I needed a reboot. Inspiration. A fresh start. Some distance from the pace of New York City but also distance from the gloomiest spring we’ve had in a long time. Distance from the news, distance from the endless chatter of my Instagram feed. Visions of tacos, sunshine and solitude filled my head. I knew I wasn’t in a sight seeing mood. I needed a break to actually do NOTHING, get real rest, move with that chill California vibe. I headed to San Diego solo and did just that.
*There’s definitely things I’ve missed, but here’s a list of what I experienced and loved!
As soon as I got off the plane, I immediately took an uber here. I’m a huge burger girl, and I also deeply appreciate “Diner Dive In’s and Dives,” so if Guy Fieri approved, I had to give it a go. This is a place where you just forget the calories. I went all out with a double cheeseburger, a basket of fries, onion rings (with their special sauce) and their MASSIVE chocolate shake. It was an incredible meal.
Visit the seals and sea lions in La Jolla
Walk along the pier in this beautiful neighborhood and you will see the most adorable seals just hanging out, barking at each other and jumping and swimming in the water. You can’t help smiling and laughing, they are captivating!
San Diego Zoo
I loved this zoo! My favorite thing aside from the stunning wildlife was the fact this it was built so perfectly and sort of lead you to the next area without feeling like you missed anything. The $65 ticket includes a bus tour and an air tram ride which was so much fun.
Check out the in the Spanish Art Village
Originally built in 1935, this beautiful village has become a place where over 200 local artists can showcase their work. Between the colorful tile floor and the artistry, it feels as if you’ve taken a step back in time.
Wander through Balboa Park
This beautiful park is filled with museums, science centers, and the beautiful Japanese gardens. I decided to pay the $12 fee to walk through the garden and it was worth it. It was a little piece of zen heaven, and there’s even a great photo op with Buddha!
Stroll through Little Italy
The streets are lined with a ton of Italian restaurants, and there’s a great market to shop for authentic meats, pasta and cheeses. Don’t forget to check out the historical plaques of Italian American war heros, and take a picture on the big red, “that’s amore” chair!
Get your taco fix:
There’s two spots I enjoyed fantastic tacos -
1. Puesto’s - This was a more upscale spot for a taco dinner. I sat down serendipitously on a Tuesday where they happened to have $2 off tacos and $9 dollar cocktails for taco Tuesday.
Needless to say I was very excited. The ceviche was unlike any other ceviche I’d ever had. It was so fresh, so many layers of flavor, every bite was full of different textures, so incredible! I got 3 tacos, a Baja fish, shrimp and a “hero taco” with lobster filet mignon, fried onions and who knows what else. I finished it all with an order of guacamole to boot. My waitress was quite impressed!
2. Oscar’s Mexican Seafood - this was a way more casual spot to grab some tacos right after a trip to the beach. They were fresh and delicious, (loved the octopus taco) and there was a fridge with 3-4 homemade sauces that you could grab and use as much as you wanted on your tacos. Delicious!
I am a huge sucker for the perfect coffee shop to sit with my computer and write, or veg out with my favorite book. Add the most incredible ambiance, palm tree landscaping, and sunshine, and top it off with the freshest California food, and I’m never leaving. This spot was so good I went back every morning. The breakfast burrito with crispy tater tots and a homemade chimmichuri to dunk was my favorite.
Where I stayed: Empress La Jolla (Safe, near the beach, great shopping and restaurants all in walking distance.
How I got around: I originally booked a car which after gas, parking etc it would have come to around $400. I decided to save myself the headache of returning the car, figuring out the different parking rules, and just took Ubers everywhere. Cost me about $200 so I ended up saving!
The year is 1692, you’re sitting in a dark, damp courtroom with the rest of the townspeople, awaiting the verdict of the elderly woman on the stand, your neighbor. She stands there, feeble, quiet and defeated, having nothing more to say. You never gave her much thought when you would see her around. She was kind to you, tended to her to animals and her house.
But lately she hasn’t left her home. Rumors have begun to swirl about her and your mind begins to spin in paranoia. The chatter begins to grow amongst the people, sharing opinions on whether or not she is guilty. The judge stands, banging his gavel. “Silence! Silence!”
