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Weekend Planner: Biergartens

dweber posted this October 5th, 2015

Oktoberfest is something we can get behind: It’s a celebration of camaraderie, home-cooked food, and lots and lots of good beer. The annual German tradition technically takes place during the month of September, but with biergartens making merry well into the month of October, why limit ourselves? From river-side picnic tables to historic urban drinking halls, here are some of our favorite Oktoberfests and Biergartens around the country (USA, that is). Prost!

You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see the fraus and fraulines queued up to enter Frankford Hall. Yes it’s worth it, and yes it moves quickly. Bundle up or grab a spot by the fire pits, but plan on spending a few hours at one of Philly’s go-to spots. Classic German beer and schnitzel abound, or go for a new-age beer cocktail (Respect Your Elder has a nice zip to it). The cheese spatzle with carmelized onions will definitely provoke getting seconds (they say spatzle, we say mac n’ cheese), or hail one of the “pretzel girls” who’s slinging hot soft pretzels right on the spot. Can’t get enough of this biergarten? Neither can the locals – Frankford Hall is open 7 days a week, all year round. We’ll drink to that.

If you can’t make your way to Munich, make your way to the next best place: Milwaukee. Located along the Milwaukee River in Estabrook Park, Estabrook Beer Garden is the real deal: German Hofbrau beer is served in heavy glass steins (1 Liter = 3 beers, so pace yourself), giant pretzels and bratwurst are always hot off the grill and live polka bands set the mood on weekends. The ‘Brook is in full swing now through Sunday, November 8.

Modern Travel: Burlington, VT

dweber posted this September 28th, 2015


It looks like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting – white steeples peak from yellow leaves, covered bridges dot the highway, brick buildings house generations-old restaurants… Yep, Burlington, VT is about as picture perfect as it sounds, and one of our favorite places to experience the change in seasons. One of America’s colonial gems, Burlington has a lot to offer the modern traveler.

Sheer beauty is always in abundance in Burlington, but we happen to love the way the fall colors pop against old brick buildings. Throw on your walking shoes and spend a day wandering the streets of Burlington in all it’s Fall glory. Grab coffee amongst the co-eds at the University of Vermont, peruse the local shops on Church Street Marketplace, and watch the sun go down over Lake Champlain. On day two, get outta dodge and take the scenic route. Take Interstate 89 out of Burlington and head towards Stowe (where you can hit up the Cabot Creamery, Ben and Jerry’s AND an apple cider donut shop all in within a mile) to drive up to Mt. Mansfield. The 89 is a gorgeous (albeit slightly windy) road with rock outcroppings on either side, perfect for hiking or rock climbing if you’re feeling adventurous.  Pop into the roadside towns to stretch your legs and take the 10 minute detour to Stowe for a cup of killer Chai from Black Cap Coffee. If you’re feeling up to a 5 mile round trip hike to the peak of Mount Mansfield you’ll be treated to stunning views of Canada from Vermont’s highest point (4,393ft). For an alternate route back to Burlington, take the Vermont 108 to Cambridge then the Interstate 15 through Jericho. Nothing says fall like a scenic drive.

Like the great Vermont woods, the culinary scene in Burlington is definitely something to write home about. With a focus on fair trade, organic and locally sustained products, Vermonters pride themselves on serving up the freshest seasonal ingredients. And in a state with more breweries per capita than any other state in the country, you really can’t go wrong. On the outskirts of town is Switchback Brewing Co. – stop off for a great free tour of the brewing facilities and a $4 tasting flight (and maybe take a growler to go for later adventures). If you’re downtown, stop into one of New England’s best cider houses, Citizen Cider. 100% locally sourced apples and 100% cider on tap. We like the classic Citizen Dry, but with a name like Brosé, it’s hard to pass up the blueberry cider. Need something to soak it all up? American Flatbread Burlington Hearth dishes out “pizza with integrity.” Go for the classic Punctuated Equilibrium (hello handmade Vermont goat cheese), or try one of the seasonal specialties like the Pork Belly or Squash and Apple Hash flatbreads. And, of course, grab a pint of their homemade Zero Gravity beer. This is Vermont, after all.

