A Sunday morning coffee thought. I’ve met so many people through my travels and the motivators behind planning travel interest me: do you go back to the same place every year? do you pick a different destination to explore each trip? do you use a travel planner, or pour hours into researching a destination, or just book the trip and figure it out when you get there? I’m the kind of person that spends hours planning the trip – from setting flight alerts to areas on my travel bucket list, to picking restaurants, accommodations and mapping out a day-by-day itinerary. I put my heart and soul into my travels because I don’t think it’s guaranteed that I’ll be back and I want to get the most out of every destination. I do see the allure of arriving and figuring everything out, but to me that’s too risky. What kind of traveler are you?
I recently went back to a destination that has a very special place in my heart. Little did I know when I planned this trip that my heart would be hurting due to a tragic death in my family – my Gramps passing away in his sleep. There is something incredibly soothing about visiting a place that means so much to you, it feels familiar, yet like it wants to challenge your senses. My Gramps accomplished in many areas, but one of his favorite things was nature photography, so being immersed in all the nature immediately after his passing felt like I was with him. He was on my mind the entire time.
Jackson Hole is the intersection of the wild west and Americana old school class and here are some of the highlights:
Mountain Modern Motel – I helped open Mountain Modern Motel, a contemporary motel right off the main square in Jackson Hole. The accommodations are functional and minimalistic, with every modern convenience you could hope for. The rooms are equipped for your favorite Jackson activities, i.e. there is an area in your room to store your skis, hooks on the wall for your backpacks and a large sink to clean off your hiking boots. This is the perfect base-camp for your time in Jackson Hole.
Jackson Hole Shopping – Walk around the square and peek into the shops selling western novelties. I snagged a turquoise ring, plaid pajama shorts and some blackberry salt water taffy.
Via Ferrata – With Italian origins, this sport is exhilarating and an exciting change after days of hiking. You are harnessed via steel cords to the mountain and literally climb and scale the rock formations.
Grand Teton & Yellowstone National Park – Take a day and enjoy the beauty of my favorite national park. There is nothing like seeing the Grand Tetons on a clear day. I recommend taking a hike around Jenny Lake and then boating back to continue to your car and driving through Yellowstone National Park. You’re guaranteed to see wildlife – I got lucky and saw a moose!
Cream + Sugar Ice Cream – We met the owner behind Cream + Sugar ice cream sandwiches. My favorite flavors were huckleberry and mint chocolate chip.
Snake River Brewery – Can’t come out west without stopping at a place like this. Sit outside and enjoy the view of the mountains, with people sitting around fire pits and playing corn hole.
Lotus Organic Café – Stop here for your fix of grain bowls, salads and noodle dishes. Get your perfect lunch Instagram here.
Persephone Bakery – I couldn’t believe a place like this exists in Jackson! Enjoy your croissants, cappuccinos, and granola by the outdoor fire pit and snuggle up with the blankets they drape over chairs.
I’ve always known how important mother-daughter time is. It started at an early age when my mom would whisk me away on the Amtrak when I was growing up and take me to NYC. Adorned in pea coats and faux fur mugs, I remember the feeling of dominating the city – walking all over the streets, eating at all the best restaurants and seeing the seasons best Broadway shows. That tradition continued for a decade, and now we seem to have an unspoken rule of a yearly mother-daughter vacation. This year, that vacation was in California.
As someone with a transient soul, I was curious how I would feel about San Francisco after I had some time in another major metropolitan city under my belt. San Francisco is large, spread out and sophisticated. The first day started with a Philz Coffee Mojito and a lacing up my good walking shoes. Fine, my shoes didn’t have laces, I was wearing Soludos espadrilles, but you get the point – those hills will get you! My mom set off with coffee and map in hand to explore the different neighborhoods of San Francisco. We walked from Downtown, to Chinatown, to Nob Hill, to North Beach, to Presidio, all before lunchtime! My newfound “hack” is taking uber pools in cities you don’t know well because this allows you to see the city from the comfortable seat of car and gain a different vantage point. My mom and I stopped in Cha Cha Cha in Haight-Ashbury for sangria, small plates and people watching. During lunch it started to rain, so we decided to escape the rain at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens. All the botanical gardens I’ve ever been in have been indoor, but of course, CA gave us a challenge and the flora and fauna were all outdoor. The gardens are beautiful and a great opportunity to experience the park – plus it’s free for California residents! After the walk we took an uber (pool of course!) to Union Square and managed to sneak in a shop at Nordstrom.
