Cheers Sippin Gypsy Team Whiskey! This post comes to you while enjoying my Sippin Gypsy Mint Julep inspired by my recent road trip through Bourbon Country an Louisville Kentucky!
I was prepared for by visit to Louisville Kentucky. I had been studying the history of Whiskey, specifically Bourbons through Kentucky and Tennessee. Having grown up in the Midwest myself I was excited to see the beautiful stone buildings of the city and surrounding neighborhoods and picturesque country side and bountiful farmland. I expected impressive bars with a stunning variety of the golden hued spirit native to this city. I poured over travel sites and visitor suggestions for where to go for great cocktails and cuisine in the city. What I was NOT prepared for was the cornucopia of truly incredible and creative food offerings. One definitely needs at least four or five days to truly experience Louisville and the surrounding towns. Between the distilleries to visit, neighborhoods to explore and all the restaurants and bars...this city will fill you up. Some of the places I sought out to visit were also part of the Urban Bourbon Trail which a carefully selected group of bars that offer between 50-150 Bourbons and have a well trained staff that can assist in the education of this beautiful spirit. Here are just a few of my favorite spots in Louisville Kentucky!
1. Lobby Bar at the Brown Hotel
The Brown Hotel is a historic landmark in Louisville. Guests indulging here will find opulent details and a warm and inviting staff. The Lobby Bar is available to everyone, not just guests of the hotel, and is one of the locations of the Urban Bourbon Trail. The bar itself is small, but worth getting in front of one of the knowledgeable bartenders here. If you can stay for a while in the evenings, you may be treated to live piano music and can certainly order food as well. The lounge area is absolutely beautiful. This spot would be a great location for a special occasion.
2. Hell Or High Water
I'm a sucker for Speakeasy style bars. But this location was one of the best. There is no sign indicating the bar, just a small room of eclectic art that you can see through the window and glass door and a hostess calming waiting inside. You either need a reservation or to know the password for her to open the wall of art and guide you down a staircase to the basement of the building and into a beautiful bar and lounge. The cocktails are well crafted and live music plays over in the 'library' part of the lounge. Plush opulent seating booths make it the perfect setting for either a romantic date or a fun girls night out.
3. Butchertown Grocery
As far as cuisine in Louisville Kentucky, Butchertown Grocery amazed me. Everything I ordered was impressive in technique and flavor. The cocktails were well crafted and beautiful and the food was incredible. Everything was absolutely delicious, but I had to award the Oyster Mushroom Gnocchi to my "BEST I'VE EVER HAD!" The place was packed, so I took time to wander the neighborhood and enjoy the architecture of the Shotgun Houses along Washington St. before dinner. The restaurant is rustic chic and the lounge upstairs, Lola, is the perfect spot of a romantic nightcap, swanky and moody. Butchertown Grocery definitely needs to be on your 'to do' list for Louisville.
I think if I were to live in Louisville...I would live in the Butchertown neighborhood. Naive was another great spot for great cuisine and cocktails in this charming part of Louisville. This is the type of restaurant that I would love to see replicated in every city around the world. Their commitment to local and sustainable and quality in delivery and presentation amazed me. Everything was so flavorful and creative. My only regret is that I didn't have a bigger stomach to try more! Naive is another 'must do' in Louisville.
5. Proof on Main
This bar had me intrigued from the moment I read about it. Bold and eclectic... From the art that adorns the wall to the creative cocktails and impressive bourbon selection, Proof on Main will forever stay in my memory. This bar is adjacent to the 21c Hotel Louisville with it's own impressive art gallery and fun approach to a hotel's contribution to your travel experience. Don't be too quick to grab a seat at the bar right away...order your drink and stroll through the bar and hotel art gallery. Proof on Main is an experience from sip to sight.
Louisville continued to delight with yet another posh spot for delicious food and well crafted cocktails at Rye. Nestled along a trendy up and coming location along Market St., Rye was another great find that left my mouth happy and belly way too full. This would be a great spot for a casual but nice dinner and definitely a must do for cocktails.