With so much to do in a weekend, don’t spend time worrying about your wardrobe. For a quick getaway in Burlington, the gals are packing the Nightwatch Cape – our recycled wool blend keeps you warm (and itch-free!) all day long. If you’re looking for a versatile skirt, look no further than the Diamond Sweater Skirt. Great over leggings and boots or dressed up for a night on the town, this skirt is our go-to until it’s sundress season again. For the guys, we think the Emmett Crewneck Sweater will be the perfect layer for any inclement fall weather. Made of 100% organic cotton, the Emmett is cozy as an outer layer but lightweight enough to toss on under a jacket. And if you need some extra pockets, layer it up with the Sidecar Vest – our recycled Italian wool wonder vest that looks smart and keeps all the essentials (keys, camera, bottle opener) close at hand. Enjoy the changing leaves and don’t forget to send a postcard!


Weekend Plan: Fall Hikes

dweber posted this September 28th, 2015
"Alpenglow Maroon Bells, Maroon Lake, Colorado" by John Fowler

“Alpenglow Maroon Bells, Maroon Lake, Colorado” by John Fowler

Two words: Leaf Peeping. It may sound funny, but it’s that age old pastime of enjoying the changing foliage, and, for lack of a better term, peeping at the leaves. But we don’t think you should be limited to spying on the leaves, get out there and experience it. Feel the air as humidity gives way to a crisp breeze, throw yourself into a pile of freshly gathered foliage and take a hike though the seasons while summer fades into fall and fall into winter. Here are some of our favorite fall hikes around the country:

Aspen Vista Trail –  Santa Fe, NM

Bull Head Lake Trail – Glacier National Park, MT

Birchtoft Trail – Dublin, NH

Maroon Lake Trail – Aspen, CO 

Giant Mountain – Lake Placid, NY

We ♡ Samba230

dweber posted this September 20th, 2015


Our favorite Samba fabric just captured our hearts all over again. A cool-weather twist on our favorite year-round knit, Samba 230 (grams, that is) offers 30% more weight for colder temps, more coverage and more Samba love. Made from a mix of eco-friendly Tencel®, feel-good organic cotton and a hint of stretchy spandex, we knew we loved Samba from first touch. So with Samba 230, there’s even more to love.

Samba 230 is 55% organic cotton (that’s where the heft comes from), 39% Tencel (that’s the silky-soft part) and 6% spandex (so you’re always feeling comfy). And to top it all off, Samba 230 is just about as environmentally friendly as they come.

Organic cotton farming starts with GMO-free seeds and follows practices that maintain soil health, conserve water and support biodiversity. And Tencel® is an eco-chic dream come true: This cellulosic fiber is derived from eucalyptus trees (which grow in soil that specifically cannot be used for food crops) in a closed-loop production process. Efficient, clean and 98% of the by-products are recovered and reused. What’s not to love?

Weekend Plan: Apple Picking

dweber posted this September 14th, 2015

Apple Orchard

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well what about an apple orchard in a day? Okay, it might not work the same way, but we think a day in the orchard is good for the soul. And now is the time to get to it! All through September, October and November the apple trees are overflowing. Grab some friends and spend a few hours getting provincial – take a hayride, swap your beer for cider and let the harvest begin. Here are some of our favorite spots to get your pick on.

All Seasons Orchard – Woodstock, IL

Three words: APPLE CIDER DONUTS. There’s a magical place halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee that serves up some of the finest homemade apple cider donuts east of the Mississippi (and probably west of it too, actually). You’ll work up an appetite after a few hours in the orchards – there’s 10,000 apple trees – so you’ll have earned a few pastries. With a donut in hand, head over to the corn maze or shooting gallery (apple shooters and pumpkin cannons, that is) and embrace all that is autumnal.

Carter Mountain Orchard – Charlottesville, VA

Virginia is for lovers, apple pickers and hard cider. Marked by a picturesque red barn in the hills of Appel-achia, you can’t get much more authentic than the rolling hills of Carter Mountain Orchard. Golden Supreme and Gala apples are the early crop, or take a break and switch to some sweet peaches. Whatever you choose, be sure to wash it all down with some hard cider (and maybe a growler to go, too).

Mt. View Orchard – Hood River, OR

“Hip” isn’t often a word associated with apple picking, but this may just be the hippest spot in the Pacific Northwest. With 50-acres of apple and pear farm nestled just north of Mt. Hood, Mt View Orchard has been growing delicious, top-grade, environmentally sustainable fruit for over 40 years. Pop in to pick a bushel, snag one of their famous applesauce cinnamon rolls (or five) and spend a day marveling the mountain and taking in that fresh Fall air. Check their website for fun events during the harvest season like regular farm-to-table dinners and Swiss-Edelweiss Day in late October.

