One of my favorite things about Lake Placid is the town’s continued Olympic spirit. LP is the home to the 1932 and 1980 games and they’re not about to let you forget it! They continue to celebrate their spirited and competitive history with lots of fun sites to see. I was excited to take my mom to visit two of my favorites- the 1980 Herb Brooks arena and the Lake Placid Olympic Museum.
We started a rainy day by checking out the Lake Placid Olympic Museum. Tucked into a back corner of the hockey complex building, the museum is small but packs a ton of great memorabilia.
The museum covers both the 1932 and 1980 games while explaining how Lake Placid became a winter sports hub in the first place.
The best part is that the museum’s displays change from time to time so it’s always worth another visit to see what’s new!
Next we headed to the 1980 Herbs Brooks Arena to check out the home to USA Hockey’s Miracle on Ice. In the throws of the Cold War tension between the US and the Soviet Union a group of American college hockey players pulled off an amazing upset over the professional Soviet Union men’s hockey team to go on to win that year’s gold medal. Dubbed ‘the miracle on ice’, this is the arena where that game was played.
We watched the movie, Miracle, which recaps the team’s road to success the night prior so it was exciting to be where the real event happened.
If you’re enjoying reading about Lake Placid’s Olympic offerings, feel free to check out my recap of visiting the Olympic ski jumps here.
I originally wrote this post back in September because I was so excited to share one of my favorite ways to drink at Disney: the monorail bar crawl! I typed everything out but when I went to add pictures from my previous crawls I couldn’t find any of them! I switch from a PC to a Mac a couple months back and some of my pictures are god-knows-where in limbo. Being the dutiful blogger I am (please note the sarcasm) I couldn’t let you guys down so this past Friday I kicked off my Walt Disney World marathon weekend with yet another ride on the monorail.
You won’t even have to crawl (or walk, run, etc.) because this crawl utilizes Disney’s highway-in-the-sky monorail system that connects the three original resorts built on Walt Disney World: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Disney Contemporary Resort, and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Without further adieu I present my best tips and drinks to enjoy while you crawl:
Stop one: The Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
The beauty of this crawl is it’s circular nature which allows you to go in any order that tickles your fancy but I always like to kick things off at The Wave. My recommended drink here (as long as you brought a friend) is unique to this resort:
The Seven Seas Lagoon is 24 ounces of delicious mixed drink complete with Swedish fish, peach ring life-preservers, and tropical boba pearls.
Back up bar choice: California Grille’s lounge doesn’t require reservation and has specular views of the Magic Kingdom. However, seating is limited! Also consider Outer Rim situated right next to Chef Mickey’s. We visited here on marathon weekend and they had special drinks whipped up to celebrated:
Stop two: Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
The Polynesian boasts the best drinks on the crawl so it’s hard to make just one recommendation. Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace is my favorite top because if you time it right you can enjoy the Magic Kingdom’s Happily Ever After fireworks display from your seat! My recommended drink here comes with a take home cup:
The Shrunken Zombie Head is a rum cocktail that comes in an equally creepy and cool cup that I keep on a shelf at home.
Back up bar choice: Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is the indoor, official tiki bar while the Tiki Terrace is the outdoor off-shoot. The Grotto is fully immersive with lots of Jungle Cruise inspired jokes and special effects to match the drink orders. Be warned: it’s difficult to walk up here without a wait. My other favorite bar at the Polynesian is the Tambu Lounge located adjacent to Ohana. Tambu Lounge offers many great choices (including the option to drink out of a pinapple!) My favorite here is the Back Scratcher:
Stop three: Mizner’s Lounge at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
I love to wrap up my crawl with a stop at the ever-classy feeling Mizner’s Lounge. Tucked just behind the live band on the second floor, Mizner’s doesn’t have a speciality cocktail to recommend so I say go with:
The Godiva Chocolate Martini is sweet enough to please the palate of even the most beginner martini sipper. Plus, if there ever was a place to sip a drink pinky out, the Grand is it!
Back up bar choice: Citricos Lounge offers a menu of unique cocktails that can be enjoyed without a reservation. Be advised that they have more limited hours that Mizner’s so make sure to check ahead and plan accordingly. Citricos does offer speciality cocktails that you won’t find in Mizner’s but they also offer a great wine selection so that’s my personal pick!
Are you a Disney World person? Have you ever complete the monorail bar crawl? Any must have drinks that I didn’t mention?
When looking for things to do in Edinburgh, the Royal Botanic Garden was at the top of my list. I love visiting public gardens when I travel because they’re beautiful and usually cheap or free. Even on a misty, cool fall day the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens didn’t disappoint. We got to enjoy low crowds too which made many areas feel like our own private backyard.
