6 Things I’ve Learned in 6 Months of Marriage

This month, Grant and I celebrated our first 6 months of marriage! I can’t speak for him, but the first six months have been some of the best. We’ve been communicating better than ever, settled into our lives as husband and wife, and had some fun times along the way! Reflecting back on the time that has flown by, here are the top 6 things I’ve learned in our first 6 months.

  1. Marriage is not 50-50; it is 100-100. This is an interesting one. Both Grant and I have full-time jobs, so we both are away from home starting at 6 AM until sometimes 7 or 8 PM each evening. That makes for a long day, especially when there are still things like cooking, cleaning, and laundry to be done! I typically cook for us during the week nights, and I honestly enjoy that time to unwind from the day and watch Wheel of Fortune. Now, if we decided it was only fair that we split the cooking during the week, I imagine that would cause more fights (and hungry stomachs!) than the system that works for us now. Grant has been the “designated” dish washer and trash taker-outer, which I’ve really appreciated. It’s sometimes the small gestures like that that can mean the most. For example, we try to carpool on Fridays since both of our offices are within a mile of each other. I am not the biggest fan of driving, so it’s a special treat when he drives and I get to just go along for the ride!
  2. It’s okay to do your own thing and not do everything together. This is one that I want us to keep pushing each other to remember. While we have a lot of similar interests, it’s okay to take some time for yourself and do what you want to! If Grant wants to go to a concert with a band I’m not into, go for it! We had our own friends and interests before we met and dated, and it’s an important piece of your identity to do the things that fulfill you personally. I’m very grateful that we have a lot of similar interests too and have learned to appreciate each other’s unique interests, but marriage doesn’t mean the end of your “you” time.

    One of Grant’s stipulations before we got married was that I had to watch all of the Star Wars movies – and turns out, I actually ended up liking them!

  3. Not combining finances makes you feel like more of a roommate than a partner. For the first few months after marriage, Grant and I kept all of our accounts separate for no reason other than we just hadn’t found time to combine our accounts. But around month 3, it started feeling like every transaction had to be analyzed – if I bought groceries, then that meant Grant bought dinner. We’d always been open with our spending habits and both have comparable salaries, so we finally made the leap to combine everything into a joint account. Since then, finances have actually felt less stressful. We talk to each other more, especially for purchases that are the “nice to haves” (new running shoes for me, concert tickets for Grant), and have enjoyed the transparency that comes with sharing this part of our marriage.
  4. A healthy life starts with a healthy body and mind soul. Getting married, you gain a new, permanent roommate. Schedules get busy and some days it seems like there are just not enough hours in the day to mark everything off the to-do list. But we were given one body to take care of in this lifetime, so we’ve tried to focus on exercising and eating healthy over the past few months. We’ve established good habits of eating at home most weeknights and typically kick off our Saturday with a trip to the gym. And beyond just the physical benefits, it’s a time to decompress and relieve stress rather than taking out the stress on each other.

    Lucky to have this man running with me at the RaceTrac 5K!

  5. You learn a lot about someone when you use the self check-out line at the grocery store. This is one that needs to be added to all of the “100 Things You Should Talk About/Do Before You Get Engaged/Married” books! This may be a silly one on the list, but you learn to have patience with your spouse and to not get irritated or upset by the little things. If I had only counted the number of times we’ve gotten the “please wait for assistance” flashing screen during our weekly grocery trips! Neither you nor your spouse are perfect. You’ll make mistakes, you’ll have little quirks that annoy the other person, and sometimes you’ll just have an off day. But it’s learning to no sweat the small stuff that will bring you closer together, rather than focusing on all of the tiny insignificant things.
  6. It’s not about the quantity of time; it’s about the quality of time. You would think that once you are married, you’ll get to spend so much more time with your significant other compared to when you were dating and only saw each other on the weekends. News Flash: we actually don’t see each other that much more with our long days. I’m pretty sure the majority of time we spend together is when we are both asleep! But the time we do spend together now is spent talking about our goals and still learning more about one another (rather than the non-stop wedding planning talk of 2017!). Some of my favorite memories these past few months have been our honeymoon trip and our Park City trip because we truly got a chance to explore new places together, relax, and have fun! We’ve really come to value the mental breaks from work and the time to let go when you are on vacation, so don’t let those precious vacation days go to waste!

