Tag Archives: Nashville

Our First Time Flying Southwest Airlines- I’m Impressed

Kim and I were pleasantly surprised by our flights on Southwest. We found the airline to actually be very good! (We flew SW on our recent trip to Louisville & Nashville.)

I earned Companion Pass status with Southwest which allows Kim to fly for free on any flight I book with points or cash. This will allow us to take (most likely) 2-3 more domestic trips with SW during 2013.

The employees just might be the friendliest out there. From the ticket counter, to the flight attendants to the pilots- they all seem to have a smile on their face.

Continue reading Our First Time Flying Southwest Airlines- I’m Impressed

GooGoo Clusters: A Yummy Regional Sweet + Giveaway

Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant

Make sure to enter below for a shot at winning a Collector’s Tin of GooGoo Clusters!

In February I wrote about a Budget Travel article mentioning 15 of America’s Favorite Regional Sweets.

There was one item from the list that I really wanted to try. If I ever made it to Tennessee, I had to get my hands on a GooGoo Cluster. Luckily, on my recent trip to Louisville & Nashville, I was successful in my quest.

GooGoo Clusters were invented in 1912 in Nashville, Tennessee. They are the world’s first combination candy bar. GooGoo’s are “made of luscious caramel, smooth creamy marshmallow and fresh roasted peanuts all covered with a thick coating of pure milk chocolate”.

GooGoo Clusters come in three varieties:

  1. Original- described above
  2. Supreme- with fancy pecan pieces instead of peanuts
  3. Peanut Butter- replacing the marshmallow filling

When we started planning our trip , I remembered that I had to find a GooGoo Cluster to taste when I made it to Tennessee.

On the shelf at Dollar General

The first GooGoo Clusters I bought were just outside of Nashville. We stopped at a gas station for a snack and a fill up. While Kim waited in the car, I went in to buy the snack and spotted them in two varieties. I bought one of the Original & Supreme. They each cost .99 cents. We both enjoyed the Original variety but didn’t love the Supreme as much.
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We expected to see the GooGoo Cluster for sale all over and planned to try it a few more times. The next morning, at breakfast I noticed a display at Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant selling Original GooGoo’s for $1.99 each. Wow! Talk about pricey. I wasn’t going to pay double what I had payed the day before. I hoped to find more Clusters for sale before we left Nashville.

A photo with the prized GooGoo Cluster

After finishing up breakfast we needed to buy some water and spotted a Dollar General right down the block from Puckett’s. We stopped in for the water and decided to wander down the candy aisle. Well what do you know, Dollar General carried boxes containing 3 GooGoo Clusters for $1.99! This seemed like a great price so I bought a couple of boxes to take home. (I kind of wish that I had bought a few more!)

Piggly Wiggly

We didn’t see GooGoo Clusters for sale anywhere else in Nashville until the last night of our trip. I went into a Piggly Wiggly (a Southern supermarket chain- I had to mention the name) and spotted a display selling Original & Supreme Clusters for .99 cents. This seemed like a fair price but we decided to pass. If they had the peanut butter variety available I would’ve bought a couple.

A GooGoo and its wrapper

A review of the GooGoo Cluster:
Kim and I are now big fans of the GooGoo Cluster. We both appreciated that it seems to be just the right size- not too big, not too small and just the right thickness.  These lumps of tasty goodness smell great too! Kim told me she could smell the peanuts and chocolate from a few feet away, not knowing I had opened the package.

Layers of yummyness

To show all of the layers of flavor, I cut one of the GooGoo Clusters in half with a sharp knife.

You can see all of the ingredients present in the cluster. They don’t skimp on anything. There are lots of tasty peanuts on top, followed by a nice layer of caramel. They sit on a thick pillowy bed of marshmallow and then the whole package is coated all around in tasty chocolate.

A nice thing about the GooGoo Cluster is that you can actually taste all of the elements working together. What stood out most for me was the peanuts and chocolate. The marshmallow added a nice, light texture and the caramel added just the right amount of sweetness. It is a perfect mixture of smooth, crunchy, sweet and salty.
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I’d love to try out the Peanut Butter variety in the future. Maybe I can hunt it down in a candy shop in the NYC area.

If I could recommend one thing to the Standard Candy Co. (the makers of the GooGoo Cluster), I’d suggest that they consider making a dark chocolate version!

Find out more out Goo Goo Cluster and order some online HERE

***Giveaway: Win a Collector’s Tin of GooGoo Clusters***

I decided to contact Standard Candy Co. to let them know how much Kim and I enjoyed the GooGoo Cluster. I mentioned how I really wanted to try the peanut butter variety but had no luck finding them in Nashville.

I received a speedy response from Standard Candy Co. and they were very kind and generous. Not only did they offer to send me some Peanut Butter GooGoo Clusters, they also offered a little something for me to giveaway to my readers!

The Prize: One Collector’s Tin of GooGoo Clusters

  • Collector’s Tin filled with 8 Assorted GooGoo Clusters: 4 Original, 2 Supreme and 2 Peanut Butter. (value: $19.95)
  • Contest ends 1/15/13 at 12:01AM
  • Enter in the widget below. The more ways you enter, the better your odds are for winning!
    a Rafflecopter giveaway 

 

Louisville & Nashville- Day 4 Recap

We spent the last day or our trip in Nashville doing a variety of things. We ate some unique foods and visited a few historic sites. We also took some time to walk around Broadway to check out preparations being made for the New Years Eve Bash.

