Create

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Hello, dear readers! Wow, I can’t believe it has been so long since I last posted. I know I’ve promised you again and again that I would be better at this whole blogging thing. Truth is, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. My promise to you is this… when I have something exciting to share, I will do so here. Deal?

Now onto some exciting stuff… The Atelier Workshop, which I had the pleasure of attending in NYC earlier this fall.  I first learned of it through the Instagram feed of Joann Pai of Slice of Pai. I discovered her feed while doing my research for our spring trip to Paris and instantly fell in love with her aesthetic {and her passport stamps}. After confirming I was free the first weekend of October, I signed up and counted down the minutes till the class. I was a little nervous as I’ve never taken a photography class in my life. But, my  little sis’ let me borrow her ‘fancy’ camera so I wouldn’t be the only one in the class with my trusty iPhone 6.

Although there were a few changes to our itinerary, I just had a feeling that this workshop was going to be everything. And I am pleased to say, IT WAS! The other teachers were Gabriel Cabrera, food stylist guru from Vancouver and Jodi Moreno, natural food chef and blogger at What’s Cooking Good Looking. Here they are… the best teachers ever!

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The workshop kicked off at Jodi’s apartment in the Village on Saturday morning. I, of course, was the first to arrive as I was a little nervous, but instantly felt at home when I walked through her door. Of course the breakfast spread was to-die for and her home, beautiful. There were seven additional students, who traveled much farther than Boston {San Francisco + Oklahoma} and they could not have been sweeter.

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The first day we talked quite a bit about light and composition. Two key factors to taking the perfect photo. After an amazing lunch by Jodi, we ventured to the Union Square Farmers Market, where our assignment was to pick some products that inspired us. My partner and I decided on the beautiful radishes and decided to make the traditional french bite of radishes, butter, bread and some sea salt. With a little style direction from Gabriel, I was quite pleased with the finished product.

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Our Sunday session was held at an amazing studio on the Lower West Side/Chinatown. The white walls, white brick, it was a dream. The morning focused on creating your own style. Gabriel and Joann both shared their personal styles and how they developed them over time. Their suggestion – start gathering images that you like and create your brand/vision. I’ll share my inspiration book with you shortly.

Next, it was all about styling a pie. With a few tips on using the ‘fancy’ camera, I was shocked by the difference in quality. Just take a look at the two images below. One taken with my iPhone and one with my sis’ camera.

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Clearly a new ‘fancy’ camera is on my Christmas list.

Here are a few more snaps from the workshop. I hope you like them!

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Not bad for a newbie, right? I can’t wait to see how my skills unfold and all that I’m able to create. Thanks for being part of my journey!

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Wanderlust Wednesday

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Happy Wednesday! I hope you enjoyed last week’s post on our getaway to Shelter Island. As promised, I wanted to share a few spots located to the north and south of the island that should not be missed.

The North Fork

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Shelter Island is nestled between the North and South Forks of Long Island. And the two couldn’t be more different, which we realized the moment we got off the Cross Town Ferry in Orient Point. Driving along Route 25 to Greenport to catch the 7 minute ferry to Shelter Island, we felt like we were in a place where time stops. Farm lands, vineyards, a lavender farm. It was just so peaceful. Between Orient Point and Greenport is East Marion, where we decided to stop at Fork & Anchor, a delightful general store, to grab a sandwich before heading to the island. I ordered the green goddess chicken salad and instantly regretted not getting the crispy chicken with sriracha mayo. Oh well. In addition to pastries, sandwiches, coffee and provisions, F&A offers adorable picnic boxes that you can order ahead to bring to the vineyards or the beach. While waiting for our sandwiches, several customers were picking up their orders. What a great idea!

Greenport seems to be where much of the activity is on the North Fork. They have a wonderful carousel on the water, a traditional NY style bakery, and a delicious coffee shop.

Our favorite find on the North Fork was The North Fork Table & Inn in Southold. We have our waiter at Vine Street Cafe to thank for the recommendation. Our meal was delicious and the setting, just beautiful to toast our last night of vacation.

For more ideas on places to visit in North Fork, make sure to check out GoNorthFork and check out their Instagram feed as well.

The South Fork (aka The Hamptons)

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Our last day on Shelter Island was a bit overcast so we decided to hop on The South Ferry to go explore the South Fork. After our 5 minutes boat ride, we arrived in North Haven, a short 10 minute drive to Sag Harbor, the first destination on our itinerary. Sag Harbor has a super cute downtown with great shops, restaurants and a retro cinema. A few favorites include: The Styleliner by Joey Wolffer {she also opened up a small shop on Nantucket this summer} featuring some of the best boho dresses and jackets and sylvester & co. , MONC XIII and Jayson Home for some incredible finds for your home. We also stopped by the recently opened Grindstone Coffee and Donuts. The coffee was delicious but the brioche style donuts a bit too greasy for my taste. The one spot we wanted to try was Wölffer Kitchen but sadly we had to catch our ferry back to reality that night.

After walking around Sag Harbor, we got in the car and headed east to Amagansett, which may just be my favorite town in The Hamptons. From lunch at The Lobster Roll to shopping at The Line, to exploring the farm lands at Amber Waves, this little town has everything.

Sadly, we had to cut our visit short to catch our ferry in Orient Point back to New London so we couldn’t head into Montauk to visit The Surf Lodge and Navy Beach. However, we were able to squeeze in a quick stop at the Bhumi Farms farm stand in East Hampton to load up on some fresh produce to take home. The blueberries were out of this world delicious. And the photo opps, plentiful. I swear, I see this place in nearly every editorial spread these days!

