Our Road Trip: Part I

Oct 20, 2015 | By New Darlings

New Darlings - Road TripNew Darlings - Road TripNew Darlings - Road TripNew Darlings - Road TripWhen we moved in to our first apartment together, we bought this chalkboard map on etsy.  We started to shade in the states that we had visited together and realized it wasn’t very many.  When we moved from New York to Arizona, everyone acted so surprised. “Why would you ever leave NY?!”  Well, yes, it’s one of the greatest cities out there (personally speaking), but growing up in the same place our whole lives, we didn’t really travel often or experience different things outside of our community.  After speaking to many people our age, it seems we’re not alone.  People fall into the same routine and comfort of their surroundings, which there isn’t anything wrong with, but it was definitely part of the reason why we moved to Arizona.  We wanted a change.  We wanted to explore. Since, buying that map we’ve made it our goal to explore different cities together and hopefully over the next few years,  that whole map will be shaded in.

So, after months of talking about it, and endless excuses, we finally packed up and took a road trip heading east toward Nashville. It definitely would be considered a “mini road trip” to some, but for us it was our first time on the road, driving more than just a few hours, and it was the most fun we had in a long time.  We didn’t spend too much time in each state, as our main destination was Nashville, but it was so fun getting to explore some cities that we may not have chosen to fly to for a vacation. We got some awesome recommendations via instagram (thank you!) and filled our days exploring the local spots, singing along to random Spotify mixes, and eating way too many tasty meals along the way.

Here is the route we took and our recommendations for fellow travelers or natives of these great cities:

New Darlings - Road TripALBURQUERQUE, NM
First stop on our trip was Albuquerque, NM.  It was about 6 1/2 hours from Phoenix and by this time, we were hungry! We stopped at The Grove for brunch. We didn’t have much time in ABQ, so it was the perfect spot to quiet our stomach growls and perk up for the rest of our drive.  As huge Breaking Bad fans, we had seen The Grove featured on the show and were pretty giddy to have dined in the same establishment as Walter White.  Listed as the best cafe in New Mexico, The Grove definitely lived up to the hype.
After brunch we did what anybody visiting Albuquerque would do…We visited Walter White’s house!  We had read a little bit about the current owners of the house.  We knew they were very protective of their space, and that was certainly the case.  The owners made their presence known as they sat in their garage watching car after car stop in front of the house, snap some photos, and take off.  We just sat in our parked car for a good while, watching how many people actually came to the house and did exactly what we were doing.  It’s crazy what kind of attention a television show can give a city.  Not sure how the locals feel, but it was fun for us geeky Breaking Bad fanatics.

New Darlings Road TripAMARILLO, TX
We wish we had more time in Amarillo, but unfortunately, it was just a late dinner, breakfast at our Best Western, and then out the door.  By the time we got in to Amarillo, it was pretty late.  We had been driving way too much, and as we imagine most road trips go…it was a lot of driving and a lot of eating.  Being from New York, we definitely have a thing for pizza, so when somebody recommended 575 Pizzeria, that’s exactly where we went!  It was about half hour until close, and we felt a little bad ordering a ton of pizza, but the staff was super friendly, and served us some fresh pies.

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When we asked for recommendations about our road trip to Nashville, we were pleasantly surprised when all the OKC recommendations started pouring in.  We didn’t know too much about this city before visiting, but man oh man, we had a good time.  We were able to spend almost a full day there, and honestly the only reason we didn’t get to do more was because we kept meeting the friendliest people who had so much to share.  The staff at Plenty Mercantile were incredibly sweet and helpful.  We walked around this beautiful store with heart eyes, and then they let us take a peek at their rooftop garden where they host events, workshops, and weddings.  It really is an awesome space and we HIGHLY recommend checking this place out!

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For coffee, pizza, and some incredible waffles, we also checked out:
Elemental Coffee: Cappuccino, quiche, and fruit was the perfect send off!
Empire Slice House: one of the largest pies we’ve ever had the pleasure of sharing!  Also, tons of magazine clippings all over their walls make for some fun conversation.
Waffle Champion: Soooo good! Handcrafted waffle sandwiches.  We can go on and on about the deliciousness of this place.  Truly such a fun experience!

New Darlings - Road Trip New Darlings - Road Trip LITTLE ROCK, AR
While in Little Rock, we met up with two friends we met through instagram, Tessa and Joe (The French Adventures). We had been chatting quite a bit via instagram for a while now and were really looking forward to finally meeting while we were in town.  To no surprise, they were two of the sweetest people, showing us all over their city and in only two short days, it felt like we had known each other for years.  They insisted on driving us all over town late at night,  showing us all their favorite spots and being the perfect tour guides. On our last day in Little Rock, we grabbed breakfast with them at Mugs Cafe, before they headed off to work.  It was such a pretty space and super tasty too. Photographed (above) were the biscuits and gravy, french toast, breakfast burrito, and breakfast tacos.  We definitely recommend this place, if you’re ever in Little Rock!

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Some other places we loved were:
Beige: Cute clothing boutique with some fun neutral pieces and beautiful artwork.
Fringe: Lots of boho favorites at this cute, chic woman’s clothing shop.
Mylo Coffee: Really beautiful coffee shop.  Great for espresso and tea dates ?
The Pantry Crest: A round of burgers with Tessa & Joe was a perfect double-date night!

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Huge thanks to the amazing team at Best Western for their hospitality and giving us a place to rest our heads each night.  It’s easy to feel a little out of sorts when being on the road and in a new city every day, but having the consistency of a friendly hotel was so comforting. Plus, the cute Southwestern decor in Oklahoma City made us feel right at home.

New Darlings - Road Trip New Darlings - Road TripIMG_5967Stay tuned for the second leg of our road trip, featuring: Nashville, TN & Dallas, TX!

Our road trip looks:


5 comments on “Our Road Trip: Part I”

  1. This made me so happy and proud that you enjoyed your day in OKC! It seems to always surprise people when they come, how many good local spots we have. I didn’t realize just how much of a treasure this was until recently when we took a vacation to North Carolina and had the HARDEST time finding local shops everywhere we went.

  2. Aww, loved discovering your precious blog! My husband Tim and I are Little Rock natives and now live about half an hour away. That city is near and dear to our hearts.

    Love that you two met Joe and Tessa. They filmed our story and our wedding, and have become sweet friends of ours through an abundance of mutual friends. I’m just now entering the blogging world, and am excited about learning more and making fun connections!

    Caylie |

    1. Hi Caylie – How awesome that you know Joe and Tessa. They were the sweetest. We had such an amazing time in Little Rock. They showed us all over and we’re looking forward to another visit. Its amazing the connections and friendships you can make through blogging and instagram. We’re definitely appreciative of it all. So glad you found us. Looking forward following along with you. 🙂

  3. I was at that coffee shop in Little Rock over the summer for a friend’s wedding! Surprised to see a familiar place on your blog!

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