To say that we enjoy visiting the Branson, MO area might be an understatement! We enjoy it so much that we have visited three times in a 1 year time span! Planning any family vacation or trip can be overwhelming and now that we consider ourselves “pros” at visiting Branson, we thought we would share some tips to help you plan your visit.
We have camped and stayed in condos while visiting Branson and we definitely recommend staying in a condo! The main reason for our switching was that we sold our camper, but as we researched different hotels and condos, we were able to get a great space (2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo with full kitchen, living room, and patio) for the same price as some of the hotels. With two growing teenage boys, it’s important for us to have space to spread out in and our condo that we booked through VRBO definitely did this!
Where do you go to slow down? I can’t say that we have ever had a regular place, but now that we have visited Dubuque, I think we have found it! Recently, T and I headed over to Dubuque for a quick 24 hour trip to have some time to ourselves and slow down! We stayed at the Hotel Julien and spent many hours just “being” together! While we explored a few fun, but low-key places, this was probably our favorite and where we will return time and time again!
Eagle Point Park
For a whopping $1 per car, you get free reign of Eagle Point Park, which is owned by the City of Dubuque. Take your time driving through the park and enjoy the many different levels of scenery! Stop and explore the old buildings, lodges, and shelters that can be rented for a variety of events! While we were there, we saw a 1st birthday party, a kids birthday party, and a wedding set up! This would be an amazing back-drop for any event! Then, head to the Mississippi overlook! While we enjoyed explore several parts of the park, this was by our favorite!
Supper at The Barrel House and a snack of ice cream set the tone for our outstanding trip to Dubuque, Iowa a few weeks ago! While we were there, we grabbed 2 full meals and a snack! Breakfast in the morning was a Caroline’s Restaurant which is in the Hotel Julien and we highly recommend!
The Barrel House
For supper when we arrived in town, we headed to The Barrel House and what a treat it was! It’s location is super handy when you’re staying at the Hotel Julien as it’s right across the street, which is one of the reasons we selected it!
On a gorgeous day in Dubuque, Iowa one wants to enjoy the river and the weather! We love walking along the Port of Dubuque River Walk! Here you can slow down, enjoy the view, some art, and history all at the same time!
River Walk & Art Sculptures
This walkway is a paved trail that runs along the port/river and is adorned by lots of art sculptures! Enjoy the view of the different art as well as reading about them at each stop!
T and I recently made an overnight trip to Dubuque and stayed the Hotel Julien Dubuque. WOW! The Hotel Julien knows how to make a person feel so special! Not only do they have spectacular accommodations, but the small things add up to make you fee extra special during your stay!
The Hotel Julien Dubuque has been present in historic downtown Dubuque for over 130 years! After a $33 million renovation, they are shining brighter than ever! Between its historic attributes and modern finishes, the Hotel Julien Dubuque is the prime example of a sophisticated hotel! Not many hotels can claim to be modern and historic, luxurious and comfortable, but yet the Hotel Julien does just that!
T and I were privileged during our recent trip to Roseville, MN to enjoy some great restaurants and a brewstilary! For me, because I love food as much as I do, the food can make or break a trip for me and thankfully Roseville and St. Paul now have a special place in my heart because of the good good we ate!
Bonfire Wood Fire – 850 Grand Ave, St Paul, Minnesota
If you’re looking for a great place to grab a bite in the St. Paul area, Bonfire Wood Fire won’t disappoint! It is located in a fun neighborhood and the first thing I noticed when we came upon Bonfire was it’s appearance. I loved the look of the building from the outside with its fun and brightly lit sign along with the piano and drum set that were being set up for entertainment. How can you not love music on the street?
Once we entered, their decor automatically got me! I loved the combination of modern and rustic. The finishes were top notch and extra special.
With a small, but varied menu, you won’t be disappointed! Meals like the Spit-Roasted Chicken and the Signature Walleye are sure to please. The rustic, but modern atmosphere just adds to the delicious meal for an overall great experience!
Roseville, Minnesota boasts that it is Perfectly Positioned and after our (mine & T’s) trip recently, we’ve learned this to be very true. It is 10 minutes from downtown St. Paul and 10 minutes from downtown Minneapolis! How perfect is that?! We had never heard of Roseville and we had no idea what they offered, but now we are ready to go back!! Plus staying at the Courtyard by Marriott was super convenient, comfortable, and a great place to call “home” during our visit!
THAT Cooking School –
Are you a “Chopped” fan like me?! If so, then THAT Cooking School is for you! THAT stands for Teaching, Heart, and Team Building. This is a great place for taking your group (of any kind) for team building or if you have a new team and need to break the ice! Heck, this would even be a fantastic place for a first date. Not only do they challenge you to create together, work as a team, but also have fun!
Como Zoo & Conservatory –
You will not be disappointed when you stop by the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, a free zoo! They have a wide variety of animals including penguins, seals, giraffes, and gorillas and there is also a Conservatory with extensive gardens! The entire facility is quite impressive with it’s beautifully landscape and natural looking grounds and I can’t wait to explore it more in-depth with the entire family!
T and I recently had the privilege of staying at the Courtyard by Marriott in Roseville, MN for a long weekend! I say privilege because this facility is top-notch and it was our honor to stay here! We’ve started to travel and stay in hotels more recently since we sold our camper. We have stayed at a variety of facilities and this was, by far, our best yet!
This was not my first visit to the Minnesota State Fair! In fact, it was actually my 3rd or 4th visit. I do however consider myself an expert in fairs! Not only was I involved with the Franklin County Fair in my hometown for more than 10 years, T and I love visiting different fairs and especially the Iowa State Fair!
So, what’s so great about the Minnesota State Fair?
Things To Do
You will not, I promise, run out of things to do at the MN State Fair! The choices are endless! If you have small children, we recommend heading to Math On A Stick! Created as a way for kids and adults to both enjoy mathematical skills without actually doing equations, there are several stations that challenge kids to use their logical and creative brains at the same time! The stations can change each day as well! The day we visited, there was a station that used balloons to create different shapes, etc. Even the big guys found it entertaining!