So there you have you it. A little bit about both forks at the end of Long Island. So close yet so vastly different in terms of people watching, shops and real estate prices. I think that Shelter Island, though, may just be the perfect mix of both.

 

Tuesday Travel

Shelter Island

How can it be that we only have two weeks left of summer?!?!? I hope you’ve enjoyed every minute of it so far. I know we have! This week, I wanted to share the highlights of one of our favorite weekend getaways to date… Shelter Island, which many refer to as the “Un-Hamptons.” Located about 150 south of Boston, Shelter Island is nestled between the North and South forks of Long Island, accessible only by boat. As an island girl, I was quite excited for this little adventure. And let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint.

We planned this getaway with our dear friends R + T and you can check out all our pics on Instagram #MRKTShelter.

Stay

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When planning a weekend getaway, the hotel options really guide my decision-making process. When I heard that David Bowd of Provincetown’s Salt Hotels was opening The Chequit last May, I knew it would be a place I needed to check-out. Fast forward to finding a summer getaway in-between Boston and NYC, Shelter Island rose to the top of the list. We booked this past April, right before the hotel received its acclaim on the Conde Nast Hot List. And well deserved honor indeed.

The restored hotel, built as a religious retreat in 1872, features 31 bedrooms, designed in a soothing palate of grey, pale pink and a splash of yellow {a favorite color combo}. The fixtures are brass, the floors adorned with beautiful Turkish throw rugs and they even provide you with a sun hat and blue Turkish towel for the beach.

After our stay at Salt House Inn last year, I knew we were in for a treat with the daily breakfast. Each morning, from 8 am to 10:30 am, the staff sets out an impressive breakfast buffet, including granola, yogurt, tea cakes, juices, coffee and a savory egg dish. It’s all so good.

Even better, the hotel offers a delicious restaurant {might I suggest the tuna tartare bites}, coffee shop, should you need a latte fix and a delightfully curated shop. I purchased the cutest tote {featured below #saltstyle}, a paddle board set for the beach and some new hair ties.

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I have a firm belief: If you’re on island time, you go to the beach! Luckily, we were able to purchase a beach parking pass at the hotel that allowed us to explore several. $40 for the week… what a deal.

We spent our afternoons lounging in the sun at Shell Beach and Hay Beach {our favorite} and checked out the Sunday scene at Sunset Beach, hotelier Andre Balazs’s St.Tropez-style hangout. For as chill as Shelter Island is, if you want the scene, go here.

Should you not love to hang at the beach for hours, make sure to check out the Mashomack Preserve for some great walking trails. But remember your bug spray. We sadly had to cut our walk short. Looking for a way to stay hydrated? Head over to Shelter Island Craft Brewing. My beer of choice was their Nude Beach, a plum ale featuring local beach plums, honey, lemon verbena and hops.

Eat

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The food on Shelter Island did not disappoint. Some of our favorite spots included:

Marie Eiffel Market – From the breakfast treats to the fish tacos, to the view on their back porch, Marie Eiffel is not to be missed. Jonathan Adler and Jerry Seinfeld are fans too! The perfect place to grab lunch before hitting the beach.

Vine Street Cafe – Shelter Island’s fine dining destination. Order the fried chicken. It’s amazing. Skip on dessert from the restaurant and go around the corner to their market for a brownie and coconut sorbet to go. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Maria’s Kitchen – Located next to the Shelter Island Craft Brewing, this little spot had some delicious tacos. The corn tortillas are amazing and so fresh.

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Sylvester Manor Farm Stand – Our favorite little farm stand on the island with beautiful views.

Dabney Lee – Across the street from Marie Eiffel, Dabney Lee has a beautiful collection of goods for the home and got you. Loved the Parrot Design Studio Shelter Island print.

Black Cat Books  – The best used book store ever. Don’t miss it!

Check back next Tuesday as I’ll be sharing some favorite spots we hit along the North Fork and throughout The Hamptons.

Wednesday Wanderlust

Chicago

Oh Chicago! You really are one fantastic city. You have the charm of my beloved Boston and the big city feel of my one and only NYC. Your lake is majestic, your skyline breathtaking, and your people so kind. Thank you for a wonderful Memorial Day visit. We can’t wait to visit you again!

Stay

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When K and I decided to travel to Chicago this past Memorial Day weekend, I was torn between staying at the newly opened Soho House Chicago in the West Loop and Public Chicago in the Gold Coast. The decision was made easy when I learned that my request for a holiday weekend at the Soho House was not fulfilled. So Public is was.

With 285 rooms, this hotel is much larger than we typically like to stay at. The rooms are tastefully designed by Ian Schrager and the common areas on the first floor are beautiful, including a coffee bar, a library den and a movie room. However, I must be honest and say I was a bit unimpressed with our experience. We heard our neighbors, the bathroom was tiny and had few amenities {no robes, only 2 towels and lackluster products} and the accent chair in our room was dirty and stained. Thankfully we had lots to see {and eat} so there wasn’t much time spend relaxing in our room.

