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Filtering by Tag: travel guide

Waterfall Hunting at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Ben Ashby

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While we were on our trip we made a point to stop along HWY 1 to see the waterfall at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur. This spot, right on the edge of the state park is the perfect ten minute walk down a sidewalk to get the perfect views of the waterfall as it cascades into the Pacific. 

If you're doing this spot, there is a parking lot along the high way. The walk is fully paved and has few steps. If you're photographing this spot keep in mind that the waterfall isn't super close to the sidewalk. 

This is a good sunset spot, but the sunset sets opposite the waterfall, so you'd be photographing the colors casting light across the landscapes rather than directly into the sunset. 

To photograph this spot we used a Canon 5D IV with a 24-70 mm prime lens from BH Photo

Our Tips for Discovering Shark Fin Cove

Ben Ashby

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Lets take a moment and propose the idea that you're on the Pacific coast looking for a scene spot south of San Fransisco. May we suggest Shark Fin Cove. It is a short drive down from San Fransisco in Davenport, CA. 

 

The town is a tiny village along the Pacific Coast Highway. We suggest stopping here for breakfast and then hopping the couple of miles down the road to take in scenic cliff views. The cove gets its name from the large shark fin shape rock that sits just off the sandy shore. 

 

 

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Parking for this spot is a gravel lot along the highway. You'll want to wear hikeable shoes as the trek to the beach is down a make shift ditch/hill. Its about a five minute hike down the cliffside, but the dust and gravel make the hike a bit shaky. Once you're at the beach the hike is well worth it, but if you're unable to make it to the bottom the views from the top are equally amazing. 

The cove has a decent sized, and semi private beach. We always go for the photo moments along the rocks and caves. The tides are typically pretty loud and heavy. Be careful not to get your shoes wet. 

This is one of those spots to skip for sunrise or sunset. Do it in the middle of the day. The spot is unique for its fin shaped rock, not because of its sunset opps. 

 

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OUR TIPS:

  • Wear hiking shoes; its a short but dusty hike
  • To best capture the full shark fin bring a wide angle lens
  • Best hours to visit are mid day
  • It is one of the few beachy spots between SF and Big Sur

Whenever you're at any of the beaches along the coast, be a good citizen and collect the garbage that washes ashore. The over polluted Pacific has sadly started washing a depressingly high volume of garbage. 

We shot this spot with a Canon 5D IV with a 24-70mm lens

(I got a little slap happy shooting this bag strap for Native Sons Goods, so please excuse it in every photo)

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Finding the Happy || Our Guide to LA's Los Feliz

Ben Ashby

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Finding the Happy

Our Guide to LA's Los Feliz

 

Heath Stiltner takes us on a colorful walk through his favorite Los Angeles neighborhood—Los Feliz—to share a few of his top places to visit and things to see. With a rich Spanish-Mexican heritage and artistic influence Los Feliz is his favorite place to visit in LA when he wants that cool California vibe with a sense of history.

 


As I pulled on my olive green overalls, the strong smell of my first coffee of the day filled the small studio cottage my friend had offered to let me stay in for the week. I’d been to the City of Angels before, but had never stayed so long in this neighborhood—Los Feliz. With its lively and diverse small-town atmosphere it was hard not to feel right at home here. 

 

Bright and modern Spanish bungalows lined the street gently rolling through the neighborhood like old dirt roads recently paved, everywhere there was a feeling of the cool LA vibe version of a frontier town. You just can’t help but smile in Los Feliz, so a name which translates to “the happy” seems fitting—though it gets its name from its Spanish-Mexican colonial land grantee, Jose Vicente Feliz. Los Feliz is home to one of my favorite LA breakfast haunts, Sunset Junction Cafe. While I love the bright diner atmosphere of Sunset Junction, the thing that always brings me back is the amazing staff. (I live in Kentucky, and when I revisited the spot almost two months later they remembered me.) If you’re looking for that cinematic place where you can go work on your script and have amazing Eggs Benedict, this is your place. Sorry, I can’t guarantee James Franco will be sitting across from you, as well.

 

Full of coffee and eggs I go back out to explore the neighborhood, finding myself a comic nerd haven in Secret Headquarters, stopping for an American-made clothing fix with Buck Mason, and visiting several sets of hidden staircases for which Los Angeles is famous. Micheltorena & Prospect stairs are two such staircases in the Los Feliz neighborhood, Micheltorena is the more colorful of the two having been painted with hearts and rainbow colored risers. Los Feliz is a neighborhoods ideal for long strolls to discover hidden gems like these, and can be an amazing place for photographers looking to catch that authentic ‘sunny California’ vibe. 

