The Ultimate Travel Guide for Boulder, Colorado

Ponies, Palm Trees, and Wineries in Bradenton, FL The Travel Brats

Making plans after a crazy week can seem intimidating, and exhausting. You just got done with a wicked work schedule – how do you still have energy to be adventurous this weekend? If you are in the South Florida area, I have a solution for you. Making a game plan and itinerary will make your day an absolute breeze to allow for some relaxation coupled with unforgettable fun. Let’s begin – pick which day suits you best and go from there. Right before you go over the bridge into Anna Maria Island, Cponies is stationed and ready to give you an experience of a lifetime. CPonies is really what it sounds like – we went horseback riding in the water for about an hour. Basically, you jump up on the saddle of the horse, get into the water with a group of around 10 people and 2 guides, and they coach you through how to stay safe while having an experience unlike any other. Even for the most novice rider, this was doable and short enough to keep the risk minimal. It was absolutely amazing to see the horses’ personalities shine through, as each one had been rescued from abusers. Now, they have jobs of playing in the water with people who genuinely enjoy them. How wonderful. To read more about CPonies story and to book, click HERE.The pictures were some for the books. But let me mentally prepare you, while being in the water with the horses, you will be passing floating feces because horses have to go, they go. Also, if you are more of a nervous or extremely anxious person, this might not be for you! When going horseback riding with CPonies, I recommend you purchase the photo package for $25 and wear long pants and gym shoes that you don’t mind getting wet. After that, bring a change of clothes and find a public restroom to change and wash off your legs and feet. You may feel a little gross and sore. Once you’re changed and good to go, drive a few miles into Anna Maria Island. This quaint beach town has quite the reputation for low key settings, immaculate views, and friendly folks, so you can take advantage of the photo opportunities and time with great company. There were many highly regarded restaurants to stop at – we were deciding between Beach House Restaurant and The Kokonut Hut. We chose Kokonut for the tiki hut outdoor vibes as it was perfectly situated on the white sand beach. The views were unmatched, and gave the allure of being on a faraway tropical vacation, even if just for a lunch break.The main strip is pleasantly infused with tiny shops, mom and pop eats, and hidden gems, so you can take an hour to walk the beach and enjoy an environment that’s so far removed from the hustle and bustle. Once you’re calling the beach town quits and done with the beating sun, begin making your way back towards 75 and hit the back country roads. This is where the unexpected lies. Believe it or not, there’s a lot of Circus energy and hidden places in Bradenton, FL. YES, Circus like elephants and shows and the unimaginable. The Ringling Museum is very near in Sarasota and the Ringling brothers own quite a bit of land in the Bradenton area. On your bizarre exploration, you will head to Hunsaders Farm who are known for their pumpkin patch festivities and sunflowers. Although it wasn’t sunflower season, they had an excellent farm market with to-die-for pickles and U-pick wild flowers. It was extremely slow when I went in September, but on our way there, something caught our eyes.Did we just see a winery in Florida? A rarity, but yes we did. Unannounced, we arrived at FioRelli winery and vineyard. After talking with the workers for a few moments, we got to do a wine tasting where they showcased their favorite blends and delicious dessert wines. Their intimate courtyard was so quaint as this vineyard only employed a few people and their wines aren’t even sold in stores. So when I was say a true hidden gem, I mean it. It was much more simplistic than other wine tastings I’ve done, but it peaked my interest in learning more about wineries in Florida and nearby. My favorite was the FioRelli Blueberry wine!To wrap up the evening at FioRelli’s, there was an incredible, most watering BBQ food truck called Southern Smoked by JP on their property. They unquestionably have changed my benchmark for BBQ food. From Mac n Cheese to their Brisket dinner, I am still dreaming about that meal now. We weren’t hungry at the moment we ordered, so we got their family meal to go and ate once we got home from our 2 hour drive. We started our day early and ended up getting home around 5pm to get prepared for the next week to come. Some spontaneity and calculated adventuring is exactly what you need to feel renewed and revitalized. 
  1. Ponies, Palm Trees, and Wineries in Bradenton, FL
  2. SWFL Food Junkie Celebrates Hidden Gems and Supreme Eats From Fort Myers to Naples
  3. Taking You On The Perfect Colorado Weekend Getaway
  4. Packing, Planning, and Safety Tips for Your South American Travels
  5. An Exploor Guide to Peru and the Modern World Wonder, Machu Picchu
Photo by Martin Alargent on