The crowd is quiet, everyone holds their breath. “We the jury declare this woman not guilty!”
The sound of wailing and shrieking comes from a group of young girls huddled in a corner. “No!! Thats not true!” “She’s lying!” “Help us!”
Upon seeing this uproar the jury reconvenes and returns with their final verdict.
“We the jury find this woman GUILTY of witchcraft! Her property will be seized and she shall remain in her prison cell for the rest of her days!”
This fate fell upon around 20 different people in Salem, Massachusetts, all punished by hanging, pressing or imprisonment where they wasted away and eventually died.
And now its a fun tourist Halloween attraction! WOW! We humans are extremely weird in the things we find amusing.
Though dark and depressing, the history of this town is fascinating, and there’s nothing more festive than immersing yourself in a village with such a dark past, especially during Halloween.
I’m so happy I finally made it here after years of wanting to check it out and it did not disappoint at all.
Everything worth visiting is right in the heart of downtown Salem, all walkable and easy to get everywhere. (About a 4 hour drive from NYC)You can visit during the day ( I did and it was awesome) or at night which im sure is extra cool and eerie! I would recommend taking a bus or cab in as parking is hard to find, or if you drive (which I did) get there early and park in a garage.
Visit the Salem Witch Museum
Right in the center of town this museum is a must see, where you will hear the tales of the trials, and get a dose of haunting hysteria.
Tix are $15 and you can only get them day of, get them early before they get sold out!
Visit all the shops, apothecaries, and bookstores!
Everything is witch themed in this town so all the art, books and souvenirs are made of all your kitschy dreams! I bought books, candles, lavender and sage soap, a cool Salem Witch City sweatshirt, a creepy mermaid painting and of course I couldn’t leave without a HOCUS POCUS WALLET.
Do a tour
There are a ton of tours to sign up for like the walking candle lit tour, ghost tour, witch tour and even a self guided tour that takes you all over Salem on foot to see the top attractions and also some cool spots where they filmed a few scenes from Hocus Pocus. (The app is $19.99)
There’s a ton of restaurants and pubs in the area where you can munch on chicken tenders and throwback beers before getting the pants scared off you on your next adventure. I ate at Rockafellas it was great!
Have fun and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
New Port, Rhode Island
New Port is the perfect trip from NYC, about 3.5 hours, where you get a mix of modern activities and dining against the backdrop of the Gilded Age. I stayed for 2 nights and absolutely loved it.
Where to Stay: The Admiral Fitzroy Inn
This bed and breakfast is located on Thames St. and within walking distances to phenomenal restaurants, shopping centers and the famous Cliff Walk.
Built in 1854, it is now on the National Register of Historic Places, and is named after a famous English Admiral who created the very first barometer predicting the daily weather forecast.
There’s an actual antique Admiral Fitzroy barometer in the lobby which can still tell you the weather!
There’s a gorgeous rooftop open to guests where you can enjoy your morning coffee or evening glass of wine. There’s fresh baked chocolate chip cookies at the front desk, and a wonderful hot breakfast made with love by Joan! I couldn’t ask for a more cozy stay.
Be sure to check prices as they are cheaper off peak.
This is a beautiful scenic view of the sea, about 3.5 miles one way (you can walk back the same way you came or continue to another area of New Port to explore).
Along this beautiful cliff are the historic mansions from the Gilded Age (1870s) that are perfectly preserved. This was an era where extreme wealth was made for people like Rockefeller and Vanderbilt. They had more money than the government and paid very minimal taxes, hence the 70 room mansions that they considered their summer cottages!
You can buy tickets to see the biggest one, The Breakers, home of the Vanderbilts for $25 or pay extra and see them all (which is the rest of the cliff walk). I recommend dressing in athletic wear and some comfy sneakers, its a trek but its worth it.
Fun fact: The 1974 version of the Great Gatsby was filmed at the Rosecliff mansion.
Visit Sweet Berry Farm
The most adorable and picturesque “pick your own” farm offers fun pickings from strawberries and raspberries, to apples, pumpkins and many more. Inside is a delicious cafe where they serve the best chowder and apple cider donuts, and a small shop where they sell local honey and other gems.