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Eat Chicago

While I was disappointed with our hotel of choice, the food in Chicago did not disappoint. My favorites include:

Little Goat – Located in the West Loop, Little Goat should not be missed. We had our first breakfast here and loved every single delicious bite. We started with their enormous ooey gooey cinnabun and shared the Kimchee + Bacon + Eggs + Pancakes Asian Styke BreakfastTasty Thing. This is the actual name… I promise! And the service was fantastic. We asked our waiter, who had just been in Boston oddly enough, his not to miss spots. Fortunately, we had dinner reservations at his top spot. Score!

The Winchester – Located in East Village, we enjoyed a leisurely Sunday brunch here. The interior is beautiful and my cocktail of Allagash white and grapefruit juice with a salt rim was delightful. A perfect neighborhood spot!

Doughnut Vault – I’m a total sucker for a good doughnut and the old-fashion buttermilk glazed is all I’ve been thinking about since I left. So good.

Floriole – Located in charming Lincoln Park, Floriole is the bakery of my dreams. And although we didn’t visit on this most recent trip, I have indulged in the pastries at this french inspired cafe more times than I’d like to admit!

Milk & Honey Cafe – Located in the eclectic Wicker Park neighborhood, I would refer to Milk & Hone as the Flour Bakery of the midwest. Great sandwiches, pastries and plenty of room to eat. It really is a place where “fresh and goodness meet!”

avec -Meaning with in French, avec was initially designed as the place to enjoy a light bite before your meal at critically acclaimed Blackbird next door. However, avec has now become the place to go for your meal. A dinner reservation is nearly impossible to get so we opted for lunch, which I highly recommend. The chorizo stuffed dates with bacon in a piquillo pepper-tomato sauce is worth every calorie.

Big Star -The place for tacos in the Windy City. Located in Wicker Park, right by the L, this is a great place for meeting up with friends. They have a huge patio and the beer list is quite impressive.

Piece Brewery + Pizza – Although Chicago is known for it’s deep dish, I’m a thin crust girl so highly recommend this local establishment with musical roots. Just guess who is a part owner? Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick!

The Bristol – Located in Bucktown, The Bristol is that neighborhood spot I wish we had in Boston. Good comfort food, tasty cocktails and friendly staff. You can’t go wrong.

Girl & the Goat – You all remember Stephanie Izard from Top Chef, right? With her winnings, she opened up this Must-go spot in her hometown. If you can’t score a reservation, Little Goat is hers as well.

Ruxbin – “People who love to eat are always the best people.” One of my favorite quotes from Julia Child and the introduction to the menu at this Chicago gem in Noble Square. Ruxbin’s concept is a curated, family style meal. You pick two small plates, two large and two desserts. Meals arrive on the most beautiful pieces of pottery that are available for purchase here. The chickpea pierogi with apple, zurek, celery leaf, and radish bonito has moved onto my top 5 best dishes I’ve ever had list.

Maudes Liquor Bar – Located down the street from Girl & the Goat, this is a romantic spot to grab an after dinner drink and dessert. The chocolate mouse was sinfully smooth.

The Allis – The most well designed bar I’ve ever been to. I literally could move right in. They also offer afternoon tea service. A must!

Another must is a Chicago hot dog. We had ours down on the waterfront from a street vendor but I’m told the best place to go is Downtown Dogs. The poppy seed bun, relish, mustard and celery salt make you realize you don’t need ketchup after all!

A few places that we didn’t make it to but are on the list for next time include: Mott Street, Parson’s Chicken and & Fish, The Hampton Social and Fat Rice.

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Besides eating my way through a city, I always like to take in a bit of history and a bit of culture. I highly recommend an Architectural Boat Tour, a walk around Millenium Park and Cloud Gate and a visit to The Art Institute.

And if time allows, get tickets to a comedy show a Second City Not sure I’ve ever laughted so hard in my life.

Can’t wait to see you again, Chi-town!

 

Tuesday Travel

Paris

For my 37th birthday, K surprised me with a trip to Paris. Truth be told, the surprise came last November, after the horrific attacks, when K sat me down and revealed that she had booked tickets to Paris for early May. With mixed emotions and a broken heart over the events that unfolded, I remembered the words of Audrey Hepburn who said “Paris is always a good idea” and thus we decided to move forward with the trip. And how happy I am that we did!

I spent the last several months doing an extensive amount of research on the must do’s in the City of Lights. Once I had what I thought was a final itinerary, I emailed it along to my sister Michelle, who lived in Paris for three years during university. She wrote back and said “cross 2 things off your list for each day.” I guess I didn’t realize how big Paris really is. Did you know that Paris is made up of twenty arrondissements, or neighborhoods? That is quite a bit of territory to cover. To help ease planning, I tried to plan each day around visiting one or two arrondissements.

A few things to note: the Metro is super easy to navigate and I highly recommend using it to get from place to place. Uber is also available in Paris and we used this on rainy days where walking to the metro proved to be a bit of a challenge. Almost everyone we met from shops to restaurants spoke English but we always greeted each other in French. I think it’s the polite way to show you are trying. Oh and if you want to see the full collection of my photos from the trip, check out my Instagram feed and search #MayinParis.

Stay

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After contacting several Airbnb owners with little success, we decided to book a room at the chic Hotel Henriette, a design boutique hotel located on the left bank in the 13th Arr. near Les Gobelins metro stop. Everything about this spot was perfection. We stayed in Room No. 44, a deluxe double that had a delightful king bed, day bed seating area and a tub. Every detail was perfect. After a day of exploring, I would make myself right at home on this little day bed.

