The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden - Cincinnati, Ohio

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Adventures of Gus and Kim: Where to Stay in Sandestin, Florida
Adventures of Gus and Kim: Dunedin, Florida and Olde Bay Cafe

Adventures of Gus and Kim: Dunedin, Florida and Olde Bay Cafe


If you've ever been to Dunedin, Florida then you know that it is just the cutest, quaintest little town. If you haven't been there then you need to add it to your "let's go" list. We visited Dunedin for the first time back in December of 2017. At that time we were just passing through so we only made a couple of stops: Dunedin Brewery and Soggy Bottom Brewery. I've been fascinated with the town ever since. Part of that fascination is due to the strong Scottish influence in the town - and I love my Scottish heritage!

We were in the area again last month and decided to go to Dunedin for lunch. Gus and I love finding new places to eat - especially if it's on or near the water. We prefer independently-owned places where the locals hang out, so this trip we decided on  Olde Bay Cafe.

old sign that says "Olde Bay Cafe & Dunedin Fish Market"

deck with tables, chairs, and umbrellas at the Olde Bay Cafe
Gus playing on his phone while we waited for a table

Olde Bay Cafe sits on the Dunedin Marina which is next to Edgewater Park. Perfect for watching boats, birds, and people. After a short wait, we were lucky enough to get a table with a view across St. Joseph Sound to Caladesi Island.

view of water, palm trees, and a few boats from a wooden deck
view from our table

water and boats of all sizes at a marina
view of Dunedin Marina from our table

The building itself is mostly made up of the Dunedin Fish Market - the cafe is pretty small. But don't be fooled. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in charm and delicious food.

outside of the Olde Bay Cafe & Dunedin Fish Market

None of their food is fried. Yep, you heard me. Nothing is fried! They sear it on a cast iron skillet then finish cooking it in the oven. They have soups, salads, several shareable appetizers, sandwiches, wraps, tacos and more.

menu from Olde Bay Cafe in Dunedin, Florida

Fish tacos are one of my favorite things. As a matter of fact, I ate fish tacos for almost every meal during this trip! So you know I ordered the cod tacos with Olde Bay Cafe slaw, Key lime vinaigrette, and avocado, with a side of potato salad.

red food basket with two fish tacos and a small bowl of potato salad
cod tacos with Olde Bay Cafe slaw, Key lime vinaigrette, and avocado, with a side of potato salad

Soooo good! I loved the slaw and Key lime vinaigrette on the fish, and the potato salad was some of the best I've tasted.

Gus ordered the pan-seared grouper with a side salad and kettle chips. He finished it in record time and declared it delicious.

grouper with a side salad and a small bowl of kettle chips
pan-seared grouper with a side salad and kettle chips

I did go inside to use the restroom and I noticed that there was a small bar and seating around the perimeter of the deck, but I didn't really notice if there were tables inside as well.

people seated at tables on a wooden deck
various seating options

After lunch, Gus and I walked along the marina...

a few boats docked at a marina
Dunedin Marina with Caladesi Island visible in the distance

and over to Edgewater Park. There is a nice shady grassy area with walkways and a gazebo, as well as public restrooms. We noticed that there were several older (I'm assuming retired) couples who had brought chairs to the park and were sitting under the trees reading and looking out at the boats and water. #goals

gazebo and large trees in a park
Edgewater Park

And this is all within easy walking distance of downtown Dunedin where you'll find shops, restaurants, and more...

Fun facts about Dunedin:

  • Dunedin is pronounced DONE-EE-DIN
  • Dunedin has eight craft breweries within a one mile radius. 
  • Dunedin Stadium is where the Toronto Blue Jays hold their spring training.
  • Dunedin is home to Honeymoon Island, the #1 state park in Florida.
  • The Pinellas Trail (a 34 mile paved trail for walking, jogging, skating, and biking that runs from St. Pete to Tarpon Springs) runs right through downtown Dunedin.
  • The Dunedin Highland Games & Festival is held every spring - 2019 marks 53 years!

pinnable image of boats on the water and tacos and potato salad

So next time you're in Tampa or St. Pete, take a side trip to Dunedin. Have lunch at the Olde Bay Cafe, sit a spell in one of the many parks or take a walk on the Pinellas Trail. And don't forget to have a beer at one of the many breweries. You'll be glad you did!

