So I'm going to make a confession. Bryce and I are one of those couples who are crazy obsessed with our dog. We would rather spend time with our furry friend than most people we know. So when talking about taking weekend getaway trips, being able to bring our dog, Tigger is often a big selling point on what we end up doing. Not all cities and locations are dog friendly, some places in fact can make it pretty hard to have your furry friend in toe. For our most recent 3 day getaway with Tigger we chose to go to Eureka Springs, Arkansas and we were not disappointed with our choice!
Let's talk lodging. There are some towns when traveling that may only have a few hotels to choose from and sometimes your lucky to find one that's pet friendly. Eureka Springs is not one of these towns. Eureka Springs has a lot of neat options for lodging. Everything from tradition hotels, cabins on the water and even tree houses high off the ground and many of these establishments welcome pets.
Our little family of three really values peace, quiet and seclusion so we opted to stay in a cabin off the beaten path, but also only about 5 minutes from town. We stayed at Silver Ridge Resort. We arrived on a beautiful Fall afternoon, checked in and made our way to our cabin where the deer were there to greet us. The relaxation starts setting in immediately as you step foot on the porch with views of the Ozark foliage. We could have spent the next two days not leaving the cabin and would have been perfectly happy. The interior of the "honeymoon" cabin was perfect, quite large in fact, complete with a full kitchen, fireplace and whirlpool tub. Tigger sometimes doesn't sleep well the first night in a new place when there's lots of strange noises, but at Silver Ridge he slept through the night in our cozy quiet cabin.
After waking up the first morning and enjoying some hot tea on the porch swing, we headed out to find an adventure to take Tiggy on! We found ourselves a little North West of Eureka at Spider Creek Resort on the White River. We love kayaking but had never attempted to take Tigger with us. We ended up renting a canoe for $20. We opted out of the $50, 4 mile Shuttle option as we weren't quite sure how well Tigger would do. Having the freedom to go up the river and back at our leisure was perfect.
I kept Tigger tethered to me or the boat at all times but he did so well he didn't really need the leash. He was so excited, taking in all the new sights and smells and even spotting fish in the water. After a good mile or so the water got shallow due to a bit of drought and we found the perfect place to stretch our legs and explore the river. It also gave us a chance to enjoy the snacks we packed and watch some of the nearby fly fishermen try and bring in some trout.
Tigger did awesome on his first canoe adventure and convinced us both to do more water activities with him in toe.
After all the paddling on the White River, we were ready for some lunch! Somewhere that Tiggy could eat with us! That's not something we get to do much where we are from since there's only a couple restaurants with pet friendly options. Around Eureka, there's quite a lot of options for dining with your fur babies! Since we still have plenty of day left we decide to drive about an hour to Dogwood Canyon, a nature preserve open for hiking, biking, fishing and tram tours with a cafe and rental cabins, The name is quite fitting as there were many other guests with their pets out walking the trails and enjoying the wonderful cafe. This was our favorite place to eat for the whole weekend. Not only was the food fantastic but the nearby waterfalls made for a perfect Ozark setting. After seeing the trout in the White River I choose to enjoy some for my lunch. We also loved the melody of mushrooms, boasting seven different kinds of mushrooms, harvested from a local farm! After a wonderful lunch, we made our way to the walking trails to burn some of those calories and enjoy the incredible surroundings. This place is picture perfect and has many places for nice photos so don't forget your camera!
After exploring Dogwood Canyon, we were ready to go back to our cabin at Silver Ridge for the evening. After such an adventurous day that whirlpool tub was sounding amazing to me! I enjoyed a nice soak while Tiggy and Bryce enjoyed the fireplace and did some writing. Tiggy was soon out like a light! It was so great seeing him have such an exciting day full of new sights and smells.
We all slept well that night and didn't feel the need to rush out of the cabin. We enjoyed the morning sitting on the porch with hot tea, watching the deer take their morning routes. We all enjoyed some time curled up by the fire before heading into town for an early lunch. We chose to eat at Pepe Tacos at Casa Colina. It came well recommended and of course Tiggy was welcomed. We really loved the atmosphere of the patio and the food was very different from our usual Mexican restaurant at home so it was a very nice treat! After a nice long lunch it was time to get on the road and return home. Tigger slept the entire way home! I've had him since he was a puppy, 9 years now and I think that was the best weekend he's ever had. We plan on doing a similar trip next year with him to explore even more of the area. Next time we will be sure to visit the Bark Park and pet boutiques in town!