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Do

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There is so much to see and do in Paris but since both K and I had visited several of the main attractions in Paris before {Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Versaillies} we decided to spend more time exploring a few key neighborhood {the Marais, Montmarte}. With that, though, we did make time to visit a few mainstays, which I suggest you add to your list should you be planning a trip.

Musée de l’Orangerie – located in the 1st Arr. in the Jardin des Tuileries, this small but mighty museum is a must. The two rooms featuring the curved Monets will leave you mesmerized.

Musée Rodin – located in the 7th Arr. on the left bank, we enjoyed our first afternoon in Paris in the sculpture garden, seeing such works as “The Thinker” and “The Gates of Hell.”

Notre Dame – K and I have developed a little tradition when traveling abroad. We like to light candles for our loved ones who have passed in as many churches as we can and thus a visit to Notre Dame was a must.

Sainte-Chappelle –  Just to see the 1,113 pieces of stained glass is reason enough to visit Sainte Chappelle. You know what I fell in love with though? The floor tiles. Just look.

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Shop

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I could devote an entire blog post to the shopping in Paris! It’s incredible. A few of our favorites shop include:

Le Bon Marché – located in the 7th Arr., this department store has everything. My favorite part? This escalator.

Merci – located in the 3rd Arr., Merci is a concept store that has a carefully curated collection of goods for the house, the garden, and your closet, in addition to a wonderful cafe situated in a library. I contained myself and only purchased my fourth Paris travel guide that I justified as it isn’t available in the states.

Paper Tigre – In every city we visit there are two places I need to visit: the local cafes and the paper store. Paper Tigre, located in the 3rd Arr., is a fantastic paper shop that was the ideal place to pick up a wonderful collection of gifts for upcoming birthdays. They had a wonderful selection of candles named after each garden in Paris. The perfect keepsake to bring home!

La Tresorerie – located in the 10th Arr., La Tresorerie is stocked with a wonderful selection of items for your kitchen, living spaces and bathroom. I found the greatest colander that I was able to fit in my carry-on for the trip home. Next door to the shop is a delightful cafe named Cafe Smorgas that is a must after some shopping.

Jamini – with locations in the 9th and 10th Arr., Jamini is a beautiful shop filled with textiles made in India.

Jacques Genin Chocolate Shop – A trip to Paris isn’t complete without a visit to a chocolate shop. My favorite was this one, located in the 3rd Arr. Their chocolate covered orange peel… I’ve been thinking about them since our return.

Pierre Herme – My most favorite dessert in the world is a French macaroon and thus a visit to this Parisian institution is a must. We purchased a box of 16, with flavors including Mogador {my favorite – milk chocolate and passion fruit}, vanilla, chocolate, matcha, mint, and caramel. They are almost too beautiful to eat, don’t you think?

Eat

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Les Cocottes – located in the 7th Arr., I first read of this spot in the Goop city guide. We arrived early {6 pm} to avoid the crowds and I suggest you do the same. Also, order the chocolate tart. It’s incredible!

Rose Bakery – located in the 3rd Arr., we enjoyed a healthy and delicious breakfast here on our second day in Paris. They are known for their baked goods, especially their carrot cake. Try it!

L’As due Falafel – located in the 3rd Arr., this is my favorite place to eat in Paris. Get the falafel sandwich with the grilled eggplant, add the harissa sauce {you have to ask for this} and sip on a lemonade. I promise you won’t be disappointed. It will also be the cheapest meal you eat. Trust me!

Fragments Coffee Bar – located in the 3rd Arr., this charming coffee shop is a must visit while exploring the Marais. Their lemon cake is divine as well as their brews. And the facade, worth a photo or two!

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Le Mary Celeste – located in the 3rd Arr., this is the place to go for a cocktail in the Marais. Wish it were my neighborhood bar!

Claus – located in the 1st Arr., this is where I celebrate the first meal of my 37th year. Delicious eggs with roasted tomatoes and a yummy bread basket. We ordered a piece of lemon cake to go and it may have been my second most favorite thing I ate in Paris.

Honor – located in the 8th Arr., Honor is Paris’ first outdoor cafe. They also serve a selection of pastries from Broken Biscuit. A wonderful place to escape from the husle and bustle of the Champs.

Buvette – located in the 9th, this is the second location of the famed West Village french eatery. We enjoyed the coq au vin, the carrot salad and the chocolate cake. All amazing. My favorite part of the meal… the cocktail menu. It’s a work of art.

Septime – located in the 11th, Septime is a place that shouldn’t be missed. Since it is nearly impossible to obtain a dinner reservation, we opted for a lunch reservation and decided upon their 6-course tasting menu. Let’s just say, this meal was the top dining experience of my life. We had hoped to make it to their sister restaurant Clamato, a charming oyster bar, but time ran out.

Le Sirocco –  located in the 13th and across the street from our hotel, Le Sirocco was a delightful find. We had reservations to eat at Candelaria for our final night but we were both exhausted so decided to just take the walk across the street for dinner. And what a dinner we had. A traditional Moroccan meal that was an experience for the senses. Should you find yourself in the 13th, I highly recommend going.

Du Pain et des Idees – when you think about food in Paris, one thing comes to mind, right? Croissants. This bakery in the 10th Arr. is claimed to have the best in Paris. Go!

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“There are only two places in the world where we can live happy: at home and in Paris.” I couldn’t agree more with this quote from Ernest Hemingway. I can’t wait to plan our next trip to Paris. There is still so much more to discover in this city!