7. The Lounge in The Angel's Envy Distillery
When visiting Bourbon Country, one must tour at least one distillery or storehouse. One of my personal favorite bourbons is Angel's Envy, so it was a give in to visit their downtown distillery and learn more about the brand and the family. I love to support small, local and family owned businesses. It was inspiring hearing about the vision Lincoln Henderson and his son Wes have put into action with the Angel's Envy brand. After your tour of the Angels Envy Distillery, you can relax in the lounge and enjoy creative seasonal cocktails in a rustic but swanky bar. Consider trying the Cocktail Craft Tour where not only do you tour the distillery, but you also learn how to make a cocktail!
8. Art Eatables
I found heaven. It's in a charming little shop in downtown Louisville. There are rows and rows of the smoothest chocolates artfully infused with bourbon. Not only was the shop itself a true gem, with vintage details, but the staff is amazing and proud of their delicious creations and their town. They respectfully pay homage to the great bourbon labels and creatively display the spirit of honor beside each tasty option. This is where you should stock up on gifts and souvenirs!
Harvest was the first farm to table restaurant I uncovered when planning my trip to Louisville. When I arrived into town, everyone had such great things to say about this spot, I was so looking forward to trying Harvest. So delicious. I have really come to appreciate business that commit to supporting local farmers and offering an ever changing menu that offers fresh in season produce. It was truly an added bonus that the cocktails were also delicious and of course respected the local spirit and labels.
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Team Bourbon! This post comes to you while enjoying my Sippin Gypsy Summer Sour, a nod to a Whiskey Sour inspired by road trip this summer and my time in Louisville Kentucky.
Louisville was an absolute delight. The drive through Kentucky was breathtaking with the majesty of the Appalachian Mountains and the beautiful lush farm land, Downtown Louisville was easy to navigate and offered an easy balance of things to do. I highly recommend staying within the city limits. From here you will have a plethora of options within walking distance as well as distilleries and caves and trails just a short drive from the city center. Like most of the Midwest in the United States, Spring is enchanting with flowers blooming and mild temperatures. Fall is crisp and magical with rich hues of gold, red and orange as far as the eye can see. Summer was a great time to visit also with longer days to get out an explore more at a relaxed and easy pace. I would bet Winter would be truly delightful in Louisville. So many beautiful buildings made of stone and brick would be blanketed by snow and accented with twinkling lights. Any season in Louisville is the season for Bourbon. I had always assumed Bourbon was a Fall and Winter spirit, but my mind was changed in this trip. I had more refreshing and delicious cocktails this Summer. I'm hooked... Bourbon is one of my new favorite spirits and Louisville is absolutely one of my new favorite cities. Here are a few of my Quick Tips for what to do while visiting Derby City.
1. Visit a Distillery
One really can't come through Kentucky and not do at least one distillery tour. There are several distilleries directly in Downtown Louisville, and several more in the surrounding towns. I had the privilege of touring Angel's Envy during my time in Louisville. The Angel's Envy brand is family owned and run, with three generations contributing to the success of the product. It was truly insightful to see what an exact science the distilling process is. My guide was Julie, a passionate whiskey lover and an amazing advocate for the craft of her industry. I was taught how to truly taste whiskey and how to acclimate ones pallet to this bold spirit. After the tour I lingered at the Angel's Envy Lounge, a bar just for guests that have completed the tour. This was another incredible experience. The cocktail program was fabulous, with drinks that rotate seasonally and celebrate bourbon.
2. Explore Downtown Louisville by way of the Urban Bourbon Trail
Several swanky spots throughout Downtown Louisville offer anywhere from 50 to over 150 bourbons along with a bar staff that is well trained and passionate about bourbon and the spirit's history. Your participation in the Urban Bourbon Trail experience begins with obtaining your passport at either the visitors center or any of the distilleries and bars that participate. As you visit each location, you get a stamp to fill your bourbon passport. Not only does this make for a fun trek through some of the best spots for a cocktail in Louisville, it also offers fun prizes based on how many stamps you obtain. I chose not to redeem my passport for anything...the experience was truly my prize. I met some amazing locals and learned a lot more about the bourbon houses and found some great places for memorable cocktails and cuisine.
