Belle Meade Plantation Tour

Once a year, Belle Meade Plantation has an open house featuring a candlelight self-walking tour of the mansion and the grounds as well as free wine tasting in the gift shop, carolers, and pictures with Santa of course! It’s a fun, chilly date night activity in those winter months. You might not learn as much about the history of the property like you would in a guided tour, but there are plenty of employees (in costumes) in each of the rooms that will answer any questions you may have as well as tell you a story or two about the rooms and its contents. Having the opportunity to walk around outside with free hot cocoa and pathways lighted by candles certainly gives this night at Belle Meade Plantation a romantic night to remember.

If you would rather, Belle Meade Planation, it’s winery, and it’s restaurant is opened throughout the year and offers paid, guided tours and is a beautiful, popular place for a destination wedding in Nashville. Mansion tours are typically about 45 minutes, prices vary. You may also tour by Segway (could be fun!) and in groups.

After visiting Belle Meade Planation, we went and had a fun dinner at Sam’s Place. Great food, great prices, and fun, personable staff! It may not be a romantic dinner, but to eat in Belle Meade, you can’t beat their prices!

I hope you have a fun, romantic night!

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Evins Old Mill

Evins Mill is a small, very private resort featuring wonderful views and a romantic aura tucked away deep in the woods of Smithville, TN. Each room has it’s own private deck and scenic settings as well as access to hiking trails leading to waterfalls and gorges. It is the perfect getaway to put you back in touch with nature and to fall in love all over again.

Our Room w/ a View!

There are many resort packages including breakfast, boxed lunches, and dinner as well as spa services. On site there is a library, bar, game room, and more. My favorite part of our stay was not only the view of our room, but the hike to the waterfall. We took the daring, tough terrain hike complete with ropes along the edge of the trail to help you along the way. Once we got to the waterfall, the strenuous hike was well worth it. It was a beautiful and magnificent site that I could have spent all day admiring.

The game room, museum, and banquet rooms are located in part of the Old Mill. Take the walkway that stretches from the resort across the dam to get there. It is a beautiful location for a wedding or private party/function. At night, take a stroll across the bridge and you can hear the tree frogs echo throughout the gorges.

The walkway to get from the resort area to Old Mill

 

The resort with walkways to each cabin/room

 

Photo taken by: Ben Russell
Featured on Evins Mill FB page

Not only was our room and experience amazing, but the staff was so polite and accommodating. I would recommend this place 100%! He took me here for our 2 year anniversary and for my early birthday present, how amazing is this man?! I’m so lucky and blessed.

Thank you all for reading, Happy Holidays!

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Eating Paleo on the Road

The Paleo Diet is a way of life I’ve grown to be fascinated by that involves, “eating like a caveman.” So basically no processed foods-period. Being on the road a lot makes this way of life certainly more difficult. You have to be honest with yourself, you are NOT going to eat Paleo 100% of the time because your NOT going to be able to prepare your own foods. Don’t stress, you can still aim to be Paleo at least by 80%.

Don’t let your diet ruin your road trip! In the midst of planning my road trips, I plan out what foods to take with me. Packing your car and your bags with snacks and beverages will save you money in the long run! Use this opportunity to pack plenty of survival foods (fruit and granola bars, nuts, jerky, dried fruit, and more) and of course bottles of water. Having snacks with you will help you not indulge when you finally find civilization and stop for food. Bring cooler bags and ice packs, obviously! Pack your foods, snacks, and drinks properly and try to make sure there is a mini fridge at every hotel stop.

Take advantage of apps and websites such as Yelp and RoadTripper to find gluten free, vegetarian, and grass fed meat restaurants. This is also a fun way to figure out what kind of places are in the areas your traveling to. You can find some of the best restaurants by reading people’s reviews of them. You may even find hidden places you never thought existed! When dining out, you don’t always have to order JUST a salad. Check out their burgers, some may interest you and you can always ask for a bun less burger or have them wrap it in lettuce.

