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Last weekend we headed to Saint Louis, Missouri for a family weekend full of exploring new places.  We rented a house on Cherokee Street, where we could get the full Cherokee-Lemp Historic District experience. This stretch of shops is known as Cherokee Antique Row and located just minutes south of Downtown Saint Louis. Cherokee Street is a perfect afternoon getaway offering six blocks of independently owned and operated Antique, Collectible and Specialty Shops, Art Galleries, Restaurants and Cafes! When we rolled into town Friday night we decided to checkout the area and landed at the 3rd Mexican restaurant we came accross, La Vallesana

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La Vallesana first opened its doors in June of 2003 as an Ice Cream Shop. They now feature a full bar and restaurant, with plenty of space including indoor seating and two outdoor patios.  We were seated on the patio and everyone loved the food.  No need to worry that this once little ice cream shop sold out, they stuck to their roots and still feature 30 flavors of homemade ice cream available daily.  There were many Mexican Restaurants on Cherokee Street, we believe we found the best one in La Vallesana.  It was so delicious I could have it Over and Over. 

 Tacos, margaritas, and guacamole  

Tacos, margaritas, and guacamole  

Saturday we explored Cherokee Street while searching for coffee and breakfast.  Google showed us the way to The Mud House.  The local cafe was packed and showed no signs of letting up by the time we left.  I ordered the Grits and Greens pictured below - cheddar grits and sauteed collard greens topped with 2 poached eggs.  Leslie ordered a breakfast sandwich which was served on the largest English muffin I’ve ever seen! Sorry no photo...it was too amazing to capture all the deliciousness.  If I ever go back I will face quite a Dilemma as both entrees were fantastic. 

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On the way back to the house we stopped at Bridge Bread. My dad was familiar with the organization and I’m glad we were able to meet some of the volunteers working there. Bridge Bread is a social enterprise designed to provide job opportunities for people experiencing homelessness. The goal of the program is to help the disadvantaged engage in a financially rewarding effort that enhances self-worth, promotes dignity and enables them to help themselves. Great cause and the baked goods were fantastic! Helping the homeless get back on their feet isn’t Just A Dream, Bridge Bread is making it a reality. 

Next on the agenda, all things Saint Louis! Cherokee Street is a quick drive from everything! We loaded up the car and said Ride Wit Me to the next destination. 

   Old Courthouse , National Park Service site at Gateway Arch National Park

Old Courthouse, National Park Service site at Gateway Arch National Park

Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis was a last minute recommendation,  and we second the recommendation! We wondered through the Cathedral admiring the endless mosaics adorning the massive ceilings. It is amazig to see in person, the photo doesn't do it any justice.  

The culture continued as we explored the Saint Louis Art Museum. The museum was huge, we tried our best to see everything. I personally liked the Anciant Egyptian Art Collection, no cameras were allowed in that area so you will have to go check it out yourself. 

Our last night we planned to take in some live blues at BB's Jazz, Blues, and Soups.  Not sure about the soups, it wasn't exactly soup weather, it was Hot In Herre. We will have to go back another day to see if the soups are as fantastic as the atmosphere and live music.  

 Make sure you call and make a reservation, if you have 6 or more people they will set you up! 

Make sure you call and make a reservation, if you have 6 or more people they will set you up! 

 We recommend the Jalapeño Hush Puppies and Honey Wings to start.  Billy and I shared a Cuban Sandwich which was very good.  We may have been on a bad night but the Red Beans and Rice were lacking in flavor, we were a little disappointed.  Regardless of the Red Beans and Rice I would definitely go back! I wouldn’t mind having some of those Jalapeño Hush Puppies right now! 

We recommend the Jalapeño Hush Puppies and Honey Wings to start.  Billy and I shared a Cuban Sandwich which was very good.  We may have been on a bad night but the Red Beans and Rice were lacking in flavor, we were a little disappointed.  Regardless of the Red Beans and Rice I would definitely go back! I wouldn’t mind having some of those Jalapeño Hush Puppies right now! 

Prior to this fun filled adventure I associated St. Louis with only The Arch, The Cardinals, and obviously Nelly. Turns out this city has so much more to offer! 

I hope you enjoyed the Nelly references as much as I did. 

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Until next time Nellyville....

Dre  

Aruba Ariba!

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We can officially check Aruba off our list. This windy island was full of surprises and did not disappoint! Tiny beers,  paper straws, cacti and drivers trying to kill you are just some of the island secrets.  We stayed at a residence called Ruby 40 just a hop, skip and jump away from the beach. We found a local market that magically charged us all $52 for very different items. After dropping off our loot we headed straight for the beach. The palm tree lined white sand beaches were just what we were looking for after a long flight. 

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On our drive in we passed a cute surfer bar and restaurant that was the Whale’s Tail of Aruba; Lucy’s. They have a scorpion tequila shot that if you can keep it down you get to write on the beams. This place sat right on the water by a small harbor and we saw a fishing charter bring in a big mahi. They filleted it up right there!  

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Our first big adventure of the trip was on the Jolly Pirate ship. It’s a sail, snorkel, swim and swing party (aka booze cruise).  There was a lot of anticipation while waiting on the dock but as soon as we got on it was go time. We got to snorkel an old ship wreck, sit in the bow of the ship, dance and drink all the whisky. Dinner that night was a mystery but i’m sure it was great! 

 

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The next adventure was one that Lucas and Klarisa said was a must do: Kukoo Kunnuku. It’s a party bus tour that would take us to dinner and then to 3 “local” bars. When the colorful bus rolled up at our hotel with the loud music and singing we should have known we were in for a wild night. We took off and went on Aruba’s rollercoaster -we drove as fast as we could around the round-a-bout over and over again!  Armed with maracas we danced, sang and drank out of squirt bottles all night long. One of the bars even let us wear amazing hats while we were there. So much fun!

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Adventure #3 was the natural pool UTV off-road adventure. Imagine this, you’re strapped into a big open air, tiger striped, ex military vehicle while your driver is going over the largest boulders and whipping you from side to side, trying to throw you out. It was a Baja race that we were not prepared for whatsoever. It took us all over the island, which turns out to be desert, but the highlights were the natural pools, natural bridge and the lighthouse. The 2 natural pools were unlike anything i’ve ever seen. This unique swimming hole should not be missed if you go and if you’re not too scared of a little rock cimbing you can find a second hidden pool. The crowds can be a bit much but our timing was perfect and we basically had the place to ourselves before it turned into Times Square.

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The off-road tour was by far my favorite. A few of us ended up bloody and/or bit by something but it was totally worth it! Other highlights of the trip was visiting Edwardo’s Beach Shack. This healthy little shack provided decadent fruit bowls and smoothies. Just look: 

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Overall this One Happy Island was just that....happy, beautiful and full of wonder. With such a great group of friends every day was spent laughing, exploring and making the most out of the time we had there.  A big thanks to Lucas and Klarisa for inviting us to partake in Klarisa’s bday. I’ll let the remaining photos speak for themselves...

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Don’t worry we’re already planning our next great adventure!

Cheers, 

Steph