Saturday, May 27, 2017

24 Hours in Ogunquit, Maine

Last weekend I drove up to Ogunquit, Maine for the weekend to celebrate the wedding of a dear college friend! As we get older, friends are more and more important and Caitlin and I have supported each other through the last 8+ years.

As someone who loves to travel and take #SoloRoadTrips I was more then excited to head north to Maine, a state I have only visited once before, which was a work trip. I had a little less then 24 full hours not including the wedding to explore the area.



I had booked Sunday night at the same hotel as the other guests, Colonial Inn right in the heart of Ogunquit. Saturday, night was another story, and thanks to Booking.com I was able to snag the last cottage at Kennebunk Gallery Motel & Cottages.

I arrived in Ogunquit on Saturday around 1pm, parked my car in a lot and hit the streets. I walked along the beach, down Shore Road and into town. I was starving and every restaurant had outdoor seating and menu's that were filled with locally sourced seafood. Table for one please, at Cornerstone Artisanal Pizza & Craft Beer. As I mentioned I was looking for a seafood dish and decided on the Maine Rock Crab Salad and an Allagash, local beer to Portland.



Art galleries, boutiques, ice cream shops, and restaurants line the main street. If you walk down Shore Road you will come to a fork in the road and I recommend walking through Perkins Cove, something I didn't get a chance to do. I did drive through and it was charming. Another trip up north is in order.

The aroma of freshly brewed coffee and fresh baked bread radiated from Bread & Roses Bakery, which I may also add had this amazing sign in their storefront window!

#HateHasNoBizHere

Rococo Ice Cream was calling my name. You can see a full dedicated post here. They now offer mail-order, so be sure to check it out! From outrageously delicious and unique flavors, everyone is bound to find something they will love!


As the afternoon came to a close I drove about 20 minutes north on Rt 1 to my cottage. How cute is this? I loved that it had so much space, a mini kitchen and was the perfect amount of cuteness!


I ran a last minute errand to Target, caught the sunset and then crashed hard after a full day of driving and sightseeing! The next morning I woke early, checked out and hit the road as I had one item on my bucket list to check off, visit a Lighthouse!!! 

As I drove from Kennebunk to Ogunquit, I stopped into 1960 House a bakeshop and cafe, only because it looked adorable from the outside. Isn't that how you choose stop somewhere? Maybe I am the only one, but it's something I enjoy doing. Making sure I spoke with some locals I was guided to Cape Neddick Light next in York, Maine just a few miles down the road from Ogunquit. If you find yourself in Wells and looking for some great pastries and coffee stop here. What's even cooler is that the Pastry Chef, Kristen is also a Johnson & Wales University graduate, something I learned only from the website. I wish I had gotten the chance to speak with her. 


With an ice coffee and my GPS set I headed down Shore Road, checking out the million dollar homes on the water as I drove to Cape Neddick Light. I arrived shortly after 10am and found parking in the free lot right away. As  I was leaving around 11 the lot was full so be sure to arrive on the earlier side. Every which way I looked was a stunning view of the lighthouse, homes on the water and the endless ocean. The Atlantic Ocean will always feel like home, as I grew up on the Jersey Shore. From amateurs to professionals everyone had their camera out! When you offer to take a photo for a solo traveler or couple you are almost always guaranteed a photo in return! I took quite a few photos for couples and friends. I got a photo of myself as well. 


The birds were chirping, a few people were paddle-boarding, and others were sitting on the rocks, like myself just taking in the views. I put my phone and camera down and just stayed in the moment. It was peaceful and calm, something I knew my body and mind needed! After about an hour I decided to drive back to Ogunquit.




My room wasn't ready so I walked along Marginal Way. Working up a hefty appetite I found myself on the outdoor patio of The Wild Blueberry ordering the Lobster Benedict and mimosa for brunch!


During brunch I got a call that my room was ready. I headed straight there for a shower and to relax before the evening! I was more then ready to celebrate the wedding of Caitlin & Anthony!

How cute is this couple? When I tell you they are the kindest, most genuine people I know, it's true!



After a full night of celebrating and partying I hit the sack hard. I planned to leave early Monday morning for the 6 hour drive home. I wanted to beat the traffic as well it was pouring all day, making the drive even longer.