There are so many great places to see and explore around Eureka Springs when you have your pets with you! We will definitely all be going back to make more memories! So the next time you are thinking about going away for the weekend, load up your four legged friend and hit the road, the Ozarks are waiting!!
Part of going to a new place is experiencing the local culture and foods. If you're like me and love fresh seafood and wild game, Alaska is a place you should definitely put high on your list to visit. Not only can you find amazing food, but usually you get to enjoy your meal with a breathtaking view as well.
During my first visit to Alaska, (I say first because I definitely plan on going back), I was able to spend a full day in Juneau, the capitol city. I hope to go back to this lovely port town again and spend much more time exploring all it has to offer. In the summer, Juneau has many activities available such as fly fishing, bear watching, kayaking, whale watching and glacier tours to name a few. I was able to spend the day kayaking with views of Mendenhall Glacier on a beautiful, crisp early Fall day.
After a beautiful day on the water, I had worked up quite the appetite by the time I got back into town. I decided I would just walk through this adorable town until I came across something that looked good and had a good place I could sit outside. I came across the Red Dog Saloon and went in to have a drink. This bar is a must-stop while walking through town. The atmosphere is exactly what you would hope to find in an Alaskan town and won't disappoint!
Walking a little less steady now, I found a bustling establishment by the name of Tracy's King Crab Shack. I knew immediately when I saw it that I would spend the remainder of my evening here. Looking at the menu, I wanted to try it all! Luckily they have combo's that give you a nice variety of popular items. I chose the Original Combo #1 at $34.95. At first I was a little hesitant as I don't usually spend that much on myself for one meal. But I'm so happy I went with it because it was the best seafood meal of my entire Alaskan trip!
This combo included 4 Crab Cakes, an 8 oz. Bisque, a butter and garlic roll and 1 King Crab Leg. This was the best seafood meal I have ever had and I STILL sing it's praises. They are doing it right at Tracy's. I never mind eating alone, but in this case I was wishing I had someone, ANYONE to share this meal with. Along with the incredible food, the atmosphere was perfectly Alaskan, laid back and beautiful. They also have a fun Crabby Shack Shop for those who enjoy souvenir shopping. I deeply hope to go back one day soon and bring someone along this time to marvel at the food together!
As a photographer, I get asked often by friends, family and clients about what camera they should buy. I always feel like it's such a loaded question because it really depends on many factors. How involved do you want to be? Do you just want to point and click or are you actually going to read the manual and learn all the technical aspects of using a camera. Are you wanting to have control and make technical decisions or are you an Auto kind of person? Oh, and then there's an even bigger question, what is your budget?
Another question I get asked often is how many mega pixels do I need? Most cameras today have at least 10MP and some are even in the 20's now. I had a photography professor once tell me anything over about 12 is essentially over kill for most consumers. You won't be printing images on bill boards. After that 12MP range, your quality is coming from your glass (Lens). That's one reason why pro lenses are so expensive. Again, for the everyday consumer, you don't need a crazy number of mega pixels.
So I'd like to put down some recommendations for the everyday consumer that hopefully helps you get started when you are considering a camera purchase. This can help whether you are wanting a camera for a trip or for your child's soccer games. If you consider yourself an amateur or wanting to invest in pro grade gear, please e-mail me because it's a whole separate discussion. :-)
People also frequently ask me about brands. Personally I am a Canon girl, however I have worked a lot with Nikon equipment as well and was happy with them also. I usually stay within these two brands when I'm recommending because I've personally used their products for years.
Let's start on the simple end and work our way up (this will also be least expensive to most expensive).
The Point and Shoot. How do you know if this is the right choice for you?
If you like the ease of something compact (like your trusty iPhone) that you can keep in your pocket or purse, this could be your winner. Why add this camera to your phone camera you may ask? If you take an obsessive amount of photos and never have enough room on your phone having a point and shoot with extra cards solves all your problems. Also, the print quality will be better. These can be great for family vacations or trips to the park with your kids. They don't take up a lot of space and are light and won't add to what you already lug around daily.
