Conquering My Local Bucket-List & What's On My Own!

If I could guess what an average bucket list entailed, here's what I'd imagine seeing... bungee jump/sky dive, see all of the world wonders, honeymoon in France. You get to the idea! Am I far off from your own?

Conquering My Local Bucket-List & What's On My Own! | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY

I love the idea of bucket lists. It's the ultimate "dream big" activity... one that requires us to ask ourselves the big questions in life. What is it that I want to accomplish while I'm on this earth? How am I going to make this happen? So that being said, whatever you want to call a bucket list, whether is a life "to-do" list or a grocery list of #goals, it's safe to say that most of the items on our are very much far away from reality. Not to mention, sometimes bucket list items that remain incomplete can be a source of self doubt and apathy... I know I'm guilty of feeling this way, especially when the new year is right around the corner!

That's why when Famous Footwear approached me about their Step Forward campaign this winter, I knew it was time to shift my perspective about my bucket list and take a breathe. Between all the holiday hullabaloo, shopping for loved ones and running to family get togethers, there's no need to add an internal pressure of getting bucket list items completed! I'm taking a necessary break from the holiday chaos (and nagging internal woes to do and see it all)... and instead, I'm focusing on small, manageable local bucket list items to explore this season.

Conquering My Local Bucket-List & What's On My Own! | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY

With many guests coming into town during the holidays, I realized that there were a considerable amount of Lancaster-based eateries, sights and experiences we had yet to accomplish this year. And that's where it hit me... we needed to make a local bucket list. One that's filled with the fun, fresh things I've been meaning to do since moving into my favorite little city of Lancaster! One that's filled with fun little activities to do to re-inspire myself, to recuperate from the holiday craziness, while also exploring my own neck of the woods.

The bucket list mentality that all fruitful pursuits have to happen far, far away in a distant country is just a silly outlook, isn't it? Creating a local bucket list can help us finally get to those bookshops, coffee stops and stores we've been meaning to visit, but just couldn't squeeze into our routines. It stops us from making those lame excuses as to why we just haven't had the time to visit amazing, unique places in our neighborhoods. It keeps us motivated and allows us to see our day to day surroundings with fresh eyes. It can help remind us to be thankful for the community around us. Who's with me?

Here are some tips for creating and conquering your own local bucket list!

Conquering My Local Bucket-List & What's On My Own! | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY
Conquering My Local Bucket-List & What's On My Own! | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY
Conquering My Local Bucket-List & What's On My Own! | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY

Think Like A Hostess

Having guests stay over in your city is a great exercise in rounding up the absolute best of our surrounding areas. So, hypothetically, if you had some friends stop by for a weekend... what would you recommend them seeing, tasting and experiencing? Make a list of those things and see if you've done them all yourself.

You could even make and print a nice local travel guide for friends from out of town to peruse through... and test your own ability to list cool and special spots you love along the way. You'll find that the places that have been highly recommended to you, but you haven't quite visited yet firsthand stick out like a sore thumb! Time to add those places to your local bucket list and get to adventuring! 

Group Places & Things Into Themes

Am I the only person who loves an organized and creative themed day? If you haven't already read our Feast Of Saint Pizza posts (literally a day dedicated to discovering the best pizza of large and small cities) or our Finding Little Paris post (similarly about finding nods of France in your own neighborhood)... see what I mean!

So pick a theme, any theme! Make a bucket list item a morning hopping in and out of the thrift stores you haven't seen yet, or exploring the nearby college by walking the grounds and spending an afternoon watching an athletic event. The possibilities are endless here! See what common ground your local bucket list items have in common and make it a fun day for yourself... and thank me later. 

What Haven't You Seen Or Done Yet?

This is where the wonderful world of TripAdvisor, Foursquare and other review websites come in handy! Check to see what the top ten recommended activities for your neck of the woods. Have you done them all? Now check out all the restaurant recommendations. Have you tasted the best recommended dishes visitors have praised? If anything, and I truly mean anything, hasn't been see or done yet... do it! Book that reservation and make it an experience you'll never forget!

