All posts by Mimi McFadden

Mimi founded The Atlas Heart to create a community of travelers inspired to see the world. The Atlas Heart is a space where you'll find anecdotes on slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, and all the eccentric bits in between that this world has to offer.

A Guide to the Oregon Country Fair: Everything to Know Before You Go

A guide to the Oregon Country Fair in Veneta

A complete guide to the Oregon Country Fair so you know what to expect, what to enjoy, and where to stay during this hippie festival in Veneta, Oregon.

The Oregon Country Fair has become a staple in Oregon since its start in 1969. I heard about it enough times before I moved to Oregon – mainly from my hippie parents – and I knew I wanted to check it out for myself once I was living in the Pacific Northwest.

The Oregon Country Fair is a three-day festival in Veneta, just outside of Eugene, Oregon.

The fair usually happens at the beginning to middle of July and is something between a renaissance fair, music festival, and an acid trip from the 60s. They continue to expand the festival every year because it has become such a big deal in the community over the past 50 years.

In 2019, the fair had a record attendance with over 50,000 attendees. You could say it has kind of become a big deal in the US festival scene.

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101 Things to do in Sacramento | The Ultimate Bucket List

101 things to do in Sacramento, California | The Ultimate Bucket List

The best things to do in Sacramento! From popular attractions to historic sights, craft beer, and where to stay and eat, there’s a lot more to California’s capital than just politics and cows.

When deciding where to stop on a California road trip, it’s easy to pass over the state capital. Sacramento might not be as popular as San Francisco or Los Angeles with tourists, but that’s where its charm lies. You would be amiss to think there aren’t enough things to do in Sacramento, just because of its focus on politics and farming (weird combo, I know).

If you’re having a mental tug-of-war about whether it’s worth going so far inland for a visit, do it. There is so much to explore and experience in Sacramento, and it’s well worth the journey inland from the coast to check out everything that this sleepy big city has to offer.

At the very least, you’ll be able to see Arnold’s smiling portrait in the capitol building and look back on the time when California decided to elect the terminator to public office. 👀

In Sacramento, there are politicians everywhere and suits walking the streets as you would expect, but the city is edgier than most people think. There is endless street art, a delicious local craft beer scene, and history around every corner.

These are my picks for the top things to do in Sacramento, whether it’s your first time to the city or you’re a regular visitor.

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101 Things to do in San Diego (From a Local)

101 things to do in San Diego (from a Local) | The Ultimate Bucket List

From trying the world-renowned microbrewery scene to finding the best beaches and tacos, these are the best things to do in San Diego at least once.

San Diaaago, Ron Burgandy’s place of work and considered to be the sunniest place in America – okay I made that last one up, but it’s still a remarkable place, and very sunny. Plus, there are a ton of things to do in San Diego. Seriously, you will never be bored no matter how many times you visit.

I spent five years living in San Diego, going to school, working at internships and a myriad of jobs to stay afloat during my time at university. Over the half decade I lived there, I grew to love San Diego in all of its perfect weather, beaches, tequila, and delicious Mexican food glory.

San Diego will always have a soft spot for me, so I wanted to share that love with anyone else who plans to visit this amazing seaside city. I made this bucket list so all of my favorite local spots and hangouts can continue to be enjoyed, even when I’m not there.

From tourist attractions, to unique local experiences, the best tacos, and where to indulge in the microbrewery scene, these are my top 101 things to do in San Diego!

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The Ultimate Guide for Where to Stay in Barcelona for Every Budget

Where to stay in Barcelona

Where stay in Barcelona! A complete guide to the best neighborhoods, things to do, and accommodation options no matter what your budget is.

For my first trip to Barcelona, I stayed in a hotel on the Ramblas in the El Gotico neighborhood. For my latest trip to Barcelona, I rented a beachside apartment in Barceloneta, where my balcony view was the Mediterranean Sea just 500 feet away.

Both neighborhoods were absolutely amazing with each one providing its own distinct vibe, charm, and atmosphere.

You have many great choices for where to stay in Barcelona. To help you find the best spots, here are five top neighborhoods which are well-positioned for adventuring the city by foot.

These Barcelona neighborhoods are close to incredible restaurants, upscale and artisanal shopping, tapas bars, and most attractions. Although they share the same city, each neighborhood boasts its own signature atmosphere, charm, and local vibe.

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The Most Common Stereotypes About the Balkans

travel misconceptions - the balkans

The Balkans is a region in Europe that has quite a few stereotypes attached to it. Learn about the most common ones from a local.

One of my goals on The Atlas Heart is to break down stereotypes or judgments about places and ideas. Perhaps it could be that destination that everyone warns you not to visit because of how dangerous it is, or maybe you yourself had preconceived notions that were proven wrong once you arrived to where you were going.

My aim is to present a variety of different opinions and experiences through the eyes of other travelers. It’s important to hear travel stories from all different perspectives in life, I call it seeing the world through a kaleidoscope lens.

