Travel Guide: Philadelphia

Living in Boston, the city of brotherly love has always been one of those elusive destinations that was too far for a day trip, but not quite far enough for a weekend. When the Ritz Carlton offered to have me visit, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to discover a city I had only previously visited on work trips, and haven’t really had a chance to explore.

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Dress: Becken, Bag: Aspinal of London, Boots: M.Gemi

One of the perks of staying at the Ritz is the fact that you are smack dab in the middle of City Center, meaning you can walk everywhere. There’s a couple of great breakfast spots, coffee shops, and landmarks less than a 15-minute walk away. The most notable landmark is City Hall, which not only boasts some seriously breathtaking architecture, but has a pretty fun history as well. You can book guided tours, or just walk around (and through) the building yourself. IMG_3050Processed with VSCO with m6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with m6 preset

Even if you aren’t staying at the Ritz, it is always a good idea to swing in to see their show-stopping lobby, grab a cocktail at the bar, or even sit down for a tasty meal at Aqimero.  The restaurant serves as a perfect place to post up for a business lunch, or enjoy a few snacks before heading out for your evening. I recommend the charcuterie board and the baos.

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My trip to Philly wasn’t all vacation, so I did need to find a few spots where I could post up and catch up on my emails. One of the tastiest, and most focus-inducing, discoveries was the oat milk matcha latte from Elixr Coffee on Sydenham Street. They have a decent number of tables, and it really was the best matcha I’ve ever had. Note to self: drink more tea lattes with oat milk — yum! Next, I fueled up over at P.S. & Co. with an açai bowl. If you’re looking to eat and do work, you have to snag one of their window seats, though. They don’t allow laptops in any other part of the cafe.

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Sweater: Artizia

One of my favorite things to do in any city is explore their street art. Not only does it make for fun photos, but I’m always in awe of the creations that artists manage to achieve on buildings around the city. Philly happens to be known for the wide selection of street art, and it is definitely worth giving yourself half a day to explore. You can find out a ton of information on the Mural Arts Philadelphia website, and they even have tours if you don’t want to build your own itinerary of pieces to see. 

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Sweater: Madewell, Coated Denim: Paige, Boots: M.Gemi

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Speaking of art, there is an inspiring installation in Philly called the Magic Gardens. I actually discovered this place when I was searching on Pinterest for things to do (and photography) in the city. And, what a gem this was! I am always such an advocate for using Pinterest when exploring new places, and the Philly Magic Gardens experience was no exception. This little nook in the South Street neighborhood took 17 years for artist, Isaiah Zagar to excavate and design – a large portion was done so under the radar. In 2002, the Boston-based owner of the lots discovered Zagar’s installation and decided to sell the land, calling for the work to be dismantled. (Noooooo!) Unwilling to witness the destruction of the now-beloved neighborhood art environment, the community rushed to support the artist. After a two year legal battle, his creation, newly titled Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, became incorporated as a nonprofit organization with the intention of preserving the artwork at the PMG site and throughout the South Street region. 1

Needless to say, this was one of my favorite items on the agenda in Philly, and I’m really glad the installation lives on!

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Sneakers: Converse, Dress: Derek Lam 10 Crosby

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The next day, I woke up and spent the morning in the Club Lounge eating breakfast and responding to emails. Luckily, later in the day I had a chance to connect with a former Boston-based blogger, who is now located in Philly, Jenny from Chocolate & Lace! I’m always so grateful for the community that Instagram cultivates — and am forever inspired and empowered by the creators I get to meet. She suggested we have lunch at Parc in Rittenhouse, which in her words, is the quintessential lunch spot in the city. And, what a tasty lunch we had. I highly recommend the crab & avocado plus the steak tartare to start. I had mussels as my main dish, and was stuffed to the brim by the end of the meal. If you’re interested in snapping pics when you’re dining, make sure you ask for a seat next to the window (or outside in the warmer months).

Processed with VSCO with m6 presetIMG_3053These were just a few of my highlights in Philadelphia, but I feel confident they’re a good jumping off point if you’re looking to plan a weekend in the city. If you’re in need of other restaurant recommendations, tips on where in the city to stay, or some of my favorite photogenic spots, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or shoot me a DM on Instagram!

Also, want to say a special thank you to the team at the Ritz Carlton, Philadelphia and Visit Philly for making this trip extra special!

