A Pisces by the Sea

One of my favorite places to be is the beach. Lounging near the waters edge, sunshine, sand, my favorite pair of sunnies, and an umbrella in my drink….its so peaceful and relaxing. This year for my birthday I decided to cross off an item from my 101 Things to do in 1001 Days list and I went to Miami for the first time.

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What an AWESOME city! This will probably be at the top my my list for places to move to next with the Coast Guard. It has everything I love about NYC and the tolls are cheaper, the weather is consistently warm year round, and the beaches are beautiful.

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I flew in the night before my birthday and met up with a friend I haven’t seen since I left my duty station in Mobile, Alabama, grab dinner, and met her kiddos. The next day we had a yummy breakfast at Big Pink before I checked in to the hotel and waited for the rest of my friends to arrive. The coffee and veggie breakfast burrito was delicious! Once everyone arrived we went to out lunch at John Paul’s House – a restaurant off the beaten path that I found through Gilt City. Then headed back to the hotel to relax poolside and before getting ready for nighttime festivities.

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Our room attendant, Charles, was awesome! He made sure that we had everything we needed and even brought us vodka and mixers to the room while we got ready. We kicked off the night with dinner at Katsuya. The sushi was delicious! I had the Katsuya Special Roll and apple pie dessert Then it was off to dance the night away at Arkadia, located in the Fontainebleau Hotel.

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Friday morning we walked the beach and chilled poolside before heading to the Cruise Port. We took a 4 day, 3 night cruise out of Miami with Royal Caribbean to Nassau, Bahamas, and Coco Cay, Bahamas.
This was my first short cruise, usually I go on 6-7 day cruises. There’s definitely a difference, but I had a great time nonetheless,  the service was fantastic, and we made it to each port call and back to Miami with no issues.

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In Nassau, we spent the day at the Hotel Riu Palace on a day pass…all you can eat and drink, sunshine, the beach, and a pool bar…we couldn’t ask for more.

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We pulled into Coco Cay (Royal Caribbean’s Private Island) the next day and spent the day relaxing on the beach and lounging in hammocks.

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We pulled into Miami bright and early Monday morning, had breakfast in the dinning room, then headed to the airport….sad to leave 70 degree temps to go back home to snow in NYC. I hope spring comes to the Northeast soon.

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Next year’s birthday ideas are already being researched…Europe, Hawaii, maybe Napa…we’ll see what happens.

Love AGT :)

Prepping To Hit the Open Road

On of my favorite ways to travel is by car because I can control the journey. Whether I decide to stay on the beaten path, or follow the road less traveled I love packing up the car and hitting the road to discover someplace new. I’m currently prepping to visit 3 states I’ve never been to and to see the famous fall foilage of the Northeast. I’ll be making stops in New Hampshire, Maine, and Rhode Island in 2 weeks!

My last big road trip was back in March when I went with some friends to Montreal, so I’m pretty excited to get on the road again and to see the the beautiful fall foilage of the Northeast during the peak of the season. Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. The crisp, cool air is a much welcomed change after hot summer days. I love watching the leaves change colors and listening to the crunching sound of fallen leaves when I walk. Plus, I get to pull out my favorite boots, cardigans, and blazers and pick up new pieces for the season.

The first stop on my trip is North Conway, NH, which I’ve heard is absolutely beautiful this time of year. I’m planning to walk the trails, get in some hiking, and take a ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad. Then its off to Portland, Maine for a quick day trip to visit lighthouses and have a yummy lunch of  lobster rolls and NE clam chowder before driving down to Newport to explore the city and visit the winery. I’ve reserved B&B’s for my trip to make it a bit more cozy, and because I’ve never stayed at one before and I’ve been hearing alot of good things about them.

Pre-Trip Check List (2 weeks until departure)

  • Book B&B Accomodations
  • Prepare a packing check list
  • Ensure my car is serviced and ready to go
  • Ensure my emergency roadside kit is stocked

I havent planned too many things out for my trip because I don’t want my schedule to be so bogged down that I’m not able to relax and enjoy the scenary, but if you have any recommendations on things I must see and/or do in North Conway, NH, Portland, ME, and/or Newport, RI I loved to hear all about it.

I’m working my way through my list of 101 Things to do in 1001 Days :)

Love AGT :)

Sources: freefoto.com

101 Things to do in 1001 Days – Exploring Montreal

Bonsoir! Comment vas-tu? I’m working my way thru my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days and I recently had the opportunity to check the city of Montreal off of my list. I went 2 weeks ago with some friends and I loved it so much I’m already looking into my next visit!

The drive up took about 7 hours from NYC, which isn’t’ bad considering I’ve driven much farther than that before. We had a late arrival into the city, checked in to out hotel at Le Westin, and grab a late night bite to eat. The weather was similar to that in NYC, which I was thankful for, because the week prior to our arrival the temperature would drop to -5 degrees in the evening :( and I almost considered cancelling the trip.

We stayed in Old Montreal – I loved the architecture and the feel of city, and ventured out to Chinatown, the infamous St. Catherine Street for shopping (which is very similar to shopping on 5th Ave in NYC), visited the Montreal Science CenterLa Basilique Notre-Dame  (The Notre-Dame Basilica) – breathtaking, and the Musee des beaux-arts (Museum of Fine Arts) – reminded me of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC because of its size.

My fondest memories from the trip are visiting the La Basilique Notre-Dame and walking around old Montreal. The trip was very relaxing because we just took each day in stride… Simply getting up and heading out to explore the city at a relaxing pace, which was pretty easy to do since there weren’t very many tourists around.

Since we visited during St. Patty’s Day  we couldn’t pass up a chance to try some yummy treats :) We stopped into a cupcake shop and tried the green velvet cupcakes and the Irish Car Bomb cupcakes.

Green Velvet

Irish Car Bomb

Then we stopped at a local pub and ordered some burgers and finished them off with beers from a local brewery. I tried the veggie burger with arugula, grilled portobello mushrooms and sweet potato fries, and couldn’t even imagine finishing the whole thing it was so big – but tasty.

Meanwhile, my friends had the Sicilian Burger and the Deuce Burger. There was a guy sitting at the table sitting next to us who had a burger that was stacked higher than the Deuce Burger (I wanted to take a picture, but opted against interrupting him during his lunch) and he finished the whole thing!

We only spent 3 days and 2 nights in the city but because we took it as such a slow pace time seemed to stand still as we took it all in. We walked the city during the day and took cabs from our hotel in the evening to check out the local bar and club scene.

This summer, I’m hoping to roadtrip up there again to check out a festival. I’m trying to decide between the…

Montreal Beer Festival – the city is well known for its craft beers and has over 600 types of beer available for people to sample. I sampled a few beers while I was there and my favorite was the Blonde De Chambly – a wheat beer, or white beer in the Belgian tradition. It’s citrusy and spicy, with hints of orange and coriander with 5 percent alcohol.

Montreal International Jazz Festival – One of the world’s largest Jazz festivals…will be celebrating 33 years this summer. Festival legends include B.B King, Ella Fitzgerald, Dave Brubeck, and Oscar Peterson.

Or…

Montreal International Reggae Festival – the largest outdoor 2-day Reggae festival held in Canada

Which ever I finally decide on I plan to have improved on my conversational French by the next trip. I can read French fairly well, but I haven’t practiced speaking it in so long that I’ve lost it. Locals speak both French and English, but I’d like to be able to converse with  people in French if I can, plus this puts me one step closer to becoming fluent in French and crossing that off of my list of things to do as well.

Check out more pics from my trip:

A la prochaine! <3 AGT :)