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We met up with my cousin and his girlfriend for drinks at the Instagram-friendly, Leo’s Oyster Bar. I wish I could bundle this place up and take it back to NYC with me! It reminded me of Charleston meets the west coast. After a spicy margarita for me, and a lavender champagne drink for my mom we were off to dinner – a highlight of the trip.
I found out about The Morris when I was searching through Resy. I like using Resy in unfamiliar cities, because it filters the restaurants that in my opinion, are more sought after. I narrowed down my list to a select group, and after further research, clicked “reserve” for our one dinner in San Francisco. Always an exhilarating click for a foodie. If you have one day in San Francisco, do not miss The Morris. The restaurant is located outside of the Mission district, and is the kind of place every corner restaurant wants to be. Homey, minimalistic and delicious. We started with foie gras dumplings, and avocado and crab toasts, before moving on an insanely delicious broccoli dish and their signature plate, duck with root vegetables. Not before ending with an espresso martini! One of my favorite features of the restaurant was the pay for what you drink concept. Only a restaurant that’s owned by a sommelier would offer such a thing. We ended up having a lovely conversation about the house wine with the somm, who we would only later figure out was a waiter. We give this place 11/10 stars!
We picked up a rental car and made our way through Sonoma to Napa Valley, but not before a failed attempt at the John Muir Redwood Forest. While we did see some redwoods, the parking lots at 10 a.m. were stuffed to the brim! Napa is only about an hour and a half outside of SF, and it is the most incredible getaway from the city. Now that I think about it, these getaways are cities’ partners in crime. San Fran has Napa, New York has the Catskills, DC has Annapolis or the Blue Ridge Mountains, etc. etc. Our first official stop was for brunch at Auberge du Soleil. The food and views were magnificent – every single dish that was place before us was impressive, and for dessert I had a peach that was in its’ perfect moment of ripeness and I don’t think I’ve ever had anything more delicious.
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Then it was time to get down to wine tasting business, over the two day we visited the following wineries:
There are free tastings, but most cost around $25. If you purchase a bottle, the tasting fee will be taken off your bottle.
Aside from the wine, what kind of experience are you looking for? Educational, a good place to relax, a tasting menu, outdoor/indoor, classic or trendy? There are so many vineyards that you can find multiple that fit your selection.
The drive vs uber debate. If you are contemplating whether to rent a car vs. uber, I liked doing tastings throughout the day that would probably amount to 1-2 glass es of wine and then drive in our rental back to the hotel to drink the bottle leisurely by the pool.
You won’t believe Napa Valley until you see it, wineries fill each side of the road for about a 20-mile stretch, so you will have plenty of opportunities to find your favorite vintages or be spontaneous.
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Napa Valley in One Day
Mud baths in Calistoga – crazy cool spa experience
El Bonita Motel – cutest Americana roadside motel that was our perfect base for wine tasting
Auberge du Soleil
Gott’s Roadside – The most delicious roadside diner offering burgers, fries, salads and shakes.
No matter how you slice it, Napa Valley has something for everyone. It is a magical slice of our country that will have you setting up flight alerts so that you can jump at an opportunity to come back. After all, all you need is one night in Napa to accomplish all the things listed above.
Like what I did with the alliteration? In all seriousness, vacations don’t get better than this. A bucket list trip for me has been Provence and Positano, and of course, Paris is the cherry on top of any vacation and always a must when flying through Europe. I can smell it now, the windows of our Fiat rolled down, smells of lavender wafting through the air, the starchy salt of the Mediterranean on my bathing suit as I licked a gelato cone, and the thrill of standing on the bus, feeling as if I was on skis going around each tight corner of the Amalfi Coasts winding roads. Below is my itinerary for the pictorial summer vacation.