The gardens are open daily but hours vary so check their website. Admission is free however they offers options to see additional indoor exhibits for a small fee. Here is some of the beauty that awaits you:
I loved it here and would go back in a minute. I’m sure it’s just spectacular on a sunny, clear day when you can see the city on the hillside beyond the gardens. Have you been to the Royal Botanic Gardens? What’s your favorite time of year to visit?
In other news- the adventures continue in 2019 as I head to Walt Disney World on Friday! If you want to follow along keep your eyes on my instagram story for live updates.
Now that it’s officially 2019 let me take a moment to say: Happy New Year! Thanks for visiting this year! Today I’m taking it back to my October trip to the Adirondacks once more to talk about how I stumbled upon the Jay Covered Bridge in Jay, NY. What I love about this was it happened as a true accidental adventure.
We started out the day by driving towards White Face to check out the area because I hadn’t been past Lake Placid before. It was too foggy to drive to the mountain’s summit so we drove past the road for that and took a few random turns to enjoy the scenery. When we finally came upon the tiny town square of Jay, New York we decided to use the opportunity to loop around and head back to Lake Placid. Once I turned the car around, and just as we were about to head out of town I saw a sign advertising the ‘historic covered bridge’ so on a whim we looped around again to see the bridge.
Given that it was a rainy, foggy weekday, no one else was around which made for a very enjoyable and private wander around what we learned was the Adirondack’s last standing covered bridge.
The bridge had fallen into disarray after a truck accident but it was fully restored in 2006. It’s now for pedestrians only as an alternative bridge over Ausable Chasm was built next door.
There are signs up on both ends that talk about the rich history of the bridge.
My mom and I both agreed that this was a beautifully serene stop and we were glad we’d turned around on a whim to check it out.
Find or make three group boards on Pinterest- I didn’t do nearly as well at completing my goals this month. I don’t regret it because the reason I didn’t spend as much time on my blog was because I was enjoying my holidays with family! I totally failed at this goal- didn’t make or find a single group board aside from the one that I was already part of. I’ll keep this in mind in the future.
Curate my Pinterest boards to 50 pins each- I added significantly to all of my boards but none of them are over 50 pins. I’m ok with this- I want to make sure I’m adding good content and not just pinning things to meet a number quota.
Tweet 4 times per week– I didn’t tweet four times a week but I think I did better at sharing original content and engaging with other people.
Beat out my old record for a post with the most views or comments- Success! I beat my old record for most views this month by writing about Haleakala National Park!
Memories from 2018:
January- I started off 2018 with a massive accomplishment by completing runDisney’s Dopey Challenge. I recently finished a series of posts on the experience that you can read here.
February- My sister and I celebrated her 30th birthday in a grand fashion by cruising to the Bahamas on Norwegian Cruise Line! We got to visit the beautiful Atlantis resort- read about that here.
March- I turned 25 this year- a quarter century old!
April- I made my first trek to Hawaii! I got to see so many beautiful things and I have lots more things I want to share from that trip in the future. I’ve already shared about visiting Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm here, and Haleakala National Park here.
May- Spring was in full bloom in Connecticut this month and I took advantage of visiting the local park to check it out.
June- I did my first yoga at the winery class at Arrigoni Winery- I love that place! You can read more about it here.
July- This month I enjoyed a week long family vacation in Rhode Island. One of my favorite memories from this trip was seeing Connecticut’s light houses on the Lights and Sights Cruise.
August- I saw my first MLB game at Fenway park as part of a birthday celebration for my cousin!
October- This month my mom and I took our girl’s trip to upstate New York. We got to see some beautiful fall foliage and drink delicious wines. I’ve written lots of posts about this trip but one of my favorite’s is this one about visiting the Olympic Ski Jumps in Lake Placid!
November- I was busy at work so I could save up money for my 2019 adventures.
December- As I mentioned earlier I’ve been more removed from the blog this month as I’ve been spending lots of time with family and friends. My mom and I made a final wine trail visit to Hawk Ridge Winery in Watertown, CT to enjoy their holiday decor.
My 2019 goals:
Start a Master’s program– I’m excited to go back to school and am hoping to start in the spring.
Travel as much as I can afford– Already have lots of trips on the roster. I plan to enjoy these and add more if the opportunity arises.
Reach my one year anniversary of blogging– I’m comin’ for ya, September 2019!
Continue to grow my blog– Of course I want to continue to grow my blog and related social media but I hope to remember why I started blogging in the first place- for fun, not followers!
Race more half marathons– In 2018 I ran two full marathons which was awesome but I want to scale back and spend more time appreciating the half marathon distance.
Happy New Year! Thank you for your continued support- wishing anyone reading a happy and healthy new year. Stay adventurous!
Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! Today I’m bringing you a combination of the most magical place on earth with the merriest holiday of all: Christmas time at Walt Disney World!