As many of you know, that I co-created the “Who Wear There” Podcast with my wonderful friend, Sofia. I love to share these resources with my followers on Thoughtful Blonde, so here’s the run down – In episode 33, The Travel Brats interview the lovely and well-rounded, Suzi, who is well versed in all things Boulder, Colorado, skiing, adventuring, breweries, and yummy places to eat. In this episode, Suzi shares her insight about making the most out of your Colorado trip by showcasing the best local eateries, CU Campus, biking and skiing hot spots, and must dos.

Travel Brats asked: “Where are we talking about today?”

Suzi said:

“Boulder is a city at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, in northern Colorado. To the west, are the Flatirons which are craggy rock formations overlooking the city. Downtown’s is the pedestrian Pearl Street Mall which includes art galleries, cafes, restaurants and boutiques. To the north, about 45 minutes away is Rocky Mountain National Park and to the south/southeast is Golden and Denver.Fantastic skiing exits 90 minutes away with half a dozen world class ski resorts nearby.

Boulder is home to the main campus of the University of Colorado, the state’s largest university. The city frequently receives high rankings in art, health, well-being, quality of life, and education.

Boulder was a popular hippie town in the 1960s and re-invented itself as an affluent outdoorsy town, but it’s still very rooted in its hippie traditions.” 

Travel Brats asked: “Who lives there? What’s the environment like?”

Today, there’s lots of organic, natural items, as well as a number of breweries, and lots of great restaurants. “I like to say all the hippies had to grow up and wanted education and outdoor recreation for their children.

Additionally, there are world class road cyclists, skiers, and climbers that call Boulder home. Both NOAA and NIST have sites in Boulder and most recently, many tech companies have moved to Boulder and even Google has a large campus in town.”

Travel Brats asked: “What are the best things to do there?”

Suzi said: 

  • Lots of road biking – anywhere on the Front Range as well as climbing into the mountains.
  • Lots of mountain biking – generally one must go up and then come down. Single track and dirt roads.
  • Lots of climbers – seek out Boulder to climb year round
  • Lots of hiking – can be either flat or up the mountain. Lots of trails from Golden to Lyons. 
  • Climbing the Flatirons from Chautauqua is a favorite tourist To Do.

Travel Brats asked “ What are more things to do along with the best hikes in Boulder?

Suzi said: 

Suzi continued on to say:

“What you find in Boulder is that everybody does everything meaning most folks do hike, bike, ski, climb, and anything else outdoors. The Pearl Street Mall is a pedestrian mall that has lots of restaurants and shop. Both locals and tourists alike will be on “the mall”. The “hill” is a subsection of Boulder where the CU Boulder students congregate or hang out. Generally, most locals stay away from the “hill” since that area of town borders the CU campus.”

Travel Brats then asked the infamous question — “Where should you eat there?” 

Suzi said: 

“Favorite Breakfast Spots:

Walnut Cafe – on 30th – known for great pie

The Buff – great coffee & skillets

Dougs Diner – awesome breakfast bowls

Snooze – nice casual & healthy

Village Inn – typical counter diner

Dot’s Diner – good diner

Tangerine – a bit upscale with local food

Lots of Coffee shops – 

Ozo Coffee –

Amante –

Sole –

Red Rocks –

Laughing Goat –

Tune Up in Full Cycle (Bike shop) –

Favorite Lunch Spots:

Le French Cafe – great lunch (crepe & salad) as well as breakfast.

Snarf’s – great deli

Backcountry Pizza and Taphouse – good happy hour

Verde – Upscale Mexica

Favorite Dinner Spots:

Frasca – Foodie people – creative local food – Italian influence

Carelli’s – near Will Vill (dorm on campus) excellent traditional Italian with lots go great fish; awesome garlic toast

Audrey Jane’s Pizza – carryout – to die for! Just on Diners & Drive in.

