Pura Vida Charleston

Craft Beer

Colorado Day 2 + A New Coffee Shop

Road Trip, Brewery GuideMegan WhitsonComment

Good morning friends! Happy Saturday :) This is my first Saturday morning in SLC where there have been literally no real “plans” on the agenda and it’s been nice just having a chill morning. I want to share our 2nd day in Colorado with you but FIRST…I have to tell you guys about the cool little coffee shop I went to this morning with my friends Cindy and Ben. It’s called Alpha Coffee and it’s at the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon. I had the Dawn Patrol which is their breakfast blend and it was glorious. Cindy got the Double Barrel Black Midnight Blend which I also tasted and it was so rich and luxurious. The service was excellent and the vibe was very laid-back with an awesome view of the mountains. Definitely check it out for a pre or post-ski cup of coffee. Also, give the blueberry muffins a try ;)

IMG_6892.jpg

Another cool aspect of Alpha Coffee is that it was co-founded by military veterans and one of its primary missions is to give back and support our troops. Each portion of every batch of coffee is shipped to deployed troops. To learn more, check out their coffee for troops page.

Alrighty…Colorado Day #2! Let’s go!

Will and I spent our morning hiking around the Flatirons and it was really solid easy-to-moderate hiking. We took the trails to the First and Second Flatirons from the Chautauqua Park trailhead. I was definitely wishing that I had my climbing shoes, chalk bag and a crash pad on my back as we hiked through some of the boulders…it looks to be some GOOD climbing and I definitely want to go back with gear.

PS - if you are reading on a tablet or phone, you can click on the pictures to see them bigger bc I don’t think they show up as well as they do in the desktop format - just FYI. At the top of the main trail that we took, there were some “couches” set up so that you could sit back and really take in the view. It was beautiful. A morning well spent for sure. I definitely would like to spend some more time out there the next time we are in Boulder.

It makes my heart happy just looking back at these pictures…the mountains always feel like home to me, no matter where I am. We took the Enchanged Mesa Trail back down and it was equally beautiful. It felt so serene and the trees just seem wise to me - I don’t know if that makes sense…but that’s what my hippie heart feels ;)

Will did manage to get a few shots of my mountain goat escapades…despite not having my climbing gear haha

I actually was able to “climb” a decent ways further up on this too…just out of camera sight ;) Like I said, I look forward to coming back and doing some actual climbing. The rocks were pristine. After our hiking, we were starving and headed into downtown Boulder looking for good beer and good food - which we 100% found at The Post Brewing Co.

I had the Townie Ale which was really good and Will had the Ski Tan. For food, Will had their fried chicken sandwich which was probably the BEST fried chicken sandwich I have ever had…and that is saying something y’all because I am from the SOUTH haha. I had the spicy chicken and potato soup with a buttermilk cheddar biscuit and it hit the spot. We both agreed that we would recommend this restaurant/brewery to anyone - huge Yelp win :)

After showers at our Airbnb, we stopped by The Boulder Recyler on our way to Avery Brewing. I was able to get a long puffy coat and some ski pants for super cheap (compared to new in-stores pricing). Its a great way to find high quality consignment outdoor gear if you are in need and in the Boulder area!

IMG_6301.jpg

Our evening stop was at Avery Brewing Co. and we were both HUGE fans of the beer. I have to mention that we were rather spoiled at a lot of the breweries we went to and had some of the friendliest beertenders of anywhere I have ever been…but this was not so much the case at Avery. The service was a little slow and not nearly as friendly as what we had become accustomed to in our other dining/beer-drinking experiences but it was still a great brewery stop. Avery had some of the best beer of the trip and I’m sad that it’s not sold in SC. We did talk to a very friendly girl in the merch room who gave us some great Avery beer recommendations, as well as some other brewery recommendations for us to check out the next day :) Will and I also split the cheese board and gumbo which were both excellent. The food was a little pricey but worth it.

