North Fork

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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’ve covered Sep’s Farm, Little Creek Oysters, and Lavender by the Bay, but I couldn’t wrap up my trip to the North Fork without sharing some photos of two of my favorite North Fork wineries, Bedell Cellars and Kontokosta Winery. I’ve visited both wineries before and was excited to have them on our press trip itinerary.

bedell cellars Our first winery stop was Bedell Cellars, which had its nicely air conditioned tasting room set up for us, a nice bit of relief from the heat outside. I love the Bedell Cellars building and grounds. More photos can be found on my last blog post about the winery.

Bedell Cellars

North Fork wine country

Bedell Cellars

We were a little behind schedule so took a quick few minutes to wander around inside before tasting. I knew I loved Bedell Cellars wines and was excited to taste the latest Taste Rosé blend which was as delightful as past rosé blends. That 55% Cab Franc makes it! I love a rosé of Cab Franc so much, and the North Fork grows some fantastic Cab Franc.

Bedell Cellars

Before we left, I snuck out to the winery porch for a quick photo. How stunning is this space? I could have sat here all day, but we had more North Fork to explore!

Bedell Cellars

Later in the afternoon, we rolled into Kontokosta Winery. The last time I visited Kontokosta it was pouring rain, so arriving with gorgeous blue skies and bright sunshine made for an entirely different experience. The winery building and interior was as beautiful as I remembered, and I was excited to see General Manager Polly again. This time we were also welcomed by Michael Kontokosta, one of the owners of the winery, who was incredibly warm and hospitable.

Kontokosta WineryNorth Fork vineyardKontokosta Winery Michael tasted us through a number of Kontokosta’s wines, and the Viognier and Cab Franc ended up being my favorites. Viognier is another grape that grows beautifully on Long Island. These two grapes really reflect the North Fork terroir. When I open a bottle at home, it’s like I am right back there!’

Kontokosta Winery   Kontokosta Wine

bluff bar Kontokosta With a glass of the Cab Franc (oh so peppery, with notes of earth and dry leaves and dark berries, amazing) in hand, I raced down to the bluff to soak up some sun and snap photos while I sipped my wine. The wine at Kontokosta is outstanding; the views are unforgettable. For someone who loves the sea and wine as much as I do, this place is pretty much heaven.

Kontokosta Winery

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Thank you to Kontokosta and Bedell for hosting our group! I can’t wait for my next trip to the North Fork.

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Tags: Long Island wine, Long Island wine country, North Fork, press trip, Travel, travel blogger, wine, wine tasting, Wine Wednesday

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

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