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Weekend Getaway: Woodstock Way Hotel + Woodstock Guide

If you’re looking to get out of the city for a weekend (or for life), Woodstock could not be a better destination. Cute town, fresh air, top notch restaurants, spa and if you’re looking for the most epic, pet-friendly, prime location Woodstock place to stay, I can’t recommend Woodstock Way Hotel enough.

Located in the heart of Woodstock, Woodstock Way is steps from the town center (like literally 10 steps), next to a waterfall — I mean how is that even possible? The hotel features 12 rooms divided along the property with a chic interior and the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept on. It’s paradise, especially since they have a full coffee bar in the lobby, and like really legit, good coffee, and cappuccino’s (you know I’m picky). The decor… I mean I had a tub in my living room, and also a balcony to over look the waterfall. I didn’t want to leave.

The location doesn’t get more prime, the staff is so friendly, we loved the owners, and the stay could not have been more comfortable. The had the fire pit going at night, and Charlie (my pomeranian), made himself right at home and was so welcomed.

While in Woodstock, we had lunch at Oriole 9, delicious, healthy eats, also great for breakfast and located on the main drag. Dinner at Cucina, a stunning, romantic, Italian restaurant that lives in a restores farmhouse a mile or so up the road. Relax at Glo Spa, for facials, a massage, it’s amazing. Also on the main drag with all the shops is Euphoria Yoga if you need to stretch out. When you’re done with the town, drive to the town of Kingston for some very cool antique shops. Woodstock Way Hotel can also help with planning your itinerary, they have some great links on the site on what to do: https://www.woodstockway.com/woodstock-way-of-life/

Girls Trip: Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa

naked princess slip dress
Outfit: Naked Princess slip dress, Nic+Zoe shoes, Ray-ban Sunglasses

After 3 week of intensive travel, landing in Tulum with some of my favorite ladies for a girl’s press trip was exactly what I needed. We we’re hosted by the Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa and our friends at Mom Trends (you don’t know their site, check it out!). While I’m generally an adventurers with a long list of to when visiting Mexico, we didn’t leave the property. If you scroll to the bottom of the post though, I’ll list off some of my favorite to do’s for anyone doing an extensive stay). For our 2 night, 36 hour stay, downtime was definitely appreciated for a quick getaway. It was a nice change of pace to just relax at an all-inclusive resort, and have actual pool time and relaxation.

There’s something amazing about not having an agenda, and knowing the biggest decision you’ll have to make is pool or ocean. The all-inclusive resort featured incredibly views, several restaurants – El Patio (Mexican cuisine), Himitsu (Asian fusion), and Portofino, which features a wine cellar — several pools with full service and entertainment. We enjoyed everything from yoga on the beach, dance lessons, kayaking, tequila tasting, to an acrobatic show, and even a courtyard market that was set up by local vendors. The resort is nicely hidden and secluded along a white sand beach and very private. They also offer a number of green programs, tours and other on and off property activities so be sure to inquire upon arrival (or booking).

With garden landscapes, beach views, tropical surroundings, and a grandiose lobby featuring staircases on either side (it looks like a home straight out of Dynasty), there isn’t a shortage of picturesque moments – it’s an Instagrammers dream. They also have life size backgammon, chess, as well as shuffleboard and ping pong outside. We had a lot of fun doing photo-shoots on the property.

Do This! Travel Guide to Santa Barbara

2018 Genesis G80
Road trip in the 2018 Genesis G80

In what felt like my millionth trips to LA, it seemed about time I visit Santa Barbara and do the coastal drive from Malibu. We partnered with Genesis to test out the 2018 G80 (full review at the bottom of the post), to tour the city.  If you’re wondering what to do in Santa Barbara, the answer is EVERYTHING and most of it is doable in a weekend, but who doesn’t want a full week in paradise? Most of the action centers around State Street, which has the majority of the shops, bars and restaurants in the area. It also borders the pier and beach, as well as “funk zone” where you can do the Urban Wine Trail and sample local vineyards. If you need help planning your trip make sure to stop by the Visitor Center at 1 Garden Street (across from the beach). They are incredibly helpful in helping you find the best hotel deals, plan your wine tour and other activities. Our complete guide below!

What to do in Santa Barbara

  1. Urban Wine Trail (most of the wineries are dog friendly)
    Urban Wine Trail
    Santa Barbara Winery

    It’s a charming series of wineries and some breweries with tasting menus. It’s a very cool way to try local vineyards all in the comfort of downtown Santa Barbara. Make sure to start or at least make it to “the funk zone” and visit the Santa Barbara Winery (the oldest winery in the county), Santa Barbara Wine Collective, Corks n’ Crowns, and Paradise Springs. If you’re a fan of sparkling wines, Riverbench Winery is not to be missed. These are all within blocks of each other. For the sunset, head to Deep Sea Wine on the pier (about a 5 minute drive or 15min walk), sit outside and take in the view as you enjoy their exceptional wines. If you’re higher up on State Street, check out Jamie Sloan, Au Bon Climate and a few others in the area. Make sure to stop by the visitors center or website for a complete map.