Our last stop of the day was at Sanitas Brewing Co. where Will and I split a “night cap” flight. It was just okay. The brewing itself was a cool spot but the beer was nothing to write home about. If you're in the area and happen upon it, pop in…but I wouldn’t go out of my way to check it out. I did really like this US map of breweries that they had - I even spotted our Charleston breweries - shoutout to SC! <3

Sorry the pics a little blurry ;) And that wraps up our 2nd day in Colorado…Will and I both really enjoyed Boulder and were impressed with how friendly so many of the people we came into contact with were. Meeting kind and genuine humans is one of my favorite parts of traveling :) More recaps to come…including more delicious food, beer and hiking…shocking, right?

Have a wonderful Saturday - and good luck to your football team if they are playing! I’ll be checking in on the Tigers score on my phone while I’m at the Utes hockey game tonight! It’s my first ever hockey game so should be fun :)

Big Love & Pura Vida, y’all <3

Good morning from the road...

Road TripMegan WhitsonComment

Good morning from St. Louis, Missouri! Or just outside of it…we’ve been on the road for about an hour now. Sorry for the radio silence over the past week - it was crazy busy finishing up the last week of my rotation in Beaufort, unpacking/repacking for SLC and enjoying a jam-packed weekend of football and friends :) Will and I left from Charlotte around 7:00am yesterday and arrived in St. Louis ~11 hours later. We hit the road again around 6:20 this morning and we have a 12.5 hour day of driving ahead until we hit Boulder! Several long days in the car but it will be worth it for us to have 4 days in Colorado until we continue on to SLC.

Anyway, I hope you’ve had a wonderful past week and had a fantastic Halloween :) I may do a “Tuesday Things” post later today but for now I’ll just share a few photos from this past week with you guys.

Sunrise in Beaufort on my last morning :)

Sunrise in Beaufort on my last morning :)

I came home on Friday night and got to spend some good time with my parents. I hadn’t gotten to see them in about 6 weeks so it was awesome to just have some quality time with them before I head out again until February. I know some people don’t see their parents very often at all but I’ve gotten pretty spoiled over the past few years. My parents only live about 3.5 hours away from Charleston so it’s been pretty easy to see them a decent amount; even going 6 weeks without seeing them recently seemed like a really long time for me. There’s also a very strong chance that they will be selling their house before I get back from SLC which is CRAZY to think about. It’s the house that I grew up in (they built it when I was 3) so it was a little weird thinking that this might be the last weekend that I’m ever in that house. BUT a house is just a thing, a structure made of wood and brick, etc…my home is my family and that never changes no matter where they go or I go, no matter where we live.

On Saturday, Will and I went to the Clemson/Louisville game and it was AWESOME. We got to see and spend time with so many of our good friends. The game was great but the people and fellowship was better. I left with a super full heart…and a Tiger win was pretty good too ;)

Those two lovely ladies at the top and I go WAY back. Hayley and I declared ourselves best friends in 2nd grade and Lindsay moved to our town in 4th or 5th grade. We all went to middle school, high school and then Clemson together. It’s pretty crazy having friends that you’ve known and loved for 25 years. I made Hayley awkwardly take a photo by herself bc I was in love with her fall/Clemson outfit…I’ll link to the clothes ASAP :)

Also…Will and I kinda struggle with taking non-awkward, flattering photos sometimes haha ;) I’ll also link back to my jeans, boots, tee and necklace as well for anyone interested - once I’m not on the road and have a better internet connection.

Don’t you love Laura’s “power pose” with the unicorn and rainbow beer?? Haha…love it. I think that beer is from Resident Culture in Charlotte (one of my favorite CLT breweries). It was so good to spend time with so many of my favorite people all in one day <3

And onto Sunday…Will’s family has season tickets for the Panthers so we went to the Panthers/Buccaneers game. Holy cow you guys - the Panthers set a record for points scored in the first half! It was 35-7 at halftime. What a great game and we had perfect football weather :) Good football, craft beer and a brat…I was a happy girl.

After the game, we went to spend some time with my friend Dana at her house in Madison Park. She made a delicious dinner (as always!) and it was the perfect cap off to a weekend filled with friends. Have I mentioned how much I just love Charlotte? :)

We were in St. Louis for less than 12 hours but we made sure to check out a cool brewery for dinner - 4 Hands Brewing Company was fantastic. I got a flight and loved 3 of the 4 beers (my faves were the Pumpkin CMS, Superflare Brett IPA and Divided Sky Rye IPA. Beer was great, atmosphere and vibe was chill and the food was delicious. Will’s favorite part was the free skee ball ;) We stayed at a super cute Airbnb in downtown St. Louis too. I’ll go back in and include links for everything later today or tomorrow when I have better internet.

