Iconic Drives to Add to Your Bucket List

When you think back to some of your favorite vacations, do you remember the place you ended up or the journey to get there? Some of the best trips I’ve taken have included some of the most beautiful drives in the world, so for me it was definitely the journey that made the trips truly memorable.

There are some drives that are so iconic, they are considered the destination. Out of the places I’ve visited so far, these are my favorites. Disclaimer: I haven’t been everywhere, so these are simply the best from where I’ve been and I expect the list to continue to grow the more places I visit.

Road to Hana, Hawaii

While some people might call this road terrifying, I thought it was one of the coolest roads I’ve ever driven. There are a lot of areas where this road turns into one lane, but there are plenty of turnoffs to check out the stunning scenery and take a break from the hairpin turns. From rainbow trees to black sand beaches, there is something unique and picture worthy at each turn.

Road to Hana, Hawaii

Picture above saved from History.com

Seward Highway, Alaska

Welcome to the wilderness.  While definitely a popular summertime destination, if you go in one of the shoulder seasons you’ll feel like you’re alone in the vast Alaska wilderness. Who am I kidding? You’ll never feel like you don’t have room to breathe in Alaska. The stunning scenery brings about a feeling of peace and serenity, while also a sense of amazement at the sheer size of the mountains and glaciers.

Seward Highway Alaska

Big Sur, California

Easily one of the top must-do drives in America, this section of Highway 1 does not disappoint. While the scenery before and after Big Sur is quite good, you’ll know you’ve arrived in Big Sur when dramatic drop offs and jagged coastline pop into view. I urge you to not stop at every vista point as you might never get through the entire road. I love this drive because you get to see wildlife (think elephant seals) and raw beauty along the Pacific coast.

Big Sur California Coast

Chapman’s Peak, South Africa

Just a short stint (about 17 miles) on the coast of South Africa near Cape Town, this drive features rocky cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Surf pounds the rocks below and whales can be spotted just off the shore if you look closely enough. The road itself doesn’t take very long, but it definitely gives you views that rival that of Big Sur.

Chapman's Peak in South Africa

The Slea Head Drive, Dingle Peninsula, Ireland

There’s nothing quite like driving on the “wrong” side of the road and twisting around sharp curves, while you’re sandwiched between the ocean and sheet rock. The road around the Dingle Peninsula is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever been on. The dramatic ocean views and the lush green fields, coupled with the small towns along the way provide a truly unique experience.

Dingle Peninsula Ireland

Highway 12 Scenic Byway, Utah

You’re heading inland for this otherworldly drive through scenic Utah. Easily my favorite state in the United States, this drive will take you through the unique landscape that makes up Utah. No matter where you drive in Southern Utah, you are going to be rewarded with drastically different and dramatic views. You could spend two weeks in Utah and it still wouldn’t be enough. Can you tell that I love Utah?Utah

The Ring Road, Iceland

If you want to feel like you’ve really entered another world, the Ring Road is for you. While the road circles the entire country of Iceland, you don’t have to go far outside of Reykjavik to feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. The majority of people live in the capital, while small villages dot the majority of the rest of the country. You’ll experience everything from waterfalls and volcanoes to glaciers and icebergs.

Ring Road in Iceland

I’m always looking for new travel inspiration, so where have you been that you think should be included on this list?

Cheers to the Cleveland Brewery Invasion

It seems that for awhile there it seemed almost daily there was a new brewery opening in Cleveland. It’s been next to impossible to keep up with the influx of new places. A common theme of conversation with friends is how in the heck can all of these breweries be sustainable? Are we the next “beer capital” of the US? Is that what we are setting ourselves up for? If so, I’m totally on board. I’m just going to need to start working out a lot more to compensate for the beer drinking that needs to occur to keep up. 

So while by the time I’m done writing this post there will probably be two new breweries opening, here are some of the ones I’ve already checked out and would recommend.


I’ve recommended a beer to try at each place. To gauge whether or not we have the same beer taste, my go to beer is Great Lakes Dortmunder. I like a good IPA or wheat beer. Sours will never make it high on my list, but a good coffee porter or stout always will.