Here we go:
Day 1 – Read my post about a perfect day in Paris here. Get ready for Eating, Blisters, More Eating, and Loving Paris more than you thought was possible.
Day 2 – Take the early TGV from Gare du Lyon to Avignon. From the train station, there are car rental offices nearby where you will pick up your (likely tiny) vessel and set off to the one of the most beautiful destinations. Re-acclimate yourself with stick shift as you find your way to your first Provencal town of Gordes. This Roman city is guaranteed to take your breath away. It’s most likely lunchtime, so wander and find La Trinquette. A bowl of local olives will hold you over until you can order the most heavenly lunch you’ve had in a while. Make sure to order wine with your lunch – they’re all local! When you’re finished, I recommend shopping in the town and picking up souvenirs such as straw bags, olive wood cutting boards and lavender essential oils. Time to get back on the road. As you make your way through the tree lined streets, driving through quaint Provençal towns, something starts to change. The straw fields of gold turn into lavender and sunflower fields. All the goosebumps. Before heading on to the hotel, stop at Abysses de Gordon to have a reality check of where you are. Continue on your way (about an hour drive) before checking in to Relais & Chateaux, Le Couvent des Minimes. Revel in the beautiful lobby before heading down to the pool surrounded by Hermes orange umbrellas. Slim Aarons, is that you? Dinner is available at the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Cloitre or their more-casual, but equally amazing, Le Pesquier Bistro. Get the Bandol rosé. You’re welcome. Enjoy your night under the stars and on terracotta rooftops.
Day 3 – After having an espresso on your porch, and one last dip in the pool, it’s time to hop back in that Fiat and continue onwards (not before taking a photo in the property’s sunflower or lavender fields!) Stop in town and pick up items for a road trip snack. Drive about 1.5 hours through lavender heaven in the Luberon to Gorges du Verdon and prepare your senses to be delighted. The water is the most piercing, yet rich turquoise you’ve ever seen – guaranteed. You have time to either drive to a vantage point to look down on the gorges, or to take a dip in the water, rent a paddleboard or kayak. Bert and I opted to take a dip. If you haven’t caught on quite yet, the French really know how to live. Get back in the car and make your way to the French Riviera: Nice! We arrived to Nice in the early evening, dropped our bags at a hotel that was perfect for our purposes — clean, cheap and convenient to downtown and the airport. I took B to the ocean, showed him around the Old City and then stopped for moules et frites and some house red wine. Tomorrow it’s time for a new adventure.
Day 4 – It’s time for pasta, pizza and aperol spritzes: Take an early flight from Nice to Naples, Italy. If you have a lot of luggage, pre-arrange a car service before arriving to Naples – the taxi lines are quite long and the drivers make up a price on the spot. There is also the option to take a bus to a ferry, but since Bert had his entire suitcase from his month in Rome, we opted for a car service. We chose to stay in Positano because of our accommodations at the lovely bed & Montepertuso, Cole dell’ara. Cole dell’ara is actually the hilltop town above Positano, called Montepertuso. It is a lovely B&B run by Italian brothers Giacomo, Marco, and Pasquale with views so incredible you will need your travel companion to pinch you. Take in the incredible views of the city while drinking an aperol spritz and playing with the many cats that live on property. We were quite happy to coincidentally find that some of the cities highest-reviewed restaurants were in Montepertuso, just a quick walk from our accommodations. Tonight, dine at La Terra, a rustic family-owned restaurant with views that rival the hotels.