Taking a road trip does not mean you HAVE to have fast food. Make it a point to stop and eat, not eat while driving. You may be afraid of prices, but don’t let that scare you. Plan ahead of time or while your in the car to see what places may be up ahead. Many websites will show their pricing and help you find the perfect fit for you. Only stopping for fast food will actually be worse for both your health and your wallet. They give you smaller portion sizes if you only order off the dollar menu and therefore will make you crave and eat more. Also, its ALL processed food! So stop at a restaurant, order up a nice veggie burger (hold the bun), and a tall glass of water. Your body and your mind will thank you for it.

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Christmas Eve Holiday Lights Date-Cheekwood

During the holiday season, one of the best places in Nashville to go and see Christmas lights is Cheekwood’s Holiday Lights in Belle Mead. Cheekwood Botanical Gardens is a beautiful place for weddings, romantic dates, and extravagant events…Swan Ball anyone? On a side note, Belle Mead is the one place in Nashville I loved taking a drive, whether I was working a local house party at one of the mansions or just passing through, mainly due to the beautiful homes that wealthy families and music stars own. On your way to Cheekwood, be sure to drive down Belle Mead Boulevard until you reach the end to see everyone’s Christmas lights. Once you reach the park at the end of Belle Mead Boulevard, turn right and then take your first left to drive along the golf course until you reach the entrance to Cheekwood.

Cheekwood Holiday Lights is a fun date after your Christmas Eve dinner whether it’s just the two of you or the whole family. They feature about 1 million lights throughout their gardens making it the prettiest nighttime winter stroll. You may purchase the tickets online or at the gate. You can walk around sipping a hot toddy from their various drink and snack stands throughout the gardens. They have a gift shop as well as a restaurant on site and you may also take a free walking tour of the mansion.

  

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Page, Arizona (a photographer’s dream date)

Antelope Canyon:

Antelope Canyon is a magnificent slot canyon located in Page, Arizona. Stepping inside this canyon, is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. It’s a photographer’s dream with its beautiful ambient lighting, colors, and depth.

The only way you can get into Antelope Canyon, is by tour because it is located on Navajo Nation Land. You will have to buy a permit to enter Navajo Territory as well as an additional fee for the tour, prices vary. Do like we did, and go straight to Upper Antelope Canyon’s access point. There you will find a couple tour buildings where you can pay and then leave for the tour directly from there. You can sign up for a group tour (this is what we did) or if you have the money and the right camera equipment, you can buy a photographer’s pass. With that pass, you can go on a private tour with your tour guide so you won’t have to deal with a big group of people. In our group tour, we had a wonderful Navajo tour guide who knew every nook and cranny in that canyon. He even helped people with their cameras to get the best possible lighting for the best photograph.

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Upper Antelope Canyon is where most tour guides will take you because of it’s easier terrain. There is still some climbing up and down steps and some rocky terrain as well as narrow areas of the canyon that you have to walk through. Once inside the canyon, temperatures drop about 20 degrees, so keep that in mind and choose your clothes wisely. Lower Antelope Canyon is more difficult and a little more dangerous. This is the canyon where 11 people died in 1997 due to a flash flood which may be the reason why you are required to have a guide at all times now. Keep in mind, if you and your date are looking for adventure, this may not be the place. It isn’t very private due to having to go in groups with a tour guide, but it is certainly a magical place to see together.

the exit

Horseshoe Bend:

Horseshoe Bend was a Pinterest find I wanted to see that was also located in Page, AZ and I am so glad I did! Not only is Antelope Canyon an incredible place to see, this was just as beautiful. Horseshoe Bend is a breathtaking canyon, part of the Colorado River featuring an array of colors.

It is accessible by a strenuous walk/hike up and down a hill from a designated parking area so be sure to bring plenty of water. The lookout area is on top of a steep cliff, as you can see, but it is the perfect place for photographs.

 

Thank you all for reading. I hope you enjoy your perfect photography date in Page, Arizona. Post your experience below in the comments!

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Midtown/Uptown Minneapolis Date

As fun and unique as downtown Minneapolis may be, I’d like to bring you to Midtown and Uptown.

