Travel

I live in Denver. My family lives in Ohio. My best friends live all over the country and I have a job that requires moderate travel. Needless to say, I rack up a LOT of frequent flier miles and hotel points.

Here you can find highlights from my personal and work travels.

Personal Travel

Work Travel

And below, you will find all Travel posts!

Moving East Road Trip: Venturing Through the Midwest to Pittsburgh

We left Denver on a Friday morning with our sights set on reaching Minneapolis that night but the 14+ hour drive proved to be too much. Because we had to drive the entire length of South Dakota, we decided to at least drive through Badlands National Park and add another park visit to our list.

Road Trip: Midwest to Pittsburgh // lgsmash.com

We drove up through the back way through Imlay and Scenic, SD, which was an interesting view of rural WY and SD but I might recommend sticking to the main route from Denver to Rapid City and entering Badlands from Wall, SD. Lesson learned for next time we’re driving all the way across South Dakota. :)

We stopped for the night in Sioux Falls, SD, just about 4 hours from Minneapolis, and slept in the only room available in tiny city of Sioux Falls (a smoking room, nonetheless). When the sun rose early on Saturday, we quickly packed up and hit the road, bound to see our friend Elizabeth!

Elizabeth and I are friends from the end of college but she and Alex were actually friends from much younger, tiny tot years. While Elizabeth and I knew of each other in college, it wasn’t until we had a class and were assigned a group project together that we became fast friends and I’m very grateful that, despite distance, we’ve remained so close and make it a priority to see each other at least once a year. So when we planned our road trip, heading north to drive through Minneapolis was a no brainer!

Elizabeth took us out on the lakes near her apartment and we rented a canoe to spend our afternoon lazily paddling about. Somehow, we convinced Philly to join in the fun and she embarked on her maiden canoe voyage.

Road Trip: Midwest to Pittsburgh // lgsmash.com

Canoe riding and swimming aren’t her most favorite activities but she was a good sport throughout the afternoon.

The rest of the evening was spent catching up over dinner and drinks in Uptown, Minneapolis and, per usual, our time together ended much too soon. Team Petre filed out early Sunday morning for our next city, Milwaukee.

In Milwaukee, we spent much overdue time with Alex’s brother and wife and their 3 young daughters. The youngest niece was just a few weeks old and was as precious as they come.

Road Trip: Midwest to Pittsburgh // lgsmash.com In between baby snuggles, we spent 48 hours playing with the big girls: running around the back yard, coloring at the table, dipping our toes in Lake Michigan.

Road Trip: Midwest to Pittsburgh // lgsmash.com Road Trip: Midwest to Pittsburgh // lgsmash.com

While kids aren’t on our immediate horizon, it was so much fun to be around mini-people and step into their world for a few days.

As in Minneapolis, our departure came far too quickly and we gave our tiny nieces and their parents big hugs goodbye and pointed our wheels south toward Cincinnati, where both of our parents and families live.

Alex and I haven’t been home to Cincinnati with much regularity since he moved to Colorado thanks to steep airfare prices so we made sure to pencil in 3-4 days in Ohio with our families. Outside of spending as much time with our families as possible, I had to main objectives: ride rollercoasters at King’s Island Amusement Park (and eat Smurf Ice Cream, obviously) and chow down on as much Skyline Chili as I could handle.

Road Trip: Midwest to Pittsburgh // lgsmash.com Road Trip: Midwest to Pittsburgh // lgsmash.comDone and done. Alex and I took my youngest sister to King’s Island with us and the three of us did not stop laughing the entire day. I even heard my grown husband squeal with delight as we rode The Beast; it was one of the best days. Because of the heat and humidity (ugh, welcome to Cincinnati), there was no one at the park so we walked onto every ride.

And Skyline? Oh man. I have missed Skyline Chili so much! We bought cans of the Cincinnati chili at our local King Soopers in Denver but it’s not the same as eating it fresh. I mean, that cheese!! I ate so much Skyline Chili in Ohio. #noregrets

We also had dinners with our parents, drank beer with older siblings, marveled at how grown up the younger siblings are, swam with grandparents and caught up with old friends. Usually when we venture to Cincinnati, it’s for a holiday and with both our families in the same city, our short time home is usually hectic and jam-packed. This trip, though, recharged my soul and felt so relaxing. Spending good time with good people will do that to ya.

To end our time in Cincinnati and cap off our trip, we made reservations for dinner at The Palace Restaurant, a 4-star restaurant in downtown Cincinnati where our friend, Nathan Sheatzley is the executive chef. 

Road Trip: Midwest to Pittsburgh // lgsmash.com

We opted for the 9-course tasting menu as we couldn’t not try the full scope of Nathan’s work. He did NOT disappoint. Holy cow is his food fantastic! Alex and I have enjoyed Nathan’s cooking on our annual ski trips and other less formal occasions so it was such a treat to enjoy the food Cincinnati has been raving about. If you find yourself in Cincinnati and looking for a high quality meal that will delight you, look no further than The Palace.

Hilariously, Alex and I dined (much less extravagantly) at the Palace for our 1 year dating anniversary; this meal, 8 years later, we toasted 3 years of marriage (a month early but we celebrated nonetheless. Ya know, #gradschoolbudget and all).

The next morning, we ate homemade egg sandwiches at my mom’s house before saying our ‘See ya later!’s and hitting the road. From Cincinnati, it’s a short 5 hour drive to Pittsburgh; straight up to Columbus and then east to a few hours to PGH.