    Flashback to snorkeling on the honeymoon and wishing we could go back!

Bonus: Comparison is the thief of joy. I feel like this one is applicable at any stage of life, but it’s been one that we’ve been challenging ourselves to remember. Once you’re married, there is no perfect timeline of when to buy a house or when to have kids. It’s easy to get caught in the trap of comparison with others who having seemingly nicer houses or take more frequent vacations, but you have to take a step back and remember that everyone has different priorities. You can’t have everything you want, but you can have anything you want if you put a plan in place to tackle one goal at a time. 

We’d love to hear from any other newlyweds and some of the things you’ve learned or experienced during your first few months as well!

Follow along with us on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/TheLocalBells 

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Local Eats: Food Truck Edition

A few weekends ago, we had the opportunity to attend the Children’s Charities Denim & Diamonds Benefit at Shannondale Farms – an awesome evening to raise money for an even better local cause! One of the most unique parts of this event was the food options for the evening. Instead of your usual buffet or plated dinner, they had “Food Truck Wars” featuring six different local food trucks. Each served up a small sample of their specialty and guests had the opportunity to try as many as they wanted! Participating trucks included Cousins Maine Lobster, Big C’s Chicago Kitchen, Sunshine Alchemy, Smokin’ Mo’s BBQ, Just Loaf N’ Po Boys, and Chef Q’s Soul Shack. Take a look to see some of the best small bites from the evening:

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Some of the best Connecticut lobster rolls we’ve ever had from Cousins Maine Lobster food truck!

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Chicago Style Italian Beef from Big C’s Chicago Kitchen

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Jambalaya and Crawfish Dip with Chips from Just Loaf N’ Po Boys

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How many beignets are too many?

And as if one night of food trucks wasn’t enough, we spent Sunday afternoon exploring downtown Alpharetta at Truck and Tap and Smokejack BBQ!

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Rooftop patio at Truck and Tap Alpharetta is makes for the perfect afternoon!

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Couldn’t resist trying the loaded tots from Cousins Maine Lobster truck

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Beer and food truck options change every day at Truck & Tap Alpharetta

We continued our food tour of Alpharetta by heading to Smokejack BBQ in downtown Alpharetta.

Queso at Smokejack BBQ

Fried pickles and spicy mayo sauce from Smokejack BBQ

We definitely recommend checking out some of the local food trucks! With so many unique offers you can’t find anywhere else, it’s a great place to go to try something new.

Follow along with all of our adventures on Instagram at www.instagram.com/thelocalbells

Barnsley Gardens Adventure

Well, we took our own advice for a great springtime date! This past Saturday was the perfect spring day, so we decided to take a drive up to Adairsville to visit Barnsley Gardens and enjoy the beautiful weather! From Alpharetta, it’s about an hour and twenty minute drive, so we were ready for lunch when arrived at the Woodlands Grill. The menu changes seasonally, so you always feel like you are getting the freshest choices. After lunch, we took time relax and enjoy the beautiful day before exploring more.

Although it’s not far from home, the Barnsley Resort transports you to a place far away. Once home to a gorgeous Southern estate, the resort still pays homage to its history with the focal point being on the ruins of Godfrey Barnsley’s Manor House and antebellum Rice House. The resort is comprised of quaint, colorful cabins that remind you of a tiny European village and line the main pathway between the golf course up to the ruins of the Manor House.

We hadn’t visited the resort in a few years, and they have added some many amazing new features. The newest additions include the 55 room Inn and the Georgian Hall event center. With horseback riding, a gorgeous spa, Jim Fazio golf course, and a sporting club, there really is something for everyone! And on top of the newest architectural additions, they’ve also added some new animals as well!

The highlight of the trip for Grant was getting to meet the pigs (and horses and goats) of Barnsley. Grant’s dream is for us to one day have our own pet pig…I think we’ll start with a dog before anything else!

Feeling like taking an escape from the city? Check out Barnsley’s website to book your next trip. We know we’ll be back soon – next time for some horseback riding!

Follow along with us on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/TheLocalBells to see what we’re up to next!