Thanks for checking in friends. Send us safe travel vibes…and Boulder recommendations!

Big Love & Pura Vida <3

Tuesday Things...

Tuesday ThingsMegan WhitsonComment

Hi friends! Happy Tuesday :) The weather has been slightly chillier this week and I have been LOVING it. I had an awesome weekend filled with friends - Will and I spent the first half of the weekend in Myrtle Beach at my friend Zach’s beach house in North Myrtle. Then we headed back down the coast to spend Sunday afternoon and evening with Cat & Dave. I’ll be posting more pictures of our weekend fun soon!

But for now…onto Tuesday Things!

  1. I am a little late to the game but I recently started using a Yeti tumbler and now I know why people have been talking about them for YEARS. The benefit of the Yeti tumbler over my Hydroflask is that it is tapered at the bottom so it fits in my car cupholder :)

  2. I’ve found a new Trader Joe’s LOVE recently! Their Mexican Style Roasted Corn with Cojita Cheese is AMAZING and cooks in literally 5 minutes. I’ve had it as a side with homemade tacos and as a topper for my lunchtime salads.

  3. A Year of Magical Thanking - loved this inspiring post on Cup of Jo; small acts of thankfulness can make someone’s day <3

  4. I had the most glorious kombucha beer this weekend at the beach! Lucid Dreamer is a “komfusion” by Fortnight Brewing Company; I have never been to their brewery in Cary, NC, but it is now on my list!

  5. I recently splurged and finally bought a Patagonia puffy jacket and I’m already getting my money’s worth this week! This is the one I have :) My Patagonia love just grows stronger and stronger.

84217_ARWD.jpg

6. I’m going to try this Hearty Vegetable Bolognese this weekend that I found on Julie’s blog; I’ll report back next week! It feels like the perfect dinner for a chilly night.

7. I have a few new fall pieces on my Poshmark shop - these are a few of my favorites: Vera Bradley Scarf, Madewell Anthem Long Sleeve Tee, Ann Taylor Blouse, LOFT cardigan and this Vince Camuto Luck Tote. <—my FAVE!

Thanks for stopping by and for reading. I hope you have a WONDERFUL Wednesday tomorrow!

Mountain Weekend Recap...

Weekend AdventuresMegan WhitsonComment

Hi friends! Happy Monday - I hope you had a wonderful, restful weekend and enjoyed some cooler weather!

I had a perfect mountain weekend up on Bald Mountain near Weaverville, NC - we were about 45 minutes outside of Asheville. The fella and I met one of our favorite “couple friends” at a gorgeous mountain house that our friend Tracy’s family graciously allowed us to enjoy for the weekend :) Matt is one of my good friends from PT school and Tracy is his wife - and significantly better half…just kidding, Matt…mostly ;) Matt and Tracy are who actually first got me interested in triathlons! We share a love of all things active, outdoor adventures and delicious food, wine and craft beer with them…essentially all of their favorite things are our favorite things too :) It makes for a fun weekend.

I’ll let the pictures mostly speak for themselves. If you are looking for a new location for a weekend mountain adventure though, I highly recommend finding a cabin or Airbnb near Weaverville, NC. Their downtown area is adorable with lots of fun, quirky shops, an amazing bakery, two breweries and a pizza shop with some to-die-for thin crust, wood-fired pizzas <3 There is awesome hiking along the AT with spectacular views. AND it is totally still feasible to take a day trip into Asheville! That is a win-win. Hopefully we’ll be back sooner than later!

Matt and I met at his parent’s house on our way up and rode the rest of the way together. Will beat us there by an hour or so and he and Tracy greeted us with a glass of wine :) Can you tell we like wine justttt a little? ;)

We all slept in a little later than initially planned on Saturday morning because we stayed up late catching up the night before. Tracy made us breakfast the next morning: hash browns, sauted greens, scrambled eggs and sliced avocado (Trader Joe’s EBTB seasoning was my contribution…bc I’m obsessed and travel with it everywhere —> super cool kid over here you guys). It was perfect fuel for our morning hike…

IMG_5138.jpg
Misty mountain morning views from the deck…

Misty mountain morning views from the deck…

And by hike…I mean, semi-casual 2 mile stroll through the woods. We were all still moving a little slow from staying up so late and from more than a few glasses of wine ;) Totally worth it though. This was a meandering nature trail close to the mountain house in Wolf Laurel. I would definitely like to come back to do some trail running here!

