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Dec 28 2016

A Weekend in Downtown DC at the Marriott Marquis

It’s always a treat to explore a town you know well or once lived in as a tourist. I had a great time staying at the Marriott Marquis Washington DC for a weekend and exploring an area that has gone through an amazing transformation since I first moved there five years ago. My very first apartment in DC was near the convention center, but not much else. What an amazing place to live that would be now, with some incredibly hip restaurants around the corner, art galleries, boutiques and more....

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Jul 08 2016

Millikin Creek Napa

Our next stop on our trip through Napa was to the quaint Milliken Creek Inn. Appropriately named since it sits on the Napa River which runs along the back side of the property. We enjoyed the boutique feel that the property offered. It was tucked just off the road with several entrances to access the guest rooms which were laid out much like apartments. Along the creek, there were areas for lounging, a wooden deck to observe the property and some trails through the trees. Across the water, the view...

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May 07 2016

Five Reasons to Visit Columbus, Ohio

We recently took a road trip through Ohio on a journey to pick up trailer toilets for our event facility from the manufacturer in Indiana. (I know, weird story.) I don't know if we would have ended up there otherwise, but it turned out to be worth the visit! Our beautiful drive through West Virginia came to an abrupt halt when the mountains were replaced with endless corn fields. Not a tree in sight and the only thing breaking the horizon in places were the occasional wind turbine. If you’re...

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Apr 24 2016

Six Scenic Flight Tours Around the World

One of the best ways to see a new city (or an old one) is from above. And I don’t mean staring through your tiny circular window as the wheels drop over a new destination. I mean preferably with the wind in your face soaring over the best natural and manmade wonders your location has to offer. After trying a few flying adventures, we can definitively say this one of our favorite types of exploration. You can gain a new perspective from the air: an improved sense of scale and...

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Apr 09 2016

Where to eat in Penn Quarter and Chinatown D.C.

It seems every week there is at least one new restaurant in D.C. Some last longer than others, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t hundreds of amazing spots to choose from. The Chinatown/Metro Center area is full of examples. If you’re attending an event at the Verizon Center, visiting one of the museums in the area or just looking for a great neighborhood for meals, don’t skip this location.   One of my favorite things to do when I visit The District (and when I visit anywhere) is eat. My most...

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Mar 19 2016

The Inn on Randolph: Napa Valley

After wine, Napa might immediately bring to mind a quaint bed and breakfast with great service and delicious cuisine. That’s exactly what we found at The Inn on Randolph, one of Napa’s top rated boutique accommodations. When we pulled into Napa, we were pleased to see how beautiful the town is. Victorian homes with manicured lawns line the streets. The Inn on Randolph fits seamlessly into the neighborhood and its charming curb appeal made us feel like we were right at home. The Rooms The main house, which includes the dining...

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Mar 04 2016

Snowboarding At The Omni Homestead

The Homestead, its two golf courses, pool complex, natural springs, 400 plus rooms and plentiful meeting spaces and banquet halls acts as a massive time machine, transporting us back to an era when guests summered in mountain cottages, hit the gym in floor length skirts and dressed to the nines for afternoon tea. Even the newer wing, added in the ‘70s, has been redone to match the style of the older portion of the resort. The hallways are lined with black and white photographs of the grounds and interior as...

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Feb 06 2016

San Francisco Chinatown Food Tour

There are few things we love more than to explore a new city’s cuisine. While we had heard mixed reviews of San Francisco’s Chinatown (it’s overrated; really small) we knew we couldn’t miss it. So we were really excited to find a food tour on Tinggly that included a walk through Chinatown and beyond into North Beach led by a local.   We met our guide at Chinatown’s gate and set off towards our first stop: Eastern Bakery, the oldest bakery in San Francisco. We got to try a sampling of savory and...

