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Hey y’all! I am back from my first trip actually exploring a place in Texas (I planned a conference outside of San Antonio years ago, and I never left the conference hotel!), and I am excited to tell you all about Sonesta Bee Cave Austin, my hosts for two nights.

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin Texas

Bee Cave is a beautiful hill country town that is right next to Austin and about a 15 minute drive from downtown. With 75 mph speed limits and giant highways, getting around the area was swift and easy!

After stopping for some tacos on the way from the airport (more on that soon), we arrived at Sonesta Bee Cave Austin and were immediately blown away by how beautiful and still-brand-new-looking the hotel was. The grand lobby was always spotless, bright, and shining, and it just offered a beautiful, expansive welcome while also being home to cozy seating areas.

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin TexasIMG_8036

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin Texas

The gorgeous lobby piano was my husband’s favorite feature. He doesn’t play as much as I would like him to, but when we are out and he sees an open piano, he picks it right up beautifully.

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin Texas

After a super friendly welcome, we were able to enjoy early check in to our corner king room, which had views of the pool (which due to gray skies and wind, I never got a good photo of)

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin Texas

Bee Cave pool

Photo source

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin Texas

The outside seating area and pool were definitely hotel highlights; if it was 10 degrees warmer I would have made an afternoon of lounging and swimming!

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin Texas

Once we had explored the lower floors of the hotel, we went up to the 6th floor to check out the place to be in Bee Cave, Meridian 98.

Talk about stunning.

From the moment we stepped out of the elevator, I think we were both awestruck by the rich decor, which featured lots of beautiful brown leather and cozy lounge details. I just wanted to (and eventually did) sink into those seats.

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin TexasSonesta Bee Cave Austin Texas

But once we got past all of that beautiful design, we were stunned again by some incredible bar and patio views. The area surrounding the hotel offers a ton of shopping in one direction, but it also offers green vistas that go on forever, and staring out at them never got old.

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin TexasSonesta Bee Cave Austin Texas

We visited Meridian 98 both nights of our stay, once for dinner and drinks and once for drinks and dessert.

I’m actually not drinking these days Winking smile, but my husband loved his Drone Dream (Yellow Rose Rye Whiskey, Vermouth, Fresh Lemon Juice, Cherry Juice, Blood Orange Bitters). Be sure to try one of the Bee Cave-inspired cocktails!

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin Texas

I love when restaurants have really good big salads, and the chef’s daily fresh greens were fantastic.

strawberry salad

The mojo chicken sliders were delicious, and the shoestring fries they came with were perfection. I am a fry aficionado and know good fries when I taste them!

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin Texas

Live music right at the restaurant made it easy to get a taste of some of the Austin area’s music scene, and it was great to not have to leave our hotel to do so!

Live music is offered Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings,

live music Austin

Meridian 98 was also home to delicious breakfast each morning. Those comfy leather chairs were even comfier with a hot cup of delicious coffee and a big breakfast in front of me!

The breakfast buffet is a steal at $12 (Our breakfasts were hosted kindly by the hotel.) compared to the $26 at the hotel we stayed at later on downtown for a conference. An extensive spread of hot and cold items varied each day.

Bee Cave

Pastries, fruit, smoked salmon, meats, cheeses, yogurts, and more tempted on one side of the buffet. Sonesta Bee Cave

On the other side, warm biscuits and gravy, eggs, bacon, and more awaited. I had a little bit of everything! The selection was delicious, and the pace was just perfect. While we had service when we needed it, we also got a real sense of that slower hill country vibe we were surrounded by, and it was lovely.

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin Texas

As I mention above, the Sonesta Bee Cave Austin is easy driving distance to many sights and attractions, but it also offers a free trolley locally to places like the Hill Country Galleria, where you can shop-til-you-drop, get spa treatments, enjoy additional dining options, and more. It’s a fun and convenient way to get around and definitely a perk for business and leisure travelers alike.

Sonesta trolley

I am blogging for Sonesta Hotels and they are kindly hosting my stay, some of my meals, and my airfare. I am not obligated to blog on my own blog; all opinions are my own and I have just had some incredible experiences with them!

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Tags: Austin, cocktails, Food, hotels, music, Sonesta, Texas, Travel, travel blog, travel blogging

Our trip to New Orleans to stay (and eat!) at Royal Sonesta New Orleans was easily one of the travel highlights of 2017. We got to experience the magical Lighting of the Balconies to kick off the holiday season, and I have so much more food and fun to share on the blog in the coming weeks.

One of the absolute highlights of our visit was an evening at The Jazz Playhouse, located right at Royal Sonesta, making dinner at Restaurant R’evolution or Desire Oyster Bar, followed by a show, the perfect way to spend a New Orleans night.

We were spoiled with stage-side seats, but it looked like there wasn’t a bad seat in the room, and the acoustics were fantastic. The cocktails at The Jazz Playhouse, like everywhere else at the hotel, were amazing.

The Jazz Playhouse

We got lucky as the famous Brass-A-Holics were playing while we were in New Orleans, and they were incredible. We can’t stop talking about them, looking for show dates, and watching videos on YouTube.

