A Nerd Travels: Charleston, SC

I haven’t blogged about travel in a while.  Probably because I haven’t really gone anywhere since heading to Palm Springs for CPDD over the summer.  This is just now striking me as a little depressing.  At any rate…

Almost a month ago, Sean and I spent a long weekend in Charleston, SC.  Neither of us had ever been, and we were in desperate need of a trip that didn’t involve holiday-related travel.  Luckily Charleston is only about 4 hours away from Durham.  So, we used Airbnb (first time; definitely using it again!), hopped in the car with Maeby, and went.

The focus of the trip was on relaxation, so we didn’t get to do everything we wanted to do.  But we’ll be back.  While we were there, we ate a lot of amazing food and did some exploring.

We spent an afternoon at Folly Beach.  We ate a fantastic brunch (Lost Dog Cafe ftw), walked on the beach, and took a short hike out to the Morris Island Lighthouse.

A Nerd Travels | Charleston, SCA Nerd Travels | Charleston, SCA Nerd Travels | Charleston, SC

We had a small houseguest with us in the cute little bungalow we rented, too.  He hung out on the blinds, minding his own business, for two days.  I eventually scooped him up and set him outside.A Nerd Travels | Charleston, SC

After another delicious brunch at Fat Hen (thanks for the recommendation, Megan!), we also saw the Angel Oak: a big ass, super old tree.  It’s 500 years old!  It was beautiful and very impressive.A Nerd Travels | Charleston, SCA Nerd Travels | Charleston, SC

All in all, we had a really fun time.  The city is vibrant and charming, with beautiful architecture.  The food was pretty incredible.  We were able to recharge our batteries while exploring a new city.  We will definitely be back.


A Nerd Travels: Southern California 2016

Hey all!  Things have been a little slower than usual around here lately, I know.  We have multiple grant submission deadlines as well as work-related and personal travel to thank for that.

I also haven’t shared one of these posts in a while.  It’s not that I haven’t been traveling (Phoenix last June, Chicago in March, etc.), I guess I’ve just forgotten to take pictures.

At any rate, I was in Palm Springs, CA last month for an annual conference.  The conference was held at the La Quinta Resort.  I shared many of these on my Instagram account, so some of you may have seen them already.IMG_0563

The resort itself is pretty cool.  It’s kind of sprawling, has a bunch of pools, and is surrounded on 3 sides by these amazing jagged looking mountains.  I don’t have many photos of the resort itself, mostly because I had been there 4 years ago and wasn’t super concerned with taking pictures this time around.

We went hiking at Mount San Jacinto State Park.  You take a tram two and a half miles up the mountain. Once at the top, you’re at a height of 8,516 feet.  IMG_0561IMG_0562

Even though it’s like 100 degrees (not an exaggeration) in Palm Springs, because of the elevation it’s cool and very comfortable at the top of the mountain.  Perfect for hiking and not wanting to melt/die because of the heat.

Next up was Joshua Tree National Park.  It’s absolutely breathtaking.  So, so different than anything we have on the East coast.IMG_0559

Among the sand and rocks (many of which you can scramble on top of for really nice views), there are cacti and short scrubby sorts of plants, but also these gnarled, weathered trees that I couldn’t get enough of.


In the picture below, you’ll see some Joshua Trees.  They are, not surprisingly, everywhere within the park.IMG_0565

I have a serious soft spot in my heart for national parks.  I like to say that if I weren’t involved in science, that I’d love to work for the National Park Service.  Maybe if academia doesn’t pan out?

A Nerd Travels: Clarington, PA

My family has a log cabin in the mountains of northwestern Pennsylvania.  We’ve been spending time in the area since 1992, when my parents bought a piece of land that had a bright orange trailer sitting on it. That trailer has since been torn down, and replaced with a beautiful log cabin that my dad built himself, now known as Camp Maxwell House.

