Category Archives: Travel

Rafting Down the New River

Last Saturday Mark and I were able to join the Huntington Ski Club on a special day trip rafting down the New River. I have been talking about organizing a trip like this for the club for a long time, and this summer we were finally able to get it together and actually go.

There are several white water rafting companies to choose from, but we used Adventures on the Gorge since they are the most well known. I called about 1 month in advance, set the reservation date and time and all I had to do was call them as the date got closer and update them on the number of people coming. Easy Peasy. As most things like this go, we had people sign up, change their minds, decide to go, or show up at the last minute. Typical, right? Adventures on the Gorge made the whole experience painless. We were able to give a final count the day before the trip and pay the balance the morning of the trip. It was great!

Adventures on the Gorge is about a 2-hour drive from Huntington, so it was easy to get to and drive home after. After a brief safety presentation, we loaded on to a bus for a 20-25 minute drive to the entry point on the river. This, I have to say, was the worst part of the day. Being on that windy road in wet PFD’s (personal floating devices) was just BARF. Our guide made several jokes on the way and made the situation better, but I was a hot mess on that bus.

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As soon as we got there we headed down to the water’s edge and all my bus sick cares melted away. The river is beyond beautiful.

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The whole trip took about 4 hours, and our guide, Ella, was sure to get us all on the same page right away so that we would be able to work together to get our boat safely down the river. We practiced strokes with our paddles, leaning towards the middle of the raft (in case of rocks) and learned what to watch for as we entered and maneuvered through rapids.

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There were several opportunities to get out of the boat and float down river on our backs through some light rapids. The water temperature was perfect, and I felt true relaxation as we splashed around. Beats being in an office any day.  We also stopped a couple places for cliff jumping, which was a blast. Adventures on the Gorge really made it a full day of fun with a little bit for everyone. They also provided a great lunch with lots of options, so if you are thinking of going, food is covered.

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Summer is a great time to raft the Lower New River, which is what we did. We are not experts, so Lower New is perfect this time of the year. The minimum age to raft this part of the river is 12, so it’s difficult enough for adult beginners, but easy enough that we never felt unsafe.

If you go: you will need shoes that tie on your feet, like swim shoes or light sneakers. You will also need to put on sunscreen before you go, wear a bathing suit, shorts and a T-shirt. The guide has a dry bag where you can keep what you need, but you can’t get into that every 5 minutes. I brought a dry bag for my phone (I found it at Marshall’s last year, similar one here), which was awesome because I could take pictures while we were out there. It did a great job of keeping my phone dry, and I had it hanging around my neck the whole trip. Keep in mind that each raft usually tips their guide, so bring some cash to pool together. We also had a videographer with us who made an awesome video that you could watch and purchase, and they took a group picture that you could buy as well. There are shower4s when you get back, so bring dry clothes to change into. Also- like any great activity, there was beer at the finish!

Have any of you been rafting before? I’d love to hear about your experience!

Norway in Pictures

I was very lucky to be able to visit Norway for 2 whole weeks this year, a luxury I have not had since the summer of 2014. I love my life here in the Mountain State, but there is a constant longing in my soul for a life in that rock pile called Norway. One of the problems with “coming from” two places so far apart is that you never really feel quite at home in either one of them.

I have this snapshot in my head of my hometown in Norway- the way things were when I left almost 18 years ago. But time has changed my little town. It’s growing, houses are popping up all over and all the people I knew back in school have moved away or I have lost track of them. I still expect to walk down the street knowing everyone I pass, but that is no longer the case.

One thing is certain. I was able to make new memories with my family. Here are some pictures from our trip that I have chosen to share with you. Enjoy!

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Maren Jumping

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Strawberry

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I hope all of you have great vacations this summer!

Geeking out with Star Wars

On Sunday, Mark and I drove up to Cincinnati again for a day of Father’s Day fun. With the kids being off in Norway for a month, things are quiet around here, and Father’s day with no kids is a little sad.