Technology has come so far in the last 15 years for digital cameras. You don't really need to know anything about photography to take decent images with a point and shoot. You can put it in Auto and in certain lighting situations it will be smarter than you.
What are the downsides? If you are really wanting to learn about photography and how to really use a camera, this isn't where to start. It won't have a lot of manual controls where you can learns the technical aspects of photography well.
I wouldn't recommend this route if you are wanting to photograph your kids playing sports and capture the action from afar. This isn't what I'd recommend for sports.
Here's a point and shoot I'd recommend (again there are many on the market that are great, this is simply and example):
Nikon COOLPIX S7000, Price: $276.95
Product highlights: 16MP Nikkor f/3.4-6.5 20x Optical Zoom lens, Full HD 1080p Video at 30fps, Wi-Fi and NFC Technology, ISO 6400 and 9.2 fps Continuous Shooting, 18 scene modes, Target Finding AF
Interesting features: has Wi-FI and NFC connectivity pair with Nikon snap bridge, allowing you to easily send images from the S7000 to your compatible smart device, and from there share on your social media sites.
Ok, let's step up our game a bit and talk about some DSLRs.
Along with having great Auto features, these also have all the manual controls and lens options. And, you actually get to look through the camera!! When purchasing these you will have the ability to buy just the body of the camera and add what lens/lenses you prefer. There are package kits available also.
These are great if you have a bit more interest in photography and take more time making your images while at the zoo or on vacation. You have the ability to learn the techniques with these cameras.
They will take up more space and need their own bag but you will have more options available to you with choices of wide angle and better quality zoom lenses.
If you enjoy photography but aren't ready or sure if you want to upgrade to pro-grade equipment, I'd recommend starting here.
DSLRs are great to take on that big Alaskan cruise or to your child's soccer game or recital. I do recommend reading your manual front to back, it will be a great introduction to your new purchase!
Here are two great choices:
Nikon D3200 DSLR Camera with a 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR Lens
Product Highlights: 24.2 MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor, EXPEED 3 image Processor, Full HD 1080p Video Recording at 30 fps. ISO 6400-12800. Continuous shooting up to 4 fps.
The D3200 does have a built in pop-up flash with Auto flash and manual pop-up with button release.
Interesting Features: Wi-Fi connectivity with optional WU-1a wireless mobile adapter that lets you transfer images to your smartphone. Can also utilize your phone for remote capture!
Canon EOS Rebel T5i DSLR camera with 18-55 mm AND 75-300 lens Kit
Product Highlights: 18 MP APS-CMOS Sensor, DIGIC 5 Image Processor, Full HD 1080p Video with Continuous AF, 5fps continuous shooting, ISO 100-12800, Built in flash and hot shoe for external flash connection.
Interesting Features: 3.0 Vari-angle Touchscreen Monitor, the touchscreen control makes menus simple and even offers touch autofocus.
Ok, say you are ready to get your feet wet in pro level equipment. You can expect better, full frame sensors and high quality and fast glass. This is where the price levels really start to jump up. So the camera I will recommend will be on the lower end of the scale. I could talk all day about the specs on pro grade equipment but I won't bore you. If you would like to talk shop, give me a shout and we'll do lunch.
So how do you know you're ready to invest in pro level gear? Maybe you are a photography student and are pursuing your degree. This is when I first invested in my first 'big girl' camera. Maybe you have been slowly working on your portfolio for a couple of years now and are ready to fully commit. Or, maybe you just have plenty of money laying around with nothing else to do with it. ;-) In any case, no matter how much money you pour into great equipment, your images will only be as good as your technique. A great camera doesn't equal great images. You STILL have to know the craft and technique.
Here is a recommendation to get you started on the beginning level of pro grade gear:
Body: Canon EOS 6D
Product Highlights: 20.2 MP Full Frame CMOS Sensor, DIGIC 5+ Image Processor, 3,0 1.04m-Dot Clear View LCD Monitor, Full HD 1080p Video Recording at 30fps, Native ISO 25600, Extended to ISO 102400, 4.5 fps shooting at Full Resolution, Built in Wi-Fi and GPS Connectivity, iFCL 63-Zone Dual Layer Metering Sensor, No on camera flash
Built-in Wi-Fi and GPS technologies enable highly functional connectivity with other devices, including the ability to instantly share imagery from your camera and geotag your photographs.