Day 5 – Hope you’re hydrated! Today is about to be a trip highlight. If you don’t speak perfect Italian, and don’t have connections, don’t even bother trying to call Da Adolfo. Instead wake up early(ish), throw on your sexiest Italian swimsuit and head down to the port. You are looking for a boat with a red fish. Tell the driver you don’t have a reservation. He will tell you they have no chairs. You say that’s ok. If you plan ahead (unlike us) bring towels for the rocky beach with hot stones, if you forget, don’t worry – you’ll be just fine. Da Adolfo is something you just must experience – run by tan, leathery skinned, attractive Italian men, Da Adolfo is something you will remember the rest of your life. This is the beach club of all beach clubs. Get a bottle of crisp wine, an ice bucket, and a reservation for the second seating at lunch (there are only two settings, and those with chairs aka that made a reservation in Italian, have the first seating). Enjoy jumping off cliffs into the clear turquoise waters before sitting at lunch (and getting attitude that you oddly enjoy) from the waiters. Order everything. They specialize in fresh grilled seafood. It’s hard to describe the experience here, but it’s basically like being at the best fraternity party of your life, but replace the men with sassy tanned Italians, the kegs with aperol spritz and painted-pottery carafes of wine. The crowd will make you feel like you’re in the Hamptons. Get to know the neighboring table, and pretty soon you’ll be a bottle of wine deep with them.
Day 6 – Today is all about Italian cooking. After enjoying the breakfast spread of fresh fruits, lemon and plum cakes, hard boiled eggs, and the most delectable bruschetta, sign up for the foraging class at Cole dell’ara. The first half of the day you will spend with the eldest son, walking around Montepertuso and learning the history of what ingredients are indigenous to the region and the art of Slow Food. After gathering arugula (rocket, for the rest of the world) from the sidewalk, pumpkin flowers from a vine near the handrail, and fennel from the ground – make your way back to the B&B where you make a meal with all the ingredients you just foraged – and trust me there are a lot. I discovered my favorite Italian delicacy on this day – more than gelato – drumroll please…. mozzarella broiled on top of a lemon leaf. Never have I had a more delectable flavor grace my tongue. We also learned how to make orecchiette pasta, a vegetable quiche, apricot preserves and a fresh tomato salad, all from ingredients that we foraged during our hike. That evening we went down to the beaches in Positano and took a well-deserved nap on the pebbles.
If you’re hungry, back on top of the mountain, treat yourself to a family-style dinner, at La Tagliata. This two-storied restaurant is a crowd pleaser. Each person gets their own bottle of wine (unlimited) followed by never ending plates of appetizers, pastas and meats, all for 30 euros per person. A steal and so delicious.
Day 7 – Enjoy soaking up the sun at another popular Positano Beach Club – Bagni d’Arienzo. You know the drill now, you take a boat from the main port in Positano, and spend all day soaking up the sun and swimming in the ocean. This beach club is more family friendly and all around more mellow. It’s lovely.
Day 8 – This day was a toss-up for us – take an expensive ferry to Capri or explore the rest of the popular seaside towns via ferry. We heard mixed reviews about Capri in its peak season and while people raved about the beauty – they prepared us to be ready for lines. It was the end of the trip, and we were running out of $$$, so we decided to explore the other seaside towns. Side note: the ferry to Capri was approximately 60 euro RT, whereas our transportation to the seaside towns in total was about 30 euro. We took the high-speed ferry to Amalfi. Amalfi is a small town – quite touristy but incredibly charming. You can walk the entire city square in about 20 minutes. Buy your hand-painted pottery and limoncello here. Our favorite seaside town, was quiet hilltop Ravello. This medieval town has winding streets that are asking to be explored. Ravello boasts big inviting piazzas intersected by store-lined side streets. It has its own magic. If we had more time, I would’ve visited Portofino and Capri, but I guess I’ll just need to come back. The entire coast feels like make-believe, a beautiful dream. It’s time to make your way to Naples for your morning flight.
I didn’t know cities like Naples existed in Italy. To be honest, the only thing I appreciated about it was the pizza – other than that, it’s dirty, a bit rough, and a bit seedy, but the pizza is worth the trip. Bert and I waited in line for Naples “best pizza”, established in 1870, L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele. There is guaranteed to be about 100 people in the street waiting in line for this pizza – pro tip: go in and order and your Neapolitan pizza will be ready in a few minutes. They only serve two kinds, classic margarita (basil, tomato sauce and mozzarella) and sauce pizza. The pies are only 5 euro and I recommend drinking a Peroni while waiting in line. After all, it’s your last night in Italy.
