Ashley’s Favorite Food Halls

In the never-ending search for good food everywhere and in particular places I’m traveling for work, I like to seek out food halls. These have popped up not only in trendy cities (even Albany!), and are typically upscale food courts, with multiple rotating or permanent vendors cooking and selling out of small workspaces, all under one roof. This is a great approach for sampling but also works well to provide options for anyone who might be traveling with you and have different food preferences. One of my favorites is Chicago’s Revival Food Hall. The St. Roch Market (oysters and Cuban food!) or Auction House Markets in New Orleans has a lot of history. In Houston, Phoenicia Specialty Foods is a little different with one giant market that also offers plenty of prepared food. Regi and I shopped/ate our way through this one in September 2018, and I remember both of us stuffed-but-happy groaning over the baklava in particular. The U.S. food hall market is expected to triple by 2020– check them out!

Travis’ Four-Wheeling Adventures

There are so many things I have appreciated about all of my travels for work at Policy Research Associates. Travel provides an opportunity to get to know your co-workers better, to eat great food, to listen to phenomenal music, to learn more about what jurisdictions all over the United States are doing to improve the lives of persons with behavioral health disorders who become justice involved, and to get to experience things you might not otherwise have the opportunity to. Back in late August of 2017, I had the chance to do a Sequential Intercept Mapping Workshop in Oregon with Ashley K. She had the great idea of going four-wheeling in the sand dunes of Pacific City, Oregon. We had such a good time that I decided to make this experience part of a summer vacation I had with my three kids this past July. Pictured four-wheeling in those exact same sand dunes are my children, Sam, Lexi, and Luke (left photo).

Collage of groups of people four wheeling on sand dunes

Collage of groups of people four wheeling on sand dunes

Holley’s Hot Take: Cincinnati Should Be On Your Travel List

In May 2018 I flew to Cincinnati, Ohio with my friend and my husband to participate in the Flying Pig Half Marathon. I knew that the race was going to be fantastic but had no idea what to expect from Cincinnati. And wow, what a gem of a city! There was so much to see and even more to eat; it quickly became one of my favorite cities in America. Heading to Cincinnati anytime soon? Why not try one of these recommendations to see what a special place it is!

What to Eat

A visit to Cincinnati would not be complete without a trip to a few institutions: Skyline Chili, where you can try Ohio-style chili (lots of cinnamon) over spaghetti or a hot dog, or in a bowl; Graeter’s Ice Cream; and Hathway’s Diner where you step back into the 1950s to enjoy your goetta (meat and grain sausage—a Cincinnati specialty) with eggs. There’s a bustling restaurant scene as well—we ate at Sotto for our pre-race meal and were impressed by both the pasta and the ambiance.

What to See

Feeling a little full after all of your dining? Go sightseeing to some of the most unique museums in the country: The American Sign Museum, which categorizes the history of signs and sign making and houses an impressive amount of neon; the Lucky Cat Museum, a woman’s personal collection of over 700 (although I feel like there must have been more) lucky cats of all shapes, sizes, and styles; and the Krohn Conservatory, which houses over 3,500 different species of plants and hosts an annual Butterfly Show each spring – there’s nothing like having a butterfly land on your shoulder and not let go!

What We Missed

This is just one slice of a fantastic city (there is so much more that we didn’t get to explore due to time constraints—the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (it was closed the days we were there!), the Ohio River Trail (we ran by it but didn’t spend much time in it!), Findlay Market (we saw only one small portion!), the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden (Fiona the Hippo!), and so much more. This little city has so much to offer any type of traveler; I’m sure you’ll love it just as much as I did.

Michelle On the Run

When I travel, I have found myself researching places to run. In the third blog of my running series, I talked about the enjoyment I feel when I can run by a body of water.  This has led me to plan my runs when I visit a location. I use Google Maps of the area where I’ll be staying to try to ascertain the best route. Often, it’s when I get on Google Maps that I find a surprising site that I want to run by. That’s how I found the Buffalo Bayou in Houston, Texas, the Dakota Zoo in Bismarck, North Dakota, and the Land Run monument in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma–sites that I passed but didn’t recognize or were hidden among the community’s homes and businesses. By seeking out notable sites, I feel like I’ve experienced a bit of the community’s culture and at the same time gotten some much-needed exercise during my tip.

Abby Takes the Road Less Traveled

To some, cities and large metropolitan areas are their favorite designations, and while I love exploring a new city, some of the best trips I have taken while at PRA have been to scenic, less-populated, and undoubtedly, harder to get to states.  Three states have been true highlights for me, South Dakota, Montana, and Alaska and most of the visits have involved road trips!  I have driven across the state of South Dakota three times (once personally and twice for work), I am now a somewhat frequent visitor to the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota, and the Badlands remain one of the most incredible places I have ever been!  Similarly, I have road tripped across the state of Montana twice and the views from Billings (in the east) to Missoula (in the west) are beyond compare.  My trip to Alaska in June was amazing!  When going someplace as far away as Alaska it almost requires you to extend the trip to explore.  During my “exploration” day I was determined to see a moose in real life.  I went to rent a car and the only thing they had was a sliding door van, I didn’t care, I had to see a moose.  Driving north from Anchorage along the Seaward Highway is hard to describe, it is beautiful, awe-inspiring and unlike anything you see in the Northeast.  My destination was the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center where I saw all manner of creature, including a moose.  And to make the trip even more worth it, on my way back to Anchorage I saw two giant moose grazing along the highway!