First Apple Picking of the Season! | Blue Jay Orchards in Bethel, CT

Destinations, Lifestyle, New England, Sips & Bites

While I am someone who hangs on to summer until the last moment (I’m notorious for reminding people that it’s still summer until September 21st!) I also get really excited about the first apple picking of the season. To me it’s a trifecta – spending time outside, enjoying locally grown apples for DAYS and reminiscing about fun apple picking memories of years past. (What’s better than that?!?)

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Photo of the Week: The Grand Canyon

Destinations, Photo of the Week, Travel News, Tips & More, U.S.A.

-> A weekly snapshot {sometimes two, or three…} and musings from my WANDERful life. <-

I can’t believe it’s been almost two years since Charles and I hiked into the Grand Canyon on my 30th birthday! I am a HUGE Grand Canyon fan – it’s truly something that must be seen in person in order to be fully comprehended.

The enormity of it {Grand Canyon National Park includes over a million acres of land}, the fact that the Grand Canyon formed SO many years ago {the oldest rocks in the canyon are close to 2000 million years old} and the landscape’s sheer beauty {see photos below… and those were snapped on a rainy, overcast day} make it a definite must-see. continue reading

Summer Fun at Lavender Pond Farm: Killingworth, CT

Destinations, New England

Towns like Madison, Guilford and Old Saybrook on the Connecticut Shoreline are perfect for sun & sand, but if you’re seeking a few hours away from the beach this summer, I suggest heading 10 {or so} miles inland for a visit to Lavender Pond Farm in Killingworth, CT.

A 25-acre property filled with glorious fields, Lavender Pond Farm has been delighting visitors since 2014, when owners Denise & Chris Salafia broke ground with an initial planting of 9,000 lavender plants. continue reading

Photo of the Week: The Chocolate Brown Beaches of Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Beyond, Destinations, Photo of the Week, Travel News, Tips & More

-> A weekly snapshot {sometimes two, or three…} and musings from my WANDERful life. <-

I’ve walked the powder-white sand beaches of Siesta Key, Florida, the pink sand beaches of Bermuda and the black sand beaches of Maui – all breathtaking in their own way. Last summer for business I visited Guanacaste, Costa Rica and was mesmerized by the area’s chocolate brown shoreline.

Have you ever seen chocolate-colored sand? If so, I’d love to hear where! And if you have the opportunity to visit Guanacaste, I highly recommend it for the pristine landscapes alone. Gorgeous, natural sights everywhere you look and an incredible amount of wildlife critters! {A Howler Monkey sighting is basically a guarantee in this region!} continue reading

Photo of the Week: A Seattle Waterfront Sunset

Destinations, Photo of the Week, Travel News, Tips & More, U.S.A.

-> A weekly snapshot {sometimes two, or three…} and musings from my WANDERful life. <-

One of my favorite experiences while traveling is seeing the sun rise and set in different locations. Whether graced with a backdrop of the ocean, a mountain, lake or skyline, a sunrise or sunset is a magical sight!

During my mom’s and my stop in Seattle, en route to Alaska, we witnessed this beauty from The Fisherman’s Restaurant on Miner’s Landing at Pier 57. Watching the sun dip behind Mt. Rainier as we enjoyed fresh seafood and glasses of Washington wine made for an unforgettable memory! {And that’s the Seattle Great Wheel in the foreground.}

Is there a sunrise or sunset that stands out as one of your favorites? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! continue reading

Photo of the Week: Viewing the Gateway Arch from East St. Louis, Illinois

Destinations, Photo of the Week, Travel News, Tips & More, U.S.A.

-> A weekly snapshot {sometimes two, or three…} and musings from my WANDERful life. <-

Visiting the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, Missouri is a must if headed through the Midwest! Taking in the sights of the Gateway Arch from its base – and journeying to the top of the architectural wonder {as I wrote about here} – is certainly memorable, but I think the most amazing views of  the nation’s tallest monument are spotted from Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park, just across the Mississippi River in East St. Louis, Illinois.

Climb up the park’s Mississippi River Overlook, which stands 40 feet tall, for excellent views of the Mississippi River, Gateway Arch and the St. Louis skyline. Also in the park is the Gateway Geyser, the tallest fountain in the U.S. The Gateway Geyser wasn’t in use when I visited, but lucky visitors who catch the fountain in action are treated to eruptions reaching 630 feet – matching the height of the Gateway Arch!

Adventure Traveler? You’ll Love Adventure Junky, A New Travel App!

Travel Essentials, Travel News, Tips & More

Attention adventure travelers – you can now incorporate sustainable travel practices into your globetrotting adventures thanks to Adventure Junky, now available via the iTunes App Store and Google Play.