Christmas at Walt Disney World is beautiful and lasts much longer than just one day. Christmas can be enjoyed at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida as early as November 1st and as late as early January. Today, in the spirit of the season, I’m sharing some of my favorite moments from Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party- a seasonal hard ticket event offered in the Magic Kingdom.
One of my very favorite part’s of Christmas time in general at the Magic Kingdom is getting to see Cinderella’s Castle done up in it’s Holiday Dream Lights!
During Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, the castle also serves as the back drop for Holiday Wishes. The seasonal soundtrack is a great way to get into the holiday spirit!
My favorite part of the party is definitely Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade. I think this is Disney’s most beautiful parade and the fact that it snows on Main Street makes it even better!
I hope your holiday is filled with happiness and warmth! I’ll be enjoying mine with family and will be back next week with more updates (both Disney and non.)
This is part five of a recap of the 2018 runDisney Dopey Challenge. For part four click here!
When I left off we had just taken a mid race break to ride Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom! I’ll admit that I was crabby when we got off the ride because though my sister was all for it I hadn’t been excited to wait in the twenty minute line. The ride was fun but after I was really cold for the next half mile. We made our way through the Animal Kingdom parking lot and I shook off the bad mood and actually warmed up enough to take off my long sleeves and tie it around my waist.
After marching our way down Osceola Parkway we made it to ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. A lot of people complain about this section of the course because it’s a lot of twists and turns so it seems like it goes on forever. I will admit that ESPN seems long but I always love how many character opportunities are available!
Next we got to run around Champion Stadium, the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves.
Once we finished up at Wide World of Sports we made the short trek to Hollywood Studios where we entered via backstage access behind Fantasmic and Tower of Terror. Lots of people were buzzing about Oswald meeting here because he usually can’t be found in Florida!
Anyone checking in?
There was a lot of construction going on in Hollywood Studios in January 2018 (Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge) so it limited the amount of running we could do in this park.
We exited park’s front entrance and ran down the path that connects the park to the Epcot Resort area. I definitely started to lose steam as we ran by the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts but I tried to remember to keep my eyes on the prize- we were almost there!
We entered Epcot between the Canada and U.K. pavilions shortly before mile 25. Just past mile 25 we stopped to meet Belle and Aurora outside the France pavilion.
Next we stopped for a picture with Jasmine in the Morocco pavilion.
Our next stop with Germany- no characters greeting here but we wanted a nice cold beer to finish the race with! Being able to stop for a drink in Epcot BEFORE the finish line is one of my favorite novelties of the Walt Disney World marathon!
Tip: If you’re going to grab drinks in Epcot know that characters won’t pose with you with the drinks in your hand.
Finally we saw the finish line arch ahead- we did it!
So, would I do the Dopey Challenge again? Yes! Am I doing it in 2019? No!
I recommend Dopey for anyone who loves runDisney to try at least once. It was really fun to get to participate in the whole weekend and not feel like I was missing out on anything. However, the four early mornings in a row were really hard. By marathon morning it took everything I had to force myself out of bed. Plus, the registration fee is high and I don’t think I’d want to pay that every year. Ideally, if it’s still around and I’m still running, I’d like to give Dopey another try in 2023. In the mean time I’ll stick to the Goofy Challenge (the half marathon and the full marathon) or the marathon alone.
I had so much fun recapping my 2018 Dopey Challenge! I’m headed down to Disney World soon for the 2019 Walt Disney World marathon. My training has been riddled with knee problems so this should be an interesting and challenging run to say the least. I’ll be sure to recap it here so stay tuned!
This is part four of a recap of the 2018 runDisney Dopey Challenge. For part three click here!
Standing at the start line of the Walt Disney World Marathon meant that I had reached the end of the Dopey Challenge- almost! In reality, with only one race left, I still had more than half the 48.2 miles left to run. However, Disney saves the very best for last!
Before each race Disney has characters out greeting and taking pictures in the start area. We got to the starting area early today and Pluto had a really short line so we jumped in. You can usually see the Fab Five and Dopey before and after each race of the weekend.
Tip: Arrive early if you want character pictures before the race. Lines get long and cast members will stop allowing people in line.
Following suit of the half marathon we didn’t take many pictures in the beginning of the race as it was cold (so we were layered up) and it was dark. We did grab a selfie as we ran under the gates of the Magic Kingdom parking lot!
Tip: Don’t let the distance overwhelm you. I try to think of a marathon in small parts- cover this section, then that section, etc.
We ran under the Magic Kingdom train station and headed down Main Street, USA.
We choose not to wait in as many character lines this visit to Magic Kingdom. We were wearing our custom ‘Think I’m Dopey? Meet my sister!’ t-shirts so we had to stop for Cinderella’s not-so-favorite sisters.
