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More snow and epically cold temperatures mean more wine. It’s just the way it is. And since here in New England we are unlikely to see the grass (or sidewalk, in many cases) for weeks, it’s time to stock up on good wine, good food, and entertainment that pairs well with both.

Cartograph Wines

On a particularly blue winter blues sort of evening recently, I decided to stop moping around went into the kitchen to work on something delicious. Less than an hour later I had a turkey meatloaf, speckled with spinach and garlic and parmesan cheese, served alongside a variety of roasted seasonal vegetables. It was the perfect cozy dinner, and it was even pretty healthy!

Of course we dug into our wine fridge for the perfect wine to go with it, and since Cartograph wines always bring us back to warmer days and vacation and wandering around Healdsburg, we went with the Cartograph 2012 Sangiovese.  It turned out to be a great choice for a cold night. It’s rustic, with notes of dried leaves and earth along with cooked berries, nice and dry, and great with food. This is Cartograph’s first Sangiovese  and comes from an extremely small lot that comes from the Redwood Valley’s Upton Vineyard.

We finally also sat down to watch the movie Somm, which I thought was really good but might have been even better as a several part reality series. The movie follows four sommeliers attempting to pass the Master Sommelier exam. As someone who has studied wine a little and found there to be a LOT of information to remember and process, I can’t even imagine getting to this level of expertise and the stress that candidates undergo both preparing and then going through the exam. I found some of the cast a little arrogant, but overall I liked the film and would recommend it to those interested in wine and wine education.

All in all, a great wine, hearty winter dinner, and great wine movie cheered up an otherwise dreary winter night.

We also watch The  Hundred Foot Journey recently; I love movies about food and wine. (We have watched Bottle Shock 100 times just to see Sonoma and Napa.)

Do you have any favorites?

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Tags: Cartograph, red wine, Sangiovese, Sonoma County, trave, wine, wine travel

There are so many more than 10 things I want to do in our beautiful Commonwealth, but I thought a list of 40 might be too much! This list is mostly Eastern Massachusetts based; I have a ton of love for the Western part of the state too, perhaps that’s a list all on its own? A few weeks ago we were trying to decide what to do for the weekend when I started thinking about all there is to do here. Since we’re soon going on a very big adventure, we’re sticking close to home and on budget the rest of the time. Below is a list of 10 things I want to experience sometime in the next couple of years. Have you done any of the below? Or do you have a list of things you want to do in the place you call home? I would love to hear them in the comments!

Mt Greylock

1) Visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum – I have lived in Boston since 2002. Wow. Typing that makes me feel old! I have sent journalists on FAM tours to the museum, but somehow I have never gotten there. This is one I hope to accomplish this winter.

2) Climb Mount Greylock again, but this time spend the night at the top at Bascom Lodge with friends and great food and wine.

3) Run a race on Spectacle Island – We’ve taken the boat to Spectacle so many times and have even spent the night. I would love to run the island sometime.

4) Tea at Bond at the Langham and the Four Seasons and the TajI love afternoon Champagne tea, and I would love to explore some of the elegant and luxurious teas in Boston.

5) Spend a lazy week on Martha’s Vineyard – We spent the day on the Vineyard a couple of summers ago, and we have been talking about going back ever since. I would love to swim, cook seafood, and explore on bikes and on foot. How relaxing does that sound?

6) Take dance lessons at the Boston Ballet – I was obsessed with ballet growing up, and though I am old and inflexible and out of shape, I would LOVE to take classes again.

7) Visit the Boston Public Library courtyard on a regular basis – I used to do this when I worked in the area. That space is so beautiful, and I would love to spend more time there.

8) Take classes at Harvard Extension – I took a PR writing class there years ago and it was great. It really helped to launch my career

9) Visit the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States SenateI love the JFK Library, and I will actually cross this item off my list when I attend a GBCVB event at the soon-to-be-opened addition next month.

10) Go out to an oyster farm and get fresh oysters, learn about the process, etc. – I learned about East Dennis Oyster Farm when I worked for an agency that had the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism as a client, and I have wanted to go out with them since.

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Tags: Boston, Food, hiking, lifestyle, Massachusetts, outdoors, oysters, tea, things to do, Travel, vacation

I know. I know. I should probably change Travel, Wine, and Dine to A Blog about Ireland and Sonoma, because I am fully obsessed with both places and could blog about them day in and day out. One of the reasons I decided to do away with paid blog ads was because I just wanted to blog about what I wanted, with the hopes that someone would find it interesting. Spilling my heart and camera and iPhone into a blog post and being able to share favorite places makes my day, so I hope you don’t mind a couple more Ireland posts. There’s a lot of healthy cooking on its way. . .

Today for Travel Tuesday, I thought a drive through the West of Ireland countryside would be a nice little getaway for the brain. It’s going to be 20 degrees for the high in Boston today, and I am certainly thinking of travel.  Sit back and enjoy some views from Connemara, Westport, and Barna, all places I recommend visiting when you base your Ireland trip in County Galway.

Keane's Pub

{Keane’s Bar, at Maam Bridge}


Keane's Pub Maam Bridge

The booth at the front of Keane’s Bar, located in Maam in Connemara, is the perfect spot for gazing out over the hills with a hot whiskey after a long hike in the Irish countryside. red berries


{Driving through Connemara in the West of Ireland}

Connemara {Foggy Connemara, where the sky meets the mountains}

Barna {Barna beach day}


O'Grady's Barna Pier {O’Grady’s Barna}

Thatched Cottage {Thatched Cottage in Barna}

    Connemara Beaches

{Beaches in Connemara in the West of Ireland}

Matt Molloy's Pub Westport

{Matt Molloy’s Pub, Westport County Mayo}



{A sunny day in Barna}

O'Grady's Barna

{Lunch views from O’Grady’s in Barna}

seafood chowder Ireland

{Seafood chowder at O’Grady’s in Barna}

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Tags: Barna, Connemara, Galway, Ireland, Nature, outdoors, scenery, Travel, travel blog, Travel Tuesday, views

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