Now's the time to embrace those weird, quirky colloquialisms you might have gotten too accustomed to! For example, my community of Lancaster is heavily influenced by the Amish culture that surrounds the city. A great (albeit oddball) experience might me to go see an Amish farm or visit a nearby farm stand. What's strange or unique about your neck of the woods? 

Conquering My Local Bucket-List & What's On My Own! | ROAM + GOLIGHTLY

As for what's on my own local bucket list, here's what I'm aiming to accomplish this season:

  • See a show at The Fulton 
  • Plan a picnic in Musser Park with friends once the weather warms up a bit!
  • Roast some Passenger Coffee beans at home
  • Have a good ol' fashioned Penny's ice cream cone in their new shop. Don't judge, I am absolutely the type of girl who still craves ice cream in the middle of winter!
  • See a movie at our very own independent movie theatre a few blocks away, Zoetropolis
  • Go to a gallery show of an artist I haven't met yet
  • Shop locally for Christmas this year. Buy at least two to three little trinkets from Lancaster natives and family owned shops in the city!
  • Make a trip to an Amish auction
  • Find the best dang whoopee pie in Lancaster! Anybody have a personal recommendations?
  • Discover some new street art in the city... I've heard the new graffiti behind Mulberry has changed?!
  • Pick a favorite historic home to get dreamy-eyed about around Chestnut Hill

So, guys, what do you think? Isn't creating a local bucket-list a great way to take a moment to ourselves and recuperate this holiday season? Thanks so much for Famous Footwear for sponsoring this post and for the gorgeous shoes that made adventuring around Lancaster a breeze! Their Step Forward campaign and mission to take a moment to ourselves this holiday season is something I believe in wholeheartedly!

Thank you to Famous Footwear for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.


Tips For Creating Your Own City Guide For Visitors

Tips For Creating Your Own City Guide For Visitors

For anyone wondering, I love Lancaster, Pennsylvania! If my incessant Instagrams of our lovely little city isn't enough to make my point clear, here goes... I feel so proud of our hard working entrepreneurial spirit, our gorgeous old homes, our excitement for small businesses and family owned restaurants. Lancaster is honestly one of my favorite places in the world, and I feel so proud to call it my home. 

Having your good old standby hole-in-the-wall restaurants, book stores and quirky gift shops recommendations is one amazing perk of being a local. Being able to welcome strangers or dear friends from out of town with a great list of things to do or see is one of my favorite things to do. I find myself listing off my favorite spots to friends (and strangers alike!) who are in for the weekend, or even an afternoon or two. I'm always so excited to list off the best places for coffee or a scoop of ice cream, but it certainly does get repetitive! Hence, why having a handy city guide to hand to guests or to leave by the bedside for friends staying in town is a great way to welcome them into your beloved home city.

Here are some tips for creating your own city guide!

Tips For Creating Your Own City Guide For Visitors

MAKE A MASTER LIST

From your go-to pizza place, to your favorite hole in the wall bookstores... list everything out. No need for organization. The first step is always to make a master list of your absolute favorites. You are the guru, so go crazy! Favorite historic monuments, pizza shops, bookstores, thrift shops, pretty blocks you love to walk down, your favorite houses or architectural buildings, your favorite ice cream shops, sweets, multicultural restaurants... just start that list, baby!

TIP: One thing I did that helped a lot was keeping a master list on my notes on my phone. Every now and then, when inspiration would strike or I left an absolutely fabulous meal, I would add another favorite or discovery to add to my city guide later on. 

SECTION IT BY UNIQUE CATEGORIES

Think like a stranger in your city. What are some unique experiences they should have while they explore? Some ideas might be:

  • THE SWEET TOOTH - a list all your favorite ice cream shops, sweet shops, coffee spots and more
  • THRIFTY FINDS - a list of thrift shops, oddity stores and unique gift shops
  • AN INSTAGRAMMER'S GUIDE- a list your most "instagrammable" spots
  • THE BOOKWORM - a list of bookstores, libraries and cafes perfect for writing/reading
  • SHOP SMALL - a list of family owned shops, restaurants and more
  • WANNA WORKOUT - a list of gyms, great places to run, hiking trails and more

CHOOSE A SMALLER SIZE

One haphazardly genius idea I made while creating my city guide was to print it in a small, handheld size. (I printed mine when Artifact Uprising was having a great sale!)

