Travel

Wanderlust: Gainesville, Florida Favorites Guide

Florida is such a great state to live in. Think about it: we live where people vacation. There are many Florida cities that are full of culture, hidden gems, good food and weird fun. Gainesville is the home of the University of Florida. This is not just the home of the Gators and good college football, but a beautiful place to visit and live. Shands is a teaching hospital that is also a home to many specialists. People come from all over to see their doctors.

The first stop I always make in Gainesville is straight over to The Reggae Shack Cafe for the best Jamaican cuisine. They even have vegan options, desserts and a table of hot sauce. The first time I tried their Caribbean style food, I fell in love; Sweet plantains, spicy jerk sauce… every morsel is heaven. The culture is there and the food is made with love.

Even though there is no room in my belly, I walk down University Avenue to their neighbor, Karma Cream. They have ice cream and fresh baked goods. Even if I can’t stay, I at least grab something for the road. My favorite is the vegan peanut butter chocolate.

The Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring is an underground spring that was once a hidden gem and is now a hot spot in Florida. If you arrive late, expect to wait up to two hours. After you sign in and pay, there is plenty to do if you need to wait your turn. They have a campground, pool, corn hole, food truck and a large property to wander. When your time has come, you get your snorkeling gear that they rent to you and head down the steps to the brisk clear water. You can look up at the sky and greenery, or down below at the rocks under your feet. It is an amazing must-have Florida experience.

Downtown Gainesville has a lot of great restaurants and shops. Restaurants near the college are more Gator influenced with college vibes and Gator games on tv. If that isn’t your scene then head to downtown. During the weekend there are farmers markets, Depot Park, Brunch at Boca Fiesta and record stores to browse. I spotted an awesome vendor, Medusa Moderna at a pop-up event.

Crooked Path Forge is Jordan Borstelmann’s forge for his blacksmithing and bladesmith workshop. Jordan offers exclusive classes for those who want to learn how and make their own hatchet or knives. The classes are small for more one on one crafting and each student leaves with their own finished working knife that will last them their lifetime. Sign up in advance because his classes fill up fast.

Gainesville is a great Florida getaway, with so much to offer. It’s the perfect Florida staycation for a quick weekend trip. I recommend going when there is not a home game or the hotel prices will be much higher.

Our last stop before heading home was the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. It was a beautiful place to explore. It felt like we were Alice in Wonderland.

Hotel recommendations:

Hom

Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown

Health, Travel

Travel and Self-Care Tips for Staying Healthy

*Published in March 2019 issue of The Beachside Resident

Traveling is good for the soul and while it can be therapeutic and fun, it can also be exhausting. Packing for a trip can be stressful. We never want to forget anything but there is always something, right?! Making a list can help you stay organized.

I always suggest packing a small health kit incase you get sick. Being sick when away from home is horrible. The last thing you want to do at midnight when you spike a fever, is to run out to a store in an unfamiliar town. I always make sure to cover everything from fevers to an upset stomach. When you are traveling, you get exposed to a lot of germs. Bringing 1000mg vitamin C supplements will help boost your immune system. I take 2-3 with each meal to prevent getting sick.

Always bring a good book. Watching movies can drain your phone and sometimes it is a nice break from that addictive glowing device. I also pack snacks. Think about this: it is late at night and you get the munchies. Having granola bars, cup of soup, fruit or muffins, will be convenient and affordable so you aren’t stuck with jet lag insomnia cravings.

Packing tea is always helpful too. The plane and any restaurant or hotel will offer hot water but the tea options are not always great. Buying tea at a coffee shop gets expensive. Ginger tea is great for inflammation and digestion. Peppermint will sooth an upset stomach and both lavender and chamomile are relaxing. Herbal teas have many beneficial uses that can help keep you comfortable on your trip.

I always bring Wildling Apothecary CBD oil. It is amazing for insomnia, anxiety, pain, inflammation, relaxation, headaches, skin and digestive issues. Wildling Apothecary’s Energy Sprinkles are crucial for traveling too. When we travel, we tend to burn the candle at both ends. This alkalizing greens mix helps stabilize the mood, keep electrolytes up, reduce illness, improve detoxification and increase energy.

In case you get a headache or just want to freshen the stagnant airport air, rubbing peppermint essential oil on your temples will help. It also calms the mind, keeps the mosquitoes away, soothes sunburns and relieve IBS. Peppermint oil is also great with shower steam for respiratory relief.

Banana Bag Drink is a powder you mix with water and drink to stay hydrated. It is loaded with vitamins and will prevent dehydration.

So, before you pack all of your favorite shoes and far too many clothes, make sure you leave room for self care products that will assist in keeping your immune system in good shape and allow time to relax. Most people get sick after a trip and you don’t have to be most people with these travel hacks.

Travel

Denver Colorado Honeymoon

Blake and I decided on Denver as our honeymoon. While most couples go somewhere tropical, we live in Florida and for us that was not so appealing. I need to see mountains once a year for my mental health and we wanted to go somewhere legal so Denver was a win-win. I had never been to Colorado and it was always on my bucket list. We flew Southwest and had an amazing flight.

I found hotel in the heart of downtown Denver and when we checked in, they told us congratulations and treated us like family. They went above and beyond and set us up with a city view on the 6th floor and surprised us with a bottle of champagne. I absolutely recommend Aloft Downtown Denver!

Of course we went to a dispensary! Euflora was right in downtown and a quick walk and our favorite and first stop to check out legal marijuana. I scored some CBD muscle freeze by Arcanum that helped with muscle aches from walking around all day. I also found some local honey from Colorado Hemp Honey with CBD. We also tried out Mary’s Medicinal transdermal patches.

We had dinner at Downtown Aquarium and did the tour after. The food was delicious and it was a beautiful date night for our first evening in Denver.

I loved walking around Denver. There were so many different sides to see. Being an art nerd, I enjoyed the street art.

We checked out the Denver Art Museum and also saw the Degas exhibition while we were there.

Blake and I went to the Denver Zoo and the weather was absolutely perfect. This zoo was so huge that we didn’t even get to see it all. I was in love with the tulips and bright flowers everywhere and of course my favorite, orangutans! They even had pineapple whip, my favorite!

We could not have asked for more perfect weather! We had a few recommendations for Snooze Eatery and it did not disappoint. We sat outside for brunch. We checked out the shops inside Union Station and then played checkers until our table was ready. The food was so delicious and the staff was friendly and gave us recommendations on places to see.

Denver has so much to do and there is so much to see. My husband and I are not drinkers so it was important for us to find a honeymoon destination that would allow for us to sight see, hike and hang out without revolving around bars. Of course, there are plenty here but there is so much more.

We made a side trip to Boulder, Colorado and I literally could not believe my eyes. It was absolutely gorgeous. Dawn Honsky Photography picked us up and gave us a tour. She was so friendly and made us feel like family. She captured some beautiful shots of us which I will share in an upcoming blog post. Boulder gave us butterflies!

My husband and I left Denver with a piece of it in our hearts. The warm sun, cool crisp air and horizon lined with mountains is something I always daydream of. We will be back!