Solo road trips are perfect for deep thinking, being in the moment, making pit stops in random towns, and being one with the world around us. Whether cross country, one hour or six you should always have snacks, podcasts, and great playlists to get you through!

What is the longest road trip you ever took? Where did you go or where do you want to go? 

XoXo,
Tracy 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday Favorites #34

Happy Friday, friends!

After a quick trip to Maine, this past weekend I was home by the middle of the afternoon on Monday. Long solo road trips are the best for pondering next trips, new ideas, and so much more. I came home feeling motivated, inspired and truly feeling wonderful.

I am working Memorial Day Weekend, which is a huge weekend at the Jersey Shore. I am looking forward to beach days in the near future! Do you have any fun plans for MDW?

Ogunquit Beach, Maine
As always be sure to share in the comments what you are loving this week or what is making you smile! You can also leave a comment on Instagram!

Maine 

I find myself daydreaming of falling in love with the next place I visit. Both Antigua and Guatemala are on my list.

Call me a grandma. Call me a homebody. You can't however call me the only one who strongly dislikes going out at night! For a celebration I am all for going out, but anything past 9:30 and I turn cranky. I love socializing and my friends, but nights are my time!

I am looking forward to spending some time volunteering at my local NJ Food Bank. It's not always about the monetary donation. You can donate time or even skills and still be making a huge difference.

Truth, I LOVE PASTA. I don't hide this. I order it 95% of the time in Italian Restaurants. These 3 recipes for on the go are now going to be incorporated into my menu planning for dinner!

History is important. What we do for the next generations are important. This is so moving hearing from JFK's grandchildren.

Do you volunteer at a local organization?

XoXo,
Tracy 


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Ice S(cream) in Ogunquit

I found heaven in Rococo Handcrafted Ice Cream in Ogunquit, Maine this past weekend. You don't believe me, well then you should take a trip there for yourself. 



A woman owned and operated business is one that I will always support. Lauren Guptill made it especially easy this past Saturday when I walked into her shop. A large group was in front and immediately she came right up to me and told me she would help me then join the rest of group. I was in no rush, however she insisted and let me try an array of samples before I chose my two scoops. 

Speaking of samples, here are some of the funkiest, yet most delicious flavors I have ever heard of: Goat Cheese Blackberry Chambord, Olive Oil Rosemary Caramel & Pepitas and Earl Grey + Sour Cherry Pistachios. Those are just a few of the out of this world flavors. One of the favorites I heard was the Sweet Avocado Cayenne which wasn't made yet. Each day they have a selection of 14 on rotation. 





Each flavor is handmade on site. The quaint setting was perfect for the cute little town it is housed in. If you find yourself in any of these four towns in Maine, be sure to check them out! 

I ordered the Chocolate Coconut Cream & Speculoos + Chocolate Pretzel. Actual coconut strips to pretzels was the perfect treat after my 6 hour drive! 


I look forward to another visit in the future. If you find yourself the in area, I highly recommend making a pit stop. Talking with Lauren was a highlight of the stop as well. 

What is the strangest ice cream flavor you ever tried?

XoXo,
Tracy 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Favorites #33

Happy Friday, friends!

Mother's Day will never get easier. In order to make the best of the day I know what I need to do, and that is different from others. The rest of the week flew by. This weekend I am heading to Ogunquit, ME for a college friends wedding! I have never been so I am looking forward to exploring as much as I can since it will be a quick two day trip. I may catch up with  friend from home who is living in Portland! If you have any recommendations I am all ears. Thank you in advance!

As always be sure to share in the comments what you are loving this week or what is making you smile? Also you can leave a comment on Instagram!


I have been following Jess on Instagram and love her feed. She recently posted her 11 favorite NYC bloggers! I have followed about three, and the rest are new to me!

RIP Chris Cornell. As one of my favorite songs, I love this video.

Amy is a very close family friend, and has always been someone that I truly looked up to. She currently lives in Jerusalem with her husband and two little boys and launched a great blog! Modest Jerusalem is full of inspiration!

When one door closes another will open. On my recent trip to Spain I was amazed by the gorgeous doors we came across. Check out these beautiful doors!

We all have the power to make a difference. You can bring Joe & Marilyn Home while supporting Homeless Youth. A small donation or a share to your network, you never know the impact you can have.

What are you loving this week?

