Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

IMG_1352.jpgPardon me while I revisit one of my favorite memories and share it for the first time here with you.  Last summer, we travelled to the Methow Valley in Eastern Washington, just the three of us (well, Rigby was technically with us, but we didn’t know that for most of the trip).  It was a trip that we all needed, one that allowed us to recharge and to just be with each other in a stunning landscape.


We rented a two bedroom cabin from River’s Edge Resort in Winthrop.  The cabin overlooked the Chewuch River and had a hot tub on the back deck which Jack could not get enough of.  David enjoyed sneaking out early in the mornings to start his day with fly fishing in our backyard.  And, the deer were abundant on the property.  They not only played in the river, they walked right up to the cabin porches to say hello.


Some of the trip’s highlights were going to the Methow Valley Rodeo, fishing and stand-up paddle boarding on Patterson Lake at Sun Mountain Lodge, walking along the main street in the town of Winthrop, enjoying food, beer, and live music at Old Schoolhouse Brewery, playing putt putt golf, and eating delicious food from The Mazama Store.  But, of course, the one thing I will always remember from the trip is finding out that we were expecting a baby!IMG_9156IMG_1400.JPG





If you are local to Washington, I highly recommend a trip to the Methow Valley.  I am hopeful to go again!


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I first discovered Sleeping Lady Resort when Jack and I joined David for his general surgery retreat during his first year of post-graduate training. It is a blissful place tucked into the Cascade Mountains along the Icicle River, just outside of Leavenworth, just a few hours from Seattle. The serenity is amazing, but the thing that stood out the most during our visit was the amazing food being served at the resort. Many of the room packages include a buffet-style breakfast and dinner at the resort’s Kingfisher Restaurant and, while I am not typically too excited for buffets, I was wowed by the amazing quality and attention placed on the food here.  On the resort property is a two acre organic garden where much of the produce and herbs used in the resort’s restaurants are grown.  The farmers use both natural fertilizers, crop rotation, and environmentally beneficial insects like bees and ladybugs to maintain a healthy and sustainable garden.  And, it is quite clear from observing the daily work in the garden and talking with staff about it, that it is quite the pride of Sleeping Lady.  The culinary team visits the garden daily to harvest fresh ingredients and to plan for the resort’s daily changing menus.IMG_0691IMG_0741IMG_0718

When I was graciously presented with the opportunity to attend the late summer Harvest Dinner in Sleeping Lady’s organic garden, I, understandably, jumped at the chance!  Not only do I respect the work of Sleeping Lady’s culinary team, I’ve always wanted to dine at an outdoor farm dinner like the beautiful ones hosted by Outstanding in the Field. The Harvest Dinner seemed like a perfect way to have the experience of dining in celebration of the chef, the farmer, and the land, yet without the tremendous cost.

This past Saturday, David and I enjoyed a beautiful evening and delicious meal. Rigby tagged along and not only garnered much attention for his cute babyness, but also behaved well, which allowed us to really enjoy our food. Before we even tasted the first bite, our evening started with the introduction to our delightful dining companions, Lori Vandenbrink, the Director of Sales and Marketing for Sleeping Lady, and her husband, Patrick. We instantly connected with Lori and Patrick and their company certainly made our dining experience that much more enjoyable. Lori and Patrick’s sweet son looked after Jack during the meal, making Jack’s night also very enjoyable. The funniest part of the evening was when one of the staff members politely interrupted our conversation to say that the boys were calling requesting the password to David’s iPad so that they could watch their promised movie! This made us feel like Sleeping Lady is truly a special community, one in which we were happily connected to for the night.IMG_0689IMG_0765


Settling into our seats at the end of a long table adorned simply with a white tablecloth, a burlap table runner and dotted with lanterns and colorful flowers from the garden, we enjoyed our beers and savored the perfect temperature as the sun dropped behind the mountains. On cue, the overhead garden bulb lights turned on, casting a beautiful glow as the feast began.

The first course consisted of three salads served family style and was, perhaps, my favorite course of the evening. The flavors were all so fresh and each bite a surprising burst of summer that seemed to explode in your mouth.  I particularly loved the nuttiness of the faro from Bluebird Grain Farms that was combined so perfectly with sweet corn, perfect tomatoes, humble wax beans, and a delicious yet subtle coriander vinaigrette. Each bite was chewy and nutty and tasted like summer food should.  As we were eating the salads, Lori looked at her plate and said, “I wondered how Josh (the executive chef of Sleeping Lady) was going to use the wax beans that I bought for him at the farmers market.” I loved that the dinner was truly a combined effort of the special communities of Sleeping Lady and Leavenworth.  The other thing I have to mention about this course is the cucumber and radish salad. I normally am not a cucumber fan, but I could not stop taking bites of these cucumbers, which were so refreshing and crunchy and when I was lucky enough to get a piece of the garden grown mint on my fork, my taste buds delighted. So, so good.