Olde Bay Cafe
51 Main Sreet
Dunedin, Florida  34698
(727) 733-2542

Hours: Daily 10a-10p

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Kim A.
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Tuesday Brewsday: Marker 48 Brewing (and BarbieCue) - Brooksville, Florida #deliciousbeer

Tuesday Brewsday: Marker 48 Brewing (and BarbieCue) - Brooksville, Florida #deliciousbeer


Welcome to Tuesday Brewsday! Today we want to tell you all about Marker 48 Brewing: an amazing brewery in Brooksville, Florida (about an hour north of Tampa) with a food truck on the premises.

round sign on a building that says "Marker 48 Brewing"

entrance to Marker 48 brewng

We love this place and will be stopping here whenever we 're in the area! It has a great laid-back vibe.

Marker 48 Brewing taproom with a bar and wooden tables

Fermenter tanks

We were there on a Thursday around noon, so there were only 2-3 other people in the place. But that meant we got to spend some time talking to the bartender and one of the owners. I had flight of four ($8.50) and later added one more taster, while Gus went for a pint of NAMI.

chalk boards on a wall with lists of craft beer

Beer menu

My favorites*:
  • Mermaid's Milk Nitro (milk stout) IBU: 30, ABV: 5.9%
  • 7 Mile (Key Lime Pie Berliner) ABV: 4.2%
  • High Thai'd (mango coconut wheat) ABV: 7.4%
  • Blackberry Weisse (kettle sour) ABV: 4.2%
  • Seeing Stars (starfruit Berliner) ABV: 4.2% 
  • Suncoast Trail (cream ale) ABV: 4.5%
Gus' favorites*:
  • NAMI (Belgian wit) ABV: 5.7%
  • Old Man Weyerman (dopplelbock) ABV: 8.2%
  • Mermaid's Milk Nitro 

flight of four beers
(starting with back left and going clockwise: High Thai'd, Suncoast Trail, Seeing Stars, Blackberry Weisse)

glass of stout beer
Mermaid's Milk

One of the owners walked by and the bartender told him that the Mermaid's Milk was my favorite. He said since we were his people (he's also from Kentucky), he had something for us to try. He poured us a glass of their beer for Tampa Beer Week - a really nice dark beer brewed with raisins and brown sugar. Very reminiscent of a bourbon barrel-aged stout.

stout beer in a snifter

While chatting with the bartender about my love of Berliners, she asked if I had tried their 7 Mile, which is a Key Lime Pie Berliner. I hadn't, so she gave me a taste. Best Key Lime Berliner I've ever had - and it could get me into soooo much trouble if I was drinking it on a sunny day on the beach. Easy, delicious drinkin' right there.

Did you notice the copper strip in the middle of the bar? Check out the photo below. It's a built-in chill strip to keep your drinks cold! Brilliant. We've been to a lot of breweries, but this is the first with a chill strip. Love it!

chill strip on a bar

The taproom is pretty big - 6000 square feet - with lots of tables and chairs. We liked the layout a lot because it was so roomy. It felt like it would still have plenty of space even if it was full of people.

beer taps

wooden tables and metal stools

wooden tables and metal stools

There's a pretty big beer garden as well. Very roomy with lots of seating.

beer garden with picnic tables and a bar in a bus

beer garden with picnic tables and a stage

So now we've gotta tell you about the food truck - BarbieCue! De-lish!! Some of the best bbq we've eaten. The pork was so tender and the mac-n-cheese was to die for! You just go out to the truck to order and they bring your food into the bar when it's ready.

red food truck that says "BarbieCue"

bbq on a plate

I had the "Original" pork sandwich with two sides and no bun. For my sides I chose cornbread and mac-n-cheese. I had the "Original" sauce which is described as "lil' sweet, lil' heat, lil' tang". Seriously some of the best pork I've ever eaten. So tender! And the sauce I chose was perfect.

white mac-n-cheese

Mac-n-cheese? To die for. Made with their special 7-cheese blend - and it's all white cheese. Yum.

bbq, cornbread, and green beans on a styrofoam plate

Gus also had the "Original" with no bun, and for his sides he chose cornbread and green beans. He had the "Sweetie" sauce which is described as "sweet with lil' to no heat".

