3 Hidden Gems to Visit from Kate
Kate is our Marketing Director and tackles all things in the digital space. She loves traveling, trying new foods, and playing soccer on the weekends.
We sat down with her to talk all things travel. She shares how sometimes the smaller towns outside of more popular destinations can be “hidden gems,” and in some cases, the highlight of a trip.
“A lot of the smaller towns I’ve visited weren’t found on TripAdvisor or Google. They were brought up in conversations I had with co-workers, people at the gym, coffee baristas… I really just ask everyone I see about recommendations before I go somewhere!”
JELSA in CROATIA
One of my favorite places I’ve visited was Croatia two years ago. I love the architecture, rolling green hills, and teal water. Another huge selling point is the food! Olive oil and wine are made in Croatia, plus coastal access means fresh seafood! It’s close to Italy, so it’s not surprising a lot of the food is Italian-inspired (= yum!)
Just a boat ride away from the popular destination, Split, is the island of Hvar. And a 30-minute car ride outside of Hvar is the small town of Jelsa – truly paradise.
My boyfriend and I stayed in a private AirBnb house for only $30 USD a night (I mean WOW!) The owner even greeted us with homemade liquors, tiramisu, and candied oranges when we arrived. There was a huge garden surrounding the property, and she told us we could pick whatever vegetables we wanted. I remember there being the cutest turtle family she would leave food out for every morning. Lavender also grows wild, which makes the air smell amazing.
One of the best parts of Jelsa is that you can walk to restaurants, wineries, viewpoints, and beaches. We even took a boat to an even smaller island. There wasn’t a lot of nightlife however, but that wasn’t what we were looking for. We went to the coolest underground winery and visited a ghost town just outside of the main town square. There was a sign posted that said population zero, which was funny… but also kind of terrifying (portrayed in the image below!)
I will definitely be going back to Croatia, and maybe someday back to Jelsa (but probably will skip the ghost town!)
QUERÉTARO in MEXICO
The best food I’ve ever had was on my trip to Mexico City last December. It’s a great place to visit during the winter, because it’s 70 degrees, and flights are reasonably priced during the busy holiday season… when everyone has time to travel.
My boyfriend and I wanted to get out of the hustle and bustle of Mexico City – the negative is there are SO many people living there! My boyfriend’s co-worker recommended Querétaro, a three hour bus ride from Mexico City. Side-note, the buses are so nice in Mexico. Cheap, lots of legroom, and they give you a meal when you get on!
I’m so happy we went. We took a free walking tour, ate handmade corn tortillas with guacamole, and shopped the street fair. Just walking the streets was so nice with lots to look at. It was less congested and more charming. The streets are lined with cobblestones, painted houses, and impressive churches.
It’s not a super small town, but it definitely felt like it after being in Mexico City for the week. And, I will mention again, the best tortillas I’ve ever had!
SEWARD in ALASKA
I love everything about Alaska. It’s so picturesque and unique. If you love outdoor activities and fresh seafood, it’s a must! It’s a huge state, so you have to pick and choose wisely where to explore.
In May 2018, I chose Seward, a port city in southern Alaska. My mom had always wanted to go here (so I went for her!) This small town is just 2.5 hours from Anchorage, and well-worth the scenic route. May is the perfect month to go, because the mountain tops are still dusted with snow, and the tourism season hasn’t officially begun.
I went on one of the best hikes, ate fresh halibut everyday, and stayed in a cozy cabin. Plus, saw a ton of moose! These things gave me all the mountain town feels. The downtown is small, but quaint, and offers local craft beers, fresh meats and seafood, and live music. The best part is it’s super casual, so you can go straight from hiking (the sun sets at 11:00 p.m. in May!) to dinner to drinks.
Next time I go to Alaska, I plan to rent an RV and explore some more hidden gems.