travel planning

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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

Spending days aimlessly wandering around Galway is one of my favorite things to do. There’s enough to see and do and especially eat and drink, that the possibilities are endless, and even after so many trips to Ireland, I have a ton of ground to cover.

One not-to-miss restaurant is the beautiful, award-winning Kai Cafe + Restaurant, a bright, airy, cozy spot with a constantly changing menu of creative and inspired dishes. On this last trip to Ireland, we went for lunch on a chilly but bright day, no plans on the horizon, just able to spend time hanging out together. Take me back.

Kai Cafe Kai had quite the buzzing lunch time crowd, which just added to the atmosphere. With all of the Christmas decorations in Galway and the dry weather, people were in cheerful moods, and I love that people there tend to actually take a lunch break to relax and recharge.

Kai menu

The space that Kai is in was once a greenhouse, and the ceiling offers lots of sky views. It was hard to not look up to take in the pretty blue sky.

The menu is always changing and is kept up on a blackboard above the window to the kitchen, where the movement never stopped.

Kai Galway

While we pondered the menu options, we each had a glass of wine, because wine at lunch is a requirement while on vacation! I love cold, crisp white wine even in the winter and had a 2012  Picpoule de Pinet from the Languedoc while my lunch date had a big Malbec.

wine with lunch

To warm up, we each decided on one of the soups on the menu. I went for the Pumpkin, Chickpea, and Harissa Stew, which was topped with a delicious yogurt and tons of fresh herbs, really adding to the flavor. I need to add more fresh herbs to finish meals!

The stew was hearty and well spiced, and the bread that came along with it was heavenly.

pumpkin harissa stew 

turnip stew

  His Turnip, Carrot, Ginger Soup was equally as comforting and delicious, and the bread even better than mine! Luckily we always share. Just like the space that Kai is in, the food just pops, offering surprising little bursts of flavor and color and freshness, and welcoming you with warmth and love.

IMG_0197 We ended up being too full for dessert, but Kai is well worth a visit for dessert and coffee alone. Look at all of these sweets! I couldn’t stop staring at them and took about 20 different photos!

IMG_0198 

Kai GalwayKai is one of those places you could easily spend a whole afternoon over coffee and wine and delicious food.  I absolutely love it and hope that if you are planning a visit to Galway you add it to your list!

Kai Galway

Read more of my travel blog posts, including lots of Ireland posts, here.

http://traveleatlove.com/travel/

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Tags: Dining out, Food, Galway, Ireland, Restaurants, Travel, travel blog posts, travel blogger, travel planning

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