January 3, 2017 § Leave a comment
For New Year’s weekend, we decided to leave town for two nights on a short road trip. As this was planned rather last minute and we wanted to venture off the beaten path (AKA avoid going to another big city), our destinations ended up being pretty random. But we found some gems along the way and ultimately had a romantic and relaxing retreat.
On Saturday morning, we drove 1.5 hours from Manhattan to Cedar Lakes Estate just outside Port Jervis, a town right on the tri-state (NY/NJ/PA) border.
The 500-acre property and its collection of cabins look gorgeous in the summertime photos on its site — I can see why it’s popular for weddings — but it was a different story in winter. The place was deserted. Well, there were cars parked around, but nobody was in the office, and when we called, the manager said she would send housekeeping to our cabin within the hour. (To be fair, we arrived pretty early.)
None of these are complaints, just things that surprised us as part of our first-time cabin-staying experience. Instead of a standard check-in or checkout, the housekeeper left the key in the cabin with the door unlocked, and we left it the same way upon leaving the next day. Super casual.
We stayed in Garden Suite #7 (the middle one above), which was gorgeously decorated in bright whites, including a gleaming white Smeg fridge in the kitchen. We were suitably impressed — everything looked very clean and new. There were also two other beds in a separate room, though I’m not sure how six people would share the space given there were only two chairs at the kitchen table, haha.
August 25, 2016 § 2 Comments
Before heading into the town of Rockland, we stopped by Owls Head State Park, located just across the bay from Rockland Harbor. We parked in the gravelly lot and scrambled down this sketchy path to get to the beach, which was spacious and empty.
‘Twas no white-sand beach, but it was a beautiful and serene sight nevertheless. The water was so clear!
August 5, 2016 § 2 Comments
This is the story of how I ate so many lobster rolls that I ended up getting sick of lobster.
We started with some raw oysters (for J) and clams (for me) before digging into their renowned brown butter lobster roll, which was definitely unconventional. Instead of being served on regular bread, the bun was basically a mantou — fluffy, chewy and white. It was also very messy because the lobster chunks were piled on top instead of sitting inside the bun. The lobster roll was tasty, but I didn’t really get much of the brown butter flavor. (Looking at pictures from other people, it seems that perhaps we didn’t get the brown butter dressing at all???)
I was more impressed by the pickled mackerel we ordered from the daily specials. It was beautifully plated and perfectly succulent, topped with crispy rice crackers:
July 15, 2016 § 2 Comments
For my birthday this year, J and I went to Portland, Maine, a random destination I picked because of its relative proximity to the city and northerly location (he’s particularly sensitive to heat, so we didn’t venture south).
So off we went on a Wednesday evening; traffic out of the city wasn’t too bad, and after we were clear of city limits, we pretty much flew along. For dinner we stopped at a random Mexican restaurant near Stamford called Ole Mole and picked up some burritos for the road — they turned out to be very tasty. Good start to the trip.
It was kind of unusual for us to be without a game plan for the night — our hotel reservation in Portland was for Thursday to Sunday — but we figured we’d just stop at a random hotel along the way when J got tired of driving.
Surprisingly, he had enough energy to get us practically to Boston, though by 10 p.m. when I started looking at hotels outside Boston, I slowly realized that every single hotel was full for the night. On a Wednesday! Literally every Hilton, Marriott, IHG and even Holiday Inn Express along the highway was maxed out for the night, unless we wanted to actually stay in downtown Boston (which we didn’t).
Things didn’t get better once we passed Boston — there were barely any hotels between us and Portland, which was still two and a half hours away. It seemed like we’d have to end up spending the night in a barn à la Joseph and Mary.
I started to panic. At this point we were almost at Portsmouth, just an hour and a half away from Portland. There was a random B&B in Portsmouth with a vacancy, but I started calling every hotel in Portland just in case we could actually make it there. J seemed to be in good spirits despite my profound lack of success in finding lodging. “It’ll be great if we could just start our day in town without having to do any more driving,” he reasoned.
June 15, 2016 § 3 Comments
One of the hardest parts of traveling for J is finding good coffee — he still hasn’t found a good latte place in Vegas despite many visits. I don’t drink coffee so I can’t explain why he’s so picky, but it’s always a priority for him. Of the three he tried, J liked Topeca Coffee the most (the other two were Fair Fellow and DoubleShot).
Frankly, I was astonished at how ~hipster~ these coffeeshops were — in a good way — with skinny bearded fellows making lattes and specialty bike shirts for sale. To the outsider, Tulsa isn’t exactly a hotbed of youth or innovation, but there’s a lot more young people doing interesting things than I expected.
After J’s requisite morning coffee, we had breakfast at Chimera, which serves a variety of delectable breakfast tacos, including vegetarian-friendly ones. They made for a satisfying and healthy breakfast.
June 14, 2016 § 2 Comments
*But most of it was!
For breakfast our second day, we stuffed ourselves at the Oklahoma Kolache Company. Kolache (koh-lah-chee) are a central European pastry that’s basically a puffy bun with filling. We ordered half the menu; I don’t remember everything we ate, but the sweet and savory buns were all delicious.
Our next stop was the Gilcrease Museum, which houses American art and historic artifacts. It was a nice, tranquil, mid-sized museum that took about two hours to peruse.
My favorite painting (forgot to note the title/artist oops) was the one of this astonished bear:
We went back to Cherry Street to get lunch at Andolini’s Pizzeria. J insisted on ordering two pizzas…I don’t know why. They were good, but we only finished half of each, haha.
May 24, 2016 § 3 Comments
Never in my life did I expect to visit Tulsa, Oklahoma, but when the opportunity arose last month to see where J grew up, I couldn’t say no! Besides, it couldn’t possibly be more boring than my own suburban hometown.
We spent three and a half days there, most of which was honestly spent sleeping. Tulsa was the perfect place to catch up on sleep because we were never worried about missing out on anything. We also did a lot of driving around because that’s what you do in the flatlands (I won’t say refer to Oklahoma as the Midwest because there’s no consensus).
Our ride for the weekend was a Chevy Camaro, which was considered an “upgrade” from our choice of Mustang, which apparently Avis had all given away by the time we arrived at the airport at 11 a.m.?! How..? Anyway the Camaro looks cool but had very poor visibility out the back, according to J — I refused to drive it after he said that haha — and was a pretty rough ride when driving over poorly paved roads.
We arrived too early to check in to our hotel, so our first stop was Totally Tennis, a cute family-run store where the owners actually knew J’s parents from back in the day! I’ve never even tried playing tennis in NYC, so I was excited to play even though we were both very rusty.
For lunch, we randomly picked Smoke on Cherry Street. I was surprised to see a sticker on the door saying something along the lines of “no firearms allowed,” but that was not the last time I saw a sign like that in Tulsa. Hmm.