Tuesday Travel

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Hi friends and happy Tuesday to you! Today I’m excited to share all the deets from our weekend getaway to Hudson, New York.

Located 2.5 hours from Boston and about 1.5 hours from New York City, Hudson is becoming quite the scene. Many now refer to it as Brooklyn north, which made both K and I laugh as we secretly pretend we live in Brooklyn {or at least I do}. One day. Upon check-in, we decided to do a little exploring by foot. Warren Street is the main road through downtown Hudson and is lined with antique shops, coffee shops, boutiques and several empty store fronts waiting for a pop-up to arrive. One thing we noticed in several storefronts was the presence of a whale. Growing up on Nantucket, seeing this iconic symbol made me pause. Saturday afternoon, while gathering goodies for a picnic, we asked the kind gentleman behind the counter at Talbott & Arding “what’s up with all the whales?” to which he replied “we use to be a whaling center.” This explains why I have wanted to explore this town for so long. It’s in my roots!

Here’s the story. A group of men from Nantucket and New Bedford {seafarers, owners of whaling ships, my people} were convinced that King George would not be content to let the American colonies go, and the British would be back to recapture what they’d lost. These men feared their location along the Atlantic, which they believe made their lives and their livelihood vulnerable. And thus, in early 1783, Thomas and Seth Jenkins {brothers representing an association of men involved in maritime commerce} set out to find a safe harbor where they could relocate their families and their ships. Sailing up the Hudson, they found what they were looking for about a hundred miles north of New York Harbor: a high bluff on the east bank of the river with a natural harbor on either side. They bought the land on the bluff and along the river from Dutch families whose ancestors had purchased it from the Mohicans generations before, and they set about to create a seaport far from the sea. The last known whaling ship to leave Hudson was in 1819. I really need to check the family history to see if any relatives were part of this plan.

I can’t say enough about this little getaway. The highlights of our itinerary are below. Enjoy!

Stay

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Rivertown Lodge is THE place to stay in Hudson. Located in a 1920s movie house, Rivertown is the first venture of two friends and hospitality veterans who saw the need for a revamped lodging option in Upstate NY. They collaborated with Brooklyn-based Workstead {who also designed The Wythe} and the result is swoon worthy. I came home and wanted to redecorate our entire apartment. The little details make the space. My favorite part was The Pantry located next to our room {we stayed in #3) which was filled with local salty snacks, sweet treats and beverages. As someone who loves a good boutique hotel, Rivertown Lodge is in my Top 5. Oh and they offer complimentary bikes too.

Eat 

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The food did not disappoint in Hudson {and the surrounding towns}. A few favorites include:

Food Studio – Located just a block from Rivertown, we enjoyed dinner here on Friday night in the window seat. I had the chicken albondigas {meatballs} with yellow curry, sweet potato, long bean and glass noodles. I’ve been craving them ever since.

Bonfiglio & Bread – Located across the street from Rivertown, Bonfiglio is known for their delicious breads and pastries. Their pecan roll was sinfully good but I was a little disappointed with my egg sandwich. Later I was informed I should have ordered their bialy {bagel}. Next time! They also offer pizzas for lunch, which by the photos on Instagram look pretty delicious.

Talbott & Arding Cheese – The most incredible cheese shop. We stopped in after shopping on Saturday to pick up all the fixings for a little picnic. Their cheese selection is outstanding {we opted for the Dutch knuckle from Sugar House Creamery} and their sweet treats make it hard to just order one. We indulged on the ginger cake and the homemade marshmallows.

Gaskins – Located 20 minutes south of Hudson you will find Gaskins, which has now become one of my favorite restaurants. It is everything you want your local spot to be. Cozy bar, delicious food and the most gracious staff. The roasted carrots, mac + cheese and brownie sundae were comfort food to a T. K enjoyed her burger and the Hill Farmstead beer on tap. Owners Nick and Sarah Suarez  “aim to be a haven, a place you can feast and celebrate or just drop by for a quick beer. Nothing makes us happier than when the farmers who grow our food come eat with us at the restaurant.” I can’t wait to visit this gem again.

Fish & Game – We had Sunday brunch at this Hudson staple which is run by chef Zak Pelaccio and his wife, chef Jori Jayne Emde. The Johnny cakes topped with an egg were to die for and their granola was the best I’ve ever had. For dinner, the menu changes nightly, focusing on the freshest ingredients from local farms.

I should also mention that Rivertown Lodge just opened their kitchen and offers weekend brunch and dinner. By the looks of it, their brunch is the place to be on a Saturday or Sunday in Hudson.

Shop

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I was certainly surprised by how many amazing antique shops are in Hudson. When K and I buy our dream home, I know exactly where to come for our mid-century pieces. A few other shops not to miss include:

Mutiny – Run by a surgeon and his sculptor wife, Mutiny is a beautiful storefront with an electric mix of men’s wear, home goods and an impressive stationary collection, including Postalco notebooks.

Les Indiennes Showroom – A showroom dedicated to hand-blocked textiles… yes please! I have long been a fan of Les Indiennes pillow cases and enjoyed seeing their entire collection, which includes wallpaper too. I purchased one of their signature candles in the sweetest little blue hand-blocked draw-string pouch. The perfect gift to have on-hand for a last minute gift.

Hawkins New York – I literally wanted one of everything at this interior designer’s dream shop. From rugs, to linens, to beautiful pottery and furniture, this is the place to go for that unique piece that everyone will ask about. And their signature candles are pretty incredible. I suggest purchasing their Hudson scent to always remind you of this charming town.

