21. New York

nyc2New York Pro Tip: If you want to beat the tourist crowds, just do all your touring when it’s 40 and raining!

Our 20th state was New York, and involved a quick trip to New York City. Matt had never visited, but I interned at a TV station there in college and was able to concoct a pretty walkable itinerary that hit all the big tourist spots — and four boroughs!

Also: bagels. We ate so many bagels. 

We got to New York by MegaBus from Baltimore, which I do not recommend if you want to sit next to your travel buddy. The bus starts in DC, so by the time it stops in Baltimore, most of the rows are taken by single travelers already settled into a nap and not interested in relocating.

If you’ve been to New York City, chances are, you’ve seen *most*of the things we saw on the first half of our trip! We started with bagels (duh)… then headed to the 9/11 Memorial, made our way down to the Staten Island Ferry to see Lady Liberty from a dreary distance, stopped at Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange, walked halfway down and back on the Brooklyn Bridge, had lunch in Little Italy, then saw/became trapped in a Chinese New Year Parade in Chinatown.

Again, though… it was 40 and raining. I had the pleasure of drying my socks and shoes with a hand dryer in the bathroom of the Staten Island Ferry station.

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With the storm nearly over, we hopped on a subway to Brooklyn, where I was d-y-i-n-g to try a Rainbow Bagel from this viral video. It was bright, delicious, filled with amazing funfetti cream cheese, and worth the extra subway stops! We then walked to the Brooklyn Brewery, and after one very expensive plastic cup of beer, realized we had totally finished our list of stuff to do on the first day! So, we went to the Bronx!

Matt ran a great track with an amazing view at Macombs Dam Park, in the shadow of Yankee Stadium. We then Ubered over to the Bronx Brewery! We  Finally, we ended our day back in Manhattan at one of my old favorites: McSorley’s Old Ale House (One light and one dark, please!)

 

All of that was just the FIRST DAY! Our trip also included Times Square, Rockefeller Plaza, Central Park, MORE BAGELS OF COURSE, a quick stop outside my old internship at ABC7 NY, a $1 slice of delicious pizza, and walking the High Line before we got on the bus.

Matt saved a lot of money by, once again, using the Priceline Bid Tool. We stayed at Even Hotel, which is brand new and modern and clean and even has cool trendy workout equipment in the room. Matt got the room for about $80 a night (with taxes and fees it wound up being about $200 total for both nights, still about $110 cheaper than if we had booked on their site). We also saved money by walking a LOT and reloading MetroCards to use the subway when necessary.

One more thing: Monday, after we checked out of the hotel, we used Vertoe luggage checking service so we didn’t have to lug our bags around. They have many locations around the city, and charged us about $12 to stash our backpacks behind the counter of a souvenir store for the day. What a great idea!!

Overall, for an expensive city, we KILLED this trip and had a great time!

Thanks for reading!! Only 30 more states to go!!

-Devin and Matt

20. Arizona

IMG_2941It’s the only state I’ve been to where everybody is from somewhere else. Our 19th state was Arizona, a state known for cool cactuses and transplants. Matt and I were originally planning to head to Mississippi during this time, but found dirt-cheap tickets to Phoenix we just couldn’t pass up.

Our $104 round-trip tickets from BWI -> PHX were thanks to United’s new-ish Basic Economy seats (according to Mashable, recently expanded to even more flights)! We could only bring one “personal item” (backpack) each and had no ability to change or alter our tickets/seats once they were purchased. Unlike Spirit Air, where everybody is in the same “bare fare” boat, United’s Basic Economy peasants get to sit right next to regular passengers who paid a lot more to bring their mini rolling suitcases. We even got free coffee!

IMG_2859But I digress. Arizona was amazing. AMAZING! It was Matt’s favorite trip so far, and for me, a close tie with Colorado. We started our first day (we were awake for 21 hours…) at Tacolandia! We gorged on tacos from dozens of amazing Arizona vendors for HOURS. Matt ate 15. Seriously impressive. We visited with two of my sorority sisters, and got a great inside tour of the city from Jenna, who has lived downtown for more than two years.

IMG_2890Our sunny Sunday was fueled by a full dozen donuts from The Local Donut! We ran across this little spot by accident on our way north to Sedona and the dough was SO DELICIOUS! Sedona was about a two-hour drive from Scottsdale and the views were worth every second on the road. We hiked Devil’s Bridge and Doe Mountain and were in total disbelief of the beauty of both. We escaped with lots of awesome pictures and only two cactus scratches!