Brackett’s Orchard – Limington, ME

40 minutes outside of Portland, Maine is a little slice of history (and a BIG slice of pie). Brackett’s has been a family operated farm since the 1780s so they’ve perfected the art of the harvest. Fresh apple varietals are popping up all winter long, so stop in every few weeks and see what’s new. Hayrides, U-pick, cider tasting, a country kitchen – everything you imagine when you hear “Apple Harvest” awaits you at Brackett’s. Go ahead, your taste buds will thank you.

Riley’s Apple Farm – Oak Glen, CA

California’s orange groves are known for their sweetness, but the little-known apple orchards are pretty darn good too! California’s apple country is in mile-high Oak Glen in Northern California, and it’s certainly keeping up with the apple orchards of the East. Riley’s Apple Farm is one of the original orchards in the area and they’ve got the log cabin and home-cooked fritters to prove it. U-pick is open until they run out, generally in late October so get up there while the gettin’s good.


Weekend Plan: Rooftop Bars

dweber posted this September 7th, 2015

With Labor Day behind us, it’s the un-official beginning of Fall! It’s back to work and school, but this perfect Indian Summer has us pretty convinced we can hold off on Autumn for a few more weeks… So take in the last few days of endless summer from one of our favorite rooftop bars. Who knows, maybe you’ll even see the leaves change in between rounds.

Acme Feed and Seed – Nashville, TN We’d be lying if we said we didn’t feel pretty cool at the Acme. Killer views and border-line lethal cocktails will do that to you. Sweeping views of Broadway, the Cumberland River and Riverfront Park pair nicely with the Sun of Gun or Side Saddle cocktails. Live music doesn’t hurt either.


Ouray Brewing – Ouray, CO It’s hard to imagine a more picturesque rooftop bar in all of America. Located in a historic brick building nestled amongst the San Juan Mountains, we’d probably stop in even if the beer was bad. Luckily, it’s delicious. Grab a pint of their Box Canyon Brown, a basket of ribs and breathe in that fresh mountain air.

Café Benelux – Milwaukee, WI Who needs to travel when you’ve got Café Benelex. A little Dutch enclave in the heart of the historic Milwaukee warehouse district, traditional fare like mussels, pannenkoeken and frites go great with any one of the thirty beers on tap. Make your choice easy by going for the Bier of the Month, or change it up and order a post-work Bloody Mary. Both make a great addition to any sunset.

Ouray   cafebenelux

HandleBar – Austin, TX An old school vibe servin’ up good times by the glass, there’s no funny business when it comes to HandleBar. Except for the giant outdoor Jenga set. And adult-size seesaw on the patio. And the giant portrait of a scantily clad Tom Selleck. If Tom is too much to handle, grab a beer and head to the patio. Though you could opt for a traditional (and very tasty) craft beer, why not go for a boiler maker? Try the Einstein (whiskey dropped in light beer) or the Ron Burgundy (Amaretto dropped in wheat beer). Come for the beer, stay for the ‘stache.

La Birreria – New York City, NY There’s a magical place in New York’s Flatiron District, perched 14 floors above Madison Square Park that serves up juicy burgers and cold beers during sunset. Take in the Big Apple from wooden picnic tables with a pint in hand and good company by your side. And maybe a pulled pork sandwich if you’re feeling whimsical. La Birreria is open year round – rain or shine – so layer up when the chill sets in, and just keep ‘em comin!

handlebar   laBirreria

Modern Travel: Chattanooga, TN

dweber posted this August 31st, 2015

It’s not every day you can wake up with a morning SUP sesh, hit a trail run at lunch, hike the Appalachians after work and cap it all off with a farm-to-table feast for under $10. Actually, you can do that every day in Chattanooga, Tennessee – Outside Magazine’s Best Town 2015 Winner! Aptly nicknamed the Scenic City, Chattanooga is a proud river town with industrial roots and high-tech aspirations. With a booming tech industry attracting new business to the city every day, young companies like RootsRated, an adventure app company, are molding the city into an eco-tech-utopia of sorts. With a little bit of everything and a lotta Southern hospitality, Chattanooga has certainly earned it’s claim as one of America’s Best Towns Ever.