Fly into Paris, into CDG early in the morning and take the RER into the city. You are only in Paris one day, so make the most of it by splurging on a hotel that really makes you feel like you are in Paris. My boyfriend surprised me with a hotel view that screamed “you are in Paris” and it’s exactly what I wanted for my one Parisian sleep (check out Hôtel La Comtesse). I have written many posts about Paris, so please refer there for inspo on what to do. As for me? After dropping my bags at the hotel, I started the day walking around the cobblestoned streets of Montmartre. I had the streets virtually to myself except for the shopkeepers cleaning their windows, and lifting the grates to open for business. I made my way to a favorite café,Au Rêve to get a croissant, café and jus du orange. Made my way back into the center of town and guess what – I was already hungry again. Paris has that effect on you.
Up next it was time to visit a market and pick up goodies for lunch. Be sure to check out the markets in your neighborhood, as they are only open on certain days of the week. I filled my bag with mini strawberries, fresh goat and sheep’s cheeses, a baguette, olive mix and of course, some rosé. Then it’s time for the next tough decision, where to picnic? My top spot is ParcMontsouris, but for this trip I chose the LuxembourgGardens. Bert and I laid out our picnic and drank our bottle of wine and had the loveliest day pretending to be Parisians over an extended lunch. Yes, it’s time to eat again.
Back to the hotel to quickly freshen up, drink a half bottle of rosé taking in the amazing hotel views and off to dinner. I had the hardest time choosing where we would eat, but ultimately decided to dine outdoors at the Clown Bar – a bar where clowns used to eat after the circus (and the decorations prove it!) We had the most wonderful meal including beet salad, a rare cured meat, and duck foie gras. Heaven. While we were dining outside, Ilana Glazer from Broad City asked to be seated and was turned away – hey girl, see you in Brooklyn! Then you’re off to Île de la Cité for a cone from the world’s best ice cream shop, Bertillon and a walk to burn it all off along the Seine past the Notre Dame, Musee d’Orsay and all the famed bridges. Get home with just enough time to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle and fall in love all over again with Paris.
Copenhagen wasn’t on my list, but then again, what isn’t on my list? When I found $400 RT tickets from JFK, I knew I had to jump on the opportunity – even if only for a long weekend to spend my days in between coffee shops, museums and boutiques. Copenhagen isn’t for every traveler, but if it’s for you, boy are you lucky.
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The city blew me away with the understated complexity of its dishes, the sleek design elements on every corner and the effortless fashion choices of its inhabitants. Windy cobblestone streets guide you to canals lined with blanket-strewn outdoor cafes, bikes leaning against pastel-colored homes and expansive gardens, where the scent of chocolate waffles fill the air.
As bikes whizzed by me and the outdoor flower markets bloomed with ranunculus – it was easy to understand why Denmark is consistently rated one of the top countries in the world.
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Here is my take on four days in this delightful European city:
Off the plane, and straight to Copenhagen Free Walking Tours to stretch your legs. The tour gave us a great overview of the different neighborhoods in Copenhagen and their distinct flavors. This city owes a lot to brew master, Carlsberg, whose name is plastered all over the city (As for the beer, I’m not that fond of it, but I’ll save that story for another time). After three hours, a little history, and a lot of walking, we were ready for a drink and dinner.
We stayed in Vesterbro, at the perfectly located Absalon Hotel. It was the perfect place for us – close to the train station, centrally located and in the hip meatpacking neighborhood,. They served an amazing and authentic continental breakfast in the morning that was the perfect fuel to start our day. It was so major having breakfast provided –now is a good time to tell you that Copenhagen is one expensive city and being able to save on breakfast and put that money toward other meals was very appreciated by the end of the trip.
Threw on heels and lipstick, and headed out to Fiskebarre in the meatpacking neighborhood. This was our first exposure to the amazing gastronomy in Copenhagen. The drinks were frothy, and garnished with velvety sage, and the local Danish oysters came with a fork and knife due to their enormous size.
From here, we walked to our reservation at nearby Kul. The bartender at Kul was just named the best bartender in Copenhagen, and upon sitting at the bar and being served by him, it was easy to see why. Bert’s drink was shaken, stirred, garnished, and served in a Viking horn. Authentic? Check. When the cheese came out as our first course, instead of our last, the waitress rushed out champagne on the house and took care of our cheese board – this was our first glimpse into how kind the Danes are and their warm hospitality.
