New England

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Winter blues doesn’t even begin to describe how I have been feeling lately. Brutal stretches of cold, plus short days and a flu/cold that lasted most of December made me stir crazy, literally pacing my house all night long and wanting to get away.

Normally we try to save getaways for later in the winter, when we just can’t take it, but this year, the second weekend of January seemed the perfect time for a change of scenery and a visit to Wentworth by the Sea just outside of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

We knew we wanted to spend all of our time cozying up at the hotel, but first I needed a buttered lobster roll, and Row 34 Portsmouth was the obvious choice. One perfect warm lobster roll later, we we made the short drive to Wentworth to check in to our room and to check out from everyday life.

Row 34 lobster roll

Wentworth by the Sea is absolutely grand, standing proudly atop a hill by the sea since 1874. It feels like an elegant step back in time, where life was a bit slower. We embraced that feeling on our visit!

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We were so excited to check out our room, which was a perfectly cozy, super sunny corner room with water views.

Wentworth by the Sea

My insomnia has worsened lately, and two queen beds made the most sense so that at least one of us would get some sleep. These beds were so comfy that I actually ended up sleeping!

Wentworth by the Sea

Wentworth by the Sea

Our views and the cold outside made it so that we barely wanted to leave our room the entire time. A hot bath and watching the tide come in and out made for the perfect way to spend the late afternoon.

Wentworth by the Sea

I am obsessed with sunsets and evening light, and I basically stared out the window until the last drop of sun dipped into the sea.

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Then it was dinnertime! The resort was full for the long weekend, so we had to make reservations, something we don’t always do. It felt fun to get dressed up and have a set time for dinner. We usually eat at the bar, but this time we had a big table and booth just for the two of us.

We started by splitting the salad special, a delectable mix of butternut squash, kale, beets, and goat cheese. I loved that everything on the menu was very seasonal; lots of root veggies and hearty flavors!

Salt Restaurant

Since we tend to split everything, we went with two very different entrees, the beef tenderloin special and the incredibly rich and decadent short rib ravioli.

Salt Restaurant

The tenderloin was perfectly cooked and delicious, but the incredible sides stole the show. I love parsnips and Brussels sprouts!

Salt Restaurant

The short rib ravioli came with a carrot Bolognese, which was yummy and a super creative use of seasonal vegetables. The short rib filling in the pasta was divine.

Salt Restaurant

We saved a bit of room for dessert and shared our server’s recommendation, the Hot Chocolate Mousse Cake, which had a layer of Mexican hot chocolate flourless cake, along with flan ice cream. Delish! The food at Wentworth, including the breakfast buffet in the package we opted for, completely blew us away with its quality and creativity. Service was hit-or-miss – our servers at dinner and breakfast were fabulous, but the restaurant host stand and lounge definitely left us scratching our heads. The lack of interest in those areas was not fitting of such a grand luxury property.

coastal New England

I indulged in a great massage on our last day, and my massage therapist was fantastic. However, the spa experience itself was a bit underwhelming. The relaxation/tea room was up against the main door of the spa, and it felt like Grand Central Station as I was sitting and trying to read a magazine. Other patrons were loud and had their phones out, texting away, beeps and music coming out of their devices, which I thought was SUPER rude. I am an iPhone addict, but even I was able to leave it in my locker for two hours. I think I’ve come to really appreciate some of the discount massage outlets like Elements and Hand and Stone, for a great massage at a fraction of the cost.

Portsmouth is a great town to explore year-round, so if you’re visiting Wentworth by the Sea, you’ll have plenty to do if you decide to peel yourself away from its coziness.

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Tags: New England, Travel, travel blog

Well that was quite the year. . .

Personally and professionally, 2017 was a pretty good year for us, and we traveled quite a bit. I started blogging for Sonesta Hotels, which means I get to travel to many of their hotels to gather content and experience everything for myself.

More than ever, this year, I sought the beach and wide open spaces to get away a lot of the time. The political situation in the US made that true even last winter, when we went on many day trips to World’s End in Hingham and to Chatham on Cape Cod.

Aquinnah

Our first overnight trip of the year, however, was to Martha’s Vineyard in February, and if you love beach walks and coziness, I would recommend visiting in winter for a quiet getaway.

March brought the opportunity for my husband to go to an event in San Francisco, one that that fell a week before with an event I had for work there, so I went and explored San Francisco, including a whole day in Golden Gate Park,  before we headed to Mendocino and Sonoma for a blissful, warm, wine getaway.

Golden Gate Park

Heritage House Resort Little River California

The Mendocino Coast is pure magic.