Printing your guide in a smaller size allows your guests to pop it into their bag or purse while they explore your city. I mean seriously, how many times have you found yourself out on the town wondering "wait, what was that restaurant she said had great drinks?"... I know I'm not the only forgetful one. Having a transportable city guide to sift through while out and about is a serious lifesaver. So, print small and see how happy your guests will be later!

Tips For Creating Your Own City Guide For Visitors

MAKE A LOOSE SCHEDULE FOR GUESTS

Another great idea is to create some schedules for your guests to loosely follow. Don't feel like you're imposing... guests love to be given a highlight reel of their destination! Some ideas could be:

  • A QUIET MORNING - a schedule of slow, peaceful morning activities like your favorite coffeeshop, a visit to your library, a walk around your favorite couple of blocks
  • A BUSTLING BRUNCH - a more high paced schedule of your favorite brunch options, a couple of shops to stop by and maybe even a great rooftop bar to wash it all down
  • PIZZA CRAWL - one of my favorite schedules, a pizza extravaganza filled with your favorite pizza joints (you could also change this to whatever treat/meal your city does best!)
  • AN AFTERNOON WINDOW SHOPPING - a schedule of shopping spots that are not to be missed, from kitchen knick knacks to shoes to women's clothing and more
  • EXPLORING ______ NEIGHBORHOOD - choose your favorite neighborhood (or even a couple blocks of your town) and make a loose schedule of must-do's in the area
  • A HISTORICAL AFTERNOON - a schedule of your town's most historical finds

BE CHOOSEY WITH YOUR IMAGES

When deciding which photos to include in your city guide... be picky! Because you'll be filling your pages with lots of written content, be sure to take the time to capture photos that truly emulate the mood/feel of your town. Whether it's a picture of you exploring and kicking up crunchy, fallen leaves, or a still shot of your bustling city square... ask yourself, how does this show the absolute best of my city? 

Collage your favorite images, choose the best images to print on a full, empty page and have fun with it!

SHOW THE LOVE

What you love most about your city? It's a hard question, but it brings the best answers. Write down a paragraph or two explaining your love for your town. By including a simple closing thought or two about your city, your guests will be feeling the love and totally inspired to discover the best of what's around!

Tips For Creating Your Own City Guide For Visitors
Tips For Creating Your Own City Guide For Visitors
Tips For Creating Your Own City Guide For Visitors

More than anything, making a city guide is a great exercise in appreciation. After making my city guide for Lancaster, I found myself feeling even more grateful to live in such an amazing place. And I'm positive you'll feel the same after making your own as well!

HAPPY CREATING! Can't wait to see what you guys make!
Lancaster folks, I have ONE copy of my city guide to Lancaster available in the shop

Tips For Creating Your Own City Guide For Visitors

Feast Of Saint Pizza: Lancaster Edition (& How To Host Your Own All-Day Pizza Adventure!)

It's the most wonderful tiiiiiime of the year! That's right. At this point, our annual Feast Of Saint Pizza is basically my favorite holiday. The idea is simple. Choose a city (large or small!), eat at ten of their best pizzerias, indulge in ample amounts of carbs unabashedly, compare our favorites and have a BLAST while doing so. It's basically a day filled with pizza... and what's not to love about that?

IMG_2831_0278.jpg

Inspired by the dudes on The Feast Of Saint Pizza podcast, two years ago my dear friend Sara of Cake Over Steak coordinated a quest for the best slice of pizza in our small town of Lebanon. Our tradition continued last year on a much, much larger scale in Philadelphia. I couldn't be more thankful for all of Sara's INSANE, crazy ability to organize a pizza crawl for all of us. Check out our previous feasts in Lebanon and Philadelphia if you haven't already, and Sara's too here!

