815-Rockford’s Magazine-Fall Edition

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Hello 815! Just in case you missed the second edition in the Rockford Register Star on Sunday, we wanted to get you all excited about the fall edition of the new hyperlocal magazine, 815.  We were pumped to see the fall edition this past Sunday and it had us feeling that we want fall to last all year long.  The fun news for us is that we have another feature in the magazine. It’s always a thrill for us to see our efforts in print. Today, we wanted to give you a peak at what we wrote and encourage you to pick up your own copy of 815 ASAP  Check out Becky Rose’s article in the Rockford Register Star to see how to get your copy.  Here is our piece:

We fell in love with Rockford and we fell in love IN Rockford. Emily met her husband in middle school, and they married in October 2010 in Rockford. Liz met her soon-to-be husband after college in Rockford, and they will marry here this November. Our love stories started in the 815, so it just feels right that the first Fall 815 article will be on weddings.

Sharing the love of our city with our wedding guests was and is extremely important to us, so we compiled a list of ways to share the 815 with wedding guests visiting the area.

Our first suggestion is to greet your guests with hotel welcome bags that have a Rockford twist. Welcome bags have become increasingly popular over the years as a form of hospitality. Adding some local snacks such as individual bags of Mrs. Fisher’s Potato Chips, Chocolat by Daniel and Trident gum made here in Rockford at Mondelez.

Another great option for providing your guests with a taste of something local, is to give wedding guest favors from local businesses. Whether cupcakes from our  favorite Sugarjones, or handmade chocolates from CACAOCUVÉE, tasty treats make for a great favor. You can also opt to have something designed and printed locally by Rockford Art Deli, such as can koozies!

Sharing Rockford with your wedding party is another great way to show the 815 some love. A great option for groomsmen gifts would be a beer carrier or bottle opener hand crafted in Rockford by Rockford Woodcrafts. For the bridesmaids, a nice piece of local jewelry or carrying tote from Urban Farmgirl could be just the thing.

Finally, a nice touch to your wedding website, or to the welcome bag at the hotel, is a map of your favorite local establishments. Be sure to include a breakfast stop such as Mary’s Market or Stockholm Inn, a family attraction such as the Discovery Center or Burpee Museum, and a downtown watering hole such as Prairie Street Brewing Company or Carlyle Brewing Company.

Weddings are a time of love overflow, so why not share your love for the 815, too.  

EmilyLizSignature-Pink

 

Guide to Greenwich

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TGIF!  This weekend is shaping up to be another beautiful fall weekend in the 815 and the #1 event on my calendar is the Greenwich Village Art Fair, located on the grounds of the Rockford Art Museum. Held rain or shine, the annual two-day outdoor event is set to feature 136 artists from around the region and across the nation. Live music, local and regional vendors at the Gourmet Marketplace, children’s art activities at the Creations by Kids tent – plus food, drink and more at the Village Pub, Kortman Gallery‘s Point Bar, and throughout the fair.  Ticket proceeds ($3 in advance at any Alpine Bank location and Rockford Art Museum, $5 at the door) support Rockford Art Museum throughout the year. We have put together a Guide to Greenwich for you (can you tell we are into guides lately?) and we hope you will find it useful.

Tour Your Home & Review Your Calendar

Similar to what our guide mentioned last week, take this opportunity to walk through your house or apartment with a friend or significant other and take note of blank walls and empty shelves. For example, I would like to find a great piece of art for the wall above the couch in her living room. Think about what kind of things could fill those spaces. Knowing what you are looking for will help keep you focused at the fair. Also, Greenwich is an amazing place to find gifts, so review your calendar for upcoming special occasions.  I have purchased several pieces of jewelry for family and friends over the years and because they are usually one of a kind, they are especially great presents.

Wear Comfortable Footwear & Plan Parking

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If my family and friends know anything about me, they know that I am a planner.  I would highly recommend taking a peek at this parking map to see where to park and where not to park.  During peak times at the fair, parking can be at a premium, so be sure to bring your walking shoes so you are able to enjoy your entire time at the fair.  In addition, the Rockford trolley will be running free rides to and from Churchill’s Grove.

