Day Trip to Plymouth

For our anniversary this year and our first chance for a mini break for “spring” in New England (I add the quotations because that day hardly felt like we were over winter, which I suppose is very New England in itself), Alex and I made plans to take a little day trip out of the city and celebrate.

The fourth year is traditionally commemorated in fruit and flowers. We took our own little twist and went for fruit wine and the Mayflower instead. See what we did there? 😉

Plymouth fit the bill perfectly. A short 45-minute drive from Boston, it was a sweet escape, long enough for Alex and I to continue our discovery quest of New England as fairly new residents and close enough to give us room for spontaneity. We weren’t quite sure the weather would cooperate for a full historic experience to satisfy our inner nerdy tourists (which sadly, it didn’t), but we were quite pleased with how easy it was to fill our day there. Naturally, we plan to return for a more comprehensive tour.

We started with lunch at Dillon’s Local, a few steps from the central downtown strip. I enjoyed a Bloody Mary with our delicious meat pizza (read: duck confit and pork belly) while Alex went for their Cuban. Yum.

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Afterwards, we took a stroll down Water street hoping to catch a glimpse of the Mayflower. Though it was MIA that day, we did catch some other sights of Plymouth, and also some rays when the sun occasionally peaked through the clouds, much to our surprise.

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We found some of the lobsters sprinkled throughout the downtown area as part of the Plymouth Lobster Crawl, each very distinct and beautifully crafted.

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For an easy pitstop, just a hop and a skip away from the water was Plymouth Bay Winery. Pam greeted us right as we walked in and gave us a casual yet intimate tasting experience with Plymouth Bay’s selection of fruit wines and jellies. Their whole approach adds a healthy dose of fun to the craft and authentic opportunities for local partners to showcase what Plymouth has to offer. There was no way we could leave there empty handed; it was hard enough to narrow down our choices to a bottle of Cranberry Blush and Blue Sin jelly. So good.

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We took one last stroll before heading back to Boston, taking in the fresh air and all the memories that have brought us to that moment. Did I mention that Alex also celebrated his 2nd year of living in the city — thus beginning his love affair with Boston — this year?

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If there was only one thing that could prove that we made it to Plymouth, it was none other than finding Plymouth rock. And there she was. We have officially made it to America’s Hometown.

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What’s your favorite way to celebrate or escape for the weekend? Feel free to share your go-to road trip ideas or all-time favorite destinations below! And if you ever make it to Plymouth, I’d love to hear what made it to your must-see and must-do list!

 

Valerie


For more information, check the Plymouth Visitor Website at www.seeplymouth.com.

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Christmas in Newport, RI

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With its gilded history, inherent charm, and Stars Hollow feel, Newport was all sorts of perfect for a Christmas family getaway.

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We picked the Hotel Viking for its location, seated in the heart of Newport’s Historic Hill. It felt like a destination in itself with a highly-rated restaurant, beautifully decked halls and trimmings, and amenities. There didn’t seem to be a wrong turn in any direction from the hotel, which would suit wandering souls like my hubby and myself. So a-walking we went.

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It was early afternoon on Christmas day when we arrived and went exploring in Newport. I particularly enjoyed the serenity which served as a perfect escape from the usual hustle and bustle of a city. It felt like we had Newport all to ourselves. Save for the Starbucks that was likely the only place open that day, of course. It was brimming with all the caffeine addicts that could sniff it out from a mile away. On Christmas, we chose the quiet and surprisingly not-so-painfully continued our stroll empty handed.

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There were sweet decorations to behold at almost every corner. Even when the shops were closed, the holiday spirit of Newport continued to softly flicker and keep it alive.

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Quaint alleyways and nooks such as this gave us the magical feeling of being in Hogsmeade or a fairytale.

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I saw this patio and lovely seating setup outside of the Black Pearl and – wait for it – an outdoor bar. It was closed but I knew we had to come back when they opened the next day.

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Such a gorgeous spot to dine or drink in! And just a few steps down was this quaint marina off of Bannister’s Wharf. Perhaps my favorite spot in all of Newport. Bonus points for the coffee shop right next to it, the Coffee Grinder.

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My pops was tickled by the name of this boat – little did he know it’s an actual brand – since it had both my (pet name) and Alex’s names. Sort of.

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This anchor was a fun little touch. You best believe Alex and my dad tried to climb it, and confirmed that it had a safe rubber landing suited for all climbers, the young or the young-at-heart.