And do be sure to check out Sara's post on our day in Lancaster too. I love her illustrations of each pizza slice we ate. So freakin' cool. And she's a food blogger, so homegirl definitely knows the ins and outs of all the deliciousness we ate! 

This year, Sara brought up the idea to host our feast in Lancaster. With the insane amount of love that I have for my little city, I was sort of bursting at the seams with excitement. Not only is Lancaster incredibly walkable, but getting to learn about the pizza shops I haven't frequented yet sounded like a dream come true! It's kind of crazy how often I choose to order a pie from the same couple of places, so having the opportunity to expand my horizons and learn more about the slices available in my own neighborhood. 

Lancaster is truly a melting pot when it comes to pizza. We have everything from your typical mom-and-pop pizza shops (THE BEST) to your more upscale, wood fired pizzas served with fancy cocktails and appetizers (WHO DOESN'T LOVE THAT)... basically, we have the best of both worlds working here in Lancaster. And trust me when I say, we were more than willing to try both!

Want a taste (pun intended) of what we experienced? I've got our entire day's adventure on the podcast today and Sara's got the true, detailed foodie run-down right here. Without further ado... here's a highlight reel from our pizza adventure in Lancaster!

IMG_2862_0309.jpg
IMG_2731_0442.jpg

HOUSE OF PIZZA

IMG_2734_0444.jpg

To start our day's adventures, we started at the mighty House Of Pizza. This place is not only POPPING at 2 am (I can speak from experience!), but it was also the first place that opened in the morning. Turns out, House of Pizza does not play! Seriously guys... if you find a pizza place that only closes for, say, eight hours a day, you can bet that it's delicious.

It's always a little odd to start taking notes at our first stop. With little to compare our first slices to, who knows where it'll rank when we've fully gorged ourselves, right?

Well, I can honestly say that starting at House Of Pizza was a total win. We weren't too quick to hop to conclusions, but I'll be honest we ended up referring to it later on in the day over and over again. 

Crusty, sweet sauce, great cheese to sauce ratio. We really hit off the day on a great note by coming here first!

 
IMG_2774_0222.jpg

FEDERAL TAPHOUSE

A short walk away (or to be more clear, a half a block away from our first stop), we hit up Federal Taphouse for some of the wood fired pizzas. This time we got really classy and ordered a fig pizza and a duck confit one as well. Although the flavor combinations sounded chic... I'll be honest, this was not our favorite. The crust was a bit dry and flavorless. Perhaps we found ourselves comparing their fig pizza to Luca's (one of my personal favorite pizzas I've ever had), or maybe we just didn't care for the extra amount of arugula that was added on top. These pies didn't quite nail it for us. But then again, with the amount of flavors Fed Taphouse serves, maybe we chose the wrong pies!

 
IMG_2791_0238.jpg

ALLEY KAT

Gotta love a classic bar-grill-pizza place, right? The Alley Kat has always been a conundrum to me. I've passed its doors so often, and yet, I've never been compelled to go inside. Well, that changed during our feasting, mostly because their "famous Alley Kat pizza" came highly recommended online. We ordered a classic cheese pizza as well as a white pizza with some additional ricotta (good call, Dave!) for good measure. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being an absolute knock out... Alley Kat is a strong 5. I can't honestly say we were blown away, but I can see how coming to a place like this would be fun for a slice!

 
IMG_2831_0278.jpg

SLUGGER'S

Okay, discovering this place (which is aptly decorated in baseball paraphernalia due to its location near Lancaster's baseball team) was like hitting the jackpot. Our friend Nick, who's lived in Lancaster for some time now, hyped up the buffalo chicken pizza... and MAN, he was not exaggerating.

I LOVED THIS ONE. The chicken on top was smothered in breading and buffalo sauce, and having an additional side of ranch to dunk its delicious crust in was a total home run. Pun totally intended. Guys, you'll never find me ordering buffalo chicken anything and I loved it so much. Their regular pie was great as well. They nailed their cheese to sauce ratio. Which is huge, in my opinion!

Slugger's quickly became a top contender after House Of Pizza. I mean, you know you've found a gem of a pizza place when you order another pie the same week as our feast. No shame here, guys. It's just that good.