Red Chair on Warren – I am going to forever refer to this shop as Heaven on Warren. This beautiful shop is focused on Swedish, Belgian and French antiques. Owner Jocie Sinauer makes frequent buying trips to Europe and hand selects every item in the shop. If we weren’t leaving for Paris in 3 weeks, I would have left with several french bowls to add to my collection.

Colonia – My second favorite antique store on Warren Street. I was so pleased to see they have an Etsy site.

2 Note – This shop is a trip for your senses. Offering beautiful perfumes, shampoos, body lotions, face lotions and even multi-purpose house cleaner. I loved the scent of Adagio.

Flower Kraut – Located across the street from Rivertown, this little floral studio has an impressive selection of cacti, succulents, and pots. And their beautiful floral arrangements are a nice treat to bring home.

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I am fairly certain Hudson will be a place we return to again and again. Our itinerary is already coming together for our next visit: dinner at Fish & Game, a visit to Olana State Historic site, and a meal at The Corner at Hotel Tivoli.

 

Jubilee

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The Cherry Bombe Jubilee was certainly the bomb! A full day surrounded by incredible women in a beautiful space talking about my favorite thing{s}. A special thank you to Farm & Fable for inviting me to tag along.

Hyline

I mean, look at this place. The High Line Hotel. A former Theological Seminary, apple orchard and cathedral all located on the west side of New York City on 10th Avenue. The Gothic brick reminded me of my days at Mount Holyoke. And while we weren’t able to secure a room for the night, I certainly know where I’ll be staying on my next jaunt to NYC.

The event itself began at 10:30 am with a kick-off by two of my favorite Brits Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley: sisters, home cooks, food lovers, health advocates and authors. Their newest cookbook Good + Simple was released in the states on Tuesday. Their fist is one of my favorites. I highly recommend it.

The sisters are full of energy and were the perfect start to the day. They shared their Top 10 list for creating a Good + Simple life:

  1. Follow your bliss.
  2. Dream and dream big.
  3. Grow slow and be ok with saying no.
  4. Get with your gut. Follow your intuition.
  5. Meditate.
  6. Detox your life.
  7. Fight for what you know is right. Love always gets you to where you want to go.
  8. Sleep more.
  9. Work with people greater than you.
  10. Make soup!

Don’t you agree this is a terrific list?!

The day continued with panel discussions on a wide range of topics, from how to be a boss, to farming, to the next wave of chefs in NYC. There were two incredible talks, one by Kat Kinsman on Feeding the Beast {a discussion on mental health issues in the restaurant industry} and one by Mimi Sheraton, the first female food critic for the New York Times discussing how it once was to be a woman in the restaurant business.

I was excited to learn of a late addition to the roster. Padma Lakshmi confirmed last week to do a reading from her new memoir, which I’m almost done with. A full Bo0k Club review will be on the site next week, I promise.

Jubilee concluded on a high note with the one and only Martha Stewart. Her greatest piece of advice “it’s hard to have it all but it’s very important to have as much of it as you can.” She talked about regrets of not having more children, her need to always drive in the front seat and her trick for the perfect scrambled eggs. And that trick will only cost you $5,000. Can you guess what it is?

Food

As you can imagine, one of the many highlights of the Jubilee was the food itself. Lunch bowls by Dig Inn, snacks created by some incredible female makers {including Amy Chaplin, Anita’s Yogurt, Eric McKenna, Fourt & Twenty Blackbirds, Hot Bread Kitchen, and Yossy Arefi}.

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I can’t wait for #CBJubilee 2017!

Photo credits: Photos 1, 3 and 4 (Cherry Bombe)

 

 

Tuesday Travel

Brooklyn

It’s official. I’ve fallen hard and fast for Brooklyn. I know, I know. You are thinking you guys were just there in December. Well, you are right. But we made a quick trip down this past weekend to attend the wedding celebration of two dear friends. Between the festivities, we were able to squeeze in a few amazing meals. I think today’s post should be called tasty Tuesday. How much food can May eat in 48 hours? Read on and I’m sure I’ll surprise you!

 

MaisonI was able to score a table at Maison Premiere for Friday night. A table that I’m told is quite hard to come by. Every detail of this spot {located a quick 15 minute walk from The Wythe, our hotel of choice in Brooklyn} is perfection. Maison Premiere is part oyster house, part cocktail den, reminiscent of what you would find in Paris or New Orleans. Their cocktail list features an impressive collection of premium Absinthes. My drink of choice was the Walcott Express and I must say, it went down a little too smoothly.  The oyster selection was impressive and their desserts were sinfully good. I highly recommend adding Maison Premiere to your Brooklyn to-do list.

Five Leaves

Saturday morning I woke up with a wee-bit of a hangover and thus a hearty breakfast was in-order. I had researched two options for potential breakfast spots: Cafe Colette and Five Leaves. Since Colette didn’t open till 10 am {and we were up at 8 am}, we decided on Five Leaves. Again, it was a short walk from The Wythe and we arrived right before the morning rush so were able to grab a table right away. K ordered the Moroccan Scramble and I ordered the Big Brekkie with a scrabbled eggs, toast, hash browns, avocado and bacon. Oh and a side of the bruléed grapefruit. This place does breakfast right!