3. Stroll through Historic Louisville
Louisville was once one of the richest cities in the United States. Its location along the Ohio river and central location in the country made it an ideal city to base a business. Many millionaires and business tycoons built mansions all near each other. These impressive structures from the mid to late 1800s have been lovingly restored and preserved. Some have a dark past. Local Louisville author David Domine has cataloged his research in the hauntings of Louisville in several books. I enjoyed reading "Ghosts of Old Louisville" before my visit here, and as I strolled the beautiful homes along 2nd and 3rd Streets and around Central Park, I referenced his book for a recap of the spiritual encounters at select addresses. You can also tour the Conrad-Caldwell House Museum for a glimpse into the past in this facinating neighborhood.
4. Louisville Slugger Museum
If you are a sports fan, specifically baseball, you will certainly make this pilgrimage to the museum and factory that produces the famed baseball bat: The Louisville Slugger. If you are not a baseball fan, you can still visit the museum and factory that produces the famed weapon that Carrie Underwood procures in her girl power anthem "Before He Cheats". Either way, baseball is an American classic, and the Louisville Slugger has been apart of the journey for centuries.
5. Enjoy the Waterfront and Big Four Bridge
Louisville has built up a beautiful walking park along the river and it culminates at the Big Four Bridge, an old bridge build for trains but converted to the biggest pedestrian bridge that spans the full width of the Ohio River and allows you to walk from Kentucky to Indiana and back again. Pack a picnic and enjoy a relaxing lunch and stroll across the bridge. Or visit at night for a beautiful light display accross the bridge with Downtown Louisville as a backdrop.
5. The Kentucky Derby
There are times when you travel to a new location in the off season so you can enjoy a slower pace and not be bombarded with the pomp and circumstance of what often becomes a marketing frenzie with over stimulated tourists that flock to a destination all at one particular date often diminishing your cultural experience. Other times you honor what has put a city on the event calendar map. Louisville is known for the Kentucky Derby hosted at Churchill Downs. Ladies dress to impress with stunning hats and facinators... people place bets on the prized horse and everyone sips Mint Juleps and other bourbon cocktails. The Kentucky Derby is hosted every spring, and in the Midwest United States, this means beautiful blossoms, lush green lawns and a vigor in the air of a city ready to crawl out of the snowy slumber and enjoy the warm sunshine. While my most recent visit to Louisville did not include a visit to the Derby and Churchill Downs, after hearing the passion and pride of locals, I will be planning my future visit to Kentucky to incorporate visiting Louisville the weekend of the Derby.
6. Stroll through Butchertown
Charming Shotgun style architecture, street art, Copper and Kings Distillery and some of the best cuisine I enjoyed in Louisville were all within the Butchertown neighborhood. Make a day of this delightful corner of Louisville and stay for dinner at Butchertown Grocery or Naive and have a drink at Odeon.
Cheers Sippin Gypsy travelers! Below are links to my Quick Tips for Restin', Sippin' and Playin' in the beautiful city of Louisville Kentucky!
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Team Whiskey! This cocktail is inspired by my recent road trip this summer and visiting Atlanta Georgia and Louisville Kentucky and the incredible experience at 18.21 Bitters and along the Urban Bourbon Trail through Downtown Louisville. Bourbon has recently been a new indulgence to my pallet. With one of the most fun tasting experiences ever at the 18.21 Bitters Kitchen in Atlanta to find some fun bitters and syrups and a truly amazing and insightful tour of the Angels Envy Distillery in Louisville, I have been educated in the tumultuous and enthralling history of Whiskey resulting in a new favorite spirit to sip….Bourbon.
2 oz. Bourbon or favorite Whiskey
1 1/2 oz Watermelon Mint Shrub by 18.21 Bitters
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Place three ice cubes in your tin shaker with all the ingredients and shake vigorously untill you do not hear the ice anymore and the liquid is frothy.
Pour into your favorite glass and garnish
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Team Gin! This post comes to you while enjoying a Jam Session inspired by the amazing Gin cocktails I experienced all over Tampa!