Camp Maxwell House | A Nerd Cooks

Even though it’s a bit of a haul from where we live now, Sean, friends, and I try to make it a point to spend a long weekend at camp every few months or so.  We usually spend the time playing cards, drinking beer, and going for walks in the woods: in sum, just spending time together.  I have such wonderful memories of all the time spent there while growing up; It makes me so happy that Sean and our friends enjoy spending time there now, too. 

One of the best things about spending time at camp is that it forces you to unplug.  We do have a landline phone, for safety reasons, but no internet.  Cell service is spotty, at best, so it’s wise to just shut your phone off.  You get to really disconnect from daily life, and just enjoy your surroundings and spending time with family and friends.


You can expect to see multiple travel posts about our visits to camp, but here’s something to get you started.  The snowy photos were taken in January, and the black and white ones were taken over a year ago.

 006My dad likes to fill this feeder up with corn for the deer, black bears, and the other animals that come into the back yard. 007Assorted antlers, either found in the woods or from deer that he or I have harvested. 008The fresh snow was clinging to everything in the woods so perfectly when we were there last. 005Fresh snow on logs that had fallen across the creek.




A Nerd Travels: Canoeing on the Potomac River

Canoeing on the Potomac | A Nerd Cooks

While I was editing these photos a bit, I realized that they were taken not this past summer, but the summer before (2013).  It’s a little hard to believe that it’s been so long.

Sean and I went canoeing on the Potomac River in Maryland with our friends, Melissa and Kevin.  The weather was perfect, and we had a blast.

Canoeing on the Potomac | A Nerd Cooks

I took these pictures with my little Canon PowerShot S95, which now that I think about it, gets pretty neglected since I got my DSLR.  I’m honestly not sure if they even make it anymore, but it’s a great little camera.

Canoeing on the Potomac | A Nerd CooksIf you’re in the area, and are into outdoorsy kinds of things, I’d totally recommend paddling down the Potomac.


A Nerd Travels: Wildwood, NJ 2014

I’d like to introduce a new section of my blog: one that showcases some of the photos I take during my travels.  I’ve been on a mission to take more photos, as well as more quality photos, of late.  That applies to food and non-food photography alike.  In the past, I’ve interspersed travel photos into my food posts.  I may end up doing a bit of that going forward, but I’d mostly like to give them their own space on my blog.

I have some photos from the past year or so that I haven’t talked about (or at least haven’t talked about extensively) on the blog, so I’ll be going back into my archives and talking about those trips, along with any new ones I go on.

This past summer, as we’ve been doing for the past few years, we went to Wildwood Crest, NJ with Sean’s family.  We stayed for 4 days and hung out with his family.  The weather was mostly dry, but was overcast and kind of gray for the bulk of the time we were there.  It gave the beach kind of a weird, washed out look.
 Wildwood Crest, NJ | A Nerd Cooks  Wildwood Crest, NJ | A Nerd CooksThe house we rented was also across the street from a lake, Sunset Lake, named for the beautiful sunsets that can be viewed there.  Unfortunately for us, it remained pretty overcast at sunset every day we were there.  Not that that stopped me from heading out and taking some photos.

 Wildwood Crest, NJ | A Nerd Cooks  Wildwood Crest, NJ | A Nerd CooksWe generally stick to the same set of activities: beach, dinners out, visits to Cape May, walking up and down the boardwalk, etc.  But this time around we decided to visit Cape May Brewing Company for a tasting and tour.  They had hops growing up a sort of trellis outside their front door.

Cape May Brewing Co. | A Nerd CooksFor $10 you could sample 4 4oz. beers, get to keep your tasting glass, and take a look around the brewing room.

I ended up sampling The Bog (twice!), which is a cranberry wheat beer mixed with lemonade.  I also had Tower 23, which is a German style Berliner Weisse.  Tower 23 is also a sour beer.  It was really strangely refreshing.  Then I also tried their Saison, which was, well, a saison.

Though we won’t be going back this coming summer (Sean’s older sister is having a baby (!!) around the time we usually go), we’re looking forward to stopping by the brewery to pick up 1/6 kegs for our kegerator.