 

With Griffith Park to its north, the Los Angeles River to the east, and Hollywood and the Hills to its south and west, Los Feliz is the neighborhood to visit when you want to see all that LA has to offer. In only one day you can walk from Alfred Coffee on the edge of Silver Lake, have breakfast at Sunset Junction, shop and browse your way down Sunset Boulevard, hit the vintage shops of Hollywood Boulevard, get the best view the Hollywood Sign and Griffith Park from the stunt Barnsdall Art Park property, and hike all the way over to Griffith Park itself. Los Feliz houses some of Los Angeles’ most famous architecture, and Barnsdall Art Park is no exception. Located at the crest of Olive Hill, Barnsdall Art Park is a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument that houses Hollyhock House designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright and commissioned by oil heiress Aline Barnsdall as an arts & theater complex. If you want to touch a part of LA’s architectural history and get one of the city’s best view, I suggest visiting Barnsdall.

 

After spending much of my trip hiking the urban landscape, an escape to Griffith Park with my friend Keegan was a necessity. When you want a peaceful hike and an escape from the busy streets, Griffith Park is your haven. Donated to the City of Los Angeles by Griffith J. Griffith in 1896, the Park has some of the best sweeping views of downtown LA, the Pacific Ocean, and the Hollywood sign—as well as free tours of the observatory.

 

After a long day packed with adventure, one needs to reflect with good friends and food. Making my way back down to the valley below, I stop for dinner in my favorite little Italian restaurant, La Pergoletta. Tucked away just off Hillhurst Ave., this gem makes some of the best pasta I’ve ever had in LA—and I love carbs. Taking a seat at one of the red and white gingham covered cafe tables outside I begin to unravel my day. The many faces and places I’d met in just just a day, and how many more lie in waiting just down the street. After devouring a large bowl of lobster ravioli and more bread than I care to admit, I start my walk back to the small artist’s studio At my friend’s home that I have grown to call home in LA. The giant cacti on seem to grow in the moonlight as I walk down Hillhurst Ave. It’s hard to believe that one small neighborhood can hold so much magic and history, but it’s not hard to believe the neighborhood where, sitting in his uncle’s garage, Walt Disney drew his first sketch of the world-beloved Mickey Mouse. Los Feliz feels like the hometown of Los Angeles, and it’s a hometown where everyone is welcome.

 

 

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Dinosaur Coffee, Los Angeles.

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Dinosaur Coffee, Los Angeles

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Hache LA, Los Angeles.

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Alfred Coffee, Los Angeles.

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Secret Headquarters, Los Angeles.

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Secret Headquarters, Los Angeles.

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Sunset Junction, Los Angeles.

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Sunset Junction, Los Angeles.

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Hollyhock House, Barnsdall Art Park, Los Angeles.

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Buck Mason mobile, Los Angeles.

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Los Feliz, Los Angeles.

 

— @heathstiltner

The San Francisco Guide to Nature

Ben Ashby

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When I travel I really want the best of all possible worlds to be right around me. I want nature, I want the city, and I want it to mix perfectly together. This was my first trip to San Francisco and I had no idea that this city would provide both worlds with great ease. The idea behind this trip was to spend three days in San Francisco. Our goal was to spend as much time as possible photographing the area. Before we arrived Paige had already made a list of all the places and spaces she wanted to visit. We broke those into three areas and decided to tackle one area a day. The following is our guide for three days in San Francisco. 

 

For the trip our home base was the Marker Hotel. It is just a few blocks from Union Square and has much of the city within walking distance. Their onsite parking made frequent in and out trips super easy.

 

 

Day One: The Golden Gate Bridge and North

 

We’ve all seen that opening to Full House. We’ve seen the car and the family going across the bridge, and as kids we all dreamt of the day we too would go across. That nostalgia is most certainly why the northern area had to be our first location.

 

This guide can really be done in any order,

we typically plan things around the position of the sun. 

 

Stops:

Golden Gate Bridge (Fort Point) — this Civil War era fort sits under the south side of the bridge. The area around it provides a perfect spot to get that under the bridge photo or a shot of Alcatraz in the distance.

 

Muir Woods — we were really surprised at the sheer beauty of this park. The redwoods, while only 2/3 the size of those found further inland are still massive and truly a sight to see. The wooden footbridges throughout the park create a wonderful aesthetic and harken back to days gone by. Do this park during the day as light is on short supply below the tree canopy.

 

Mount Tamalpais — go at sunset. This mount is one of the highest peaks in the bay area. Known for its golden hills and its views above the clouds and fog this is the best photo moment of your trip. While there we were surrounded by grazing deer and other wildlife. 

 

Fort Baker — is on the northern side of the bridge. It gives glorious shots from above the bridge looking into the bay. This spot is usually crowded. Plan enough time to hunt for parking. The view is worth the wait or hike. 

 

Kirby Cove — there is a swing that hangs over the water. It is the perfect photograph, but it requires a rather long and steep hike. We did not venture to this spot, but have heard it is worth the hike.

 

Point Bonita Lighthouse — the hours at this lighthouse are odd. Check the hours before you go. Once you’re there follow the audio walking tour to learn about the park and the lighthouse. It was a highlight of the short trip to the lighthouse. From here you get a really wide shot of the entire city, bridge, and bay. Hike up above the lighthouse for amazing views of the Pacific. 