Tampa is an incredible city. Well situated near the beautiful Gulf Coast of Florida, this city hosts a variety of things to do and places for great cocktails and cuisine. Many of Tampa's hot spots are quite spread out across the city. You will need a car or mode of transportation to get to most of my suggestions.
1. Ciro's Speakeasy and Supper Club
This spot was absolutely delightful. Tucked away in the historic Bayshore Royal Building, you feel like you might be walking up to someones condo, but then you approach a magnificent door with the inviting command to 'Please Knock and Speak Easy'. Be certain you call ahead to gain the secret password to enter, they will ask you through the door. Once inside you are whisked back into time, an impressive bar greets you with a generous selection of spirits while secret coves line a narrow hallway to gather with a loved one or friends while enjoying truly well crafted cocktails. This was my first stop in an evening out along Howard Ave. This up and coming neighborhood is one of the few easy to walk areas with a plethora of options for dining and imbibing.
What a delicious dining experience! Chef Hardin has curated a creative menu set within a fun location at Tampa's newest hot spot: Armature Works. Rustic yet elegant and comfortable, Steelbach was a place I could see enjoying brunch with friends or a romantic dinner out. The drinks were well crafted and the food was on point. I couldn't stop ordering from the menu to try the flavor combinations and enjoy the artistic plating. My timing for discovering Steelbach was perfect. I caught the end of brunch and the start of lunch, so I was truly able to savor a variety of plates from both menus...but I wanted more! Steelbach will be one of the spots in Tampa I visit again so that I can savor more!
3. CW's Gin Joint
First let me say that I am so glad that Gin is gaining popularity again. The art behind the different Gin flavor profiles intrigues me, and CW's Gin Joint respects the craft of Gin and delivers true cocktails that celebrate this diverse spirit. The spot is swanky and chic and definitely the place to be seen in Tampa. Everyone was dressed to impress and the place was packed by the time I arrived. I enjoyed pouring over the Gin map and trying throwback cocktails that hailed from prohibition era concoctions.
What a treasure this was to find. Another one of the spots along my evening out on Howard Ave, Haven was just the type of place you want to discover when you're hungry and want delicious real food and great cocktails. The atmosphere was so inviting, the patio looked like a great spot to linger with friends over a bottle of wine or cocktails, but I was drawn to the impressive bar with the showcase of wines. The food was delicious and flavorful and the cocktails were thoughtful and fun.
5. Oxford Exchange
What a fun place to spend a weekend morning. Oxford Exchange in so many wonderful things in one. A delicious restaurant, coffee or tea bar, a shop and a community work space. The location is well situated across from the campus, but this isn't just a student hang out spot. Everyone in Tampa, young and old were patiently waiting for their table for brunch while enjoying great conversation over coffee and browsing in the shops. The restaurant fills up very quickly, I highly recommend reservations well in advance if you know your travel agenda.
6. Bern's Steakhouse
First let me compliment the service and sincerity of the staff at Bern's Steakhouse. I was so impressed with the level of knowledge, dedication and respect among the staff towards eachother and their guests. I felt like a queen during my visit. And I must add: I do not call ahead as a blogger when I visit places. My opinions are unsolicited and I am 'just another customer' when I walk into any establishment. I wan't to write about what you will experience and Bern's service alone was stand out above anywhere I have been recently. Secondly, the food! There is a reason Bern's is recognized as one of the best Steakhouses in the United States. After an incredible meal, we took a tour of the kitchen and wine cellar. This restaurant is incredible and well organized. After the tour I was whisked away to an absolute delight: the desert room. Stop everything. Go get desert now. Dark ambient lighting and insanely delicious deserts with live music. Bern's is another delicious location along Howard Ave. You must set reservations for Bern's. I attempted to make reservations three days in advance, and only an 11 pm seating was available. Well done Bern's Steakhouse. I look forward to visiting again for so many reasons.
7. Armature Works
I discovered my love for these industrial overhauls of abandon warehouses turned into hip swanky markets with a cornucopia of food, cocktail and shoping options when I visited Ponce City Market in Atlanta GA. I am so glad Tampa is developing their own market so close to me! Armature Works has carefully selected small local businesses and chefs to come in and offer amazing cuisine and cocktails in a comfortable community environment. You have everything from pizza to ramen and everything in between. Armature Works would be a great place to go if you have a large group with different dining preferences and budgets, or if rain is in the forecast and you need a spot to linger for a while over delicious offerings and great conversation.