Top Springtime Dates

It is finally starting to feel like spring in Georgia! Fingers crossed that the beautiful weather stays and we get to enjoy more of these warm and sunny days. With the days getting longer, we’re excited to enjoy some of our favorite outdoor places and events in the coming weeks. Here are some of the springtime date activities that we are looking forward to most.

Zoo Atlanta – Who doesn’t love the zoo? We love getting to learn more about all of the amazing animals at Zoo Atlanta and typically try to go at least once a year. Spring is great before it gets too hot and humid during the summer months. If the heat and crowds aren’t for you, they have a lot of awesome evening events throughout the year, like Sippin’ Safari and Brew at the Zoo (coming up Memorial Day weekend!).IMG_1409

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Taste of Alpharetta – It’s been awhile since we’ve gone to this, but we are making plans to attend this year with it being walking distance away for us! On Thursday May 3rd, downtown Alpharetta shuts down for over 60 local restaurants to set up booths offering small plates and drinks of some of their most popular menu items. You can purchase tickets for the food and drink items, and it’s a great way to try a taste of so many great restaurants. Plus, there will be live music throughout the evening!IMG_2100

Barnsley Gardens – If you want an escape from the hustle and bustle, a trip to Barnsley Gardens in Adairsville may be just what you need. From their beautiful pre Civil War manor house ruins to their championship golf course to their gorgeous new Inn, it’s the perfect weekend or day trip from Atlanta! The Woodland’s Grill and Beer Garden are perfect to enjoy the nice weather and they have several walking trails if a picnic is more your style.

What are your favorite springtime dates that we should add to our list this year? Follow along with us on Instagram at www.instagram.com/thelocalbells

Homemade Croque Madame

Having tried Croque Madame sandwiches in both France and the Be Our Guest restaurant at Disney World, we know that this is one of our favorite savory sandwiches! Awhile back, we decided to see how difficult it would be to make them at home. The recipe turned out to be surprisingly easy, with tracking down Gruyere cheese being the most challenging part! A few weeks ago, we were trying to figure out what to make for breakfast and realized we were inching closer and closer to lunch – the perfect opportunity to whip up some Croque Madames!

Most of the ingredients are ones you probably already have on hand in your kitchen: butter, flour, milk, salt, and eggs. The only other ingredients are Parmesan and Gruyere cheese, thick cut sourdough bread, and sliced ham.

You start off by making the bechamel sauce with the flour, milk, butter, and Parmesan cheese.

While that is finishing, you can start grating your Gruyere cheese and begin prepping your bread on a cookie sheet with ham.

Spread half of the bechamel sauce on top of the ham with half of the Gruyere before adding another slice of bread.

Next step is to toast the bread on a skillet until it is toasted on each side before topping the sandwiches with the remaining bechamel and Gruyere.

The sandwiches go into the oven on broil to melt the cheese and give it a golden brown toast while you finish off the sandwich by frying eggs. We were extra hungry so we did two per sandwich, but one is what the traditional recipe calls for.

Once you pull the sandwiches out of the oven and top them with the fried eggs, it’s time to dig in! One of our favorite brunch items that looks and sounds way more impressive than anyone would guess! Bon Appetit!

To see the full recipe we use, check out: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alexandra-guarnaschelli/croque-madame-sandwich-recipe-1922870

Follow along with us on Instagram to see what we are up to next: www.Instagram.com/TheLocalBells

5 Reasons Why You Should Study Abroad

10 years ago, Grant and I signed up for our school’s spring break European studies trip to Greece and Italy. Fast forward to now, and we are married! Had it not been for that trip, we would have never met and been where we are now. Since that first trip, Grant had the opportunity to go on another European studies trip to Paris, London, and Rome in high school, while I spent 11 weeks traveling and studying in Europe during college. All incredible experiences that we wouldn’t trade for the world! Thinking about studying abroad? Read our 5 reasons why you should definitely take that leap and experience other places.IMG_2670

5. Opportunity to see so many incredible places, often that are planned for you. During all of our study abroad adventures, we were part of a larger group that traveled together over the course of the trip. When it comes to getting reservations at museums like the Louvre or the Vatican, going with a tour group is awesome for getting priority. Traveling to a new country can seem daunting at first, so it was really nice to have a group of people that were in the same boat with you. As you get more familiar with the area, not only do you feel more confident in planning your own excursions during downtime, but you have people to enjoy it with you! Between the two of us, we’ve been to Italy, France, Greece, Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, England, Austria, and Africa.

