Monday, February 28, 2011

Wardrobe: Hiking on the Hudson

You will surely require the appropriate ensemble for a day of hiking and picnicking. Here are my picks for a chic day in the country:
Jacket Club Monaco, Shoes Patagonia, Tank JCrew, Shorts JCrew, Watch Swatch, Earrings Marc Jacobs

Day Trip: Hudson River Valley in Autumn

People travel the world to see the fall foliage of the Northeastern United States. I highly recommend taking your first day trip to the Hudson River during September. Rent a car and drive up 9W for the most scenic views. Pack a picnic and step outside your city-slicker comfort zone to do some hiking.

As a non-outdoorsy person, I am often intimidated by hiking and nature. However, hiking during this time of year is rather enjoyable - it's not too hot, few bugs, and the air is crisp and fresh. Being in the midst of the breathtaking foliage and enjoying scenic overlooks is well worth the inconvenience of dirt and sweat.

Climb to the top of Bear Mountain. Then stop to take in the fresh air and snack on your picnic. You might see some wildlife too! Squirrels and chipmunks are quite friendly when there are snacks to be had. And if you're lucky (?) you might spot a Black Bear. Hudson Highland State Park is on the adjacent side of the Hudson River. It boasts climbing Breakneck Ridge as one of the top hikes in the U.S. As I mentioned before, I'm not much of an outdoorsy person and I was able to comfortably hike many of the trails.

Black Rock Forest in the Hudson Highlands has my favorite hiking trails as they are far less crowded and equally as beautiful. Much of the time you feel as if you have the forest to yourself. How romantic!


all photos my own

Hudson River Valley

As a native Floridian I did not realize how centrally located NYC was until I moved here. Although the City bustles with action, only 30 minutes out of town and you find yourself in the suburbs. 30 minutes farther and you're in the country. Now considering myself a Manhattanite, I know the value of a getting away from it all. 

Reminiscent of  the Rhine River Valley in Germany, the Hudson River Valley has a sense of romantic elegance and rustic charm. Since the first Europeans settled here, the area has witnessed much of our nation's history including the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. West Point Academy calls it home and the Hudson River School of American artists developed here during the 19th c. In addition to it's rich history, the attractions change with the seasons. This makes the Hudson River a year-round destination to New Yorkers and tourists alike.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Beachy dreams

All this snow has me dreaming about warmer days. Wouldn't it be nice to be wisked away to a beach with white powdery sand and clear blue water? I just love laying on the beach listening to the waves lapping, the breeze blowing through the trees, and the warm sun soaking into my skin. Why don't we plan a trip then?

Let's go south of the equator to Australia
via Cognac and Coffee
Or perhaps we jet to the south of France?
photo my own

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Would you like some cheese with your wine?

Apologies for the hiatus! Sometimes time just flies by and before you know it its already the middle of February! Where were we?

Ah yes, Tapas and Tassels. After a long day of shopping and oogling the streets of NYC you will undoubtedly be hungry and thirsty. Some of my favorite spots for tapas are...

Pipa Restaurant has a distinctive NYC look with its rustic exposed brick and concrete walls. The ceiling is covered with chandeliers that provide soft and romantic lighting. You'll spot couples snuggled in the corners and tables full of girls downing Sangria. While enjoying your Sangria, I recommend starting with Hongos y Higos flat bread and you can never go wrong with cured meats and cheeses. I'm not as adventurous with seafood, but hear its certainly worth trying too.

Boqueria offers a more traditional atmosphere and is best for smaller groups. I'm always up for Sangria, however there is a great Spanish wine selection here and your server can assist in pairing the wine with your tapas selections. Definitely try the Cojonudo (fried quail eggs) and treat yourself to the Datiles con Beicon (dates wrapped in bacon).

The Stanton Social has the best party atmosphere and has less to do with Spain and more about the style of service. They offer reservations for larger groups and you choose the menu ahead of time. The location, near great bars and clubs in the Lower East Side, can't be beat for the girls weekend. Again, I'm always lovin' Sangria, but this place steps it up wtih fantastic signature cocktails. There is one for every palate. I've enjoyed the Strawberry Fields and the Cucumber-Vanilla Cosmopolitan. From the menu don't miss the Potato and Goat Cheese Pierogies, French Onion Soup Dumplings, Pulled Pork Sliders, Rhode Island Style Lobster Roll, Grilled Apple and Brie Quesadilla (breathes), I could go on...

Have you been to NYC? What are your favorite tapas restaurants?
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