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Travelers! Check out my Quick Tips for cocktails and cuisine and what to do in Philadelphia!
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Travelers! This post comes to you while popping open a cold refreshing Prosecco to celebrate my nomination for The Entertainer Blogger Award!
A huge thank you to my friend Lucy of Lucy Williams Global for my nomination! Lucy is such a talented writer and shares incredible adventures as she cruises the world. She has been to some of the most coveted places around the globe and she isn't slowing down! I am honored that she selected me! Thank you Lucy!!
This nomination comes upon the anniversary of my start into blogging and the inception of Sippin Gypsy with my friends and I. Lovers of travel, amazing food and cocktails, the concept begun out of a playful nickname that celebrated our whimsical and eclectic personalities, fashion style preferences and a shared passion to source out local food and recipes while trying new cocktails or variations on cocktails that were indigenous to the places we ventured. There is a simple belief that although we do have plans to travel the globe, there are things to treasure and experience just down the street. Being fortunate to live in such a beautifully diverse country as the United States, it was easy to start here.
The Entertainer Blogger Award is an award nominated by one blogger to another blogger whom he or she finds fun, inspiring and entertaining.
• Thank the person who nominated you to add the link to their blog
• Add the rules so others can follow
• Nominate people who you find fun, inspiring and entertaining!
• Answer the same questions
• Include the graphic in your post
MY RESPONSE TO THE QUESTIONS:
Why did you start blogging in the first place?
It really started with creating I Cloud photo share albums on our travels. My friends and I would want to see the beautiful places each other visited, the amazing food we tried and what new cocktails were inspiring that we would try together on our next girls night. In our travels and meeting the locals and other travelers, we found so many more amazing women like ourselves. When each other would travel to another place one of us had gone or experienced, we would dump a myriad of tips and suggestions. From there it was obvious to me that there was a whole world of Sippin Gypsies out there: Bold and amazing women who also loved "Exploring the world Sip by Sip" and enjoying everything this vast planet offers. Cheers to all of us!
What is your favourite book?
This is really hard to choose. My "favorite" changes so easily based on my mood. Currently I have been slightly obsessed over the history of the French Quarter in New Orleans. I have read and re-read the book "The French Quarter" by Herbert Asbury at least three times. But I am working on a fun project for my blog and vlog that has me gathering a lot of history and information about New Orleans, so this book has been not only intriguing but resourceful.
What do you dislike the most?
Negative people. There is so much beauty in world...don't poison the punch with a negative outlook...when life hands you lemons...make a margarita! Cheers!
What is your favourite food at the mall?
Mall food!? Ugggg. The mall closest to my home has brought in some small local entrepreneurs that offer fresh made salads and sandwiches. I would choose them,
What is your favourite pastime?
Sippin' and Strollin': I love to venture out, have a well crafted cocktail and walk and explore. If the place or city allows the cocktail "to go" even better!
Thank you again Lucy of Lucy Williams Global for nominating me for the Entertainer Blogger Award. You are a talented blogger and amazing woman and I admire your accomplishments!
I would like to nominate a few of my peers that are also incredible writers and really inspirational in their contribution and support:
Kathryn of Kathroundabout
Laurel of MoreThanADestination
Tif of LiveLove&Voyage
Katie of SuitKateDiaries
Maggie of FromToddlertoTraveler
Taryn of TheTripWishList
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Team Gin! This post comes to you while enjoying a refreshing Sorbet Sparkler with raspberry sorbet and thyme from my garden, Enjoy!
Philadelphia was such an incredible experience. First, I had time with my cousin, Jeremy... and second, since he loves living in Philadelphia and has been there almost 10 years, he showed me all of the best places and local secrets for what to do and where to go! Check out some of the great spots we found for cocktails and cuisine at my Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Sippin.
Before I list some of top things to do when visiting Philadelphia, I wanted to share a few other easy tips for your adventure to one of the oldest cities in the United States.