 

 

Sadly we didn’t take any time for food stops while north of the city. We ended our day at the Cheesecake Factory. 

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Day Two: Inside San Fransisco

 

Sutro Bath Ruins — we started our day well before sunrise. Paige’s favorite spot of the trip was our sunrise at the ruins of the Sutro Baths. When built in the late 1800s it was the largest indoor pool complex in the world. The entire property burned in the 1960s and the ruins have since become iconic for their weathered concrete pools and amazing glassy reflections. The waves of the Pacific crash along the shoreline behind the ruins. Before you go educate yourself on the ruins. It was a fascinating story. If you go in the afternoon or evening eat at the historic Cliff House on the cliffs above the ruins.

 

Lands End — this park and area of the city is heavily wooded and sits along the coast. We stopped at two beaches to get views of the bridge in the distance. We also spotted cute sea life along the shore. Locals say Baker Beach is a great stop for views of the bridge.

 

Ferry Building — the perfect stop for breakfast or lunch. Vendor and food stalls line the hallways of this historic building. From here you can take a ferry across the bay for wonderful shots of the city. 

 

The Painted Ladies — the iconic park scene from the Full House opening comes to life high on a hill in the city. If you’re looking from the house with the red door that the Tanner’s lived in…you’ll find it three short blocks away.

 

 

Day Three: South of San Francisco 

 

For our final day we wanted to see the area south of the city so we would be closer to the airport. 

 

If time allows go to Big Sur. Before you go check on road conditions. If the weather and roads are good this is a must do drive while in central California. 

 

Bixby Canyon Bridge — a classic on Highway 1. Wide turn offs allow for sweeping views of the bridge as it crosses the cliffs of this historic highway.

 

Shark Fin Cove – sunrise at Shark Fin Cove is a must do. Rock formations out in the water look identical to a shark fin. The sand covered cove has a cave with crashing waves surrounding it. This is the spot to get your coastal pacific cliffs image. Stop for breakfast in the town of Davenport after you leave the beach.

 

Big Basin Redwoods State Park — surround yourself with hundreds of ancient redwoods as you take leisurely hikes. The roads into the park also allow for high vistas above the tree lines. 

 

 

Sadly we know we missed many other spots are the city and around Central California. When planning your trip to the region keep in mind that many of the roads are winding and steep. Speeds are slow, but with nature all around you, surely you’ll want to drive slow and take it all in. Cell service is rather spotty in most of the areas, even those just a short distance from the city. 

 

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Our Tips for Your Trip

 

1) Our biggest tip for visiting this area is pack plenty of water. While the city and the bay area typically has a cooler wetter climate, you’ll notice as soon as you leave the bay that the temperatures rise. Pack water and plenty of snacks. 

 

2) When renting a car keep in mind that you’ll most likely be staying within the city. Think compact. The majority of the roads to the parks are easily doable in a compact car. Small cars also allow for easier maneuvering around the tight switchbacks. 

 

3) Plan ahead. If Paige hadn’t been as well prepared with a list of all the places she wanted to see we wouldn’t have been able to plan as strategically to fit in as many stops as we did.

 

4) Slow down. After years of doing these overly fast photography trips I can assure you nothing is worse than rushing. While you may think you’re only in these places for the photographs, you want to enjoy your time there. Slow down and step away from the camera. Create an experience and a memory to go along with your photos. 

 

5) Make friends with locals. While looking at a map in a coffee shop a local beside us offered her recommendations for local restaurants and shoppings spots. Take their advice. Nothing is worse than a bad food experience. 

 

6) Leave the selfie stick at home. When you’re traveling please be aware that you aren’t alone. Don’t ruin others memories by parading around selfie sticks, live streaming, or droning your entire experience. Ask someone to snap a photo of you, or stick to images of nature. 

 


SPECIAL THANKS TO:  JDV HOTELS (THE MARKER) || BH PHOTO (WE USED A CANON 5D MARK IV) || MAKERS MARKET, AVIATE, STOCK MFG CO, AND BUCK MASON FOR CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES)

Additional thanks to: National Car Rental and Delta Airlines

 

A Hiker's Dreamland || Rocky Mountain National Park

Makayla McGarvey

Calling all outdoor adventurers! If you’re looking for some breathtakingly tall mountains, glassy blue lakes, and hiking trails galore a trip through Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park is one way that you can’t go wrong.

Photography by Makayla McGarvey

Photography by Makayla McGarvey

Starting near Estes Park, Bear Lake is a relatively short drive down highway 36 with a turn off to Bear Lake Road.    

Bear Lake

Bear Lake

“Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children. The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them.”

Bear Lake is completely surrounded by aspen trees and if you look close enough you will definitely find some wildlife. Another great feature of the lake is that it has great places to take a seat and take in the view. The trail is an easy 0.8 mile hike so you won’t be winded, but the view is so beautiful that you’ll want to stick around a while to get the full experience.

