Road Trip: Hopping three cities in a row

Remember last’s week post? The three options that I suggested for Memorial Weekend? Well, today I’ll share my choice — the road trip!

There is nothing more exciting than a road trip. The beautiful landscapes, the wind caressing my face and that feeling of anxiety in the pit of my stomach.

The first city I visited was Saint Augustine — the oldest city in the USA. St. Augustine is covered by a blanket of pink flowers and red tile roofs. Its architecture is from the Spanish colonial period; there are cathedrals, museums, and even a castle! The San Marcos Castle. That was my first stop.

When I stepped foot on the suspension bridge of the castle, I was amused. The view of the castle and the Matanzas Bay was out of this world. I had never seen such a blue sky. On the outside, the castle looked like a fort. It was built with stones placed on top of each other. On the other hand, the interior was hollow. The castle had a large courtyard in the center, and the rooms were located on the sides. In addition, there was a second floor with a wonderful view. The canons were launched from the top of the castle during that period.

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Once I finished visiting the castle,  I went to walk the place. There were tons of little restaurants and shops on the streets of St. Augustine. Everything looked so local, so cozy, very European. For lunch, I had the opportunity to eat in “The Columbia,” one of the most famous restaurants over there. This place captured my heart in the moment that I entered. It is literally a colonial house with tons of tables and chairs. It has a huge patio with a fountain in the center; I was lucky enough to sit there.

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I spent the night in Jacksonville. The jazz festival was taking place at that moment in the main area of the city. The music was great. I must say that Jacksonville surprised me. This city has views that take your breath away. Especially during the night; all the lights from the huge buildings reflect on the river and create an awesome landscape.

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Next stop: Savannah! Savannah is a city full of history. The best part is that all the locals work hard to keep the historic side intact. Next to some bus stations, there are tiny horse figures that used to indicate the parking places for the horses — during that period horses were the means of transportation.

Walking around the place, I saw a French cafe located at the end of a black bridge. Cafe M is a little French coffee shop that offers a huge variety of croissants, quiches, macarons, and New Yorkers’ favorite, CRONUTS. The main area of Savannah is River Street. It has plenty of local restaurants, bars, and shops with an exceptional view of the river. Over there, the Georgia Queen Cruise departs. This is a cruise tour around the city that offers lunch, dinner, and brunch.

Moreover, The Bohemian is a five-stars hotel with a rooftop bar. I am from Miami, what can you expect? I’m always down for wonderful views and breathtaking experiences. Another thing that I LOVED about Savannah was the green color. There is green everywhere. Savannah counts with 24 squares with huge green trees, flowers, and fountains. My favorite one was the Forsyth Park. This is a great place to jog or set up a picnic and relax.

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Before driving back to Miami, I stopped in Saint Augustine for the second time. I couldn’t leave without trying the local vodka and wine, right?

The Saint Augustine Distillery is a small business with huge potential. They make their own bourbon, vodka, rum, and whiskey. I went for a tasting, and I ended up learning how to prepare a Moscow mule — my boyfriend’s favorite drink and definitely mine to be.

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On the other hand, San Sebastian Winery offers 14 different wines and serves white, red, and rose. Lucky me, I had the opportunity to try eight of them! The wine tasting was amazing. They had citric, sweet, and dry wines. Every single one of them could be the perfect companion for a special meal. Also, they gave us crackers to clear the previous flavors in our tongue and be able to taste the wine properly. Everything was well prepared. It was an awesome experience. Just careful on your way out, you might be a little tipsy after a few glasses.

This was the last stop of my fantastic weekend. The rest: five hours of driving with good company and great music.

Hope you like it!

 

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Memorial Weekend: Last-minute Getaway

As we all know, Memorial weekend is around the corner. And what does that mean? A short vacay! Wohoo! Sounds good, right? But if you are like I am, and you take forever to make a decision and finally book a flight ticket to somewhere, you are already late.

According to a Times Union’s article written by Eric Anderson, the highways and hotels will be busier than ever, and more people will fly. AAA is predicting 39.3 million people traveling 50 miles or more, which is the highest figure since 2005. I mentioned this fact because of two reasons. First, we need to be conscious about our budget and see how much we are willing to spend on a three-day trip. And second, we should dig into other options. Even though we are late, we can still have an awesome weekend.

I have thought about three different and budget friendly options that we can do.

1- Camping on the beach

Miami is full of beautiful beaches that permit camping. The one that I recommend is located in Oleta River State Park, North Miami. This place has several islands that have enough space to set up the whole camp, and they are pretty private. Also, this park has kayaking! One of my favorite outdoor activities. We can do kayaking while watching the sunset on the beach. At night, make a bonfire and cook some marshmallows to eat delicious s’mores. And finally, have a nice breakfast with the sun rising.

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2- Go on a road trip!

What better way to enjoy a weekend than going on a road trip with all your friends? Florida is a state that has many exciting cities. For those of us who live in Miami, Orlando, Gainesville, Naples, Jacksonville, are places nearby. Since all these cities are close to each other, we can easily visit more than one. We could book a hotel in Jacksonville, and on Sunday drive to St. Augustine – the oldest city in the United States. This city is known for the Spanish castle San Marcos and its beautiful and relaxing beaches.

