• Affordable Hotel Stay in Northern Minnesota

    Hey, y’all!

    Jack and I spent much of last week on a much-needed break from work, school, and life in general, to head up to Northern Minnesota near the North Shore. Jack and I loved the hotel we stayed at last year, so we decided to stay there again this year! The hotel we stayed at was the Quality Inn and Suites in Virginia, Minnesota. Somehow, we even ended up in the exact same room as the year prior – I will be claiming that as our room now.

    I found Quality Inn and Suites last year when I was searching for a budget-friendly option in Duluth. I wasn’t finding exactly what I was looking for, so I expanded my search to surrounding city areas. I am SO glad that I expanded that search and landed on this hotel, as it is now a go-to place to stay for a road trip up north. Below I broke down pricing, location, and amenities, as well as provided the website for you to book your summer trip!

    Hotel Overview


    A room with 1 King bed ran at a rate of approximately $110 a night when I booked the reservation. This was only about $10 more per night than last year, and with recent inflation, this pricing difference seemed very reasonable to me. Also, most hotels that are closer to either Duluth or Lake Superior were listed at roughly $180-$200 a night.

    If you’re looking for vacation dates that will be the least expensive, I analyzed the upcoming prices for July and August and mapped out a few date groupings that are less expensive than the typical for this hotel. I would recommend staying from July 17-21, July 24-28, August 1-4, and August 7-11.


    Quality Inn and Suites is located in Virginia, Minnesota. It is roughly a three hour drive from the Twin Cities/Suburb areas. It is placed in an convenient location to be able to explore multiple areas of Northern Minnesota, without having to have significant drive time. The areas that can be visited while traveling for around/under an hour from the hotel include Tower/Lake Vermillion, Ely, Duluth, Two Harbors, and Silver Bay.

    Beyond convenience to visiting other cities, Virginia itself has much to offer! There were multiple restaurants within short walking or driving distance (The Sawmill is a MUST). The hotel is also located on a main street with many small shops and boutiques. Within these shops is Minnesota’s oldest candy store, only a couple minute walk from the hotel. There were also two lakes within a few blocks of the hotel. Virginia Lake has a nice look out, as well as a stunning Veterans Memorial sculpture. The second lake, Silver Lake, did disappoint in that swimming was not allowed and the beach was a bit rundown. However, it still made the perfect area to relax, watch a sunset, or enjoy dinner on a bench overlooking the water. Also, if you need to pick up some groceries, sunscreen, or a forgotten toothbrush, there is a nearby Target and SuperOne Foods within a few minutes of the hotel location.


    This hotel offered a lot of great amenities for the price point. The hotel provided a few different food and beverage opportunities. Upon arriving, Jack and I were each given a snack bag. The snack bag included a mini water bottle, as well as a few salty and sweet snacks. These were great to take with in the car when we were headed on our adventures for the day. There was also free contiental breakfast. The breakfast was to-go, which made it super simple to eat and get ready in the mornings. The lobby also had hot coffee and tea available 24/7.

    Quality Inn also has a great pool area. Jack and I took advantage of it more last year than this year, but it definitely added to the experience. There is a pool, hot tub and sauna available to use from 9am-10pm. Because this hotel is not located in a main North Shore tourist city, there is also a good chance that you can have the whole area all to yourself for hours at a time!

    Quality Inn and Suites in Virginia is a perfect place to stay on your summer trips to Northern Minnesota. The hotel is currently still featured in the lock screen of my phone, as Jack and I took our favorite picture together there last year, and recreated the photo again this year!

    With Love, Marin

  • Trip to Northern Minnesota

    Hey, pretty girl!

    I’m recapping Jack and my first trip together to Northern Minnesota! We took this trip to relax, visit friends and spend some quality time with one another. I recently asked on my Instagram stories what y’all most wanted to see from the trip, and it was a pretty even split between sightseeing/restaurant recs/places to stay, so I’m covering them all. Below is a slideshow detailing the path we took on our trip!

