Our Surprise Trip and How We Ate Our Way Through the City!

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Instead of the usual “3 Things that Work in the Kitchen” post, I thought I’d share about the surprise trips that my oldest daughter and I planned for each other.  This turned out to be one of the funnest things we’ve ever done!


Earlier this summer I decided that after taking our son to college, it would be fun to go on a trip with just our youngest.  I wanted to kick off our “3 Musketeers Years” (when there will be just the three of us at home) with something fun.

There’s a website called Pack Up & Go that will plan a surprise three day trip for you.  Intriguing, but it was a little bit expensive.  I told our oldest daughter about the site and she decided that we should plan trips for each other – I’d plan a trip for Meredith and her husband and she’d plan one for Jim, Mia and me.

Their Trip to Pittsburgh

After checking the map for cities within driving distance of Lexington, KY that Meredith and Stephen haven’t been to, I settled on Pittsburgh as their destination.  I’ve never been to Pittsburgh either and had no idea what it offered, but that is a cool city!

I booked an Air BnB for them (their preferred way to stay and within their budget) and then set to work on an itinerary.  With the help of the blog Discover the Burgh, I was able to easily plan a great trip for them.  I gave them a list of restaurants and activities to choose from.

I made a folder of info for them that was not to be opened until they were in the car ready to leave.  So fun!

And they had a blast!

It was fun to plan a trip for someone else and I loved getting texts from them throughout the weekend about what they were doing.

Our trip to Memphis!

For our trip, Meredith had several envelopes to be opened at specific times.  The first one just told us which direction and which highway to get on.  We had one envelope that included a CD of an electronic mash up of weatherman vocals.  If you don’t know what that is – neither did we, but it was hilarious!  Our son has a friend who is studying to be a meteorologist and is currently a student at WKU in Bowling Green, KY. They used some clips of him saying “Bowling Green” to let us know that was the direction we needed to go.

At Bowling Green we opened another envelope that told us of a lunch stop in Nashville – Hattie B’s Hot Chicken.

The chicken was great, but the Pimento Mac & Cheese was awesome!  Such a fun stop.

After lunch we were instructed to go to the Parthenon in Nashville, where we’d open the next clue.  Lucky for us, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams had a food truck there.  I’ve wanted to try this ice cream for years and I finally got my chance!

I had Brambleberry Crisp ice cream and Riesling Poached Pear Sorbet.  Both were so amazing!  I didn’t even think to take a photo, because I as so absorbed in how delicious and intense the flavors were.

After ice cream we opened the envelope revealing our destination – Memphis!

To keep this post from being ridiculously long, I’ll use our meals to walk you through what we did.  We basically ate our way through Memphis.  I have no regrets!

We hit up Beale Street and the Rum Boogie Cafe for dinner.  We went early before things got crazy – and it did look like it would turn into a real party atmosphere later that night, which is not our kind of scene.

At the Rum Boogie Cafe we had Fried Green Tomato and Bacon Po’ Boys, gumbo and red beans and rice.

The next morning we started with breakfast at Brother’s Junipers – delicious!  Then we headed to Graceland.

What we didn’t realize until we hit Memphis is that we were there at the start of Elvis Week.  Elvis died 40 years ago and many, many people were coming into town.  Graceland was busy!

Later that evening we went to Central BBQ.  Oh. My. Goodness! That was the best bbq I’ve ever eaten.  And this is how serious they take their bbq:

The line was out the door.  An armed security guard – yes, he carried a gun – let each party in the door just a few people at a time.  But wow! That bbq was worth guarding!

The three of us shared ribs – half wet, half dry rub, a plate of bbq nachos and four sides.  It was all so, so good!

After dinner we went to the Pyramid that houses the Bass Pro Shop.  We’re not outdoorsy, but that place is so cool!  We rode the glass elevator to the top, stepped out on the lookout and took in gorgeous views of the city and Mississippi River.

Our last morning started with breakfast at Blue Plate Cafe.

Then we walked through the historic house district and headed to the Peabody Hotel to see the famous Peabody ducks.

We had such a great trip!  If you have someone in your life that you could swap trip planning with, I highly recommend doing it.

We never would have planned a trip to Memphis for ourselves, and Meredith said the same thing about Pittsburgh.  But it was so fun to explore a new place for a few days, to experience the surprise of it and to not have to do any planning for your own trip.

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  1. Memphis during Elvis Week is like hitting the jackpot. I love Memphis BBQ and I have always wanted to try Jeni’s ice cream. Lucky you. Many years age we couldn’t agree on where to vacation, so my husband planned a trip to a BnB in Frankenmuth, Michigan and I planned a trip to the Biltmore mansion for their Christmas candlelight tour. Each was for 3 days. Our house is about half way in between so we stayed there one night before heading off to the second stop. It was really fun.

    • That’s a fun idea to each plan a trip! I wonder where Jim would plan a trip to. He does very little to none of the planning, so that could be interesting 😉

  2. This is such a great idea! Also, I’ve never been to Memphis, but I live fairly close. I think I might have to do a road trip with my friends & use you suggestions.

  3. Hi. I’m so glad I found you!!!! My mom is ill and will have to be away from my family for a while. Now I won’t feel as guilty cause I can fill the freezer up with delicious meals n not worry about what they’re eating. I’m going to label them for each day. This should make it easy for my husband. Just pop it in set it n forget it lol. He’ll appreciate this. Thank you for doing all the menus work that’s the hardest and you made it so easy for me. Thank you
    Paula Simpkins. 🌺🌺🌺

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