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Yesterday marked eight years of blogging in this little space, which has been a vehicle for meeting some of the best people I know. Blogging has opened up travel opportunities for me, and the networking and contact-building I have done through blogging also helped me to create my Social Media/PR/Marketing business, which has been my full time gig for two years this week!

One of the most fun parts of blogging is looking back on life in blog posts. Here are eight of my favorite life moments, in no particular order, to celebrate eight years. Thank you for reading!

Learning to bake with whole grains at King Arthur Flour

This group getaway was so much fun! We stayed in a country bed and breakfast with the whole house to ourselves, and had our own baking class at King Arthur. It was definitely a bonding experience where I made some life-long friends.

King Arthur Flour

 

Winter on Martha’s Vineyard – A true getaway at Nobnocket Boutique Inn

The winter of 2017 included some heartbreakingly stressful moments for America, and when we needed to get away from it all before we lost our minds, Martha’s Vineyard was the perfect choice. Nobnocket was cozy and luxurious and steps from Vineyard Haven’s cute little downtown. I can’t wait to go back.

 

Nobnocket Boutique Inn

 

Safari Serengeti

Our two week safari in Tanzania was a trip of a lifetime, and I would do it over and over again if I could. Africa works its way into your heart and just stays there forever.

giraffe in the Serengeti 

 

This incredible Labor Day weekend in Sonoma County

Over the last eight years we have visited Sonoma and Napa many times. (Read all the posts on my travel blog post page!). This trip stands out because of the gorgeous little cottage we rented near Healdsburg, the glorious summer heat, canoeing on the Russian River, and the fact that I didn’t work for four whole days!

Russian River Valley sunset

 

Wine tasting in Italy

While visiting family in Marche, we had a private wine tasting at Castello di Semivicoli, which was one of the best afternoons ever.

Masciarelli wine tasting 

 

Getting to go to Sonoma County for work

When I left my full time, in-house job, it was to work on an account in Sonoma County, and I got to experience some pretty spectacular tastings and events.

 

wine tasting

MacMurray Estate Vineyards

 

Spending the perfect summer day on the North Fork of Long Island

My North Fork memories are bittersweet, as the wonderful PR person, Florence, who introduced me to the region and brought me there on Cross Sound Ferry last June, passed away unexpectedly a few months later. Still, I remember this day as summer perfection, from shucking oysters, to wine on the bluff at Kontokosta, to lots of laughs in the van along the way.

lavender fields in Long Island

 

Every trip to Ireland

I tend to go on and on about Ireland, and I can’t help it. It’s definitely one of my most favorite places (along with Sonoma and coastal New England and Puerto Rico), and I feel incredibly blessed every time I get to visit.

Errisbeg

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Many people plan visits to Ireland and focus mainly on Dublin, Killarney, and the Ring of Kerry. Those places are beautiful and well worth a visit, but our Ireland travel recommendations always take you west and north where towns like Galway and Westport  and Sligo are waiting to greet you with live music, booming food and beverage scenes, art, and wild, rugged coastal scenery.

If you’re a fan of the outdoors, visiting Connemara, outside of Galway is a must. Hiking in the West of Ireland is my favorite way to get away, and the beaches are some of the most pristine you will ever see.

Just north of Connemara you’ll find the incredibly beautiful Achill Island, a place for hiking, taking in the Wild Atlantic Way, finding cozy pubs, and enjoying the peace and beauty of the West Coast of Ireland. 

Achill Island Mayo Ireland

On our most recent trip to Ireland, we spent two days on Achill Island. On our first, we arrived to darkening, stormy skies, which made for a dramatic scene as we drove around looking for a smidgen of sunset. The sunset on the West Coast of Ireland is also a must-catch every night you can.

  achill island

Since we were losing light quickly, we explored by car, stopping to take in photos and to turn our faces to the cool rain. Irish rain feels so good. It makes my skin feel so hydrated, and I just feel alive in general when I am out in it!

 

 

achill sound 

Once the sun went down, we retired to our hotel for an amazing dinner. I’ll cover that in a future post.

The following morning brought quite a different scene as the sun came out, blue skies greeted us, and a calm sea looked like glass that went on forever. When you get days like this in Ireland, you get outside!

wild atlantic way ireland

Up and over the narrow mountain road we went, marveling at the beauty of the coastline. No matter how many times I visit Ireland, I never get tired of it. Each day brings a new view and a new perspective that makes me fall  in love all over again.

achill island

Achill Island views Achill Island Achill Island

Keem Beach Achill Island

From taking in the Achill Sound views from cliff tops to exploring Keem Beach on foot, we squeezed every ounce of beautiful weather out of the day, and silliness ensued as I tried (and failed) to get the perfect jump shot!