My First Time in Key West

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Several months ago, I received an invitation from the team at the Pier House Resort & Spa in Key West to journey down to Florida last month for a long weekend away. I have to admit, I was initially skeptical, as I didn’t think the Florida Keys were my type of vacation, per se. But, I was open to being pleasantly surprised, and after some research on the property, I made the decision to head down with my boyfriend the first weekend in September.

The Pier House sits at the top of Duval Street, which anyone who has ever visited Key West knows is the primary vein of the island. You’re walking distance to loads of restaurants and nightlife options. One of the other great features of the property is a rare private beach. Key West isn’t necessarily known for its beaches (something I didn’t know until I got there), but thankfully, you can dip your toes in the sand without leaving the property.

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The Deluxe Ocean View Suites are the best option at a property like this. You get stunning views, a huge bath tub (win!), and thoughtfully decorated rooms with homey touches. For someone like me, who doesn’t have the luxury of fully unplugging while traveling, these suites offer the perfect balance of a place to escape and get some work done as well. And answering emails is always better done with a view, amiright?!

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A quick walk from the property, you’ll find Eaton Street. Here you’ll cast your gaze on some of the most picturesque homes on the entire island. The architecture reminds me a bit of New Orleans, but it still has a dose of tropical charm.

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One of our favorite parts of the trip was getting out onto the water. We found a small private charter, called Sunset Sail Key West, and boy am I glad we did. It was a sweet, and salty, escape. And, we counted our lucky stars as the massive sunset charters sailed around us with people packed bow to stern, with music blasting. That is definitely not my idea of a relaxing night on the water. The crew with Sunset Sail Key West was super nice, and even snapped the below picture without us even knowing and sent it to us after. So thankful!

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After the evening on the water, we stopped into Half Shell Raw Bar for a casual dinner featuring oysters, shrimp, and a tasty finish of a token slice of key lime pie. If you’re looking to just pull up a picnic bench and crush some raw bar, this the place to do it. Make sure to check out all of the license plates on the wall — I found a few from my home state that made me smile.

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Oh, and the plethora of tasty eats continues with our favorite meal of the trip — brunch at Pepe’s, the oldest restaurant on the island. And, they’ve stuck around for good reason! We crushed their specials of the day, and devoured our favorite slice of key lime pie on the trip. The spot is first come, first serve, but totally worth the wait.

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The walk back to Pier House is full of little gems like the ones below.

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After a tasty breakfast at Pepe’s, we headed to La Concha, Pier House’s sister resort, to experience a massage at Top Spa. This is the highest building on the entire island, and boasts some pretty impressive views. They have a few cabanas outside to lounge in while you wait for your service, or after you’ve been pampered, and the spa suites are spacious, with couches, and plenty of room for a couple’s massage, which my boyfriend and I love to try to fit in on our trips.

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After, we headed to the other side of the island to check out lunch at a new spot: Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen & Bar. Everything on the menu is delicious, but make sure you get the crab beignets; you won’t regret it!

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On our final day on the island, we skipped over to a house that is equally photogenic as it is interesting, the Ernest Hemingway Home. It costs $14 a person to get in (a little steep in my opinion, but still worth it). You go for the history and architecture, but you stay for the kitties. The place notoriously has cats everywhere, and they are so relaxed and adorable. If I was having a bad day, I would go here with a handful of kitty treats and just live my best life. We didn’t get to stay here quite as long as I would have wanted to because we had to rush off to the airport, but I would definitely add this stop to your itinerary on your future trip.

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The day ended with us rushing to the airport, only to be met by a delayed flight notification. My boyfriend notoriously jokes that I have the worst luck with flights. Considering the ratio to delayed and cancelled flights with how many I take a year, he’s not wrong… However, I used my wherewithal to get us rebooked on another airline (for free) out of the island, so we could make a connection back home. Winning!

While we were waiting for our other flight, I had some time to reflect. While Key West is notorious for being a party town, there is definitely a few good opportunities to have a refined vacation on the island. If you’re looking for something a little more low key, don’t rule Key West out.

Big Fun at The Big E

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As a Bostonian, we’re always excited for the re-emergence of Fall. Traditions like picking out pumpkins, grabbing our favorite seasonal morning pick-me-up, and watching the leaves turn on the Commonwealth Ave. Mall just flat out make us smile. One of those time-honored traditions happens to be about two hours west of the city and take place during the last two weeks of September — The Big E.