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Monday, we frolicked a bit around Old Town Scottsdale, eating ice cream and drinking beers until we were too full to eat dinner…. which is never a problem, in my opinion. We had lots of great recommendations from my mom’s friend who lives nearby (and recently followed our blog! Hi, Shawn!)

IMG_2956Throughout our trip, we found GREAT brews at McFate Brewing, Helio Basin Brewing, and Goldwater Brewing.  Matt also weaseled his way onto the Arizona State University track AND one epic high school track near Sedona with a great view of the mountains.

Another note: we loved the hotel we picked: 3 Palms! If you’re looking for a place to stay, it was clean, quiet, and has a great pool. Matt swung it for about $80/night on Priceline’s bid tool.

IMG_2971Overall, we were SO SAD to leave! And not just because it was 80 degrees and sunny. We found the people of Arizona were friendly, polite, and they even use turn signals! In all, we were able to do three full days in Arizona for about $400 per person; including hotel, car rental, airfare, and food. Not bad for a cross-country trip… all in all, these adventures are the greatest Christmas gift we could have ever gotten each other!

 

Thanks for reading about our latest adventure!! We don’t receive anything in exchange for our reviews and links, we just want to share our experiences with you. 

You can check out our full list of breweries and tracks in every state we’ve visited.

Be sure to follow (link on the right sidebar!) and you’ll get a quick email when we post something new!

-Devin and Matt 

19. Louisiana

I ALMOST forgot about our very fast and very WET trip to Louisiana! We visited New Orleans in August, adding the leg onto our last Minnesota visit for about $40 extra per ticket. We had a sweet Air BnB, lots of recommendations, and were excited to drink our way down Bourbon Street!

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That was… until the torrential rains started the second we landed. Very long story short, most roads were totally underwater because pumps weren’t working. We ended up on a grassy median in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by rivers of water. We couldn’t get to our Air BnB because the roads were closed… and we were all but stranded.

So, we changed in the car and did what we do best… found a BREWERY!! In our two days in Louisiana, we visited with my sorority sister, Ella, and stuffed our faces with beignets.

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We also wanted to take a bayou tour, but didn’t want to pay $60 for an ultra-touristy one close to New Orleans. So we drove about an hour away to Houma, had some po boys, and took a tour with Annie Miller’s Son’s Marsh and Swamp Tours. We highly recommend them! The guy who took us on the tour had been doing it for decades and called the alligators by name up to the boat.

Before we left, we made it up to Baton Rouge for Matt to run the LSU track, and he ended up meeting the insanely nice Senior Associate Athletic Director. He showed us all around the inside facility and gave us a preview of the new track they were putting in at the time.

We loved our very rainy stay in Louisiana, but never made it to Bourbon Street. I think that means we’re due for a trip back!!

18. North Dakota

This state number is a *tad* out of order. We visited North Dakota during a blustery summer day, while on vacation with Matt’s parents! When it’s too cold to go in the lake: take a little day trip instead!

We walked by the famous Art Deco-style Fargo Theater, popped into some antique stores, and had lunch at an awesome wood-fire pizza place called Blackbird.

 

We got a track and a brewery in, too. We made a great stop at Flatland Brewery, and Matt ran the track at North Dakota State!

 

Even though it was really windy and didn’t at all feel like early August, it was fun to *finally* make it to Minnesota’s northwest neighbor.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading about our latest adventure!!
You can check out our full list of breweries and tracks in every state we’ve visited.
Be sure to follow (link on the right sidebar!) and you’ll get a quick email when we post something new!
-Devin and Matt 

 

17. New Jersey

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Our one-day trip to New Jersey was quick (if you don’t count the three-hour drive each way!) and we’re making plans to come back in the summer. But Matt did manage to run the Princeton track and we visited Icarus Brewing and I kicked his butt at Battleship.

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Our whole trip was to visit my beautiful cousin, Katy, who is due soon with her miracle baby girl! What a great day to visit family. We’ll be back soon, New Jersey!