XoXo,
Tracy 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Girls Night Out in Little Italy, NYC

It has been a hot minute since I have spent the day wondering through the streets of my favorite city, New York! Living 45 minutes outside in a suburb in New Jersey makes these trips few and far between as I work near the Jersey Shore. 

Having dinner plans with some great friends was the perfect way to end my vacation. There are so many wonderful areas and restaurants in the city making the choice extremely hard. We narrowed down the areas to Lower East Side or Little Italy. Immediately I said, Little Italy as I wanted seafood and wine.
Bryant Park
Since I was meeting my friend on the East Side near her apartment, I decided to walk from Port Authority. Wandering through Bryant Park, passing through Grand Central Station and hitting happy hour at The Horny Ram. Once we were done we headed to meet her mom in Penn and then down to Little Italy!

Gelso & Grand
When you head to Little Italy with friends the first thing you should do is walk into a random bar and order a drink or glass of wine. Gelaso & Grand was just there on the corner and the exterior drew me in. I had to see what was behind the door. Two of us ordered white wine while the other ordered the Mulberry Spritz. We sat at the bar on the window and was able to catch up while people watching!

Interior of Gelaso & Grand
While we didn't visit Mulberry Street Bar, it's another one that I would highly recommend. The classic cosmo gives you all the feels of sitting a a bar in NYC. 

As for dinner, it was my first time visiting Angelo's of Mulberry St. If you are looking for an authentic Southern Italian meal then you have visited the right spot. Everything from server's in white jackets to an accordion player make the meal hands down a wonderful experience. Fresh seafood, homemade pasta, and famous sauce bring thousands of visitors each year. You should consider making a reservation if you are visiting in the evening or weekend! 


Seafood Pasta

Ferrara Bakery 
No trip to Little Italy would be complete without a visit to Ferrara Bakery. The crazy long lines are totally worth the wait for Lobster Tails, Gelato or Sfogliatella. If you are in a hurry, take them to-go. I would go straight from the bar to the bakery if I had my way. Maybe next time I will do that and skip dinner all together. 

Every night out with friends is always great! 

What is your favorite type of food?

XoXo,
Tracy 


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Food for Thought: Barcelona

I can't believe I've been home for a week now from Spain. I am thankful for such a wonderful trip, time spent with my aunt and making some amazing memories. I had no expectations and I am glad because nothing would have met them.

Barcelona, you stole my heart and filled my stomach. With only 38 hours in a city that was magical, beautiful and filled with so much to see, we had to stick to a schedule which helped to see as much as we could. My aunt had been there before, and with that had a plan. 13 miles of walking from La Rambla to the Marina, through the Boqueria, passed through BarriGotic, over to La Pedrera and finishing at Sagrada Familia. The day started at 8:30am and we crashed hard by 10:45pm. 




The two buildings above, designed by Antoni Gaudi are so distinct and reflect his individual style which many of us can learn from. Be yourself. Don't limit yourself. Create stuff. Work on something you love.


La Rambla, filled with tourists and locals alike reminded me of Time Square, a place that I dread walking through, as a New Yorker. Remind yourself, it's just an area and you can make it through. Also you never know what you will see or what will inspire you. I noticed how well dressed everyone in Spain was. It inspired me to come home and just put more thought into my everyday outfits as well be myself in my style! 


Food is a common factor among everyone in the world. Overwhelmed by the options I told myself just stop at the next booth I see. It was perfect. No recommendation. I will say I recommend eating one of everything over a few days vs. trying as much as you can in one afternoon.



Christopher Columbus, thank you for being an explorer and navigator. Pay attention in History class or read more about his biography.


Would you want to sail around the world? Or own a yacht or sailboat? I love the water and being near the water; however I am not sure I could live on a boat that long. It didn't stop me from daydreaming about my future and especially what my travels will be. 



 Around every corner there are different balconies, different front doors, and something new to see! Open your eyes. Be aware of your surroundings as you never know what you will see or what you will learn?




From the rooftop to every room something really stuck out to me. Casa Mila, you are beautiful. The colors, the designs, the architecture it all has something to offer. I even wan to recreate a necklace based around the rooftop. 




Sagrada Familia, you are not what I expected. I know I will be back once you are finished in the next 10 years. Until then I have a full post on deck for it. 

Is there a place that inspires you? 