3- Meet our city

I have lived in Miami for almost three years. There are so many places that I haven’t gone yet, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. This weekend can be a great opportunity to explore the wonderful places that we haven’t visited because of lack of time, or work, or whatever the reason is.  Why don’t we make a list of the top 5 places that we are dying to visit here in Miami? I’ll start!

coral-castle-solar-sculpturePhoto was taken from All that is Interesting’s website.

see_and_taste_plateWhich one is your favorite option? Next week I’ll share mine with you!!

Photo was taken from Glass & Vine’s website
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Non-tourist Guide in NYC

 

Have you ever been to a place in which everything seems new even though you have already visited it? I have, and I cannot stop imagining myself there… eventually.

New York is one of the most visited places worldwide. Not only because it’s a fashion capital, but also because it has so much culture and diversity that’s irresistible. I had the opportunity to go last weekend, and it was AMAZING. Since I have been in Manhattan before, I decided to spend most of my time in Brooklyn, especially in Williamsburg. Today, I will propose you a non-tourist guide around NYC. Here, you won’t find visits to the Empire State Building nor trips to the Statue of Liberty; this guide is for adventurers who love to be surprised.

If you are like I am, the first thing that you think when you wake up is food; so let’s start there. One of the best places to have breakfast in this fabulous city is Eataly located at Flatiron at 200 Fifth Avenue. The concept of this place is great because it’s a market-style shopping in which you can buy fresh home-made pasta, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and chocolates, while you have lunch at the different Italian restaurants. And as far as I’m concerned, the delicious crêpes from the Nutella bar are for dessert!

Moreover, this awesome market counts with a rooftop restaurant that is sponsored by La Birreria. The greatest part of this rooftop is that it changes according to the seasons. For instance, the winter’s restaurant is called Baita, which recreates the Italian Alps. The place is decorated with green pines, rocking chairs and a huge cabin in the middle. This is a MUST stop to make. I highly recommend it, especially if you enjoy Italian food.

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The next stop: Chelsea. Chelsea is well known for its artistic mood; it’s full of galleries, restaurants, bars, and lounges. My favorite place in Chelsea is the High Line Park. Before, it used to be just some old train track, but now is an elevated park with tree-lined paths and a bunch of greens and loungers to rest and enjoy the view. I have always been a fan of green parks and sunset walks, so for me, this plan is more than perfect.

Once you finish enjoying the view, you can take the elevator downstairs and go to the Chelsea market. The concept of this market is similar to Eataly, but at the same time, they are way TOO different. The decoration of this place is unbelievable; when you go inside you feel that you are underground. Everything is darker, there are pipelines everywhere; there’s even one that is “broken” and pours water.

The Chelsea market counts with a variety of restaurants with different types of food. There is one specialized in seafood – the lobster is great. There are hamburgers, vegetarian sushi, the #1 Tacos in NYC, Mediterranean food, etc. The restaurant in which I ate is called Giovanni Rana. This place is recognized for its pasta; they even have a pasta bar, and you can decide which type of pasta would you like to have (tagliatelle, tortellini, ravioli, etc.) and choose any sauce. Since I’m a salmon lover, I ate a salmon with grilled veggies and lentils. The combination of the three tasted like heaven, simply delicious.

 

Now, the sun is going down, so let’s start to prepare the plans for tonight. If you like to take risks, and you feel like crazy is your thing, then you definitely need to stop at Pana. Pana II Garden is an Indian restaurant that offers a whole different experience. The place is basically a hallway -just getting to your seat would be a challenge- full of colorful lights, flowers, and flags from all the countries. The environment is fun and amusing; it’s noticeable that people are enjoying themselves. The food is pretty good; I recommend the lamb tikka bhuna masala, the butter chicken and the lamb tandoori. I admit that the waiters are not the nicest people alive, but I believe is part of the experience, and maybe… if you are lucky, they could let you be the DJ of the place. And if it’s not on Snapchat… does it really happen?

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On the other hand, if you don’t feel like going wild for the night, you could just go to Sel Rrose. This lounge-bar place is amazing. The drinks are out of this world. Since I’m a wine person, drinks with champagne, red wine and prosecco always get my attention. My favorites are called “Lavender Piscine” and “The Hunter.” Sel Rrose is a place to have one or two drinks with a few appetizers while you enjoy the atmosphere and the music; that’s it. Otherwise, your wallet may regret it.

Sunday! Sundays are my favorite day because they mean brunch and mimosas. And what better way to spend a Sunday than with a bottomless brunch? Right in Williamsburg, there is a restaurant called Baby’s All Right that offers bottomless mimosas for $34 during 90 minutes. The environment of this place is kind of retro and hipster; the walls have blue paper-wall with a bunch of pictures and a DJ located at one of the corners. The entry that I ordered is called “Wake and Bake”; it included two poached eggs, spinach, toasts and smoke Gouda on the top with Hollandaise sauce. It tasted as good as it sounds.

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Later, I ended up at the rooftop of Withe Hotel. The view was amazing; you can see all NYC from there. I really loved the place and its atmosphere. So I said good-bye to New York with one hand – the other was holding my drink!

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Hope you enjoy it!

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