    Location: Northern Minnesota

    Cost: $100/night hotel ; $50 – sightseeing/keepsakes ; $100 – meals ; $75 – gas

    Jack’s Rating: 10/10

    Marin’s Rating: 1000/10

    I had never been more north than Brainerd, Minnesota prior to this trip. Being able to experience a new place, go on fun adventures and eat yummy food made this date/trip so much fun. I’d definitely recommend a road trip to Northern Minnesota with your SO if you live around the Twin Cities.

    This date is for… the adventurous couple.

    Kissability: 10/10

    Quick Tip: Set out a budget before you go and stick to it.

    Sight Seeing

    One of the places that we stopped along the way to visit was Split Rock Lighthouse. Learning about the historical aspect of Split Rock and its connection to Minnesota history was so intriguing! The location itself is also so beautiful that it is worth coming to purely for the scenery and to look out at Lake Superior. Jack and I were lucky enough to be the last ones in the lighthouse so we were able to take a better look around. We also picked up some souvenir glasses!

    Black Sand Beach is a MUST for Northern Minnesota travel. Unfortunately, we got drenched on and had to leave the beach, but it was such a relaxing experience. I do recommend bringing good shoes, as the “sand” is mostly large rocks.

    I totally recommend stopping at Fortune Bay Casino if you travel to Northern Minnesota. You are given some free gameplay, which makes it feel a lot less scary to go to a casino. Jack and I ended up winning $75 on a game that seemed to ALWAYS have a winner. It was definitely a blast and makes for a fun indoor activity to escape unideal weather.

    Places to Stay

    The hotel that Jack and I stayed at was the Quality Inn and Suites in Virginia, Minnesota. I originally was searching for a budget-friendly option in Duluth but found that there weren’t too many options. I am SO glad that I expanded my search to surrounding city areas and landed on this hotel. Below I broke down pricing, location, and amenities, as well as provided the website for you to book your trip!


    For a room with 1 King Bed, it was approximately $100 a night. This was a super budget-friendly option for the region, considering most hotels close to Duluth were closer to $200 a night. The room was worth well more than this price! The room was super spacious, had a large bathroom with good lighting (super important for the girls who don’t want to bring a makeup mirror along), and was a quiet location with no distirbuances. Parking was also included in the price and there were always plenty of close spots avaliable!


    Quality Inn and Suites could not have been placed in a more perfect location. There were multiple restaurants within short walking or driving distance. It was nice to have the flexibility of knowing that we did not have to drive to go out for lunch or dinner. There were also two lakes within a few blocks of the hotel, which was a perfect area to go to relax, watch a sunset, enjoy dinner on a park bench, or fish!


    This hotel offered a lot of incredible amenities. There was free continental breakfast, free coffee at all times, vending machines, WIFI access, and our favorite part, the pool! The pool area was absolutely stunning. It felt like a resort with the inner portion of the hotel featuring the pool, as well as the inclusion of modern bathrooms with showers to clean off, and a sauna.

    Quality Inn and Suites is currently still featured in the lock screen of my phone, as Jack and I took our favorite picture together there!

    Local Eats

    Gordi’s Hi-Hat: 10/10

    Sawmill Saloon: 100/10 (SO GOOD WE WENT THERE TWICE!)

    I hope you enjoy your stay in Northern Minnesota!

    With Love, Marin

  • St. Paul Travel Guide

    Hey, pretty girl!

    Welcome to St. Paul!! My new city!! While I haven’t had a second to do all the touristy things that St. Paul has to offer since starting college… here’s my bucket list (also including some things that I’ve done since I’ve grown up close by)!

    #9 – @seniorsbysarahchacos

    1. Black Coffee and Waffle Bar

    2. Minnehaha Regional Park

    3. Exploring Grand Avenue

    4. Saint Paul Farmer’s Market

    5. Wabasha Street Caves

    6. Como Park Conservatory

    7. Hi-Lo Diner

    8. Fitzgerald Theater / Ordway Center for Performing Arts

    9. St. Paul Cathedral

    10. Izzy’s Ice Cream Shop

    With Love, Marin

  • Madden’s Travel Guide

    Hey, pretty girl!