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The Vatican Museum

4. Experience new cultures, history, and food that is completely different than life back home. When you think about the fact that the United States was formed back in 1776, we really don’t have the rich history, architecture, and culture that you find in most any city in Europe. The Roman Forum dates back to 800 BC by some accounts and many of the original arches, buildings, and ruins are still standing today. It’s absolutely amazing to see these incredible sites that had stood the test of time. While we love to visit the typical tourist attractions like the Colosseum or Eiffel Tower, getting local recommendations on where to get the best gelato or margarita pizza really allow you to see the authentic culture.

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Palace of Versailles in France

3. Learn more about yourself by honing real life skills like having to manage a budget, navigating new cities, and being independent. During my high school study abroad, we had multiple chaperones (thanks, Mom & Dad!) and teachers that did most of the planning and money management. When I studied abroad in college, a lot of that quickly became my own responsibility. Knowing that I had a set budget for the entire summer, I had to figure out my budget by city and how I wanted to allocate it. When gelato and having to use the bathroom cost the same (yes, Europe still charges to use public restrooms in most places!), you have to make that tough call.

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View of Florence from Michelangelo’s Hill

2. You likely won’t ever have the time to travel and experience this much of the world. Now, several years out of college, it’s harder and harder to take time off and budget for long trips out of the country. You don’t realize how precious your time is, and there is no better time to travel and experience the world than when you are young and have limited responsibilities. A lot of college programs also have financial aid options and scholarships for study abroad, which was how I was able to spend those 11 weeks abroad. I had known since high school that I wanted to do this particular program, so I started researching financial aid and scholarship options so that I was prepared. As working adults, we just don’t have the vacation time to travel like we used too, and with international flights costing $1,500+, it’s hard to convince yourself that a 5 day trip would be worth it.

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Mykonos, Greece

1. You never know who you might meet! Grant and I met back in 2008 in Greece and Italy, and my sister actually met her now husband during our study abroad trip to Europe in 2012. For both of those trips, I really didn’t know many people. When you are thrown into a whirlwind adventure, you start making connections with people you might have never met before. It was a great opportunity to build new relationships outside of our friend group. And for some of these friendships and relationships, they have proved to be lifelong.

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Study Abroad 2008

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Study Abroad 2012

So, have we convinced you to consider studying abroad? What is on your list of “must visit” locations? And if anyone comes up with an “working adult” version of study abroad, sign us up!

Follow along on Instagram at www.instagram.com/thelocalbells

“Would You Rather” – The Local Bells Edition

Want to get to know us better? See our answers to some completely random, somewhat difficult “Would You Rather” questions!

Would you rather be completely invisible for one day or be able to fly for one day?

M: Flying for sure! I don’t really see a reason why I would want to be invisible, and it would be incredible to be able to fly! Maybe I’d finally get over my fear of heights too!

G: I would for sure fly for one day, I’ve always hated sitting in traffic.

Would you rather unlimited sushi or unlimited tacos for life?

M: Definitely sushi, especially if it was free! There are so many awesome combinations of fish, so I feel like it would be hard to get sick of it too quickly. Don’t get me wrong – tacos are delicious too, but long term I feel like it would be the healthier option to go with the sushi.

G: Tacos. No question about it. There are so many different thing you can put into a taco and always change it up.

Would you rather get one free international round trip plane ticket every year or be able to fly domestic anytime free?

M: Hmmm…this is a tough one. I think I would choose the one where I could fly domestic free anytime so that I could visit more places. But there are also so many international places I want to visit! With my current work vacation time in mind, the international option might be the best option, but with unlimited vacation time, the domestic option wins for sure.

G: I would have to go with fly domestic anytime for free. I feel I would venture to a lot more new places and it would fit into my normal life schedule pretty easily with being able to take trips on the weekends.

Would you rather have all green traffic lights as you approach or never have to wait in line again?

M: As much as I hate traffic and red lights, I have to go with never having to wait in lines again solely thinking about our love for theme parks. If we had perpetual Fast Passes for Space Mountain and never had to wait in line at Starbucks again, that would be absolutely amazing! Where can I sign up?