The course follows the same path as the half marathon out of Magic Kingdom and past the nearby resorts. However, instead of heading for Epcot, the course turns just after passing Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course and Shades of Green resort. On our way to make that turn we stopped to visit with Tourist Genie!
Next stop: Animal Kingdom! On the way we saw Hades and his minions. Pain and Panic.
This is the section of the course where we passed Disney’s (smelly) water treatment facility and horticulture facility. The later is responsible for all the seasonal topiaries you see throughout the year on property. As I’ve mentioned in my half marathon report we don’t usually stop for mile marker pictures but because today was ‘sister-themed’ we stopped for a picture at mile 12.
A little past mile 12 we were running into the backstage entrance to Animal Kingdom. On the way there are usually animals out to greet you with their own race bibs on.
There weren’t as many out this year which makes me wonder if the cold kept some of the animals away. Once in Animal Kingdom we stopped for a picture with Timon and Rafiki!
Our next diversion was the highlight of the half way point of the race: Expedition Everest! That’s right- the Walt Disney World marathon offers the unique experience of a mid run roller coaster ride!
Tip: Animal Kingdom typically opens at 9am on marathon Sunday so plan to be in the park around that time if you want to ride Expedition Everest.
Riding Everest has become an increasingly popular experience with runners in my opinion. The first year we road we walked right on and sat on a train. This year it was a short line and took us about 20 minutes to get through the line and ride. The downside to this was I got cold waiting in line and riding. Despite that I’m still glad we did it!
Stay tuned for the second half of the marathon recap where we cross the finish line and complete the Dopey Challenge!
Where my feline friends at? While I admit I’m team-dog all the way even I can get behind the cat themed brewery that I’m going to share with you today: Fat Orange Cat Brewing Co in East Hampton, CT. FOC, for short, is perfect for animal lovers of all types (goats included) who like to drink some great craft beer.
FOC is located in East Hampton, CT-if you feel like you’re pulling into someone’s back yard you’re in the right place! Parking is ample and you just follow the crowds inside the open garage where the beer is flowing!
Behind our glasses was the bar which was inside the garage. The garage doors were open but covered with those industrial plastic strips to keep the temperature very comfortable inside despite it being in the 50s the day we visited! We spent our time wandering in and out- there were fire pits and heat lamps outside so either location was comfortable.
$7 gets you your tasting glass to take home plus four pours.
The wooden tokens we got with our glasses were what we used to cash in for new beer pours each time we finished our glass. I love this format because it’s just like getting a flight without having to worry about finishing the beers before they get warm!
As you can see there are lots of cat themed beers to choose from. We generally tried to pick different beers so we could each try each other’s. My friend Aubree and I both really liked the Jalapeno Jack cream ale- it tasted like a jalapeno popper!
One of my favorite parts about FOC was admiring all their label artwork while we drank. We visited in fall so they had festively decorated pumpkins on the counter.
As promised- the goats! FOC had chickens and goats outside that we watched while we drank. What more could you ask for?!
Fat Orange Cat Brewing is open weekends April-December. Check their website here for exact hours. This is a ten minute drive from Arrigoni Winery (which you can read my review of here) so they make for an easy day trip! FOC is cat, dog and child friendly so it’s a great place for the whole family!
Today I’m throwing back to my Hawaii trip from April of this year to talk about Haleakala National Park on Maui! You can read my last throwback from this trip here.
We almost skipped visiting Maui’s volcano because the sunrise/sunset trips to the summit are so hyped that we didn’t know if a midday trip would be worthwhile. I’m so glad we went because Haleakala is out of this world!
It was a cloudy day on the beach but we ended up driving through all the clouds for clear views.
It’s much colder at the summit than it was at our condo so we made sure we wore pants and jackets.
If you start at the beach (aka sea level) it’s a 37 mile drive to the summit which makes Haleakala one of the greatest elevation gains in the shortest distance in the world!
The most stunning part of the trip was seeing the volcanic crater. The different colors of the dirt and sands were beautiful and really made me feel like I was looking out at a scene from Mars!
It was amusing seeing planes go by because it was like I was looking down on them! Haleakala was amazing and I’m so glad that we didn’t skip it! If you’re not a morning or a late night person don’t let that deter you from visiting. I would love to go back and see a sunrise or a sunset next time but I didn’t feel like I was missing out at all this visit!
Having done the drive up and down in daylight I would HIGHLY recommend doing a tour bus to the summit if you want to do a sunrise or a sunset tour. The roads are winding and narrow so personally, I’d be uncomfortable driving them in the dark.
If heights aren’t your thing consider visiting the coastal area of the park called the Kipahulu District which can be found just past the town of Hana. Make sure you dress appropriately for either side of the park you visit as weather can be vastly different!