December 2017 Roundup

Can you believe we have already hit 2018? Happy New Year again friends! December flew by this year, on Christmas Eve my boyfriend said “can you believe Christmas is almost over?”, at the time I couldn’t and I still don’t believe it.

With the holidays comes less reading than usual. In December I read:

  • The Girl in The Tower – the sequel to The Bear and The Nightingale, a review is coming soon
  • Heir of Firethis was not one of my favorites in the Throne of Glass series but it wasn’t bad enough to keep me from not reading the rest.
  • Before She Ignitesthis was not my favorite. I do not think I’ll be reading the rest of the series and if I do it will be through the library
  • Victoria — have I told you I’m obsessed with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert? Anyway, not only did I re-watch season 1 (season 2 premieres soon in the US) but I also read the story based on the season by Daisy Goodwin. Review coming soon

The Girl in the Tower and Victoria were definitely my favorite books read in December. Katherine Arden really has a way with words and making everything so magical and I just love Queen Victoria and what she represented/represents.

A lot of traveling happened in December which is probably why it flew by and there wasn’t a lot of reading completed.

Not only did I go to Miami and Key West but we also went up to VT to sell Christmas trees. There is so much work that goes into that, I have such an appreciation for those businesses now that I’ve really seen them in action.

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We also had three different Christmas parties all within a week of each other and starting the day I arrived back from Florida. I’m looking forward to some serious R&R this month where I can get some reading done and start out fresh.

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6 hrs in Key West

Since I was in Miami, I begged my friend to go to Key West for the day. It wasn’t hard, she’s up for just about anything (lucky me). Once I set foot on Key West, I knew I had to come back. I could stay a few days there, go parasailing, lay out on the beach, go snorkeling, do a sunset cruise or maybe go on a dolphin cruise. There were so many activities out on the water that I wanted to run to a boat and get on.

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But since we were only there for about 6 hours, I didn’t have time to do any of the things that I mentioned above and still have time to do some of the land things on my list. Which is reason #1 why I want to go back.

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Key West reminded me a lot of Cape Cod but with clearer and bluer water — above is me in the Gulf of Mexico, an ocean I hadn’t put my toes in before so I knew I had to do that here just to say I had!

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If you’re looking for some places to walk around and just hang out, try hitting up Mallory Square or Duval Street — while you’re at it, go to Kermit’s Key Lime Shop for some Key Lime pie. If you like Key Lime, this is the snack for you. For lunch, try stopping by Conche Republic Seafood or Waterfront Brewery which are scenically located right on the water and boat dock.

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Last but not least try Hemighway’s House — which has his “ancestor cats”, I love that the cats can go wherever they want but us humans can’t touch the bed. Don’t forget about the Southernmost point in the US! That has to be the first thing you do, don’t forget about it! Who knows when you will be able to say that you stood there again!

Overall, I can’t wait to go back to Key West and just relax for a weekend there. It’s definitely worth the 3+ hour drive (one-way) from Miami.

6 Days in Miami

Hi everyone! It’s been awhile since I had a post about an adventure!ย  I took November off so I could keep my wallet from hating me before I went to Florida. I’m so excited to finally tell you guys all about my trip to Miami. I had never been to Miami before so when my friend asked me to go with her I knew I had to say yes!

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The Weather:

In December, the weather isn’t as warm as you would think for Miami. People were definitely walking around in pants, scarves and jackets but for someone from the Northeast, it was the perfect weather. High 60s to high 70s all week, I could definitely get used to that.

Where to Stay:

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I loved Ocean Drive in South Beach. It was such a classic little street with a 1950s-70s feel. There were a bunch of different hotels to choose from too, I’m sure (especially in December) you could get a pretty good deal. Ocean Drive also has a bunch of restaurants as well as being right across the road from the beach. I loved that it was away from Miami City so it felt like you were in your own little paradise. Also — I had no idea that South Beach was basically it’s own little island. It was great!

The Attractions:

We spent three days at South Beach which was awesomeย  but we also did some other things, such as Key West and attractions around Miami City. Anyway, one of the things we did was get a Go City Miami Card which is not only affordable but also provided us with some transportation and sight seeing. One of things that the Go City card allows you to do, is get on a Hop on and Hop Off ($40) bus which was awesome because parking in Miami can be a bit expensive ($20 for 24hours). The Go City Card was $98 (thanks to Groupon) below is a list of attractions with what the price would have been without the Go City Card.

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The Attractions:

  • Vizcaya Museum and Gardens ($18)– so gorgeous and old! It reminded me of Downton Abbey.
  • Miami Science Museum ($22)– this might be one of my favorite Museums EVER. It had everything you could think of.
  • Art Museum ($16) — I think you could skip this UNLESS you really like art. I don’t really like and/or understand contemporary art so this really wasn’t anything for me.
  • Botanical Gardens (Free)– Google really made me think this was going to be a lot cooler than it was.
  • Holocaust Memorial (Free)– if you take the Hop on and Hop Off bus, you can see the Memorial from it, or you can go to the Botanical Gardens which is adjacent to this Memorial. One that is very well done.
  • Lincoln Mall (Free + Parking)– feeling like shopping? Maybe on a day that isn’t really for the beach? This is one of those places to go! Also within 2 blocks from the Botanical Gardens and Holocaust Memorial.
  • Key West Day Trip($75) — that will be it’s own post coming up in a few days ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Wynwood Walls (Free + Parking)– while I’m not a huge fan of art, Wynwood Walls was amazing. I really liked the different art that was shown there. I swear, I tried that whole instagram look but failed, I’m okay with that though :).