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Jan 27 2016

The Fairmont San Francisco

The Fairmont greets guests with an impressive lobby that almost forces you to stop and look around - and up - to take in all the detail. Grand couches are arranged into intimate seating areas in the middle under surrounding a massive vase. To the left, signs guide guests to a hair salon and gift shop; to the right, check in behind a stately counter. The impressive building with 592 guest rooms has several dining options, lounges and stunning event spaces.   The History The Fairmont is centrally located atop San Francisco’s Nob...

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Jan 21 2016

What to do in Napa: Three Day Itinerary

As we sat at a winery built to resemble an Iranian Palace, I had a seemingly ridiculous thought that Napa was not as uptight and ritzy as I had expected. Maybe the warm hospitality and the earnestly relayed story of immigrants living the American Dream made the imported travertine feel somehow obtainable. Or maybe a few days of wine tasting with a private driver, visiting an Italian castle and staying in one of the top BnBs in the country had clouded my judgement.   But now, a few days and an entire...

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Jan 13 2016

A Day of Wine Tasting In Downtown Napa

Eric and I spent an amazing week in California where we spent 4 nights in the Napa Valley. While we usually travel with just the two of us, we were excited to be joined by our friends Allie and Andrew, especially since we are all wine lovers. We spent our first full day in downtown Napa, setting off from The Inn on Randolph with way too many free tasting cards.   We began the day at Vermeil tasting room where we sat in a room with a panoramic photo of the vineyard and...

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Jan 11 2016

Journey To Alcatraz

Sometimes tourist attractions are listed as the number one activity in their city for a reason. Even if you tend to shy away from crowded spots, when tours are well done, the journey includes incredible views, and you’re visiting the most infamous island in the world, it can be completely worth it. Alcatraz is not a tourist attraction to be skipped. We had a great time, learned a lot about the history of the creepy rock and it turned out to be a great rainy day activity.   “The Rock” as it...

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Oct 21 2015

A Weekend On The Mall At Landmark Music Festival

Thankfully, threats of constant rain proved to be idle, but the first ever Landmark Music Festival on The National Mall faced other challenges on Day One. Lines for the bar where festival goers could pick up beer, wine and nonalcoholic drinks were a hundred people long before 4 p.m. Since half the crowd spent entire sets in line, the crowds at the stages felt sparse (a plus if you wanted to squeeze up close) and attitudes turned negative before night fell. [gallery type="rectangular" ids="4949,4951"] The artists on Saturday were great; Daughter and...

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Sep 03 2015

An Adventure Along The Columbus Ale Trail

I recently took a weekend to escape the hot humid summer here in Virginia and traveled over to the trendy city of Columbus, Ohio, to check out the booming craft brewery scene. It had been a busy few weeks for me so I was excited to relax, sip on some cold brews, and learn a bit about beer.   [gallery type="rectangular" ids="4809,4811,4813"]   I hopped on a short flight from IAD to Port Columbus Airport and to my surprise, I received an upgrade to United first class. This doesn't mean much on a commuter...

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Aug 01 2015

The W Hotel Washington D.C.

Everyone who lives in Washington, D.C., has been to the P.O.V. lounge on the roof level of The W. The stunning view of the Washington Monument, the Mall and even the White House at certain angles, make this a spectacular place to see the District at night. The stylish bar hosts all kind of events from book signings to fashion shows and always draws a big crowd. While Eric and I lived in D.C. we attended a few of these events and brought our visiting friends for a drink on...

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Jul 03 2015

Exploring Life In Columbus

As you already know I am always looking out for the next best thing in unique travel experiences. Since I’ve planted shallow roots in the USA for the next few years with the Walden Hall project, I’ve shifted my focus from Asia to a little closer to home. This coming August I will be heading to Columbus, Ohio to check out their booming craft brewery and distillery scene. I had not realized until recently how much culture is packed into Columbus. Dozens of music and art events are held every year...

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Apr 10 2015

Big News: Our Next Home Base

It has been a busy few months here at Poplar Travels and now we finally get to share our plans for our next adventure! Last year, we started this journey by leaving Washington, D.C., with one-way tickets to Thailand. Our plan didn’t extend beyond our 6-month lease, and when it was up we started on a tour of Southeast Asia starting with two weeks in Vietnam followed by Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia. The past five weeks have absolutely flown by and we have so many stories to share. We stayed in...

