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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.

holly

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

Monday is a good time for dreaming of travel, don’t you think? I’m excited to share that Flipkey is holding a contest in conjunction with their new virtual tours. They are asking bloggers to write a post about which of three virtual tour locations, Lake Tahoe, Phoenix, or Miami, the blogger would choose to enter to win a $1,000 Visa gift card.

I love to write, and I love to travel, and I love to write about travel, so I thought this would be a fun contest. I have been to Miami (and would totally go back, especially to stay at the Sonesta in Coconut Grove). I have been to Phoenix and would like to explore more.

But the sound of Lake Tahoe pretty much just grabs at my wanderlust in a much bigger way. You know I love California. My first Flipkey experience was at our Sonoma wine country house rental; the experience was an amazing one, and I can’t wait to do it again.

Lake Tahoe has a lot going for it, including its proximity to wine country, gorgeous natural beauty, gigantic blue lake

The Flipkey Virtual Tour of Lake Tahoe won me over completely.

Emerald Bay

(Source)

This photo of Emerald Bay takes my breath away; I can imagine it being spectacular in all seasons.  I am a country girl at heart, and smelling the pines, hearing the lake lapping its shores, and being able to see endless sky would be my paradise.

 

Bear's Landing

(Source)

Similarly, Bear’s Landing looks like pure bliss. I want to hike for hours and swim and kayak and water-ski, then relax in a hot tub or in front of a fire in one of the many beautiful Flipkey rentals.  I might even learn to ski in snow, depending on when we visited! Lake Tahoe looks like a true getaway, which is why it is my choice.

Your turn, if you had the choice, which would you visit, Lake Tahoe, Miami, or Phoenix? Why?

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Tags: California, contests, Flipkey, Lake Tahoe, Take me there, Travel, travel blog

I have two true favorite times of year to visit Ireland, though I would of course take a trip there any month I could. I love Ireland in March and April; Spring is a beautiful time to be in the Irish countryside, with the lambs and daffodils popping up all over.

My other favorite time of year to visit Ireland is over Thanksgiving. It hasn’t gotten cold there quite yet, so there are plenty of opportunities for walks and hikes and outdoor pints, and the Galway Christmas Market, in recent years, has made the city an even more vibrant and festive place to be during November and December.

chimney cakes

The market is chock full of delicious food and beverage treats, with a Paulaner beer tent and pavilion being one of the main focal points. The tent offers big steins of various Paulaner beers along with a good buzz of chatter and fun.

Paulaner beer tent

Prost!

Paulaner beer tent

crepes All of Galway is decorated for Christmas, and it seems like the entire town is an extension of the Christmas market.

Galway Christmas Market

Galway at Christmas

And the market offers plenty of fun and rides for kids of all ages. It was even more fun this year, with our three year old nephew giving us an excuse to ride the carousel and train and to look at some of the handcrafted ornaments and toys for sale. This is the place to buy your gifts, simple, enjoyable, and beautiful pieces made by artisans rather than mass-produced items we are often used to.

Galway Christmas Market

crafts from the Ukraine Galway Christmas Train

flowers in Ireland

Flowers in November, like these around the market in Eyre Square, are not uncommon in Galway. My mother-in-law’s roses were in full bloom. I am jealous of their lengthy gardening season!

Galway Christmas Market lights

macarons

macaroons

colorful macarons

gluwein

Whether you visit the Galway Christmas Market in the day or night, you’ll find temptations for the eyes and the palate, from brightly colored macarons and savory crepes to German hot dogs and artfully made ornaments. It’s easy to spend several afternoons or evenings wandering and enjoying the music, smells, and sights, especially while warming your hands with a hot spiced gluhwein.

Do you have any favorite holiday events or markets that are part of your traditions?

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Tags: crafts, European Christmas Markets, Galway, Galway Christmas Market, gluwein, holidays, lifestyle, Travel, Travel Tuesday

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