Check Out The Artist Directory

Rockford Art Museum has provided an incredible artist directory outlining every artistic vendor, their primary medium, and location.  Be sure to take a look at the list and if you have time, look at the artists’ websites.  Five artists have generously donated works of art to be raffled off ($5 per ticket, $10 for three) throughout the fair. The drawing will be at 4 PM on Sunday and If you won one of these pieces, it would be a steal!

Arrive Thirsty and Hungry

There are several options to satisfy your thirst and hungry.  Get ready for this list: Java Mania Coffee Roastery, Woodfire Brick Oven Pizza, We-B-Popp’N Kettle Korn, Hey Brothers Ice Cream & Waffle Cones, Pig Minds Brewery, Annette’s Italian Cookies, Cacaocuvee, Dip’ N Good Dips, Wind Ridge Herb Farm, and there will be brunch items offered both Saturday and Sunday mornings, which include omelets, crepes, baked goods and MIMOSAS.

Bring Your Kids (both human and K-9)

Rumor has it, the Creations by Kids AKA the “Superhero Station” is going to be better than ever with several art activities for kids.  Plus, children under 12 receive FREE admission.  Also, be sure to bring your (leashed) pup to with you as you walk around the fair.  The dogs are welcome too!

Stay Late

The fair technically closes at 6 PM on Saturday, but the party must go on.  Stay afterwards for drinks, dancing, and dining at the Point Bar.  You won’t regret it.

See you all there!

EmilySignature-Pink

 

Guide to Main Street Market

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Grab your friends and a good pair of walking shoes! It’s time for another Main Street Market hosted by Urban Farmgirl. This one-of-a-kind, enormous event, draws attendees and over 125 vendors from all over the Midwest. Not only is it a great shopping opportunity, but it is also an opportunity to explore the Victorian Village at Midway Village Museum.

As any good local, lifestyle blogger would do, we have put together a guide to the market to ensure maximum enjoyment!

Tour Your Home
Walk through your house or apartment with a friend or significant other and take note of blank walls, empty shelves or rooms where you have always wanted a cool piece of furniture. Liz, for example, would like to find a nightstand to replace her clunky file cabinet where she rests her phone and glass of water every night. Emily, would like to find items for her daughter’s “big girl” room. Think about what kind of things could fill those spaces, and then start to visit the websites, Facebook pages and Instagram feeds of those vendors who will be attending the show. Knowing what you are looking for will help keep you focused at the market.

Review Your Calendar
Take a look at your calendar for the next few months. Are there any birthdays, weddings, showers or other special events approaching for which you might need to bring a gift? The market will be full of unique, handmade gifts.

Think BIG
Do not worry about borrowing a friend’s pickup truck or minivan to bring home furniture. Two Men and a Truck will be available to bring your large treasures to your home! If you live within 20 miles, they will bring home your items for just $25 per piece! If you live further than 20 miles away, they will still bring it, but regular rates apply. This is an awesome, new service that could change the way we shop!

Be Early. Be Patient. Be Kind.
Like we said, this event draws a HUGE crowd. Whether or not you have your tickets, there will be a long line in the morning to get in, so grab your coffee and your Instagram feed on your phone, and wait patiently. And remember, while this may feel like survival of the fastest at times, the event is meant to be enjoyable, so be kind to your fellow shoppers and to the vendors!

Bring Your Appetite                                                                                                                                                   About a dozen local food and drink vendors will be onsite to keep you hydrated and well-nourished.  With items like coffee cake, popcorn, sandwiches, flavored ice, roasted corn, and refreshing beverages, you and your friends are all bound to find something that suits your tastes.

Brag About Your Finds
Take photos of your finds and tag the vendors. It’s a great way to show them what you love, and it helps support their business so that they can continue to create awesome stuff. Plus, after a day of shopping, finding a treasure is fun to share!

It is going to be a GORGEOUS weekend ahead of us, so we hope you can support these local vendors and attend the market. We’d love to see what you find! Tag us at @stateandeight in your Facebook and Insta photos!

EmilyLizSignature-Pink

 

Eight in the Eight-September 2016

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Shop the Blocks-Downtown Rockford
When: Friday, September 2, 2016

The last shop the blocks of the year will take place is happening THIS weekend.  Businesses in the downtown area will offer sidewalk sales and alfresco dining. Local businesses are planning to pull out all the stops for the last event of the year.  For updates, check out their Facebook page.

