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2015 was a huge travel year for us, with a safari in Africa, three trips to Ireland, trips to Myrtle Beach, Chicago, and more. When 2016 rolled around, between being a bit tired and also getting a new boat, we wanted to spend more time staying local, and with the exception of a couple of trips, we did just that.

January – I got to travel to beautiful Hampshire County Massachusetts for work and to stay in Amherst, soaking up the quiet magic that is January in the region. It was cold, but we warmed up by the Lord Jeff fireplaces and with perfectly made craft cocktails. This was, as it is titled, a perfect Massachusetts getaway.

The Lord Jeffery Inn

 

February – A dreamy trip to Luquillo and San Juan, Puerto Rico was one of the highlights of the year, so much so that we might return again in 2017. 

Boats, beaches, seafood, rum, music, and lots of sunshine made this the perfect getaway, an easy and direct JetBlue flight from Boston.

Outdoor Adventures in Puerto Rico

Icacos sailing

 

AprilA much-needed getaway to Maine with friends included a stay at the beautiful Hartstone Inn, hiking to the top of Mount Battie in Camden, and shopping in Freeport. I heart L.L. Bean. Maine is just glorious, and our April 2017 trip to Camden is already booked!

16 Bayview Camden Maine

June – Sharing my June trip (and one of the best of 2016) is certainly bittersweet, as the amazing publicist who organized it recently passed away. Florence Tambone brought me along on the most wonderful day to the North Fork of Long Island on Cross Sound Ferry, along with other writers, and I just had the best time, visiting Long Island wineries, learning to shuck oysters, visiting a gorgeous farm, and laughing all day long.  Lavender by the Bay was perhaps the most breathtaking experience of my year. Thanks to Florence and Cross Sound Ferry, the North Fork is one of my favorite getaways, and I will always, always think of her when I visit.

lavender fields in Long Island

 

July – Another work trip to Hampshire County gave me time to stay at Hotel Northampton and visit a favorite, Black Birch Vineyard. I’m hoping that 2017 brings more opportunities to visit Western Massachusetts, both for work and fun!

Black Birch Vineyard

August – My cousin got married in Asheville, NC, so we got to visit this beautiful area for the first time. Outdoor time, beer tasting, and family time made it a perfect summer trip.

horses in asheville

September – We traveled just up to Ipswich, MA for the last weekend of summer and rented the most incredible little waterside cottage. We spent a ton of time on the screened in porch, went to the private beach in the Little Neck community we were in, explored Newburyport, Essex, and Ipswich, and ate a ton of seafood. This cottage is definitely in future plans. I love New England summer!

(I caught the sunrise on the first morning; magical.)

sunrise in Ipswich

October – We traveled to Chicago for the Chicago Marathon, which was a disappointing run for me but an amazing trip overall. We absolutely loved the Thompson Chicago, and WE MET EDDIE VEDDER. Maybe the highlight of my year.

image

 

November – Our annual trip to Ireland for Thanksgiving included time on Achill Island as well as plenty of time to wander around Galway, eating and drinking and being merry. We loved Tribeton for cocktails, and I have so many more Ireland posts to come!

wild atlantic way ireland

December – We rounded out the year with a trip to Maine to visit friends who just moved there. It’s great to have another excuse to visit Portland!

We had the most amazing dinner at Sur Lie in Portland, and despite bitter cold temperatures spent some time outside taking in the stunning coastal vistas and lighthouses. Vacationland for sure.

Portland Head Light

There were lots of weekends boating to the Boston Harbor Islands and other places in Massachusetts, along with other little New England trips here and there. Looking back on 2016, we actually traveled more than I realized.

In 2017, we’ll be going to Tuscany for a wedding in July, look forward to MANY more boating adventures, trips to Maine, and hopefully a warm weather getaway, possibly Puerto Rico again.

Cheers to a wanderlust-satisfying 2017 for all!

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Tags: Achill, blogger, boating, Boston blogger, Camden, Galway, Ireland, Long Island, Long Island wine, Luquillo, Maine, New England, North Fork, Puerto Rico, travel blog, travel blogger, travel planning, wine blog, wine country

I get cabin fever incredibly easily, and aside from a weekend day here or there where I really want to just hang around the house and cook, I often am itching on the weekends to hit the road (or the sea) for an adventure. We’ve spent enough time in Ireland that we’ve become of the mind that if you don’t go out in the rain, you’ll never go out at all. As such, we’ve started making sure we have all of the attire we need for bad weather. . . which for me means all the L.L. Bean!

It really does make a difference though, to have a good rain coat and boots and to be able to stay dry and warm.

A few weeks ago our New England wanderings took us down to Carver and Plymouth, Massachusetts, for some fun in the rain.

Carver, Massachusetts Our first stop was Carver for a quick walk amongst the evergreens. I crave nature, and the misty air and the smell of green just filled my soul with happiness, setting us up for a great afternoon.

Not long after, we made a visit to the lovely and historic Flax Pond Farms where we learned about the history of cranberry growing in the area and got to pretend we were workers back in the olden days, sorting out green and wrinkled cranberries on a conveyor belt.

