Back from beautiful Charleston and fueled for a new week and a new month. How is it July already?
Travel News coming T O M O R R O W, but until then…enjoy your Monday playlist!
Speak to you soon!
I remember someone once told me that if you want to know more about something, you should surround yourself with it; if you want to learn French, go to France; if you want to know about art, visit as many galleries as you can; and if you want to know about Bourbon-Whiskey, go to Kentucky. So (you better believe) I did.
On the way up to the cabin, since we would be driving through bourbon country, we decided to make a stop on the Bourbon Trail–AKA the region that America’s best distilleries call home. After much debate on where to start we decided on Woodford Reserve in Versailles* Kentucky(there was really no competition, let’s be honest).
*Pronounced “VER-SALES” if you’re a native and also if you don’t know what France is.
The tour through the distillery was about an hour long and took us through each stage of the bourbon process from cooking to consumption*. The Woodford distillery is the oldest around in the states; it was built some time in the late 1700s and the architectural style is so truly Scots-Irish you may forget you’re in Kentucky. After being up close and personal with such much bourbon, it’s a little bit hard for me to tell myself not to start a micro distillery…in my kitchen.
*My favorite part was the consumption.
After visiting my first distillery it’s now become a goal of mine to visit the rest on the trail. (Who doesn’t want to
drink learn more about bourbon and the area that does it best?). To make that journey a little easier, for myself and for anyone else who wants to join in, I thought I’d make a little map. Bon Voyage!
After a change of plans I’ll be leaving for Charleston tomorrow in the A M and making stops in Chattanooga, Atlanta, and who knows where else. Why not make a long drive into a real road trip, right?
Speak to you soon!
For three days last weekend I was on a mountain high. Two of my best friends and I loaded up and drove to their family cabin in West Virginia to spend some time hiking, laughing way too hard and exploring the best ways we knew how. Trail after trail took us on winding routes where we got to be close with lots of wildflowers and lots of deer. The views from the top of the mountains we climbed, though they were hard to get to, were always well worth it. The earth is a breathtaking place, and sometimes I forget that.
The area we were in was the northeastern part of West Virginia, right in the thick of the Monongahela National Forest. The hills were covered in lush, aromatic spruce trees that seemed to go on forever and in the mornings they stayed tucked under thick blankets of heather gray fog. There was so much to do within an hour of the cabin so here’s a little guide in case you’re up for some adventuring as well:
-Hiking, rock climbing and repelling are just a few things that you can do at this nationally renowned park. The hike up the mountain isn’t terribly hard, but it’s 1000ft of elevation that you’ll definitely be feeling in your thighs when you get to the top. Good news: even though you’ll be exhausted you can rejuvenate on the observation platform and chow down on a peanut butter CLIF bar (there’s a snack cart at the top). If you’re interested in climbing or repelling on the flat faced rocks, there are lots of instruction classes around and guided excursions as well. Seneca Caverns (all the cave photos above) isn’t far away and was so cool as well!
-AKA The highest point in West Virginia. There are a lot of trails that vary in length around the mountain (many of them with an abundance of wildlife running about) as well as one that goes to the top. When you reach it there’s an observation tower with a killer view, and if you explore around the peak of the mountain you’ll discover the coolest boulder garden that would be great for camping or just to stop and soak everything in. There are plenty of other lower areas for picnicing and grilling as well.
–Blackwater Falls should be the first stop of your day. There are some trails on the grounds of the park, or you can just take the stairs down to view the falls.
-Get back in the car and drive about 20 minutes and you’ll arrive at Canaan Valley Resort State Park. In the winter it’s a ski resort, but in the summer it’s teeming with outdoorsy people who want to take the lifts up the mountain to the trails. We hiked the Bald Knob trail which was a 2.5 mile trek that took us through the most perfect forest I’ve ever been in and then opened up to the top of a mountain with breathtaking views. (We saw so many deer during our hike, it was crazy). I’d definitely like to return to this part of WV for some snow tubing and skiing.
-Don’t forget to stop off in some of the quaint towns that line your drive to Canaan Valley! We didn’t have a lot of time, otherwise I would’ve been all over their many antique stores and restaurants boasting home cooking (aka my weakness).
This guide is far from being complete, but it should be enough to get your wheels turning. GO somewhere. Explore more, ya’ll.
Tomorrow morning I’m heading to Charleston SC to indulge in coffee, southern cuisine and sunshine. I’ll be there through the weekend so be on the lookout for some beautiful instagrams! Follow me at @lacunningham
If you’re interested in seeing more of my photos from the trip feel free to take a jump over to my Flikr page (click on the About tab at the top of this page)
Thank you guys for reading/looking and being wonderful!
Speak to you soon!
Mondays are a test of positivity, patience and perseverance. They can take us down winding, frustrating paths we never deemed a possibility, and they can also simply (and ruthlessly) just take us down.
No matter how your Monday was I hope that you were able to push through to the other side. To help you make it through the last few bits of it, I’ve mixed up an old school playlist to kick the bad moods to the curb. Get yourself to a patio with your favorite drink (whether cocktail or coke) and pump up these jams. There is no way you’ll still be having a bad day afterwards, I can almost promise you.