G: Easy, ever wait in line again. Being able to walk right on to the Hulk at Islands of Adventure or go straight to the front of the long concession line at football games would be an incredible advantage.

Would you rather talk like Yoda or breathe like Darth Vadar?

M: I feel like there is really one right answer for this one – talk like an incredible Jedi Master or sound like you are breathing through a scuba regulator every minute? Speak like Yoda I must choose.

G: Considering Yoda is one of the best characters in the whole franchise? Yoda for sure!

How would you answer these tough questions? Share with us in the comments! Be sure to follow along with us on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/thelocalbells

Sushi Making Class – Everything You Need to Know

Meagan here to tell you all about our awesome sushi making experience at the Cooking School at Irwin Street! Grant gave me the class as a Christmas present, and we finally had the opportunity to book a class. One of our goals as a couple in 2018 was to cook at home and together as much as possible. We’ve made pretty good on that so far, though we sometimes get in a rut of making the same things every week. We were really excited to try something new at cooking class and settled on sushi making – something neither of us have done before. But since we love eating sushi, we figured it would be the perfect class for us!

Living in Alpharetta, we typically only venture ITP for work or special events. We quickly remembered why we love suburbia life when there was no parking at the cooking school and Grant had to put his parallel parking skills into action. Luckily, it turned out to be a nice day, so the short walk wasn’t bad. The Cooking School at Irwin Street is located in the Irwin Street Market, right down the street to Krog Street Market and the Beltline.

We waited in the market for class to begin, then were brought back to the kitchen by Chef Mihoko. Other than us, there were only another 9 people, which made it great to follow along with the Chef’s instructions and ask questions along the way. Each pair was given their own station complete with all the prepped ingredients. We had sushi rice, nori (seaweed), fresh salmon, crab, shrimp, avocado, peppers, cucumber, and asparagus.

The Chef showed us first how to make the “inside out roll” with the rice on the outside, as opposed to the traditional method with the nori outside. We started by placing our nori on the bamboo mat (covered in plastic wrap to prevent any sticking), then spreading a thin layer of rice across it. TLB Tip: Make sure to dip your fingers in water before ever touching the sushi rice – this is very sticky rice and you’ll end up with more of it stuck to your hands then to the nori! Once you get an even layer of rice, you flip the nori and rice layer over and can start adding your fresh ingredients for the center of your roll.

After placing the ingredients about an inch away from the edge, then slowly rolling it up with the bamboo mat. Once it’s completely rolled, you use the bamboo mat to squeeze it a little more to make sure everything is locked in. Then voila! You have a perfect California roll!

Once we made our California rolls, we had the chance to do whatever we wanted. The whole process is fun and relatively easy once you get the hang of it! You do realize that less rice is more – it goes a lot further than you think. Grant and I each made our second roll, then realized we didn’t have much rice left to do anymore. Luckily, the wonderful Chef shared some of her rice (and salmon) with us so we could make one more!

From instruction to eating, the class took less than an hour and a half. We had no idea how simple it was to make your own sushi and it was delicious when we got to enjoy our own creations! TLB Tip: Most classes are BYOB (with the exception of their knife skills classes), so it would be the perfect date night or activity with a group of friends.

After class ended, the ice cream shop that shares space with the cooking school gave everyone a free scoop of ice cream! Needless to say, we were absolutely stuffed afterwards! We ended our adventure with a short walk down the Beltline, mainly looking for cute puppies.

We are really excited to put our new skills to the test! Next stop for us will be the Buford Farmers Market or H Mart to get all of our sushi making ingredients. We would highly recommend the Cooking School at Irwin Street and will be keeping an eye on their future classes. TLB Tip: They sometimes offer a Groupon which can be a substantial savings! However, classes book up quickly and not all are eligible for the Groupon offer. (New to Groupon? Sign up here!)

Hope you all check out the classes they offer on their website: https://www.irwinstreetcooks.com/ We had an awesome time, and you realize how fun it is to try something completely new. When was the last time you did something for the first time?

