Taste Of Houston Food Tour: 4 Must Try Montrose Restaurants

Ranked as one of America’s top three most ethnically diverse cities, Houston is well known for its variety of award winning culinary experiences. On a recent trip to Houston, courtesy of CityPASS & Visit Houston I had the chance to experience the array of restaurants and multi-cultural dishes that make the city a must visit destination. Just make sure you bring your appetite and walking shoes to work off all those good eats because there’s no shortage of places to dine at in between checking out the family friendly sites like the Houston Zoo, Space Center or the museum district with your CityPASS in hand.

 

Staying downtown at the Marriott Marquis Houston was the perfect location because everywhere we ventured off to eat was either in walking distance, or no more than a twenty to thirty minute drive away. After unpacking and taking in the view of the hotel’s larger than life, Texas shaped lazy river, our group headed out on a Taste of Houston Tour through the neighborhood of Montrose with our knowledgeable guide Lisa. When visiting a city for the first time, I’d highly recommend signing up for a food tour like this because not only were we able to try out some of the most popular  and innovative dishes, we learned a lot about the history and culture of the city over the years.

Montrose reminded me in many ways of hanging out in New York City, with a mix of flavorful places to eat & drink, shops, art galleries and more – there’s something to do that will appeal to everyone your traveling with.

 
Did you know that Tex-Orleans cuisine was a thing? I had no idea until we made our first stop at BB’s Cajun Cafe, where menu offerings include: crawfish, boudin balls, gumbo and 15 varieties of Po’boys. Inspired by his grandmother {Maw Maw}, Brooks Bassler founded BB’s in 2007 and a unique blend of Southern Louisiana style cooking fused with a Texas twist was created. If you’re planning to try the Crawfish, don’t let those juicy little suckers intimidate you! Tie on a bib, slap on some gloves {if you really want to avoid getting those sauces and spices all over} and prepare to dig in. Also note that the only dessert on the menu is Maw-Maw’s bread pudding and trust me, that’s ok. It’s light, sweet, addictive and you may not want to share.

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Niagara Falls- Ontario, Canada

Niagara Falls is nature at its mightiest. More than just a look at a waterfall, a visit is a full vacation surrounded by the natural beauty of the area and the luxury that has drawn tourists from around the world.

A great introduction to the Niagara Falls is from the water with tour from Niagara CruisesVoyage to the Falls boat tour visits Great Gorge, American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and the most famous, Horseshoe Falls. Whether you decide to see the Falls in the daylight, illuminated at night, or both, there is no better way than floating up close to the massive wall of moving water. You will almost certainly get wet if you are on the open/outdoor areas of the boat, make sure you wear your (free with purchase of ticket) parka they hand out. If you don’t take the night cruise, make sure you take the time to see the falls lit up at night- it’s a beautiful sight, and one you will be glad you took the time for. Before or after your ride, take advantage of “access to the Lower Landing and Falls viewing area” for a whole different viewpoint of Niagara Falls.

There are plenty of options to get close to the water on foot with the White Water Walk. Viewing platforms and a wooden boardwalk offer an up close look at the trillions of gallons of water that make the “Niagara River’s Class 6 white water rapids”. Rising above you are the walls of the Niagara Gorge, cut down by the power of the river to reveal “410-million-year-old rock layers”. The views you will get on your walk next to the raging waters are breathtaking and like none you will see anywhere else. It’s also a lovely stroll, one that anyone at any age can take.

niagara falls

 

If you are looking for a different angle to view the river, try the Whirlpool Aero Car. Over a century old (just celebrating it’s centennial in 2016) the trip takes you over “3,500 feet across the Canadian side of the Niagara River”. You will cross the international boarder between the USA and Canada during your trip. From the antique cable car, you look down over the Niagara Whirlpool, like seeing the eye of a storm from above.
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John Glenn Astronomy Park in Ohio

Study the sky night or day!

What does it take to make for ideal astronomy viewing? Exactly the conditions you will find in Ohio’s Hocking Hills. That is why it is now the home of the John Glenn Astronomy Park. The Hocking Hills State Park is located forty miles from Columbus, easy to get to but far enough to have excellent visibility without light pollution getting in the way of star gazing.

Clear night skies have drawn many astronomy enthusiasts and now the John Glenn Astronomy Park takes that to the next level. The Solar Plaza welcomes visitors to study the daytime features of the sky. The Sun, Earth, and the North Celestial Pole are just a few of the features on display before the night time show begins. The enclosed 540-square-foot observatory allows for viewing the night sky with its retractable roof.

If you want to spark some excitement in nature and science this is a great destination. So many of us get a diluted view of the stars that it is easy to forget how magical and inspirational they are. This park offers visitors the experience of the near pristine night sky through a large telescope and with their bare eyes.

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The Five Best Self-Led Bike Tours in NYC

New York City is the largest city in North America in terms of both population and land area. As such, it’s no wonder that tourists rarely get a chance to see everything on their wish list during their stay in the Big Apple. Most citizens have yet to see it all.

 

Taking a self-led bike tour allows tourists to see the city on their own time while avoiding the often confusing subway routes and expensive cab fares. So reserve an affordable rental bike from Blazing Saddles, grab a map, and check out these five iconic areas for a self-led tour.

 

Brooklyn Bridge

 

Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most recognizable bridges in the world. It’s unique Gothic architecture, and hybrid design of cable-stayed and suspension style bridges make it wondrous to behold before you consider the view from the East River. Crossing the 1,500-foot bridge by bicycle gives you a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty in the distance. Cycling across the bridge at sunset will only enhance the view but is also, unfortunately, the busiest time for tourists.

