Green Bay Packers!

Traveling to Green Bay, Wisconsin wasn’t in my personal future travel plans, but this destination was all about my son! He has been an Aaron Rodgersfan every since he could talk about football, so much in fact that recently I over heard him working on his Spanish homework where he prepared an abbreviated bio in Spanish on Aaron Rodgers! Needless to say, as a mom, I knew this was a “must do” trip at some point in life over the years, but wanted to make sure he was old enough to really enjoy it.  So we planned it for November 2017: Green Bay Packers vs. Baltimore Ravens (Even though Michael Oehr was no longer on the Raven’s team, we watched Blind Side so many times over the years so it seemed to be a good one to attend.) And unfortunately we bought our tickets before Aaron Rodgers’ injury, so he wasn’t playing in this game.

AIRPORT ARRIVAL

As soon as we arrived in Green Bay; there were Packers jerseys and jackets on fans it seemed everywhere:  people arriving from different flights, the rental car agency staff, and of course all over the airport you could buy Packers paraphernalia.  We rented a car and drove 2 hours to get to our hotel.  Booking one online, and never having been to Green Bay, I was hoping that the hotel would be okay!

THE HOTEL

We stayed at the Country Inn & Suites by Carlson in Green Bay (Suamico, WI) and it definitely fit our needs, traveling with a 14 year old:  comfortable accommodations, a pool, nearby amenities.  The cookies and breakfast were enjoyed!  The hotel adjoins a retail center with a grocery store (it appeared) a bowling alley/sports bar: The Gutter and it was only 12 minutes from Lambeau field.  I see that they have a shuttle, but we drove to the game.

We arrived at the hotel and got ready for dinner.  I learned of this restaurant from Aaron Rodger’s Instagram account @aaronrodgers12, once he gave away tickets to the fan who could name his favorite restaurant in Green Bay, so we had to go there:  Chives Restaurant in Suamico, WI, the food was excellent and I probably never would have found this place on my own; it’s somewhat off the beaten path and a small restaurant. We enjoyed dinner that night!

GAME DAY- GREEN BAY PACKERS

Sometimes a picture…or a video is worth a thousand words! There is no better way to describe this experience!

LAMBEAU FIELD STORIES

Since this was our first visit, we were given some history about the stadium:  it was built in 1919 among cornfields, and everything we see today was built around it.  The original structure is the concrete structure with bleacher seats that remains today, then a steel and brick structure was built around it.  The Pro Shop is unbelievable in size, something I would have expected to see in New York, by scale.  It has everything for Packer Fans that you could imagine, we could have spent hours there honestly!  I’ve never seen so many people at a game; the attendance that day was around 78,000 people!

Even the bridge structure where we exited from the highway had Green Bay Packers logos  built into it and football scene/depictions in stone under the bridge.

Gradually the older buildings have been purchased by the Packers for additional parking.  There is a micro brewery adjacent to the stadium, the Lodge Kohler hotel (this would be the ultimate place to stay) and Bellin Health’s orthopedic center is adjacent to the stadium.  There was a new sledding hill for kids that was to open two weeks after we were there, it was grass at the time, but would soon be snow packed!

The homes across the street from Lambeau field have been purchased for “game day party centers” and a couple were recently torn down with new buildings built:  one was reported to be $1.5 million and the other $2 million, so quite a bit of continued investment is occurring.

It was a lively party everywhere we looked, such a fun day.  And it helped on that 28 degree day, that felt like 15 degrees to have bright sunshine!  So thankful for that!

We arrived at 10 am for a noon game, but we should have probably arrived at 8 am; the line to the newly opened Johnsonville Tailgate Village was too long for us.

After attending, I have to say that EVERY football fan should experience Green Bay; it was an incredible, like no other football game I ever attended; we want to go back!  Green Bay @packers fans are like none other!

What to do in the Lou?

“The Lou” meaning: St. Louis, MO.

I’m a St. Louis native who doesn’t experience boredom because there are so may things to do!  Always having something fun on the calendar definitely keeps me motivated, so I’m continually looking for NEW things to do as well as keeping track of enjoyable annual events, and now I’m sharing them with you.  I intend to periodically update this post with Events and Activities as an evolving page, so if you check back at a later date, there will likely be new events added as time continues and I visit more places!

The types of Events and Activities you will find here are:  Comedy, Cultural Activities, Entertaining Kids, Fitness, Music, Neighborhoods, Outdoors,  Restaurants, Seasonal Events, Sports, Weekend Road Trip Ideas, Wineries based on places I’ve been, along with links to informational sites all centering around the St. Louis area.

Below each subject are website links to the venues or activities providing the most current information:

COMEDY

St. Louis Funny Bone, Playhouse @ WestportPeabody Opera House

St. Louis

CULTURAL ACTIVITIES/ART/HISTORY

Visit the Arch, St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri Botanical Garden, The Muny, The Rep St. Louis, The Fox Theatre, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Lemp Mansion, Demenil Mansion, Anheuser Busch Brewery Tour, Peabody Opera House

DIGITAL CAMERAENTERTAINING KIDS

Magic House, St. Louis Zoo, Grants Farm, Eckert’s, Incredible Pizza, Six Flags, St. Louis County Parks and Recreation, Purina Farms, City Museum, Ted Drewes, St. Louis Science Center, Swing Around Fun Town, Chesterfield Sports Fusion, Flying SpiderBounceU, Pole Position, Pump It UP, Skyzone, Chesterfield YMCA (summer camps), Steinberg Skating Rink,  Challenger Learning CenterGirl Scouts of Eastern MO, Shaw Nature Reserve, Dixie Stampede (Branson- 4hr drive),