I’ve got so many photos from my camping trip this weekend and news about upcoming travels as well!
Speak to you soon!
Early tomorrow morning I’ll be loading up in a car with two of my dearest friends to escape the world for a few days. We’re headed to West Virginia for a weekend of hiking, swimming, star gazing and cabin-living.
I’m most excited about this trip because there isn’t any option but to be off the grid for a little while. Having a job that is centered around the internet means I am literally a l w a y s on my computer; or on my phone; or finding some tinfoil to make an antenna to check my email when there’s no 3G. But not this weekend. This weekend we’re stepping away from it all.
I’m taking my camera to capture the scenery (and the ridiculousness), but I’m hoping the next few days will be a big moment that we’ll just be living in. What I mean by that is instead of being consumed with the things we can take away from the trip on our phones or our memory cards we’ll be consumed with being with each other and making actual memories instead of virtual ones. I think it can be hard to do that in 2014, but I’m determined that this weekend will be full of them.
I’ll be excited to show you guys the moments I do capture. And don’t worry, as I’m sure you know, there will be plenty.
Exciting travel news when I get back! Speak to you soon!
We spent one of our last days in Spain on the beach. After having such a jam packed itinerary, it was really nice to know the only things ahead of us that day were a warm blanket of brown-sugar colored sand, the ocean’s breeze and maybe a pitcher of sangria. (Maybe can also be read as “definitely”).
It’s a Monday and I’ve finally had time to sit and reevaluate priorities and responsibilities for my life in Nashville; while I love to be always going, there’s a pile of work (next to the trip’s laundry) that always seems to pile up. Being my own boss is great because I can work remotely and get a lot done wherever I am. Being my own boss also means that when I return from trips I have a day of back-to-back meetings, that feel more like speed-dates, at the cafe I frequent. Needless to say, my next few days are a little hectic.
Wednesday I’m driving into the hills of West Virginia for a final weekend of R&R before the dog days of summer truly arrive. Upon my return I’ll be moving into a new house and starting a new wave of summer clients. It is a hearty to do list, but I’m really excited to see what’s up next. Life gets crazy and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Enjoy the playlist! It’s a little bit of bluegrass and a little bit inspired by the beach (aka where I wish I was every second of these hot months):
Speak to you soon!
A few weeks ago I was given the opportunity to style and shoot, Nashville pop musician, Mackenzie Elliott. During our creative meeting we storyboarded the perfect series of shots to show the world what her music is really made of; in a few words: girl power, pink and pure joy.
For the first chapter of the story we wanted to have a retro vibe to capitalize on Mackenzie’s love of fifties-inspired fashion. After doing some research, we found out where we could find a) the exact old school diner feel we were hoping for and b) some of the best milkshakes in town: Elliston Place Soda Shop.
The old-school neon sign out front signaled our arrival. A bell-tone greeted us as we pushed open the front door; light to poured in over the red leather benches of the booths and colorful tiled floor though the big front windows of the storefront. The jukebox in the back beckoned us to come choose a song, but first we had to choose a milkshake. After much debate, we went with strawberry and our sweet waitress promised she would return within a few minutes. Before we even had time to plan the first shots, she was back with the most perfect pink milkshake we had ever seen (served in a glass and topped with whipped cream). Y U M.
Really excited to share the photos from the shoot! They turned out beautifully.
Speak to you soon!
• Wearing a jumpsuit from Necessary Clothing (similar here) •
It’s always interesting to experience a place that you have seen on a screen, made of thousands of tiny pixels, so many times. You go with certain expectations of what it will look and feel like, and sometimes your experience is even made or ruined by those expectations.
Park Guëll is a place that I’ve seen a million times on the internet. I anxiously counted down the days on the trip until we would get to pay Gaudi’s masterpiece (one of several) a visit. With an open mind I took in the sight of the mosaic covered grounds; the flowers spilling over the walls echoing the vibrancy of the tiles; and the colorful, breathtaking view of Barcelona from the overlook.
While the initial impression was more than magnificent, it was what you saw when you looked past the big details, and instead focused more on the intricacies that were true signatures of Gaudi’s work. Some of them were only visible for an instant, so catching sight of one felt like a whisper from Gaudi himself; a secret that not everyone gets to know. Those details are what make seeing a popular place so special. Those details are what make visiting a place like that worth it.
Mosaics, like pixels on a computer screen, come together to form an image and make an impression. There was certainly one left on me. Thanks, Gaudi.
A final few waves of Barcelona photos to go and then an announcement of a new adventure!
Speak to you soon!
Sometimes a getaway is exactly what you need when life seems to have been whizzing past you at warp speed. It’s easy to lose the beauty in moments when they all start to melt together.
A pool day is definitely in order; one with rays of sunshine and beads of sweat that are not only symbols of a physical detox, but a mental one as well. I’m all about this monochromatic swimsuit paired with a tropical, patterned kaftan on top. A vintage inspired pair of shades to protect my eyes, sunscreen to protect my face and water to keep me hydrated through the day are my other essentials.
What do you do to take a breather?
Regular posting back SO soon.