Tiny Island Has Big Flavors!

Seattle is known for being one of the good-food capitals of the West Coast. However, there’s a small island town just a 15 minute ferry ride West of Seattle called Vashon that might give the metropolis a run for it’s money. Bordered by rocky beaches and filled with North-Western forests, this quaint hippie town was once described as “Mayberry meets Burning Man.” And that breeds some pretty eclectic eateries that are allergen and diet-friendly while still being absolutely delicious and a must-taste if you’re in the area.

We recommend starting with Gravy, which is a French-meets-Southern-meets-Northern restaurant that transforms into a BBQ joint once a week on Sunday. They have ham hock, a ribeye burger, and collard greens made with confit, and it’s all to die for. If you’re looking for something a little more exotic, May’s is a recently added Thai restaurant with some killer appetizers and pad thai, plus decor that was brought directly from another eatery in Thailand! This place fills up quick, so make sure to make a reservation if you’re craving noodles!

For dessert, there’s a small batch ice creamery on the island that’s pretty fantastic. Glass Bottle Creamery also sells local dairy products and eggs, but it’s their ice cream that steals the show. They even have gluten free waffle cones to support your double scoop (because let’s face it: one just isn’t enough)! Vashon Island Baking Company also has a ton of GF options like scones, muffins, and mochi cakes, in addition to a surprisingly good coffee cake that happens to be vegan. We bet it’s their bacon-pecan croissants, however, that will have you coming back time and again; they are seriously next level.

This Vacation, Drink From the Source

We go on vacation for specific experiences, whether it’s to see particular people or sights or do things we wouldn’t normally do. The whole point is to enjoy yourself while doing something you love but don’t get to do often, so why not build your next vacation around your favorite drink? And we don’t mean something you enjoy every once in awhile, we mean your hands down, absolute favorite liquor ever, the kind you just might choose over water if you were dying of thirst. We all know that if you love bourbon, you head to the South and tour distilleries in Kentucky, and if you love whiskey, Ireland and Scotland are for you.

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However, some of the other spots on our list are less obvious. For instance, if you’re a rum drinker, you might instantly think Barbados or Cuba, but we recommend Nicaragua. It’s not a Caribbean island but still has the rich volcanic soil to grow the sugar needed to make traditional smooth and balanced rum, and has been doing so for centuries. If you love vodka, you might be balking at the idea of going all the way to Russia or Poland to get it, but consider instead Brooklyn, NY. That’s right, Brooklyn. The two immigrant populations there have been distilling vodka for years just like in the old country, and you can try both in one day before deciding who makes it best!

If you’re a gin drinker, you probably know you should head straight for merry ole’ England; it’s the national liquor there. However, if you like Brandy, give Serbie (as opposed to Western Europe) a try. They call it rakija there, and it’s every bit as fruity and bitingly delicious as it’s Western counterparts. Did we leave something out? Share your photos of you drinking your favorite spirit in the way it was intended and let us know! Cheers!

Serenbe: A New Sustainable Community Standard

One couple’s weekend getaway has transformed a piece of Georgian countryside, not to the developmental sprawl that has threatened the pristine rural land surrounding Atalnta, but a community focused on conservation and wellness.

In 1991 Serenbe founders Steve and Marie Nygren purchased 40 acres of land with a farmhouse circa 1905. The property was supposed to be a weekend getaway for the couple and their three young daughters, but they were soon wooed by country life and by 1994 they sold their main residence in Atlanta and moved to their country estate full time.

The Nygren’s compound continued to grow and soon became a popular getaway for friends and associates. “Our home had become so popular with friends from the city that at one point we posted bed and breakfast rates as a joke,” Nygren recalls. The joke stuck and in 1996 the family converted their home in a bed and breakfast large enough to accommodate both their visiting friends and paying guests.  

By 2000 the Nygren’s 40 acre property had grown to 300 acres and a new dream started to form. A vision to preserve the beautiful landscape that had lured them to the Chattahoochee Hill County. With relentless research, community outreach, and coordination a plan was formed to protect a collective area of 400,000 acres. The Chattahoochee Hills Country Master Plan stipulated that 70 percent of land must be kept in it’s natural state. Nygren decided the best way to prevent the suburban sprawl threatening his countryside was to develop the area itself in a way that would be sustainable and respect the area’s agrarian nature.

Today Serenbe is home to over 400 residents, won multiple awards for sustainable communities, and has expanded to four unique hamlets that each focus on a different element of wellness: arts, agriculture, health, and education. Serenbe boasts a variety of architectural styles, pulling inspiration from communities around the world.

Residences of Serenbe enjoy unique amenities including stables, a large labyrinth, a handful of small town inspired businesses, a vibrant art and theatre scene, and a 25 acre farm that boasts a thriving CSA, Saturday farmer’s market, and edible landscaping. The endless testimonials from residences of Serenbe highlight the true draw of this unique development: a sense of community, belonging, and tranquility.

“The pace is slower at Serenbe: You can stroll or stride. Be or do. Individuality is encouraged — this is not a cookie-cutter culture.”

This Castle in Nashville is Actually a Recording Studio

Driving past the Castle Recording Studio is sure to draw your attention, and maybe even a double take. The stone fortress seems to reside in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by the rolling hills and lush greenery of Tennessee. The castle was built in 1930 by Al Capone and originally operated as an illegal gambling casino for traveling gangsters between Chicago and Florida or New Orleans. This interesting detail of the castle’s history still adorns the walkway, where rocks with gambling symbols are incorporated in the stone.

In the 1940’s the castle was a restaurant with clientele such as Bob Hope, Spencer Tracy, and other actors who might be in the area for filming. In 1979, a European bluegrass group, the Nuyens family, acquired the property and founded the Castle Recording Studios on the premises in 1982.

Almost every big name in country music, from George Strait to youngin’ Huner Hayes, and hundreds of famous artists from around the world have recorded albums at The Castle. It continues to attract artists wishing to use the space to record away from the busy city and Nashville, escaping into the idyllic setting complete with a hammock out back.

The Only 5 Swimsuits You Need

If you’re packing for the summer vacay and thinking you need a different swimsuit for every day of beach selfies, it’s time for an intervention. Regardless of whether you are prepping for a three-day excursion or a lengthy getaway following these tips and securing your favorite styles of these pieces will have you setup nicely beachside, poolside, and even a few pieces to work into your evening wear.

One-Piece-AKA-Bodysuit

Find a one-piece with enough sparkle to double as an evening top to run straight from the pool to the beachside dance floor.

The Simple Bikini

This one is simple, what bikini best flatters your body. You know, that one two-piece that puts a pep in your step and makes you feel your most comfortable with sand between your toes.

 

The Trendy Bikini

Opt for a little more flare with texture, a lace up back, or signature detail. Push the envelope and explore outside your normal style for an eye catching look you’ll want to take double the selfies in. You won’t be likely to jump in the waves in this one, but you’ll make a few grabbing a cocktail or at the luau party.

The Flattering Neutral Color

This one can be a scoop back one-piece or a simple bandeau bikini, but either way stick with a neutral simple style. Avoid cutouts or prints, think white, black, tan, or soft pink). Build around this suit with accessories: fun scarves, hats, and chunky jewelry.

The Neon Suit

Whether it’s a one-piece or a bikini a neon suit will accentuate that glow you’ve worked so hard on poolside. It can be any shade you choose, it should just be bright and contrast with your skin tone for a truly eye catching look.