    I don’t know if it’s just a Minne-girl thang but there is nothing I love more than trips to the lake. Due to a legal convention, I’ve had the joy of lake life for a few days every August. Three years ago, the convention was moved to Madden’s Resort on Gull Lake – and let me tell y’all – I get more excited for these trips than large vacations!

    Our Room

    This is the upstairs area where I stayed with my sister @photosbyjannajo

    Steamboat Bay Sunrise Villa

    • 2 Queen Beds on the main level
    • 2 Twin Beds on the upper/loft level (the best view of the sunrise)
    • 2 Bathrooms (1 on each level)
    • Kitchenette
    • Balcony w/Lake Views

    On-Resort : Things to Do

    • Waterskiing
    • Paddle-boarding
    • Swimming (Lake/Pool)
    • Fishing (Boat Rentals Available!)
    • Outdoor Waterpark
    • Visit the Tennis/Croquet Club
    • Golf
    • Do a Photoshoot (explore the resort to find a gorgeous flower patch)

    Around Town : Things to Do

    • Shopping at Westgate Mall & Fun Sisters Boutique
    • Horseback Riding w/Outback Stables
    • Zip-lining at Mount Ski Gull
    • Cuyuna Mountain Biking
    • Northland Kart Kountry Family Fun Park

    On-Resort : Where to Eat

    Quick Service:

    • Parfecto Pizza
    • Madden Bros’ Market (strawberry-banana smoothie is SO good)
    • Chrissy’s Ice Cream Parlor

    Classic Dining:

    • Fairways
    • The Lobby Cafe

    Fancy Dining:

    • Mission Point
    • The Classic Grill

    Around Town : Where to Eat

    • Grizzly’s Wood-Fired Grill
    • Ernie’s on Gull
    • El Tequila Mexican Restaurant (tacos are THE best food ever created)
    • The Boulder Tap House
    • Rafferty’s Pizza

    With Love, Marin

  • Nashville Travel Guide: In 10’s

    Hey, pretty girl!

    When you step off the plane and into Nashville International Airport, you immediately know you’re in music city. With Nashville becoming a booming metropolis for all music, tech and bridal parties – Nashville is the place to visit right now!


    Where to Stay:

    When my family was in Nashville for spring break, we opted to stay in an Airbnb. With bigger groups (aka over 4 people) it can be hard to find a hotel room. While I wished we stayed closer to the inner-city, this was a quieter area and was only an uber ride away to many top visiting locations!

    1) This specific Airbnb that we stayed in had the cutest Nashville decor and made you feel right at home. Other great extras things included board games, record player and lighted mirrors.

    2) Hilton Nashville Downtown

    3) Airbnb Nashville Cottage

    4) Sheraton Music City Hotel

    5) Airbnb Contemporary Apartment

    6) Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center

    7) Airbnb Townhome with Outdoor Space

    8) Dream Nashville Hotel

    9) Airbnb Apartment on Broadway

    10) Onmi Nashville Hotel

    What to Do:

    1) Grand Ole Opry Tour & Show

    2) Madame Tussauds

    3) Tour of the Ryman Auditorium

    4) Nashville Zoo (you can pet Kangaroos!!)

    5) Explore the Opryland Hotel (this is where I purchased my cowgirl boots)

    6) Johnny Cash Museum

    7) Belle Meade Plantation Tour

    8) Shopping in the Gulch (this is where the angel-wing mural is wink wink)

    9) Country Music Hall of Fame

    10) The Parthenon

    Where to Eat:

    1) Milk & Honey (grab morning coffee before shopping in the Gulch)

    2) Corner Bakery Cafe

    3) Aquarium Restaurant

    4) Hard Rock Cafe

    5) Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse (a lil on the pricey side but so worth it)

    6) Corner Pub Downtown

    7) Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery

    8) Sam’s Place (if you go anywhere on this list, GO HERE AND ORDER THE HAND-BREADED CHICKEN STRIPS – you will thank me later)

    9) Savannah’s Candy Kitchen

    10) Goo-Goo Shop

    With Love, Marin