What an ugly view we have along on our drive “home” in Sedona. What did we do to deserve this? 😋🌞😎📸 (This is sarcasm, for anyone outside the U.S.) Seriously, how gorgeous is this?!
As musicians, we’re always keen to explore the music culture of wherever we visit, and in Santa Fe, opera is very treasured. Equally remarkable, too, is New Mexico’s significance in history for, among other events, being the site where the Atomic Age began. During our recent visit, we got to see that art and history of the state intertwine. The Office of Tourism was very kind to invite us to a run-through of the acclaimed Doctor Atomic - a modern opera by John Adams and Peter Sellars about the testing of the first nuclear bomb and its creator, J.R. Oppenheimer, in 1945. Not only was the story and the music awe-inducing, but we also had the pleasure of listening to John Adams discuss his work in person. As for the opera itself, it was chillingly remarkable to see same desert landscape where the test was actually conducted through the outdoor stage. When in Santa Fe, whether you’re an opera fan or not, check out this beautiful venue and its spectacular productions!
One of the most exciting parts about traveling is encountering new animals in every destination. Over our last few weeks in New Mexico, we were able to catch a few roadrunners chasing each other around on our block. They are so feisty and so beautiful. Have you seen one in person?
The French quarter of New Orleans is very well-known for its monuments and cuisine - especially the beignets at Café du Monde. We definitely enjoyed that scene, but, as most adventurers do, we found the streets off the beaten path to be the most fun. For us, it was Magazine Street, which is calmer and features a plethora of beautiful parks, crafty entrepreneurs, and delicious cuisine - among which was The Vintage, a classic bar which serves savory and sweet beignets with a New Orleans cocktail that’s also Ben’s favorite, the Sazerac. What’s your favorite place to grab a bite in your favorite city/cities?
Austin has a reputation for “keeping it weird,” and fun - and no where is that more so than its North Loop neighborhood. It’s full of beautiful vintage stores, record stores, vegan restaurants and food trucks, and the most awesome toy store - Toy Joy - that left us smiling hours after our visit. Thank you, North Loop, for helping Austin live up to its rep! Where are your favorite “weird” places?
The residents of the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in New Orleans are as lovely as they are friendly. 🐛🦋
Salt Lake City is renowned for many interests, such as biking, hiking, and skiing, yet most don’t know that it’s also the capital of craft chocolate in the U.S.! During our stay here, we learned that the city is home to many award-winning chocolatiers who follow a seldom-practiced “bean-to-bar” approach, which foregoes roasting cacao beans to preserve the nutrients that they would otherwise lose from roasting. One of these chocolatiers, The Chocolate Conspiracy, was among our favorites not just for its variety of bars, like wild spice and blackberry ginger, but also for its cool and friendly craftspeople, who took the time to share some samples and tell us about chocolate’s exceptional history in the city. Be sure to visit when you’re in town for good company and delicious chocolate that’s actually good for you! Where in the world have you found your favorite chocolate?
We love visiting and shopping at vintage stores for many reasons. They serve as time capsules of past trends in their area, which helps us learn more about it and local tastes. They also enable us to shop kindly, meaning that beautiful pieces from yesteryear are spared from overflowing landfills. Decades Vintage Clothing in Salt Lake City excels at these points. It has many elegant classic and costume pieces that reflect men’s and women’s fashion of the area spanning most of the past century. Best of all, much of the clothes are less expensive than what’s found in fast-fashion stores, and there are a few plus-size options (a rarity for vantage stores) so that everyone can appreciate and purchase all that the store has to offer. Where are some of your favorite vintage stores?
Among the most common misconceptions about vegan cuisine is that it lacks flavor and that it is too expensive for most to enjoy it - that it’s a luxury that only those along the coasts or other relatively affluent areas can afford. Fortunately, restaurants like Boltcutter prove all of that to be false. Its Sin Carne Tacos, pictured here, are composed of asada seitan, salsa verde, white onion, cilantro, lime, and guacamole. Even more delighting, one can get two very filling tacos like these for only $7 USD. And, most unexpectedly, this restaurant and its delicious plant-based menu is located in the heart of Salt Lake City - just going to show that some of the best vegan cuisine is found in the Midwestern U.S., too!
One of our favorite venues in Salt Lake City is Sugar House Coffee, which is a center of social and kindness with its gender neutral bathrooms, live local entertainment, and eclectic menu. Our favorite drink there is one of their specialties: a beetroot latte with unsweetened almond milk, which we got in our reusable coffee cups that we always bring with us when we’re out to cut down on plastic consumption. What are your favorite kind hang-outs?
This #TBT we’re reflecting on our visit to the Canadian Supreme Court in Ottawa last year! We had arrived right as it opened at around 8:00 AM in order to beat the crowds and ensure that there’d be space on a tour for us. It turned out that we were the first to arrive that day, so we were actually treated to a private tour of this magnificent building! It’s just another example of how preparation and timeliness can be very rewarding. Do you plan experiences in advance when you travel?
We’ve just begun the next course of our journey, which begins with Salt Lake City, where the cherry blossoms near the Utah state Capitol are in full vernal bloom! Be sure to follow us and check back for daily posts about what we’re learning and savoring along the way - and how people in each place are exercising kindness in business, cuisine, and nature.
In a modern, international city that is rife with gleaming skyscrapers, it is all the more interesting to find older and well-maintained buildings like the neo-gothic, 19th-century Cathedral Church of Saint James, nestled between them. Where have you unexpectedly found beautiful monuments to the past along your travels?
Even a casual stroll anywhere in Montréal is like exploring an art exhibit where the inhabitants decorate their homes in the most enticing arrangements. What kind of exterior home decor do you appreciate?
Amongst its beautiful downtown area, its verdant parks, and excellent eateries, the Union Bagel Company is one our favorites in Portland, Maine. All of its bagels are artisanal, made in-house, and one in varieties that satiate all tastes - like this vegan bagel sandwhich with seasoned hummus, avocado, and cucumber. We would be in remiss if we didn’t give a shout-out congratulations to @unionbagelco for having recently opened their second location on 46 Veranda Street! If you or anyone else you know would enjoy this, then tag yourselves and be sure to visit this local favorite! What are your favorite bagel toppings and which city is your favorite for bagels?
Anyone who follows us can definitely see that cuisine, architecture, local and vintage products, and nature bring us joy - particularly nature, for we always are in awe of the beautiful animals that we encounter along our travels. We enjoy their personalities as we believe that kindness should always be extended to non-humans, too. Have you ever met nice non-human friends in your own travels?