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If you’re into fishing or just want to hit another is Sprague Lake is also a beautiful stop on Bear Lake Road.

Sprague Lake

Sprague Lake

There are so many worthwhile areas to stop and explore in Rocky Mountain National Park that it could easily take more than one day. Glacier Basin campgrounds are the perfect place to pitch a tent with the mountains close by

Glacier Basin

Glacier Basin

Heading back to the same trial head where Bear Lake is located Dream Lake, Nymph Lake, and Emerald Lake are all on a single trail in the opposite direction. 

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It is only 3.6 miles of hiking to see all three of these lakes and it is absolutely worth the walk.

Dream Lake

Dream Lake

Nymph Lake

Nymph Lake

Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake

Last but not least rest your legs from your hike with a drive through the continental divide. You'll get to see some more wildlife and mountains for miles.

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All photographs by Makayla McGarvey.

Gum Tree / Hermosa Beach

Emily Im

GUM TREE

A LOOK INSIDE SOUTH BAY'S HIDDEN GEM + THE ORIGIN STORY

 


 

Nestled in between the calming beach and the busy streets of Pacific Coast Highway, Gum Tree is a hidden gem of a restaurant-shop hybrid that offers more than what is on the outside. Southern California and its long extension of the summer season continues to invite people to this quaint beach cottage.

We spoke with Lori Ford, the owner and boss lady of Gum Tree, to tell us more about the amazing ventures of creating a cafe-shop in South Bay.

 


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We understand that you and your husband created Gum Tree together (so lovely!). What prompted the two of you to start a cafe + shop hybrid specializing in Australian goods?

We were living in New York City, my husband had an Aussie restaurant and bar there, I was working on product development for an accessories company, and our lifestyle was intense and wonderful and everything NY should be when you’re young, and then we got married and had a baby!  Everything changed of course, and we decided to come home to the South Bay and settle down.  The shop was a long time dream of mine, and my husband was supposed to get to take a break from the restaurant biz and help me achieve it.  But then we found the house!

 

How did you guys come across this location?

I grew up in Manhattan Beach, and always wanted this little house in Hermosa on Pier Ave.  The dream was a home store in an old house, with each room filled with things you’d have in that room, a cozy couch full of pillows in the living room, cookbooks and serving pieces in the dining room, etc.  We were still in New York hatching our moving plans when a girlfriend of mine called to let me know my dream house was up for sale.  I flew in to take a look the next day.  The space felt too big to be only a shop, but with the garden out front and the natural division of space, it lent itself perfectly to a little cafe/shop combo.  And since my husband had the restaurant know how, and I had the desire on the shop side, that’s what we decided to do.  May I just say that my husband is a saint for agreeing to my never ending stream of ideas.

 

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What was the origin of the name Gum Tree? 

I was trying to come up with a name that worked for both a restaurant and shop, something that sounded natural, evoked a feeling of calm and community.  I hit a wall and asked my husband to give me some good old Aussie slang, and after at least a dozen ridiculous Aussie words, (wally, sheila, wanker) out popped Gum Tree and right away we knew.  I saw the logo in my head and the rest is history.  

 

How did you manage to keep Gum Tree so successful? 

A lot of hard work!  We both spent every day in there for the first couple of years at least.  We met everyone in town, got involved in our community, went to every networking event there ever was…  It’s our family business, there is no other hidden income, so we had to make it work.  Will is the driving force behind the cafe, and he’s always coming up with delicious and healthy new menu ideas.  I’m obsessive about always finding something new for the shops, and I think that keeps them fresh and our customers coming in to discover new things all the time.  We know that people have so many options, so we do our best to hire the friendliest staff, and create the most welcoming environment we can.  

 

Your favorite dish from Gum Tree!

I eat the avocado toast with chili flakes, a side of berries and an iced latte almost every morning.  But, I also love a good old fashioned meat pie once in a while!  Our lentil soup is made from scratch daily and is out of this world.

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What was the biggest struggle that you guys have come across?

As a small business owner the work never stops, I feel like I could always be doing more to grow the business, keep it relevant, and bring in new customers.  On the positive side, it can be very rewarding, especially when you get feedback that people love what you do, it’s just the best feeling.  And we love to be part of the community, watch the local kids grow, really know our customers, that’s the best part.

 

What do you hope to accomplish with Gum Tree in the future?

 For us it’s not about opening X number of stores in the next 5 years, it’s finding the work/life balance.  We hope that Gum Tree continues to thrive so that we can support our family and raise happy healthy kids!  We want to be happy in our work life, we want to travel, learn, give our kids the very best opportunities, engage with our community.  So as long as we continue to love what we do, we have accomplished everything. 

 

 

Could you name some of your favorite brands and items that you carry in your shop? (If you could provide photos, that would be great!)

