Sample Itineraries

Guest Post: Get Started on a Houston Bachelorette

With ties to Dallas and Houston -- and ever-abiding love of Austin -- we're always happy to have a reason to explore Texas. If you want to spend a day in Houston -- without breaking the bank -- these suggestions will get you on your way!

By Katie Skrzek of Trazee Travel

The most populous city in Texas, Houston is continually growing. With an expanding restaurant scene, beautiful public parks and a bustling downtown, Houston is the place to be in the Lone Star State.

Start your morning with breakfast tacos at Tacos A Go Go. Combine eggs with your favorite toppings — chorizo is a go-to for locals — all made from scratch. Breakfast costs $5. With locations throughout the city, rent a Houston bicycle for $5 for the entire day. Ride to Hermann Park with a two-mile hiking and biking trail.

Satisfy a Texas-sized appetite at Bernie’s Burger Bus. Boasting homemade ingredients, Bernie’s offers a burger for every taste, including their behemoth Detention burger with two patties sandwiches between two bacon grilled cheeses serving as buns. Lunch costs $20. Walk off your hefty lunch at the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston. The free museum displays work from the best international, national and regional artists of the past 40 years. Tours are available at a fee.

Sample true Texas whiskey on a tour and tasting at the Yellow Rose Distillery. Tours cost $7 and include tastings of four Yellow Rose whiskeys and the Howdy Stranger vodka. A visit to Houston isn’t complete without a Tex-Mex meal. Go to Ninfa’s on Navigation for menu staples like enchiladas, tamales and —their most popular dish — fajitas. Dinner costs $20–25.

End your night under the stars at The Showboat Drive-in Theater. Located a short drive from downtown, the $7 price of admission includes a double feature.

International Bachelorette Destinations

With the huge increase in destination bachelorette and bachelor parties, it can be tricky to come up with somewhere new and unique. (Somehow, that fourth bachelorette in Vegas may be slightly less exciting than the last three…) Luckily international destinations are starting to get in on the trend. We’ve been tracking some of the most popular and up-and-coming international bachelorette and bachelor party destinations, and here are our favorites.

Cartagena, Colombia

Spend time enjoying both the beaches (make sure to take a boat out for a day!) and the nightlife and restaurants in Old Town. Café del Mar for sunset drinks, Cevicheria for (you guessed it) ceviche and Babar and La Movida for going out are some standouts. If you need a break from both Old City and the beach, try visiting El Totumo for a volcanic mud bath. (Touristy, quite possibly. But there’s no bonding experience quite like it.

Havana, Cuba

While a group of Americans will still need to be careful to make sure their trip follows all the (shifting) rules and regulations (for now, use a certified travel agent and let them arrange your flights and visas to avoid any issues), Cuba is almost certainly something everyone hasn’t done yet, and is a great destination for great food, cultural activities, a hopping nightlife (try La Factoria, for example). Still — remember that this isn’t Vegas, and don’t expect that you can just hang out on the beach for the day, at least under current travel guidelines.

Edinburgh, Scotland

A great option for a group who may already have been to London loads of times, try heading north to Edinburgh instead. There are all the classic things to do — whisky tastings, golf or hiking nearby and Scottish tea. But Edinburgh , despite its size, also boasts some wonderful ethnic food (the Scandinavian pastries at Peter’s Yard, along with, shockingly, the Mexican and French fare elsewhere are excellent). Spend a night pub hopping and then go out dancing (and for the live music fanatic, consider hoping on the train for a night out at King Tut’s in Glasgow). Stay at The Scotsman Hotel or The George … or just rent a nearby country house or castle, just because you can.

Lastly, Montreal and Cabo San Lucas are two (closer) to home destinations, along with being a little more budget friendly, so consider brushing up on your French or Spanish and heading there instead.

Brewery Bachelorette in San Francisco

It's (almost) Halloween, and we're listening to "Monster Mash" on a loop and realizing (again) that we will be making a game day costume decision. So to put off that choice a bit longer, read our guest post from Trazee Travel on the top five breweries in San Francisco -- perfect for a lazy fall afternoon or your bestie's bachelorette.

Top 5: Breweries in San Francisco

By Monique Barrett

The San Francisco Bay Area is a beer lover’s paradise, with more than 120 brewpubs in the region. Downtown San Francisco itself is filled with several of the area’s best, ensuring brew enthusiasts will never go thirsty while exploring the city’s tourist trail. Be sure to add any, or all, of these five to your tasting list on your next visit.

Cellarmaker Brewing Co.