We heard so much about the Danish brunch – we had to give it a try. At Mad & Kaffe, you take your pick of 3, 5 or 7 menu options – ranging from brown sugar brûléed blood oranges, to local blackberry yogurt (Danes have the best dairy products – cheese and butter included) and homemade cinnamon rolls – their was something for everyone.
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A short stroll brought us to MOSS, my new favorite store where I wished every item was in my closet. After stocking up, we walked to Toverhallene, a Danish food market with stalls including Smørrebrød, Danish open-faced sandwiches, to chocolatiers, and fresh fruits and veggies. A walk into Nørrebro brought us to shopping street, Jægersborggade, where we were ready for our next meal – gruel, ala Grød. Yes you read that right, gruel – something that only Copenhagen could make cool again. We opted for a risotto flavored dish, and it was one of our best meals on the trip.
From here, we ubered to Glyptotek museum, where we wandered through medieval busts and spent time relaxing in the palm tree adorned atrium.
As if we hadn’t done enough on this day, we headed over to Paper Island, a food stall market where all the best flavors of Copenhagen collide. Our picks included a top-notch succulent duck burger from DuckIt!, a Moroccan flatbread garnished with mozzarella, herbs, grilled chicken and onions. This is the spot to be on any night, but especially on Friday nights when the beers are flowing and the Danes are out for the weekend.
The day I had been waiting for – shopping day! Since the moment we arrived, I ogled at the Danes fashion. Minimalistic, yet made a statement, classy yet edgy, a silk blouse with Nike sneakers.
We spent our day tackling design stores (Stilleben, HAY Market, and Illums Bolingus) and clothing boutiques (Acne Studios, MOSS, basically anything on Strøget). If only I had a bigger suitcase…We stopped for a gourmet hot dog at Hanegal wishing our budgets and waists could accommodate a few more.
You can’t go to Denmark without marveling at the design: every restaurant, coffee shop and place to rest your head is an Instagram dream – pure hygge, which is a special Danish word for cosiness. We made a point of visiting the Denmark Design Museum, where we realized how much intention goes into creating the chair, and how there can be so many interpretations (shout out to Arne Jacobsen).
A short afternoon walk led us to Cristiana, the free neighborhood that is known for selling marijuana and having “no rules.” It felt a bit too like Disneyworld to us, and a bit forced, so we weren’t that impressed, but after talking to some friends we met, we learned that the neighborhood stretches much further than we realized, where you can see the hand-built houses and shops that truly amaze.
After dinner at Neighbourhood Pizza, we stumbled into 1656 cocktail bar, where my drink was served with a glittery froth. A glitter cocktail!! Not sure why this is the first time I’ve had this. The cocktails in Copenhagen were some of the best I’ve ever had: innovative, refreshing and picturesque.
On our last day, we boarded a train and travelled 45 minutes north of the city to see the Louisiana Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden. Taking the train in Europe is one of my absolute favorite moments of any trip – it’s a time to see how people live outside the city limits, reflect on the memories made and the people encountered thus far, and what lies ahead. This train ride was particularly nice, as we sped by an ocean that separated us from Sweden.
The museum itself was beautiful – nestled in an old home that mimicked the Dowargess’ in Downton Abbey, and covered in vines. The art was modern. Funky, fresh and thought-provoking. We enjoyed a lovely, albeit cold walk through the sculpture garden following the indoor exhibits.
To escape the cold and gray Danish day, we made our way into turquoise colored Mikkeler & Friends beer bar where we imbibed in sours made from local cherries, pear ciders and vietnamese coffee flavored stouts.
We made our way back to Vesterbro, and had one final dinner at Madklubben – a restaurant with Danish aesthetics, and diverse menu.
If you ever stumble upon cheap roundtrip flights to Europe and think, is it worth it for a long weekend? 100% yes. The days were full but we got a wonderful sense of what Scandanavia has to offer. And after seeing all that it does, it’s easy to see why so many people love this city. Skâl!
