Christmas in Alexandria, Virginia:An All-American Town Welcomes the Holidays with European Charm-www.casualtravelist.com

Christmas in Alexandria, Virginia: An All-American Town Welcomes the Holidays with European Charm

Brick paved streets lined with eighteenth century buildings, shop doors graced with Christmas greenery and scores of Scottish gents and lasses clad in tartan kilts bustling around town. Was I in Scotland? No, I found a bit of European holiday tradition a little closer to home in Alexandria, Virginia; where on the first weekend in December you’re as likely to hear a Scottish brogue as a southern drawl.  A Virginia town steeped in American history, Alexandria welcomes the holidays with a decidedly Scottish flare.

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Discovering Baltimore: Three Charm City Neighborhoods You Need To Know www.casualtravelist.com

Discovering Baltimore: Three Charm City Neighborhoods You Need To Know

Baltimore surprised me. With it’s proximity to Washington DC, Philadelphia and the Chesapeake Bay, (all areas I know very well) I thought I knew what to expect; but Baltimore is never what you expect. I saw elements of the coastal South that I now call home and vestiges of the industrial Pennsylvania town where I grew up. It’s a place where you’ll find fried green tomatoes and scrapple on the same menu. It’s a working class town where the real charm is in its neighborhoods, where you’re as likely to chat up a stranger over a can of Natty Boh as a craft cocktail.  Most visitors come to Baltimore to visit the Inner Harbor, catch a Ravens or Orioles game or dine on some of Maryland’s famous blue crabs. These are all fine reasons to visit but to discover the real Baltimore you need to check out a few of it’s distinct neighborhoods. Whether you’re looking for centuries of history and cobblestone streets or something a little more modern and funky you’ll soon find out how charming Baltimore can be. Read More

21 Tips for Your First Trip to Austin, Texas-www.casualtravelist.com

One Great Weekend: 21 Tips for Your First Trip to Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas is one of the hottest cities in the country and for good reason. Whether you know it as the state capital of Texas, the Live Music Capital of the World, a growing tech hub or the home of the University of Texas; Austin has a little something for everyone. World class BBQ? Check. Miles of outdoor trails? Yup. One of the hottest music scenes in the country? You betcha. Simultaneously an oasis from the rest of Texas and proudly Texan, Austin is a city that marches to the beat of its own drum. Politicos and hippies, cowboys and musicians; there’s room at the bar for everyone. With so many options it can be hard to narrow down what to do in Austin.  Here are a few of my recommendations for things to do in Austin, Texas.

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The Best Wine Regions in the United States to Check Out Right Now www.casualtravelist.com

The Best Wine Regions in the United States to Check Out Right Now

There has never been a better time to be a wine lover in the United States. From famous wineries in California producing world class wine to smaller boutique vineyards that are a bit off the beaten path chances are you can sample some great American wine no matter where you travel throughout the country. I asked a few of my favorite travel blogging pals where their favorite wineries are and while traditional wine regions like California and Virginia are well represented there are a few surprises here as well. Here are the best wine regions in the United States that you need to check out right now.

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Tips for your First Hot Air Balloon Ride www.casualtravelist.com

Tips for your First Hot Air Balloon Ride

With a combination of romance and adventure, a hot air balloon ride is at the top of many bucket lists. I recently had the chance to take to the skies for my first hot air balloon experience with Hot Air Expeditions in Phoenix, Arizona; and floating above the Sonoran Desert is hands down one of the coolest adventures I’ve had. The hot air balloon experience is magical, thrilling and surreal; completely unlike any other flight adventure out there. Here are a few tips to make sure your first hot air balloon ride is a walk in the clouds.

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3 Meals:Where to eat in Washington DC www.casualtravelist.com

3 Meals: Where to Eat in Washington DC

With some of the hottest restaurants in the country, a dizzying variety of cuisines and good food at every price point there has never been a better time for a foodie to visit Washington DC. One of the most frustrating things for visitors is matching up a tasty meal with sightseeing. Diners in DC are spoiled for choice but if hunger strikes after you’ve hiked the 2 miles of the National Mall it’s nice to know what’s tasty nearby. For this reason I’ve lined up some of my favorite wallet friendly and mid-range dining options in the district as well as including what major tourist sites are nearby. Check out some of my recommendations for where to eat in Washington DC.

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My Gold Level Experience at the Fairmont Washington DC www.casualtravelist.com

My Gold Level Experience at the Fairmont Washington DC

With history around every corner, a growing arts community and one of the most exciting culinary scenes in the country it’s little surprise that Washington DC is one of my favorite stops for a city break. The Capitol is spoiled for choice when it comes to great hotels but I couldn’t pass up a chance to return for a stay at the Fairmont Washington DC. The Fairmont’s location is one of the best in the city, within easy reach of the restaurants and shops of Georgetown and Dupont Circle as well as being convenient to the monuments and museums of the National Mall while being an oasis from the tourist fray.

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25 Things to do in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia www.casualtravelist.com

25 Things to do in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia

With American roots and European flair it’s no surprise that Alexandria, Virginia has become one of my favorite weekend getaways. Located minutes from Washington DC it feels worlds away with an independent streak inspiring the creative spirits behind the art galleries, boutiques and chef-driven restaurants that call Old Town home. Whether your looking to explore Alexandria’s revolutionary roots with your family or taking a romantic trip with your sweetheart you’re sure to love your time in this charming riverside city. Here are my recommendations for things to do in Alexandria.

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Beyond the Monuments: Washington DC Art Galleries to Check out Right Now www.casualtravelist.com

Beyond the Monuments: Washington DC Art Galleries to Check out Right Now

Washington DC is famous for its monuments but visitors are often surprised to find a vibrant art scene in the capital. Shedding it’s buttoned up reputation these Washington DC art galleries are showing off the capital’s creative side. A weekend is the perfect length of time to check out the art scene in Washington DC; I’ve highlighted a few of my favorite museums and galleries that offer a collection of exhibits that range from thought provoking and awe inspiring to fun and whimsical. Here are five Washington DC art galleries to check out right now.

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Where to Find the Best Craft Beer in Virginia Beach www.casualtravelist.com

Where to Find the Best Craft Beer in Virginia Beach

There has never been a better time to be a beer lover in Virginia. Craft beer in Virginia has exploded in recent years, growing from a handful of breweries to over 100 and counting. I’m lucky that there is an ever-expanding roster of local Virginia Beach breweries that are putting out some really great beer. With that in mind I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite local breweries in the Virginia Beach area.

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