About Cheryl Lock
Cheryl Lock is a former magazine, newspaper and website editor turned full-time freelance writer. She has worked on staff at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, More and Parents magazines, as well as for Learnvest, the leading women's financial website. Her work has also appeared in Newsweek, Forbes, Ladies' Home Journal, the Huffington Post, AOL Travel and more.
Cheryl was born in Nuremberg, Germany and grew up moving around every few years as an Army brat. The urge to travel has been with her her whole life. While she calls New York City home, Cheryl makes it a priority to travel as much as possible throughout the year. Some of her favorite places include Iceland, the Great Barrier Beef, Cabo, Rome, Calabria and Munich, although she hopes to never stop exploring. Cheryl blogs about her travel adventures (and what's happening in and around New York City) at Weary Wanderer.
Latest Posts by Cheryl Lock
A blurry view of the snowy trees whizzing by on our way up to the mountains in December where we stayed at The Pines Condominiums in Keystone. The condo was splendid, with a fireplace, gorgeous mountain views from every window and a full kitchen with everything we needed to make a delicious holiday dinner.
Our dining room looking into what we came to affectionately refer to as our “Christmas nook”.
Spending a weekend in New Orleans was great starting with Buzz Nola bike tour that took us into some really gorgeous parts of the city that we hadn’t seen yet. We stopped at P.J’s for coffee first (because we saw locals drinking there so figured why not) and then met up with our tour, which covered:
- The French Quarter: Where we learned about the city’s founding in 1718, the architecture, Jackson Square and the history of the French Market.
- Esplanade Ave.: A historic oak-lined boulevard where the Creole elite live.
- Faubourg Treme: A centuries old neighborhood, home to artists, musicians and history makers.
- Louis Armstrong Park & Congo Square: The heart of New Orleans’ jazz tradition (and where the jazz festival was being held that we stopped by the day before).
- Lafayette Cemetery No. 1: One of the many above ground cemeteries in New Orleans, where we learned about the tradition of interment and New Orleans’ funeral traditions.
- The Lower Garden District: Where the original city of Lafayette, LA begins. Americans were the first to begin building their homes here when the they weren’t welcome in the areas where the French were already living.
- The Mansions of the Garden District: Gorgeous homes abound in this area, and many architectural trends influenced the whole neighborhood.
Here’s some of what we saw …
This is Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar, which has a really interesting history that you can read on their site. We came back here later Sunday night to grab some drinks.
Look at this beautiful mansion in the Garden District part of our tour. We saw Sandra Bullock’s house, the house where Eli and Peyton Manning grew up, John Goodman’s house, and a whole bunch of others.
Lafayette’s Cemetery. It’s a somber experience to be taking a tour through a cemetery, but just look at these gorgeous structures. It’s really a nice way to be remembered.
This sign was across the street from our hotel, and it made me laugh when I first saw it…
Sazeracs at Dominica in the Roosevelt hotel for happy hour before heading out on the town.
Hurricane’s at Lafitte’s on Sunday night before catching an Uber to dinner.
A very scary creepy statue of Jesus that projects onto a church in the French Quarter at night.
Dinner Sunday night was at Baccanal Wine, which is totally off the beaten path, and totally worth it! The first part of the store is a wine and cheese shop, then you can go and sit in the backyard under the twinkle lights, listen to live jazz and order drinks and food from the little window over there to the left. It has a really laid back, low-key, homey type of feel — exactly what we were hoping for on our last night.
Monday was our last day in New Orleans, and we were lucky that we had most of the day to hang out so of course we went back to Cafe Du Monde for breakfast, and this time we actually sat in the cafe.
We also walked over to Canal Street and caught the Streetcar back to the Garden District, where we would be having lunch at Commander’s Palace.
Streetcars are cute, except for when you want to ride them. Well the truth is they’re pretty unreliable in terms of timing (ours showed up about 10 minutes late and took about 20 minutes longer than we thought to get us to our destination). If you aren’t strapped for time, though, it’s a pretty fun way to ride around the city at least once.
Last weekend was a splendid, exploratory day for us in New Orleans. We decided to walk the distance to try brunch (which was actually more like lunch, by the time we got there) at Elizabeth’s, followed by a stroll along Crescent Park (the photo above) and a wander through the French Market, where we bought some really amazing art work and I got a new pair of sunglasses and a fun face mask (hey, when in New Orleans, right?!).
On our way back to our hotel, we were trying to find St. Louis Cemetery (which we did, although unfortunately it was closed for the day) and we stumbled across Basin St. Station (definitely worth a look on your way to the cemetery for information on the evolution of transportation in New Orleans) and the New Orleans Jazz and History Festival, which was really fun.
Here’s a visual journey through our day …
We don’t have a dog, but I need this sign!