This past weekend, I hopped in the car and headed to this mecca of fair food, games that involve either climbing ladders, throwing darts or throwing rings, and , of course, music. Fortunately for me, I was hanging with my fellow food, Tiffany of Boston Foodies, so we made a point to go around and try all of the goods!

Stars of the show included a mac ’n’ cheese grilled cheese sandwich, taco balls, and The Big E Bakery eclairs. See below for a quick highlight reel of some of my favorite moments and sights from the day!

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A Weekend In Chicago

I had the opportunity to fly out last minute to Chicago to visit one of my college friends this past weekend! She just moved out to Chicago, so I was excited to show her some of my favorite spots around the city. Added bonus, my cousin and his wife gave birth to twins the day I flew in, so I did some double duty (pun intended) seeing family and friends on this visit. It was magical! Chicago is a city I lived in briefly when I was traveling with Ben & Jerry’s (see some of those old blog posts here, here, and here). I had the pleasure of going to some of the best restaurants, sights, and events in the city, and I was excited to return and see what has changed, and what hasn’t :). Below, I’ve included a recommended itinerary if you’re flying in on a Friday afternoon/evening, and flying out Sunday afternoon/evening. If you have any added tips, please tell me in the comments section!

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FRIDAY

I arrive usually around 5PM. It takes roughly an hour or so to navigate to the Uber pick-up location and actually get into the city. Especially if there is any traffic. If you’ve never traveled through O’Hare traffic, always give yourself some extra time for any reservations you might make.

STOP 1: Negroni Slushes at Parson’s Chicken & Fish – see a photo from a previous Chicago post here

STOP 2: The most epic Omakase dinner at Kai Zan. They have a special with uni and toro over a bed of rice topped with raw quail egg yolks. It sounds like it should be $60, but it was only $28. I could have eaten three of these. Last call for Omakase is at 10PM and they usually book up for reservations, so call a few days ahead of time – especially for a weekend. 

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STOP 3: (Optional) Drinks at The Broken Shaker at the Freehand. Bonus, if you leave room for the most epic plate of fries for “dessert”.

SATURDAY

Wake up early! There’s so much to do in Chicago and you only live once, so rally to see as much as you can.

STOP 1: Early walk along Lake Michigan. Also, if you want to take pictures by Cloud Gate (“the bean”) without tons of people around, go there for sunrise. You can thank me later ;).

STOP 2: Eat a well-earned doughnut from Stan’s. Their chai lattes are also pretty tasty, too!

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If Stan’s is too crazy for your – Doughnut Vault is another tasty option!

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STOP 3: Put on your favorite outfit and go check out some of the wall art around the city. Style Charade has an awesome post with all of the wall art in the city, which I used as my guide on this recent trip. 

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STOP 4: Lunch anywhere in West Loop. If you can snag a coveted reservation at Girl & the Goat, DO IT. Otherwise, there are so many tasty places in the area – like Au Cheval, La Sirena Clandestina, Elske, etc. etc.

STOP 5: Afternoon tea, or aperol spritzes, on a couch at The Allis at Soho House. Their menu is super tasty, too, if you’re looking for snacks. 

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STOP 6: Head back to your hotel/AirBnB to freshen up for a night out… and maybe take a power nap.

STOP 7: Dinner at Tanta. Such good Peruvian food — make sure to make reservations ahead of your visit because they book up fast!

STOP 8: Head to the third floor at Celeste to have all of your disco dreams come true. Think giant disco balls, light up floors, and dancing galore! It’s one of those places that attracts a lot of bachelorette parties and groups of the sort, but the novelty of it is so fun that it really doesn’t matter.

SUNDAY

Okay, you made it through the longest day ever yesterday. Now, you get to relax with some brunching and a little bit of sight seeing. Make sure you pack up and check your bags at your hotel concierge, so you’re ready to go well in advance of your flight! Sunday afternoons/evenings at O’Hare are a nightmare. If you don’t have TSA pre-check, expect to stand in an hour long security line. You’ve been warned! But, no need to worry about that when there are mimosas to be had!

STOP 1: Brunch at RM Champagne Salon – who recently released brunch to the cheers of foodies everywhere!