The entrees were served buffet style which gave me the opportunity, while at the food table, to introduce myself to the executive chef, Joshua Holmes.  He’s a down to earth guy and we connected over our southern pasts, particularly our connection to Atlanta.  It was clear from his menu and from hearing him speak that he is passionate about using the produce and herbs from Sleeping Lady’s garden in his food.  He also mentioned how excited he is for the opportunity to get out of the kitchen occasionally and to do events like this one which are more closely married to the source of the food.

There were two particular highlights of the entree course. The first was the braised and smoked country pork rack.  In the best way, it tasted like a deliciously fatty campfire.  Really, it was so perfectly smoked, so tender, so delicious. And, perhaps the most surprising dish of the night was the grilled eggplant with chimichurri. It was truly outstanding and tasted nothing like the eggplant I’ve attempted to grill at home. IMG_0760 IMG_0723IMG_0817


Dinner closed with a vast spread of mini deserts and coffee from Grounds for Change.  I loved the creamy caramel flavors of the creme brûlée, but what I was most taken with was the dessert I least wanted to taste…the pumpkin pie. I was not feeling ready to embrace the flavors of fall, but after tasting this pumpkin pie, I’m now feeling ready for the foods of this next season, particularly if they can taste even half that good. I cannot stop thinking about it! The crust was perfectly buttery and the pumpkin was rich, yet light, and tasted perfectly of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Sleeping Lady hosts Harvest Dinners a few times annually.  If you get the chance, you should really go.  I’m hoping for an opportunity to return this winter to try a meal at O’Grady’s, their newest full service restaurant where I hear the burgers are a big hit!

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Wishing everyone a peaceful end to 2014 and a joyful start to the New Year! I hope the upcoming year holds as much fun as we had playing in the snow! If so, 2015 is going to be a good one!













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Any time we drive north, through the gorgeous Skagit Valley, we make a mandatory stop at Snow Goose Produce for some of the best, and definitely the biggest, ice cream around!

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It’s hard to believe that Jack and I have been home from our Pensacola trip for nearly three weeks now! My, oh, my, really where does the time go?! I just finished uploading and editing the photos from our two week vacation and, to no one’s surprise, there are quite a few pictures despite my best attempt at choosing only the best to include. There are also moments missing from these photos that I wish I had captured (like more with my parents, David’s parents, Mimi, and Martha…)- I guess we will have to make another trip there again soon!
Anyway, here are some of the highlights:

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We spent the first part of the trip at my parent’s house playing outside, going to the Naval Aviation Mueseum, discovering all of the fun, new food trucks and restaurants Pensacola now boasts, and pretending to swim in the pool (it was still quite chilly in the water).






Easter was celebrated with a very early visit from the Easter Bunny, sunrise service, a large family lunch, and an egg hunt, before we headed out to the beach condo for our second week there.



















At the beach, we played in the sand, collected shells, found hermit crabs, swam in the Gulf water (!!!), took beach walks, flew the dragon kite, woke up doing barefoot beach runs with Jessica that included quite a few stops for shell hunting, and ended our day with the gorgeous sunset. We also shared plenty of laughs, like good families do. The story of Martha, Jessica, and my parents adventure at Red Bones in TN was hilarious! And, sorry for the inside joke, but Dad, so happy you got to have your bread pudding!



One day, a great friend took us on a boat tour of the area. This was one of my favorite parts of the vacation. There is something so magical about viewing the land you know from the water. And, to be boat riding while holding Jack’s hand, well, that’s even better!










Another highlight of our trip was Jacquelyn and Landon’s wedding! It was so gorgeous in the backyard bayou home of my aunt and uncle and, it’s always a great time having the whole family together to celebrate! Jack, per typical wedding behavior, danced his little booty off, even stealing a dance with the bride. After dancing for about four hours non-stop and telling us from the dance floor that when we get back to the condo, we are going to have another dance party (!), he passed out in my sister’s arms on the dock! Reminded me of a drunk and fun loving adult trapped in a four year old body! When we got home, Dad made us all (aside from sleeping Jack) a midnight breakfast of sausage and egg biscuits! The best!


It was hard to leave such a comfortable place and loving family, but good to get back to David! Pensacola, you are in my blood and bones, we will be back soon! xxo

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Cheers to a fun and picture-worthy 2013! May 2014 be filled with people you love and unimaginable adventures!

Happy New Year! xxo!

PS I posted a similar (shorter) video on Instagram a few days ago…maybe you saw it there; if not, follow me over there!: stephaniebrowngoat.

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It’s difficult to find words to describe the elation and comfort of being surrounded by family. There’s even greater elation and, thus, a greater challenge in describing the feeling, when surrounded by said family whom normally reside over 2400 miles away!



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We felt lucky. I know that much for sure. Spending our weekend in a beautiful cabin rented by Dad in Cle Elum, playing at Suncadia Resort’s Harvest Festival, running through the mountain trails, soaking in the sunshine and the views, and enjoying drinks and good times.








I love each of these people. So happy that I can call them mine…and, over the moon that they came to visit! Thank you Aunt Diane, Uncle Wayne, Martha, Jessica, Mom, and Dad for a fantastic Autumn weekend!

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