Walking through the Marigny section of town to get to brunch.
My eggs florentine, which were good, but I definitely had food envy over Chris’s …
Crabby eggs (basically eggs florentine on top of crab cakes) and cheesy grits. Yum!
Walking along the Crescent Park pathway, which gives you some amazing views of the city, and pretty much brings you right up to the French Market.
These kids playing right near the French Market were so awesome, we just sat and listened to them for a good 15 minutes.
Another second line parade that happened along our path.
Basically there are brides and bridal parties everywhere you turn in New Orleans. And who can blame ’em … what a backdrop!
A bit of a view from the Jazz and History Festival.
You can’t help but love these guys, right? They aren’t even getting married — they’re just celebrating life.
After a quick rest back at the hotel, we headed back out onto the town for some food, live music and art. We had been hearing great things about the po boys at Verti Marte, so we obviously had to check it out, and they did not disappoint. If you can get past the super sketchy feel of this place (it’s basically a small convenient store with a deli at the back where you order), you’ll be impressed with their po boy options, and even more impressed with the taste. Plan to either get yours delivered or eat it out on the street while you people watch on your way to your next destination (which is what we did).
After dinner we tried to get into Three Muses, but they weren’t taking any more people for the night. This is supposed to be a really fun place for tapas and live music, so if you can make it work, I’d recommend trying it. Lucky for us, though, there was a fun bar about two doors down (30/90) which had good drinks and a live band. So we snuck in there for a while, then wandered around Frenchmen Street for a bit, including the Frenchmen Art Market, which was so romantic with its white string lights and tables and tables of local artists selling their wares.
Fall is a great time to visit Wyoming for a myriad of reasons. We visited Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole and Yellowstone National Park, all of which was amazing, breathtaking and incredible — and we probably wouldn’t have done it at all without the generous courtesy of Fireside Resorts, which invited me out to try out their Caboose Cabin rental in the town of Wilson, about 10 minutes from downtown Jackson.
Now, I’ve heard a lot about these “tiny” houses over the past few years, but to be honest I hadn’t paid a ton of attention because we have lived in cities where, for the most part, our living spaces have been what can only be described as small. Having said that, there is something altogether different about the likes of the small house that we were lucky enough to stay in through Fireside Resorts. These houses, while tiny, are not only beautiful and state-of-the-art, but the views simply couldn’t get any better.
Here’s a bit of what the inside looked like:
The master bedroom had a closed-off porch attached, which was right next to the grilling area and a babbling brook. Talk about idyllic!
The loft upstairs held two beds.
The next morning we were able to see what the view from our cabin truly was …
Ahh, tetons. I could stare at you all gosh darn day!
The brook next to our cabin.
Our first morning at the cabin was happily spent sipping coffee on the front porch, overlooking the Tetons, while planning our trip to the National Park that day.
When the keys to your rental come attached to a Swiss Army knife, you just know your stay is going to be bad-ass!
A side view of the house.
If you have ever considered renting a tiny home in lieu of a regular hotel in the past, now is the time to do it.
After settling into our amazing tiny Wyoming house earlier this month, we woke up bright and early the next morning, ready to tackle the awesome splendor that is Grand Teton National Park. Here’s how the day went:
We started with breakfast at a cute little bakery right in the downtown part of Jackson called Persephone, where we ordered coffees, breakfast sandwiches and scones to go. It was busy, but we didn’t have to wait too long, and the food was amazing, so I’d highly recommend checking this place out if you’re in town.
After grabbing breakfast, we headed across the street to an outdoor store and grabbed some bear spray.
A note about the bear spray, people — it’s expensive, but it makes all the difference in terms of comfort level when you’ll be hiking (or even just standing!) in areas where there has been heavy bear activity, like there has been this year in both the Tetons and Yellowstone. For example — we ended up seeing four bears in Yellowstone … but that’s a post for another day ;)
Anyway, after breakfast and bear spray, we started the drive out to the park. The road we originally wanted to take was actually closed down due to bear activity (see!), but no matter where you drive around the Tetons, you’re sure to see some amazing stuff.
Here’s what we got up to and saw:
^^ Jenny Lake
The views on our Hidden Falls hike.
Jenny Lake as seen from the Hidden Falls hike.
After our hike, we stopped off at Dornans to have some drinks overlooking the mountains.
It doesn’t get much more Wyoming than this.
On our way back to our tiny house, we stopped off at the grocery store to pick up some veggies and smores to grill and some wine to drink. Chris was dying to try out the outdoor grill that came with our tiny house, and I was dying to stare up at the stars all night long — so it worked out well for both of us!
We also decided to try out The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, right in downtown Jackson, which is about as cowboy/Midwest as you can possibly get. It’s definitely worth a stop-in for a drink if you’re in the area!
