Category Archives: wanderlust

Experience: Richmond’s Acacia MidTown


As foodies our first order of business when traveling is always to figure out where to eat. With Richmond everyone suggested Acacia Mid Town and boy was that a step in the right direction!

Upon arrival we were whisked into the alluring atmosphere of soft lights and organic inspired elements. With recommendations off the cocktail list we sat back to enjoy the ambiance while pondering our food choices. We started with a ricotta ball in a watermelon gazpacho. Z chose an entree of sauteed scallops and gnocchi, which he could not stop raving about. When looking for an entree I didn’t find much for my vegetarian preferences. Lucky for me, Acacia Mid Town is very understanding of vegetarians and almost anything on the menu can be done in a creative and veg-friendly way. I opted for the basil risotto (on the menu with veal scallopini) and the chef put together some elegant vegetables for on top of it. Now, I’ve tried a lot of “veggie plates” across the south and am usually fairly unimpressed, but the way the chefs at Acacia Mid Town carefully curated  the flavors to create my meal was mind blowing.



After finishing the meal we sat around, enjoying the cool spring night in a fabulous restaurant in a new city. One of those nights where you’re so content and satiated that you could sit there pleased, for hours. Yeah, one of those nights.
Have you visited Richmond? Whats your favorite restaurant in this capitol city? Thanks to VisitRichmond for sending us to Acacia Mid Town!

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Experience: Richmond’s Maple & Pine


After a late check-in to our hotel we made our first stop in Richmond to Maple & Pine for Saturday brunch. We got there as the flowers were arriving for an afternoon wedding and walked in to the aromatics of beautiful bouquets and fried potatoes (could anything be more perfect on a Saturday morning!?).

After ordering our food and beverages we sat back and took in the space. I would die to own the winding benches that create the fluid seating. The marble with subtle pink accents gives the space an open and airy feel, while funky artwork (like the cat playing with the octopus) keeps it playful.





The restaurant, located within the Quirk Hotel, is also home to a beautiful gallery and curio shop carrying items that evoke that clean, feminine, and artsy vibes. Part of the whole experience includes a coffee bar at the front of the space with bistro tables interspersed with vintage looking tufted couches and chairs.
If you’re heading to Richmond definitely suggest this one-stop-spot as your starting point for a weekend of exploration!

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Denim Duty

Last weekend Z and I fled our city abode, heading South for about two hours. A quick getaway from the Nation’s Capital we settled into a weekend in Richmond, full of great food, wonderful art (of the museum kind as well as street kind), and exceptional thrift shopping. While you wait for my full weekend tour, here’s a peak at what I wore for our one full day in this State Capital.

denim dress by The Odells (get it here)
Gold & Pewter bar studs c/o Uncommon Goods
More great earrings here: http://www.uncommongoods.com/jewelry/earrings/earrings
vintage Brahmin bag (similar here)
vintage booties (similar here)

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Hiking Around DC


You might not know it, but I can be an outdoorsy gal. I grew up as a serious Girl Scout, even going so far as camping in a blizzard of 2003. Though, to be fair, after that incident and the subsequent minimal frostbite I was a tad wary of cold temperatures from there on out.

Anyway, this city girl has always loved a good hike. Upon moving to DC my man showed me some great trails and exploring around the area. Now, it’s my turn to share with you my favorites, in order of difficulty.

best places in washington dc

Theodore Roosevelt Island: Difficulty level 1

This island, located on the Potomac River between Georgetown and Virginia, is an easy 15 minute drive from most parts of the city. The whole trail can take about an hour or so as you walk around the perimeter (or through the middle!) of the island. Much of the trail is a wide dirt road which then lends way to boards across the bog-y land. It’s a great walk to bring a dog on too!

Great Falls, Virginia: Difficulty level 2

The Virginia side of the Great Falls on the Potomac River is the easier side to traverse. Following trails you’ll walk along well kept paths of rocks overlooking the river and falls. Easy enough to bring kids and pets on, this trip can take you about 3 hours. They even have grassy spots with picnic tables along the way to make a day of it!

best places in washington dc

Great Falls, Maryland: Difficulty level 5

Across the river you can hike the Maryland side of Great Falls. Significantly more difficult this trail doesn’t allow pets and for good reason. Parts of this hike involves scaling almost 90 degree cliffs, but the views of the Potomac are almost breath taking. The real kicker? The Maryland side has access to the water which means summer swimming!