A personal favorite, this innovative brewery serves hop-driven beers in a laidback atmosphere from its custom-built tasting room. The friendly beer-loving folks behind the counter pour small-batch brews in a variety of sizes, from tiny tasters to growlers. The tap list changes often, as the brewers are always experimenting with different hops, grains, barrels and yeasts, but visitors will always find hoppy beers as well as a few dark and roasty options, a Belgian-inspired brew or two and something on the lighter side.

21st Amendment Brewery

The always popular Brew Free or Die IPA is on tap year-round, as well as an extensive selection of seasonal concoctions and select brews. The restaurant is a full service pub open seven days a week in the SOMA district only two blocks from where the San Francisco Giants play, making it the perfect spot to enjoy handcrafted pours and pub favorites pre- or post-ballgame.

Almanac Beer Co.

Farm-to-barrel brewing is what Almanac Beer Company is all about, producing brews with locally sourced fruit and vegetables to create specialties uniquely Northern Californian. While not yet open to the public, but hopefully soon, visitors to the Bay Area can find the brewery’s seasonal artisanal ales in establishments around San Francisco.

Anchor Brewing Co.

America’s first and oldest craft brewery is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the country’s first craft beer, Anchor Steam Beer, this year. Toast to the brewery’s long and successful history with a flight of favorites like Steam Beer, Anchor IPA and Liberty Ale at the brewery, offering public tours and tastings for $15 per person. Be sure to book in advance, as the brewery can’t accommodate visitors for a tour without reservations.

Triple Voodoo Brewery

Set in the heart of San Francisco’s historic Dogpatch neighborhood, Triple Voodoo is an expansive, modern, industrial-themed brewery with a taproom boasting 16 rotating taps. The brewery prides itself on its ability to combine the best qualities of Belgian and West Coast styles of brewing. Visit the taproom any day of the week to sip on signature IPAs or indulge in its flagship Inception Belgian Tripel.

 

 

Bachelorette in Sonoma? Chill Ideas Here

Need bachelorette tips for Sonoma? Recommendations for a chill day out here (be warned: you've probably got two days of activities packed in this itinerary!)

Under $100: Sonoma County, Calif.

By Monique Barrett of Trazee Travel

Wineries, nature trails, breweries and gorgeous coastal views abound in Sonoma County, Calif., just a short drive from San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Spend the day touring the rugged coast and enjoying cool Pacific Ocean breezes; stay inland to explore wine country via bike rides; or fit in a mix of both to discover the best of both worlds. Whatever you decide to pursue, Sonoma County and its 400 wineries, miles of coastline and beautiful redwood forests won’t leave you disappointed.

Featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and DivesHank’s Creekside Restaurant has been dishing one of the best breakfasts in Santa Rosa for more than 20 years. Stop in for one-of-a-kind house specials like corned beef hash, eggs benedict and cinnamon-walnut French toast. The restaurant’s unpretentious fare starts from about $6.

After adequately fueling up for the day, head to explore nature and gawk at towering redwoods at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, boasting acres upon acres of stately and magnificent Sequoia sempervirens, commonly known as the coast redwood. Spend an hour or two basking in the forest’s serene environment and getting to know its unique features, including the 310-foot Parson Jones Tree and the 1,400-year-old Colonel Armstrong Tree. Park at the Armstrong Redwoods’ Visitor Center and main parking lot located right outside the entrance gate to avoid the $10 entrance fee.

Though relaxing, hiking is hard work, and lunch is calling on the coast. Venture to Bodega Bay for world-famous clam chowder and crab rolls at Spud Point Crab Company. This unassuming café is known for its deliciously fresh clam chowder and views of beautiful Bodega Bay as well as its hot dogs, chili dogs and tri-tip sandwiches that keep visitors and fishermen coming back for more. A bowl of homemade chowder starts from $6.75.

Head back inland to Healdsburg’s Wine Country Bikes to start your Wine Country bike ride. Rent a casual hybrid bike, conveniently equipped with an insulated rear trunk carrier, handle bar bag and lock, for $39 per day. The friendly folks at Wine Country Bikes provide visitors with a map of the area’s wineries and suggestions on the perfect route for your ride.

No trip to Sonoma County is complete without a visit to Russian River Brewing Co., featuring award-winning beers and delicious bites in a casual atmosphere. Brew enthusiasts can sample the entire draft list if they’re feeling ambitious (and have a ride home). Yummy pizzas with fresh ingredients and beer bites start from about $10.25.

Guest Post: Kennebunkport for a Bachelorette

Need a day's itinerary for a relaxing get-together in Kennebunkport? Here's one that will be wonderful ... and won't leave you broke!

Under $100: Kennebunkport, Maine

By Monique Barrett of Trazee Travel

Small boutiques, cute art galleries, delicious lobster rolls and beautiful beaches abound in Maine’s seaside town of Kennebunkport.

