Being a Tourist In: Charlottesville, VA + OOTD

Hi everyone!  Welcome back to another “Being a Tourist In:…” posts!  It’s been so long since I’ve written one of these, so I thought it was about time I start exploring again.

The place I’m going to be telling you about today is Charlottesville, Virginia!  As you might know, I go to James Madison University, so Charlottesville is only about an hour away from me.  Throughout my time at JMU, I’ve come here a few times, but this last time was definitely my favorite trip I’ve ever taken there, so I thought it was the perfect time to do a post about it!  I hope you enjoy!

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We started in the historic downtown, outdoor mall area and it was so cute!  I’d never been there before and the atmosphere was amazing!  They had typical stores that you’d see anywhere, like Urban Outfitters (my favorite!), but they also had cool little boutiques that are unique to this area.  All of the buildings in this area are older and beautiful and that just made it even cooler to be walking around!  We spent a good amount of time going through all the shops because there were so many to see!  Three of my favorite shops were Darling Boutique, Rock Paper Scissors, and Roxie Daisy.  Darling Boutique and Roxie Daisy were both tucked away so they were a little bit off the beaten path, but they were so worth stumbling upon.  Both were so adorable; I could’ve easily spent all afternoon in just these two shops!  Rock Paper Scissors was really neat as well because it’s a paper/stationary shop.  These kinds of stores are my absolute favorite because you can find anything you might need in there.  Need a planner?  They have it.  Need a card?  They have it.  Any paper good that you would ever need, they have it and I can promise that whatever you pick out is going to be beautiful!  This stationary shop in particular was very open and inviting and I really enjoyed looking at all the designs, especially the ones from local artists!

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Inside Roxie Daisy!

Our next stop of the day was The Shops at Stonefield.  This shopping area is neighborhood style and it’s probably the most beautiful strip mall I’ve ever seen.  They have a mix of restaurants and cafes, boutiques, and they even have a movie theater!  My favorite shop here was Altar’d State.  I’d never been in an Altar’d State before but I have heard a lot about it and it did not disappoint!  The style of clothing was so up my alley and it’s Christian-based, which just makes it even better!

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To finish off our trip to Charlottesville, we grabbed a bite to eat at the Burger Bach.  It was a beautiful fall day so we got to sit outside and the food was absolutely delicious.  I would definitely go back!

And, of course, to round out the day we had to do an OOTD!  To explore Charlottesville, I was wearing a comfortable, fall outfit that I love!  My white sweater and black jeans are from American Eagle and my booties are from Target!  I just got these boots the other day and they were only $25!  Definitely worth the $25 to have a black, staple ankle boot for the season!  The last piece of my outfit is the bag that I’m carrying.  I just got this for my birthday and it’s a beautiful cross body, fold-over bag from Nordstrom!  I’ve been loving this lately because it goes with the season and it can carry so many things!

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That’s about all we had time to do during this trip, but I hope to go back soon.  I really, really enjoy the area and I hope you will as well!  Please leave a comment if you have a favorite shop or area in Charlottesville that I didn’t go to!  Thanks for reading and I’ll be back next Tuesday with another post!  Bye!

 

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Being a Tourist In: Virginia Beach

Hi everyone, thanks for coming back to my blog!  For the past week, I’ve been in Virginia Beach, VA on vacation with my family!  It’s been so nice being able to relax for a little while and I also get to do another “Being a Tourist In:…” post!  I hope you enjoy!

The first day of the trip was a cloudy one so we used that time to walk around and check out the area around the hotel.  This was my first time in Virginia Beach so I was really looking forward to seeing the area!  We stayed at the Hilton Oceanfront hotel that’s located in the more populated area of Virginia Beach so there were a ton of beachy boutiques and cafes that were just a short walk away!  At one of the boutiques, I ended up buying a thin gold bracelet cuff, which is something I’ve been looking for for a while so I was super excited about that!  We also walked the stretch of the boardwalk so we could get some pictures under the pier and it was one of my favorite areas we saw the whole trip!  To end off the night, we had dinner at the Beach Pub, which was only a ten minute drive from our hotel.  It was a little hole-in-the-wall seafood place that was just what we were in the mood for!

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The next day was finally our first day of just relaxing.  We started the day off at the pool!  Because of the type of room we booked, we had access to the rooftop infinity pool (pictured to the left) and spent almost the entire day there!  It was beautiful out and the water felt great. After dinner at Chops, a beautiful restaurant located right across from our hotel, we took a walk on the beach and the sunset was gorgeous!

