mean it was a success, right?

The exciting news – Spencer experienced his first trip to Vermont. I have a feeling this die hard Texan was a little nervous to travel north of the Mason Dixon line but I think it’s safe to say he enjoyed himself. This provided the opportunity to play the part of a tour guide and be a tourist in my home state. Because there’s so much that I want to share, I’m splitting this up into two parts! Here is the first part of our recap back home!

The trip home. Amazingly enough, I’m not sure if I have ever flown through Laguardia. Turns out, the view is pretty fantastic and there was a little surprise for us when we landed. Sights to be seen!

New York City_0034 Donald Trump Plane_0039

I love visiting New York City. It’s amazing how much fills this little space down below. Oh the dreams and adventures!

When we landed in Vermont, there are priorities. First, it’s always a hello from whoever is picking me up. This trip it was my mama and oldest niece. It’s so amazing to see the world through a child’s eyes.

The second priority comes before we even make it home. We must stop for a creemee. If a creemee is unfamiliar, it’s soft serve ice cream. Actually it’s better than regular ice cream, it’s truly the best kind of ice cream, especially with rainbow sprinkles. They come in all kinds of flavors (usually there’s a special flavor of the week). My personal favorites include maple and black raspberry but who am I kidding, I really won’t turn one down. And for the record, there are places better than others – my recommendation is Devyns in Enosburg!

Devyns Creemee_0044

Since Spencer was new in town, he got the “grand tour”. This is pretty funny considering my area of Vermont is filled with dairy farms, cows, pastures and trees. There’s a “lot of nothing” as he put it but it’s my favorite kind of nothing. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I mean, it’s pretty darn pretty! Along the way we drove by Lake Carmi and what a beautiful view it provided!

Lake Carmi_0047

Lake Carmi_0052

Spencer was also lucky enough to take a ride in my dad’s old pickup. I think these two guys were pretty darn happy with themselves.

Model A Ford_0053

Finally, what’s a trip home without attending a sporting event at your old high school. In Texas, it centers around football but in Vermont, we go for basketball or baseball/softball. This trip, it’s baseball season. The girls, currently undefeated and heading towards a state final and hopefully championship. The boys, keeping us on our toes! I think this brought up a lot old memories playing for Spencer, definitely my sister-in-law and myself.

Richford Falcons_0106

Stay tuned for the next post about popular spots to visit when in Vermont for every visitor!

What are the things that you look most forward to when visiting home?