For starters, Chattanooga is staking its claim as one of the country’s premier outdoor meccas. Located on a bend in the Tennessee River, at the southern terminus of the Appalachian chain, the city is geographically blessed and proud of its river heritage. Northwest of the city the river cuts a dramatic canyon into the Cumberland Plateau, which locals refer to as the Grand Canyon of Tennessee. Downtown, the Chattanooga riverfront plays out like a postcard: Stand-up paddle boarders, kayakers and canoeists dot the water against a backdrop of dramatic stone bluffs. It’s a sight to be seen, so cruise the 10 miles of riverbanks by foot or boat, or roll up your sleeves for some renowned whitewater rafting if you’re feeling adventurous.

The backcountry isn’t half bad either. Those little mountains called the Appalachians loom over the north, while countless ridges, plateaus and sandstone cliffs surround the city. Rock climbers of all levels rejoice in the cliffs and boulder fields, while hikers will revel in turquoise waterfalls that seem to flow from every nook and cranny. The Cumberland Trail may very well be the most gorgeous hike in America with its various side trails and Jurassic Park-like greenery. Signal Mountain and Bluff Trails are perfect for epic views of the valley, and the Lula Lake Land Trust sports luscious rock gardens and, of course, tons of waterfalls. Whatever path you take, the trailhead is likely less than 30 minutes from the heart of downtown.

With so many activities, you’ll need to fuel up. For breakfast, it doesn’t get much better than The Farmer’s Daughter—a farm-to-table cafe in North Chattanooga that serves up Southern-infused favorites like Grits and Greens or Cornmeal Pancackes. Their in-house partners, Copacetic Coffee, will get your day started with a swift caffeine kick and some soft fiddle tunes. After a day in the woods, stop into the Flying Squirrel to rub elbows with the locals and weekend warriors who know these hills like the backs of their hands. Trade climbing tips and chow down on fried rice with pork belly or killer fish & chips. Huge burgers and tons of craft beer can be found at the Tremont Tavern, and if you’re looking for pizza and a spiritual awakening, Lupi’s is the parlor you’ve been searching for. You may consider moving to Chattanooga right then and there.

If not, then a weekend getaway will surely do the trick. For a few days in Chattanooga, our lady friends are packing the Swifty Tunic (a hiker’s moisture-wicking best friend) and the Shadowstripe Dress for the perfect casual date night (or lunch date, breakfast date, leisure picnic… anything really). And for the outdoorsy dude, we think you can pretty much go anywhere and do anything in the Dogma Shirt and Mission Ridge Pant combo – super soft, sustainable fabrics and classic backcountry colors mean you’ll fit right it with the locals. Happy exploring!


Now Hiring: New Office Dogs

dweber posted this August 24th, 2015

Must be comfortable with fast paced, dog-eat-dog-treat environment (From left: Lucy, Gromit, Leo and Norman)

Position: Office Dog, or SNIF Representative (Super-Nose Inventory Faction)
Reports To: Norman, First in Command SNIF
Location: Toad&Co Headquarters, Santa Barbara, CA

As a Toad&Co Office Dog and Representative of SNIF, you are responsible for monitoring all activities at Toad HQ and maintaining good office vibes. Office Dogs are the first faces guests see when entering the office, so it is paramount that SNIF Reps look cute and refrain from growling (sniffing encouraged). Reps must understand the technical aspects of the perfect cuddle, maintain professionalism in the presence of snacks and thoroughly enjoy belly scratches. This position works closely with fellow SNIF representatives: Norman (Head of Security), Lucy (Lunch Lady), Leo (In-house Therapist), and Gromit (Grounds Patrol). The right Office Dog is experienced in spotting fallen crumbs and can accurately discern proper bathroom locale. Experience in sitting, shaking, rolling-over and delivering beer is preferred but not necessary.