I'm hungry just talking about it and seeing the photos. Can't wait to go back! So if you're ever in the area, you should plan a stop here - you won't be sorry! It's about an hour from Tampa/St. Pete and about 3 hours from Tallahassee.

Marker 48 Brewing
12147 Cortez Blvd.
Brooksville, Florida 34613
(352) 606-2509

Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Untappd

Live music on weekends, trivia on Mondays, and karaoke on (most) Thursdays. 
Happy hours daily from 12-6pm. 
Brewery tours on Saturdays at 3, 4 and 5pm.

pinnable image with a photo of the BarbieCue food truck and the taproom at Marker 48 Brewing

Do you have a favorite brewery? Tell me about it - we're always looking for new ones to try! If you're interested in following along on our food/drinking adventures, be sure to find me on Instagram and Snapchat - I share a lot there that doesn't make it on the blog.

*A note about our beer preferences:
Me: witbier, Hefeweizen, fruit beer, Berliner Weisse, Gose, blonde ale, white ale, non-coffee-flavored stouts, Kentucky common ale, ginger beer, some saisons, and some Scotch ales
Gus: witbier, Hefeweizen, blonde ale, red ale, Belgian tripel, Kentucky common ale
Buddy: IPA, fruit beer, Berliner Weisse, Gose, blonde ale, red ale, stouts (especially coffee-flavored), porter, Belgian tripel, Belgian quad, saison

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Kim A.
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Travel Made Easy with the American Shield Granite 25 Backpack (and a discount code!)

Travel Made Easy with the American Shield Granite 25 Backpack (and a discount code!)


Do any of you use a backpack for travel? Gus and I love to travel, but unfortunately, my degenerative disc disease and arthritis is getting worse, which makes travel (and daily life!) uncomfortable. I've especially been having difficulty carrying even small bags. Recently, one of my doctors suggested that a backpack might be the answer. Can you believe that I've never owned a backpack until now?

The American Shield Granite 25 backpack in black sitting on an ivory furry rug

(Thank you to American Shield for sponsoring this post. The opinions in this post are based on my experience with the product and are 100% my own.)

On our most recent trip to Florida I used the American Shield Granite 25 Fashion and Style Backpack as my carry-on, and I kept asking myself - why didn't I do this sooner? I think I just assumed a backpack wouldn't hold all of my essentials or that it would be difficult to retrieve items from it once it was packed. I was wrong.

The interior is so roomy and full of pockets! I was able to pack my iPad, portable keyboard, and planner in the padded laptop pocket, jewelry in two of the interior pockets, flip flops in the side interior pockets, and a flat toiletry bag in the main area. At the last minute, I even rolled up a cozy wrap and stashed it in the top of the main compartment in case I got cold on the plane. And I still had room to spare!

Interior of the American Shield Granite 25 backpack - red and white striped fabric lining and many pockets

The drawstring closure made sure that nothing fell out when the bag was turned on its side in the overhead bin of the plane. I could have easily packed more because I didn’t even use the exterior side pockets, back pocket, or zippered pocket on the strap!

Drawstring at the top of the interior of the American Shield Granite 25 backpack

In the lower front exterior section I was able to pack several pens, a baggie with device chargers and earbuds, sunglasses in a hard clamshell case, and a computer mouse - again, with plenty of room to spare.

Exterior front compartment of the American Shield Granite 25 backpack.

The leather straps that fasten both sections of the backpack have heavily magnetized snaps that are easy to fasten and unfasten. It took just a few seconds to flip them open and remove my iPad for security screening.

Close-up of the snap closures on the backpack straps

The backpack easily fit in the overhead storage compartment on the plane and I think it would have also fit under the seat. Best of all? With the padded shoulder straps and the weight evenly distributed, I didn’t have any problems toting it around the airport and on the plane! No neck or shoulder pain and Gus didn’t have to carry anything for me.

Close-up of the padded straps on the Granite 25 backpack

I chose the black fabric with black leather straps because I felt it would be best for travel. But there are other options: black with brown leather, coffee (tan) with brown leather, and olive green with brown leather. All classics that will never go out of style - designed and made in the USA.

