New Orleans has been on my bucketlist of US cities to explore for quite some time now. Something about the mystery and voodoo and jazz and sordid past of slavery and French heritage just intrigues me. Not to mention the food…biscuits and pralines and fresh fish and oysters and chicory coffee…yummm.
My father’s parameters for a family vacation over this holiday season – nonstop flights under $200 or drivable from the DC area. Time to put my pocketbook-friendly Travel Advisor hat on and figure out how to get where I want to go while taking into account these particularly scant parameters.
Comfortable accommodations matter, especially when you are staying somewhere for a longer amount of time – and every bit of good sleep matters, especially when traveling with family. Grumpy sleep-deprived family members rarely make for good company, especially in my family.
Windsor Court Hotel seemed to have it all for us. Not too much swank (just enough for me :)), heated pool and complimentary fitness center (!!!!), right around the corner from the hustle-bustle of Canal Street and the French Quarter. A gorgeous Virtuoso property with a quieter feel in comparison to the Ritz-Carlton and the Roosevelt, which were both beautiful properties but provided very different vibes from the Windsor Court.
Located right behind the hotel is the up-and-coming Warehouse/Arts District, with its amazing galleries and fabulous fresh food cafes. Looking to not gain weight on a visit to NOLA? A good bet is balancing out all of that rich Cajun food with some hipster/vegetarian eats in the Warehouse District (nearby to the CBD, Central Business District). Mid December I was sitting outside in 70 degree weather sipping water from a fresh coconut - pretty much ideal for any and all vacations I'd say.
Highlights of the trip included:
Visit to Southern Food and Beverage Museum - there is a bar and restaurant attached and you can wander around reading all about the history of Popeyes and Absinthe while drinking a beer and munching on fried pig’s ears (yes, that’s a thing).
French Quarter/Chartres Street stroll with a casual stop in a WAREHOUSE of an antiques store named MS Rau Antiques where we posed next to Napoleon Bonaparte's death masks and strolled under million dollar crystal Baccarat chandeliers, on the way to hold a 400 million year old meteorite. Also, Frenchman's Art Market in the Marigny/Frenchmen's Street where local artisans hold court selling their wares in the evening hours, with musical entertainment of course!
Garden District morning with breakfast at Stein’s Market and Deli and doughnuts from District Donuts (Pecan Pie doughnut for the win), Garden District historical homes tour and graveyard walk (yes, that’s also a thing in NOLA). Super creepy and super cool – definitely a must-do.
Day trip to the River Road Plantations and visit to the Laura Plantation, a gorgeous Creole plantation framed by 200 year old oak trees and grounds surrounded by banana and grapefruit trees.
Shopping in Uptown at all the cutesy boutiques on our last night in town, ending with dinner at Shaya, the James Beard Award winning restaurant owned by Alon Shaya, in celebration of the first night of Hanukkah!
New Orleans is a great year round destination, with temperatures climbing to the mid-70s in December during our stay. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org about planning your own visit today!
I wish I could bottle the air in Greenland. Stepping off the tiny Air Greenland prop plane was like stepping into the cleanest and purest feeling – the absence of all contamination, smog, city crowds. Our guide told us the first day or two we may get a headache from the excess of oxygen.
For almost four years now (since traveling to Iceland for a tourism conference in Feb 2015 and meeting the incredible Visit Greenland marketing mind, Sarah Woodall) I have been plotting how to find a way to get to explore this unknown destination. When the opportunity arose to participate in the Vestnorden Travel Mart, I jumped at the chance. I signed up for a pre-tour focusing on Northern Greenland so that I could further understand the destination before meeting with tourism providers at the conference, and started planning out the logistics.
When I told friends that my next #wheretonext adventure was Greenland, I was met with mostly puzzled questions.
“Isn’t Greenland only ice?” “Wait, where is that?” “Do people live there?” “What do you do there?”
I could write pages on this trip - the cities of Nuuk, Illulissat, Illuminaq, and Kangerslussaq were each remarkable and big thanks to Air Greenland for sponsoring our pre-tour and helping us travel around the incredible country of Greenland! For any questions or more information, email email@example.com - feedback or comments are always welcome as well!
For a birthday week treat (and because I had been DYING to see the Yves St Laurent retrospective at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts), my mom and I embarked on a day trip to Richmond, VA to explore and visit some of our favorite spots in the city. I’ve been going to and from Richmond for years now…my baby brother graduated from VCU and so for the past years we’ve been visiting and exploring different areas – signing up for the Monument Avenue 10K down the historic Monument Avenue district, going to new restaurants, art shows, science exhibits.
Just a quick two-hour drive from the DC area, this is the perfect weekend getaway for a change of pace or a fun day. Because my brother Elliot has since graduated college, I have less of an incentive to go visit but I always have a blast when I make it down.
Arriving a bit after noon, we started our day grabbing lunch at the Quirk Hotel – a Destination Hotel that has been written up quite a bit these past few years in Travel & Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler to name a few. From the high ceilings and millennial-focused pink seating and marbled white tabletops in the lobby dining area of their restaurant, Maple & Pine – this is the most instagrammable hotel in Richmond for sure. (See Instagram-worthy social media picture below)
After the Quirk, we made our way to the the VMFA for the the YSL exhibit. The exhibit alone was worth the drive. The complete retrospective of Saint Laurent's life includes each decade of work from his beginnings at Dior starting in the 50s to his own line from the 1960s onwards. Following along with each outfit was not only aesthetically incredible, but historically fascinating. The shift in trends and what was socially acceptable from the 1950s to the 1990s is breathtaking to see - not to mention the craftsmanship and design that has become so prevalent in every facet of what we define as present day fashion.