An Australian startup founded by Fuchsia Sims and Nigel Malone, Adventure Junky is a rapidly growing social network and travel game. The app that was created in hopes of saving the planet from mass tourism one adventure at a time promotes sustainable travel by awarding users points and patches for low-impact experiences while showcasing the destinations and travel operators that offer them.

Over 1,000 adventures across over 100 countries are currently featured, and each adventure is allocated a score based on a patent-pending algorithm. For example, cycling Death Valley is worth 5,810 points while hiking Half Dome is worth 3,430 points. The more adventures a user completes, the more points he or she earns and the higher up the leader board he goes. Friends can play against one another or compete globally for bragging rights.

“By turning sustainable travel into a game, we aim to help protect the people and conserve the environments we love for generations to come,” said Malone.

I was excited to sign up for a free Adventure Junky account to learn about adventures near and far. After immediately falling for volcano surfing in Nicaragua and fat biking the Arctic Circle Trail in Greenland, I honed in on two closer-to-home adventures: birding at Gateway National Recreational Area in New York and hiking in the Catskills, also in New York. I am a sucker for birds, so I think I’ll have to plan a trip to Gateway National Recreation Area!

Not such a big adventure traveler that you think you’d use the app? You can still use it as I did today – as a source of inspiration for identifying my next adventure – as well as connecting with like-minded adventurers.

Learn more about Adventure Junky via their website, here.

Photo of the Week: Cadillac Ranch | Amarillo, Texas

Destinations, Photo of the Week, Travel News, Tips & More, U.S.A.

-> A weekly snapshot {sometimes two, or three…} and musings from my WANDERful life. <-

Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, is one of the quirkiest and most unique sights I saw during my road trips around the United States! A public art installation created in 1974 by a group called The Ant Farm, Cadillac Ranch is a collection of ten Cadillacs buried nose-down in the dirt.

This must-see sight along Route 66 is a fun stop for tourists of all ages. Grab a can of spray paint {either bring your own, or pick up a discarded but not-yet-empty can of spray paint from the ground} and leave your mark on one of the ten caddies – as people have been doing for over 40 years. Make sure you snap a photo of it, it’ll only be a matter of time before someone else sprays over it!

And yes, you’ll technically be trespassing, but from what I’ve heard and read, peaceful tourists are welcomed at this roadside sight. Just do the environment a favor and don’t discard the spray paint can on the ground. Litter isn’t good for anyone!

Links I Loved: May, 2017 {$8 rose, pitcher cocktails, Bleecker Street’s demise & more!}

Lifestyle, Links I Loved

-> The links that struck my fancy throughout the month – travel, food, fashion, art & more! <-

1.| $8 rose named one of the best wines at the International Wine Challenge – which Town & Country calls “the Oscars of the wine world.” $8 for a delicious rose – i’ll drink to that! {Article via Town & Country}

 

2.| Famed NYC cupcakery Magnolia Bakery will soon begin delivering its to-die-for banana pudding to your front door! AND as if that’s not enough, they’ll be releasing four new flavors this summer. {YESSS!} {Article via Food & Wine}

3.| Love entertaining? You’ll have to give these pitcher drinks a try. I personally can’t wait to try the Cucumber Margaritas! {Article via Food & Wine}

4.| Entrepreneur shares 6 reasons why travel should be a top priority for every entrepreneur. I especially love reason #3 – traveling DOES teach excellent communications skills! {Article via Entrepreneur}

5.| Smarter Travel shares 10 insanely affordable summer 2017 destinations. Included in the list are Barcelona, Istanbul, British Columbia {pictured} and U.S. cities Pittsburgh, Oakland and Charleston. {Article via Smarter Travel}

6.| The National Park Foundation named 7 marvelous National Park views without guard rails – i.e. views only the most adventurous should attempt to see. My favorite of the seven? This beauty, spotted from Channel Islands National Park. {Article via The National Park Foundation}

7.| Peru launched a super clever tourism campaign, using suitcases – yes, suitcases – as their marketing tool. {Article via Conde Nast Traveler}

8.| Ever wonder which search engine is best for booking a flight? {Because there are SO many out there!} Fathom reviews some of the best, including a favorite of mine, Google Flights. I LOVE being able to enter dates and a starting city, and then select “anywhere” to see which destinations offer the best rates. So fun if you’re not set on a certain destination and just want to escape! {Article via Fathom Way To Go}

9.| Stephanie Zaijka of Diary of a Debutante shares 10 tips for working from home. I found them helpful, and I’ve already been WFH for five + years! {Article via Diary of a Debutante}

10.| Bleecker Street used to be the hottest retail spot downtown. Boy has that changed in just a matter of years! {Article via the NY Times}

Hope you enjoy these articles as much as I did. Happy reading!