FITNESS

Hiking, Battlegrounds Mud Run, Tough Mudder, Various Organized Runs, St. Patrick’s Day Run

LIVE MUSIC

Hollywood Casino Amphitheater, Busch Stadium, Ballpark Village, Tin Roof St. Louis, Sky Music Lounge, The Pageant, Delmar Hall, Scottrade Center, The Blue Note (Columbia, MO), Old Rock House, Broadway Oyster Bar, Stovall’s (country music)Peabody Opera House

NEIGHBORHOODS

Soulard, Central West End, The Hill, The Loop, Clayton

OUTDOORS

Patio DiningThe Bull Float Trip (Annual Event), Meramec Caverns, Twin Rivers Landing Campgrounds,  St. Louis County Campgrounds
CieloRESTAURANTS

Outdoor/Patio Dining, New Restaurants Italian Restaurants,  Fireplace Dining, St. Louis Food and Drink Events, St. Louis Dining (Riverfront Times)

SEASONAL EVENTS

Mardis Gras in Soulard, St. Patrick’s Day Run and Parade, Purina Farms Easter Village and Haunted Hay loft, Fourth of July or Fall at Big Cedar Lodge, Historic Kimmswick Apple Butter and Christmas Festival, Lantern Festival, Winter Wonderland at Tillis Park, Historic St. Charles Christmas

Lemp Brewery Scarefest

Busch StadiumSPORTS

St. Louis Cardinals Baseball, St. Louis Blues Hockey, St. Louis Ambush SoccerMizzou College Football, Kansas City Chiefs Football

WEEKEND ROAD TRIP IDEAS

Kansas City, MO (approx. 3.5 hrs) Silver Dollar City Theme Park (approx 4 hrs),  Table Rock Lake, Branson, MO (approx 4 hours), Lake of the Ozarks (approx 2.5 hrs) , Springfield MO (approx. 3.5 hrs), Memphis TN (slightly over 4 hours), Nashville, TN (approx 5 hours), Chicago, IL (approx 5 hours)

Cedar Lake CellarsWINERIES

St. Charles area along 94:  Augusta Winery, Montelle Winery, Mt. Pleasant Winery, Chandler Hill Winery

Cedar Lake Cellars (about 45 from St. Louis)

Herman, MO – winery town (about 1 hour from St. Louis)

I hope you find this helpful and welcome any feedback or suggestions regarding places to visit! Happy Exploring!

 

 

A Taste of Cali: 5 cities!

Traveling and exploring the outdoors are definite favorites of mine (tied with music, of course); but there are so many places to go and things to see with limited time that planning can be time consuming.  It’s hard making decisions on what to see when we want to do it all.

This trip, we were lucky enough to have family living in California, who provided local insight and created this perfect “Taste of California” itinerary: visiting Sacramento, Folsom Lake, Lake Tahoe, Napa Valley and San Francisco.  Brief highlights and pictures of the places and restaurants we visited are included next, all highly recommended. Hope you find something you will enjoy when traveling!

SACRAMENTO

First Stop:  A visit to the  historic town of Old Sacramento shortly after our plan landed, we had lunch on the stationary historic riverboat located on the Sacramento River, the Delta King and drove around Old Sacramento to sightsee.OHBU4633

Capital Park    Capital Park is home to the California Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial and landscaped with numerous varieties of trees, plants and flowers native to California. Of course after the park we had to get Gelato.

We also visited the Sacramento Choral Society to hear the music of Downton Abbey, after having dinner at the nearby Esquire Grill.

IMG_9210

Folsom Lake

The sun rises over the lake, but unfortunately I took some wrong turns and didn’t make it there early enough. The lake level was down in March to accommodate the future snow melt, but it was gorgeous even with low lake levels.  There are bike and walking trails leading to the State Park and lake, as well as a nearby bike rental place, perfect for morning exercise and exploring!

Lake Tahoe

Definitely a highlight of the trip!  The weather turned beautiful when we visited.

Before arriving at Lake Tahoe, we stopped at this cute place with Chalets banked along the rushing water of the South Yuba River:  Rainbow Lodge; so picturesque!

Arriving at Lake Tahoe…ready for lunch…must stop at Garwoods!

Look at this lunch view!

IMG_9088
Garwoods at Lake Tahoe
IMG_9089
Garwoods at Lake Tahoe- that view!

Squaw Valley Ski Resort…next stop

Resort at Squaw Creek– the perfect place to relax and enjoy the views!  Very quiet in March if you are looking for privacy!

Empire Mine:  (Grass Valley, CA)

Learn about the Gold Rush, see the estate and visit the mine.

Napa Valley – off to the wineries

Lunch first at Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch

Sterling Vineyards : the tram ride is unique from other area wineries. Sterling Vineyards is elevated and tucked into the mountainside whereas other vineyards we passed were in the flatter valley areas.

Beringer Estates: Tour the cave and the oldest continuous running winery in Napa Valley; they didn’t even close during prohibition because they provided wine to the Catholic church for communion!

The Harvest Inn – a relaxing place to stay after visiting the wineries and excellent dinner!

From Napa to San Francisco stopping for lunch in Larkspur, CA at  “Left Bank Larkspur Braserie”

San Francisco Arrival….it was a wet one!

but cleared for us to enjoy a beautiful setting and dinner at Sutro’s at the Cliff House

The next day cleared and we took the tour by water of the San Francisco Bay area,  the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and the Oakland Bridge then had lunch at the Crab House at Pier 39, then visited China Beach, Golden Gate Park, and had diner at the Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant to watch the Sunset.

 

This itinerary worked perfectly and we didn’t feel rushed, still had time to relax and enjoy the places we visited on the “Taste of Cali” trip!