Grilling for dinner right next to our tiny house was a perfect way to end our day full o’ fun at the Grand Tetons!
After spending a full day with the Tetons, Chris and I packed up our belongings from our “Tiny House” in Wyoming and hopped back in the car to head over to Yellowstone National Park, where we would be spending the next couple of days.
A word first about where we slept — the Kings Inn Cody Hotel in Cody, Wyoming. While there’s a lot to love about this hotel (the eccentric decorations in the lobby and stairwell and the free continental breakfast come to mind), and the town of Cody appeared to be really adorable and quaint and quintessentially mid-western (although we didn’t really get to explore it), Cody is actually quite a distance from the park (about an hour after you make it out of the park, which can take a while depending where you are), so I’d recommend trying first to find somewhere closer, if that’s possible (which it wasn’t for us).
Oh, Yellowstone. where do I begin? There’s just so much to love. For starters, it’s important to recognize that it’s been an incredibly active animal season in Yellowstone this year, which is amazing and also a bit scary. There have been some pretty terrible bear encounters, and even a couple of bad bison encounters at some of the parks recently. So we took our bear spray with us again everywhere, tried to hike only when we were with other groups of people and made lots of noise whenever we were in bear territory … the last thing you want to do is come up on a bear and scare or surprise him. Luckily we were safe the entire time, but it’s important to be smart and stay vigilant every single time you visit a park with wildlife. These are wild animals … and no matter how tame and calm they may seem while you’re watching them from afar, things can change in an instant and you really need to stay on your toes.
There is no end to what you can see and do in Yellowstone!
^^ One of our first views upon entering the park — you see this and you just know it’s going to be awesome!
Our first animal sighting in Yellowstone — an elk!
Overlooking Old Faithful from our hike up Observation Point.
Old Faithful erupting! So cool.
Walking around all the different geysers in the Old Faithful area was amazing — they’re so gorgeous and unique.
Bison!! The first time we saw one we were like “Woah! Look at that Bison!” until we quickly realized that they are everywhere in the park!
Bear footprint! We saw this about 20 minutes before a black mama bear and her baby walked right up to our car as we were driving home. Chris and I spent about 10 seconds yelling at each other to “grab the camera! grab the flash flight!” before just sitting back and enjoying the sight. Ah, nature. Perfectly lovely, when you’re safe in your car and can watch from a distance ;)
There’s a coyote in this picture! The park was especially active with coyote and wolves around this time, too. Unfortunately we were about 5 minutes too late to catch the wolves on our last night, but we saw some amazing pictures from people who did get to see them!
See that big ole’ grizzly lumbering off to the right side of the photo? We were lucky enough to catch this sighting about 10 minutes after we got into the park.
The Mud Volcano — there are a bunch of different geysers to see around this part of the park, as well, definitely worth checking out!
The Lower Falls as seen from our ridiculously steep Uncle Tom’s Trail hike. You guys, this hike is absolutely worth it — if you’re feeling fit enough to do it. It’s definitely not a joke. Yellowstone is over 7000 ft. above sea level, which is pretty high, even for me, coming from Denver at 5280 ft. The hike itself covers a span of about 500 feet, and includes hundreds (I’m not exaggerating) of steps. If you take your time and acclimate before attempting this hike, it’s totally worth the view at the end, though. For those afraid of heights, the open metal stairs might pose a small problem, too. I’d recommend just holding onto the railing and looking straight ahead … not down!
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.
Stairs … and lots of ’em!
This mother and baby big-horn sheep were grazing right next to the side of the road, totally oblivious to the cars and people.
Views on our Trout Lake hike. This hike is gorgeous (as you can see from the above photo), and it’s relatively short to get to the lake, but it is steep, and it’s deep in bear country, so do not do this hike without bear spray and lots of other people to make noise!
Not sure where this skull came from, or what kind animal it is, but let’s just say it was a bit unnerving to come across it while walking around such a serene, beautiful lake!
Dipping our toes in Lamar River, where tons of people were fly fishing, which is so fun to watch!
The prong-horn antelope in this picture practically blend right in — can you see ’em?!
While the momma and baby bear was my favorite bear sighting, this was Chris’s. There’s a big ole’ grizzly in the middle of this photo (find him!), which some kind fellow watchers were nice enough to let us borrow their telescopes to see closer. He stayed in this field for hours, eating berries, chasing bison and just generally having a grand old time. It was really something to see.
Another prong-horn antelope.
This bison and a friend of his wandered super close to our group while we were watching out for the wolves on our last night in Yellowstone. I was a tad scared, to say the least, but no one else seemed to mind, and he did end up minding his own business. Still, it was definitely a bit closer than I normally like to get to wildlife, unless I’m in my car. (Makes for good pictures, though!)