Here is a recap of Day 4:

  • Breakfast at Pancake Pantry
  • Toured President Andrew Jackson’s home The Hermitage
  • Checked out the amazing posters at Hatch Show Print
  • Tried a unique kind of food- Meat and Three
  • Stopped for a quick jump at the State Capitol
  • Visited the New Years Eve Bash On Broadway stage & surrounding area

Louisville & Nashville- Day 3 Recap

We spent all of Day 3 in Downtown Nashville exploring various Country Music sites. Neither Kim or I are Country Music fans but the sites we visited seemed like must sees. If we skipped them it would’ve just seemed wrong. I couldn’t come to Nashville and not see why it got the nickname Music City.
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Here is a recap of some of what we did during our first full day in Nashville.

Day 3: Nashville

  • Visited the Ryman Auditorium- “The Mother Church of Country Music”
  • Had a drink & heard some music at “Honky Tonk” Bar- Legends Corner
  • Toured Historic RCA Studio B
  • Wandered around the Country Music Hall of Fame
  • Had one of the best burgers in Nashville at Brown’s Diner

Happy New Years From Nashville

Kim, Lucas and I want to wish everyone a Happy & Healthy New Year!

Hopefully 2013 will bring great mileage earning opportunities and plenty of travel for all.
We already have flights booked for three trips with more to come. I’ll be mentioning where we’re going in future posts. We’re planning our trips early this year!
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This year we got to spend the last days of 2012 in Louisville & Nashville. Check out my posts about Day 1 and Day 2. I’ll be posting about Days 3 & 4 very soon.

Nashville hosts a big event called Music City New Year’s Eve Bash On Broadway. The event features performances by some bands and they countdown to midnight with the Music Note Drop. Streets are closed all over the downtown area and vendors are out selling food, drinks and souvenirs.

I had hoped to check out the Bash on Broadway but it wasn’t the best idea due to my little man Lucas. The weather has been chilly in Nashville and it’s been drizzling/ raining on and off all day. (Lucas also needs his beauty sleep way before midnight!)

My last jump of 2012

We decided to walk to the end of Broadway to get a closer look at the New Years Stage & Music Note.

During our stop near the stage, we figured it was a great time to take some photos. The area had lots of activity going on. Last minute preparations were being made and many others seemed to have the same idea as us- get some photos before the crowds showed up.

Nashville’s Broadway

Once again, I want to wish everybody a Happy New Year from the Michael W Travels Family!

Louisville & Nashville- Day 2 Recap

Image edited from mapquest

The second day of our Louisville & Nashville trip was a very long and busy one due to a good amount of driving. Driving from Louisville to Nashville directly would take around 2 hours and 45 minutes but we decided to break up the drive with a stop at Mammoth Cave National Park. This added a little under an hour onto our drive with traffic.

Regardless of the time we spent on the road, we ended up having a pretty productive day. We got to visit some interesting sites, Lucas had a lot of fun playing in a museum and we got stuck waiting (for what seemed like) forever for a famous chicken dish created in Nashville.

Here is a recap of some of the things we did.

Day 2: Louisville to Nashville Continue reading Louisville & Nashville- Day 2 Recap

Louisville and Nashville- Day 1 Recap

We’re half way through our final trip of 2012- Louisville & Nashville.

The trip has been pretty interesting so far and it’s been a busy first couple of days. We’ve visited a couple of interesting museums, toured part of the world’s longest cave, visited a few odd sites and tried out some tasty, local food.

Here is a quick recap of some of the things we did so far on our first day. Continue reading Louisville and Nashville- Day 1 Recap

The Oddest Checked Luggage I’ve Ever Seen

While checking our one piece of luggage (Kim, Lucas and I shared one bag) and getting Lucas’ boarding pass for our current trip to Louisville & Nashville, I was amazed at what I saw at the counter to my left. One man was trying to check some of the oddest items I’ve ever seen.

We were at New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA), about to fly for the first time with Southwest Airlines.

Southwest might have one of the most generous checked baggage policies out there. They allow two checked pieces of baggage per ticketed customer. The maximum weight is 50 pounds and maximum size is 62 inches.

I think we all expect to see people checking various kinds of luggage, an oddly taped shut box or even a surf board on occasion.
However, the gentleman to my left was trying to check two 50 pound dumbbells!

Continue reading The Oddest Checked Luggage I’ve Ever Seen

Coming Up: Our Last Trip of 2012- Louisville & Nashville

Image edited from mapquest

For the first time Kim and I do not have the same winter break. She is off during the holidays and I am off towards the end of January. We usually go away during our winter break so why should this year be any different. I decided to take one day off so we could get in a long weekend trip.

I wasn’t looking to spend money on a flight so this is where my Southwest Airlines points came into play. I earned Companion Pass status (good until 12/31/13) so any flight I book- with points or cash, my companion (Kim) flies for free. The only thing we pay is the tax.

While looking into places to go, nothing was really standing out. I would’ve loved to visit Portland, Oregon, Seattle or California but the prices of these flights were astronomical. To book a flight to any of those destinations, I would’ve had to use up all of my points- over 100,000. Definitely not my idea of a great value. (I plan to turn my SW points into at least 3 round trip flights.)

This led to my next group of places to consider. This group was narrowed down to three options- Charleston, Dallas or Nashville. As I debated where to go, the amount of points needed to book the flights started to change (as did the availability of decent flight times).

After comparing flight times and points needed for the flights, Nashville was the clear winner.

Continue reading Coming Up: Our Last Trip of 2012- Louisville & Nashville