Adequately caffeinate and fuel up for the day at Dock Square Coffee House, a specialty coffee shop located in the heart of the historic Dock Square. Enjoy picturesque views of the water while sipping on coffee and eating a bagel or pastry for less than $10.

Spend the morning soaking up some surf and sun at Kennebunkport’s popular Goose Rocks Beach. Set across three miles of sandy, smooth coastline, Goose Rocks Beach offers incredible views of Eastern Goose Rocks and Timber Island just off the coast in the distance. Search for sand dollars and shells to bring home as souvenirs while enjoying the six-mile round-trip walk on the beach. 

No trip to Kennebunkport is complete without a visit to the Clam Shack, a weathered fish shack perched at the bridge over the Kennebunk River serving award-winning fried food and lobster rolls. All dishes are take away, so diners can eat al fresco on wooden benches and lobster crates while watching the lobster boats roll in and the line at the Clam Shack get longer. Favorites include the lobster roll, packed with fresh-picked meat of a one-pound lobster for $17.95, and the fried clam roll for $11.95.

Indulge or acquire a love for life on the water by spending the afternoon on the beautiful rivers and ocean in the area. Visit Coastal Maine Kayak to rent a kayak, priced at $40 for a half-day rental or $65 for a full day.

Hit up Federal Jack’s Restaurant & Brew Pub for dinner, an airy tavern serving upscale fare and water views with house-made ales. Choose from fresh Maine seafood, crisp salads, award-winning clam chowder, burgers, fish and chips and several vegetarian options priced from $12.99.

Follow up dinner with a stroll past the town’s adorable boutiques and be sure to pop in for ice cream at either Rococo Artisan Ice Cream or Ben & Jerry’s.

Guest Post: St. Thomas for a Beachy Bachelorette

st thomas.jpg

We've been seeing an increasing interest in international bachelorette destinations (Cabo and Cartagena, just to name two), and to add to the tropical and exotic locales, here's how to have a great (and cost-effective!) time in the beachy isle of St. Thomas from our friends at Trazee Travel:

By Allie Moore

The tropical and hilly island of St. Thomas is part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, meaning passports are not needed for residents of the United States. However, prices are a bit high once on the island as goods are imported from other places. Learn how to avoid the island's hefty prices with a few tips below.

The island can be difficult to navigate, especially without a car. Start by renting a vehicle through a local company that will often feature lower rates than those of the national vehicle-rental chains (the former starting at approximately $50 per day).

Although Magan's Bay is one of the most photographed and exquisite beaches on the island, there is an entry fee. To avoid this, visit the just-as-lovely (and free!) Lindquist Beach.

The opportunities for outdoor activities in St. Thomas are innumerable, but excursions involving sailing, fishing, diving and kayaking can cost a pretty penny. Take advantage of the free hiking trail or seek out bicycle rental companies with the lowest rates. Don't be afraid to ask for group discounts if they apply to you.

When hunger strikes, head to Bumpa's Cafe in Charlotte Amelie with a menu to please every palate. Main dishes start at $9. Then head to Duffy's Love Shack in Red Hook for a tropical cocktail and a side of stuffed plantains, a local favorite. Night owls can take advantage of Duffy's two-for-one happy hour from midnight to 1 a.m.

 

 

 

My Best Friend's Weekend in Charlottesville: What to Do

As promised, we're starting to debrief on our test trips this fall, starting with Tisha's weekend roadtrip to Charlottesville, Virginia -- here's her breakdown of what to do on an awesome ladies' weekend:

It all started with an idea -- along with rainbow scuba pants, a mini jambox, and a masterfully crafted snack pack.

  • Vineyard tripping: It’s no Napa, but Charlottesville’s Viognier grape is the signature taste of the wines in the region and a must-have.  We also made some new friends (shout out to Judy from Houston!)  Plus, many of the vineyards are owned by celebrities, so who knows – you might run into Donald Trump or Dave Matthews!  Just make sure you book Wahooptie Taxi, these guys really know their stuff (and don’t mind if your playlist for the day includes a mix of 90s hip hop, teen music, and Bollywood jams).  Also if you wear matching color pants, they let you drive the van.
  • Edumacation: We got our learning on by visiting Monticello, the home of America’s Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson.  The estate used to be featured on the back of the $2 bill; and over 250 vegetables and 170 fruits are grown in the neighboring garden!  Fresh foodz… yom.
  • University of Virginia: We felt it was important to visit the alma mater of some of our favorite people in order to understand why they are so amazing.
  • Eat Sleep Rave Repeat… and then eat some more: This weekend was filled with culinary delights & motivational beverages beyond our wildest imaginations, including a hearty (and sass-filled) brunch at Bluegrass, porky favorites & grilled cheese galore in Brookville, and fresh bagels at Bodo’s.  Judgment welcome, and rejected.