XoXo,
Tracy

Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday Favorites #32

Happy Friday, friends!

I arrived home late Tuesday evening from Spain and have been trying to get my life back in order, post vacation. It's slowly coming together. Tonight I am headed into the city for dinner with friends in Little Italy. I love the atmosphere and the people in Little Italy and am looking forward to a wonderful evening! I head back to work on Sunday. For those who are mother's, I want to wish you a Happy Mother's Day!

As always be sure to share in the comments what you are loving this week or what is making you smile!

La Boqueria
My recent trip to Spain was booked by a tour company. It was a gift for my 30th birthday from my Aunt. However, here are some great tips that will make booking your next trip, a breeze!

Sometimes acknowledging your desires can be rather stressful or hard, but it's when you trust your gut that you see the results.

We had no idea this festival was taking place when we first arrived in Spain. Each Flamenco dress was prettier then the next.

No matter your size, finding a fashionable outfit for larger women shouldn't be so hard, as Tim Gunn stated.

I ask that when you sign up to volunteer you give it 100% as you would a job. One of my favorite volunteers passed away a few weeks ago and I am constantly reminded of her huge heart and infectious smile. She was honored more then once. Social campaigns depend on volunteers like us!

What are you loving this week?

XoXo,
Tracy 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Madrid through Photos

Madrid, you exceeded my expectations. Actually my entire trip to Spain was more then I ever visioned. I took over 3,000 photos in 11 days of traveling throughout the country. I penned pages on pages in my travel diary. Every church, every monument, every street corner there was something new and exciting. I took a break from social media to enjoy the sights. Soaking up every moment of this trip with my aunt was exactly what I wanted and needed. I found inspiration. I found a voice that had started to fade. I found myself smiling and laughing, while not caring what others thought. I found that being true to myself is all that matters and I am going to find my way even if it's taking longer than I expected.

Thank you, Spain for being beautiful and amazing!

Below are some photos from Madrid.

Royal Palace of Madrid
Due to our arrival taking place during their Bank Holiday our tour was cancelled and we were not able to visit the inside. I heard it was spectacular and look forward to going back and taking the tour. 


Love this Purple building outside the Royal Palace!

Geppetto, a cute toy store. 
The store was packed with adults and little kids alike all admiring the handcrafted detail of each wooden figurine. 

Museo del Jamon
The first thing my aunt recommended we find in Madrid, was the Museo del Jamon. I asked myself, is she serious and when we found it I knew exactly why. For the next week we ate Jamon on baguettes. Founded in August 1978 by two brothers, this place is now recognized for the Hams hanging from the ceilings. The cozy atmosphere, the impeccable service and delicious meats and cheeses draw thousands to the bar as well as the dining area. The reasonable prices and wonderful staff just make the place even more welcoming. I would highly recommend checking it out, the next time you find yourself in Madrid. Check them out on Facebook.


Hotel Catalonia Atocha 
 The view from our hotel's rooftop was completely breathtaking and I enjoyed having the quiet time to write in my travel diary while reflecting on the day's itinerary.

love the exterior of this restaurant


Cuesta de Moyano Book Market
This may be the cutest book market that I've seen. Outside El Retiro Park is this pedestrian walkway known as Cuesta de Moyano is lined with olden-day bookseller stalls. The majority of books were in Spanish with a few having some random English ones.

The park reminded me of Central Park, especially when we arrived at the Great Pond. Everyone was out and about as the weather was just perfect.


We also stopped by Palacio de Cristal, which happened to be under construction. A new exhibit was going to begin in the next few weeks. With the open and airy space you were able to dream what different events would look like.



After the park we walked over to the Madrid Atocha Railway Station. Home to the largest railway station in Madrid, it caters to both local travelers as well as the high speed trains to Barcelona, Seville and Valencia. The concourse is home to restaurants, shops and a 43,000 sq ft covered tropical garden housing turtles. Yep, you heard that right and you can see for yourself below.




Seafood Paella ( My favorite dish)

Vertical Garden
We finished our tour of Madrid at the Mueseo del Prado. El Greco had to be one of my favorite's in the museum and that night I went home and read more about him. This trip reminded me that we have some great museums in NYC and that I need to be more open to visiting them!


Next up I will recap Toledo.

Have you ever been to Spain? What was your favorite city? 

XoXo,
Tracy