There was a fire that had been started by lightening the whole time we were in the park, but it was far enough away that it didn’t pose any real threat to the visitors just yet. The park has a “let it burn” policy, actually, as this type of thing is nature’s way of rejuvenating the land.
Final, farewell Yellowstone photo — gosh darn you’re amazing!
On a recent weekend, Chris and I hopped in the car and drove out to Rocky Mountain National Park, a 415 square mile park that encompasses some of the most beautiful landscape I’ve seen yet in Colorado — and that’s really saying something.
To start, we decided to bite the bullet and purchase an America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass for $80. An individual car entrance for just one visit to Rocky Mountain National Park is $20, and there are so many great national parks to visit (Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Mount Rushmore), so it’s worth the cost and besides, you’re supporting America’s national parks.
Let’s talk a little bit about the Trail Ridge Road, which was the first thing we tackled on our visit! From their site:
Covering the 48 miles between Estes Park on the park’s east side and Grand Lake on the west, Trail Ridge Road more than lives up to its advanced billing. Eleven miles of this high highway travel above treeline, the elevation near 11,500 feet where the park’s evergreen forests come to a halt. As it winds across the tundra’s vastness to its high point at 12,183 feet elevation, Trail Ridge Road (U.S. 34) offers visitors thrilling views, wildlife sightings and spectacular alpine wildflower exhibitions, all from the comfort of their car.
The drive up to the visitor’s center is absolutely stunning, with plenty of places to pull off along the side of the road and gawk. If you’re lucky — like we were — you might even see tons of animals, like deer, marmot, groundhogs, squirrels and chipmunks and, our all-time favorite, the bighorn sheep.
Bighorn sheep! And if you look very closely, you can see a little groundhog trailing him …
While the views are unlike any you’ll find anywhere else, you will need to pay attention to signs of altitude sickness. At over 12,000 feet in spots, I definitely wouldn’t recommend taking visitors here on their first day in Colorado. You’ll need to give yourself time to acclimate to the higher altitude, drink plenty of water and take things slowwwww. There’s no shame in taking your time on hikes around here — no one wants to have to deal with the effects of altitude sickness … blech!
Oh and one other word of wise — wear pants and bring a coat! Chris and I were total rookies and didn’t even think about the fact that high altitude brings chilly weather (we’re talking 50s and low 60s here, people), so we were forced to buy sweaters from the visitors center just to be able to make it through the rest of the day!
We took a couple of hours to see everything we wanted along the ride (I would recommend driving all the way up to the visitor’s center first, checking that out and doing the short little hike near the center, then driving back down to make your stops), and we even pulled over at one particularly gorgeous spot to stop and have some lunch we had packed. After we headed over to the super simple Bear Lake hike, which is only a .6 mile loops with no incline.
We were going to attempt the Alberta Falls 1.2 mile hike, as well, but at that point we were getting a bit tired and felt like we had jam packed a lot into our first ever trip to Rocky Mountain National Park.
But don’t worry, Alberta Falls — now that we’ve got our annual pass, we’ll be back for ya!
Last weekend, Chris and I made good on a promise to each other to try out at least one new bar/restaurant in Denver each month by checking out Euclid Hall, right off Larimer Square. It’s been on my to-do list, and I’m really glad we got a chance to check it out, because we both agree it’s a great spot to bring visitors. Not only do you get to walk through the adorable Larimer Square (which it seems I’m destined to take pictures of every single time I’m in that area, so please don’t judge me), but they have tons of beer choices as well as a speciality Seinfeld-themed cocktail menu.
We ordered a couple different beers and cocktails and appetizers, and the atmosphere was really fun and festive. It’s a great place to hang with some friends or have a pre-dinner drink.
The beer list goes on and on …
Seinfeld-themed drinks … yesssssss!
You just know we had to try the pickle sampler plate, right?
Fried cheddar curds with buffalo ranch dipping sauce and white cheddar spaetzle rounded out our appetizer samples. The only other times I’ve had spaetzle were in Salzburg and Munich, so of course you know nothing can compare to eating amazing food in foreign countries — but friends, please believe me when I tell you that this spaetzle seriously gives all other spaetzles a run for their money. De. Lish.
I tried the “They’re Real And They’re Spectacular” drink from the Seinfeld-themed menu (it was pretty awesome — a very mellow drink, if that’s what you’re after), while Chris got the Hipster Dufus.
And, because I promise to always be predictable, the quintessential photo of Larimer Square in all of its quaint cuteness.
It’s the twinkle lights that does it, really. I mean, come on? Throw some twinkle lights up on anything and it looks better immediately, am I not right?!