 

Thanks for reading about our latest adventure!!
You can check out our full list of breweries and tracks in every state we’ve visited.
Be sure to follow (link on the right sidebar!) and you’ll get a quick email when we post something new!
-Devin and Matt 

15. Vermont & 16. New Hampshire

In October, we took our annual “birthdays” trip to Vermont and New Hampshire! We bounced between the two several times, and did a few great hikes. And the best part: we saw a moose!!

The biggest and most challenging part of the trip was hiking Franconia Ridge! National Geographic named it one of the top 10 most “Mind Blowing” hikes in the world…. and it certainly lived up to its name!

Here’s our video of our trip — and of course, Matt pushing me out of the hammock:

 

Thanks for reading about our latest adventure!!
You can check out our full list of breweries and tracks in every state we’ve visited.
Be sure to follow (link on the right sidebar!) and you’ll get a quick email when we post something new!
-Devin and Matt 

COUNTRY No.1: CUBA!

CABALLO!! CABALLO!! I will never stop hearing the sound of the horse tour guy yelling at Matt’s horse to stop ripping corn out of every field we passed by. “CABALLO!” He’d yell, and I’d turn around to see Carmelo The Horse standing in a corn field, munching away.
We decided to go to Cuba with my sister, Danielle, and her husband, Matthew. (Matt squared all week!!) Calling them “experienced travelers” would be a huge understatement. They have been EVERYWHERE! So I knew they’d be great travel companions for my and Matt’s first international trip together.

We visited three cities: Havana, Trinidad, and Vinales. Each had something very different to offer. Havana, unmatched architecture, a deep history, and many, many cars. Trinidad, a mix of rural and small city life, also prides itself on keeping history alive and well. No cars drive on the main streets downtown. The city of Vinales is a lush, agricultural oasis that basically looks like the set of Jurassic Park.

As luck would have it, the Trinidad leg drove us right into the path of a tropical storm. For two full days, it poured. And poured. And poured. We had soaking wet clothing hanging from every door, window, and chair in our place. I was starting to wonder if I would ever be dry again. But do vacations stop for a little street flooding? Of course not!


One night we decided to go to a club in a real freakin’ cave underground. Club Alaya would never be allowed to happen in America. But to get there, we had a half mile walk in absolutely insane rain that had turned every street and alleyway into a babbling brook of sewage and mud. We did it anyway. In heels! And dresses and dress pants!

By the time we got there, we looked like this. The four of us, along with about a hundred drunk European teenagers, danced ourselves dry with a mojito in our hand anyway. Don’t even ask about the walk home, after it had been raining for another two hours.

In Cuba, nothing works exactly the way it’s supposed to or is done precisely on time, and that is exactly what you should expect.
What you also should expect is an incredibly welcoming and kind people. Though I’ve had lots of experience in Europe watching out for pickpocketers, never once in Cuba did I feel unsafe.
We found that for the most part, people there like Americans and want their tourism. And that includes ROBERTO!! A dude I won’t soon forget.
We were pulled over along the highway while driving towards Vinales, and a security guy told us that the bus to the city had broken down and they needed to start getting people to work. In short, we had to take a guy with us in our car to Vinales. Before I could so much as move into the middle seat, a small, quiet Cuban guy, who later introduced himself as “Roberto”, was sliding into the car next to me.

For a full hour, we tried to make small conversation, pooling our minimal Spanish skills and listening carefully to his botched English. We learned he was a tobacco farmer in Vinales and traveled an hour on the bus to work every day. At the end of our commute, he welcomed us to the tobacco farm for free Cuban cigars.
I would go back one day. Cuba is a country unlike any I’d been to. It’s full of resilient, resourceful people. And chickens. Lots and lots of chickens.

To bring it full circle (literally), Matt got to run his track! With Che Guevara watching over him, he ran the Estadio Panamericano in Havana. We found a pretty easy way into the old stadium, but could hear the people who now make their home in the walls.

We did lots and lots more in Cuba. Hikes, jumping into a waterfall, having a panic attack while jumping into a waterfall, meeting a random lady on a mountain named Sophia who gave us this weird lukewarm mango juice… I’ve only shared with you some of the highlights!! 🙂

A few people have asked me about the Visa process to get into Cuba. If you plan on going and have questions, just ask!

 

 

Thanks for reading about our latest adventure!!
You can check out our full list of breweries and tracks in every state we’ve visited.
Be sure to follow (link on the right sidebar!) and you’ll get a quick email when we post something new!
-Devin and Matt