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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

Hi friends! Happy Labor Day weekend! How are you doing this fine day? I felt like last week would never end, just some work frustrations and uncertainties. There is definitely something different about being a free roving consultant, as opposed to working full time for a company. You just never know when work will end or begin. It is definitely scary and can keep a girl up at night.

Anyway, I am psyched because I quit my gym (which I hadn’t visited since April, but was paying monthly, oops!) and bought a spinning bike. My favorite part of the gym was spinning and free weights, and now I have it all at home. Now to get the hubby to build a sauna. . .

Spinning is one of my favorite workouts, especially as part of a marathon training plan. I am hoping to get my hands on a 2012 Boston Marathon bib, and I deferred my Napa Marathon registration to this year. If I can manage to get back in shape without burning out, I may train for one or both. Or enjoy being a spectator, having beers, and cheering everyone else on. Who can tell what the future holds?

One of my favorite parts of spinning is the music, and I got started on my Spotify playlist yesterday, but I would love your help. Here’s what I’ve got so far. Promise not to laugh, okay?

Maneater – Nelly Furtado

Promiscuous – Nelly Furtado

Rolling in the Deep – Adele

Till the World Ends – Britney

Hold it Against Me – Britney

Crazy Beautiful Life – Ke$ha

We R Who We R – Ke$sha

Party in the USA – Miley Cyrus (told you not to laugh!)

Edge of Glory – Lady Gaga

 

What am I missing? What are some of your favorite workout tunes? The more embarrassing the better!

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Tags: exercise, music

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