a trip for the books

Happy Monday friends! I hope your Valentines Day weekend was just spectacular. Ours was the best weekend ever, we went on one awesome camping trip. BUT before I get too much into that how much do you love the new blog design? A huge thanks to Victoria of Happily Ever Strader Blog for designing my new look, and for being such a joy to work with. If you or anyone you know needs some help refreshing their blog's look, Victoria is your girl, make sure a give her some love. She has a heart for Jesus and her blog is so encouraging and refreshing, please check her out.   

So back to the trip. We went to Cloudland Canyon State Park for our camping getaway. And I cannot say enough about how much fun we had. The park was absolutely beautiful. There was a ton of snow on the ground when we arrived (about 4 inches) and an 80% chance of rain Friday night but we still had a blast. We collected our own firewood, made all of our own food (recipes coming later this week), and went hiking. It was so great. Due to the rain and snow we stayed in what is called a Yurt. It is basically an glorified type of Teepee with furniture and even a little space heater. (see pictures below) I think this should go on everyone's bucket list -- stay in a Yurt. It was so fun, and such a cool little place to stay. The furnishings were all rustic and well crafted, we even had our own little back porch with chairs. It is a perfect family place because in the middle of the Yurt Village there is a playground for the littles to run around on. All in all, I do believe I have been bitten by the camping bug and that this will quickly become a hobby both Ben and myself do often and really enjoy. Here are some snapshots from the weekend.


{Our Yurt, number 7 for our camping adventure}






















{the walking bridge in downtown Chattanooga, TN}




The little deal that we made in regards to this trip was that we would sleep outside one night, and in a hotel in Chattanooga the next. This was Ben's way of getting my feet wet when it comes to camping. We stayed at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Chattanooga Saturday night. It was such a nice hotel, and was so great to get a nice hot shower after "roughing it" outside for 24 hours. We got lunch at a local pizza joint that was funky and delicious. Lupi's Pizza had great pizza with a fun atmosphere as well. We really enjoyed it and would highly recommend it to you! 
We then explored downtown some more, we walked on the walking bridge at sunset, looked at some shops, and then went to another local restaurant for dinner called Urban Stack. We waited for an hour to get a table but it was SO WORTH THE WAIT. Everything about the place was local and trendy, from the decor, to the food. and boy was the food incredible. I ordered their fried green tomato burger and it was to die for. We ordered sweet potato fries to split and they may be the best sweet potato fries we have ever had. We will definitely venture back to the Urban Stack next time we are in the area, and would be willing to wait 2 or 3 hours for another delicious grass-fed burger!!



To round out the trip we went to breakfast at a super quirky place Sunday morning called Aretha Frankensteins. We again had a long wait, but with delicious french toast, waffles and fried potatoes we decided it was worth the wait. 

We loved this trip. This was the first time Ben and I had gone on a trip totally and completely for us that was just for fun. We have traveled a good bit since we have been married but it has always been tied to visiting family, going to friend's weddings, or Ben's business trips...so this was such a treat and a weekend we will never forget! We were able to stop and see some good friends on our way home as we passed through Birmingham. We stopped at my all time favorite BBQ spot Jim N' Nicks. We ate dinner with 7 of our college friends. All the husbands were fraternity brothers of Ben's, groomsmen in our wedding, and the girls were good friends, or roommates from college. It was sweet fellowship catching up with everyone. Such a great trip. 

Being adventurous is a blast. Cannot wait to share about our next camping adventure. 

Happy Monday!! 

XOXO-

Rachel