A bit about the Brass-A-Holics

Since 2010, the Brass-a-Holics have been taking their unique sound around the world. Steeped in the deep musical culture of New Orleans, the band brings a heavy dose of go-go funk to the New Orleans brass sound. In a blending of musical cultures stemming from cities separated by more than a thousand miles, a Brass-a-Holics live show takes the New Orleans brass band culture and infuses it with the electricity of Washington D.C.’s go-go. The resulting sound is both captivating and unique. The band consists of core New Orleans brass elements- trumpet, trombone, saxophone- and adds a full drum set, percussion, keyboard, bass and electric guitar, giving the band limitless options to explore new sonic territory. Whether performing their original music or using the framework of hit pop songs as springboards for fiery improvisations, there is something in the set to appeal to every music fan. Once the music starts, the demographics blend and a brand new experience is created- one that leaves one-of-a-kind memories that live on long after the last note.

New Orleans music

By the end of the night, everyone in the room was dancing to their music, a mix of original tunes and covers of popular songs that had everyone singing along. We didn’t want the night to end, but when it did, we got to go back up to our cozy room right upstairs, a huge perk to having the club in our hotel!

You can check out a couple of my videos on my YouTube Channel. . . which I definitely need to be more active on!

New Orleans is known for its great music and food, and we found both at Royal Sonesta New Orleans, gravitating back to the hotel even when meals weren’t planned for us. This Creole Trio at Desire Oyster Bar had a bit of everything, including gumbo, red beans and rice, jambalaya, and smoked sausage. Washed down with a French 75 and surrounded by warm and friendly service (and those NOLA accents!), this was one of my best meals of 2017. We also devoured breakfast at Desire on our last day. I can vouch for the biscuits and gravy. . . and another French 75, which became another New Orleans go-to.

Desire Oyster

While New Orleans has a ton to offer all over the city, it was also nice to have so much of our trip centered around our hotel, giving us the option to stay in or venture out. It felt like an oasis in the middle of the busy city, and we absolutely loved everything about it!

Experience Mardi Gras from a balcony overlooking Bourbon Street at Royal Sonesta New Orleans.

Royal Sonesta New Orleans hosted our evening at The Jazz Playhouse and breakfast at Desire Oyster Bar. As mentioned above, we loved the food at Royal Sonesta and opted to come back a few times on our own for drinks and meals.

All opinions are my own.

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Tags: cocktails, Food, hotels, music, New Orleans, Travel, travel blog

I maintain a mental list of all of the things that I want to do during a Massachusetts summer, and I don’t think I could get to it all unless I had at least a month off. As I mentioned in last week’s post about day trips from Boston, we decided this summer to stick around, enjoy our new house and yard, and take day trips that brought us back home each night. We also took a few random Fridays off to ensure we had time to do this.

Last Friday, after a beautiful day in Westport, we finally got to one of the activities I have really been wanting to do, take in the Sunset Music Series at Westport Rivers Winery and Vineyards.

I’ve long been a fan of Westport Rivers wines, and I always try to include them on our Coastal Wine Trail travels. Their winery, paired with a visit to Travessia Urban Winery, makes for the perfect day of wine for me and always feels like a little vacation.

Westport Rivers Vineyards

The Sunset Music Series at Westport Rivers is an easy, laid back way to spend a Friday night. It’s $10 per carload, and you can bring in all the food you would like. Beer from Buzzards Bay Brewing and wine from Westport Rivers is for sale by the bottle or glass.

The concert is held out on the lawn in a stunning setting overlooking Westport Rivers’ vineyards. People had some serious setups with tables, chairs, candles etc. We opted for a simple sheet and some bug spray so that we could lay back and look at the sky while enjoying the music.

Westport Rivers Winery

Before we sat down, we wandered to the vines to check on the grapes. I love following the stages of grapes in various places. In Sonoma, veraison (change in skin color) has begun to take place and some grapes are already getting ready for harvest. Due to our climate we have a later harvest here usually. I love all of the little factors that go into winemaking, though I know it is very stressful for the vineyard owner!

Westport Rivers wine grapes

We arrived at Westport Rivers before setup and were able to go inside and taste their Farmers Fizz before buying a chilled bottle to bring outside. The Farmers Fizz is easily my new favorite sparkling wine. It’s made in the traditional Champagne method and is so full of yeasty brioche notes, great body, and features a beautiful golden color. This sparkling wine could, in my opinion, give certain high end Champagnes a run for their money. . . and it’s only $20 a bottle!

Westport Rivers Farmers Fizz

Since we had been out and about all day, we also opted to take advantage of all of the food offerings at the concert. Compton Clambakes were on site with lobster rolls, hot dogs, pulled pork, and stuffed quahogs, and Cuttyhunk Shellfish were shucking up littlenecks and some of the best oysters I have had. I polished off 10 on my own.

(Cuttyhunk Island is another day trip I want to get to. We need more time off in the summer or a longer warm season here! )

Cuttyhunk Shellfish Oysters

Westport Rivers is the perfect place for a concert. The lawn was full of happy families and friends, the wine and coastal food were flowing, and the music put smiles on everyone’s face. I would love to make this a weekly tradition, but since the concerts happen at 6:00 on Friday night, we’d be lucky to get there before they were over, with Boston traffic and all! It was nice to have a day off to be able to head down to experience this summery New England event.

Have you discovered any new to you summer events this year?

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Tags: events, Massachusetts, music, oysters, summer, Westport, Westport Rivers, wine, winery

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