STOP 2: (Option 1) Walk down Magnificent Mile. Yes, it’s touristy, but the shopping and views are good.

STOP 2: (Option 2) If shopping isn’t your thing, take an architecture tour. I’m not usually a tour person, I admit. However, people rave about the architecture tours, and for good reason, they’re actually pretty cool.

FINAL STOP BEFORE THE AIRPORT: – Head over to the nearest Jeni’s ice cream for an afternoon treat featuring some of the best ice cream you have ever had. Yes, I know that is a bold statement, but I’m willing to double down on that one! The Frosé Sorbet and Ricotta Toast with Red Berry Geranium Jam are two of my favorite flavors. 

As I mentioned before, give yourself plenty of time before your flight! It can take upwards of 60-90 minutes sometimes in traffic to get from the city center to the airport. Don’t be that guy who has to run through the airport and ask everyone to cut them in the TSA line. Nobody likes that guy.

Categories USA

Lowcountry Living at the Montage Palmetto Bluff

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Earlier this month, I had the distinct pleasure of heading down to Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina to stay at the Montage. If you are unfamiliar with the property, you aren’t alone. It’s a new development over the last couple of years, but they are sure making a splash in lowcountry luxurious style. It’s nestled between Hilton Head and Savannah, meaning you are ripe with opportunity to go explore outside of the 20,000 acre property. But, there is so much to do that it’s hard to imagine a good reason to leave. Below I’m listing a few of my favorite things to do, and I save the best for last, especially if you’re considering this property for your next getaway!

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Just Relax
That’s what vacations are meant for, right? Whether you are snoozing on a hammock on one of their private islands deep in the bluff, grabbing a massage or hot sauna session in their beautifully designed spa, or just lounging by their very picturesque pool, you will find yourself saying ‘ahhhh, now this is vacation‘ at every turn. I highly recommend taking advantage of their dry sauna and plunge pool – not a spa amenity you see everywhere!

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Hang Out with Nature (and the Animals)
Not only does the Montage team take service and experience very seriously, but conservation and nature is also always top of mind. Take a property tour with one of their local experts, who has likely wrested a gator, saved turtles and spent hours upon hours watching the birds. They have a wealth of knowledge not only about the animals that inhabit the property, but plants as well. My mom likes to joke that I’m a girl who “loves nature per se,” but I honestly found this aspect of the property so interesting, and we even got to see a brand new baby bird! I also went horseback riding, and explored their beautiful stables. I wish I could have ridden longer to be honest, but what can I say, I’m a sucker for horses!

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Venture into Bluffton
After an afternoon of shooting on their private complex (one of my favorite activities of the whole trip!), you’ll want to clean yourself up for a night on the town! Right down the road, you have the small town of Bluffton, which is picturesque and boasts an active community. On our night in town, we dined a FARM, which was amazingly delicious! There’s loads of eye-catching architecture, and the community is pretty active as well. Lots of barbecues, live music, and people just getting out and socializing.

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Get in (or on) the Water
One of the best parts of the Montage Palmetto Bluff is its proximity to some on-the-water adventures. If you’re looking to go for a swim, take in the winding waterways while being towed in a tube behind one of their motorboats, or manage to wake up early for a sunrise kayak session to see the dolphins, you can do it all here. The water here is super warm – and salty, meaning you could tread with the sun beaming down on you for hours. Take a break with a reprieve in a hammock or on a boat and then jump off the dock and do it all over again. How can you go wrong?

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If you’re jonesing to get down to the Montage, you’re in luck. I’ve teamed up with them to make sure that you can have enough time to enjoy all the fun. If you book two nights using the code ‘REGANC‘, you will get your third night free! Talk about #winning! As always, if you have questions about the properties, accommodations, activities – you name it – leave me a note in the comments!

The Fenway’s Food Scene (and Giveaway!)

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetFor any long-time Bostonian like myself, it has been pretty incredible to see the rapidly evolving food scene down in The Fenway neighborhood – specifically in the last few years. What used to be a place for pre-Red Sox game rituals alone has now become a mecca for food enthusiasts and off-season visitors alike. More and more, I will have readers (like you!) reach out asking where to go to eat when they visit my hometown and I find myself pointing more and more to The Fenway as a neighborhood that is host to some great spots.