1. Downtown Philadelphia is very easy to navigate with many spots within walking distance of Center City. However many of the streets are still lined with old brick or cobblestone. While this may appear charming, your feet will not find it so charming...wear very comfortable and supportive shoes.
2. If you aren't used to the weather in the Northeast of the United States, wear layers and expect the cooler evenings and days to have a dampness in the air which can make it feel more chilly, especially after the sun sets.
3. Philadelphia hosts a lot of festivals, concerts and shows. Consider planing your travels through Philadelphia based on a particular show or artist you may was to catch, or see what is happening in the communities. This may also effect availability of hotels, but can also be a nice anchor for what to plan your stay in the city around. The Visit Philly website is very resourceful to see what events could enhance your visit.
4. Philadelphia has one of the best markets I have experienced. Consider visiting either the Reading Terminal Market or The Italian Market on your first day to stock up on delicious goods to keep in your hotel in place of always eating out.
5. Philadelphia is an easy trip to New York City and Washington DC. Consider using Philadelphia for where to fly into or out of when visiting this iconic part of the United States.
1. Reading Terminal Market
A public market since 1893, the Reading Terminal Market is one of the oldest public markets in the United States and features local produce, meats, prepared goods as well as quick service prepared meals to tide you over until you get back to a kitchen to cook up something delicious on your own. I highly advise making Reading Terminal Market one of the fist places you visit to fill your room with delicious local snacks and options for while in Philly.
2. Historic Tours
As in any big city, Philadelphia has no shortage of tours. I personally love the intrigue of dark tours...getting the inside scoop of ghosts and other things that may go 'bump' in the night. I find I get almost just as much history in these tours, but the added charm of a good ghost story. My cousin and I elected to do the Ghost Tour of Philadelphia. Just a side note, this tour does not have bathroom stops, nor does it stop for food or beverages. Make sure you have already had food and bring a bottle water or coffee with you for the tour, and have solid plans afterward for food and perhaps cocktails. The tour ends near the historic City Tavern, a fun place to wrap up your history lesson and grab a beer before heading off for the evening for dinner or cocktails. Philadelphia is also sprinkled with important buildings and preserved sites that take you back into time. It was amazing to see Independence Hall, The Liberty Bell and tour the very ground where Benjamin Franklin's house and businesses once stood. The Visit Philly website puts together great lists and suggestions for what each museum and historic site offers.
3. Catch a show or concert
Philadelphia hosts so many concerts and shows ranging from world renowned symphonies and ballets, to off Broadway hits and local up an coming talent. I sadly lost track of all the venues that Philadelphia offers. While walking around, my cousin would point out more and more theaters or bars with space for live performances. Philadelphia Theater website gathers what is available at most of the larger venues throughout Philly along with ticketing options.
4. Tour The Masonic Temple
I truly battled with listing this with my other tour suggestions above. But in the end, if your visit doesn't take you through the footsteps of the founding fathers of the United States, it should at least take you through the impressive structure located just behind City Hall, the Masonic Temple. Tours are offered regularly and the structure is truly breathtaking.
5. Search for your favorite Philly Cheese Steak
I specifically did not put any places on my Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Sippin for where to find the "best Philly Cheese Steak" because I haven't found it yet. My time in Philly was incredible exploring the other amazing cocktail and cuisine venues throughout Philadelphia. However it should be known, that the city has no shortage of spots that claim to offer the best Philly Cheese Steak. During my next visit to Philadelphia I will take part in this friendly war and seek out which place offers this iconic sandwich best to my liking! Until then, if your travels take you to Philadelphia and you wish to indulge in cheesy meaty goodness, consider visiting the dueling locationsPat's or Geno's located directly across from each other, or talk to the locals...they will all have different suggestions, and one will be close to your hotel or lodging or along your path as you explore the city.
Philadelphia was an incredible experience. There is truly is so much to do and explore ranging from walking in the footsteps of the founding fathers of the United States to enjoying the talents of local artisans. The people are amazing and passionate about their beautiful city. Thank you to my cousin Jeremy for showing me around your city. I can't wait to get back there and continue the adventure! Cheers!