Powderhorn Park:

   

Looking for a local park to have a nice picnic and get some exercise in around a pond? Stop by Powderhorn Park (where my old apartment used to be)! If you are an exercise junkie, they have plenty of equipment along the paved trails as checkpoints to do pull ups, leg presses, and more! There is plenty of grass and private areas to have a romantic picnic and if you are touring around May Day, they have a cool May Day festival with vendors and music. At night, you can view a portion of the Minneapolis skyline.

Midtown Global Market:

The Midtown Global Market is a great place to stop in and walk around for a little while. It is actually the second largest leasable sized building compared to Mall of America in the city. Inside this building, you will find a portion of it is filled with international food stands and craft vendors.

Calhoun Square/Uptown:

Uptown is a hip neighborhood in Minneapolis that has plenty of rooftop restaurants and bars as well as shops. Amore Uptown is a great romantic nighttime rooftop restaurant to take your date. Sadly, my favorite restaurant was Cowboy Slim’s which closed shortly after I moved away, they had the BEST buffalo chicken wraps! Besides rooftop restaurants, record shops and clothing boutique’s flood the streets of uptown. Park, walk, and shop your day away!

Calhoun Lake:

Calhoun Lake- North Beach

Want to spend time at the beach, but can’t get away to the ocean? Minneapolis has tons of lakeside beaches! The best beach in Uptown is Calhoun Lake’s North Beach. If you don’t feel like lounging lakeside, there are plenty of biking and walking trails that go around the entire lake.

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Minneapolis Day Date by Foot

About 5 years ago I had the pleasure of living in this beautiful city, Minneapolis, for about 2 years. I met amazing people and saw beautiful places I will never forget. It was certainly an experience that I’m glad I had. Minneapolis is a beautiful city with a lot of hidden places that only locals would know about and I loved it. Some of those hidden places I’m going to tell you right here in these posts. But shhh, keep it between us.

Guthrie Theatre:

Guthrie Theatre (Ateliers Jean Nouvel Photography)
View from up top (Crystal Rock Photography)

The Guthrie Theatre may look like just a theatre to most people, but this was one of my favorite places to go to in the city to see some beautiful views and get some awesome photos. Once you go in the main entrance, you can go up the elevator and tour the different floors, each one having something else to see. The level that has the café, is one of my favorite floors because you get to walk out onto the part of the building that jets out. This allow you to see a great view like the photo I took above as well as the river. The next floor that I really enjoy is what I like to call, The Yellow Room. All the windows are yellow giving a different perspective of the city.

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Stone Arch Bridge:

  

In behind the Guthrie Theatre, you will see the Stone Arch Bridge. This is a beautifully architectural bridge only made for walking and bikes. If your touring the Guthrie Theatre it’s a nice area allowing you to walk/bike across the river to get to the other side. The other side has some hidden trails for a more private walk-if you can find it that is. (Once you find this trail, see if you can find the gorilla graffiti, take a photo of it and post it in the comments below!)

Nicolette Mall:

You may be thinking, why would we want to go to the mall on a beautiful day in downtown? Psych! It’s not really a mall, its a street full of shops!

Photo by: © Meet Minneapolis

Great place to get some grub and shop in some huge stores! They have a two story Marshalls and a two story Target with an escalator specifically for your shopping carts…how cool is that?!

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Nashville, TN Dates

Living in Nashville for a year, we realized that it’s a great city to visit, but certainly not to live. The city itself is growing at an enormous rate and the interstates and byways just can’t handle it. As a result, in my opinion, there is too much traffic, and people! On top of how many people are currently living in the city, you have tourists. Don’t get me wrong, the city is beautiful. There is always something to do, rain or shine. Many tourists will flock to Broadway (the well known party and bar street in the city), but I have a lot of other places that I prefer to go to with my date. Here are just a few…

The Parthenon:

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In Nashville, there is a full scale replica of the original Parthenon that is in Athens, Greece. Located in West End, in the middle of Centennial Park of Nashville. It was originally built for 1897’s Centennial Exposition. I heard it was supposed to be torn down, but it was such an exact replica and adorned by many, that it was kept standing and now serves as an art museum. It’s free to walk around, and there is a one mile loop behind around a pond.