A few weeks later, we experienced our beloved Luquillo, Puerto Rico again for a break from wintry weather

Great food and beach time was what it was all about. Puerto Rico is incredible, and I definitely consider Luquillo to be one of my favorite places in the world.

poke bowl

Luquillo Beach

We were heartbroken to see the hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico and the the severely poor response to it from the US government; they desperately need help still, months later. We likely won’t get to Puerto Rico this year but have been sending aid from Boston with the help of local groups.

April brought us up to Camden, Maine for a weekend with friends at the beautiful, waterfront 16 Bay View. Camden is a beautiful town and one of my New England favorites. The hotel is outstanding, and I definitely recommend checking it out.

Drappier Champagne

In June I celebrated 8 years of blogging and boat season, two exciting things in the life of a seafaring travel blogger!

I also celebrated the launch of patio season and kicked off blogging at Royal Sonesta Boston’s ArtBar patio, a must-visit in Boston.

Boston skyline

Summer travel was incredibly busy, as we traveled to Ireland and then Italy for my sister-in-law’s wedding weekend.

Aer Lingus

villa in Italy

We spent a week in glorious sunshine at a villa in Umbria, swimming, eating, and wine tasting in nearby Tuscany.

I also visited Philadelphia to stay at Sonesta Philly and to discover the amazing food and art that Philadelphia has to offer. I will definitely be back!

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September brought me back to California for a friends trip to Sonoma County, only one of my favorite places in the world. The devastating wildfires happened shortly after our visit, and I still have so much to blog about to share my love for this part of the world with everyone.

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Immediately after coming back from Sonoma, I went to Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore, where I got to spend some time exploring Baltimore and enjoying this grand waterfront hotel.

Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore A fall staycation to Sonesta ES Suites Andover allowed us to check out the extended stay side of Sonesta, and we loved it. We also loved dining in Andover, hiking its trails, and catching up with friends nearby.

In November I ate my way through Sonesta Gwinnett Place Atlanta and discovered the southern charm of downtown Duluth Georgia when I visited for the launch of Sonesta’s dual-brand hotel. . . you can now have two different hotel experiences under one roof!

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In November we also finally got to New Orleans where we stayed at the magnificent Royal Sonesta New Orleans and kicked off the holiday season with their Lighting of the Balconies.

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Royal Sonesta New Orleans is simply incredible, and the holiday spirit and decor made it even more magical.

The food at all of the hotel’s restaurants is also absolutely incredible. I have so many more blog posts to share!

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I got to take plenty of trips to New Jersey over the course of the year to see my family, as well as my annual visit to Cape Cod with friends and a trip into New York City for a work event. It was a full year of many JetBlue flights, and I am looking forward to more adventures in 2018!

Happy travels to all of you!

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Tags: Baltimore, California, Ireland, Italy, Martha's Vineyard, New England, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Travel, travel blog

As much as I like having access to all Boston has to offer, I more than love escaping to wide open spaces outside the city, whether it be to the ocean or places a bit further inland. One favorite quaint New England spot is Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, an easy drive from Boston, and perfect for a festive lunch or dinner during the holiday season.

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We recently celebrated my in-laws’ anniversary at the Wayside Inn, and it was an absolutely perfect day for strolling the grounds of the historic inn, then warming up inside with a delicious traditional New England meal and cocktails.

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The Martha Mary chapel is a must-visit while at Wayside, as is the path behind the inn, where a beautiful pond and forest await.

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Inside, you will definitely feel like you stepped back in time! The Wayside Inn has a fascinating history which has many famous players involved, It is definitely haunted!

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I had done a long run the morning of our chilly visit to Sudbury, and I was craving all of the warm comfort food in the world! A cold Meeting House Punch, made with beer, rum, lemon, and brown sugar was the perfect way to start the afternoon, and I enjoyed bites of lobster pie, paired perfectly with mashed potatoes and squash, along with classic New England clam chowder.

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Seriously, bring your appetite when you visit!

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I never tire of really good bacon-wrapped scallops, and these were excellent, with crispy bacon and sweet, tender scallops, just as they should be.

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I was the only one craving dessert after all that, but I guess an 11 mile run will do that to a girl. Pecan Chocolate Chip Bourbon Pie was gooey and warm and exquisite, with dollops of fresh cream setting off all of that chocolate-y richness.

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The service at the Wayside Inn is outstanding, and the place is just so cozy and festive. We lingered over a long late lunch and left feeling stuffed and super relaxed.

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Tags: Food, food blog, historic, holidays, hotels, inns, Massachusetts, New England

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