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Team Rum! This post comes to you while enjoying a Pina Colada from the recipe by friend Laurel of More Than A Destination that she shares below along with her suggestions for three of the best beach bars she's encountered in her travels! Enjoy!
3 Best Beach Bars to Visit in 2018
The 3 Beach Bars that made our list this year include one of Thailand's lesser-known islands to visit, Barbados next big party spot, and a favorite of the isle of St. Kitts.
#1 - Bon Island, Thailand
When I image myself visiting an island, I see crystal clear water, soft sand, peaceful solitude and a Pina Colada in my hand. Bon Island (or Koh Bon) located south of Rawai Beach in Phuket meets all of my requirements. The only occupants of the island are visitors during the daytime and the owner Dawn and the staff of Bon Island Restaurant.
The locale is perfect for a day trip out to the island by a longtail boat for lunch. Most everything is negotiable in Thailand, and we hired a taxi to take us down to Rawai Beach to find a boat for hire. The hills and roads of Phuket remind me of Honduras, and the taxi driver was a little crazy on the turns and hills, but we made it to our destination, and all was well.
There are many boats near the pier, and you can negotiate a ride very smoothly. The transportation costs for the day broke down to be 1200 Baht for the round trip by longtail boat out to the island. You should arrange to pay after the return trip to ensure they come back to get you. The taxi was a little different, we negotiated 1400 round trip, but we paid for each leg of the journey. Before leaving for the island, I had messaged Dawn, the owner on Facebook to find out how much the average cost of a longtail boat out to the island would cost. I suggest doing this as we knew what price was fair when we arrived at Rawai Beach to find a ride.
The restaurant is charming with thatched roof structures and colorful sand chairs to relax in after your meal. The owner and her staff bring their supplies out to the island every morning by longtail boat and cook in an outdoor kitchen. The restaurant was clean; the food was excellent, the owner and her staff were fantastic and made you feel at home. We will visit again next time we are in Phuket.
The Piña Colada is a sweet cocktail made with 1 1⁄2 ounce light rum, 2 ounces coconut cream/milk, and 2 ounces pineapple juice. My favorite way to drink a Pina Colada is in a coconut shell, shaken with crushed ice.
#2 - The Boatyard, Barbados
Located in Bridgetown, Barbados this beach bar is a favorite spot for the crew members of the
The Boatyard was a recommendation by one of the crew members on board the vessel that we were sailing on. It is a 20-minute walk from the cruise port, located in Carlisle Bay. The water here is the most beautiful color of blue I have ever seen.
We paid USD 25 for two beach chairs, two drinks, and the price included a taxi back to the cruise port. The owner and staff are both attentive and go out of their way to make sure everyone is having a great time. For lunch we ordered their Fried Flying Fish plate, it was delicious. As a result, we ordered the dish a second time and enjoyed it as much as the first time.
#3 - Reggae Beach Bar & Grill, St. Kitts
We found out about the Reggae Beach Bar after we arrived at the port in St. Kitts. There are tour operators stationed at the port that offers private or shared rides to the different locales on the island. We picked a shared van provided by an expat named Rosie to Cockleshell Beach.
While the ocean is warm and very inviting, the water here was not as blue and clear as Barbados. There are beach chairs available that are owned by the beach bar that you can use if you spend money at their establishment. Also, there are restrooms and a picnic table in the shade if you need to get out of the sun for awhile.
They launch boats with a tractor in the middle of the beach. Therefore this is something to watch out for if you are in the water!
If you are planning a trip to any of these islands, visiting one of these beach bars will ensure you have a fantastic day on a picture perfect beach with good food, cold beer, and all the amenities needed for a couple of beach bums!
Thank you Laurel for these suggestions! And the Pina Colada was delish! Check out more of Laurel's travel adventures at More Than a Destination. Also check out her other social media platforms at:
Pinterest: More Than A Destination
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Travelers! This series comes to you while enjoying my Sippin Gypsy Jalapeno Margarita inspired by my favorite Margarita at La Cava del Tequila in EPCOT at Walt Disney World Orlando. My friend Kathryn of kathroundabout is sharing her experiences and tips with us for Disneyland Hong Kong. Her blog is absolutely enjoyable with a unique approach to her travels and how they may not have gone quite as planned....Enjoy!