Oh gosh, I love everything we carry, that’s the criteria I use for buying every single thing.  Do I love it, is it pretty, is it useful, funny, great quality, does it make me happy, would I give it as a gift? I love buying cookbooks, and pillows, and jewelry!  The kids shop is so easy to buy for because there are just so many adorable things out there.  Some stand out brands we have carried forever are Bla Bla, Chan Luu, Zoe Chicco, House of Cindy, Hat Attack, Rifle Paper.  But I love to constantly change things up, and I love to discover new up and coming designers.

 

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If you find yourself in sunny Southern California, check out Gum Tree in Hermosa Beach! Or check out their Instagram (@gumtree_la) to take a peek at their California Lifestyle. 

The Farmhouse New Paltz

Ben Ashby

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THE FARM HOUSE NEW PALTZ

A VISIT TO A QUAINT FARMHOUSE IN THE HUDSON VALLEY

 

We recently made a trip up the Hudson Valley to see a taste of autumn. During our visit we stopped by a delightful farmhouse rental property outside the college town of New Paltz. We sat down with the owners to learn a bit more about the town, the Hudson Valley, and this charming rural escape. 


Why did you settle in New Paltz? We went to college here, moved to Brooklyn and just kept dreaming of moving back.  We have the Wallkill River go through town.  There is a local adage that says, once you visit a North flowing river; you will always return.  

 

Why did you decide to open the farmhouse? We opened the Farmhouse because we wanted to make a space where people could come with their pets and relax.  When we did live in Brooklyn, we traveled a lot upstate.  We would always search for a place where we could cook and bring our dogs.  Now its a lot easier with Airbnb, but back then, there were no options.  So the Farmhouse and Cottage are spaces where you can rest, relax and bring the whole family, even the four-legged members.

 

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Why did you pick this specific farmhouse? We picked this beauty from the 1890s because the energy spoke to us.  When you go inside the house it is sort of like having an energetic massage.  Most guests and visitors comment on this!  The house sort of hugs you.  And the floors.  The floors were made locally from nearby pine trees in the 1890s.  They have so much character and warmth, they are simply irresistible .  

 

Where are you originally from? It's a popular New Paltz song: "We are from Long Island".  Many people who move to this town are originally from Long Island, it is usually the University that brings them here, as it did us.

 

 

How long have you been in New Paltz? We have been upstate for two and 1/2 years now.

 

How long have you had the farmhouse? We are coming up to our one year anniversary with The Farmhouse this September.  We are now looking to expand our design projects.  We are interested in designing and constructing homes locally.  Our goal will be to make fully curated living spaces for people in and around New Paltz.  We love looking for pieces of furniture from local antique shops, Sweetpea in Stone Ridge NY and Ron Sharkey's Black Barn in High Falls are among some of our favorites.  You really can't go wrong visiting the two antique stores in Water Street Market in New Paltz.  We are excited about finding new gems like The Farmhouse, and reviving them so others can cherish them for many years to come.  So stay tuned to our Instagram for updates!

 

 

 

What are your favorite spots to visit in the area? For hiking we love The Railtrail and Minnewaska State Park.  For dining we adore Rosendale Cafe and Huckleberry.  For drinks, Jar'd is a must see in New Paltz and Brooklyn Cider House (New Paltz apples y'all!) honestly has the best cider around.  

 

Why is Fall so magical in the Hudson Valley? Okay, so good question.  Remember that one time really great you went apple picking with your family, epic Halloween, or that one really great Thanksgiving? If you roll all of those feelings into one and then put yourself in a leaf changing paradise; you'll get it.  There is really nothing like it.  Even though there are so many activities and festivals to go to, I would say the overall vibe cannot be escaped.  The Fall is nothing short of magical in the Hudson Valley!

 

American Field DC | 5 Must Visit Makers

Ben Ashby

 American Field is just around the corner. The Washington DC market is the final weekend of September, and we couldn't be more excited. While we try to contain our excitement, here are five must visit vendors at this falls market! 

The Washington DC market is September 30 - October 1 on the second floor of Union Market. 11-6 each day.

 

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1) Ball and Buck — the brand that never misses an American Field market! Known for being one of the best made American made menswear brands, shop their booth for deep discounts on out of season items and staple pieces. 

 

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2) Stonehill Design — everyone, especially those in Washington DC need something to brighten their days. Stonehill's one of a kind lamps and light fixtures are fun and funky additions to any space. We're obsessed with his industrial themed pieces. 

 

 

 
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3) Solomon Chancellor — these handmade bags are honestly pieces of art. If you're looking to invest in a bag that will last for decades, and is made of the top quality materials, you'll want to spend some time with Solomon. 

 

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4) Mark Albert Boots — They're sleek, yet timeless. Mark's boots are the kind you'll want to wear on the trails, on dates, and around the office. This twenty one year old boot and shoe designer has managed to create beautiful designs that are bringing the idea of craftsmanship back to footwear. 

 

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5) Schon Dsgn — Who knew that pens were such an industry. Ian craft's pens that are perfect for the pen collector or the regular guy looking for a sexy pen to sign his checks with. Talking to Ian is getting an education in a design trade you may have never realized exists. 