Flax Pond Farms Flax Pond Farms Flax Pond Farms was a beautiful space surrounded by nature and reflecting its cranberry history, in addition to being full of delicious treats like a spicy cranberry spread and cranberry honey I got to go with some soft cheeses. One of my favorite parts about unplanned trips like this is the potential to come across little gems like Flax Pond Farms.

Flax Pond Farms After we left Carver, our rainy day travels took us to Plymouth, where we explored antiques and other secondhand items in some of the adorable downtown stores. There was plenty to see in town, but still wanting to be outdoors, we headed to the waterfront, where we discovered a charming little park with a beautiful stream running through it and foggy views of the sea beyond.

Plymouth, MA

I did some skipping and puddle jumping, because I simply can not resist jumping in puddles!

Plymouth, MA

Plymouth, MA

And of course, we spent plenty of time admiring boats in Plymouth Harbor.

Plymouth, MA  Ramble on Rose

This gorgeous sailboat brought together three loves: boats, the Grateful Dead, and San Francisco.

After some more walking around the waterfront and the town and a quick spin through the John Carver Inn, we made our way back to the waterfront to the Plymouth Yacht Club. With our own club membership in Boston, we’re usually welcomed into other clubs around the US, and Plymouth certainly made us feel at home.

Plymouth Yacht Club  Plymouth Yacht Club

A sprawling waterfront lawn and plenty of seating gave way to a grand building, which we soon explored, eventually making our way to the top floor members bar to soak up the coziness and a couple of Dark n Stormy cocktails as we chatted boating with some locals.

Plymouth Yacht Club It’s amazing what you can discover when you don’t have any plans! We had such a fun day together exploring a new-to-us place, and while I loved the harbor on a rainy fall day, I am even more looking forward to boating into it next summer.

Have you discovered any fun places by accident lately?

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Tags: blogger, boating, Boston, clubs, cocktails, fall, New England, outdoors, Plymouth, sailing, Travel, travel blog, travel blogger

Happy National Beer Lover’s Day! Asheville, North Carolina is a beer-lover’s dream-come-true, and we recently had the chance to spend a few days in this beautiful city for a family wedding. Getting to Asheville from Boston was easy; we took a quick JetBlue flight from Boston to Charlotte and drove about two hours to Asheville and straight to Asheville Brewing, where the bride and groom were dining with friends and family.

 

Asheville Brewing Companyasheville brewing co

It felt so good to see my aunt and cousin after a few years, and Asheville Brewing was the perfect place for it. Long picnic tables in a covered outdoor area gave way to easy mingling and meeting new people, and the berry beer I had was the perfect post-travel refreshment. I loved that the restaurant was showing the Olympics on a big screen outdoors as well. It added to the summery festivity of the evening.

Boojum Graveyard Fields

That evening, after some pub food and family fun, we ventured off to the grocery store before settling into our Asheville rental house (More on that later; it was fantastic. ) Now, I know that beer and wine in the grocery store takes away from mom and pop shops, but I LOVE the convenience of it, and Ingles stores in Asheville had excellent selections of local beer, making it fun and easy to stock up for tasting at home. I absolutely loved the bitter-yet-fruity Boojum Graveyard Fields Blueberry Coffee Porter. I found it on tap a few times over the weekend and always gravitated towards it.

wicked weed brewing

wicked weed brewing asheville

coolcumber beer

When planning our Asheville beer tasting, Wicked Weed Brewing kept coming up as a recommendation, so when we had some time pre-wedding, we headed there. Right downtown, it was also right up my alley, with two levels of open space and a great outdoor area which we took advantage of on a beautiful summer day. I started things off with a light, refreshing, and slightly briny cucumber beer, their Coolcumber and then moved on to a beer from their Funkatorium, the Genesis, which, with pineapple notes and sour finish, was possibly my favorite beer of them all.

 

catawba brewing 

The day after the wedding was almost too hot, and in between hanging out by the pool and visiting Lake Lure, we made a quick stop in Biltmore Village for a tasting at Catawba Brewing Co., another recommendation.  We tend to avoid IPAs and pumpkin beers and developed a yummy flight which included some Catawba standards like Farmer Ted’s Cream Ale and the Black Dome Stout. Catawba had a super chill vibe and great beer. It’s in the heart of the shopping district and would make a great stop for a break while you shop-til-you-drop (Except that I hate shopping, so I’ll skip straight to the beer tasting.)

New Belgium Asheville

 New Belgium Brewery

New Belgium beer

On our final day in Asheville, we had a bit of extra time and finally made our way to the much larger and well known New Belgium Brewing. I expected this to feel like a more corporate experience than the others since New Belgium isn’t quite the small craft brewery. However, it was a fantastic experience with great, fun service and a wide selection of excellent beers. I am all about sours lately, and I loved the Fruit Fly Citra Sour Ale which had just the right amount of sour and fruit, so drinkable. I also loved the Fat Funk Ale and Snapshot Tart Wheat. The selection at New Belgium was so extensive, and if we didn’t have a flight to catch, we could have spent the day there. We hit up the taco food truck on our way out, and away we went, leaving Asheville behind and vowing to return soon.

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Tags: Asheville, beer, blogger, brewery, North Carolina, Travel, travel blogger

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