  2. Santa Barbara Courthouse
    Santa Barbara Courthouse view from the roof of the courtyard

    It’s free, right in town, and you can take the elevator to the top for the best 360 panoramic view of the city. It’s an active courthouse and equally as stunning on the inside as outside, make sure to take a moment on the rooftop and in the garden.

  3. Walk/run/eat/drink/sunset cruise/eat ice cream/bike on the pier The boardwalk and pier is lovely and has several restaurants and tourist shops along the course to stop in. The walk/bike path goes along the water, and is a great way to start or end your day. For bike rentals of all sizes check out Wheel Fun Rentals. They have three convenient locations, and carry everything from electric to cruiser bikes (or our favorite the surreys).
  4. Shopping From the pier (at the bottom of State Street), to the top the street has stores for miles. Everything you could ever want from contemporary chains to specialty boutiques, antique, to second hand shops, bars and restaurants.
  5. Salt Cave Located right in town on State Street, it’s the largest underground crystal salt cave in North America. We’re talking floor to ceiling healing Himalayan salt to open your lungs! The air in the caves are infused with microparticles of the salt. Make sure to stop in for a “Walk in Session” which is a 45 minute relaxation in the cave. They also offer spa services, skincare products, yoga classes and other events (check out their website for more).
  6. Whale/Dolphin Watching There are a few sailing options, we did the Double Dolphin sunset cruise and hopped aboard the 50-ft catamaran and drank wine while we cruised by sea lions and even a whale in the yonder.
  7. Santa Barbara Trolley – See below under transportation options. This is one of the most fun and affordable ways to get around Santa Barbara and hit all the major attractions.
Old Mission
Old Mission in Santa Barbara

Additional attractions not in downtown: Santa Barbara Zoo, Museum of Natural History, the historic Old Mission,

Travel Diaries: Celebrity Reflection Caribbean Cruise

We just returned from our first cruise, 11 days around the Caribbean on Celebrity Cruises incredible Reflection ship. It was absolutely wonderful and I can’t wait to do another one. Words prior to going on this cruise, I never thought I’d say. While I’m a big traveler the thought of staying on a boat for over a week had me intimidated. Fortunately the itinerary on this trip was too good to pass up and my fears were replaced by an incredible experience from the ship, food, staff, wine and incredible destinations!

Departing from Fort Lauderdale, we stopped at 5 ports, Grand Cayman, Aruba, Columbia, Curacao and Bonaire. While I’ve extensively traveled several times all over the Caribbean, these were all firsts for me and why we picked this cruise. The value and ships outstanding reputation for food, wine and entertainment made this a big draw and if nothing else were looking forward to the sample plate of island travel to scout our next winter getaway.

W Hotel Fort Lauderdale was Suite!

{Outfit details: ASTR the Label Jumpsuit, Givenchy boots, Pretty Connected Jamie Camera Strap (DIYed with Crystals), Sub Apollo Sunglasses, Obagi Hat}

We’re off on our Celebrity Reflection cruise, making all local stops: Grand Cayman, Columbia, Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire. The itinerary is ridiculous — you can follow along my 11 day cruise on Instagram/Instagram Stories @prettyconnected).

We left from Ft. Lauderdale and even though the cruise didn’t depart until 4pm we didn’t want to take any chances with all the spastic weather NYC was having and decided to fly in a night early and stay at the W Ft. Lauderdale. We upgraded to a corner suite with our points since we have status with SPG, and our room was ridiculous!

PC Guide to Mexico City

I had a really great feature in the Boston Globe over my recent trip to Mexico City. While the article focused more around the scares of traveling, which we had when we initially planned our trip, I’m so glad we went. The city could not have been more vibrant and I felt completely safe. Since I’ve had some inquiries around my trip, I decided to put a quick guide together for anyone that’s planning a trip.

Inspired by: Cruising in the Caribbean with Celebrity Cruises

I just got back from traveling around Mexico and I can’t wait to go back south! From swimming in the ocean, wind in my hair, feet in the sand and eating my weight in guacamole to leaving the beaches to head to Mexico City to fulfill one of my dreams of seeing Frida Kahlo’s house it was a magical week away. I can’t believe I almost canceled my trip after the earthquake hit. I was so devastated by the news that I wanted to use our trip to volunteer but the reality was donating money and tourism was what the city really needed. And to my surprise all of the attractions were open, the city was alive and in traveling all over the Mexico City I saw very little damage. Granted most of the accounts were in residential areas, none of the damage interfered with out trip and spirits were high as we walked the streets.

Right now many of the islands off of Mexico and much of the Caribbean have either no damage or are recovering and opened their ports, ready for our arrival. Now is a great time for tourism to help the islands rebound and return to normalcy.