Nashville Flea Market & Bicentennial Park:

photo taken by: Julianna

Even if you’re not looking to buy something, its a fun place to walk around and take in all the different smells. Food trucks tend to gather here, including The Grilled Cheeserie which is my favorite! There are many restaurants and vendors inside and outside of the building ranging from pizza and baked goods, to yummy organic ice cream and Jamaican foods. Behind the flea market is Bicentennial Park.

You can see a beautiful view of the State Capitol as well as learn and see some of Nashville’s history. Make sure to walk towards the west side of the park and listen to the towers play some bell music every hour on the hour. I bet a beautiful place to propose to someone is right in the middle of the towers as the music plays 😉

Go to a Titans game:

It may not be the most romantic of places, but its a great place to have fun with your loved one and friends. Not only can you watch the game, but there are places throughout the stadium where you can play corn hole, have a drink at the bar, and lounge on couches while the sun sets. Did I mention the stadium food?! YUM!

Walk around 12 South:

12 South is the infamous street where you may see celebrities such as Lady Gaga shopping as well as graffiti wall art. You can do an art crawl, but I will get to explaining that in a later post! There is also some great restaurants such as Bar Taco and Flip Side (great chicken and shakes)!

Tour Gaylord Opryland Resort:

You may be thinking, why would I tour a resort? Well, you must haven’t seen Gaylord Opryland, yet! This resort not only has restaurants and shops, but breathtakingly beautiful conservatories. Orchids, waterfalls, palms, greens and plants of all kinds reside in the resort perfect for picture taking.

Those are just a few of my favorite Nashville dates! Stay tuned for more great ideas in Tennessee!

As always, thank you for reading. You all are amazing.

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A Mt. Shasta Adventure

Before noticing the gorgeous mountain with snow on top towering over the town, I had no idea what Mt. Shasta really was. I heard about the beauty, but I never knew what the area really looked like. Thick forests, small shops, hippies and hillbillies, and small families enjoying a quiet life. Despite all of that, tourists filled the town, but respected their surroundings to let the locals live peacefully. This beauty and uniqueness allowed Mt. Shasta to stand out to me. I had never seen or been to any place like it.

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Mt. Shasta is one of the towns in the US with the cleanest water that has won actual awards. Visit the local park where you can actually taste a sip. The water takes about 50 years to make it down the mountain to the small area in the park where you can drink it. You can drink 50 year old water! It will be the purest and cleanest water you will ever taste.

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The mountain is known to have special Ora that many transients flock to, to do whatever transients do. I’ve never seen so many and it was really unique to see how they live. Shacks decorated with tie die decor, the smell of pot lingering, and seeing those eating plants, while trying to fulfill a pure, clean, natural life. If you’d like, bring a tent and live like them. There are plenty of areas to camp out with plenty of water to drink and apparently, plants to eat!

Nestled deep in the woods is Mt. Shasta Lake. Take a picnic, take a canoe/kayak, and enjoy a day to yourselves. You will most likely be up there alone or only with a couple other people. It is so quiet and serene you will never want to leave.

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Sanibel Island Sunny Day Date

Sanibel Island is a very romantic place where you can get back to your Islander self. If your staying on the island, you may take a drive or a bike ride to Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge. You can spend hours there slowly riding through the park, stopping every so often to see the wonderful wildlife Sanibel Island has to offer. There are some trails where you can pull over and take a stroll as well as an overlook tour for those perfect photographs.

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Afterwards, you will probably be hungry! Stop by Blue Giraffe Island Dining restaurant for lunch or dinner. Be sure to try their chicken or a dish with key lime aioli sauce. It’s amazing and I’ve been trying to figure out this recipe to duplicate it for so long now!

On your way back to your place, stop into Jerry’s Grocery Store. This place is worth visiting just for the Key Lime Pie and the couple shops that are connected to the building to get some souvenirs. Be sure to say hello to the birds. Caesar is my favorite!

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