The Kitchen & Kitchen Upstairs & Next Door – real food (Boulder, Denver, Chicago)

Sushi: Zanmai or Japengo – Both on Pearl Street

Jax – Oyster Bar – a few in other CO cities

The Cork – Old school steak house; great happy hour

Favorite Breweries:

Avery Brewery –

Gunbarrel –

Upslope – both in town – snacks only – empanadas & soft pretzels

Southern Sun and Mountain Sun – great beer, burgers, salads, buritto, nachos, & wings. Love the Colorado Kind (AMERICAN E.S.B 6.2% ABV)

Twisted Pine – good appetizers  – pizza

Oskar Blues Taproom – on Pearl Street. Solid!

For more information on Boulder, listen to our podcast! Enjoy

Travel Brats Episode 12: All Things Asheville

Listen on Apple Podcast!

who Wear There Podcast-2

In Episode 12, The Travel Brats interviewed actress, Natalie Brouwer, about all things Asheville (the little sister city to San Franscico). In this episode, Natalie shares her recommendations and hidden gems on where to go, what to see, and how to make the most out of your time in the beautiful city of Asheville, North Carolina. She even shares her favorite Breweries with beer recs, so tune in before you head to NC!


There’s so much to do in Asheville and there’s a lot of opportunities to travel there on a budget because there are a ton of free things to do, like hiking/parks/walk around downtown

Best times to go to Asheville: Recommended times to go— spring and fall for different reasons

Things to do:


Fall time recommendations:

Winter Recommendations:

Skiing at Beech and Sugar Mountain

ARTSY + Cultural Activities To Attend:

River Arts District

Biltmore House (late 1800’s)

Grove Park Inn (1913)

Best Places to Eat

Breakfast –

Sunny Point Cafe

Louise’s (Black Mountain)

Over Easy Cafe


Lunch/Dinner –



Chai Pani

Nine Mile

Farm Burger

Easy Girl Eatery

Tupelo Honey Cafe

My Father’s Pizza (BM)

Fresh (BM)


Where are the best places to stay? 

Air bnb! Or you can rent houses/cabins. Or stay at one of the nicer/fancier places connected to Biltmore/Grove Park–NC


Best Places to Explore/“hidden” gems:

Visit Black Mountain: https://www.exploreblackmountain.comThe town of Black Mountain

Sliding Rock a little farther away in Brevard and LAKE LURE:


Top Breweries!!!!

-Beer (Brewing companies)

*Sierra Nevada

*Wicked Weed

*New Belgium

*Highland Brewing

*Green Man


-favorite beers – Octoberfest (SN), White Zombie (Catawba), Pernicious IPA (WW)


Safety Tips

Asheville is a very safe town

When Hiking, make sure you dress appropriately for the season. Bug spray, water, snacks. Bears (black bears) you will likely not see. They are nocturnal animals and are more scared of you then you are of them. With a snake, if it’s a black snake you are fine. You will likely not see them either, but perhaps look up what to do if you see a copperhead, rattlesnake, or water moccasin. Make sure to lock your car! In general, just be aware of your surroundings. Our hikes are VERY user friendly!

Stay connected with Natalie by following her on IG:

Hidden Gem in Fort Myers: Artisan Eatery

IMG_1471.JPGAfter boxing yesterday, my mom and I wanted to try something new for lunch. We wanted to be healthy, but we were also ready to devour some delicious food.

So we remembered someone recommended Artisan Eatery and we loved it. It’s a locally owned cafe that serves great food all day, plus the freshly baked cakes are out of this world.

It’s right off the expressway on Daniels, by Dunkin Donuts and Fancy’s. You can’t miss it.

I loved the quaint atmosphere and the welcoming staff. I had a hard time picking what to order, but I decided on chili with cornbread and one of their specials, the short rib grilled cheese. I was not disappointed and I can’t wait to go back. My mouth is watering looking at these pictures. Personally, I really like sit down cafes where you order your food at the counter and don’t have to be waited on, so this was exactly what I look for in cafes.

Oh last, but not least, before we left, we had to get a slice of cake. They have this chocolate cake with whopper filling and carrot cake that I have to try next time I go, but I loved the banana cake I got with cream cheese frosting. I might have to swing in again after posting this.


I highly recommend going to Artisan Eatery and following along their journey on IG : Artisan Eatery



#restaurants #fortmyers #placestoeat