Next up: Weaverville! We decided to venture into Weaverville on Saturday afternoon after our morning hike. We walked around in some SUPER cute shops and I had to remind myself that I am (essentially) living out of my car until May so I do NOT need to buy all the super cute knick-knacks…sigh. I did buy a felt, crafted yellow bird that I’ll hang on our Christmas tree one day and some specialty popcorn - so glorious. I am a sucker for anything that I can turn into a Christmas ornament and coffee mugs when I’m traveling. So then when you are choosing a mug in the morning or when you’re decorating your Christmas tree, every piece has a story and a memory behind it :)

After strolling around and taking in downtown, we popped into the two new-to-us breweries: Zebulon Artisan Ales and Eluvium Brewing Co. They were both innovative, small batch brewing companies and I definitely recommend checking them both out if you are in the area and enjoy craft beer <3

We rounded out our afternoon with a late lunch at Blue Mountain Pizza & Brew Pub. Y’ALL. Yes, we already had a few craft beers so we were primed for some pizza but this pizza 100% delivered - no pun intended ;) Will and I split the caesar salad (romaine, shaved parmesan, herbed croutons, Caesar dressing, diced tomato & candied bacon) and the Pesto Perfection (parmesan crust, pesto sauce, grilled chicken, artichoke hearts, feta). It. was. glorious.

Will, Matt and I all tried their house craft beer as well - we all ended up getting an 8 oz. pour of the Captain Trips Ale, a 9.5% Belgian Tripel…hence, the 8 oz. pour ;) If you are in Weaverville, please check this local spot out - they have nailed the beer AND pizza game.

IMG_5215.jpg
Hi beautiful friend :)

Hi beautiful friend :)

IMG_5216.jpg
IMG_5210.jpg
A picture of a lone slice bc I may or may not have already devoured the rest of the pizza before I remembered to take a picture…

A picture of a lone slice bc I may or may not have already devoured the rest of the pizza before I remembered to take a picture…

The rest of Saturday afternoon was devoted to another short 2 mile hike up to Bald Mountain where we burned off approximately 1 slice of pizza and half a beer for our efforts ;) Bald Mountain is part of the Appalachian Trail and we were able to take in 360’ mountain views. There is something about the mountains that just humbles and inspires me - it can make me feel so small yet so connected to this land I get to call home. Beautiful views with beautiful friends…life does not get much sweeter.

That second to last picture of the boys cracks me up…they were making fun of me and Tracy for taking a “holding hands with mountains in the distance” picture ;) Also, I love that Rocky (Tracy and Matt’s dog) joined in for the last boy’s picture.

My favorite part of the day was when we got back to the house. We sat on the back porch overlooking the Blue Ridge and took in a magnificent sunset. As the day faded into night, I was overwhelmed by the love and sweet friendship of these 3 people. We bundled up in our warmest, coziest clothes and stayed up far too late sitting on the porch, drinking yummy pumpkin beers and enjoying wonderful conversation. My heart is so full and I feel so lucky to be able to do life with these guys…and Rocky, of course ;)

This is my FAVORITE pumpkin beer :)

This is my FAVORITE pumpkin beer :)

IMG_5316.JPG

Sunday morning was spent in a mild state of sadness as we prepared to leave this beautiful place. I’m so happy for the time that we had though and look forward to even more adventures in the future. Matt and I rode back to his parents and watched the last half of the Panthers/Redskins game - he’s a Redskins fan and I’m a Panthers fan…sad day for me. Then it was time to get on the road back to Beaufort. The weekend was far too short but it sure was sweet.

Only 3 more weeks in the low country and then I’ll be headed out west to Salt Lake City. Send me your recommendations! Happy Monday loves. I hope you have a wonderful, joy-filled week <3