 
IMG_2897_0344.jpg

THE FRIDGE

Ah, The Fridge. Being only a few blocks away from this gem of an establishment is a joy. With a long row of fridge's (duh) lined with some of the best craft beer bottles, as well as a few seasonal favorites on draft, mixed with a great little menu of nosh-y foods... The Fridge knows how well beer and pizza play together. 

We ordered a few flatbread pizzas to share, mixing in some veggies as much as possible. Trust me when I say that it's always around the half way point when we all start craving some serious nutrients. Our favorite? Hands down, their veggie flatbread pizza. With everything from snap peas, to purple carrots, peppers, onions and more, served on top of a crispy, crunchy flatbread dough... it was a fantastic switch up to the classic dough-cheese-tomato sauce train we were riding for so long! 

After tossing back some more slices of their margherita and mushroom pies as well, we were firm believers in The Fridge's kitchen. Although this was necessarily our all time, standout favorite from the day's feast, it definitely was a high scorer in most of our books. 

 
IMG_2915_0353.jpg

ESPINO'S

I live a blessed life, and that's because Espino's Pizza is a stone's throw away from our place. I couldn't even count with two hands the amount of times we've ordered Espino's. From our long day's moving in, to the impending snow storms when we celebrated "snow days", to the random Tuesday nights when we didn't feel like cooking. We know first hand how delicious this place is. And it holds a special place in our hearts, for sure!

And that's why hearing such positive responses to their pepperoni and our "family tradition" pepper pizza was so heartwarming. Espinos' crust WINS. With a cornmeal dusted bottom and a doughy yet firm (not soggy) inside... this was another crowd favorite within a few bites of each slice!

 
IMG_2980_0406.jpg

LUCA

Oh dear, sweet Luca. I could write poetry about this place. No seriously, I could.

Luca is a family-owned Italian eatery that has been killing the game here in Lancaster. When Sara and I first sat down to plan our festivities, we knew that without a doubt, Luca would HAVE to be on the day's schedule. 

Luca's staff were incredibly helpful in allowing our group of almost 30+ people to sample their best and most delicious pies. We started with their fresh, seasonal Sorrento pie with crema, basil, shaved garlic, buffalo mozzarella, shaved lemons and spring onions (one of my absolute favorites!)... followed by their classic Margherita pie wit crushed tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil, and extra virgin olive oil. Hands down, their Margherita is the most authentic slice I've had since leaving Italy a year ago! Finishing up, we ordered their spicy Piccante pie with crushed tomato, hot soppressata, mozzarella, pecorino, shaved garlic and hot honey, and their delicious Norcia with tallegio crema, mozzarella, thyme, black truffle, pancetta and black pepper. All of the pies were mindblowing. I have to give a nod to their attention to detail when it came to pairing of flavors. Every pie had something special to offer. Every bite was savory, mouth watering and downright life-giving.

Basically you guys, we FEASTED. And we loved it. And we LOVE Luca. 10/10 forever and always.

 
IMG_2986_0411.jpg
IMG_3000_0417.jpg

LANCASTER BREWING COMPANY

By and large, our trek to Lancaster Brewing Company was one of the longest "treks" we had to do in our day of feasting. And by "trek" I mean we had to walk about a mile (and after a cocktail or two, that can be quite the adventure)! 

After ordering a few selections of their their hand tossed pizza, ... we realized our long walk was absolutely worth it! Their BBQ chicken pizza with smokey barbecue sauce, chicken, red onion, chives and cheddar jack cheese was the bomb dot com. But, hands down, their Hawaiian Hog pizza with smoked pork, pineapple, tomato sauce, aged mozzarella and cheddar stole the show. It was SO delicious. Especially if you're a believer of pineapple on pizza like this gal!

Lancaster Brewing Company really surprised us. I've gone here multiple times and admittedly not known what to order from their extensive menu. Now I know! 

 
IMG_3011_0428.jpg

DICARLO'S

Ahhhh... if there's one thing that's remained the same in all three feasts we've taken part in, it's this: there's ALWAYS a mystery pie that sweeps us off of our feet. This year, it was DiCarlo's (at least in my book)!