 

 

 

A Visit to Pot n Kettle Cottages || Leipers Fork, TN

Ben Ashby

 

 

POT N KETTLE COTTAGES


LEIPER'S FORK, TN

 

Leiper's Fork, TN is a hidden gem of a tiny town just south of Nashville. The town of three hundred is a sleepy community that is filled with quaint southern history, grand farms owned by country music royalty and the most delightful downtown. I've been visiting Leiper's Fork and the Williamson County area for years, but I recently had the privilege of staying at the Leiper's Fork Inn, a rental property that is part of the Pot n Kettle Cottages brand. Before my stay I asked the owners to share a bit about their love of their properties, the community, and the South...

 

 

— potnkettlecottages.com || Over the coming weeks I'll be sharing more of my favorite Leiper's Fork shops, stops, and places to stay. 

 

 

 

 

Why we created the business is really more of a journey that we have traveled. We both originally being jewelers is where we realized we worked well together creatively. We decided to try applying that to renovating and restoring a Sears Kit home in Los Olivos, CA built in the 1890’s. We realized after the completion of our project that we loved it, we were also given a Beautification Award from the local Rotary Foundation. We then knew that others liked what we did as well, after moving to Tennessee, we saw a lot more opportunity to be able to find these beautiful old homes and breath new life into them while maintaining or restoring the history. We love the feeling an home has, it is almost like it has a soul. 

 

 

 

 

We decided after moving out of the Tin Roof Cottage that we wanted travelers to be able to experience the magic of Leiper’s Fork as we did. What better way than to give them a home to stay in and make them feel local. So began our journey, Tin Roof was our first property and it was doing well. I decided I really enjoyed working with travelers and welcoming them to stay in our magical village. So we then purchased Coda Cottage and Pickers Cottage, redid them and began Pot N’ Kettle Cottages. We recently this February acquired the Leiper’s Fork Inn, this home was most definitely our largest undertaking. It needed a lot more work and we did a good bit of it ourselves, which we both enjoy.

 

 

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Why Leiper’s Fork, well Leiper’s Fork kind of choose us. Five years ago we realized we wanted to be closer to family and find a small town with wonderful community. We traveled all around and considered many different places. Eric being from Kosciusko, MS had traveled along the trace most of his life. He talked about Franklin, Tn and this amazing little village called Leiper’s Fork. Myself being from a small town in Idaho this struck a cord with my heart. We finally after a year of searching traveled to Leiper’s Fork for the 4th of July to be with some friends and see family. I immediately fell in love from the moment we drove into town. We pulled over and stopped in at Puckett’s, got the boys a Nee-Hi soda and watched them run around and catch lightening bugs. That was it, we were sold, this was home. We have enjoyed every moment since being a part of this community, the people are what make this town so magical. 

 

The design style behind the cottages is my take on Boho Chic interior design focused on guests comforts and needs. My husband and I like to create a unique but comfortable environment for our guests, we are not afraid to use color. A lot of people who have experienced our homes have often made the comment that they feel like they are “happy houses”, they make you feel good when you are in the space. We travel quite often and always rent homes to stay in, we are always taking things into account when we do this as it helps us to better understand the needs of the guests.

 

 

The design style behind the cottages is my take on Boho Chic interior design focused on guests comforts and needs. My husband and I like to create a unique but comfortable environment for our guests, we are not afraid to use color. A lot of people who have experienced our homes have often made the comment that they feel like they are “happy houses”, they make you feel good when you are in the space. We travel quite often and always rent homes to stay in, we are always taking things into account when we do this as it helps us to better understand the needs of the guests.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

Mount Tamalpais

Ben Ashby

We'd seen the view in so many photos. A golden hill high above the fog and clouds. Paths cut through the dried grasses and fading into the clouds below. We knew we had to visit while we were in San Fransisco. Mount Tamalpais is just a very short drive north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The perfect sunset spot and a very easy hike. 

The following are images I shot at sunset near the peak of Mount Tamalpais with the Canon 5d Mark IV

"Just north of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Tamalpais State Park rises majestically from the heart of Marin County. Its deep canyons and sweeping hillsides are cloaked with cool redwood forests, oak woodlands, open grasslands, and sturdy chaparral. 

The breathtaking panorama from Mount Tamalpais’s 2,571-foot peak includes the Farallon Islands 25 miles out to sea, the Marin County hills, San Francisco Bay, the East Bay, and Mount Diablo. On rare occasions, the snow-covered Sierra Nevada can be seen 150 miles away.

The park offers superlative hikingpicnickingwildlife watching, and mountain and road bicycling." — ca.gov

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Our Chicago Food Tour

Ben Ashby


A WEEKEND IN CHICAGO

TWO DAYS - FOUR MEALS - ONE CITY

 

A few weeks ago we headed up to Chicago for the weekend. The goal was to visit a few of our favorite restaurants. We managed to get four stops in over the two and a half days in Chicago. I've been trying to figure out what sort of food Chicago is known for...beyond hot dogs I'm not really sure what their signature foods are....but they have a thriving restaurant scene....

