Long Island

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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 wish you could smell it, but for now, photos will have to do. Part of my Cross Sound Ferry trip to the North Fork of Long Island was a visit to the absolutely heavenly Lavender by the Bay. I have always dreamed of visiting a lavender farm, and this lived up to every expectation I had.

Lavender by the Bay grows both English and French lavender and allows visitors to wander along paths in their gorgeous fields. The farm is located near many great North Fork wineries, and across from Sep’s, a farm you also must visit.

Lavender by the Bay

Lavender by the Bay

Lavender by the Bay lavender North Fork of Long Island

lavender fields in Long Island lavender lavender fields lavender lavender drying lavender In addition to the outdoor beauty at Lavender by the Bay, an adorable farm store welcomes visitors and features all sorts of items including dried lavender, baking lavender, soaps, lavender honey (delicious in a gin and tonic), and more.

We were warmly welcomed by the farm’s owner and received our own lavender bunches, complete with instructions for drying, to bring home. Thanks to this excursion, I am typing this blog post surrounded by the beautiful smell of dried lavender, which reminds me completely of my nana. It’s such a good memory to have!

If you are visiting the North Fork of Long Island, definitely add a visit to Lavender by the Bay to your itinerary. Even if the lavender isn’t in bloom, all it leaves behind will still be worth visiting for.

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Tags: lavender, Long Island, Long Island wine country, North Fork, Travel, travel blog, travel blogger, Travel Tuesday

The North Fork of Long Island is one of my favorite places. (Do I say that a lot? I might do, but there are a bunch of places that I really love and can visit over and over again. They include Galway, Sonoma, Provincetown, Puerto Rico, and most definitely the North Fork.)

The North Fork is not just beautiful, with farmland and vineyards rolling down to the sea, but it offers an abundance of local food from land and sea, great shopping, and warm and welcoming people. Last week, I once again had the opportunity to hop aboard a Cross Sound Ferry in New London for a press trip to this magical little spit of land. The trip reminded me that the North Fork is a pretty easy getaway from Boston, especially on a weekday. Whether you drive or take Amtrak, getting to the ferry is easy and takes about an hour and forty minutes. A car ferry option is available, but this time around we took the car-free fast ferry and were met by Jo-Ann Perry from Vintage Tours, which is a great option if you don’t feel like driving around while visiting wineries.  Jo-Ann was absolutely fabulous to spend the day with, and you can learn about personalized North Fork winery tours here.

The second you leave the ferry parking lot in Orient Point, you are blessed with the most beautiful scenery, including the sea and wide open spaces. Our first stop was Sep’s Farm for a tour and tasting.

strawberries

 

rhubarb

 

Sep's Farm, North Fork

Sep’s Farm and farm stands around Long Island are favorites of locals and visitors and a must-stop for all of your local fruit and vegetable needs while visiting. The farm goes back five generations and is family-owned and operated. The produce on the farm stand was absolutely gorgeous and made me want to fill baskets to bring home as sides for a buttery lobster dinner.

carrots

sunflowers

radshes

After some time for photo ops at the farm stand, Eric, the son of the farm’s owner, showed us around the farm, including taking time to stop in the tool shed to view some of the historic farm photos and tools. This place could seriously be a farming museum and provides a great peek into the Sep’s Farm of years past.

Sep's Farm history

farm tools

horseshoe

Sep's Farm tunnels  Sep’s Farm is as much a part of the past as it is moving into the future, applying for and receiving grants that make them able to do an even better job at growing delicious local food. They recently received a grant that allowed them to build eight foot tall fences to keep out white tailed deer, which are plentiful on the North Fork and who like to eat the produce as much as we do. They also have been granted funds for these high tunnels, which allow them to start the growing season earlier, and funding for underground water mains, which save water and fuel and are also better for irrigating the crops as water at the roots rather than the leaves helps plants to avoid disease.

farm spread Before we headed out to the fields, we were treated to a beautiful spread put out by Eric’s mother Katie, which featured some prepared foods made by friend Robert Seaman for the farm, using the produce they grow. We sampled some to-die-for treats like pickled asparagus and zucchini pickles, along with a yummy homemade mustard, tomatoes and mozzarella, and mulled beets, all in agreement that these items are sure to be popular at the farm stand.

pickled asparagus I could eat these zucchini pickles all day and was thrilled to find a jar in the very generous gift bag we received at the end of the day.

zucchini pickles

tractor

I love tractors. If it wasn’t a press trip, I would have made sure to get a photo on it.

cadillac weeds

After our picnic, we went out into the fields to see what was growing, soaking up the summer sun and getting a little dusty as we explored and checked on the progress of the vegetables. The above flowers are just weeds, but I thought they were so pretty. Bees loved them too!

Below is a type of broccoli next to some kale. All of the vegetables were way ahead of my garden, and it made me wish I had started everything indoors much earlier. Planning for next year already!

broccoli

Sep's Farm

Our group absolutely loved visiting Sep’s Farm, and I could have and would have been happy to stay all day to work on the farm. The city girl in me has definitely taken a back seat to the country girl, and I feel like as I get older I’ll be craving experiences like this farm visit even more often.

Thanks for having us, Sep’s Farm!

Other posts on my past visits to the North Fork of Long Island:

Kontokosta Winery

Cross Sound Ferry to the North Fork

Harbes Farm

Touring and tasting at Bedell Cellars

Greenport, New York

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Tags: farms, farmstand, Long Island, North Fork, summer, Travel, travel blog

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