Luquillo

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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

Take me back to Puerto Rico, please. I have had enough of rainy spring and am well ready for summery temperatures and sunshine again!

For  Puerto Rico travel blog posts check these out:

Outdoor adventures in Puerto Rico

Luquillo, Puerto Rico is paradise

Colorful Old San Juan

 

Boardriders in Luquillo was one of the highlights of our stay trip to Puerto Rico. Its laid back surfer vibe, great music, and gorgeous ocean views made it so good that we went three times, once for dinner, once for drinks, and once for brunch. Being there made my shoulders drop and the more relaxed, less anxiety-laden me come back for just a little bit. I miss that girl.

Boardriders Luquillo Boardriders Boardriders had a pretty extensive menu of bar-type food featuring great local ingredients, along with rum cocktails to spare. I kept it simple for the most part with a Cuba Libre or three while listening to the crashing waves.

cuba libre

We enjoyed simple but incredibly delicious dishes like shrimp tacos and spicy tuna bites. Food just tastes better at the ocean!

shrimp tacos tuna bites

On our first night there, the moon was so amazing that all of the patrons in the restaurant got up to admire it. It was a special kind of moment seeing people from all over come together, wowed by the power of nature. There was late night dancing, at least on my part!

moonlight in Luquillo

Brunch at Boardriders was extra special because it started with passionfruit mimosas and overlooked that view. Breezes kept us cool, and hearty breakfast sandwiches and burritos fueled us for our next round of swimming (after 30 minutes, of course).

mimosas Boardriders is really a must visit in Luquillo, and I suggest you visit on your first night to help set the tone of a relaxed beach bum vacation.

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Tags: Food, Luquillo, Puerto Rico, Restaurants, rum, Travel, travel blogger

I have so much to tell you about Luquillo, Puerto Rico.  While planning a warm winter getaway, we looked at tons of places, including Panama (still  a dream trip for me), Anguilla, Antigua, and many others. Puerto Rico kept popping up as a good option because of the direct flight from Boston to San Juan and our JetBlue points.

After our very exciting safari travel adventure last year, this year I wanted a quiet, relaxed beach vacation. When someone on Twitter mentioned that Luquillo was a “sleepy beach town” I started looking into it, and I was sold. Not only did it look beautiful and affordable, it was a 45 minute drive from San Juan, about a 15 minute drive from all of the boat and island excursions to Icacos, Culebra, and Vieques, and about 10 minutes to the El Yunque National Forest. The more I read about Luquillo, especially about its kioskos (more to come on this stretch of 50+ restaurants and food stalls) the more I wanted to BE THERE RIGHT NOW.

Luquillo, Puerto Rico

So that’s where we went. Our flight from Boston to San Juan was easy; typically it takes about four hours, but due to the winds we got in over half an hour early and were in our rental car with the windows down and the music pumping before we knew it. I LOVED the music in Puerto Rico.

The drive to Luquillo was super easy and took maybe 35 minutes. When we are traveling for more than a night or two, we tend to like houses or apartments as opposed to hotels. We’ve gone with Flipkey in the past for a Sonoma rental (which was AMAZING) and this time we decided to try Air BnB and after lots of research went with a condo in Bello Mar Apartamentos in Luquillo. If you’re traveling to Puerto Rico, I would be happy to share the name of the owner and the details.

The owner kindly met us with the keys and the remote for the gate to park, and then she drove ahead of us to show us where the grocery store was. She texted us tons of restaurant recommendations and also had a binder in the apartment with all of the information we could need.

The apartment was beautiful; the cleaning person was finishing as we arrived, and it was immaculate. It had two bedrooms and two bathrooms, along with a kitchen, sitting room, washer/dryer, and a to-die-for deck.

Luquillo condo rental  Luquillo Condo Rental Air B n B in Puerto Rico Luquillo condo bathroom The apartment was also stocked with everything you could ever need: beach umbrellas, beach chairs, plenty of beach towels, DVDs, books, magazines, coffee, oil, sugar, all of the cooking basics, etc. We were amazed at how much was there.

Since we had an apartment, we bought groceries to have breakfast and cocktail hour on our balcony every day. It’s a great way to save money when traveling but also to relax and keep a chill pace. Our schedule would be to have a leisurely breakfast of tropical fruit and vanilla yogurt, avocado dressed with fresh lime juice, and extra strong coffee on the balcony, then head out to the beach or for an excursion.

Also, we had passionfruit mimosas every day. Vacation.

ocean views Luquillo Puerto Rico vacation At night, after plenty of time seeing the sights or swimming, we returned to the condo for sunset and sundowners, as we started calling drinks on safari. We made up plates of cheese and crackers and enjoyed local beers and Capri Sun like pouches of rum punch until the sun went down, then headed out for the night.

rum punchPuerto Rico sunsetPuerto Rico sunsetmoon over the ocean, Luquillo

When we returned home from dinner, we usually spent time sitting on the balcony listening to the roar of the waves. One night we watched a movie, but mostly talking and staring out to sea was how we spent our time.

Luquillo itself has some areas that look basically like anytown USA, with a WalMart, KFC, etc. But once you are off the main route and onto the side streets, you find some gorgeous beaches, including our favorite, Playa Azul.

Playa Azul Luquillo

Parking was free, and the beach was not at all crowded. It had a great surf for riding waves and a man who sold rum in coconuts. rum in a coconut

coconut flesh Playa Azul palm tree grove Slathered in sunscreen, wearing hats, and occasionally draping ourselves in towels, we also found a perfect grove of palm trees to retreat under when the sun felt too hot. Every day was around 89 degrees, and we definitely felt it!

 

Playa Azul Luquillo swimming

Besides sitting on the beach, we did tons of swimming and floating and riding waves. Being a Jersey Shore girl, I love big waves and a strong current. Luquillo definitely had that. The only regret I have is not taking surfing lessons. . . but I was just too busy relaxing with my rum-filled coconut.

Luquillo is a dreamy getaway, if you are looking for something a little off the beaten path and not super fancy. It does have a couple of resorts, but for me, when I am at the beach, I like to be a little sandy and salty and dressed as down as possible. Luquillo was the perfect place to let out that beach bum that resides in me.

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Tags: beach, islands, Luquillo, Travel, travel blog, travel blogger, Travel Tuesday. Puerto Rico, vacation

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