 

BERNIE'S LUNCH & SUPPER

Bernie's was a new one for me. Sure I'd seen its wall designs in many an Instagram photo...but I had yet to visit this trendy spot on N. Orleans Street. For our visit to Bernie's we asked for a sampling of the menu. Typically when we are visiting places for the first time I feel it is best that they select the dishes instead of us. I reckon it is an excuse to avoid the monotony I usually do on trips—way too many burgers. 

We started with two different salads, moved on to a delightful mussels dish that was the highlight of the evening, moved towards a prosciutto and toasty bread number, and ended with the most wonderfully creamy parfait. 

I do have some tips for visiting Bernie's...go as early as possible and get the good seats by the windows. This place is super trendy and super perfect for all those Instagram and Snapchat moments. We were surprised at how quickly the place filled.

We did a selection of small plates and appetizers at Bernie's and all shared. Their menu is broad and this felt like a good way to try it all.

— @Bernies_Chicago — @ChefRyanSand

 

 

FRONTIER

Frontier in Wicker Park is by far my favorite restaurant in all of Chicago. I make an annual trek to the frontier themed spot. Yes...I said frontier themed...as in high class Americana foods. They had me at the bacon flight and the reeled me in with their selection of wild boar, bison, and a variety of bacon options. 

For our brunch at Frontier we started with the beignets, which are one of the chef's signature foods. Designed around his grandmother's recipe and better than any you'll get in New Orleans. 

If you're going purely for the sweets skip the meat and go straight for the house-made pop tarts. They're massive and a part combination of tart, sweet, and flaky goodness. Frontier fills up fast so we always go early for brunch. Grab the big booth in the front for the perfect photo light. 

After the pop tart grab some bacon and and apple butter....an absolutely delightful combination. I have an obsession with french fries. Frontier doesn't disappoint. The sandwiches are all perfect for a hot summer's day. 

— @FrontierChicago — @ChefJup

 

 

G & O

G and O (Grand and Ogden) is actually the final place we visited on our trip. After three insanely large meals we decided we'd have to go small at G and O. G and O is a local diner style place with tons of outdoor seating. It appeared to be filled with groups of friends that were there to hang out on a Sunday morning.  

I had the spiced biscuits and gravy...which had to be the very best biscuits and gravy I've ever had north of the Mason Dixon Line. A perfectly sized portion of perfectly soft biscuits covered in perfectly spiced sausage gravy was the perfect end to a very nice food tour of Chicago. 

If you're looking for something more filling go for the oatmeal. The portion was huge. After four meals that all included bacon...it may be safe to say that Chicago should just be called the Bacon CIty. Each of the four places we visited serves their own version of thick cut bacon. It would be unfair to select which place did it best...instead you're just going to have to visit them all!

— @GrandandOgden

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COCHON VOLANT

This was not our first rodeo at Cochon Volant. We knew to come prepared for a big meal. Last year we visited for brunch. This year it was decided we would go for dinner. That was a wise decision. 

I'm going to go ahead and call it now —Cochon Volant has the best steak in Chicago. Yes, yes I did bring 3/4 of the steak back to Kentucky with me and eat it in bed the next day. I have no shame. 

Cochon Volant is just south of the river in downtown Chicago. It is perfectly decorated with surfaces that glitter and glow. The accents are encrusted in brass and the room really is aesthetic perfection....but that isn't we were there. If the interiors are perfection...there isn't a word to describe the food. 

I love steak tartar. It is one of my favorite foods. I think steak in general is a favorite. We started with an appetizer of tartar. I could have made it my entire meal. Cochon Volant is known for their boards. We learned that last time at brunch with their pickle board. This time we went for a cheese board and a pickle board. These seemed like pleasant ways to cleanse the palette between courses. 

For our main courses I went with an dry aged steak, and as I already said it is enough of a reason to visit Chicago. It is served with french fries, but let's be honest...you're going to want to skip those and hold off for desert. Nick had two entrees. He started with a crab leg platter. A petite display of unbelievably fresh crab awaited him...and a shrimp cocktail. 

We closed out our food tour of Chicago with creme brûlée and chocolate mousse. I am not usually a mousse fan...but like everything else at Cochon Volant it is done to perfection.

— @CochonVolant_ — @ChefMattAyala

—@Jschatan — @JonasFalk_ #FlyingPigGram

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Sure, I know what you're thinking...but only four restaurants...you have so much left of Chicago to cover. Oh yes, I agree, you are totally right..rest assured we are already planning many return trips. Chicago is one of the easiest of the major US cities to navigate. Chicago is also much more affordable than New York City. 

If you're a bacon lover...time to load up the car and head to Chicago. 