Now, with the launch of thefenway.com, I have a resource that I can send to my followers to showcase all the goods this growing neighborhood has to offer. Whether you’re looking for a classic pre-game spot, or one of the newer additions, like Hojoko or Eventide, you’re in good company with every proverbial corner you turn on this new site! Below, I’m taking you through a few of my favorite spots that the team over at thefenway.com feature, as well as including a fun announcement about a major change to the neighborhood below. Hint: the announcement includes a giveaway to Lisbon! Yes – Lisbon!! Came here just for the giveaway? CLICK HERE to subscribe to The Fenway’s e-newsletter for a chance to win!! (Note: Giveaway is now closed – winner will be announced soon.)

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A common misconception about The Fenway is that the food is only good for lunch or dinner, but after a quick look on thefenway.com you’ll realize that is not the case. For those of you who are breakfast or brunch inclined – you’re in luck! There’s spots like Pavement Coffee, Panera, and my personal favorite breakfast joint in The Fenway: Blackbird Doughnuts. This valhalla of creative confections is a major winner in my book, and a perfect pit stop for Fenway early “birds”.

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Ah yes, the classic burger joint. Some say that this is the East Coast version on In ‘n’ Out and with good reason! There is definitely a cult-like following to this Fenway staple. With goodies like the Big & Tasty, Tater Tots, a great beer selection on draft, and addicting Chocolate Eclair Mini Pies, there is not a chance that you leave this place hungry. The takeout window gets notorious long lines as the weather starts to heat up, but the wait is worth it.

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And, the most talked about newcomer as of late is, of course, Eventide. This fast-casual spinoff of their wildly popular Portland, ME location is a great place to pull up a stool, have some prosecco, oysters, one of their many crudos, and their famous hot-buttered lobster roll. As a Mainer, I am skeptical of any hot lobster roll, but this one melts in your mouth and is definitely worth a try. This place really has elevated fast-casual down to a science, so if you’re looking for “fancier” cuisine without the fuss, look no further.

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Coming in 2019, 401 Park Drive will welcome Lisbon’s Time Out Market. The flagship Lisbon location is home to more than twenty-four restaurants, and a whole host of other kiosks, cafes, and even a cooking academy for those who aspire to kick up their kitchen skills a notch. The highly-anticipated Boston space will span 25,000 square feet with an open park area to boot! I can’t think of a better fit for the Fenway neighborhood, as this community continues to grow and thrive.

unnamed.pngIn celebration of Time Out Market coming to Boston, thefenway.com is hosting a giveaway where you can enter to win a trip for 2 to Lisbon! Yes, you read that correctly!! Airfare for two and a 3-night stay are included in this trip of a lifetime, and they’ll be handing over $200 to spend at the original Time Out Market, so you can get a sneak peek of what is to come in Boston! To enter, all you need to do is sign up for their newsletter HERE

This post was created in collaboration with the team at thefenway.com. 

Georgia On My Mind…

It’s been a few months since I was down south, but as the weather gets colder in Boston, I can’t help but daydream about my trip down to the Ritz Carlton, Lake Oconee resort in August. In desperate need of a good girls weekend this past summer, my friend Abby and I hopped a quick flight down to Atlanta for a #lakelife getaway. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of spending any time down south, I highly recommend it. The food, the people, the nature… it doesn’t get much better. I have friends who actually describe this property as one of their favorite places on Earth, and I can see why.

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Abby and I had the pleasure of staying in one of the cottages on the property. These cottages are perfect for a group of your girlfriends or even a family vacation. As expected these cottages are still very much full service — golf carts will chauffeur you to dinner reservations, room service will deliver anything you need at the drop of a hat, and extra special touches like milk & cookies don’t go unnoticed. Hammocks are scattered throughout the property for that cabin in the woods experience. They’re perfect for laying out with a good book and a cup of tea in the morning, or getting a little reprieve from the sun, but still getting to enjoy some fresh air.

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One of the most enjoyable parts of the property is their lake-side amenities. The infinity pool is massive and is a perfect spot to commune with friends over a mid-afternoon cocktail (or three). I know what you’re thinking… why hang out in a pool with a lake right there?! Truth be told, the idea of making contact with a fish creeps me out a bit. And the fish only have so many places to go in a lake, compared to the ocean. You know?! Don’t judge! Besides, the infinity pool is so big it could practically be a lake. I swear!