Oh and they have the cutest take-out window for coffee.

pizza

I think I’ve shared this with you but I really believe I could survive on pizza. Pizza is New anorak so it only makes sense that Brooklyn would have some incredible pizza spots. While perusing my Twitter feed, I saw an endorsement for Roberta’s in Bushwick by the one and only John Krasinski. And thus, after the wedding festivities, we grabbed an Uber and off to Roberta’s we went. There was a substantial line out the door but we decided we were all-in. Thirty minutes later, we were devouring the best margarita of my life. I’m sad that I won’t be able to enjoy this on a weekly basis. Maybe one day soon…

Vinegar hill House

We ended our weekend getaway on the highest note at the most romantic spot in all of Brooklyn. Vinegar Hill House, which has been on my to-go list for quite some time. And what a time we had. We grabbed two seats at the bar, opened up our Sunday Times and savoured the most delicious brunch from the tiny kitchen of chef Mike Poiarkoff, who incorporates sustainably farmed ingredient into his dishes. The omelette with squash, goat cheese and mint was light and perfectly flavored and K’s lamb tamale special was amazing! I can’t wait to go back for dinner in their garden and sit under the cherry tree.

Wow, what a food filled weekend. I can’t wait to head back to NYC in two weeks for the Cherry Bombe Jubilee. More on that soon!

 

Tuesday Travel

Tulum

As promised, today I’m excited to share all the details of our trip to Tulum, Mexico. This boho-chic beach town located on the Yucatan peninsula has been on my wanderlust list for quite some time. After last winter’s snow, I knew it was time to finally check it off the list.

Getting to Tulum is quite easy. Being a loyal  JetBlue flier, I was thrilled to see they offer a direct flight from Boston to Cancun. Once in Cancun, we arranged for a car to take us on the hour and a half drive. Tulum was much larger than I expected. Upon turning onto the beach road, our hotel was a good twenty minutes down the road. It’s funny, one side is beachy. One side is the jungle. And the temperature  changes just crossing the street.

While in Tulum, getting around is a breeze. There are plenty of cabs and it’s an easy walk on the beach or the main beach road to get to many a destination {except the ruins and cenote}. Several hotels offer free bikes. Sadly, ours was not one of them but there were several bike rental spots along the beach road. One word of caution: there are few lights on the beach road at night so a flashlight is a must.

As for money, plan on having pesos or American dollars on hand as several restaurants do not take credit cards.

Stay

CoquiCoqui

After much debate, we decided to stay at Coqui Coqui. Every detail of this 6-room hideaway is perfection.  We stayed in Room #5 with amazing views of the Caribbean Sea, a hammock, a giant tub and one of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in. Coqui Coqui is an eco-friendly resort, which basically means no air conditioning. At night, we fell asleep to a gentle breeze coming through our windows and the sound of the ocean. It reminded me of those nights sleeping on the beach in my late teens. And the sunrise from our room… there are no words. The Mayans originally called this beach town Zama or The City of Dawn, which was evident on our first morning!

Coqui, which opened in 2003, is certainly more than a hotel. Founded by Italian designer Francesca Bonato and her Argentine model partner Nicolas Malleville, Coqui Coqui is an experience for all your senses. These two thought of every detail when creating this oasis and used the coconut trees and the white sand beaches as their inspiration.From the limestone stairs leading to our room to the scent of coco in the room, Coqui Coqui embodies all that is Tulum. Even if you don’t stay here, I recommend you take a walk down the beach and experience this little piece of heaven.

I should note they have a small dining area and offer breakfast and lunch till about 6 pm. I recommend the morning granola and for an afternoon snack, ceviche. Their place settings are everything. I wish I could have bought a bowl to bring home with me.

Do

Cenote

Before Tulum, I had never heard of a cenote. If you haven’t either, allow me to provide a brief definition: A cenote is a swimming hole in the jungle that is formed from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. All the locals we talked to said a visit to a cenote is a must.

We decided to visit the Grand Cenote, which was a quick 30 minute cab ride from the hotel. The Mayans believed a cenote was a place of worship and used these sacred wells as a way to communicate with the gods. After snorkeling throughout these caves, I completely agree it is a spiritual experience. A perfect place to escape the jungle heat.

There are literally hundreds of cenotes in the area so do a little bit of research and decide which one is the right one for you.

ruins

The second thing the locals told us not to miss… a visit to the ancient Mayan ruins. One piece of advice: pack your swimsuit. There is a set of stairs to the right of the ruins that take you down to the beach where you get the most incredible view.

The one thing we didn’t have time to partake in was a spa treatment. There is a beautiful spa at Coqui Coqui but we also discovered The Yaan Wellness Center. Should I ever find myself back in Tulum, I assure you I will schedule a relaxation session here.

Shop

latroupe

The shopping in Tulum did not disappoint. A few places not to miss include:

La Troupe – Pictured above, this was my favorite boutique along the beach road. Their selection of hand-embroidered pillow cases made it nearly impossible to leave with just one.

LOL – A tiny boutique tucked inside the restaurant Posada Margaretia. This is the place to find the perfect beach cover-up or the softest t-shirt to remember my favorite place in Tulum.

Coqui Coqui Perfumeria – The ultimate sensory experience. We were first introduced to the amazing scents upon check-in at our hotel. Our room was filled with their diffusers and as a welcome gift, we received an assortment of perfumes, lotions and shampoos. With thirteen scents to chose from, it made it quite difficult to decide on a scent. K chose the ever popular Tabaco and I chose the Neroli Negro. A visit to Tulum isn’t complete without visiting this perfumeria on the beach.