Worn + Company

Ben Ashby

WORN + COMPANY | LEXINGTON, KY

Somewhere between the thousands of barrels of bourbon and the thousands of acres of pasture that surround Lexington, Kentucky a style has developed thats equal parts southern, preppy, and equestrian...but has always skewed a little to the old side. It has taken far too long to get pleats out of Lexington. That is all changing with the introduction of Nick Nardiello's new shop Worn + Company. With a flair similar to big city menswear stores the shop brings American made goods to Lexington with a unique blend of equestrian and camp themed vintage and antiques. To learn more about Nick's shop I popped in a few weeks ago to check it all out.

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHY DO YOU LOVE LEXINGTON || I was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky on a horse farm that my dad owned. My mother is an artist and a teacher. I was able to travel a little bit during high school and college while living in different parts of the world. After all of that traveling I knew that I would end up back in Lexington. We have a very worldly and eclectic community. I got my idea for my store after realizing that I have always been a big collector and I am always hunting for new pieces for my own collections. I chose Lexington because I felt that we were lacking a good mens store to go in and buy a pair of jeans and a little something else.

I wanted to share my appreciation for items both old and new and show uses via my store for each item. To me it matters so much that people get to come in and touch and handle the clothing or the antiques or vintage finds instead of shopping online and just looking at pictures. I wanted to create a destination store. I've already seen how it only takes one shop to create a movement that leads to a city becoming a destination. The east side of Lexington seemed like the perfect place to get it all started!

 
 

 

 

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE ITEMS IN THE STORE || My favorite items in the store have to be hats, selvage denim, and even my mothers painted feathers!

 

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO SUPPORT BRICK AND MORTAR || I support brick-and-mortar because when someone walks in my doors I want to evoke every one of the senses in their experience

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Share the Lex[ington, KY]

Ben Ashby

Lexington, KY is my favorite small-town-city. Perpetually locked in an identity crisis between being a small town and being a big city. Perpetually locked as a treasure box of southern days gone by. I lived in Lexington for eight years. I went to school in Lexington. I learned so much about the world outside my tiny western Kentucky town by watching the world slowly creep by in Lexington. Over the past ten years Lexington has experienced a refreshing amount of growth. From new faces and leadership to an ever evolving food and culture scene. Lexington is doing its damndest to catch up to the trendy cities across the US.

By being the northern most southern city in the US—Lexington serves visitors a more liberal and less antiquated version of southern culture. Gone are the vestiges of many of the southern stereotypes. In their place stands an open and colorful town. As I find myself frequently visiting Lexington I wanted create a short guide to a few of my favorites places. This list will grow over time. 

DINING

Lexington's food scene is quickly putting itself on the map. From trendy bars and farm-to-table spots, to quick lunch spots, to fine dining Lexington has it covered. My personal favorite is County Club in Lexington's Jefferson Street district. The pountine with brisket is the only reason needed to visit. The aesthetics are worth staying for.  

I asked my friend James where he recommends: 

1) Distilled at Gratz Park

2) Heirloom (a short 10 minute drive to Midway)

3) Dudley's

4) Cole's 735 Main

5) Lucy's at the Red Light

For those looking for classic southern comfort food, local chain Ramsey's is a must visit. Wallace Station and Windy Corner are both worth the drive outside of town to visit. Malones, the staple of Lexington is 100% worth skipping. 

 

SHOPPING

Shopping is not one of Lexington's greatest assets. Beyond a handful of fabulous shops and boutiques you're left with the stand Anthro, Pottery Barn style. My absolute favorite is Fable + Flame near the mall. James, the owner, brings an incredibly pleasing aesthetic to his shop. With legendary sales and constantly rotating inventory the mix of new and vintage is the perfect excuse to visit Lexington.  

When it comes to shopping for vintage fashions Foxhouse has it covered. A tiny gem of a shop near UK's campus, Foxhouse offers everything you need for a completely vintage outfit. Recent additions to the shop include American made art, jewelry, and accessories. 

Worn + Company is my favorite new store in Lexington. Nick's menwear stores focuses on classic American made men's staples, a flair of hipster, and a timeless, yet modern, southern meets outdoorsman style. 

Michler Florist and Greenhouse is absolutely 100% out of a dream. A handful of time worn greenhouses cover the wooded grounds of the urban property. A beer garden and vegan restaurant are carved among the trees. The greenhouse specializes in plants native Kentucky. Every inch of the property is worth photographing, but the plants really do take center stage. If you're looking to bring the outdoors into your home you want to make a stop at Michler's. 

This literally doesn't even scratch the surface of places to visit in Lexington. Stay tuned for more. 

Downtown Franklin

Heath Stiltner

Fourteen miles and 100 years from Nashville, Downtown Franklin, Tennessee is an oasis of Southern hospitality housed in a 16-block National Register district of antique shops, gift and book stores, art galleries, boutiques, lovingly restored homes and more. It boasts an award-winning Main Street, brick sidewalks, a stunning collection of Victorian buildings and a host of “Best of“ accolades.

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