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Sep 08 2014

How to Tackle the National Mall in a Day

In a city full of must-see attractions and historically significant monuments, museums, parks and government buildings, how do you decide what to see? Washington, D.C. has so much to offer for people with all sorts of interests, but there are certainly a few spots that immediately come to mind for tourists, many of which are on the National Mall. The narrow stretch of the Mall extends just more than 2 miles from the Capitol to the Lincoln memorial and is lined by eight Smithsonian museums, the National Gallery of Art, the...

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Aug 25 2014

Third World at Saint Rocke: Los Angeles

When we planned our trip to Los Angeles, I told our friend and host that all I wanted to do in California was listen to Reggae and eat delicious Mexican food. Her response was “The only reason I live in L.A. is to listen to reggae and eat good food.” Perfect. We got our reggae fix at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach. We caught the last song from Reggae Motion and stayed for True Press and Third World. The crowd was great; nothing but good vibes and it wasn’t super crowded. All...

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Aug 20 2014

The Getty Museum: Los Angeles

It took us a while to pull away from the marvel that is the Getty Museum itself and finally venture inside to see the collection. The travertine giant is so massive and so beautiful, you could spend your entire visit outdoors exploring the museum gardens and sculpture and probably get your fill of spectacle. There are even fossilized leaves hidden in the rock. If you want to get really nerdy (we are talking about a museum and cultural research institution here) you can read all about how said travertine came to...

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Aug 19 2014

Palomar Observatory Trail

During our stay in San Diego we realized that it was time for us to start eating healthier and exercising more often. After many years of living and working in the city, our trips out to the mountains and forests for hiking have grown few and far between. We decided to change this so we headed out to Palomar Mountain to hike the famous Palomar Observatory Trail. The Palomar Mountain Observatory Trail is a great easily accessible hiking trail that leads up to the Hale Telescope and the world-class Palomar Observatory....

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Aug 19 2014

The Mingei Museum: San Diego

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the Mingei Museum in Balboa Park. I should have had high standards given the beauty of the park and all the buildings, but I just had no idea what we were walking into. In the opening text for the first exhibition, “Surf Craft,” a short explanation for the museum’s name is found: In The Unknown Craftsman, Japanese philosopher Soetsu Yanagi divides craft into three broad categories: mingei (or folk) crafts, artist crafts, and industrial crafts. Mingei crafts are anonymous, useful, handmade objects intended for...

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Aug 12 2014

The Aquarium of the Pacific: Los Angeles

We kicked off this year’s Shark Week with Fin Fest at Manhattan Beach and continued the party with a visit to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Los Angeles. Take advantage of their discounted late night hours to see the entire space for half the price. Late night hours are from 5-8:30 p.m. which ended up being the perfect amount of time. We didn’t stop at a few of the touch tanks, and since it was at night there weren’t any demonstrations or movies during that time, but we were able...

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Jul 11 2014

10 Free Activities To Do In D.C. This Summer

Washington, D.C. is so hot and muggy in the summer it has become a common misconception that it was built in a swamp. When humidity strikes, you have to find ways to survive, and the District provides lots of distractions. There are plenty of free activities year-round, but during the summer, the opportunities abound. Here’s a list of our ten favorite free activities to take advantage of in our nation’s capital especially during the summer months. (via Cloture Club) 1. Outdoor movies There are several venues to catch movies in an outdoor setting including...

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Jul 10 2014

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream: Charleston

We were lucky to arrive when there wasn’t much of a line, but that isn’t the norm. By the time we sat down to enjoy our ice cream, there were people lined up out the door and around the front of the store. Jeni’s takes pride in their natural ingredients and I can see why. With flavors like poached pear riesling, salted caramel and cherries kickapoo, they know you’ll never be able to choose just one; the smallest size is two flavors. I always have a small amount of guilt when...

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