Tag: Places

Manayunk, Philadelphia

corner house As I’m sitting here back in the Midwest, classwork in full swing for my last year of college, I cannot help but reminisce on all of the beautiful places I have visited in the last year. One place in particular that always comes to mind is Manayunk, Philadelphia.

After my visit to Philly this summer I never really wrote about my stay in Manayunk, so I figured I would go back and write about my experience.

canal flower Now, for those of you that don’t know, Manayunk is a neighborhood in the Northwestern section of Philadelphia. It is located on the banks of the Schuylkill River and contains the first canal began in the United States. It is a beautiful hilly little neighborhood, full of colorful buildings, art and lots of fun shops and restaurants.

hill manyunk rest manyunk neighborhood There are a lot of great little bars there with tons of character. We enjoyed getting away from NYC for a weekend and enjoyed more affordable prices. You’ll notice a lot of locals around town, but there is also a very young presence there.

If you’re looking to visit Philadelphia for a weekend I would definitely suggest staying the night in Manayunk. It was a very relaxed getaway for the night. We had a lovely breakfast at Greg’s Kitchen the next morning too (so delicious and ridiculously affordable).

painting1 ice cream place street art My favorite part of our visit to this neighborhood was our walk along the water. There was a great little boardwalk, surrounded by plants and artwork. There were locals riding their bike along the path, and families eating ice cream near the water.

This was the perfect little escape from NYC.

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Until next time Philly!

Manhattan Dinner Cruise

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Every year Kyle comes up with the most creative and meaningful birthday gifts, but this year he totally outdid himself. For my gift this year he booked a sunset dinner cruise around Manhattan. I had never seen the city from the water before, so I was extremely excited for my birthday adventure.

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Our cruise was through Hornblower and they did a wonderful job planning the trip. There was an hor d’oeuvres and cocktail hour on the boat, followed by a three-course meal and after-dinner dancing. The boat cruised around the Hudson and the East River and had great photo-ops near the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.

There was a beautiful deck on the boat where you could stand or sit outside before or after dinner, or between courses. The weather was beautiful, so we enjoyed sipping on our drinks outside while taking in the breathtaking views.

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As far as our meal, the different courses were pretty tasty. I ordered the Tamarind and Orange Glazed Duck Breast for my appetizer, and the Oven Roasted Chicken Breast for my entree. Both were extremely well-prepared and had great flavor. The sweet potato puree with my appetizer was so well-seasoned I could have eaten a whole bowl of just that.  Kyle ordered the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake as his appetizer, and the Pan Seared Filet of Beef for his entree and they were pretty amazing too.. I had bites of course.  For dessert, I ordered the cheesecake, my absolute favorite NYC specialty.

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The DJ played great music, mixing in the old with the new, and got everyone on the boat in a great mood. He played some top pop hits, some salsa music, and even some Frank Sinatra.

The Manhattan skyline lit up against the night sky is unlike anything else you will see in your life. We stood outside for almost half an hour just taking in the view.

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For anyone living in, or visiting, NYC looking for a fun night out with friends or a romantic dinner date, I would definitely suggest booking a boat cruise through Hornblower. It was one of the most memorable nights in NYC I have had yet.

Brimfield Antique Show

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Two and a half hours from Manhattan sits the little New England town of Brimfield; a quaint community surrounded by apple orchards, horse farms and rolling grassy hills. If you were visiting the area on a normal weekend it would appear as a simple charming small town, but three weekends a year this town actually holds one of the largest and best-known antique shows in the country.

Picture over a mile of tents, lining a hilly tree-lined road in Massachusetts. Brimfield Antique Show features more than 5,000 different vendors and sells anything from antique furniture and decor to one of a kind vintage fashion items.

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When the handbag design team invited me to come with on their trip to Brimfield I couldn’t wait. It is the perfect place to find design inspiration and draw new ideas from vintage pieces of the past… Of course, I had to do a little shopping there too!

The show had everything you could imagine. From weird and quirky yard art, to trendy dishware, to spunky vintage clothing and accessories it was a maze of amusement. I loved wandering from tent to tent and exploring all of the old items. Some were weird and hilarious, some were dainty and beautiful and some were just plain historic… but I loved experiencing every angle of the show.

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When it comes to eating there, they have any type of food vendor you could think of. a mac n’ cheese truck, lobster rolls, tacos, bbq, Italian paninis, wraps.. just about anything you could crave! Not to mention ice cream and treats of course. I had a fabulous lunch there mid-day, and was perfectly fueled to finish my antique hunt in the afternoon.

If you live in the area, or have an apartment in NYC, Brimfield would be the perfect place to shop for home decor and antique furniture. The prices, for the most part, are awesome, and incorporating a vintage piece into any apartment adds instant character. Unfortunately I will have to fly back home to the midwest soon, so I only shopped for things that I could realistically fit in my luggage… I think I did pretty well though!

Check out my little Brimfield haul below.

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Exploring Hoboken, New Jersey

I’m back in New York City for the summer and have already started to go back to my adventuring ways. I love spending my free time discovering new neighborhoods and areas in the city. I had never been to New Jersey before, so I decided it was time to make the trip (especially once I learned it was only a 10 minute train ride from the Financial District…so close!).