The third day was our last full day in Virginia Beach so we finally made our way down to the beach!  It was tremendously hot that day, so running into the ocean every twenty minutes or so was so refreshing!  Our hotel also provided beach chairs so that helped to keep us up off the hot sand!  After staying at the beach all day, we had dinner at Abbey Road, a really yummy Beatles tribute restaurant, and watched yet another beautiful sunset from the balcony of our room.  This day also happened to be a Wednesday and Virginia Beach does fireworks every Sunday and Wednesday, so we were lucky enough to be there for both rounds!

The next day was unfortunately the last day of the trip, so we woke up pretty early to start gathering everything to head home.  While this trip wasn’t the most eventful family vacation we’ve ever taken, I really, really enjoyed having time to relax and spend time with my family after a busy summer.

Thank you for reading and be sure to come back next week for a fun fashion post!

Our Roadtrip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Hello and thanks for coming back to read another post on Allison in Wonderland!  I just got home from a fun weekend in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and am here to tell you all about it!

Since my boyfriend and I are both working full time this summer, we were only able to take a weekend trip but it was SO worth it!  We both took off of work on Friday so, thankfully, we were able to leave on Thursday evening.  Leaving from Maryland, it was supposed to take us about 8 hours to get there but ended up taking around 9, getting us there at 3 o’clock in the morning.

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Before going to Myrtle Beach for this trip, I’d only been there once before, so I was excited to see more of a place that’s such a great vacation destination for so many people!  We spent Friday on the beach (my favorite way to spend a day) and exploring the area around where we were staying.  During our exploration, I realized my favorite thing about Myrtle Beach is when you get to the beach in the morning, it’s high tide and the beach looks crowded and small but as the day goes on, the tide goes out and you’re left with this HUGE beach and less people because they’ve left for the day.  Growing up, I always got to the beach right at 8 am to make sure we got a spot and we stayed until the end of the day.  It’s cool to me that, here, it’s actually more enjoyable to relax and go later in the day and you have a better chance of getting a good spot!

That night, we headed to Broadway at the Beach, which is basically a larger version of the boardwalk.  They have rides, stores, restaurants, and a zip line!  We ate at a restaurant called Extreme Pizza and while it took forever to get our food, it was delicious!  I’d never heard of Broadway at the Beach before going there and it’s definitely a place I’ll go back to when I go again!

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The next day we pretty much repeated what we’d done the day before by spending the day at the beach.  The house was close enough to the beach where we could just ride the golf cart, so that’s mainly how we got around throughout the weekend.  This weekend was my first time driving a golf cart and now that I know what it’s like, I want to get one for myself – they’re so fun!  Later that night, we went to the Garden City boardwalk which has some neat little shops and restaurants and a long pier where you can walk all the way to the end!

The next day was Sunday and, unfortunately, was the day we had to head home.  We needed to leave around noon in order to get back at a reasonable time so we drove the golf cart down to the beach for one last walk in the sand before packing up and heading out.  It ended up taking Connor and I 11(ish) hours to get home because the traffic was a little more heavy coming back than when we were driving down but we got in at about 10pm so it wasn’t awful.

Overall, this trip was just so relaxing and laid back and probably the best trip Connor and I have ever taken together!  It was nice to not have a plan and just go with the flow so I’ll definitely be trying to make that more of a habit rather than planning out every minute of every trip.  Thanks for reading and be sure to come back next Tuesday to see my next post! Bye! 🙂

 

A Saturday Spent in Washington, D.C.

Happy Tuesday and welcome back to Allison in Wonderland!  This past weekend, I headed back to Washington, D.C. for the day and I can’t wait to tell you all about it, so let’s jump right into it!

FullSizeRenderThe reason I visited was a little bit of a two-fold.  My boyfriend and I had never double dated, so we (mainly me) were dying to finally do that, and it just so happened that the “Together 2016” Christian event was happening on the very same weekend!  Starting off the day, we met up with my friend and her boyfriend and headed into the concert, which was held in the grassy area surrounding the Washington Monument (a very cool location).  The line to get in was incredibly long but it was a free event (so we couldn’t complain) and it was so cool to see how many believers were gathered in one place!  I heard a man say that this event was a small glimpse of what Heaven’s gonna be like and that’s so true!  The event was set up in time frames of praying together, learning together, sharing together, loving together, and resetting together.  This was nice because it made it easy to also take some time to explore the rest of D.C. but still be at the concert for whichever portions were most important to you.  The concert was supposed to go from 9-9 but unfortunately ended up shutting down around 5 due to the heat.  There were a lot of people being taken out in ambulances because of heat exhaustion so the authorities had to make the decision that would keep everyone safe.  Overall, it was a wonderful, wonderful event and just so incredible that something like this was allowed to take place in our nation’s capital.