Achill Island

Keem Beach is a quiet stunner with the softest white sand and gentle surf. Next time we’ll bring a picnic, a book, and a thermos of something hot to enjoy an afternoon out there snacking and snoozing. I’m dreaming of this day already. . .

famine village

 Achill Island Ireland

Our Achill Island wanders then took us to the abandoned famine village of Dooagh, perched high upon a hill. About 40 houses once stood here around 1838. The inhabitants left no written accounts behind, and archaeologists have been discovering clues into their lives and disappearance, with some news about the villages coming out just this month.  Accounts suggest that it was the famine that drove inhabitants from the settlement, either by death or to live elsewhere, as happened with millions of Irish people during the time.

Achill Island

 Achill Island

Achill Island is very quiet; dark starry nights are punctuated by curls of turf-fire smoke from chimneys and the sounds of traditional music escaping local pub doors. Other than that, you’ll hear the lapping of waves, a few cars, and not much else. For me, this is the perfect place to be closer to nature and away from all of the stresses of the modern world. If you’re planning a trip to Ireland, step off the beaten tourist track and consider some of my favorite, less-frequented places for a truly memorable vacation.

For even more Ireland travel blog posts:

Afternoon Tea at the Meyrick Hotel
Ashford Castle
Ballyconneely

Ballynahinch Castle

Belfast in Photos

The Burren and Kinvara – hiking in Ireland

Bushmill’s Distillery

Colorful Images from Ireland

Giant’s Causeway and North Antrim

Galway Saturday Market
Galway – Spirit One Spa and Sheridan’s Wine Bar
Hiking in Connemara

Hiking Errisbeg in Roundstone

Kinsale, Ireland’s Gourmet Capital

Kylemore Abbey

O’Grady’s Barna Pier

Photos of Galway

Sligo

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Tags: Achill Island, blog, Ireland, Ireland blog posts, Mayo, Travel, travel blog, travel blogger, wild atlantic way

Why does it always seem that short weeks feel REALLY long? I am happy to watch this past work week fade away and to tackle a fun weekend ahead. Other than a late Saturday brunch with friends and some volunteering at the MSPCA, my plans are few. How about you?

Last night, we finally received our beautiful new Vissani wine refrigerator. As part of stocking the fridge, I also decided to catalogue all of our wine. Something like oh, 80 bottles later, I was done. I am going to do a separate post on our home wine list and keeping your home sufficiently stocked this weekend, so stay tuned. It was actually a lot of fun and not as time consuming as I had imagined! It made me realize we have a lot of wine from California, New England, and Sicily but not from too many other places. Must expand wine horizons.

It has been awhile since I have done a Friday Foodie Feature due to some fun and bloggable Thursday night events (Vino Voyage, Boston Wine Exchange tasting, to name a few) and I am excited to bring back the feature with a blogger many of you love, Tina from Carrots ‘n’ Cake! Tina’s was the first blog I ever read and was one of the blogs that inspired me to start blogging. I have had the opportunity to hang out with her a few times, and she is just as fun and down to earth as she seems in her blog, the perfect balance of healthy and fit with fun.  She is always super busy and working hard, and I am happy she had the time to be featured here today!

 

Vino Voyage, Healthy and Sane, Travel Eat Love, Carrots n Cake

How long have you been blogging?

Just about 2.5 years now. It’s crazy how time flies when you’re having fun!

What is your favorite thing about blogging? Least favorite?

My favorite thing about blogging is the community. I have met so many
incredible people and learned so much from the blog world. My least
favorite thing about blogging is the mean/negative comments. (What’s
the point?)

What has been your most fun blog post to write?

The post announcing that I resigned from my full-time job at Harvard.
The photo still cracks me up!

http://carrotsncake.com/2009/10/i-resigned.html

Where do you see your blog this time next year?

Hopefully, it will be trucking along at the same pace!

Is there anything else about your blogging experience you would like to share?

I never planned for blogging to become such a big part of my life, but
I’ve enjoyed nearly every minute of the adventure!

If you haven’t been to Carrots ‘n’ Cake, you should definitely go on over for your fix of healthy, delicious meals, fun workouts, beer, wine, and other fun.

Don’t forget that I will announce the winner of my wine and cheese giveaway tomorrow!

What are your weekend plans?

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