After brunch at Taste of Belgium, our favorite breakfast spot, we drove over to the Cincinnati Museum Center to check out Star Wars and the Power of Costume. The exhibit will be there until October 1st, so if you are in the area you may want to give it a whirl. Mark and I are big Star Wars fans, but we aren’t fanatics about it. So what if we FORCED the kids to watch all the movies….? They would be lying if they said they didn’t like them.

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The exhibit hold 60 costumes from all seven Star Wars movies and shows all the intricacies of planning so many costumes for characters from all over the galaxy. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that George Lucas wrote the saga and had all these details in his head that he made come to life. The walls of the exhibit were covered in drawings of all the versions of costumes they came up with for each character before settling on the final version. Incredible.

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My favorite part of the exhibit by far was “Padme’s Journey”, simply because the dresses were a princess’ wardrobe on steroids. (And can I just mention how tiny Natalie Portman was when she made those movies?!) They had a short film playing of her talking about the dresses she wore and I was mesmerized by all the thought that went into every scene. There is one in particular where she does nothing but pack a suitcase while talking to Anakin, and it took weeks to make the dress she wore for just 1 minute of screentime.

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Mark and I also loved the end, where the tour ended in a gift shop (what else is new) but they had displays of all the old Star Wars toys and figures. We found quite a few that we used to own when we were little and the displays included the lengths kids would go through to get some of the ones that were hard to find. Does anyone remember collecting the proof of purchase off of cereal boxes? I sure do.

If you go: the tickets were a little on the pricy side ($48 for 2), considering we only got tickets for the Star Wars portion and skipped the rest of the museum. It was however, only $3 more to get the ticket for everything. The exhibit is only there until October 1st, so catch it before it’s gone forever. Also, portions of the museum are off-line right now due to extensive renovations to the building. Check their website to be sure one of those areas aren’t the one you are dying to see. For example, Henrik would freak out if we went all the way there are he didn’t get to see the dinosaurs because it was closed.

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We left the museum to do some shopping at Jungle Jim’s, then went to Rhinegeist to sit on their rooftop beer garden and enjoy the beautiful weather. The last stop was at a restaurant called Nada where we feasted on Mexican. The guacamole was outstanding, so I completely inhaled it and then couldn’t finish my dinner.

What a great day. I hope all of you got to do something awesome with the important men in your lives. Have a great week!


Run the Bluegrass

Remember when I told you that I was training for the Flying Pig Marathon? Well, part of my training involves running a half marathon a month or so before that so I know that I at least can get a fairly good race day pace. It may not help much, but it helps mentally give me an idea of what needs to happen the last few weeks before it’s go time.

This year, Mark and I drove to Lexington to Run the Bluegrass, which takes place at Keeneland, a classy venue for horse racing. We stayed with my best buddy and partner in crime, Brooke, who recently moved to Lexington. Running, beer, Brooke, food, and Lexington? My friends, these are all ingredients that make an epic weekend.

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An Afternoon in Athens

This past Sunday rolled around rainy and dreary, and since I recently cancelled cable, there was literally nothing to watch on TV. We faced an afternoon of cleaning the house if we didn’t do something quick! The horror.

As per the usual, Mark was scrolling on Instagram, and he saw that Little Fish Brewing in Athens, Ohio was having “Kids Day” that very afternoon. Our motto is, if we can get to a brewery and the kids can have a good time in the process, it’s a win-win.

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An Impromptu Trip to the Queen City

For Christmas I got my husband the best gift ever. I hooked him up with a snowboard trip to Jackson Hole with some of his friends and he left this weekend. Thursday night we were talking about the hotel he booked in Cincinnati since his flight left so early Saturday morning and he suggested the kids and I meet there on Friday afternoon. Perfect quick trip to spend some time with him and also take the kids to do something fun.

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We ended up meeting at Rhinegeist Brewery in an area of Cinci called Over the Rhine. The kids love it there since they have ping pong and soft pretzels. We hung out there a while and then went to have dinner. Be sure to check out my Untapped check-ins…I tried several new brews I had never had before, and also picked up some to bring home. Continue reading