New England Summer Road Trip: Part 2

Today is part two of our 17 day road trip recap. If you missed part one of our drive, Cape Cod, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire you can read it here. I think it may have been a bit too ambitious of me to think I could recap 17 days in only two posts. In life, I’m not exactly known to be short winded and I have never not taken any less than a million photos on vacation. However, I stuck to my word and recapped the rest of our trip here even though it’s resulted in a behemoth of a post.

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New England Summer Road Trip: Part 1

It's been officially one year since our trip to Kenya and I still haven't finished blogging about it. Clearly I shouldn't quit my day job and become a travel blogger! We switched it up this year, and we recently got back from a road trip that took us from St. Louis, up through New England, over to Michigan, and back home. This time last year, even before heading to Kenya,  the wheels were already spinning on where I wanted to go in 2018. Those who know me well know my travel schedule is generally planed out, at least loosely, 12-18 months in advanced! A summer trip to New England had been on my mind and we also seriously considered a trip to Germany, Austria, and Hungry for over the winter, but while in Africa we met so many people who commented on the beauty and vastness of the United States that it stirred something in me to want to do a longer trip here in the U.S. Since money and vacation leave do not grow on trees, we decided to nix a big international trip this year and stay "local". I've always loved New England, even before my obsession with wanting to be a Gilmore Girl. I looked at colleges up east and always dreamed of living there one today. Although fall seems like the quintessential time to visit, something about summer was calling to me (which is good since Chris has no fall break). I envisioned a slower pace trip, where we could really relax, spend time together outdoors. I had dreams of lobster rolls, homemade ice cream, and lots of time spent hiking, biking, and by the ocean.  I learned from our Italy trip that I do best when I can spend at least 3 night in the same location.  After running the numbers on flights, car rentals, bike and bike rack rentals, we quickly decided road tripping it in our Subaru with our bikes was the way to go, and although I always prefer to fly, I actually really enjoyed our road trip. I think the key to our success was we were never rushed and we broke up our drives really nicely.  We were gone a total of 17 days and I plan to break up the trip into two posts. So grab your drink of choice and settle in for post #1!

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Selenkay Conservancy Days 2 & 3

"We only have the land for a short time, then we must leave it intact."

Selenkay Conservancy is located about 10 miles north of Amboseli National Park. The land is leased by Gamewatchers from the local Maasai. Their model promotes both wildlife conservation while also providing economic opportunities for the local Maasai communities. You can read more here and here about how these conservancies are making a difference for the both the animals and the people. 

As I mentioned, we researched probably hundreds of companies, but wanted to ensure we were travelling as responsibly as possible and in a way that wasn't exploiting the local people or wildlife. After our trip I couldn't of been happier with Gamewatchers. Staying in these conservancies vs. the parks allowed for so many additional benefits that made our trip extra special (and should be considered for anyone planning to on safari). In the national parks you're confined to the roads and they are generally crowded with tourists and minivans, especially during high season. Within the conservancies, there is a max density of 1 tent per 700 acres. In Selenkay Conservancy where we stayed there were only two camps, meaning you often never saw another vehicle when out on game drives. Additionally, we were able to off road everywhere and get really close to the animals. Because of this low density of tourists and no poaching in the area, the wildlife wasn't fearful of us and we got to observe them engaging in their natural behaviors.

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Selenkay Conservancy: Day 1

"I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up and was not happy." 

We were awaken dark and early with coffee, shortbread, and a jug of warm water to wash our faces with. July is winter in Kenya, and starting the morning in the warmth of our tent with a cup of coffee was lovely. The staff at Nairobi Tented Camp were so attentive and accommodating while we were there. Despite an early departure time to make our flight out to Selenkay, the staff had an early breakfast prepared for us and at 5:45 am we were on our way via a short 20 minute drive over to Wilson Airport.

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Travel Days and Nairobi Tented Camp (Days 1-3)

"The Wilds of Africa will stir your soul and warm your heart. Once you get the dust of Africa on your boots, you will always find a way to return."

Visiting Africa has always topped both my life AND travel bucket list. After everything that happened this past winter I didn't know if it would actually happen, but it did, and it was just as amazing as I thought it would be. It was the most perfect experience.

When planning for our trip Kenya, Tanzania, and Botswana were at the top of our list for safari destinations. We had a limited budget though (as well as time off work) and we also knew we wanted to travel as responsibly and sustainably as possible - all of this really narrowed down our options on both country and outfitter. After a significant amount of research, we settled on Gamewatcher's Safari Company as our outfitter and Kenya, the birthplace of Safari, for our country.

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Weekend Getaway: 48 Hours in Kentucky

It is a place beneath the wind and sun. In the very heart of America. If these United States can be called a body, Kentucky can be called its heart. ~ Unknown

Chris and I love to travel but let's face it, our paid vacation time is a hot commodity, so we live for quick weekend escapes. We spent two years living in Kentucky for my residency, and although St. Louis is a better fit for us day-to-day, it doesn't mean we don't love to go back to visit our friends and the state itself. When one of my good girlfriends recently threw out the idea of a quick couples trip, I was immediately on board. Kentucky was the perfect fit, as it was a quick 45 minute Southwest flight for them and a quick drive for us. 

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Magic House: Adult Play Date

"So, like a forgotten fire, a childhood can always flare up again within us." ~Gaston Bachelard

I hope everyone had a relaxing Labor Day weekend! With my husband's recent career transition and his first of many holiday weekends off, we were looking forward to celebrating. We took in the Japanese Festival at the Botanical Gardens, met up with our local alumni group to watch the opening game for Oklahoma State, met our new nephew, fit in a few runs at Forest Park, and ate and drank our way with friends through the Greek Festival. After a busy holiday weekend, I wanted to sit down and recap a really fun Thursday night we had a couple weeks ago.

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Farm-to-Fork: Cocktails by Candlelight

Last Wednesday we broke up our traditional work week with a Farm-to-Fork dinner hosted by Sancturia in The Grove. The theme was a late summer harvest and many of the ingredients incorporated within the meal had been freshly harvested earlier that day or the day before from Sancturia's gardens. When we arrived, we were shown to the pickle board and given a bubbly cocktail to sip while waiting for everyone to arrive. Both the chef and general manager would come out between each course to describe both the dish and the cocktail pairing, along with the inspiration behind them. A few cocktail history lessons were thrown in as well, which Chris, my cocktail enthusiast loved.

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