That evening, we had originally planned Christmas dinner at Sardella’s with the family, a short walk from our hotel. Since my mom wasn’t feeling herself at all, we ventured over to the restaurant to explain our circumstance and they happily accommodated. We waited at the bar, which offered a warm welcome and set a friendly vibe to the restaurant as soon as we walked in. Around us was an intimate interior and an air of nostalgia that came with the tasteful depiction of being at grandma’s, in my view. The kind that Alex and I get so emotionally attached to right away.

A few drinks at the bar and we were off, lugging our Christmas dinner in paper bags and pizza boxes to bring back to the hotel. It wasn’t ideal, but it had everything that mattered most to us especially at Christmas: family.

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The next day, we bulked up with brunch at the One Bellevue restaurant before going exploring. We continued to keep our activities less strenuous given that my mama was still fighting off a bad cold. Now I’m relieved I got my flu shot this year! What was nice about Newport though is that we were able to be creative with our site-seeing. They have a “10-mile drive” that includes a drive-by view of the mansions, historic landmarks of the city, and parts of the Cliff Walk. We were to see an overview of Newport from the comfort of our cozy car and keep my mom rested. There were portions of the drive that we could pull off for the overlook and snap away.

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By the end of our trip, though my parents decided to recuperate back at the hotel, the husband and I trekked our way to The Black Pearl. It was just what we were hoping for and more. The bartender whipped up some “Magic Elixir” for his patrons which was a hardy dose of hot ciders in 2 blends and whiskey. With a hot cup of cider, a view like this to marvel at, and a wild chance to stay outdoors over the holidays, I was in my happy place. I may have been in the clouds a little too much though because I totally missed my chance to order a bowl of The Black Pearl’s award-winning clam chowder from the bar. We’ll be back.

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By the time we got hungry, we were ready for some warmth. We walked back towards Thames St. and found Wharf Pub. It had space for al fresco dining and drinking but was closed that day. Inside, the restaurant was reminiscent of Southern-style home-cooked meals. Tater tots. Fish and Chips. Wings. Ah, SO good.

Our first Christmas in Newport was loaded with family time, rest and relaxation. We have so much left to see and are looking forward to be back to experience its most vibrant season in the summer, most charming time over the holidays, or both.

Hope you had a magical Christmas/ Hannukah/ Kwanzaa/ holiday!

Valerie


Accommodation: Hotel Viking | Featured Attractions: Bannister’s Wharf, Ten mile Drive, clips of the Cliff Walk | Food Stops: One Bellevue, Sardella’s, The Wharf Pub | Al Fresco Find: The Black Pearl

A Quick Trip to Maine

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It is (one-of) the most wonderful time(s) of the year!

Fall is my favorite season for several reasons:

  1. pumpkin everything
  2. hot *spiked* cider
  3. leaves turning
  4. layers! boots!
  5. cool crisp air
  6. October birthdays – only celebrating the existence of the best people you’ll ever meet

Consider me very biased indeed. Not to mention, learning (again) to live in a place without standard central air conditioning has really helped me appreciate nights when I could sleep comfortably without hearing $$$$ from our portable unit hopelessly guzzling out cool air over those hot summer nights.

But I digress. One of the perks of moving to a new region has been the sense of adventure every new unmarked destination brings. We have always wanted a chance to go to Maine particularly given the raves you hear from deep-rooted New England-ers. Luckinly, just as fall came around this year, we received a generous invitation to make a short weekend trip to Harrison, Maine.

The drive up from Boston was gorgeous – and likely to become only more magnificent during peak fall foliage periods. Maine has a funny reputation for its interesting street signs and town names because they just have that many. We passed Naples on our way there and went apple-picking in Sweden all within about 30+ minutes of each other.

We had a wonderful experience apple-picking in the charming Pie Tree Orchard with their thoughtful and attentive staff and cute mini apple cider donuts! It’s hard to veer away from people’s favorite apple cider donuts, I’ve found from taking a poll from our group, but it theirs was a nice and light delicacy nonetheless.

Our friend’s family house was well-equipped for a stay-cay, so we were able to truly go off-grid and maximize our time and company there. We’ll be sure to come back, to Harrison or to a whole new side of Maine!

And stay tuned for more of my fall-obsessive posts and my rookie apple-pie-making exploits.