Wings of Wonder: The Lorikeet Exhibit-Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens
When: Begins September 3-November 13, 2016

The Lorikeets are back! The Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens are offering a close-up look at these beautiful, curious, nectar-feeding birds.  The lorikeets are known for their playful personalities, vibrant coloration, and their ability to mimic words and sounds. This would be a great activity for all ages. Entrance to the exhibit is included with admission to the Conservatory.                            

Labor Day Parade-Downtown Rockford
When: Monday, September 5, 2016

Come show your love for our fine country at the Labor Day Parade in downtown Rockford.  With a new route this year, the parade begins at 10:00 am at the corner of 6th Avenue and 7th Street heading north; turns west onto State Street; turns south onto Wyman Street and ends at Davis Park.  Enjoy your long weekend (we hope!) and kick off your holiday at the parade!

A Night of Art and Craft (Beer)-Severson Dells Nature Center
When: Friday, September 9, 2016 6:30-9:30pm

An evening of craft beer drinking and crafting at Severson Dells Nature Center! Each participant will be guided in creating an original nature-themed painting on canvas. Come as you are, no experience necessary for this fun evening of hands-on creativity and celebration. You can participate in A Night of Art and Craft (Beer) for just $30, and you will be provided with all art supplies, great appetizers and two drinks.

Screw City Beer Festival-Downtown Rockford
When: Saturday, September 10, 2016

If you are one of the lucky ones to have scored Screw City Beer Fest tickets, then you could very well be the envy of all your friends.  The 6th annual SCBF is technically sold out, but The Olympic Tavern is doing some SCBF ticket events in the next week where you could get some last minute tickets.  SCBF will host over 50 American craft breweries and pour over 130 different beers to 2500 craft beer enthusiasts. Hope to see you downtown!

Main Street Market by Urban Farmgirl-Midway Village Museum
When: Saturday, September 10, 2016

If you missed the spring market, be SURE to head over to the fall edition of the Main Street Market.  Over 100 vendors from across the Midwest will be displaying goods of all kinds along with food and local music.  Tickets are available for $8 a piece in advance here.

Greenwich Village Art Fair-Rockford Art Museum Grounds
When: Saturday, September 17, 2016 & Sunday, September 18, 2016

Greenwich Village Art Fair is definitely one of our favorite annual events, featuring 136 artists, live music, a gourmet marketplace, children’s art activities, and more.  Not only are the vendors incredible, but the food and drink options get better every year. Admission at the gate is $5 for adults, free for children 12 and younger. Advance tickets are $3 and are available at any Alpine Bank location and at the Rockford Art Museum Store. Ticket proceeds support RAM programs throughout the year.

Picnic En Plein Air Community Dinner-City Market Pavilion 
When: Saturday, September 24, 2016 6-9pm

The River District Association has planned an awesome community dinner downstairs along our beautiful river front. Picnic En Plein Air will feature an  Americana and Rustic/Vintage style evening of outdoor dining catered by  Paul Sletten, owner of Abreo, and bar service will be provided by Prairie Street Brewhouse. Local artists will be creating original artwork throughout the night which will be auctioned off to help with future RDA events and programs.

Happy September!

EmilyLizSignature-Pink

Magpie

Aaaaaand we’re back!  We missed all of you last week, but we are back at it and I’m excited to tell you about one of my new favorite breakfast/lunch spots, Magpie.  I have been able to dine there a couple of times now, and feel like I could eat there several times a month and never tire of it.  With daily breakfast and lunch specials, an incredible standard menu, house-made jams, coffee cake, biscuits, etc., delicious coffee, and all meals that are made to order, Magpie is an exceptional addition to dining downtown.

Located at 307 South Main Street in downtown Rockford, Magpie has become a storefront that is hard to miss with chalkboards that provide a personal touch!

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Among myself, my family, and friends we have tried the following breakfast items: bacon pancakes, stuffed french toast (2 slices stuffed with sweet cream cheese and house-made jam!), the Magpie omelet (freshly roasted turkey, bacon, & smoked cheddar), blueberry pancakes (amazing!), and the coffee cake of the day (yes, Stephanie, the owner, makes a new flavor nearly everyday!).  Our food was so good, that I honestly forgot to take photos prior to diving in.  So, I took the liberty of pulling some photos from Magpie’s Facebook page to give you and idea of how great these meals look.