Without further ado, I’m happy to introduce the next guest poster on this blog – Allison from Eternal Arrival and Sofia Adventures, who is discussing the Balkans and the common misconceptions people might have about this area of the world.

Take it away Allison!

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20 Things to Do in Richmond, VA (From a Local)

20 things to do in Richmond VA

The best things to do in Richmond, VA from a local! Find out the best attractions and areas of the city to explore for your upcoming trip, all in one post.

We are Samantha and Chris and we run Boozing Abroad! We help connect travelers with local cultures through booze, which is why our mantra is always to “Drink Locally. Travel Globally”.  

While we love tasting and exploring all of the interesting local libations and cultures that this great world has to offer, our hometown of Richmond, Virginia has its fair share of local experiences (and drinks, of course) to keep us busy all by itself. 

Samantha was born and raised in Richmond and has lived here her whole life (except for college), while Chris has lived here since graduating college in 2010. 

We have literally watched Richmond evolve and grow up before our eyes, offering visitors many things to do, see, eat, and drink, and making it an ideal weekend (or longer) getaway. 

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The Best Hotels in Cleveland + Neighborhood Guide

best hotels in cleveland

The complete guide on the best hotels in Cleveland, aka The Land. No matter your interests, travel style, or budget, there is a Cleveland neighborhood with the perfect accommodation for you. 

Congratulations on your choice to visit the city of Cleveland.  This mid-sized city located in Northeast Ohio has a mixed reputation, and unfortunately ends up being the butt of jokes all too often. 

Your decision to visit means you have excellent taste in beer and food, and that you are able to ignore the negative connotations the city sometimes gets. Those characteristics are valued in Cleveland.

It’s true that the Cuyahoga River caught fire in 1969, and yes, Clevelanders will likely hear about it forever. Being Cleveland though, we ignore the haters and instead use it as fuel to do things like name a beer after it and create a festival called “Burning River Fest”. 

Of course, I would be remiss to not include all the jokes about our sports woes! Go ahead and laugh about those because they are mind boggling and just down-right depressing to even Clevelanders.

Despite all that negativity, Cleveland is truly a great city. For one, it’s located on Lake Erie, with stunning views to rival any other Midwestern city. Plus, a visit to Cleveland is warranted to check out its impressive brewery scene and amazing restaurants. 

There are variety of neighborhoods and hotels in downtown Cleveland and its surrounding areas, so there are plenty of options that are central to the action and near popular tourist attractions. Keep reading for the best neighborhoods to visit in Cleveland, the best hotels in Cleveland, and general travel tips for getting around and things to do in the city.

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If You Don’t Like Something in Your Life, Change It

Yearly Wrap Up 2018 - Morocco

I’m writing this post because if I didn’t it would be all too easy to go back on my goals and keep living a life that doesn’t make me completely happy. It’s much easier to keep with the status quo, the hamster wheel I’ve been on for the past six years.

If you live a fairly comfortable life, it’s easy to forget to check in with where you’re at and if it’s actually a life that you’re satisfied with.

This has happened to me. A lot.

I get into my routines, my comfort zone, and I forget to keep working at what I imagined my life to be by 30. Or, when I’m not in the best mindset, I think that it’s too late to change things up because I already made so many wrong decisions in my 20s to make that life possible.

But that kind of thinking is just wrong. With the risk of sounding cheesy AF, it’s never too late to be who you want to be or to build a life that makes you inspired, proactive, and grinning from ear to ear on a daily basis.

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Where to Stay in Dublin: Best Hotels, Neighborhoods & Travel Tips

Where to Stay in Dublin

Where to stay in Dublin! A guide to the best neighborhoods, things to do, and the best accommodation options no matter what your budget is.

It's hard not to be stunned by Dublin. Craggy cliffs, wildflowers, and rolling green hills perfectly set the backdrop for Ireland's gorgeous capital. Dublin's rich history and majestic landscapes make the city a must-visit if you're planning a trip to Europe. There's a reason why Dublin is considered the best place to live in Ireland by many.

As for where to stay in Dublin, the city has plenty of accommodation options suited for any travel style, whether that is traveling solo, with friends, or with family. From staying local in the suburbs, to central B&Bs and grand hotels, there's a little something for everyone in this Irish city.

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The Best Things to do in San Francisco at Night (From a Local)

things to do in San Francisco at night

The best things to do in San Francisco at night, whether you’re looking for nightlife, romantic activities, or family-friendly options.

San Francisco is an interesting city at night. Depending on which neighborhood you’re in once the sun sets, you might think of the city as completely dead or a great place to party.

San Francisco isn’t like New York where you can go anywhere and find nightlife options or events going on in the majority of the city, no matter what day of the week it is. Sometimes you have to know where to look for fun things to do in San Francisco at night.

That’s one of the great things about the city though, there’s a little something for everyone around San Francisco.

With locals who are as equally into outdoor activities as they are with going out to trendy new bars on the weekends, there’s a good mix of options for things to do around the city.

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