There’s so many areas of shopping with beautiful boutique shops all over New Port including Bellevue Ave, Thames St, (which is right by The Admiral Fitzroy Inn) Bowen and Bannister Wharf and more.
Get a Lobster Roll
You can’t travel to New England without downing a fresh lobster roll! My first choice was Blount Clam Shack, but one of the downsides to being a spontaneous traveler is that I don’t look up things ahead of time and it was completely closed for the season. Quick pout and move on. I decided to go with Anthony’s Seafood whose lobster roll was featured on “Diners, Drive ins and Dives.” They have a huge selection of fresh fish you can buy including swordfish, scallops, tuna and more. I ordered 2 lobster rolls (comes with THE BEST FRIES I’VE EVER HAD) and 3 fluffy crispy clam cakes, for $52 total. Not bad! I was a very happy girl by the end of my meal.
Visit New Port Vineyard
This has to be one of the most beautiful vineyards I’ve ever seen with over 50 acres of vines. They also have a brewery inside. Sit back relax and enjoy some local Newport wine and beer.
Hit up New Port Creamery
Not only is this a full service restaurant known for its one pound burger, but its also an ice cream shop and home to the patented Awful Awful which is made up of whole milk, flavored syrup and a secret frozen ice milk!
I cannot emphasize enough how incredible my food experience in New Port was, and highly recommend these restaurants which are all walking distance from the Admiral Fitzroy Inn. Everything from the wine, to the apps and small plates and the entrees left me feeling so joyful when I walked out of the restaurant.
Everything just worked together so seamlessly. The ambiance of the open kitchen, the outstanding service, my delightful conversation with the owner, the Sicilian wine and decadent food. It was the most perfect dining experience. You do not want to miss the scotch meatball here!
Get some white wine and pair it with the hamachi sashimi that just melts in your mouth. I sat at a communal table and its always fun striking up conversations with other travelers or even locals.
The Black Pearl
The perfect spot to grab some lunch in the middle of all your shopping.
Don’t forget a cup of that local chowda!
There’s tons more to see that I’ll have to catch on my next trip. Fort Adams, Redwood Library, a boat ride, the Tennis Hall of Fame and more, and I truly can’t wait to go back!
I curled up on my couch for day 1,789 of quarantine with my homemade tacos and decided to check out the 80s cult classic “Mystic Pizza,” with Julia Roberts. I loved it, the plot, the acting and mostly the setting which was a quiet town called Mystic.
As someone who, along with many others, has only bounced around the NYC boroughs for the last year, I was in desperate need of a change of scenery, and a place called "Mystic" seemed like the perfect spot for a little adventure.
About a 2 hour drive from NYC, its ideal for a day trip to check out all the shops, bakeries, restaurants and more. I ordered my everything bagel with cream cheese before departing from the Bronx and merged onto I95 north for a road trip!
First stop: Olde Mistick Village
This outdoor shopping center is designed to look like a 1720s style colonial village. It’s got a duck pond, gazebos, a movie theater and a lot of fun different shops/cafes to visit.
Here are some highlights!
The General Store
The second you walk in you are hit with the intoxicating scent of hot roasted sugar almonds, cashews and pecans. This is an eclectic store where you can find sauces, jams, pasta, fudge, cheeses and also books, cat toys, and little souvenirs.
Fun kitchen goods, a hot sauce bar and Bloody Mary samples!
Extra Virgin & Sticky situations
Dozens of delicious olive oils and vinegars that you can sample. Plus pure and raw honeys and jams from different hives in the USA.
About an 8 minute drive from Olde Mistick Village is downtown Mystick that you definitely do not want to miss! Here’s a list of places I visited, start at Mystic Pizza and work your way down the whole street.
If you are a fan of the movie Mystic Pizza this is a fun photo op and a chance to grab “a slice of heaven.” The pizza isn’t award winning but as an actress and a foodie this was just too fun for me to miss!
Fluffy out of this world doughnuts in lots of different flavors. It was so hard for me to choose because they all looked incredible and I still needed room for all the rest of Mystic’s goodies! I ended up choosing the “Mystic Creme,” and an assortment of little donut holes. All amazing!