Virginia is for Wine Lovers

 

Chrysalis Vineyards dog friendly
Photo Credit: Peter Womack

Virginia boasts more than 280 wineries surrounded in plush greenery, mountain views and quaint towns. October is wine month in Virginia, there’s no better time to visit, especially with all the fun promotions and activities planned in anticipation.

Recently, we explored Middleburg, VA, it’s one of DC/VA‘s top wine destinations. Located in Loudoun County, an easy 40 minute easy drive from Dulles airport – you can rent a car or take a Uber/Lyft.

Photo Credit: Peter Womack

It’s the most beautiful time to explore wine country, the leaves are beginning to change and it’s very picturesque with beautiful colonial homes, antique shops and wineries. It’s also exceptionally dog friendly.

There are some really incredible properties you can’t miss, like Greenhill and Stone Tower Winery, which I could easily have spent the day at and many smaller wineries that are worth stopping by. We picked all dog-friendly wineries so we could bring Charlie, but regulations around dogs are always changing so make sure to call first and pick a beautiful day to spend outside with your pup.

How to Plan Your Trip:

There are over 50 wineries in the area, I visited 6 so there’s so much more to see and try. The Virginia Wine Board is a great resource to help plan your trip, check out their site at virginiawine.org.

Hiring a tour company is also an option, we worked with Bruce W. Schutte of Wine Pro Tours, who knows just about everything about Virginia wine, and is an exceptional resource for wineries in the area. His company picks you up from your hotel and drives you to the wineries of your choice for a very fun day of drinking without driving. Here are the wineries we visited:

Alexandria, Virginia is for Dog Lovers

Named one of the most dog-friendly cities in the US, Alexandria, VA did not disappoint. We spent the majority of the time in Old Town, a charming and walkable area filled with museums, restaurants, and great shopping. With dog bowls lining King Street, and dogs at every corner, Charlie could not have felt more at home. There’s also a free trolly that runs along King Street, which features a walkable (or trolly-able…) mile through Old Town with 200+ independently owned restaurants and boutiques.

What to do in Old Town, Alexandria, VA:

For starters, visit VisitAlexandriaVA.com or the Alexandria Visitor Center, located in the heart of Old Town at 221 King Street, they are filled with recommendations and able and willing to help you plan your perfect trip. You can also pick up a Key to the City Museum pass which is $15 ($49 value) and includes free passes to the Alexandria Black History Museum, Carlyle House Historic Park, Friendship Firehouse Museum, George Washington Masonic National Memorial Observation Deck, Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden, Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, and The Lyceum: Alexandria’s History Museum, plus a 40% off discount coupon on the George Washinton’s Mount Vernon. Definitely call ahead to the museums for how pet-friendly they are but with Charlie in his bag, we had no problem with any of the ones listed below.

Explore the Waterfront and Founders Park

There are 18 public, off-leash dog parks in Alexandria (not including a bunch of private ones) and while I didn’t visit them all, Founders Park came highly recommended and was on the Alexandria Seaport/waterfront (which is a must visit). With riverside views of the Potomac, it’s a great place to walk the path or run around on the grass with your pup. You can book a boat ride on The Potomac Riverboat Company, which offers a variety of cruises including a 60-minute dog-friendly Canine Cruise on select days from May through September. If you’re in the mood for a picnic in the park, Society Fair and Windmill Hill Park came highly recommended. If you’re looking for a wonderful, pet-friendly seafood dining option on the water, Vola’s Dockside Grill is located in front of the Torpedo Factory Art Center on the Alexandria Seaport and is a great place to sit outside and people watch as the boats leave the marina.

Road trip from Atlanta to Nashville (and where to stop along the way)

My mom has a Toyota Prius, and when she first bought it a few years ago she said it was like driving a magic carpet, it was so smooth and quiet. It wasn’t until this road trip driving a 2017 Toyota Prius Three, that I fully understood this comment. For the eclipse we decided to fly into Atlanta and drive to Nashville (about a 4 hour drive), making a stop in Chattanooga, Tenessee, the half way point, to see the legendary Ruby Falls. Not only is the engine so quiet, but the car is also insanely fuel efficient, which I really appreciated considering all the miles we were about to drive. It was less than a half a tank of gas to do the trip one way!

ATLANTA, Georgia

Downtown

We started in downtown Atlanta, which wasn’t very exciting, except we did stumble on a fabulous Mexican restaurant called Alma Cocina, that’s worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Little Five Points

What we were told this would be the Williamsburg, BK of Atlanta and it did not disappoint. The artsy area filled with funky bars and restaurants, coffee shops, juice bars, tattoo shops and vintage stores was a fun area to walk around, and so inexpensive. Ragorama is a huge second hand store, where I thrifted 3 designer belts (Gucci, D&G, and Ferragamo) for $24 – $33 each.

Atlantic Station

Less grungy then Little Five Points, Atlantic Station is a pretty part of town and great area to eat, shop, walk around and catch a movie.