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Hungry yet?  I thought so.  Here is the best part…the specials change every. single. day.  So, be sure to check Magpie’s website or FB page to get the latest on the specials.  OR, better yet, just head downtown and let Stephanie surprise you!  The food is excellent, the service (thanks, Felicia!) is on point and the overall experience just makes me happy.  Rockford is lucky to have a new go-to spot in town.  See you all over some coffee cake and biscuits soon!

EmilySignature-Pink

 

Farewell and Thank You – Altamore’s

Six years ago I moved to the near west side of Rockford, close to the North End neighborhood, and was introduced to Altamore Ristorante. Despite growing up in Rockford, somehow this gem had escaped my childhood, but it made a significant impact on my adulthood dining experience.

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News broke last week that after 40 years in business, Altamore’s will be closing its doors on September 4th, and I immediately felt I needed to share my love for this west side community pillar with all of you.

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If you’re not familiar with Altamore’s, the dining room is open one evening per week (Thursdays), and offers a traditional long, joyful and delicious Italian dinner.  Alberto Altamore stops by the tables to share his specials with patrons, and there is never any rush to turn tables, just a relaxing atmosphere to enjoy with good wine, tasty food and nice company. Six days per week Altamore’s runs a bustling carry-out and delivery business. I can almost guarantee that the delivery guy noticed when I moved out of my apartment due to the decrease in pasta and pizza deliveries to that address.

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From birthday dinners and pizza parties to Valentine’s Day meals and retirement celebrations, Altamore’s will be sorely missed by many, but I am very grateful for the time they have shared with our community. Be sure to make those final Thursday reservations at Altamore’s, and place your carry-out orders prior to September 4th!

LizSignature-Pink

Rockford Day 8.15

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Hello Rockfordians!  Who doesn’t love an excuse to celebrate living where they live?  The fine people at Rockford Community Partners have helped found Rockford Day on August 15 (8.15), to help celebrate the people and places that make up our fair city.  Because it will be my last day before I go back to work for the school year (I know, tear, tear.), I plan to take full advantage of the fun deals local businesses are having to celebrate Rockford Day.  While you can find the entire list here, this is a possible itinerary (one I plan to do), that will take you through the sweet 815 deals.  Let’s get our day started!

Wired Cafe

If you are one that likes to start your day with a little coffee or tea, plan to stop at Wired Cafe and enjoy live music by Mossy Vaughn and Derek Luttrell from “Name the Moon” and Gavin Epperson from “Taboo Blah Blah.” 15% off all coffee drinks from 8 – 9am.

N’Spired Yoga 

After gaining some energy at Wired, check out an N’Spired Yoga class at either N’Spired Yoga or Anderson Gardens for just $8.15. The offer is valid all week!

Village Green Home & Garden

Because one can never have enough plants (is that true?), take advantage of  the BOGO sale at Village Green Home and Garden and buy 1, get 1 FREE on all plant material at both locations   (6101 E. Riverside and 2640 N. Main).

Irish Rose

Tacos anyone? Head to Irish Rose for lunch (or dinner) for some handmade fresh fish street tacos for $8.15. All fresh fish menu items $3.00 off.

Bella Luna Bakery

If you are like me, you could always go for a sweet treat.  So, $8.15 for a dozen Mrs. Fisher’s Potato Chip Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies, or Sugar Cookies all day at Bella Luna sounds incredible.

Rockford Art Deli

Don’t have an 815 tee yet? Head on over to RAD for a special, limited edition of the 815 tee.  Bring in a tee, get the print for $8.15. Don’t have a tee? Buy one in the shop for $18.15. Design will be released a few days before the event and will never be printed again. Available from 3-8 p.m.

Olympic Tavern

For dinner (or lunch), The Olympic Tavern is offering great specials.  Burger & Bourbon: Half pound burger, french fries, and a shot of Benchmark Bourbon for $8.15; The Bartenders Dinner: 8oz Ribeye steak, french fries, a pint of Ballast Point Grunion Pale Ale and a shot of Benchmark Bourbon for $18.50. 11am – 12am.

