Looking for a fun and festive day trip from Boston this weekend? Longfellow’s Wayside Inn is the perfect spot to visit this time of year for a step back in time and some holiday cheer.

I first visited the Wayside Inn years ago when I attended a retirement party there, but I have been a fan ever since, especially during the holiday season. It is the oldest operating inn in the country and has been opening its doors to guests since 1716.

Longfellows Wayside Inn

The inn itself is historic and beautiful, and when graced with blue skies and adorned with Christmas decorations, it is really something special. Holly abounds nearby, and the inside of the inn is warm and festive.


wayside inn

The Tap Room at the Wayside Inn is the perfect place to enjoy a drink and a warm fire. The nation’s first cocktail, a Coow Woow, was invented here, and they still serve it to this day.

coow woow co

We of course had to give a Coow Woow a try. . . and I would not recommend it unless you needed its contents to light a fire or lamp. Woow.

The ingredients in a Coow Woow are simple, ginger brandy and white rum, and it is strong! It’s easy to imagine our forefathers getting through cold nights with this concoction, but I’ll stick to the more tame Meetinghouse Punch, which was a blend of beer, rum, and sugar.

coow woow

It’s easy to linger in the Tap Room for the afternoon, and we met some very nice people planning a trip to Ireland whilst there. The Wayside Inn is not just a step back in time, but it is also a very classic New England place for food and drink, an excellent day trip from Boston.

wayside inn

wayside inn

Parts of the inn are preserved in a museum-like fashion, allowing guests a glimpse into the early days of the inn,

wayside inn

wayside inn

While the inside of the Wayside Inn is spectacular and homey, the land it is on as breathtaking. I love every second of blue sky and fresh air I can get in the country, and the Wayside Inn has it all, from rolling green hills to a lake to the most beautiful chapel.

sudbury walking

Mary Martha Chapel   walking in the woods sudbury naturewayside inn

When visiting the Wayside Inn, you can breathe in the smell of pines and enjoy the crunch of leaves and pine needles under your feet, all before digging into a delicious hearty meal paired with old fashioned drinks. The inn also often has events and special packages making it a fun little getaway from Boston.

I love this space and am glad we took an afternoon from the busy holiday season to escape to Sudbury in the 1700’s.

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Tags: cocktails, colonial, decorations, festive, holidays, Massachusetts, outdoors, staycation, travel. sudbury, wayside inn

Somewhere between our Savor Healdsburg food tour and tasting at Cartograph, we had a few extra minutes to wander around Healdsburg and decided to pop into the Banshee tasting room. We’d heard great things about their wines, and the tasting room had a good energy to it, little seating areas filled with small groups tasting and chatting.

Banshee Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

The Banshee tasting room has comfy couches, a cool vibe, with wines by the glass or bottle, along with tasting flights. It seemed like the perfect place to hang out, and overall we loved the concept of taking your time with a tasting and being comfortable while doing it. There were a couple of downsides worth noting though.  They had one spit bucket for about 30 people, so we felt forced to drink the pours we were given, something we tend to not want to do when tasting all day. And the person pouring for us actually badmouthed other wineries in an attempt to sell theirs. . .We would have felt a lot better about the experience if that hadn’t happened, but we tried to brush it off because we liked the space and the wines, which were really memorable and delicious and worth stopping for.

One of the wines we brought home is this week’s wine of the week. We love Sonoma Coast Chardonnays and have been inspired by visits to places like Flowers to drink more wine from the far reaches of Sonoma County.  The 2012 Banshee Sonoma Coast Chardonnay comes from a cool climate and thus ripens later in the season. Due to a blending of styles, which includes both oak and stainless, the wine is super balanced, with notes of vanilla bean, tart apple, and citrus. It’s far more delicate than some other California Chardonnays, and it is very easy to drink as well as to pair with food.

If you’re in Healdsburg, I would definitely recommend a stop into Banshee tasting room for a little relaxation. If it’s not too crowded and you can grab a dump bucket, you might just love it.

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Tags: chardonnay, Healdsburg, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, wine, wine of week, wine tasting, Wine Wednesday

Chillier temps call for warm drinks, and whether you’re relaxing alone with a good book or entertaining a group, the holiday season calls for a little extra deliciousness. Coffee is a constant in our household. We always, always consume it on work day mornings (On weekends we often linger over cups of Irish tea.), and coffee also often pops up as part of dessert, after dinner, or even in dinner recipes.

chocolate orange coffee Recently Gourmesso reached out to me to see if I wanted to try some of their Nespresso-compatible coffee capsules. I love my Nespresso machine and am always on the lookout for less expensive capsule options, so of course I said yes!

Gourmesso sent me a ton of different samples, and in addition to making a roast with a Gourmesso espresso marinade, I also decided to craft a cozy hot coffee drink for the holidays.

One of our favorite snacks when we are in Ireland is Jaffa Cakes, delicious little sponge cookie discs topped with an orange jelly and covered in chocolate. Chocolate and orange go so well together, and I knew that the Gourmesso Soffio Cioccolato would be the perfect base for a Jaffa Cake coffee drink.


Gourmesso Coffee

I started by brewing full cups of the Gourmesso coffee in my Nespresso machine. To each Irish coffee glass I added a half shot of Godiva liqueur and Grand Marnier. . . maybe a little more than half a shot. Experiment with measurements until your coffee is just right for you. You might also want to add a splash of Bailey’s Vanilla to stand in for the cookie part of the Jaffa Cake. As you can probably tell, the options for customizing your own festive coffee drink are endless, but you should definitely start with a quality coffee base.

Godiva and Grand Marnier

chocolate orange coffee drinks We bundled up and sipped our coffee drinks out in our yard, still loving the space in the cold (and despite all of the leaves). I loved the citrusy note of orange as a refreshing counterpart to the sweetness of the Godiva and the richness of the coffee. These coffee drinks are certainly a fun way to warm up this winter.

Gourmesso Coffee

Thanks to Gourmesso, one lucky reader can enjoy five different Gourmesso roasts or flavors. They’re allowing me to host a giveaway for 50 capsules. They have 20 different coffee blends at the moment and are expanding that line every year.

A few of my favorites include the Colombia Arabica Mezzo and Bolivia Pura Mezzo. I love a good dark roast coffee, and these are smooth and just lovely.

Interested in winning your own Gourmesso? Just leave a comment on this post letting me know your favorite way to drink coffee or how you would doctor up a cup of Gourmesso for fun coffee drink. I will choose a winner on Friday.

Good luck!

Gourmesso Coffee



Looking for some delicious coffee recipes for your holiday entertaining? I love this Irish Whiskey Chocolate Cake and these Godiva Coffee Martinis.

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Tags: chocolate, cocktails, coffee, dessert drink, Nespresso, orange

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