 

The Hudson River Greenway

 

If you like the idea of seeing the city while avoiding the infamous traffic jams and honking yellow cabs, the Hudson River Greenway offers an enjoyable way to do so. Along this path, you can see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the 9/11 Memorial site, Battery Park, the Hudson River, and the Intrepid Air and Space Museum.

 

This option is perfect for those who wish to see the various tourist attractions without diving too deep into each experience. If you choose to take a separate tour through one of the sites, be sure to secure your bike accordingly.
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5 Reasons why you should stay in a farmhouse on your next vacation

It’s very rare to hear of people renting or staying in farmhouses for their vacations. Resorts and hotels are most preferable but after reading this, you might change your mind.

  1. New experience

Beaches, mountains, and resorts are the common go to when planning your vacation but too much of something is poisonous. In an attempt to avoid that monotony, plan a vacation in a farmhouse where you will be surrounded by the peaceful nature. This experience kills two birds with one stone where they will also learn how to work on a farm

  1. The domesticated animals

In a farmhouse, you find a variety of animals from cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry, and horses. Are you rarely exposed to these animals as you are used to game drives looking at wildlife from a distance? In a farm for example in a family setting, your child will be able to come into contact with the animals; touching them and helping feed them.

It is also more peaceful as compared to the normal go-to spots such as an arcade where you cannot even hear yourself due to the norm of accepting the noise as part of the experience.
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In a New York State of Mind

Looking to spend some time in The Big Apple with the family? Here are some great places to visit while you are there.

LEGO’s are fun for kids of all ages, and the LEGOLAND Discovery Center in NY is a great place to spend the day for LEGO lovers of all ages.  The adventure begins by learning how Lego bricks are made and a kiddie-version of the history of  little plastic bricks. After this interesting introduction, its time to ride some rides and visit some attractions. The first ride (one that brings you into the main area) is a sit down guided laser shooting tour, where you save the castle by defeating tons of baddies. After your victory, you head into a mini-brick version of New York City and the LEGOLAND area. Push buttons for lights and sounds, and well as mini-animations. The details are pretty amazing, and the spoofs will keep everyone giggling. Fans will find quite a few “Easter Eggs” as they walk around the town.

There are also a bunch of other attractions to check out, like the racing course where you build your own racecar to pit against everyone else- there are several tracks to choose from. There is also a magic couch ride where you jaunt around on a flying couch. Really.  You move it up and down by pedaling, and it goes around in a circle. Make sure you check out the 4D movie, a must for all LEGO Movie fans. Of course, there are tons of LEGO to build, Masterclasses to take (and you can take your creations with you for a fee), and obstacle courses to try out. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester is located at 39 Fitzgerald Street, Yonkers, NY 10710
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Visit Antlers at Vail Colorado

The Perfect Hotel for Your Trip to Vail

Whether you are planning a ski trip or a visit in summer to beautiful Colorado you could not pick a better destination than Vail and you could not find a better place to stay than Antlers Hotel.

sculpture at antlers at vail coloradoThe list of benefits for staying at Antlers at Vail is long. The rooms/condos are equipped with full stocked kitchens, lovely decor, and balcony views of Gore Creek, which runs behind the hotel and the picturesque Lionshead section of town. In winter they offer on-site ski rentals and  ski valet complimentary. Located just a short walk from Vail’s Lionshead Gondola it is easy to hit the slopes and get right up on the mountain.

Iceskating rink near Antlers at VailYear round there is plenty to do right outside Antlers at Vail. I honestly loved Lionshead more than Vail town center, with its cute shops and quaint ice skating rink. When you do want to travel around town there is a free shuttle that leaves from directly across from the hotel. This can take you anywhere you want to go in town and saves you from paying for parking! Check out the galleries or grab something to eat nearby at any of the restaurants. We chose to cook so hit the nearby grocery store then loaded up the full size fridge.
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Copper Mountain, Ski Colorado

Hit the Slopes Here on Your Next Vacation

Whether you slip your boots into skis or a snowboard the important part is where you get to ride. When in Colorado and the Rockies a top choice is Copper Mountain Resort for lodging, entertainment, dining, and of course the trails. The views from the top of Copper Mountain are absolutely stunning. I could have spent all day at the top if it wasn’t so fun going back down!

View from the Top of Copper Mountain skiing in ColoradoCopper Mountain is just 75 miles from Denver and a great balance of size, navigability, and easy travel. With three central locations or villages there are plenty of options to approach the mountain. They have more than 140 marked trails to keep everyone in your family occupied.

East Village Lodge at Copper Mountain ColoradoThe trails breakdown as 21% beginner, 25% intermediate, 36% advanced, 18% expert. Keep in mind certain levels leave from one village or another so be prepared to keep track of everyone, but there are buses to take you anywhere you need to get on the ski resort. If you are looking for multiple days of skiing and snowboarding fun this is the place. The shear size of the resort and number of trails means there is always a new path to master.

Copper Mountain Tubing Hill ColoradoThere are so many more activities than just skiing to offer during your visit to Copper Mountain Resort. Some are snow going like the tubing hill, or the outdoor Rocky Mountain Coaster, and the iceskating pond. When you are ready to get out of the cold, but still want some thrills it is time to hit Woodward Copper. Their Woodward Barn is designed as an action sports training ground! Indoor ski and snowboard training, trampolines and foam pits, skateboards, scooters, and bikes are all options for private lessons with their amazing instructors or just take the intro, then sign up for free time. You can find out all about it in our post HERE.
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