Pinnable image of a black backpack

I love that it's not bulky and easily holds all of my essentials. This is going to be my go-to bag for all of my travels - even day trips. Gus keeps trying to take it to use for work (he transports a laptop and files), so it would obviously be a good option for that as well.

DISCOUNT CODE: The Granite 25 backpack is priced at $299, but I have a 20% off code for you, bringing the cost down to $239.20. Just use code AMESHIELD8020 at checkout to receive the discount.

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Kim A.
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Adventures of Gus and Kim: Nashville Zoo at Grassmere - Nashville, Tennessee

Adventures of Gus and Kim: Nashville Zoo at Grassmere - Nashville, Tennessee


Who loves animals? We do, too!! If you're looking for something to do in the Nashville, Tennessee area, we highly recommend the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere.

This past October when we were driving back from our Florida vacation, we made our usual overnight stop in Franklin, Tennessee. Since we were only 20 minutes from the Nashville Zoo, I convinced everyone to get up early the next morning so we could spend some there before heading home. As a bonus incentive, since we're members of the Cincinnati Zoo, we were able to get half-price admission!

MAn & woman sitting on a hay bale in front of a display of jack-o-lanterns


If you read my recent post on the Cincinnati Zoo, you know that it's our "home" zoo and we love it so much, we use it as the basis of comparison for every other zoo we visit. And we really enjoyed the Nashville Zoo! The first thing that caught our attention was just how thoughtfully the landscaping was planned. The photos don't even do it justice. It was also very clean and easily navigated. And we were happy to see a few animals that we don't have in Cincinnati.

A  lot of words aren't really necessary, so enjoy the photos!

hyacinth macaws sitting on a tree branch at the Nashville Zoo
Hyacinth macaws

Mexican spider monkey sitting on a tree branch at the Nashville Zoo
Mexican spider monkey

goat standing in sawdust/mulch at the Nashville Zoo
Goat

guinea pigs on dry, rocky ground
Guinea pigs

clouded leopard lying on the ground at the Nashville Zoo
Clouded leopard

meerkats digging in the dirt at the Nashville Zoo
Meerkats

Ostriches grazing at the Nashville Zoo
Ostriches

Sulcata tortoise in the much at the Nashville Zoo
Sulcata tortoise

Aldabra tortoise in the grass at the Nashville Zoo
Aldabra tortoise

green crested basilisk on a tree branch
Green Crested basilisk

seahorse swimming in front of red coral
Seahorse

One of our favorite things was the Kangaroo Kickabout. You could actually walk through the habitat, and as long as you stayed on the paved pathways, you could interact with the kangaroos if they came to you. We're really looking forward to the opening of Roo Valley in 2020 at the Cincinnati Zoo, which will offer a similar experience.

kangaroo standing on a porch - her right front leg has been amputated
Red kangaroo

kangaroo sitting on the ground
Red kangaroo

Apparently, we arrived soon after their morning meal, and all they wanted to do was relax in the sunshine. Not a bad gig if you can get it!

kangaroos standing and lying on the ground at the Nashville Zoo
Red kangaroos

The Nashville Zoo opened in 1991, and in 1996 they moved to the site of the Grassmere Wildlife Park after it closed. The city of Nashville had to keep this property as a nature center, so to offer it to the zoo was the perfect solution. In addition to the zoo, you can also tour the Grassmere Historic Home, take a ride on the Soaring Eagle Zip Line, and let the kids check out the 66,000-square foot Jungle Gym playground. And if you're a member of another zoo, don't forget to check to see if they're on the "Reciprocal Zoos" list so you can get half-price admission!

Large rock with "Nashville Zoo at Grassmere" and two giraffe silhouettes carved into it

Nashville Zoo at Grassmere
3777 Nolensville Pike
Nashville, TN 37211
615-833-1534 

Hours:
October 12, 2018 - March 7, 2019 | 9am - 4pm
March 8, 2019 - October 10, 2019 | 9am - 6pm

Holiday Closings:
Open every day except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Inclement weather may cause an unannounced closing for the safety of guests and animals.

Pinnable infographic for Nashville Zoo showing a basilisk and a spider monkey

Do you have a favorite zoo? Let me know in the comments or connect with me on Instagram or Snapchat - I'd love to get some ideas of where to go next!

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Kim A.
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