In life, we don’t take enough spontaneous trips. I’m not talking getting in your car, or in my case subway, and going to a new neighborhood and eating brunch; I’m talking buying a last minute ticket and flying somewhere. I’ve been guilty of this too, until last weekend when I surprised my mom and flew to meet her in Nashville, where she was putting on a conference.
Pinewood Social – if WeWork were a restaurant it would be Pinewood Social. Coffee served alongside cocktails, a community table covered in MacBooks alongside booths filled with people eating sandwiches and salads. In the back find a swanky bowling alley, and in the summer you can find an airstream serving cocktails next to the swimming pool and bocci ball courts.
Hattie B’s – Famous Nashville Hot Chicken. We waited 45 minutes at 2pm for it. Hangry? Yes. Worth it? Yes.
Red Bicycle – Crepes and coffee. Next time, I would plan to start my morning here before heading to get a manicure/pedicure at the adorable nearby salon, Poppy & Monroe.
Fin & Pearl – Had a reservation here though I didn’t end up making it. Go here for an elevated seafood dinner.
Biscuit Love – Another one I didn’t make it to. Upon pulling up in our uber, we realized many other people had the same idea. It was raining so we opted not to wait, but the line supposedly moves quickly and the biscuits are apparently worth it.
Acme Feed & Seed – Come here for frozen moonshine lemonade, rooftop views and people watching. On the bottom level check out the on air radio station.
12 South – This seems to be the trendy spot in Nashville – home to Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James, curated graffiti on every corner and a celebrity jean favorite, imogene + willie. Ideal spot for brunching followed by shopping.
Broadway – The touristy must-see spot in Nashville. A street where every shop is either a cowboy boot store or bar with live music. The musicians rotate every four hours, so at that time you can expect the masses to flock to the streets looking for a new place to order a PBR and do the two step. If you’re lucky enough you might see the Nashville Clogger – you are in for a treat. Though not a country fan, we went to the Country Music Hall of Fame (loved the Bob Dylan exhibition). Make sure to stop by the GooGoo Factory – home to the famous Nashville sweet treat.
It was a great spontaneous weekend, and my lesson? Book the ticket.
I still remember learning how to spell “Caribbean.” It was a word I wrote out many times when I was younger, when teachers would ask “Where is your dream vacation?” The funny thing is, at the time I probably thought I would go on these vacations with my family. As it turns out, I have visited many Caribbean islands but always with friends. I have been lucky enough to visit Jamaica, Aruba, Puerto Rico, and this past winter, with my boyfriend’s family, Saint Martin.
Lucky for me, my boyfriend’s family knows I love to plan travel and gave me the reins to choose where we would visit in 2017. There are over 7,000 Caribbean Islands (what!?, thanks Google) and I immediately narrowed that down to where I was able to bask in the sun while enjoying a fresh croissant.
Saint Martin is part Dutch and part French. The choice of where to stay on the island was easy. The Dutch side has the cruise port, so much more touristy – think casinos, your typical American restaurants and strip clubs. The French side has incredible restaurants that rival France, local beaches and, well, French speaking people.
The days consisted of waking up early to the sound of tropical birds, …waking up Bert, making an espresso, then walking down to the local bakery to pick up fresh croissants and baguettes for his family. After devouring approximately 1.5 croissants and some baguette with beurre and jam, you could find me squinting with one eye open by the pool looking up what local beach we would go to.
Orient Bay – The beach where our villa was located. Not only is clothing optional, but here you will find champagne bars, massage tents, and fresh coconuts.
Baie Rouge – If you can brave the current you can swim around to a smaller, even more private alcove where there is a natural sea arch. Grab a Carib at one of small beachside shacks.
Friar’s Bay – My favorite local beach. Here you will find scattered lounge chairs, clear waters, and a Jamaican BBQ (be prepared to wait). A 10-minute scenic walk (more like a hike!) through the woods will bring you to a similar beach (Happy Bay) where yachts are anchored only a few feet off shore.
Grand Case – Crystal clear waters. Views of the mountains. Good shopping.
Only regret of the trip? Not taking the hour long ferry to St. Barts. Guess I’ll have to go back!