Beer Sign at Noble Beast Brewery

Noble Beast Brewery

noble beast brewery

  • Laid back atmosphere in an off the beaten path location on Lakeside and East 13th
  • Solid beer selection
  • Industrial feel with exposed brick and beams, and garage doors that open in the summer
  • Amazing Bavarian pretzel, but other great food options available (smaller menu)
  • Beer to sample: IPA
Terrestrial Brewing Company

Terrestrial Brewing Company

Terrestrial Brewing company

  • Fantastic location in Battery Park with a spacious outdoor patio and views of the lake
  • Downside is they don’t currently serve food, but you can order from other restaurants in Gordon Square
  • Plenty of good beers to try
  • Dog friendly for those of you who like to bring your pups out
  • Beer to sample: Erie
Collision Bend Brewery

Collision Bend Brewery

Collision bend brewing company

  • Best brewery location in Cleveland, right along the Cuyahoga in the East Bank of The Flats
  • Great interior decor, with a definite nautical vibe and a spacious outdoor patio
  • Mediocre beer selection overall, but I’ll keep trying them for the location alone
  • Beer to sample: Old River Kolsch
Brim Brewing Company

Brim Brewing Company

Brim kitchen & brewery 

  • Not really in Cleveland, but all the way in downtown Willoughby
  • Great upstairs outdoor patio for the summer; really great and modern interior design
  • Beers are okay, but the decor and ambiance makes up for it
  • Beer to sample: Brim “Less”
Saucy Brew Works

Saucy Brew Works

Saucy brew works

  • Coziest new brewery by far, located in the trendy Hingetown neighborhood
  • Quick (and I mean really quick) and tasty pizzas (note that the Saucy red sauce has a kick!)
  • Plan on heading into line for both beer and pizza, as there aren’t servers taking orders
  • Try the beer sampler to taste some of their different, more off the wall beers
  • Beer to sample: IPA ASAP
Terrestrial Brewing Tasters

Terrestrial Brewing Company

masthead brewing Co.

  • My favorite new brewery by far. I’ve enjoyed every beer I’ve tried and they have very affordable and generous samplers
  • Located on Superior and East 13th in downtown, so a little farther from other bars and restaurants
  • Great wood-fired pizzas
  •  Huge space with picnic style dining makes it ideal for large groups
  •  Beer to sample: Single Origin Coffee Stout

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Sofar Cleveland: An Intimate Concert Experience

Sofar Sounds_Intimate Live Music Event

I’m about to let you in on a secret.  Some of you may have already heard me talking about this event, but I felt like it was time to let more people in the loop. So, what’s all the fuss about? It’s a live music experience going on in Cleveland (and around the world) that lets you experience music in a different and unique way. It’s called Sofar Sounds.

Each month Sofar Sounds hosts a live music event in unique spaces around Cleveland. While it originated in London back in 2009, the concept is the same as when it started. The goal is to expose people to different artists around the globe in an intimate environment without distractions and noise, that also allows you to connect with the artists.

Sofar Sounds at Photography Studio

@Burklehagen Photography Studio

How does it work? All you have to do is sign up for a monthly email notification from Sofar Sounds. You’ll wait to receive the concert date each month. If the date works for you, let them know you are interested in attending. A few weeks before the event you will receive an email letting you know if you were selected. At that point you can let them know if you are bringing a guest and you’ll pay $15 per ticket. The day before the event they will let you know the location, but the musicians are a secret until you arrive.

Each show features a variety of artists, so you’re guaranteed to like at least one or two of the performers. Each singer/group plays about four songs, so you get a really good flavor for each before moving on to the next artist. The locations vary from breweries and photography studios to trendy office spaces and warehouses. The locations are all donated and many are BYOB. Seating is often limited, so beach chairs or blankets are a great idea if you don’t want to have a sore butt from sitting on a concrete floor for two hours.

Hotcards Redspace

@redspaceevents on 2400 Superior Avenue

The whole experience is pretty casual, but intimate. The show is limited to about sixty or seventy guests, including the bands. You’ll have the chance to mingle with the artists in between the acts if you choose to do so before the next set gets going. The best part about this event is you’re supporting some local and national musicians, while also have a great time checking out places around Cleveland.

I hope to see you at the next event, assuming I’m selected to attend. Share this post to friends you think might enjoy.

Savannah in Less than 48 hours

48 Hours in Savannah Georgia

With round trip airfare options from Cleveland for less than $150 per person, and a direct flight, there is no better time to visit Savannah, Georgia. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend going at the hottest time of the year in July, I had a fabulous time in this ridiculously charming city.

109 W. Gordon St.

To get the true Savannah experience, stay in the historic district in one of the old homes or apartments. We found this charming residence on W. Gordon Street between two of the twenty-two squares located throughout the city. The location was ideal for walking around (it’s only a block from Forsyth Park) and there is ample street parking if you have a car. Also, be prepared to eat really, really well. The food and cocktail scene in Savannah could give Cleveland a run for our money. Some of my recommendations are here:

The Collins Quarter_Savannah

Spiced Lavender Mocha #TheCollinsQuarter

Savannah was my first trip in almost six months. I was starting to go stir crazy and in need of an adventure, if only for a long weekend. Life had gotten in the way of travel – new house, new dog and new job. What I really needed was a trip to rejuvenate my travel hungry soul. I couldn’t think of a better place to do this than in Savannah. Wandering the historic streets of this small city took me back in time. Between the twenty-two squares throughout the historic district, the live oaks dripping in moss and the gas lights adorning many doors throughout the neighborhood, you’ll feel like you’re living a hundred years ago.