As graduation is just around the corner, I’ve started to look into different neighborhoods that I could move to in or around New York City. Hoboken was an area I always heard was very quaint and hip, so I figured I would give it a tour on my day off. I had a little Friday afternoon adventure to Hoboken and I completely fell in love with the neighborhood.

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As you step off the Path Train from Manhattan you look to your right and you are right along the water. The view from Hoboken is breathtaking! You can see the entire Manhattan skyline from the pier and it is totally enchanting. The cute grassy area would be perfect for an afternoon picnic.

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As I walked farther into town I was surprised at how many adorable little markets and cafes I passed.  There was a lot of outdoor seating at a bunch of local restaurants perfect for a summertime dinner date. The neighborhood was lively, yet much less noisy than Manhattan. it was a pleasant change of pace.

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I couldn’t visit Hoboken for the day and not pay a visit to Carlo’s Bake Shop…AKA home shop of Cake Boss. Everything in the bakery looked delicious, but if there was ever too long of a line or you weren’t feeling the touristy atmosphere, there are tons of other local bakeries in the area.

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A bakery that I stumbled into today was called Choc-o-Pain. It was an adorable french bakery that carried everything from quiche to croissant. I chose the “Chocopain Aux Amandes,” which in other terms was a chocolate almond croissant and let me tell you… it was life changing.  Easily one of the best croissants I’ve ever eaten.. which is saying a lot since I have had some pretty amazing ones in France. If you want a low-key bakery with a lot of character and an adorable ambiance, this is your place.

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The architecture in Hoboken was a lot more historic than I was anticipating for. I loved how much character the different blocks had and how each housing unit had its own touch of personality. Trees lined every street and the neighborhood had such a homey feeling.

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If you’re spending some time visiting New York City in the near future, and are looking to see a few places away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, I would definitely put Hoboken on your list!

 

The Best of Florence: 14 Things to Do, See and Eat

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As many of you know, Florence became my home away from home for four months while I studied abroad. The city was charming, beautiful, exciting and so historic. There are so many amazing things to do and see in this Italian city, the list could go on and on… but I’ve narrowed my list down to the top 14 things every person should do, see and eat if they visit Florence.

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1. Climb to the top of Piazzale Michelangelo for sunset

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2. Visit the Boboli Gardens and climb to both ends

– Go straight up the steps behind the amphitheater to the very top for a Tuscan hillside view, and all the way down the path to the left down Cypress Lane for a forested walk leading to the Isolotto’s Basin fountain.

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3. walk through Pitti Palace and visit the Sala Bianca and the costume gallery

– Sala Bianca was the room where many famous fashion designers had their first shows to launch their careers.

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4. wander through the Central Market and browse the colorful produce

– Grab an apple or orange, they are so flavorful in Italy.

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5. Eat at Osteria Santo Spirito and order the cheese and truffle oil gnocchi

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6. Eat at Gelaterie La Carraia along the Arno (biscottino is my flavor obsession)

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7. Climb to the top of the Duomo and Giotto’s campanile

– If you only have time to climb one, though your ticket will get you into both, I suggest climbing the campanile. That view will include the Duomo in it which adds an extra amazement factor.

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8. Go on a late night outing to one of the town’s secret bakeries, and eat it on the steps of Santa Croce

– The most well-known secret bakery (closest to Santa Croce) is Pasticceria Vinci & Bongini. Walk down Via dei Benci towards the river and make a right on Via del Canto Rivalto, follow your nose toward the delicious smell of freshly baked pastries. If no one else is there waiting, lightly knock on the glass door and order the ‘Cornetta con Nutella’ (Nutella filled croissant)… the chocolate is all warm and melty.

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9. Get Gusta Pizza to-go and go sit along the Ponte Vecchio at nighttime

-Gusta Pizza (located near Santo Spirito) is my favorite pizza in Florence. 5 euros for a delicious fresh margherita style pizza… I’m tearing up just reminiscing about it… you must go!

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10.  Shop the leather markets for great deals

– Mercato Nuovo is my favorite, but the San Lorenzo Market also has awesome deals!

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11. Visit the museums – See the David and visit the Uffizi

– The David is a must-see located at Accademia Gallery (along with many other sculptures by Michelangelo). The Uffizi is home to many famous works of art, including my favorite piece “The Birth of Venus” by Botticelli.

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12. Visit The Fashion Museums: Capucci, Gucci and Ferragamo

– If you’re into fashion, and are looking to be amazed, visit each of these museums to see the work of these talented, and iconic, designers.

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13. Grab a quick pastry (bomboloni are my favorite) and an amazing cappuccino from a small cafe

– If you want to do it the Italian way, stand at the counter while you eat and enjoy. It is actually cheaper this way, and you’ll get to observe the locals more.

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14. Go grab aperitivo before dinner one night

-Aperitivo is a common Italian tradition where many bars will serve an appetizer buffet for free, with the purchase of a drink. Go grab an Aperol Spritz (my Italian favorite) for 7 euro and eat all the appetizers that your heart desires. (Who else agrees that the US needs to adopt this tradition?!)

 

Have any favorite spots in Florence that I missed? Leave your thoughts in a comment!