Shopping on Cary Street is always a good idea - from Need Supply to the sadly closing Anthill Antiques
everything is featured - clothes, jewelry, old, new...an afternoon here is a must-do
We ended our outing with a casual dinner at Kuba Kuba in the Fan district before driving home. Kuba Kuba is a Richmond mainstay and boasts a wonderfully massive menu full of Cuban food, huge portions, delicious flavors, all while being wallet and finicky eater friendly.
Richmond as a city has seen a resurgence of tourism in the past couple years, with travelers looking for quick weekend getaways but still looking to visit an interesting place with its own unique vibe. On the subject of "Richmond vibe" - gritty modern street art is juxtaposed with southern antebellum history and architecture…hipster cafes and high-end boutiques…it's inhabitants a melting pot of country city-dwellers walking pigs on leashes (yes, I did see this), students from public and private universities, artists, chefs...
What a wonderful melding of people in a city that is truly unique. If you haven't been to Richmond yet, or haven't visited in a couple years, now is definitely the time to head back. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for any inquiries or more tips and happy travels!
From March 30 through April 11, I had the incredible opportunity to journey to Southeast Asia, traveling through an enchanting country that only recently is becoming publicized for Western tourists to explore.
Myanmar, previously known as Burma, is located just Southwest of Thailand in the heart of Southeast Asia. First established as a British trade path through India and China, then as an Indian province, Burma became a separate British colony in 1937. After much political turmoil through the first half of the 1900s as well as civil wars and unrest due to the military Junta, the country changed it's name and became a mostly Democratic nation after 2012.
In the past five years, huge improvements have been made to the touristic and day-to-day infrastructure of the country. After financial help from the UN and visits from President Obama as well as many other heads of state worldwide, Myanmar has seen many positive changes in recent years, resulting in more exposure to Westernized ideals and increasing interest in tourism to further revitalize their country.
The incredible history and stunning landscape was only a small portion of what I loved so much about my experience in Myanmar - the beautiful culture and peaceful Buddhist nature of the inhabitants was what left a lasting impact. Typically before a longer and more exotic trip such as this one, I do quite a bit of reading and research to get a good feel for what to anticipate when I arrive. The issue with going to somewhere SO remote and SO different was that there was little material to read about how life is in the present day in Myanmar. It's only been like it is now for about five years!
I felt so safe and so welcomed everywhere we went...the mamas in the villages took my arm and held my hand...the children just wanted to giggle and play...the monks and nuns engulfed us with each visit in their air of calm and contentment. Even the street dogs were friendly and well-fed. A community mentality is the norm, especially in the smaller cities such as Bagan and Inle Lake, and although many people of Myanmar have less material wealth than that of Westernized cities, they make sure that everyone is well looked after with all of their basic needs met. This care and satisfaction in life is inspiring, and something that I always try to take back with me to the states whenever I travel to a country that has less financially than the United States, but seems richer in many other aspects.
My ten days spent exploring Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, and Inle Lake were unparalleled. The amount of knowledge and assistance our wonderful guide, Nying, provided, as well as the people-to-people interaction we experienced through his insider access and relationships truly made this trip special. I wholeheartedly recommend any travelers looking for a special adventure to consider Myanmar, and definitely contact me with any questions or comments - I am more than happy to help! #wheretonext #wheretonextmyanmar
Email email@example.com for any travel inquiries or questions about this destination, or if you'd just like to chat about your next adventure!
Until next time -
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of coordinating a girl's getaway weekend with some of my favorite chickas to a city I hadn't yet to explore in my adulthood - Philadelphia, PA.
A short 3-hour ride from the DC area, this is a gem of a small city if chock full of artistic charm, great food, welcoming inhabitants, and amazing value. So many films take place in this amazing city - Philadelphia, Rocky, Sixth Sense, In Her Shoes, Trading Places...not to mention the murals and art all around us. Not just fine arts, but real life street art that makes you feel alive - saxophonists in the atrium of city hall, bucket drummers outside of Reading Terminal Market, massive mosaics covering a whole side of a building that showcase our nation's past struggles and strength of minorities. One of the most LGBTQ-friendly places I've ever frequented - they even have a neighborhood downtown by Center City called the Gayborhood! That's where the most fun dance parties happen at the bars by the way...
Bucket list: run up the Rocky steps (the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art), selfie with the Liberty Bell, shopping in Rittenhouse Square, see a unique art exhibition, eat something super "Philly" (grilled cheese from Meltkraft at the Reading Terminal Market), get some history lessons and see where our forefathers lived ( Benjamin Franklin, James Madison), and overall have an adventure of a weekend.
Special thanks to the Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia and our Philly friends for showing us the best of the best experiences for our getaway. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to plan your next weekend trip - I always have some great adventure ideas up my sleeve!
For many years the self-promotional, self-reflective, self-righteous aspect of the blogosphere inhibited my interests in beginning my own blog. Now...for lack of a better explanation...I am fully embracing these aspects of myself and their importance in my career as a Travel Advisor.
What, do you ask, is a Travel Advisor? Let me make this clear, and hopefully illuminate some of my virtues (in a self-promotional kind of way of course) to persuade the reader and potential client why I should be able to help with your next getaway...be it a long weekend or exotic three week adventure to a far-reaching destination.
I am a traveler. Always searching for the next hot spot or adventure - very rarely content with the same old experiences. Finding this career has illuminated my passion for helping others find the next exciting adventure for themselves as well.
The world is a beautiful place, and I feel so grateful that I can help people explore and enjoy their travels to the best of my ability. I have the knowledge, relationships, and worldwide contacts to both enrich and expand client's travel desires.
Thanks to all - you'll definitely be hearing more from me soon xx