Eat and Drink

Hartwood

Tulum was made for food lovers! With each meal, we were more blown away. Not only was the food amazing but every detail of the experience: from the wooden menus to the tables and chairs.  The inspiration was endless. Our favorites include:

Hartwood – Pictured above, this was the one place everyone said not to miss. Since they don’t take reservations, our one and only time to go was Sunday night. So, after quite a bit of research I decided my tactic was this. Get in-line at 12 noon {patrons typically line up at 1 pm for reservations} to be the first in-line to get our names on the list. Within 30 minutes, one of the line cooks {Austin} came over and said “typically people do line up for another hour or so.” To which I replied, “I know. Tonight is our only chance to eat here and I really want to so I am ok waiting.” A few minutes later he said, “how many are in your party?” I said two and he said we will see you at 5:30 pm. Let me tell you, I would have waited three hours for the meal we had. The jicama salad, octopus, robalo fish and cheese gelato were worth all the hype. In my top five dining experiences!

posada

Posada Margherita – This place, which is pictured above is a place I’ll remember forever. Go and you’ll see why. We loved breakfast so much we went twice. Although we didn’t make it to dinner, all the reviews are outstanding. I’ve missed the pink flamingo juice since we’ve been home.

gitano

Gitano – A bar in the jungle with amazing craft cocktails and a huge disco ball? How could you not want to go here. Gitano is literally across the street from Coqui Coqui so it is easy to stumble home after a few too many mezcal cocktails. Their chocolate mint sorbet is also quite delicious!

Taqueria La eufemia – Tacos on the beach. Need I say more. A quick 5 minute walk from Coqui Coqui, my only regret was that we found it on our last day.

Be Tulum – Be Tulum was our second choice of lodging for our trip. We knew we wanted to experience the hotel and thus decided to go for breakfast before visiting the ruins. The restaurant, set on the beach, is picturesque. We both had a delicious juice and I decided on the eggs benedict. One of the best I’ve ever had.

We also enjoyed Casa Jaguar and Casa Banana and a little taco stand MI Tierra.

Tulum was everything we hoped it would be! The perfect place to unwind. Planning a trip there, do let me know if you have any questions. I’d be happy to help. And if you’d like to see more pictures from our trip, feel free to visit my Instagram page.

Tuesday Travel

il_fullxfull.451809425_hssf_grande

Sometimes you just need a night away to reset… and that is exactly what we did this past weekend! When I saw the Lark Hotels had two properties in Portsmouth, I knew exactly where to run away for the night. Portsmouth, a quick 50 minute car ride from Boston, is a place I have spent many an afternoon but never an overnight. I certainly have been missing out. Here are just a few of my musts in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Stay

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The Hotel Portsmouth is a B&B dream. Built in 1881 by a wealthy ship merchant, this gem located at 40 Court Street showcases quintessential Queen Anne Victorian architecture. The mansion opened as an inn in 1985. Fast forward to 2014, the property underwent an extensive and historically sensitive renovation prior to its official opening at The Hotel Portsmouth. We stayed in a King Suite on the 3rd Floor with ample space. The bed was cozy, the pillows heavenly and the morning light perfection. And the nautical decor reminded me of my little island (the yellow phone almost came home with me). Our only complaint was that the bathroom was a little small for a suite.

The Ale House Inn is the second Lark property in Portsmouth. The next time we escape to “Live Free” land, we are staying here!

Eat

NH_Dining2

Several former New Yorkers have made their way north to add a bit of edge to the food scene in Portsmouth and neighboring Kittery, Maine. My top picks include:

Row 34 – The sister restaurant to her namesake here in Boston. Their oysters are always delicious and the chocolate mouse for dessert, you can’t go wrong! Oh and the corn bread. Order the corn bread!

Bubby’s – A New York style deli in the heart of a historical port. The challah french toast was worth every sinful bite. My girl opted for the bagel egg sandwich, which was equally as good. Their whole menu is available for take-out too.

The Friendly Toast – A Portsmouth, New Hampshire institution. Luckily, their third location just opened around the corner from Melrose Place so it will now be our weekly breakfast spot!

Street 360 -While at dinner at Row 34 we kindly ask both our waitress and the host where to go for Sunday brunch. Without skipping a beat, they all agreed on Street. Sadly we couldn’t squeeze but it is on the top of our list for our next visit. Looks like Lena Dunham is a fan too!

Lil’s Cafe – Just across Memorial Bridge and the Piscataqua River is Kittery Maine, home of Lil’s Cafe, which proudly brews Maine’s own Tandem Coffee Roasters. With a wonderful selection of pastries, sweet treats and sandwiches, Lil’s is the kind of cafe I wish I had in my neighborhood.

The Wallingford Dram – A speakeasy in Kittery that should not be missed. The owner and founder hails from NYC, where he worked with Tom Colicchio at Craft and Frank and Frank behind Frankies 457 in Brooklyn. Having grown up in neighboring NH, he always knew he would make his way home. And how glad we are he did.

Black Trumpet – On my list for next time!

Shop

Gus and Ruby Letterpress – A dream of a paper shop that is near impossible to leave empty handed. I dare you to try!

Folk – Located right next to Lil’s cafe, this store is one not to miss. The curated collection of goods is impressive. Japanese writing instruments, Ace + Jig, and locally made ceramics. Folk is the place to find a gift for that someone special or you.