Travel

You are currently browsing articles tagged Travel.

Truth be told, I wasn’t going to blog about our last visit to Ashford Castle. It’s a place I have had the true pleasure of visiting many times, and I’ve already blogged about it a couple of times.

But, truth be told, I am disgusted with the state of our country right now, and looking at photos of places I love is one escape that seems to lower my blood pressure and soften the rage at the people who have sold out our country to a maniac.

So, this Travel Tuesday, in my blog and in my mind, I am at the majestic Ashford Castle, on the shores of Lough Corrib in County Mayo Ireland. Both Ashford Castle and the little village of Cong where it is located are well-worth a visit if you ever head to Ireland.

On our last Ireland trip, we decided that a stop at Ashford on the way home from Achill Island would be a great way to break up the journey and give us a chance to have a snack and stretch our legs.

We arrived as the light of the day was starting to lower, casting a warm glow all over the castle and Lough Corrib.

Ashford Castle gin cocktail We were quickly brought to the lounge and seated with views of the lake, handed leather-bound cocktail menus to peruse.

My mother-in-law went with one of the castle’s imaginative gin cocktails, which had muddled blueberries, cracked black pepper, and grapefruit.

I have long been a fan of the Manhattan at Ashford, so I tucked in with one of those and a copy of The Irish Times. It was one of those lovely, cozy moments where we were all a little sleepy from Achill sunshine, so we just sat back and enjoyed the gorgeous surroundings.

Manhattan cocktail

Ashford Castle For lunch, the Smoked Salmon BLT was the obvious choice; I eat Irish smoked salmon and Irish bacon every chance I get, and this was one incredible sandwich.

 

smoked salmon BLT

Stuffed and in need of a bit of waking up, we did what we always do after a meal at Ashford; we took a long walk around the grounds. This is really one of my favorite things to do, and looking below, you can probably see why. Try to get there near sunset.

Ashford Castle Ashford Castle Lough Corrib

We didn’t expect to go to Ireland anytime soon, but it turned out the best rates to Italy this summer actually go through Dublin. This means I get to spend four glorious days in July in one of my favorite places. Having things to look forward to, big and small, are helping to keep me positive during these dark days.

Tell me, where do you go (even if just in your mind) when you need some uplifting?

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Share

Tags: Ashford, Ashford Castle, castles, cocktails, Food, Ireland, luxury, luxury travel, Mayo, Travel

Ireland is always one of my travel highlights for the year. If you missed my 2016 travel recap, you can read it here.

When we visit Ireland, it’s always to see family and friends and favorite places in Galway; it’s a city you just can’t miss, and surround Connemara and the Wild Atlantic Way are dear to our hearts for many reasons. We also usually try to take a side trip, either in Ireland or somewhere else in Europe. In the past, we’ve done Prague, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Brussels, and others, in addition to stays in Connemara and Sligo in Ireland. On our November trip to Galway, we headed north to Achill Island in County Mayo, and it was just the little getaway we needed.

Our home on Achill was the absolutely lovely Achill Island Hotel (Óstán Oileán Acla in Irish), situated in a place with 360 degree mountain and sea views. It was a simply stunning, quiet, peaceful location.

Achill Island Rooms were cozy and comfortable, country-style decoration with all of the modern conveniences you could want, including WiFi and a great big soaking tub, which I took advantage of after our drive from Galway through Connemara. 

Achill Island Hotel We visited Achill in November, which is sort of off-season, so one of the attractive features of the Achill Island Hotel was a restaurant on-property. It meant we didn’t have to search for what might be open when we arrived hungry in the evening!

seafood casserole

Not only was it convenient, but it turned out to be incredible. Compliments to the chef for some really delicious meals that utilized Irish ingredients like famed local seafood in my seafood medley dish. It was chock full of flavorful seafood atop mashed potatoes, maybe the best I have had.

Even in my stuffed state, I had to have an Irish coffee to finish the meal. It’s kind of an unwritten rule when we visit Ireland.

Irish Coffee

With full bellies, we decided to head out into the cool night for a walk along the main drag in Achill, which was quiet, with only a few people out and about. The most noise we heard was from sea birds in the sea next to the hotel, feeding at low tide. A few locals were putting Christmas lights on the stores, and it was just a very peaceful and good feeling all around. It also helped immensely to get some fresh air.