We saved $72.50 by doing the Miami (2 day) Go City Card

Where to Eat and Transportation:

Obviously there is Uber and taxis that you can take. You could also rent a car but remember you have to pay for parking everywhere you go. We found a garage that was $20 for 24hours or $1 an hour. It wasn’t terrible but if you’re looking to be a on a budget, I’d suggest not having a car, especially if you’re on Ocean Drive AND doing the hop on and hop off. We used the car a few days out of the week but not every day.

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We also tried not to eat out for every meal. We really only ate out for dinners, partly to keep on that budget. Places I would recommend are: The Leslie and Penguin Restaurant. Both were delicious and reasonably priced. Oh and for dessert try Mammamia Gelato it was delicious!

Those are my tips for Miami. It was so much fun and so relaxing, I read, I got a tan and I just enjoyed some R & R. I can’t wait to go back! IMG_20171215_084246_857.jpg

 

A Visit To The Lower Half of Cape Cod

This is my last post about my Cape Cod 2017 trip and it ends with Provincetown and Truro — two of my favorite places on the Cape! Here’s a rundown of a few things you can do there to take up your time.

The Beaches

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There are so many beaches near the end of Cape Cod. Our favorites are Head of the Meadow and Ballston Beach (though Ballston Beach is “private”). I had never been to Marconi Beach before this vacation but let me tell you it was amazing! A little scary (some riptides) but so gorgeous (picture to the side). If you’re looking for beaches with some good waves, this end of the Cape will have it because they are on the open ocean side. Don’t forget though, there could be sharks (definitely some seals). Cost is roughly $15 – $20 a car load. One thing still on my bucket list here is to have a bonfire at night on the beach down here. Maybe next year? More beaches can be found here.

The Non Beach Activities

We’ve done a lot of things in Provincetown/Truro before including: whale watches, wine tasting and biking the trails in the sand dunes. Today though, I’m only going to talk about the two things we did this year. One was Truro Vineyards and Spirits, we’ve been going here every year for the past 4 years. It’s so fun, the wine tasting is pretty good but my favorite is the little outside bar they have where you can mix drinks and wine by the glass, sit out with all your friends and just relax. You can do both the wine tasting and the spirit tasting if you feel like :).

The other thing we did this year was Uncle Tim’s Bridge in Wellfleet (a little more inner Cape than Provincetown and Truro). Thanks to Pinterest, we found this little walkway through a marsh that even my cousins (who have a place in the Cape) didn’t know about. It was a nice leisurely walk with this cute bridge — worthwhile for the whole family!

Downtown

Everyone need to go to downtown Provincetown at least once in their life. Here you can catch some of the best sunsets of anywhere on the cape while you walk around the pier before you grab something to eat. There are a ton of restaurants for everyone’s style – seafood, BBQ, pizza, sandwiches, and sweets. Anything you’re looking for, Ptown will probably have. We went to the patio which I highly recommend. The food was good and it wasn’t too expensive in relation to seafood.

For snack food, I recommend the fudge factory (shown above) and Portuguese bakery (shown below). The fudge factory was delicious! We bought some bark and let me tell you, it’s not bark. We bought three bars and it was over 1lb of chocolate! So good but way more than we thought it would be.

Other activities to do at night would be karaoke or going to see a show. I personally have never seen a show but have heard it’s really fun. You can also go and get permission to have a bonfire on the beach.

Enjoy!!

10 Non Beach Activities To Do At The Cape

I already spoke briefly about shopping in the cape, which is perfect for a day when it’s super rainy. However there are other things you can do that range from all regions of Cape Cod. Here’s a list below of some of them (minus things to to do Provincetown area because that will be it’s own post):

  1. Cape Cod Chip Factoryย  in Hyannis
  2. Walk the many marsh trails that are easily found via Google
  3. Head over to First Crush Winery to taste some of their wine
  4. Go on a Rail ride this is on my list and one of the only things I haven’t done
  5. Try some beer at Cape Cod Beer and Co
  6. Try the Devils Purse Brewery while this beer is better than Cape Cod beer, a tasting is rather expensive.
  7. Take a walk, run or bike on the Cape Cod Trails (only downfall, not a lot of ocean views)
  8. Rent a kayak or paddle board – you can find this almost anywhere on the cape!
  9. Go shopping – every town has cute shops to go into!
  10. Go on a Whale Watch

A Visit To Chatham Mass

I thought about doing one large post about my time in Cape Cod this year, but honestly we did so many different things and in so many different places that I didn’t think it made sense to try and jam it all into one post. Instead, I’m breaking them apart. The first is Chatham, Massachusetts. Set on the elbow of Cape Cod, Chatham is known for it’s seals, sharks, quaint town and celebrity style houses. Here’s some things you can do if you’re staying for a few days. 20170729_121852

The Town

Even the town is in Cape style. I recommend trying to do this on a day when you need a break from the beach, if you like to shop I guarantee you could last the whole day up there (I’m not really a shopper). There are fun stores for children to go to as well! Obviously every beach town has a candy store, but Chatham also has some toy stores and a rubber duck store, yes you read that right, it’s super cute too. If it’s a rainy day, you can catch a movie at the theater and if you’re lucky to be there on a certain night, there is live music or catch the Chatham baseball team.