Itinerary Suggestions

Wake up early (we went on a Sunday) to grab a seat for brunch at The Collins Quarter. Several blogs had recommended this place, along with our bartender from the Cotton & Rye. Beautiful light fixtures, white subway tiles and distressed, red leather booths gives this restaurant the perfect vibe. The brioche french toast was to die for, complemented by their infamous spiced lavender mocha. And yes, it is as good as they say and beautiful too.  We also happened to wander by at night and the entire restaurant was dark, except for thick candles in bottles and candelabras on the tables. We need a place like this in Cleveland!

The Collins Quarter 2

After a hearty breakfast, we hopped in the car and went to my most anticipated stop of the trip – The Wormsloe Plantation. You’ve probably seen the pictures of the live oaks before – there are 400 of them – as you drive toward the plantation. The gates don’t open until 9 a.m., so unfortunately you will have to deal with other people taking just as many pictures as you. The good news is that the road is really long, so you’ll get to a place where people aren’t in your way. It’s definitely worth the trip just to see the live oaks. It’s one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.

Wormsloe Plantation 2

The Wormsloe Plantation

After the Plantation, we drove over to Bonaventure Cemetery. Thee stops are within 15 minutes of each other and the cemetery is very close to historic Savannah. At this point in the day, it was getting steamy hot from the sun and rain lurking in the distance. We opted to drive around the cemetery instead of walking. We did park a few times to check out some of the gravestones, but we were happier in the car with air conditioning. It’s an easy cemetery to walk through, so if you have on good shoes, go for it.

The Collins Quarter Brunch

My Cousin Beni @ The Collins Quarter

After the cemetery we parked and headed to lunch. I was famished (I don’t know how after our huge breakfast) and needed nourishment before we rented our bikes. Our hosts had recommended the Crystal Beer Parlor. It’s one (if not the) oldest restaurants in Savannah. It opened in 1933 during the Great Depression. It has more of a pub feel and is pretty casual. We had the giant soft pretzel for an app and for lunch I sampled their signature crab soup (OMG, so sweet and melt in your mouth good). At this point I was stuffed from all the food we’d been eating, so our scheduled bike ride after was perfect.

Bonaventure Cemetery

Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia

We rented bikes with Savannah on Wheels (right near Forsyth Park) and took them around the downtown area. We walked the bikes on River Street (you can’t ride there on the crazy old cobblestones) and were pretty unimpressed. The riverfront is nice but very touristy. We much preferred the historic district where we stayed. It was great having the bikes to check out all the squares and beautiful streets. Just remember you can’t ride on the sidewalks or in the squares. You’ll risk being ticketed.

Savannah Historic District

Historic District in Savannah

After bike riding we rested and enjoyed our home away from home. Later in the evening I convinced my very tired husband to walk with me to Leopold’s. It’s been around for almost a hundred years and boasts having ice cream that can’t be missed. Coming from Cleveland with places like Honey Hut and Mitchell’s, I was skeptical. We waited about 45 minutes in line before we ordered. I have no idea when there wouldn’t be a line, but it was 9 p.m. on a rainy Sunday and it was slammed. For the record, the ice cream is good but definitely not worth the wait.

W. Gordon Street

W. Gordon Street, Savannah

If you were ever on the fence about visiting Savannah or have ever thought about coming, do it. It’s exactly how you imagined it, but better. It’s a romantic, southern city that is steeped in history and ghost stories. While we didn’t have time to take one of the ghost  tours, I’d definitely schedule one the next time we’re in town. I’m just grateful that the general during the Civil War decided to save this city instead of burning it to the ground. I can safely say this is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited, within the US and aboard.

Forsyth Fountain

Downtown Living with a Dog is Better in the CLE

Living in the City_Cleveland downtown dogs

City dogs are different than suburban dogs. They know how to ride on elevators, aren’t the least bit phased when a RTA Rapid flies by and they know all about patio drinking (from a water bowl of course). City dogs have the life. They get the entire town as their play area. City dogs even get to go on multiple walks a day simply by default because a yard isn’t an option.

I was warned that taking a dog in and out of the apartment multiple times a day and in all kinds of weather would be less than ideal. I never saw it that way (well maybe on the negative 10 degree days). I went out and got the fresh air I didn’t even realize I needed, and as long as I was dressed appropriately, it was always enjoyable. I also had the perfect excuse to explore downtown. Nena (my boxer pup) and I would walk down by the lake just to catch the sunset or take daily outings to see how The Flats were coming along.

