Happy Blogaversary! 

Today if my first blogaversary!

Today is my first blogaversary!

Today is officially my first blogaversary! I’ve been sharing stories of running and travel for one full year. It’s been fun, therapeutic, frightening, and a creative outlet, and with lots in store for the coming year, I can’t wait to continue sharing my story and hearing yours.

Tourism friends at the IPW Closing Reception

Since my last post, I spent a wonderful week in the Big Easy for IPW, U.S. Travel Association’s annual convocation of international tour operators and media. I love New Orleans and was excited to spend a week there with my tourism peeps from around the country, as we shared our communities with tour operators from around the world looking for interesting itineraries for their clients.

Visit Mississippi Booth at IPW

Mississippi is a third or fourth tier destination for international tourists as they tend to visit my buddy Mickey in Florida, the Big Apple, and California (including the Grand Canyon and Vegas, baby) first. When they visit us, it is for a tour of several states in the Deep South, often centered around music, but always for a unique, authentic experience that can be had nowhere else in the world. It’s my job to go to trade shows like IPW and tell Tupelo’s story in a way that inspires travel to my town. I absolutely love it! And, it really doesn’t hurt that that I get to talk about Elvis.

Travel South Banner at IPW

I packed my running clothes, with grand plans to run along the river every day during my stay. The first morning I got ready for the show, put on my brand-new black wedges that arrived in the mail the day before I left and found that they sent me shoes a half-size too small. Being that these were the only black shoes I brought with me (yes, I know better), I wore them anyway and rubbed such horrible blisters on my heels that I couldn’t wear shoes with backs on them the rest of the trip. I have never been one to be limited by shoe size. I have been known to base my shoe purchases on cuteness rather than size, but this was a mistake of epic proportions. Needless to say, there was no running for me at all this trip.

I stayed at the Hilton Riverside, one of my favorite flag properties in NOLA because of its location and the fact that Drago’s is located there. If you’ve never eaten a chargrilled oyster from Drago’s, put it at the top of your list!

Escargot with my friend Zach from Visit Mississippi at Arnaud’s

Every trip to New Orleans involves amazing food and this journey was no exception. I dined at Arnaud’s with my Mississippi colleagues one night and it never disappoints. Located just around the corner from Bourbon Street, it is a New Orleans institution. Try the soufflé potatoes. You’re welcome. Another night I had the pleasure of celebrating my dear friend Kevin Kern’s birthday with the gang from Graceland. We ate at Marcello’s, an Italian eatery that was absolutely fantastic. I also may have had a beignet or two from Cafe du Monde during my stay.

Washington, D.C. Photo Op at IPW

Next year’s IPW is in Washington, D.C. It’s been several years since I visited our nation’s capital and I can’t wait to go back. The photo op Visit D.C. set up in the trade show lobby was too good to pass up, as you can see. Move over Underwoods.

Fiery Gizzard Waterfall and Hike in Monteagle

Not long after my trip to New Orleans, we headed north to Monteagle Mountain for 10 days of rest and relaxation. My family has spent summers on this mountain in the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly for  generations. The annual July 4th celebration is a homecoming of sorts and includes a big picnic on the mall, competitive games, pool games, a major fireworks display, and so much more.

Ready to Run

Another annual event is the Shenanigans Pub Run. It is 6.4 (really more like 6.7) miles from the gates of the Assembly to Shenanigans Restauarant in Sewanee. This year was the 39th running of the race, with this being John’s third time and my first.

Mountain Goat Trail

The race winds along the Mountain Goat Trail, a wonderfully-paved trail that meanders from Monteagle to Sewanee. Much of it is tree-lined and flat, with the occasional straightaway in the sun, and minor hills. Once we veered off of the trail, I ran some of the most atrocious hills I have ever run, and it was hot, very hot.

The “Traditional” Awards Ceremony

The race ended at Shenanigans for the “traditional” awards ceremony that included toasts to the race founders and the winners drinking from their newly-acquired trophies. As always, it was lots of fun, once it was over, even though I questioned my sanity during those goofy middle miles. My cousin, Jackson, ran it with us, and thankfully we all managed to cross the finish line.

John, Me, and Jackson post-pub run

June and July were tons of fun and I’m excited about the interesting trips I have coming up this fall. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed sharing over this past year and since I plan to stay on the run, I hope you will continue this journey with me.

2016 Miles to Go: 842