travel

Love Lasts Three Years? Not if You’re in Love With Paris

La Tour EiffelI fell in love in Paris. With the city and with life and with so many things.

I can’t recall the exact moment when I fell for France, but I think growing up watching Gene Kelly dance his way through the City of Light in An American in Paris played a strong part in it. I started taking French in eighth grade and was a semester shy of minoring in it in college. I make a mean coq au vin even though I don’t eat meat, my death row bottle of wine would be a grand cru Burgundy, and if I can’t be buried alongside Oscar Wilde at Père-Lachaise, I at least want my ashes scattered in the Seine so I can spend eternity in the place I love most. More

Recent Reads: How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are

How to Be Parisian

I am forever trekking through a strange sort of literary labyrinth. I don’t really know how I pick a new book to read once I’ve finished another one. I do have about a hundred books in my ever-growing “to read” pile, and despite my bursting bookshelves, I still can’t resist buying even more books whenever I come across one that piques my interest.

I think I chanced upon How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are on Instagram. Instagram is my favorite social media outlet. It’s my happy place. I pretty much exclusively follow Parisians, food bloggers, and, best of all, Parisian food bloggers. I also follow a handful of New Yorkers and some travel photographers whose shots of jaw-droppingly gorgeous landscapes make me seethe with jealousy and hate my life (okay, I’m exaggerating . . . but only a little).

Anyway, yes, I believe I discovered this book on Instagram and I’m so glad I did. It’s the sort of book that you can finish over the course of a lazy afternoon with nothing but a bottle of rosé and Edith Piaf crooning in the background to keep you company. It’s an easy read and it’s not meant to be taken seriously—unless you’re like me and you truly do wear head-to-toe black, even in the middle of July, and you drink too much red wine and hate working out and you don’t believe that age is a good enough excuse to go to bed early. In that case, behold, your new Bible. More

New Year, New York

Les HallesAfter leaving Boston by train, we arrived at New York’s Penn Station (I’ve only ever arrived at Grand Central and was disappointed to learn that Penn Station is nearly as grand) just after dark. Since we had our luggage with us, it was easier to grab a cab than to take the subway to our hotel, though we’re normally avid subway travelers. Yes, it’s usually dirty and noisy and it’s forever running late, and don’t even get me started on the Peruvian flute bands, but it’s usually cheaper than cabbing it and, if nothing else, the passengers make for an entertaining cast of characters. More

Moonlight in Vermont

Moonlight in VermontPhoto courtesy of Kiera Slye Photography

For the past six years, my husband and I have made a tradition of taking a trip for New Year’s. Really it started more than a decade ago, the year we started dating. We drove from Texas to New York City to ring in 2004 and we stood in Times Square for six hours in sub-freezing temperatures to watch the ball drop from eight blocks away. We’d never been to New York before and had no concept of the lay of the land, so we naïvely booked a hotel on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge. Do you know how hard it is to get a cab to take you to New Jersey at 1 a.m. on New Year’s?

Since then we’ve become infinitely more savvy travelers, and our subsequent New Year’s trips have gotten better and better:

  • 2010: Italy
  • 2011: Spain and France
  • 2012: Switzerland
  • 2013: Estes Park, Colorado and Jackson Hole, Wyoming
  • 2014: Crested Butte, Colorado

This year we mulled over several destinations and eventually decided to split our time between New England and New York. We would fly into Boston, drive up to Vermont and spend two days in Woodstock, then we’d take the train from Boston to New York and spend New Year’s Eve in the city (not in Times Square this time, and we wouldn’t be staying in New Jersey). More

California Sojourn Part II: Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach

Okay, to continue where I left off in my last post . . .

After spending a few hours in L.A., exploring the Grove and the farmer’s market, we decided to drive down to Laguna Beach, where I would be spending the next three days on my own. It was only lunchtime and Michael’s flight didn’t leave until 8 p.m., so I thought it would be fun if he could see the bed and breakfast where I’d reserved a room and maybe grab something to eat at a restaurant with an ocean view.

The wine course for which I was in Laguna Beach was held at the Montage, an immaculate hotel with rates to match. After doing a little TripAdvisor research, I opted instead for more the more reasonably priced but no less charming Casa Laguna Inn. It isn’t right on the beach, but it’s just across the street, and it has all the little luxuries you’d find at a swankier hotel but it feels much more quaint and personal. More

Recent Reads: Time Was Soft There

Time Was Soft ThereShakespeare and Company is the bookish tourist’s equivalent of Times Square. I first went to Paris in 2007, but, ingenue that I was at the time, I hadn’t yet heard of this glorious little literary Mecca. But by the time I went for my second time, about a year ago, it was at last on my to-go list. Though my husband and I attempt to seek out the truth of a city and avoid the biggest tourist traps, I couldn’t resist the lure of paying a visit to this storied and historic Left Bank book shop. Shortly thereafter I came across Time Was Soft There, writer Jeremy Mercer’s memoir of the year he spent living at Shakespeare and Company, and I was bewitched.

In case you aren’t familiar with it, Shakespeare and Company was first opened in 1919 by Sylvia Beach, an American expat and a member of the “Lost Generation.” The original English language bookstore was located first at 8 rue Dupuytren before moving to 12 rue de l’Odéon. It survived the Great Depression, but Beach was forced to close it down after the German invasion of France. Per Wikipedia, “Ernest Hemingway symbolically liberated the shop in person in 1944, but it never reopened for business.” (Fun side note: Hemingway mentions the shop in A Moveable Feast, a book for which, as you might have guessed, I harbor a certain fondness.) More

Yet Another Austin Weekend

Josephine House

As I mentioned in a previous post, I love any excuse to dip down to Austin for a night or two. This past weekend I decided to visit a friend who lives there, and luckily, I was able to spend the night at her place because Austin City Limits had the town and its hotels bursting at the seams. Somehow in all my years as a Texan, I’ve never made it to SXSW or ACL, probably for that very reason—the already crowded city becomes difficult to navigate and a little less enjoyable.

But, despite ACL, I still managed to have a lovely overnight trip and, as is always the case when I visit Austin, I ate and sipped to my heart’s content. More

Weekend in Napa

Napa

My husband’s and my first trip to Napa was a few years ago. We flew in and out of San Francisco and spent a week driving from Half Moon Bay, to Lake Tahoe, and then on to Napa. We’ve been to some incredible places on our adventures thus far—Copenhagen, Paris, Tuscany, Grindelwald—but that trip to California was my favorite we’ve ever taken. And ever since then I’ve been looking for any and every excuse to visit Napa. We went for a second time for my 30th birthday last year, and we decided to go back a third time this past March when we realized we had a couple Hyatt nights that were on the cusp of expiration. More