We ordered a pie the "DiCarlo's way" with a crispy, Sicilian style crust with sauce baked until it's nice and hot with finely shredded provolone added post-oven to maintain its flavor. Well, without a doubt, the DiCarlo's family knows that this unique style of making a pie is what sets them above the rest. We were all salivating over our slices.

And again, you know a pizza has blown your mind when you're dreaming about it only a day later! 

 
IMG_3013_0430.jpg

DOMINION

For our final stop, we pretty much took the whole dang place over! After waddling a few blocks down, I think we were all pretty much tapped out on dough and cheese. Nevertheless, we happily scarfed down a plain cheese and pepperoni slice of Dominion's pizza! 

 

Lancaster-ites do you agree? Did we miss one of your personal favorites?

If you want an inside glance on our day adventuring around Lancaster, DEFINITELY pop over to our podcast and take a listen to what trouble we got into! I'm pretty sure we got TOO interested in things like the cheese-sauce ratio (which is oh-so important, my dear pizza loving friends) and rambled on a lot of important pizza plans. This is probably one of my favorite podcast minisodes to do every year... mostly because I love my friends, I know you'll love them too, and man, are they a hoot and a half!


When it comes to planning and organizing your own Feast Of Saint Pizza... third time was definitely the charm. Sara and I met a month or so before the feast to rehash our plans, but we basically had it all covered. Sara, I'm pretty sure you could do this with your eyes closed next year!

For those of you who are excited to create your own Feast Of Saint Pizza in your hometown (or even on a larger scale), here are some of our tips for hosting your own version of Feast Of Saint Pizza:

COMBINE PERSONAL RECOMMENDATIONS WITH ONLINE ONES TOO

Meeting with Sara about a month ahead of the big festivities, we discussed how she sifted through the seemingly endless amount of recommendations that came our way from friends and other Lancaster-ites. Say hello to the beauty that is Facebook event pages! All of us who planned on attending this year's feast received updates and were able to voice our opinions and favorites all in one place. Easy-peasy.

After seeing a big old list of recs from friends, Sara crossed-checked recommendations made on Yelp, Trip Advisor and the like, seeing if there could possibly be any other spots that were ignored. Most of the time, you'll find that your highest recommended places are also well loved on the interwebs... but it never hurts to look! Cross-checking your recommendations with what's online is a great way to solidify your line up as well as which pies to order because, believe it or not, you're probably going to want to sample more pizza flavors than your classic cheese and pepperoni! 

TEN IS A GREAT NUMBER

Indeed it is. For all three of our feasts, we've settled on the fact that the number ten is the perfect amount of places to visit in a day! Trust me, any more might set you over the edge. But any less is just a little easygoing for our nature. Yes, ten pizza places (and slices each) seems to be a lot, but you'd be surprised!

SCHEDULING

In a perfect world, you gather a solid crew of pizza lovers, you meet at your first stop and all of you make your way around your city of choice without any snaffoos. However, as we all know, life happens. Although it seems like we always have our "core crew" of feasters who are there for the long haul, some couples and small groups had to leave or arrive late in the game due to a variety of reasons. 

You'll find that most mom and pop shops can come in a variety of sizes. From large spaces to sit, to hole in the wall shops that can barely squeeze a few people, it's important to know the size and popularity of your stops. For example, we knew that Luca was an upscale dining choice and a confirmed reservation with an estimated amount of people was absolutely necessary! In contrast, places like DiCarlo's and House of Pizza had ample amount of room to fit our party and a reservation was not needed. Scope out how large your party will be and give your fancy places a reservation or at least a heads up with your estimated time of arrival.

WHEN FOOD COMA STRIKES...

Walk it out, talk it out or.... if all else fails, drink some water! 

GET INTO IT

Pizza themed tee shirts are 1,000% welcomed! So grab your favorite pizza paraphernalia, create an Instagram hashtag (check ours out at #feastofstpizza) and post as many Instagram Stories/ Snapchats as possible! The best part of feasting is the act of doing it together... so make it a BANG of an event.