  • Greet all guests enthusiastically
  • Accompany employees to kitchen
  • Keep office floors clean after meals
  • Accept UPS packages and keep kindly rapport with delivery guys
  • Occasional modeling
  • On-demand cuddles as requested by Toad employees
  • Travel as needed


  • Excellent communication skills
  • Highly skilled self-starter
  • Potty trained
  • Proficient in sniffing (PC and Mac)
  • Excellent time management for scheduling naps during prime sunlight hours
  • Handle multiple projects in fast paced lunch environment
  • Ability to work well with others
  • Looks adorable while sleeping


Office life can be ruff… Clockwise from top left: Norman, Gromit, Leo, Lucy

Office life can be ruff… Clockwise from top left: Norman, Gromit, Leo, Lucy

That’s Just Peachy

dweber posted this August 23rd, 2015

We interrupt our regular programming to bring you a special announcement: It’s National Peach Month. Which means that we have just a few days left to give do credence to one of our favorite summer snacks. And what better way than grilling ’em up and slathering with sweet-yet-salty honey ricotta? Yep, we told you it was a special announcement.


Recipes and Photos from Recipe Runner

Grilled Peaches with Cinnamon Honey Ricotta

4 peaches, halved and the pit removed
3/4 cup ricotta
2 tsp honey (and a bit more for drizzling on top)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (and a dash for sprinkling on top)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1. In a small bowl whisk together the ricotta, honey, cinnamon and vanilla until it’s perfectly smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Preheat your grill to medium high heat.
3. Brush oil or melted butter onto the cut side of the peaches, then place them cut side down onto the grill.
4. Grill peaches for about 3 minutes or until they are warm and have those fun grill marks.
5. Spoon a big dollop of the cinnamon honey ricotta mixture into the peach pit holes, and finish with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Bon appetite!

Weekend Plan: Beery Picking

dweber posted this August 17th, 2015


As summer days give way to autumn nights, we’re squeezing in our favorite summer activities before it’s back to work and school. Lucky for us, it’s still berry picking season for the next few months. Blueberries, blackberries, gooseberries, raspberries, huckleberries, thimbleberries… grab a bucket and fill it up with the sweet stuff. A good rule of thumb when picking wild berries is let it be if you don’t recognize the berry type. It’s not too late to plan a quick weekend getaway, so here are our favorite U-pick berry farms around the country:

Mountainview Blueberry Farm – Snohomish, WA
Mountainview lives up to its name: Nestled against a hillside in the Snohomish River Valley, on a clear day you’ll see all the way to Mt. Baker. This picturesque farm dates back to 1940 and grows 20 varietals of blueberries. Pop into the market for some killer preserves and syrups or get recipe ideas for your own sweet concoctions. Open Tuesday – Sunday, 8-5, $2/lb.

Santa Barbara Blueberries – Gaviota, CA
Located in the magnificent rolling hills of Santa Ynez Valley just 35 miles northwest of our hometown, Santa Barbara Blueberries at Restoration Oaks Ranch is just as sweet to look at. Spend a few hours gathering blueberries, raspberries, watermelon and cantaloupe, then toss them into your picnic basket and head to nearby Gaviota Sate Beach for a seaside picnic. Open Monday – Thursday, 10-3; Friday – Sunday, 10-6, prices vary.

Lakeview Orchard – Lanesborough, MA
We’re partial to spectacular views, and Lakeview Orchard does not disappoint. Overlooking Hoosac Lake, good luck focusing on berry picking when you’ve got panoramic views of the surrounding valley and Berkshire Mountains. Cherry season is over, but raspberries, red currants and blackberries are in full swing (and maybe a few apple varietals too). If you’re not a sweet tooth, their homemade pierogi, ravioli and gnocchi are the best kept secret in the area. Open Tuesday – Sunday, 9-4, prices vary.

Willow Oaks Berry Farm – Midland, VA
Blueberries, thornless blackberries and raspberries are in abundance at this postcard worthy Southern farm. Pack a lunch for the communal picnic green or stop off to get road trip snacks on your way to DC. Great for kids and dreamy for adults – just don’t forget the mosquito repellent. Open Tuesday – Saturday, 9-5; Sunday, 12-5, prices vary.

Dexter Blueberry Farm – Dexter, MI
The closest thing to picking wild berries, Dexter Blueberry Farms is not for the faint of heart. Keep your eye out for wild rabbits and turkeys while you stroll the blueberry lanes, sifting through wickets for the biggest, fattest, juiciest blueberries. An old-school cash-only enterprise, $2 will get you a bucket and all the blueberries you can harvest – just be prepared to work! Monday – Saturday, 8:30-7:30; Sunday 12-6, $2/lb.