Philadelphia

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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

Summer 2017 has been a whirlwind of travel and work. . . it has really flown by! In addition to our trip to Italy (more on that soon) I have also started blogging for Sonesta Hotels, a company I have been fortunate to work with in several capacities over the years.  As part of that, I will be visiting many of their US hotels and sharing my experience on the hotel, the destination, food, and other fun topics so that travelers can get a sense of why to visit.

Check out my first blog posts:

Patio Dining and Live Music at Royal Sonesta Boston

Bottling Custom Wine Gifts for Sonesta ES Suites in Massachusetts

A Poolside Event at Sonesta Philadelphia

It had been ages and ages since I visited Philadelphia, and I was so pleasantly surprised by everything.

I arrived to Philadelphia by Amtrak to the beautiful 30th Street Station. I love grand train stations, and this one was just lovely. I had big plans for the day but otherwise wouldn’t have minded spending some time in the station, marveling at its high ceilings and beautiful detail.

Philadelphia 30th Street Station

I hopped in a taxi from the station, and in less than 10 minutes, I was at the Sonesta Philadelphia Rittenhouse Square. The hotel is is  stunner, recently re-imagined, and offering a stylish red, gray, and black color scheme with plenty of artsy touches throughout. This is an art hotel in a city that is devoted to the arts, so it is a great spot to rest your head while still being immersed in that art scene.

Philadelphia hotels

Throughout the hotel you can find original art that changes on a regular basis and gives this city hotel a gallery vibe.

Sonesta Philly

They even have their own Warhol Room, a meeting space complete with original artwork by Andy Warhol. The hotel’s proximity to just about everything, including the train station and airport make it perfect for meetings.

Warhol Campbell's Soup

One of the big things I noticed was that, despite being in the heart of Philadelphia, the hotel was so quiet! It had a really calm, cool feel to it, and my comfy room was really an oasis after a busy, hot day of walking around town.

Sonesta Philadelphia 

Philadelphia hotels

Like its Boston and Gwinnett counterparts, Sonesta Philadelphia brings the art theme right down to the food and beverage, featuring its own ArtBar in the hotel.

ArtBar Philly

 

art cocktails Cocktails are liquid art named after famous works-of-art. I had the “Whistler’s Mother” which was a perfect, refreshing choice for a summer day.

gin cocktail

One of the reasons I chose the dates I did was so that I could visit the pool on the 8th floor rooftop of the Sonesta Philly, and just in time for their Insta-meet, which brought together Instagrammers from all over the city for beautiful views, cocktails, and a signature Sonesta #FoodisArt spread. I ate so much!

Sonesta Philly pool

shrimp cocktail

As part of my travels to Sonesta’s hotels, getting to know the destination is also a top priority. Rittenhouse Square is simply beautiful and bustling with people, stunning architecture, and food. . . so much food! I need to go back just to eat my way around the area.

Tria Taproom has everything, including cocktails, on draft. . .

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Wandering around Rittenhouse made me hungry, and it was really hard to decide where to eat.

For lunch on my visit to Philly I chose The Dandelion, a completely charming little pub with fantastic food. I ate every bite of a summery tomato salad with green goddess dressing and topped it all off with a banoffee trifle, because who could pass that up?

shrimp salad

 

   banoffee trifle

Full and happy, I set off to see the city, including some of the adorable sculptures in Rittenhouse Square.Rittenhouse Square

 

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is within walking distance to the Sonesta, and it is a must-visit. First, I ran up the Rocky steps (and almost died, holy hot and humid day) and then found refuge in the massive, cool museum where I spent hours taking in masterpieces.

Rocky stairs

Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Wild exhibit by Michael Nichols goes through September 17, and it took my breath away. Photos of animals, many in the Serengeti, made me miss Africa and want to travel back again. Nichols captured the beauty, the ferocity, the vulnerability of the animals in such amazing ways that I definitely teared up a bit.

Wild by Michael Nichols

    Wild photography exhibit

The museum also features art from many of the greats, including Monet.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

I was delighted to see part of one of the rooms devoted to works of Degas. Ballet was one of my first loves, and I was over-the-moon to see these pieces.

degas

The entrance fee to the Philadelphia Museum of Art includes entry to the Rodin Gallery, a short walk away, so I headed there next.

Rodin Gallery

Rodin Gallery         

Sculpture is just mesmerizing, and I sat there wondering just how these pieces were created to be so life-like and fluid. Truly amazing.

I was only in Philadelphia for 24 hours, but I was able to see and do so much, thanks to the location of my hotel. There’s still so much of the city that I want to see, and I would gladly make Sonesta Philadelphia my Philly home again.

 

My stay at the Sonesta was complimentary. All opinions are my own.

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Tags: art, Food, hotels, Philadelphia, Philly, Restaurants, Travel, travel blog, travel blogging

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