Before we retired to our rooms for a couple hours of chatting, we headed back to the hotel pub to try their local beer.

Achill Island Hotel

Brewed with seaweed, this Achill beer had a nice richness to it, and of course that hint of sea salt on the finish. It was really good, and it’s always fun to see what local products are being made around Ireland. Craft beer has really picked up, as has craft gin. 

Achill Irish Beer

After our cozy night in, we woke up to a stunning, calm day on Achill, with the below views out our bedroom window and the windows of the hotel’s breakfast room.

 Achill Island IMG_0276

Clew Bay

We stopped and admired the views for some time before checking out and taking off to explore Achill and more of the breathtaking Wild Atlantic Way for the day.

Achill Island is less than two hours from Galway and very near to Westport, another favorite town in the West of Ireland.  It will make you feel like you are a million miles from everything.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Share

Tags: Achill Island, coastal living, County Mayo, food blogger, Ireland, Mayo, Travel, travel blog, wild atlantic way

Happy last Friday of 2016! Out with the old and in with the new. . . though to be honest, the biggest new we are facing in 2017 has me sick. I am trying to be positive, but I have a feeling things will get worse before they get better.

2016 seemed to be a rough year for a lot of people, but aside from celebrity deaths and the election outcome, it was mostly a good one. It started out with a project that had dragged me along for months cutting me loose with no warning (to save money) even though they knew it was coming, but I more than made up for it with new opportunities throughout the year.

I was inspired by Molly to write my own blog post on 2016 goals (rather than resolutions), and since the year is almost over, I am finally facing the music and seeing how I did. Did you make any resolutions or set any goals for 2017 yet?

Read my 2016 travel highlights (always a favorite post to write) here!

1) Run six races in 2016.

Mission accomplished! In addition to the Chicago Marathon, I ran a local little race on One Boston Day, the BAA 5k, the Milton 10k, Lazy Lobster 5 miler, Cambridge Half Marathon, and the Halfway to Dot Day 5k. I beat my goal! I actually signed up for a few other races that I didn’t run due to injuries as well.

Chicago Marathon finish

2) Secure a new wine industry client.

This is currently in progress, and while details aren’t final, I am hopeful that 2017 will bring some exciting new clients that I will love working with.

 

3) Visit two new places.

Done! In February we found paradise a direct JetBlue flight away in Luquillo, Puerto Rico. We loved it so much that it might become our go-to getaway, though I still REALLY want to go to Panama.

Luquillo, Puerto Rico  

We also finally visited Asheville, North Carolina with a quick side trip to Lake Lure. This is definitely an area we will visit again.

Lake Lure

4) Send more cards.

Fail. We didn’t even get holiday cards out this year.

5) Take an honest look at my diet and exercise.

I looked at it. I even started the year with healthy eating at home. And then somehow it became the year of takeout and snacking and going out for apps and cocktails way.too.much. These behaviors are definitely something we need to reign in in 2017 for the sake of our health and bank account.

6) Better organize my work day, make plans, and stick to them.

Fail. I repeatedly miss things I want to do to stay at my desk a little longer, cram in calls when they can wait, and am generally available and connected 24/7. I even got a call on Christmas Day! I need a digital detox in the worst way.

7) Get paid by the scamming plumber and close that chapter of our lives.

Our next court appointment is in February. It’s pretty amazing what scam artists can get away with.

8) Move more.

Working from home makes this difficult, but I DID run a bunch of races and go on a bunch of hikes this year. I also spent every possible moment swimming in the ocean. Treading deep water actually became a pretty big cross training exercise! I was always super sore the next day. Still, on a day-to-day basis, I sit SO MUCH that it makes me sore and saps m energy. I have been building in jumping jacks while the water boils for my tea, but I need to do some serious sweating to make up for my sedentary lifestyle.

swimming in New England

I am still working on my 2017 goals. . . more to come!

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Share

Tags: exercise, fitness, goals, health, lifestyle, resolutions, Travel

« Older entries § Newer entries »

new restaurant
WordPress SEO fine-tune by Meta SEO Pack from Poradnik Webmastera