Exposure settings can be controlled remotely from your smartphone when using Canon's proprietary iOS and Android app, Canon EOS Remote, allowing you to make exposures and modify camera settings from a distance.
Lens: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 II USM Lens
Product Highlights: EF Mount L-Series Lens, Aperture range: f/2.8-22, UD, Super UD and Aspherical Elements, Ultrasonic Focus Motor, Manual Focus Override, Highly resistant to Dust and Water
Flash: Canon Speedlite 320EX
Product Highlights: Compatible with Canon E-TTL/E-TTL II, Guide Number 105;at ISO 100 and 50mm, Coverage: 24mm and 50mm (Full Frame), LED Video Light with 75 lux Output, Tilts 90 degrees right and 180 degrees left, Wireless Slave TTL Functionality, Recycle Time: 0.1-2.3 seconds, Runs on 4 AA Batteries
There's one other fun option I'd like to talk about, the GoPro! If you love getting creative and playing with video, time lapses and interesting view points, you might consider this option. It certainly is a great addition to your bag. The possibilities with this small but powerful camera are endless and fun! I recently attached it to my kayak on an excursion in Alaska because I was alone and was able to capture some wonderful photos from the day. I plan on taking it on my SCUBA trip in June as well. Definitely a great option for the creative soul out there!
GoPro HERO4 Black
Product Highlights: Supports 4K30, 2.7K60, and 1080p Video, Capture 12MP Photos at 30 fps, Ultra Wide Angle Glass Lens + SuperView, Camera Housing Waterproof to 131', Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Connectivity, Video and Photo Time-Lapse, Protune Mode for Video and Photo, One-Button Operation with QuikCapture, Auto Low Light and Night Photo Modes, Flat and Curved Adhesive Mounts Included
So, in conclusion there are many great options out there on the market. When you are ready to purchase, decide on your budget and how involved you'd like to be. You can then start browsing online for what you think might be a good fit for your personally. My personal favorite place to shop is B&H, it's where I make all my camera and video purchases, they have it all! http://www.bhphotovideo.com
I hope this helps point you in the right direction (pun intended)! Happy Shooting!!
Where the Fernweh Grows
Fernweh. A German word used to describe the desire to travel, literally farsickness or the longing to experience far away places, the opposite of being homesick.
This is arguably one of my favorite words, as it describes the feelings that drive my world, that give me a sense of excitement and purpose. Many of you likely posses this very trait and longing.
I did not always recognize this attribute within myself as being so strong but I can recall the makings of this calling from a young age. As I finished high school and was attending college it began to be more prominent. I was ready to go. Not knowing where exactly, but I wanted to go and see, see what the world had to offer. Growing up in a one horse town can have this effect on certain personalities and this certainly was the case for me. Going to college to obtain a degree in photography only set me up to develop this feeling. When the time came for my college internship, I only had one thought, go somewhere beautiful! Why not?! That’s exactly what happened, not knowing a soul or thing there, this 20 year old green photographer ended up 1200 miles away from home in the valley town just outside of Teton National Park. That was the beginning of me making it happen. Exploring the unknown and trying to capture its being.
Now, almost 10 years later, I have tried my best to keep exploring whether it was in my own beautiful state or many time zones away; trying not to let the 40 hour work weeks and limited time off stop me. Life likes to try and get in the way and sometimes, before you know it, a chunk of time has passed by. As I start to get older, its my goal to check more of my ‘places I must go’ off the list.
Traveling for me is much more than just ‘vacation’. Its what feeds my soul and breathes life into me. Many of you know exactly the feeling I’m speaking of. Maybe you’ve been all over or maybe you’ve just went on your first big trip. Whatever the case may be, the longing of experiencing more will only grow and grow.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, this is my site for all things Fernweh. I wanted a place to put down my frequent daydreams, desires and devotions about all things wanderlust. A place to not only document my travels but a place to help inspire others to follow their inner Fernweh voices as well. My photography will of course be featured here along with a variety of travel related written vignettes.
So let’s go places, near and far; let’s explore this great big world together. With any luck, the Fernweh within you will also grow.