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Between going in and out of the concert, we targeted some indoor activities because it was almost 100 degrees outside and we were having a hard time staying out there for long.  We headed to the White House before checking out some museums because I had never seen it in person!  I live so close to D.C. and have been there many times, but somehow had never made the time to actually go and see it.  It wasn’t a far walk from the Washington Monument and was well worth taking a little walk out of our way.  After this, we headed to the Museum of Natural History and continued our day of fun from there!

My day in D.C. this weekend was so unlike any other time I’ve visited this city, it just keeps getting better every time!  I’m sure I’ll be headed back again soon, so please leave suggestions in the comments of places to go, especially food places!  I always end up going to the same locations and want to keep discovering what more Washington, D.C. has to offer.  Thanks for reading and I’ll talk to you next week!

 

 

Being a Tourist In: Brooklyn

Hi everyone and welcome back to another “Being a Tourist In:…” post!  I was going to wait to write about this trip since I’ve been sharing so much about traveling lately, but I just couldn’t wait!  Brooklyn is, by far, the most incredible place I’ve ever traveled to and I can’t wait to share what I got to see when I visited a few weekends ago!

Starting off with the basics, my house is only about two and a half hours away from Brooklyn, so one of my friends from JMU and I decided to drive to the city from my house.  We used a parking service called Parking Panda to reserve a spot in a parking garage before we left the house so we didn’t have to stress about finding parking or having to pay an astronomical amount!

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We ended up getting there around 11 o’clock in the morning and made the walk from the parking garage to the hotel to check-in before our day really began.  We stayed at the NU Hotel, which is in the Cobble Hill area of Brooklyn.  The hotel was more hole-in-the-wall and discreet than I expected but that just made it even better!  The lobby was bustling with people of all ages and the aesthetic was everything my 19 year old self could dream of.

After checking in, we headed to our main destination, DUMBO.  To get there, instead of walking through normal streets, we headed all the way to the water and walked along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade which has an AMAZING view of the Manhattan skyline.  It stretched almost our entire walk from the hotel to DUMBO and it got us even more excited for our fun weekend!

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The view opposite of the Manhattan skyline along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade!

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After making it to DUMBO, we stopped at Shake Shack for a quick bite to eat.  It was my first time there and I will definitely be going back the next chance I get.  So yummy!  From there, we headed to the view that was at the top of our list: the Manhattan Bridge at the intersection of Washington and Water Street.  Oh my goodness.  This was my favorite thing we did the entire trip and it’s also a pretty familiar view if you’re a Gossip Girl fan!  So cool!

From there, we pretty much just walked around and explored!  We didn’t realize how close together everything was going to be, so we hit our main destinations in only a couple hours.  Another favorite spot of ours was the Jane’s Carousel area!  While we were walking around there, we actually saw Youtuber Tess Christine and her boyfriend at breakfast at the Atrium.

Continuing to walk around that area, we stumbled upon some cute little shops such as the West Elm Market.  I’d never heard of West Elm having a market-type store so we checked it out and it was adorable!  Lots of fun, Brooklyn-inspired trinkets and souvenirs, but not in a cheesy way!  Way to go, West Elm!

Next, we made our way over to a set of stairs that lead to the Brooklyn Bridge and walked across the whole thing!  It wasn’t that bad of a walk, but, of course, the fact that it was a beautiful day didn’t hurt. 🙂  This was one of my favorite memories because we got to see a lot of Brooklyn, a lot of Manhattan, and a lot of the river all at one time!   I definitely recommend doing this if you’re visiting the city.

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One really cool thing (at least to me) that we did while we were in Brooklyn was use a real map.  I always use Google Maps on my phone to help me get place to place and using a paper map allowed us to see some really pretty areas that we might not have seen if we had been using our phones.  It was a refreshing feeling (and allowed for a cool photo op!).

After running around all day, we were pretty exhausted so we headed back to the hotel around 8.  Since we’d seen all that we came to see, we decided to just sleep in and treat ourselves to some brunch the next day!