   Our verdict: Charlottesville is a great destination, especially for an East Coast based group, looking for a chill, wine and relaxation filled trip ... with the beautiful backdrop of the Virginia countryside.

 

 

Charleston Bachelorette & Our 5 Favorites

Pictures from our Southern road trip as we visited five of our favorites in Charleston.

Latest itinerary posted from Abby's bachelorette in Charleston! In celebration, and in case you're searching for a few more ideas for things to do in Charleston, five favorites that they didn't get to:

  • The biscuits at Hominy Grill. And the John Dalys. And the fried green tomatoes. And ... okay, actually everything there.
  • Running down King Street, Rainbow Row, and the Battery -- especially early on a weekend day when no one else is around. Peaceful and beautiful. (Then go visit the Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings nearly year-round.)
  • Late night eats at Butcher & Bee -- 100% worth the drive out to North Charleston when you really need a snack at 2am.
  • The "dynamite" food at McCrady's. Possibly the best dessert ever ... topping off about five hours of amazing food. (Okay, we may have eaten our way through Charleston. But that's one of the best things about Charleston!)
  • Maybe not the point of a bachelorette -- but a plantation (especially in the late spring) and Charleston's historical district are actually super cool and are worth flying in a day early or leaving a day late to go see. (P.S. See if you can get Lauren's great aunt as a tour guide. She's the best.)
  • Cheating with a sixth -- drive just outside of Charleston and enjoy exploring the roadside stands and scenery along the way.

Any great things in Charleston we missed? Let us know in the comments or drop us a line at hello@mybestfriendsweekend.com.

Boston Bachelorette: Latest Sample Itinerary!

We're excited to add a new sample itinerary to our line up! See what we did with Lilli's chill bachelorette in Boston.

In celebration of this, five things we love doing when we're in Boston:

  • Running or rowing along the Charles River from Boston to Cambridge.
  • Going to the North End for cannolis at Mike's Pastries.
  • Living/reliving the Harvard experience: Head to Harvard Square, pick up sandwiches at Darwin's, sit on the steps of Widener Library in Harvard Yard and watch tourists take creepy pictures of the undergrads, dinner at Mr. B's (burgers!) followed by scorpion bowls  and dancing at the Hong Kong. (Bonus: you can skip the studying and awkward dorm parties an actual undergrad has to endure!)
  • Getting outside the city: visiting one of the seaside towns nearby for a day on the beach and lots of seafood for dinner. (Or making it a weekend in the Cape instead!)
  • Eating ice cream after every meal. If there's one thing that Boston absolutely gets right, it's ice cream. (Toscanini's is our personal favorite, but it's hard to go wrong.)

Next sample itinerary coming soon for one our favorite Southern towns: Charleston!

10 Favorite Things: Philadelphia

Welcome to the first of our "10 Favorite Things" series, where we list (around) 10 of our top recommendations for a bachelorette. We're kicking it off with Philadelphia, currently our fair city.

(Why Philadelphia, you ask us? First, it's a vastly underrated city. Second, we live here, so we do have a strong point of view on the best things to do. Third ... well, okay, two reasons was enough for us.)

So, what are 10(ish) of our favorite recommendations for Philly?

  1. Go for dinners at Zahav (Israeli) and Talula's Garden (awesome farm to table). Although it's hard to go wrong anywhere in Philly because of the number of great restaurants, these are two of our favorites for a bigger group.
  2. Hang out with the hipsters (sort of) in Northern Liberties: Have a beer and curry fries at Frankford Hall, ride the mechanical bull at Johnny Utah's, then go Silk City (half club, half diner) for dancing afterwards.
  3. Come in early for the drag show at Bob & Barbara's on Thursday nights (then stay for the $3 PBR + pickleback shot specials).
  4. Spend Friday or Saturday night at Howl at the Moon, our favorite dueling piano bar.
  5. Get a group picture in front of the LOVE statute.
  6. Boot camp on the Schuykill, then run up the Rocky Steps (photo opp #2).
  7. Late night food at Little Pete's  (no website, look for the diner near 17th & Walnut) or Midtown Dinner II (18th & Chestnut). (Grilled cheese!)
  8. Brunch at Green Eggs. Worth waiting even though they don't take reservations.
  9. Get donuts (and/or fried chicken) from Federal Donuts or bagels from Spread and people watch in Rittenhouse Square.
  10. Take a break from doing stuff and hang out playing board games at Raven Lounge.