The Surprise of Hong Kong Disneyland
Is it a good surprise or a bad surprise?
Read more to find out!
So just imagine me, little Kathryn, acting like a 10 year old as I walk into Hong Kong Disneyland! For those of you in other parts of the world, this may not be as much of an exciting event, because, well, you have a Disneyland in your country.
Australia is yet to catch up.
Anyway, I had been to theme parks before, we have Dreamworld, Movieworld and a few others about an hour from where I live. They are pretty cool, but apparently, they were nothing compared to the amazement that people would describe a Disneyland to be.
I WAS SO EXCITED!
Now, I know what you’re probably thinking-“Why would you go to Hong Kong for a Disneyland Anyway?”. Let me just reassure you, I was in China and Taiwan for Chinese New Year and Hong Kong was our little stop in between.
So we kind of thought, hey if we’re there anyway!
I’m about to break a big dream here.
It’s not worth it.
Don’t get me wrong, if you’re a hardcore Disney fan I am sure you would absolutely love it! But the rides were mediocre (compared to our Gold Coast homies), the food was average (I mean, it was normal theme park food, so meh), and there just wasn’t that overall, you know…vibe.
Hong Kong has some pretty cool off the wall places and is KNOWN for being a little bit out there, so I was super surprised that their Disneyland wasn’t giving me 110%!
It is a pretty cool place to go if you haven’t seen theme parks before, although I would expect a little bit of a letdown if you have been to other Disneyland’s around the world. BUT just in case you’re thinking of going, here are some HOT TIPS!
When Should I Go?
I was in Hong Kong during winter (February). It was cold enough for me to wear a coat outside but not so cold I needed a bazillion layers (let’s just remember I am an Aussie over here). I would say that it would be best from April-September because I don’t like the crowd but from June-August you’re likely to see the crowds for the summer school break.
How Do I Get There?
Hong Kong is C.R.A.Z.Y to get around (although this may have changed in the last few years). There are not very many buses or trains and it is super challenging because there are just roads to a bunch of different islands. We caught a taxi, as this was the easiest option. From Kowloon it was about $40AUD each way. Yeah, Hong Kong ain’t cheap.
PLUS, Disneyland is the furthest away from everything else that it could get! Legit, you have to go back out past the airport to even get to the island and then continue on.
Should I Stay At The Park?
This was one of the options when I was there and I’m not sure if it still is. I would vote no on this, unless all you plan on doing in Hong Kong is the theme park. Which would be a shame to miss out on everything else Hong Kong has to offer. If you stay at the Disneyland Hotel, you will be 40 minutes, without traffic, from the inner city (and subsequently, all other attractions). If you have kids, this could be a good option, but if you don’t I would recommend you cop the taxi charge (or maybe see if they have Uber?) and get out there for one-day trip.
What Should I eat?
The answer to this is: whatever you want.
The theme park has a mixture of both western and Chinese favourites-so you literally have free choice of any of your normal favourites!
Me? I had a Space Burger from near the kid’s section, some fairy floss and I snacked on oddly fishy-tasting popcorn throughout the day. All of it was yummy, but not overly delicious (Compared to the dim sum I had the night before!).
What is one thing I CANNOT miss here?
I am pretty sure that most theme parks do this nowadays-but I love it!
All of the characters came out and were singing and dancing and for the first time all day I felt a little bit of that Disney magic!
So, if you’re off to Hong Kong Disneyland, that’s great! Just keep those expectations low and hopefully you’ll have a few little magic surprises come your way!
Thank you Kathryn for sharing your Hong Kong Disneyland experience and suggestions with us! Check out Kathryn's blog at kathroundabout here, and check out her Instagram @kathroundabout . Also check out my own Sippin Gypsy post on her blog about travels that didn't go quite as planned for me and my family during the Eclipse of 2017!
Also check out our other Disney Parks Series for tips and suggestions on Disney tips around the world!
Lover of travel to charming places dusted with unique flavor. Join me as I explore the world sip by sip. Cheers!