Keep following along with us on Instagram at Instagram.com/thelocalbells

Top 5 Best Eats & Drinks – Park City Adventures (Part 3)

When we weren’t skiing, we were eating our way through some of the best food and drinks Park City has to offer! Here are our top 5 places for food and drinks in Park City:

5. The Spur Bar & Grill – Our first afternoon in Park City, we dropped our stuff at the Airbnb and headed to check out downtown Park City on Main Street. There are so many options for any occasion of the day on Main Street, and we spent about 30 minutes just taking note of some of the restaurants and menus that we wanted to come back to. Once the snow started to pick up, we decided to take a quick break and grab a drink at The Spur Bar & Grill. We said cheers to a great start to our vacation at the upstairs bar, and got a peek of their outdoor patio for the nicer days. While we just had a drink, they looked to have a great menu and have live music several times per week.

4. High West Distillery – We had heard a lot of recommendations for High West and even tried to go our first day in Park City but it was so packed! We finally got a chance to stop by our our last night before dinner to see what all the buzz was about. A local watering hole for locals and skiers to unwind after a cold day on the slopes, High West transforms their outside patio area into the perfect afternoon social hotspot. With the fire going, hot cider and whisky flowing, it was the best spot to still enjoy the beautiful crisp air while staying warm. We tried the American Prairie Bourbon and their signature hot cider. Next time we are here, we definitely want to check our their tour and tastings to really understand the history of High West.

3. Blue Iguana – We love a good Mexican restaurant, and with as funny of a name as Blue Iguana, we couldn’t pass it up! With a vibrantly colorful atmosphere, we reminisced about our wonderful honeymoon in Mexico. The Blue Iguana featured a salsa bar with 6 different all you can eat salsa varieties. TLB tip: Chips refills are not free here (Whattttt??). Blue Iguana charges $2 for a chip refill, so we sparingly ate our chips so we didn’t run out! No additional chips were provided with guacamole either. Despite having to ration our chip supply, we both left full after our delicious dinner. We started off with margaritas (we recommend the frozen over the on-the-rocks version) and the signature guacamole, which was so fresh and a surprisingly a good portion size. Meagan had the chicken quesadilla and Grant had the enchiladas with rice and beans. While it is a Mexican restaurant, it was a bit pricier than our usual La Parilla visits, so be prepared to tack on a few extra dollars for each entree if you stop in.

Tied 1. Buona Vita – As much as we love Mexican, we equally love delicious Italian food! We had an incredible meal at Buona Vita after our first day of skiing. Since we had another day of skiing, we figured why not carbo-load?? The intimate and authentic atmosphere of Buona Vita was surpassed only by the rich, delicious flavors of their food. We had a romantic table for two right by their stone fireplace and started off our meal with a great Italian bottle of wine and the appetizer special of the night – garlic bread. We typically go for a salad appetizer, but we couldn’t resist the bread once we caught a whiff of the garlic! Meagan decided on their mushroom ravioli while Grant went with the tried and true Chicken Parmesan. Both dishes were amazing, and it looked like you couldn’t go wrong based on the empty plates at other tables. We highly recommend Buona Vita for the Italian foodies, couples looking for a romantic evening, or for anyone craving warm, comfort food. Entrees range from about $18-$30+, so plan to take your time and enjoy your meal to get the best experience.

Tied 1. Butcher’s Chophouse – Tied with Buona Vita, Butcher’s Chophouse was a completely different atmosphere and food, but equally as delicious. With it being our final night in Park City, we wanted to relax and enjoy a leisurely dinner. To “cheers” a successful first post-honeymoon trip, we started with some of the signature cocktails – Blackberry Bramble for Grant, and Bubbly Bee’s Knees for Meagan. Now we just need to learn how to make them at home! For our appetizer, we went with the Mazza Plate – a perfect sampler platter of hummus, pita bread, roasted red peppers and tomatoes, goat cheese, and olives, all drizzled with a balsamic glaze. With a huge amount of food, we definitely felt we got the best bang for our buck with this $14 appetizer!

Butcher’s is known for it’s fantastic cuts of meat and fresh seafood options, so it was a difficult choice to decide our entrees. Meagan went with the Butcher’s Signature Chop Chop Salad, and Grant ended up going with the 16 oz. Prime Rib, asparagus, and jalapeno bacon mac. It was the perfect way to cap off our trip!

Bonus: Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory – It wouldn’t be a vacation without a few sweet treats! We found some great chocolates and truffles on Main Street at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. $15 worth of yummy chocolates later, and we were ready to stock up on even more before we left town! TLB Tip: If you don’t get a chance to stop in at the Park City location, RMCF is a national brand that has locations all over the world! 

