Weekly Wanderlust: Bond Edition

As Spectre takes the box office by storm, and takes the audience on an impressive tour of Morocco to Mexico City, this week's wanderlust will inspire your next chic getaway fit for Bond. James Bond. 

Best Places to Relax in the Great Outdoors

American summers are synonymous with the outdoors. From baseball games, to farmer's markets, to balmy evening street fests, the best things to do aren't far from patios and parks.

I've recently discovered a love for hiking, biking and enjoying the truly natural side of nature. Outdoor activities are exhilarating, especially in a beautiful backdrop. That said, sometimes you just want to spend an afternoon basking in nature's beauty -- no sweating required. These four spots are great places to do just that.

Watkins Glen, New York

Located in the Finger Lakes region of upper New York, Watkins Glen boasts an impressive state park with beautiful walking trails winding through a network of waterfalls. The region is well known for its wineries, so you can easily pass a few days alternating between easy nature walks in the park and long lunches on winery verandas. Don't miss: Wagner Vineyards.

Ridgedale, Missouri

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Big Cedar Lodge sits on a peaceful lakefront stretch in Ridgedale, just outside of Branson. The conservation-conscious resort blends a perfect balance of outdoor activities with upscale amenities, making it a great place for family gatherings with mass appeal. You can be as active or relaxed as you want, and with such gorgeous views you don't feel guilty spending a whole day just lounging by the pool. 

Shenandoah, Virginia

On a family vacation through Virginia to South Carolina, we stopped for a night in Shenandoah National Park and stayed in a cabin at the popular Big Meadows Lodge. Talk about a perfect outdoor retreat! The views of the Blue Ridge Mountains are unmatched, especially when followed by a laid-back evening roasting s'mores around the campfire. 

  • Bonus Tip! Hiking is a must, and it's even better when you plan ahead (read: wear the right shoes). These five hiking tips from Colorful Places are a good checklist to make the most of your exploration. 

Devil's Lake, Wisconsin

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Back in middle school, our brave teaches packed the entire seventh grade class into buses and spent two nights camping in Devils Lake State Park. With easy hiking trails, a large beach and lots of camping sites, this park is a great weekend getaway for outdoor enthusiasts.

NOLA, Here We Come!

In just a few weeks, Chris and I will be a Sazerac deep into our first visit to New Orleans. The southern city has been on my bucket list for quite some time -- and due to rave reviews from our jazz-loving friends, I'm more excited to see it than ever. 

Source:  Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

Our plan is to eat and drink our way through NOLA's celebrated restaurant culture, and then spend our evenings hunting down the best live music the city has to offer.

Excited to check out the newly renovated  Brennan's , where " breakfast revelry is taken as seriously as a decadent dinner."  Source:  Facebook

Excited to check out the newly renovated Brennan's, where "breakfast revelry is taken as seriously as a decadent dinner." Source: Facebook

We have some ideas on what to do, but (against my nature) I'm planning to let things come as they may in the Big Easy -- sourcing out tips from locals we meet, along with letting one of Chris's childhood friends turned New Orleans restaurateur play concierge. 

That said, we all know I'll break down and pull together some plans between now and the trip -- so do you have any insider tips to share? Must-see neighborhoods, unique boutiques, archetypal streets to explore? I'd love to spend a day following your off-the-beaten-path recommendations so I can report back once we return.