The Beaches

All of the beaches require you to pay to get into them, ranging from $15 to $20 a day. If you’re there for a week, I would recommend getting a week’s pass which is a lot cheaper. The pass is good for the town that you are in, not for beaches outside of the region. We went to two while we were in ChathamHardings (for a sunset) and Lighthouse beach. I really enjoyed Lighthouse beach because it didn’t have as many people as some of the others ones in Chatham (like Ridgevale), I’ve heard the same about Hardings. Other activities you can do near the beaches is rent Paddleboards or Kayaks and go out on Oyster Pond for the day or take a boat ride to see the seals.20170726_131256

Where to eat

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There is only one place on the entire Cape that I would recommend you eat at and that’s Chatham Fish and Lobster. Not only is the food delicious but it’s reasonably priced. It’s the first place we go when we get to Chatham and we go more than once. You can also stop for some ice cream on the way back from mini golf. Or try the Fish Pier for some chowder, that’s on our list next year. Not only because (mmmm) chowder but because of the view below.

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Have you been to Chatham? What have you done on a trip there before? Gone on the bike trail or a marsh trail? Comment below and tell me what you think of the area!

48 Hours in Maine

In the beginning of June, I was lucky enough to take a weekend trip to Maine. It was my first to Maine in well over 10 years. I was there for exactly 48 Hours.

We were staying in York (Beach), Maine but what I love is how close everything is. Even though we stayed in York, I ended up spending some hours in Ogunquit, Kittery and Wells. Since it was early June, it was a little cold for the beach but that just meant I got to explore more! Here’s a break down.

Ogunquit and Wells

Ogunquit is a cute and quaint little town. I  really loved their beach as well. It was huge but the part of Ogunquit that I think everyone should do is walk The Marginal Way.  I don’t know how long the whole walk would be but everything is paved which I liked and it was right on the coast. The views were gorgeous and there were a bunch of benches for sitting/reading, stairs down to the beach and rocky areas where you could sit closer to the water.

We weren’t in Wells for anything other than ice cream at the Scoop Deck, but seriously guys you have to go. They had so many flavors and a kiddie cone was so large we were shocked. It was all very delicious. I am so happy my friend told me about it.

York, Maine

What can I say about York other than there is so much to do! Of course there are beaches, but we wanted adventures so we did more than just sit (um or read) at the beach. Since we stayed here, we saw more of it than any of the other towns.  Here are my top 5 things to do:

1. The Beach: yes, of course go to the beach and get some sun, that’s why we go to the coast isn’t it? Be aware, no matter what time of the season, the water will be cold.

2. Nubble Lighthouse: you can’t skip seeing at least one lighthouse when you’re on a beach vacation. It’s basically everyone’s tradition.

3. Wiggly Bridge: We did this on our first night there. It’s a quick walk in the ‘forest’, but it’s really the wiggly bridge that everyone comes to experience. While it was small and there wasn’t a rainforest near by, it reminded me of the cloud forest in Costa Rica.

4. York Cliffs: like the Marginal Way, York cliffs is another spot to check out and walk. However this is not for people who want a leisure walk. The path is very rocky and it isn’t paved so this is a warning. If you don’t feel comfortable with that, then don’t do it. Shoes should definitely be worn and even long pants (poison ivy). I regret not doing either (don’t worry, no broken ankles or poison ivy!) The views were gorgeous though, I’ve never been to Scotland, but this is what I imagine it to look like.

5. York Town: it’s always a tradition of mine to at least walk the town where I’m staying, sometimes I buy things, sometimes I don’t. Like Ogunquit, York is a little quaint town. I would definitely recommend going to the Kettle Boys. They have so many random flavors, it’s worth checking out. If you have kids, stop by the Goldenrod and watch taffy be made.

On a side note, you should definitely eat at the Fisherman’s dock and definitely should not eat at the York River Landing.

Kittery

Everyone knows kittery for the outlets (and yes, we went there), but there is also a lot of history in the oldest town in Maine.

We only spent about 2 hours at Fort Foster and had a lovely picnic there. A car load of people is $10 but you can definitely spend the whole day there. You will find multiple different beaches, a pier, picnic areas, a playground, some old buildings and walking trails.

One of the great things about Maine is that almost every place I went to had some type of beach. So even if you’re exploring, you can still take a few hours at each to just enjoy the sun, sand, ocean and breeze. I will definitely be coming back.