For brunch, we went to a little French place called Cafe Lucuc, which was only a short walk from the NU Hotel.  We were seated very quickly and had delicious pancakes and french toast!  After eating, we headed back to the hotel to check-out and make the walk from the hotel to our parking garage.

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Of course, I had to snap a little OOTD before leaving!

Even though we saw all that we wanted to see, it was still an awful feeling to be leaving such an exciting and wonderful place.  I will definitely be trying to make another day trip before I head back to college in August and can’t wait to see what the next trip entails!

Thank you for reading what very well may be my longest post to date, but what can I say?  Brooklyn stole my heart.  Feel free to leave any Brooklyn suggestions in the comments for when I go back again!  See you next week!

Being a Tourist In: Philadelphia

Hi everyone and welcome back to Allison in Wonderland!  This week is extra special because I’m doing two “Being a Tourist In…” posts in a row!  I’ve been traveling and exploring a little more than usual lately, so keep reading to find out what adventures I had when I went to Philly this past weekend!

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Independence Beer Garden

Spending the day in Philadelphia is something I’ve wanted to do for a while now because, before this weekend, I’d only been there for Phillies’ games.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE going to Phillies’ games, but I was dying to see what more Philadelphia had to offer.  We started in Old City, around the City Tavern.  I parked in a parking garage right along 2nd street, which was $18.50 for anything over an hour and a half, so if you’re visiting, I suggest searching for cheaper parking options before you go!  After we checked out the waterfront, we headed towards Independence Hall to walk around the historical sites of the city.  While walking along this area, we spotted a place to eat called the Independence Beer Garden!  This is the prettiest place I’ve ever eaten.  It’s a very rustic restaurant with outdoor seating.  My favorite part about it was that it had different kinds of plants all over!  I definitely recommend this place if you’re looking for a light lunch or quick snack!

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The Franklin Square carousel!

Next, we headed down Independence Hall to Franklin Square where we got to see the fountain and a cool view of the bridge!  After this, we headed to South Street and saw the Magic Gardens.  We didn’t go in because we decided you could pretty much get the gist of it from the outside, but it was incredible!  So much work went into this exhibit and the artist is still working on it!  On our way back to the parking garage from South Street, we got to see a very pretty area of Philly.  It quieted down and the streets were just gorgeous.  It was very cool to be able to see so many great parts of such a big city!

That about wraps up my Philadelphia blog post but you can be waiting for another one because I know I’ll be headed back soon!  Let me know in the comments where your favorite part in Philadelphia is and I’ll be back next week with a new post!  Bye! 🙂

 

Being a Tourist In: Bethany Beach

Hi again, I hope you had a great week!  Today, I’m doing a post about a place very special to my heart; Bethany Beach, Delaware.  My grandparents moved there a couple months ago, so I’ve been able to spend almost every weekend at the beach this summer and I’m loving it!  Let me know if you’ve ever visited!  Throughout this post, I’m going to go through a couple of my favorite places to hang out when I’m there… Enjoy!

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Franklin, my blow-up turtle!

The first thing I always do when I get to Bethany is jump in the pool!  I don’t have a pool at my house, so the fact that my Mommom and Poppop have a pool is AMAZING.  Also, it’s a nice perk to have when you come back from the beach and are covered in sand!  I bought this blow-up float at a store on the boardwalk and I could not be happier with it.  It was inexpensive and it’s so cute and perfect for floating around the pool on a hot day!

Another thing I like to do when I visit is go to places that aren’t available where I live.  Two places in particular – the Fractured Prune and the Juice Box – are really close to my grandparent’s house and super easy to stop at on the way to or from the beach!  The Fractured Prune is a donut shop where you basically create your own donuts from scratch!  You choose the glaze and toppings you want and it’s such a cool experience!  The Juice Box is a little juice shop on the side of the road where they serve fresh squeezed juice!  They offer a nice variety of very healthy juices to balance out those donuts. 🙂

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Lastly, I love to go to the beach at sunset and just walk on the sand and put my feet in the water.  If you go to places like Delaware Seashore State Park or Fenwick Island (which are both within ten minutes of Bethany), it’s a lot less crowded than it usually is right at Bethany Beach, which gives you more privacy.  Doing this is so relaxing, especially if you’ve spent all day running around, and let’s you wind down surrounded by the sound of the waves.

Thanks for reading this post and let me know what you’d like to read about next week!  See you later!