The Candy Shop
I am a grown woman but when I walked into this store I actually squealed. It’s full of old fashioned candy that I haven’t seen in years. Pop rocks, fruit stripe gum even candy buttons on the sheet. I immediately bought $20 worth of sugar with 0 regrets.
Mystic Drawbridge Ice cream
Enjoy a delicious sugar cone topped with your choice of 10 original flavors like lemon chocolate kiss, or seaport salty swirl, and enjoy the view as you cross the drawbridge. This ice cream was so fresh and creamy, of course I had to get double scoops of the mint chocolate.
Those were some of my highlights but there’s still more to explore. About a 5-7 minute drive is the Mystic Seaport and the Aquarium. There’s also several restaurants in the area as well as hotels. You can go for a day trip, or stay the weekend, but either way, it’s a town worth checking out!
Is it still technically a quarantine? According to my life, all the jobs I’ve held are still not back and if I want to travel to certain places I either can't, or I have to stay home before and after for days and days. So I’m going to go ahead and say that yes, I’m still very much quarantined. Since March. Luckily a friend in Maryland invited me to stay with her for a couple of days so I made a trip out of it and visited Ocean City and Cape May, New Jersey.
If you’re irritable, grumpy or lacking motivation because of all this, a little change of scenery can really do a lot of good.
Either of these places can be a fun easy 1-2 day excursion. If you decide to do Cape May, you can really do it in one day. It’s 3 hours away from New York city and it sounds like a lot, but if you wake up early, grab a coffee and a friend that you can stand to be around for 12 hours then you’ve got a fun road trip! Almost everything we did in Cape May followed social distancing and felt very safe. Here are some of my recommendations of places to hit up!
The beaches here are clean and beautiful, and the boardwalk brings you back to the days of funnel cakes and begging parents for a fake tattoo. You can shop and eat before, after or during your beach day. We left our umbrella and towel set up when we hit the boardwalk and only took our valuables. As usual, my stomach was rumbling the minute we parked on the sand so we made a beeline for the goods.
Who doesn’t love french fries? Thrasher’s fries has been in business in Ocean City, Maryland for over 80 years, since 1929! The recipe has never been altered and they pride themselves on getting potatoes from different regions to ensure the best fries throughout the seasons. Don’t ask for ketchup! It won’t be there anyway. They douse their fries in vinegar and I’m not lying when I say my mouth just watered writing this. I don’t particularly love vinegar but it WORKS.
They have a pump outside the concession window to step on so you can add more vinegar.
It was there pre-covid but it’s pretty convenient now!
Dumser’s Ice cream
One of the oldest ice cream places around, Dumser’s has been making homemade ice cream since 1939. They have so many unique flavors like black raspberry, coconut chocolate chip and Hawaiian Delight. (Cherries, pineapples and bananas in vanilla ice cream). Their milkshakes cannot be missed! They are so creamy and delicious and you might need to take a nap when you get back to your blanket, but it will be worth it.
This popcornerie, maybe it’s a word maybe it’s not, sells different flavors of popcorn. But since 1937, they have been famous for their sweet caramel coated popcorn. Do yourself a favor and buy a large bucket you can take home for $16.75. They also ship nationwide!
It would be about 3 plus hours to drive from Ocean City Maryland to Cape May New Jersey so we decided to take a ferry which saved us an hour and a half of driving. Plus, we got to kick our feet up and enjoy the open air, sun and views for a beautiful morning commute. We took the Cape May- Lewes Ferry. A one way ticket for two adults and 1 vehicle is $55.
Here’s the link for more info: https://www.cmlf.com
East Coast Water Sports
One of my favorite things I’ve done all summer was taking a ride on this jetboat! The captain takes you out at 35 mph to ride the wild waves and do 360 degree spins. On a hot sunny day it feels great to get splashed and the best part is the dolphin sightings! When we stopped in the middle of the water we were surrounded by jumping dolphins. There were so many and they were so close to us. It was an awesome experience.
It’s $35 a person for a 1 hour ride. They also have stand up paddle boarding, parasailing and jet skis.
Grab a bagel at Bagel Time
This cute bagel shop is centrally located and in walking distance to everything so if you want to grab a quick breakfast and an iced coffee this is the perfect spot.
Indulge in delicious seafood at the Cape May Fish Market