We hope to see you out an about enjoying our city on 8.15!  Check out all of the Rockford Day deals here.

EmilySignature-Pink

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Share

Fresh, local, hand-picked, delicious produce. Where can you find that you ask? I pick mine up every other week at the North End City Market when I pick up my CSA share from Hildreth Organics. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is an awesome way to get fresh, seasonal produce directly from the farmers. It’s also a great way to be introduced to new vegetables (kohlrabi anyone?) and learn new recipes while getting your daily dose of fruits and veggies. In addition to produce, many farmers offer eggs, milk, meat and micro-green options, too.

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I was first introduced to CSA shares when I was in college in Madison. One semester, while living in the dorms, I subscribed to a CSA bag. It was a bit of a challenge to consume all of it as a college student without a kitchen, but I loved being able to collect fresh produce snacks every week.

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Fast forward to adulthood, and I finally remembered to seek out and sign up for a CSA share this year. There are quite a few local farmers who offer weekly and bi-weekly shares. I chose Hildreth because I LOVE their eggs. Last summer I bought their farm fresh eggs either at North End City Market or Rockford City Market, every week. I started following their Facebook page and saw an announcement for CSA shares this year, and I signed up!

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The fruits and vegetables they provide have been awesome, and Erin sends recipe recommendations out based on what is supplied in our CSA box that week. My biggest fear in registering for the CSA was that I might not use everything in the box, which is why I opted for the every other week option. I have found, though, that washing and prepping all of the veggies the morning I get them makes it much easier to consume the share, even on the busiest of weeks.

I would highly recommend checking out Hildreth Organics or other local farmers for the rest of the summer. Try their fruits, veggies, eggs and meats, and then join their mailing lists or Facebook pages to watch for next year’s CSA shares.
Have you tried a CSA share? What were your greatest finds?
LizSignature-Pink

Eight in the Eight-August 2016

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Swedish American State Street Mile                                                                                                                 When: Saturday, August 6, 2016, Times start between 5:00PM-6:20PM

Known as “The Fastest Mile in the Midwest,” the State Street Mile is one of my favorite races of the year.  This downhill course is great for all ages and they even offer a free 1/4 mile race for young children.  Be sure to register in advance here and bring those downhill sprints!

Bark in the Park-Rockford Rivets Game                                                                                                             When: Monday, August 8, 2016, 6:35PM

If I know one thing about dog owners (myself included), it’s that we love to take our dogs with us whenever we can.  So, if you love baseball, dogs, and a night out, be sure to join The Puppy Mill Project at the Rockford Rivets game.  Visit here and enter promo code TPMP16 to get your ticket for this special game. $5 from each ticket sold with this promotion code will benefit The Puppy Mill Project.

Rockford Day-All over the 815                                                                                                                               When: Monday, August 15, 2016, All Day

Check out this new celebration, Rockford Day (8.15), brought to the area by Rockford Community Partners. Over 35 local businesses throughout the city will offer specials for the day. For many, it’s the last day off before school activities start back up, so what better way to spend it than getting some great deals and supporting local businesses?  Check back next week for our guide on how we plan to spend the day!

40th Annual Rockford ProAm at Rockford Country Club                                                                           When: Monday, August 15, 2016

Any golfers out there?  If you are, I am sure that you know Rockford has some of the most incredible golf courses.  In fact, it is nicknamed the “holiest” city in Illinois.  If you are a fan of watching golf (I know you are out there!) the 40th Annual Rockford ProAm will be held  at Rockford Country Club. The primary goal of the ProAm is to bring an entertaining day of high level, professional golf to Rockford and raise dollars for various Northern Illinois health and human service organizations.  While you are out and about supporting Rockford Day, swing (see what I did there?) by RCC to check out the ProAm.

Boone County Fair & Winnebago County Fair                                                                                                 When: Boone-August 9-14, 2016, Winnebago-August 16-21, 2016

It’s hard to grow up in the Midwest without going to the county fair every year.  I mean, who doesn’t love checking out all of the animals, enjoying the fair fare such as elephant ears, corn dogs, and lemonade shake-ups, and riding some rides?  Now that I have a toddler, I will say the county fair is even more fun when she realizes she actually gets to touch some of the animals.  We are fortunate to have two great county fairs this month and if you can’t make one, check out the other.  The Boone County Fair is up first, followed by the Winnebago County Fair.  You will see me there with a funnel cake and one hand and a lemonade in the other.