Curious about other parts of our Park City trip? Check out our tips for snow activities here and our awesome accommodations here.

Follow along on Instagram at www.instagram.com/thelocalbells

Do You Want to Build a Snowman? Or Ski? Or Snowmobile? – Adventures in Park City (Part 2)

When you think Park City, one of the first things that come to mind is their world-class skiing. Park City is home to Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort, the annual Sundance Film Festival, and was also the site for the 2002 Winter Olympics. The ski season typically ranges from November until April, though can sometimes extend into June if they have an awesome snow season. This year was a late start for snow – a lot of locals told us if we had come a month prior, there wouldn’t have been much snow at all!

So when you are in a city known for its amazing snow and skiing, you make it a point to see what all the hype is about! We decided that we would ski at Park City Mountain, as it offered the most extensive options for ski lifts and runs, particularly for beginners. Meagan skied growing up, but it had been about 12 years since she had hit the slopes. Grant had never skied before (he had tried snowboarding once), so we knew we needed to start slow. TLB Tip: We did some research online and found we’d get the best deal on lift tickets by purchasing directly through Park City Mountain at least a week in advance. We were a little taken aback by how expensive the tickets were – over $400 for two people skiing on Friday and Saturday, so definitely keep that in mind during your ski trip planning. The tickets were mailed to us before our trip, so we didn’t have to wait in the super long lift ticket line once we arrived, which was a huge plus. The passes ordered ahead of time look a lot like a credit card. You stick it in any of your jacket pockets and the Park City Mountain staff is able to scan it right through your jacket before you get on the lifts.

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Before we could hit the slopes, we stopped by the Ski’N’See rental shop in the Prospector lobby to rent our ski equipment. TLB Tip: We made a reservation for our equipment in advance and ended up saving about 25%! Two days of rentals including boots, skis, poles, and helmets ran us just under $200 total. Luckily, we were able to raid Meagan’s family’s ski bag and borrow some of the other winter weather essentials like goggles, gloves, and hats.

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Friday morning, we hit the road at 8 AM to get to Park City Mountain before it opened at 9 AM. Again, the Park City Transit bus system was a super convenient (and free!) way to get us to the mountain, with the only disadvantage being having to carry all of our ski equipment with us there and back. Once we got there and the lifts officially opened for the day, we popped our skis on and made our way to the aptly named “First Time” lift for our first run of the trip (and first time ever for Grant!). Luckily, we made it on and off the chairlift successfully! We spent the rest of the morning continuing down the “First Time” run to get more comfortable and confident before heading up the “Payday” lift to a longer green run, starting about halfway up the mountain.

This new run, “Homerun,” is a 3.5 mile long green run that takes you down the mountain right back to the resort center. Meagan isn’t a huge fan of the chairlift (thanks, fear of heights), so this was a great long run before having to head back to the lifts. Both Friday and Saturday, we stuck with the green runs, not quite ready to make the jump to blues. It was a little windy out too, but luckily temperatures stayed in the 30’s so we really weren’t that cold. Despite not getting any fresh powder, the runs were groomed beautifully and the ground snow conditions were still pretty good for us novice skiers. The picture below perfectly captures how we navigated the mountain!

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All in all, it was a successful two days of skiing! You do forget how physically demanding it is to ski all day, so it’s likely we would stick to 2 or 3 days in the future (or shorter days). A big success was no injuries on either side (luckily the snow was soft for the few tumbles that happened). Unfortunately, we forgot to have our snowball fight and didn’t build a snowman – but that gives us something to look forward to next time!

If skiing isn’t for you, Park City has a ton of other snow activity options including snowmobiling, snowshoeing, or sleigh rides. Meagan had the chance to go snowmobiling earlier in the week before Grant arrived. If you’ve ridden a Jet-ski before, snowmobiling is very similar. Meagan went to Red Pine Adventures for a 2 hour guided tour that took the group on trails up and down the mountain, getting as high as 10,000 feet. The views were stunning and if you have a need for speed, then this activity is right up your alley!

Stay tuned for our final post on the best eats and drinks in Park City. Follow along with us on Instagram at www.instagram.com/thelocalbells