Saturday night, we arrived at our new home and have slowly been figuring out this new life, new schedule and new city.

Pittsburgh Apartment // lgsmash.com

And if you’ve made it this far in the post, WOOP! We’re almost there.

To any others facing a grad school situation, I highly encourage you to take some time to do something just for you before beginning school. Whether it’s travel or vegging out with Netflix, you’re embarking on a huge life change, regardless if you’re the student or the partner.

I was nervous to take 2.5 weeks off work for this move but am so glad I did. In our culture of HURRY HURRY! DO MORE! NO DOWNTIME! (and especially so at a start up), it’s intimidating to say, guys, I love ya but I gotta do this important thing for myself and my marriage and take an extended road trip to move.’

But half assing something like this brings the potential of starting off the next chapter on rushed, unsteady footing. And from what I can tell about grad school, there’s no slowing down from here on out. From an intense course load to a (likely) intense job, post-MBA, our road trip gave us time to pause and be with our favorite people, doing our favorite things before the chaos.

So with that, our summer road trip ends here, in Pittsburgh, PA where we’ll be back to regularly scheduled blog posts shortly – with less mountains and more midwestern flavors.

Moving East Road Trip: Vegas, Vail and One Last Day in Denver

After spending 2 adventurous days in the Grand Canyon, we ventured further west into the desert to live a bit lavishly in Vegas. I’d only been to Vegas for a work trip (boring) and the summer prior to visit my sister (fun but didn’t do the Strip) so I was excited to stay on the Strip and really ‘do it up,’ as Alex said.
Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver // lgsmash.com

The 4.5 hour drive flew by; we turned on a long podcast, stopped for lunch in Hurricane, UT (stop at Sonny Boy’s BBQ - so good!) and 2 short more hours on the road, we parked our car in Vegas.

We stayed at the Trump because Alex was able to snag a good deal on Hotwire but I would not recommend this hotel. It was nice enough but being off the Strip made it difficult to get to the ‘fun parts’ of Vegas very easily, among other things. Our first night in Vegas, we walked the entire length of the Strip and racked up nearly 20,000 steps on my phone’s pedometer!

Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver // lgsmash.com

Originally, we’d planned to be in Vegas just Saturday and Sunday nights, leaving Monday for Zion National Park but after a crazy year and in the midst of this major life change, we both wanted to stay one more day in Vegas, relaxing. We checked out of the Trump on Monday morning and checked into the Venetian, thanks to a steal on Hotwire. We slept in, read books by the pool, gambled most of our Vegas allowance away just for Alex to win it all back in the last game of roulette.

Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver // lgsmash.com

Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver // lgsmash.com

Vegas was a blast and, just like everyone says, 2 nights of play time is enough; it was time to leave behind the hot desert and copious amounts of people, smoke and expensive prices for the wilderness.

Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver // lgsmash.com

The next stop on our tour was Vail to camp with our good friend Justin. Justin recently moved to the area to run a vet clinic in town but he’d already scoped out great camping in the White River National Forest (highly recommend checking this out, Denver friends!). We parked our cars shortly before dusk, set up camp and, most importantly, drank beer around the fire swapping stories of our past few weeks; Justin shared entertaining stories of mountain vs. city pet emergencies while we relived our time spent on the road.

Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver // lgsmash.com

Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver // lgsmash.com

We’d built in one extra ‘free’ day into our schedule and decided to spend it in Beavercreek with Justin. Putting our new-found frisbee skills to use, Justin brought us to the top of Beavercreek mountain to play frisbee golf! Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver // lgsmash.com

Spoiler alert: throwing a frisbee disk is far harder than throwing a regular ol’ frisbee. I found that out preeeetty quickly and spent most of my afternoon digging through grass to find my lost disk. But it was fun, regardless. Any afternoon spent in sunshine, on a mountain, with friends? Winning.

After a quiet evening in Beavercreek, we packed up and trekked into Denver! Coincidentally, my brother, who works on Harry Connick Jr’s tour, and Alex’s high school friends both were in town on that same day so we made sure our trip coincided with theirs. We spent the afternoon at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House with my brother, getting a behind the scenes peek at what goes into a major concert, and the evening with our Cincinnati friends, showing them our city and enjoying one last dinner in town at our favorite restaurant, Euclid Hall.

We had a couple of hours between seeing my brother and our friends so we drove through our old neighborhood and decided to stop into the State Capital, knowing there are free tours throughout the day.

Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver // lgsmash.com

This was Denver bucket list item for me; for my 25th birthday, I visited the Denver Mint and after that tour, I’d wanted to check out the Capital, too, but because tours are only offered Monday through Friday, during the day, I hadn’t been able to swing it. Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver // lgsmash.com

The tour was really interesting! Only 30-45 minutes long, the guide shares many interesting historical tidbits and facts about how the building was constructed. At the end, tours are allowed up into the iconic gold dome and onto the viewing deck outside for incredible views of the city. It was a perfectly Colorado thing to do on our very last day in town. Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver // lgsmash.com

Early the next morning, we stopped by the kennel where Philly had been staying for the past week and officially began the easterly portion of our trip. It was a quite ride out of Denver, both of us just soaking it all in and realizing, HOLY SHIT. This is happening right now. 

Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver // lgsmash.com