The Washington Mews is probably the most beautiful street in NYC. I would compare it to Rue Cremieux in Paris or Portobello Road in London. You won't find it so easily though. It is a small gated street right near Washington Square Park but you can easily miss it. The gate is always open however it is technically a private street. Most of it is owned by NYU. I never had a problem walking through it , nobody will bother you.
I am back in NYC just for a few days and staying at the new James NoMad hotel. It is still under construction but when it is finished it is going to be great! The new "NoMad" area is one of my favorites in the city. I used to work on 28th and 5th a few years ago and the area has really changed. There are so many great hotels like the New York Edition, The NoMad and The Ace Hotel. One of my favorite things to do is to go for lunch at Madison Square Eats. A small street food marketplace right in the middle of Flatiron. With a great view of the Flatiron building you can choose from tons of kiosks with every kind of cuisine. Get some food and enjoy it on a bench in Madison Square Park. Here are just a few photos from my stay with some from NoMad, the nearby Gramercy Area and West Village.
On all of our trips, we love to check out every city's best cocktail scene and restaurants. While we were in St. Louis we discovered some of the best cocktails we ever had, so much that we decided to start our own blog called Love and Bitters. Our first stop was Eclipse in The Moonrise Hotel. Our cocktail of choice there was the Quince Jack Rose made with Quince brandy. It was delicious and strong. The next place we discovered was Taste. I love how they lay out their menu with the flavor descriptions so it is easy to know what you want. The first cocktail on the menu is amazing called The Club Trip under Tart. Bright. Citrus, and of course it tasted exactly like that. Our favorite bar though was Planter's House. I had two of the best cocktails I ever had here. The Party Hardy Marty with cumin-cilantro infused Pisco Porton, and The In a Pickle drink made with dill.
This past week I accompanied my husband to St. Louis for his conference. It is one of the most underrated cities I have been to! St. Louis has a ton of French influence and is similar in many ways to New Orleans. There are so many different neighborhoods, we didn't even make it to downtown. I suggest UBERing everywhere, as there are some neighborhoods you do not want to walk through, but everything is about a 10 minutes drive away. For beautiful Victorian architecture, hit Lafayette Square. There you will see the Painted Ladies of St. Louis. Most people know only about the Painted Ladies in San Francisco but I think these are even more beautiful. The West End is a great place to eat, drink and check out the awe inspiring Cathedral Basilica. The Missouri Botanical Gardens are also a must see, as they are always rated number one in the country. There you can visit the historical house of founder Henry Shaw. Check out the Japanese garden and the atrium as well. We really enjoyed every minute of this trip and are even considering moving to St. Louis!
The Marina District in San Francisco is a beautiful neighborhood right on the water. Walk all the way down from Pacific heights and you will hit Chestnut street. Similar to Pacific Heights the area is very upscale and yuppie but also beautiful. The houses are more art deco over here and pastel in color. A few blocks down from Chestnut and you will hit the Marina. Walk a few blocks more and right there you can see the Golden Gate Bridge on the bay. The famous Palace of Fine Arts is also worth a viewing. I have to say I would love to live here!
Pacific Heights in San Francisco is home to some of the most beautiful Victorian mansions in the world. It is also the Beverly Hills of San Francisco, AKA one of the wealthiest neighborhoods. I like to wake up very early when there is nobody around, although walking throughout the day you tend to notice that is a normal thing. The neighborhood is incredibly peaceful. I made my way from the more trendy Lower Pacific Heights, up the many hills to reach the top. Lower Pacific Heights has all the great high end shopping and restaurants. I would say is a little more Hipster/Yuppie and once you reach the top you start seeing families sending their kids off to private schools. At the top you can see all the way to the bay. The neighborhood actually reminds me of being in Paris with all the quiet, quaint streets with beautiful buildings. I would also highly recommend the Butterfly Bar at The Majestic Hotel. It really does transport you back in time, into a Golden Age.
The Kimpton Buchanan is a boutique hotel located in San Francisco's Japantown. It is located just a few blocks away from Pacific Heights and Filmore street with tons of shopping and restaurants. We wanted to stay in a less touristy area this time in San Fran. I definitely recommend this hotel for a unique, stay like the locals experience. We went to some great Japanese restaurants just across the street in Japantown. I actually prefer Japantown over Chinatown in San Fran. It is much more quiet and minimal. There are also some great authentic Japanese stores. I stopped into Paper Tree for some origami paper. Overall a very relaxing experience was had!
The Modern Museum of Art in Fort Worth, TX is one of the most beautiful museums in the world. It was designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando whose work is mostly in Japan. This museum is incredibly unique, especially to be right in the middle of Fort Worth. It certainly is an escape from the cowboy culture here. The art inside is also curated beautifully with famous works of art, and recently the museum has housed works from Frank Stella and KAWS. The cafe is also my favorite spot for brunch, overlooking the museum on the water. It is honestly worth a trip to Fort Worth see this architectural gem that nobody knows about.
The second half of our honeymoon we spent in beautiful Maui. We stayed at The Fairmont Kea Lani located in Wailea. Yes, we basically plan all of our trips around Fairmonts because we are President club members and get at least one night free! We also just love the Fairmont hotels because every single one is beautiful, and unique in their own way. The service is also always top notch and friendly. The Fairmont Kea Lani is right on the Wailea strip with numerous hotels right on the water. I didn't take many photos on this trip because I really wanted to relax and enjoy time with my husband. Although, I am sure he would say this was still a lot.
In addition to visiting about six tasting rooms in Downtown Sonoma, we also ventured to a few different wineries. Scribe was so special that it needed its own post! Scribe is a fairly new winery inside of a Spanish Villa with incredible views and a palm tree lined drive way. It kind of reminds me of a hipster Beverly Hills. The tasting came with 4 wines and farm to table food pairings. It was definitely our most expensive tasting but worth it for the experience. It is probably my favorite vineyard and not crowded at all with tourists.
Sonoma Valley located just an hour north of San Francisco is home to some of the most beautiful wineries. We did Napa before and decided to check out Sonoma. I think we like Sonoma much better. It is less touristy than Napa and more rustic. The Downtown area is only a few blocks, but filled with amazing restaurants and cute shops. I recommend The Girl & the Fig, Oso, La Salette, and Della Santinas. All completely different cuisines but each one, incredible in their own way. The tasting rooms downtown are great because you can hop from one to another very easily as they are all next to each other. Be aware that they do close early, around 5 or 6. Our favorites were Kamen, Pangloss, MacClaren, and Roche. Aside from the tasting rooms we toured Ravenswood, Gundlach Bundschu, and Scribe Wineries, which were only about a ten minute UBER from downtown.
The first stop on our honeymoon was beautiful Sonoma Valley. We took an hour UBER ride to The Fairmont Mission Inn & Spa in Sonoma from SFO. I think this might be one of my favorite hotels of all time. First of all it is pink, so of course. Secondly the spa was incredible with three different mineral baths inside and out, spa, and two hot tubs. The perfect place for recovering the day after drinking way too much wine. The service was also fantastic, and the restaurant Santé is now on the top of my favorite restaurants. This place is 5 stars all around.
As you can see I am an avid lover of hotels and taking photos of them. For my bachelorette party we went to Austin for 3 days. We stayed in a beautiful AirBnB house near South Congress. One hotel I really wanted to check out was the Hotel San Jose. They are famous for their frozen rosé ( Frozé) which was incredible. Surrounded by tons of lush nature, it is a quaint and beautiful hotel. It was great to check out for a drink but next time I would love to stay there.