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After you’ve done your fair share of sunbathing, choose from a plethora of dining options on the property to get your fill of tasty southern cooking. My favorite restaurant was Georgia’s. They have classics like peel ‘n’ eat shrimp, smoked meats, and fried green tomatoes. There is no chance you will leave hungry!

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Outside of the property, you can do some exploring in historic Madison. Our driver humored us and weaved down old streets, so we could see some of the oldest homes in the town. Downtown is super quaint and has a couple great restaurants worth checking out as well. If you drive through, Madison might look familiar. Countless movies and TV shows have been filmed here, like The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, The Accountant, and the 2011 Footloose remake.

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If you prefer to stay on property, they have a gazillion activities, including a massive golf course. If golf is your game, there’s no chance you cant get in a few holes while you’re here. Sadly for me, I tend to embarrass myself even at the driving range, so I’ll stick to walking the course like it’s my runway. Other activities include wake boarding, kayaking, tennis, and countless more.

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Now that I am this close to booking a ticket back to Georgia, I can safely say this was one of my most memorable weekends this past summer. If you need a luxurious getaway with your significant other, friends, or family, I can’t recommend the Ritz, Lake Oconee enough. If you have any questions about the property, feel free to shoot me an email or send me a DM on Instagram. Happy to answer!

Solo Mission: Camden, ME

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Who else had a whirlwind summer?! In New England, it’s practically a given, and moving into Fall always feels like giving a generous tap on the breaks. Solo travel has always been a good opportunity for me to slow down and press ‘reset’, and that’s exactly what my trip up to Camden, Maine this past weekend was all about. If you followed my Instagram stories, you know I definitely got an ungodly amount of work done, but I also did a little exploring and unplugging, and it brought me back to my days of traveling Asia alone (minus the whole not-speaking-the-same-language-as-everyone-else thing).

The best part? I had a place that felt like home to go back to at the end of the day. Maine is my home state, so I was already getting some good vibes once I crossed the boarder into Vacationland. But, staying at Whitehall was extra special. This quaint spot features an awesome restaurant, Pig + Poet, stylish & cozy corners – perfect for curling up with a book (or laptop in my case), and if the weather is nice, you can kick your feet up on one of the many rocking chairs, or channel your inner cruise deck hero and play some shuffleboard. Seriously, who doesn’t like an adorable inn loaded with charm like this?

I’ve been up to this part of Maine a few times, so I had an unorthodox approach to how I decided where to go – I literally typed ‘lighthouse’ and ‘food’ into Google maps. I ended up at the Owl’s Head Light right at sunset, and then dined at the bar at Rhumb Line. Talk about luck! Between stellar views and tasty cuisine, it ended up being the perfect way to spend the evening.

As the season comes to a close, many of these spots shut down for the winter, but if you find yourself with an open weekend between now and mid-October, I highly recommend pulling the trigger and taking the journey down east. Looking to explore other cute spots? Check out all the different Lark Hotels around New England and California!

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A Home Amid Some Crazy Changes: ELEMENT Hotel

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lot of changes have taken place over the past couple of weeks. I moved to a new neighborhood. We’ve signed a bunch of amazing new companies to work with at RPR, I’m BLONDE! And, I’ve started to re-focus on my health and wellness. Who has seen the ridiculously sweaty Instagram stories of me running hills, practicing yoga, or doing track workouts with @baddiedae?!? While Spring is the most popular season for “re-birth”, there is something about Fall that gets me so freakin’ hyped to shed the B.S. and bring things back into my life that I care about; ultimately get back to a productive routine. Don’t get me wrong, traveling almost every weekend this Summer was amazing, but there’s something so restorative about leaving your two feet on the ground.

BUT, before diving in head first to a crazy move across town, and my busiest quarter yet with my business, I needed a breather. Yes, even need to hit the pause button. So, I escaped to the ELEMENT Hotel in the Seaport for the weekend before my move, which was super convenient because who likes living around boxes for a week?! This hotel was perfect for a few reasons: 1) it is in the same neighborhood as my office – score!, 2) They are a ‘green’ hotel, meaning they take measures to having the smallest footprint on the environment, and 3) they had an awesome ‘Swap Shop’ event that I got to be a part of.