Nena Downtown Cleveland

Having a dog downtown also made people nicer. If you live downtown and have a dog, you know it’s true. People are just generally not that friendly, meaning that most people have their heads down and don’t make eye contact with you when walking down the street. That may be because they’re on their phones (like you are now as you read this) or because they’re actually avoiding you.

Enter an animal and all of a sudden people are smiling, asking if they can pet your dog and cooing at your pet.  I didn’t know a single person in my apartment building until I got a dog. Suddenly I had an excuse to make new friends. I had no idea that dogs were such great ice breakers (and probably great for picking up girls/guys).

Nena Science Center Cleveland

Downtown Cleveland can be surprisingly dog friendly. Despite an overall lack of green space, there is a dog park along the river and poop bag stations are set-up all over the city. Mall C, Public Square, and The Flats are all excellent locations to take in the beautiful views of the city and find grassy areas for your dog to run around. As long as the restaurant has a patio, most places are welcome dogs and will even bring out water bowls for your pup (Beerhead in The Flats has a HUGE dog bowl and were incredibly accommodating).

Nena Downtown Cleveland Sign Tremont

While I had my doubts about living with a dog in the city, I now realize that I never would’ve experienced true downtown living without Nena. We were city people (and dog) and took advantage of the wonderful benefits of living in the center of it all. We always had an excuse to explore and check out what was happening in our neighborhood. I miss being the first to know what was going on. If you have a dog living downtown, I hope your taking advantage of it as much as we did.

Last Minute Local Christmas Gifts in Downtown Cleveland

While we’re far from having enough shops in downtown Cleveland, I was able to get almost all my Christmas presents from local Cleveland stores. And the majority of the gifts were purchased right off Euclid Avenue in the heart of downtown. Plus, did I mention how absolutely beautiful it is downtown right now? Between the snow, lights and holiday decorations it really does look like a winter wonderland.

But back to gift buying, as I’m sure that I’m not the only one that waited till the last minute to shop.


I’m all about buying experiences instead of things for Christmas presents. Tickets to Playhouse Square (or a gift certificate for a show of their choosing), a concert at the House of Blues or tickets to a CAVS game are all wonderful gifts and located right downtown.

Other great gifts that don’t come in a package are memberships to the Cleveland Museum of Art (or any of our other fabulous museums), Cleveland International Film Festival Tickets or a gift certificate to the Music Box Supper Club.



We’re still nowhere near where we need to be in terms of retail downtown, but we’re starting to see more stores popping up. For the men in our lives, check out stores like J3 Clothing Company in The Arcade (their store was designed by Arhaus  and it’s beautiful), We Bleed Ohio or Kilted Bros. Women’s (and men’s) clothing can be found at Geiger’s  or the 5th Street Arcades. Cleveland Clothing Co. on East 4th Street offers plenty of clothing and gift options as well.


Home Goods

Take your choice between any of the specialty shops in the arcades downtown or head to Ohio City or Tremont for more options. The arcades off Euclid Avenue include shops like:

Cleveland in a Box: Give the gift of Cleveland, or rather all things that represent and remind the people on your list about what makes Cleveland great. Boxes start at $30.

CLE Pets: While they may only have four legs, the dogs in your life should enjoy Christmas too. Locally made dog treats and food are for sale at CLE Pets, as well as dog calendars, clothing and more.


Happy Hour Collection: This is one of my favorite stores just because the decor alone is darling. Here you can find vintage (and new) glasses for a bar, mixers, bitters, shakers and more. They even have a bitters tasting area so you can sample before you buy.


Love, Anji: Real flowers may die, but you don’t have to worry about that with Love, Anji’s paper flowers. They are absolutely gorgeous and will last forever (or until you get sick of them). The flowers shown below feature maps of Cleveland.


Monica Potter Home: I was surprised by how affordable the Monica Potter Home store is. I was expecting overpriced home items and found just the opposite. They also sell soaps, sprays and a few clothing items. Definitely worth a stop!



I’ve mentioned them before, but Marengo Luxury Spa is my favorite place to get pampered in downtown Cleveland. Their spa is awesome and they’re located in the beautiful Old Arcade. Tip: Marengo offers awesome deals twice a year (usually June/December) to buy one service and get a second for $10. Stock up during those sales for the whole year!


There are obviously a million restaurants downtown and more popping up everyday. Treat someone on your list to a great night out by buying a restaurant gift card. An alternative option is to get them a gift certificate to Heinen’s. The downtown Heinen’s is more than just a grocery store, with great beer and wine tasting events available on the second story.


Outside of downtown Cleveland there are plenty of great, local options too. Some of my favorites include Banyan Tree, Salty not Sweet Boutique and Room Service. Located in Tremont and Ohio City, these local shops offer unique gifts in all price ranges and many showcase the Cleveland love.