Paranormal Tour at Tinker Swiss Cottage                                                                                                       When: Thursday, August 19, 2016, 7:00PM-10:00PM

Don’t want to wait ’til Halloween to get your scare on?  Visit Tinker Swiss Cottage for tales from paranormal experts, listen to audio clips found in the Tinker Cottage, and enjoy a tour of the cottage.  Who knows, maybe you will have your own paranormal encounter.  For more information, visit here.

Anything that Floats Race-Downtown on the Rock River                                                                         When: Saturday, August 21, 2016, 9:00AM-3:00PM

Large rafts and individual kayaks and canoes take to the Rock River to benefit the Rockford Fourth of July and Holiday Lighting Efforts, as well as the Rock River Trail Initiative and Ski Broncs.  Entry fees for rafts are $100 and $15 for kayak and canoes.  The course is 1.65 miles starting at the Coast Guard Station and ends at the Prairie Street Brewhouse.  If you think you have something would float, enter it!  Not participating in the race?  Don’t worry.  You can bring a picnic or purchase food and beverage to cheer on the floaters! For more information or to register, visit here.

Ski Broncs Waterski Shows at Shorewood Park                                                                                            When: Recurring Wednesdays & Fridays throughout August, 7:00PM-8:30PM

I am SO ashamed to admit that I have never been to a Ski Broncs show.  However, that changes this month.  I have no doubt the stunts, routines, and full production show will be incredible.  Shorewood park has plenty of room for all to enjoy, bleacher seating, free parking, and concessions.  With shows twice a week, it will be hard to miss.

Hope to see you out and about this month, soaking up the last days of summer!

EmilySignature-Pink

 

 

Guide to Tour de North End 2016

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As I mentioned in the Eight in the Eight post this month, Tour de North End is one of my favorite events of the summer. I have participated in the local bike festival for the past five years, since its inaugural ride. Despite the major construction happening around the festival’s headquarters at the Olympic Tavern, the event will go on this weekend!

Last year the ride drew more than 1,000 participants, an incredible showing in support of North End businesses and in promotion of a bike-friendly Rockford.

Registration is required to support the city permits required to host such an awesome, large event. And $2 from every ticket sale also support a local bike charity. You can pre-register online at www.tourdenorthend.com, or signup in person 11am-1pm on Saturday. The ride itself will take place from 1-5pm. Riders collect passport stamps at the local businesses, and then return to The Olympic Tavern by 5pm to turn in your passports for raffle tickets and a chance to win awesome prizes.

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Here are some tips for a successful and safe Tour de North End:

  1. Pre-register – It saves you time, and allows you to get started almost immediately.
  2. Bring your helmet and bike lock – The TDNE promotes bike safety when traveling to the local businesses, which includes helmet wearing. Trust me – it’s cool to wear your helmet. I would also recommend bringing a bike lock so that there is no confusion as to whom each bike belongs when hundreds of bikes are outside of each location.
  3. Drink Water – Most stops will have water readily available, but you may have to wait in line for it. You will work up a thirst, and if the weather is warm, you will gain so much energy from staying hydrated.
  4. Pack your sunglasses and sunscreen – Sunglasses are much easier to wear with a helmet than a cap, and you will thank me on Sunday if you remember to wear sunscreen.
  5. Drink with a buddy – If you plan on getting beers or cocktails at various stops along the way, I recommend the buddy system. Share drinks with a friend so that you can get a taste of what each watering hole offers, while maintaining the goal of bicycle safety.
  6. Check In – Check in at the local businesses and tag the photos with the hashtag #TDNE16. If you don’t follow State & Eight yet on Instagram, follow us for our TDNE route.
  7. Bring a backpack – TDNE and local establishments give out free swag. Packing a drawstring bag or a backpack is a helpful way to transport your goods while cycling.

Any other important tips we missed for TDNE? Share them with us!

LizSignature-Pink