What is this ‘Swap Shop’ event you ask? It was this super cool concept of bringing clothes that you want to purge from your closet and trading them (for FREE) with other attendees at the event. Anything that isn’t picked up by someone else was donated. Perfect for a girl who is moving and needed to purge her closet! While they don’t do events exactly like this one all the time, they do host a number of other initiatives throughout the year that are in line with their mission to be a sustainable hotel. How cool is that? (Note the photo of me below with an armful of clothes – oh and the last hours of me as a brunette!)

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The next day, I explored my city like a tourist, and did some of the things that I have been meaning to do, but always find an excuse to put off. I went blonde with the help of the team at Salon Mario Russo, who is a short walk from the hotel, stopped by the Copley Sq. Market, grabbed one of the hotel’s bikes to take a spin around the city, walked the Esplanade, and ate at a few of my favorite places, including Top of the Hub, which I haven’t been to since 2010, and by CHLOE. which recently opened right around the corner from ELEMENT. See the photo diary from my day scooting around the city below!

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THIS AWESOME POST IS SPONSORED BY THE TEAM AT ELEMENT HOTELS. THOUGHTS ARE MY OWN.

A Weekend at Gurney’s

You may have heard, but if you haven’t, the Gurney’s you know and love from the Hamptons set down roots in Newport, making for a perfect New England getaway. Last month, I took their team up on the offer to stay for the weekend, and ended up having an awesome time. Between the stunning location, super tasty dining options, and the Gurney’s service we have all come to know and love, it’s sure have you wishing you didn’t have to leave at the end of your stay.

So, where do I begin… obviously with the food, what else?! For our lunch, we plopped down on the patio at The Pineapple Club and indulged in some serious raw bar, and shareable plates – perfect for a brunch or an early start to the weekend. P.S. I definitely recommend the Negroni Fresco to really get your weekend started right. IMG_0646.JPGIMG_0645.JPGThe real star of the culinary show was dinner at Scarpetta. Oh my sweet baby Jesus… I can see why this place is packed to the brim every night. Even if you are down in Newport for a day, this restaurant is a must-visit. Hands down some of the best service, ambiance, and cuisine you’ll find in Newport. I did put my camera away for the evening an didn’t manage to snap pics, but sit down and try it, and trust me when I say, your taste buds will do all the talking for me. Wow.

After dinner, we split a bottle of wine in our room, and caught the notorious Newport sunset from our balcony with a prime view of the Jamestown bridge. Later that night, we made our way over to The Landing, where we inevitably ran into friends and danced to the live band until the wee hours. IMG_0647.JPG

The next day was spent relaxing by the pool. Copper pineapple drinks and friend food abound, making for the perfect Sunday recovery spot… We didn’t stay all day though, as prior to heading to Newport we purchased tickets to Newport Polo – a must if you’re around for a weekend. With a bottle of champagne in one hand and cheesy fries in the other, you could just grab a spot on the lawn and take in the match. This isn’t your typical polo experience. Folks bring oodles of snacks, drinks, and lawn chairs & blankets for the ultimate viewing comfort. To be honest, I didn’t really know what was going on (I’m sure that makes my British family members cringe – sorry guys!), but the point is just to go and hang out and have a good time. IMG_7965.JPGIMG_7774.JPGSwitching gears from horses to horse power, I was super excited to try out Maven – a car sharing app from Chevrolet. I don’t have a car in Boston (for those of you who don’t know, parking is absolutely nuts and impossible in the city), so I needed a way to make it down to Newport in a way that suited my schedule. That’s where Maven comes in. You can borrow cars by the hour or day, which is perfect for those of us who need a flexible schedule for a weekend getaway. Your phone ends up being your key, so once you get within 30 feet or so of your car, you just open the app and you’re on your way. Pro tip: if you are prone to your phone dying, bring an extra battery. A dead phone means no horse power for you. IMG_0639.JPGUntitled drawing (1).pngIMG_0640.JPG

If you are in the market for a car sharing service, I highly recommend checking out Maven. They have locations all over, and the service is pretty intuitive. Plus, what other car sharing service has a Cadillac on hand?! Needless to say, this made the drive from Boston to Newport and back pretty fun.

Definitely sad to leave Gurney’s after a fun weekend, but maybe this will inspire your next weekend getaway to Newport! Have any other must-do’s while in this nautical lover’s paradise? Tell me in the comments!IMG_7877.JPG