First, let me start by saying I had a truly lovely vacation to New England. Two weeks of hotels, restaurants, and site seeing is a bit overwhelming to cover in one blog post so I’ve decided to break this up into several entries based on where we made our overnight stops. I attempted to take notes along the way, but as you can imagine, eventually all the lobsters, tequila shots, and port towns started to run together. I will do my best to capture the highlights and lowlights of our road trip.
The first official stop on our trip was Springfield, Massachusetts. Matt used to live there back when he had more hair (I’ve seen pictures it’s wasn’t a good look), so we stopped in to to visit with some of his friends and family. Friday night we had dinner at a place called The Fort, which is a German themed restaurant with pretty cool décor and even more impressive food. Much to Matt’s disappointment, I don’t really like German food – and don’t get me started on my distaste for sausage. That being said, whatever the hell a schnitzel is was surprisingly good and the homemade dressing was an added treat. If all German food tasted like that I’d probably eat more of it. Just keep those damn sausages away from me (TWSS).
The Fort, Springfield, Massachusetts
The second night in Mass we enjoyed a home cooked BBQ with some of Matt’s family which was a welcome beginning to our two-week adventure. They filled our bellies full of roasted pork, corn on the cob, and beer. Need I say more?
Before arriving in Newport, we made a detour to the little town of Mystic, Connecticut. Other than almost choking to death on a slice of Mystic Pizza (yes this really happened), our detour was rather uneventful. Mystic is a gorgeous small port town and if you’re up that way it’s worth a stop. Unfortunately, the only thing I now associate with the town is I almost died there and the pizza isn’t that great.
Newport, Rhode Island was high in the running of my favorite destinations on our trip. I don’t know what I was expecting, probably something more like Mystic, but I was pleasantly surprised by the coastal location, the shops, the food, and the plethora of activities. I am convinced that New Englanders have been intentionally keeping Newport a secret from the rest of us. We stayed during the week so it was a bit quieter than it probably is on a busy summer weekend, though I’m sure I would prefer it that way. I could see it easily turning into a drunken, popped collar kind of crowd.
Newport, Rhode Island
Hanging out on our roof deck, Newport, RI
(not pictured, #allthechampagne)
- The clam chowder at Brick Alley Pub was by far my favorite of the entire trip and I had at least 10 different kinds over the course of two weeks.
- The Mooring had some good fresh seafood. If you go you must try the Bag of Doughnuts which are basically little fried seafood fritters with some sort of amazing dipping sauce. Just thinking about them right now is making me want some.
- Sailing! If you’re on the water, it’s the right thing to do. We tried Adirondack II which is a Schooner (I have no idea what that means but it made Matt happy and they served me mimosas so who am I to argue). The staff was incredibly friendly and the weather was perfect.
Adirondack II, Newport, RI
- The Clarke Cooke House has a great view and atmosphere. We had lunch there and were happy with it but I wouldn’t say it was my favorite food-wise. Booze helps.
The view from Clarke Cooke House, Newport, RI
- The Cliff Walk is a must do while in Newport. It’s a short, easy walk along the cliffs with breathtaking views of both the Ocean and some of the historic mansions that line the cliffs. There is also a beach at the entrance that I wish we would have had more downtime to enjoy.
The view of The Cliff Walk as seen from Easton’s Beach, Newport, RI
- Matt insisted that I add The White Horse Tavern to the list, something about it being famous and old. It was definitely really cool. The food was good too, but the portions were huge. I would suggest sharing the Bouillabaisse. While delicious, I felt like I was wasting a lot. The atmosphere itself was a little stuffy. I don’t know how to explain it other than I felt like I had to use my inside voice and keep my elbows off the table. It’s also possible I saw a guy there who actually dates back to the 17th century.
- Newport did not seem very dog friendly to me, which is a stark contrast to some of the other stops we made. Maybe not a deal breaker for some, but it may affect my decision to return should I decide to bring Olive on our next trip north.
- The local wineries were not our favorite. Newport Vineyards was particularly odd. It’s located in an apparent strip mall which is currently in the middle of being renovated. In addition to the lacking décor, the employees were actually quite rude. It felt like we walked into their living room and asked them to poor us some wine. I would highly recommend avoiding both the winery and the wine. If you must visit a winery while in the area, Greenvale Vineyards had a much better view and a friendlier staff. That being said, we decided after those two stops not to try anymore New England wine – well, until Bar Harbor, but more to come on that.
Greenvale Vineyards, Portsmouth, RI
Next up – Cape Cod
Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that all opinions expressed here are personal and have not yet garnered me any monetary gain, though I’m not opposed to that option.
This weekend as the second part of my personal yoga journey I set out with my friend Dave of J. David Photography to capture some yoga poses in nature. For our first photo shoot together we ventured to the Virginia side of Great Falls Park early(ish) Sunday morning – though probably not as early as Dave would have liked. It should be noted that if you’re attempting any sort of alone time/meditation/peace, it cannot be accomplished in Great Falls after 11:00AM on a weekend. In an attempt to avoid as many people as possible we hiked a couple miles just north of the overlook area, which is much less populated. The foliage on this April weekend was not as green and lush as either of us had hoped, but the weather was spectacular.
The shoot itself proved challenging for me. This was my first attempt at yoga on uneven ground in any formal capacity and I wasn’t nearly as capable as my ego would have liked. It’s also less than peaceful to have a camera in your face while trying to hold a pose – as you can tell by my apparent scowl in most of the pictures. My modeling career obviously would have been short lived. It was a bit frustrating until I became comfortable with my surroundings and reminded myself that yoga isn’t about perfection. Here are a few of my favorite shots and poses from the shoot.
I call this one Tree on a tree. I was literally standing on a fallen tree branch. WHY AM I SO SERIOUS!?
Side Plank – Dave did some pretty cool black-n-white/lightening effect with this one, (that’s the technical term). It’s one of my favorites.
Meditation – Ok, so I’m fake meditating for the photo, but how peaceful do these surroundings look?
Warrior One Overlooking the Falls. I’m channeling The Seven.
Wild Thing — You make my heart sing.
Dancer Facing the Falls — One of my favorite yoga poses.
Tri-pod Headstand Variation – How can you not smile when your crotch is in someone’s face? #TWSS
Side Crow – I love, love, love any pose that challenges arm strength.
Twisting Down Dog — Twisting out the margaritas from Saturday.
Headstand Pike – It’s a really fun pose to practice and great for the abs!
As you can tell from the progression of the photos, once I started to have fun with it I felt more at ease with the process. Still, there were a few positions that I can do on a mat that I had difficultly holding for a camera, such as Hummingbird or any handstand variation really. I do have some pretty gnarly bruises from my multiple attempts though — so that’s something. Hopefully, if we venture out again I will have had time to work on these more challenging poses. And maybe we can find some flat ground to work with!
All in all, I am happy with the results and I had a great time challenging myself. Thanks again to Dave for his patience and awesome photography skills. I can’t wait to see how he does at my Mom’s wedding next month.
Peace, love, and #alltheinversions,