Old Rag, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia: Difficulty Level 7

For years Z dissuaded me from this trail. He’d go with this guy friends claiming it was too hard for his dainty city girlfriend. Over a couple of years, though, I was able to convince him of my durability. While it’s an arduous hike you can’t beat the sprawling views.

 

Now that you’ve got some suggestions I hope you’re inspired to get outside this weekend! And be sure to stay tuned as I’ll update this list periodically as I find more great hikes close to The District!

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Charleston Photo Diary


Our anniversary generally results in a fun, lengthy vaca outside of the country (last year, the year before ). With this year being all about exploring our own backyard (the United States) we decided to do a long weekend somewhere close.

Z has always had an affinity for Charleston and it’s quintessential southern charm. Dreaming of seersucker suits and bowites with some low country eats we booked our trip to the Capital of the South and headed on down.

We drank at Prohibition, ate dinner at Husk (which was formerly the #1 restaurant in the country), shopped along King Street, ate the best meal ever at Magnolias (seriously, the best veggie bowl I’ve ever had), relaxed in Battery Park and along the Waterfront Park. We encountered about 60 bachelor, bachelorette, and wedding parties. We popped into The Spectator Hotel embracing the chic, relaxing ambiance. An afternoon snack and drink at The Roof showed us the best view of the city. We brunched at Macintosh’s and enjoyed their bottomless mimosas.






We didn’t make it to Magnolia Plantation, or any of the outer islands, giving us plenty to do for our next trip there.

What do you think of my trip? Have you been to Charleston and have any other suggestions!?

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Experience: Terlingua & Big Bend

Terlingua & Big Bend photodiary
Go to Terlingua, they said; it’s a ghost town, they said.

During our trip to South Western Texas I made a point to do something that was so Texas. I’ve somehow never been horseback riding in my life, and the desert of Texas felt like the right place for my first experience. We booked a sunset ride at the Big Bend Stables and asked around for advice on what to do near the area before hand. A friend had told us about Terlingua, and plenty of locals suggested it as well calling the “ghost town” a must see.
Personally, I found the place to be in a sort of confused limbo of Nationality and overall vibe. After reading a brief history of the town we found that it has flip-flopped between a Mexican and American territory almost too many times to count; really cool. It has also flitted between being a ghost of a town to being a happening place of prosperity. At present it survives on tourism, allowing guests to spend a few nights in a “renovated” brick home and filling their cars with souvenirs from the lone gift shop.

None the less, it was a cool experience with views you couldn’t beat. Can you believe some of those mountain in the distance are actually Mexico!?
Terlingua & Big Bend photodiary
Terlingua & Big Bend photodiary
Terlingua & Big Bend photodiary
Terlingua & Big Bend photodiary
Terlingua & Big Bend photodiary
Terlingua & Big Bend photodiary
After a few hours in the blistering sun we made our way down the road for our sunset ride with Big Bend Stables. Z’s horse was named “Whiskey” (of course) and mine was named “BonBon” and boy, did he love to eat! Despite him stopping for a trail side snack every few moments it was a great first horseback riding experience. And seeing the Texan sun set from the top of a mesa with my love was just the most romantic!
Terlingua & Big Bend photodiary
Terlingua & Big Bend photodiary
Terlingua & Big Bend photodiary

 

What do you think of the deep south of Texas? Have you ever been to Big Bend National Park?

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Experience: Austin Motel

Austin motel
The neon lights are lit as the marquee tells us this hotel is “No Additives, No Preservatives, Family Owned since 1938”. The Austin Motel has been keeping this city weird for as long as it’s been around, catering to the hip and trendy in a way that’s nostalgic yet modern; somehow the dichotomy works.

After checking in at the front desk and sparing a few moments for the resident cat we made our way to our suite. “It’s like staying in Grandma’s pool house” we both muse as we explore the space, noting the threadbare towels next to the dual-rain head standing shower. The king size bed, warm and cozy with a 90s style aesthetic is the perfect place for a quick nap before heading out to explore the hip ‘hood of South Congress Street that the hotel anchors.
Austin motel
Austin motel

Austin motel
Austin motel
Austin motel

Austin motel
Even in the winter, Austin’s daytime temps reach near the 80s. Thank god for the pool, overlooking the river and Downtown Austin; far away enough from the hustle and bustle to feel like your own little oasis, but still close enough to see the sky light up and hear the copious amounts of live music from nearby bars and venues.
Austin motel

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Experience: Thunderbird Hotel

Thunderbird Hotel in Marfa Texas

The quintessential neon “Hotel” sign, vintage lounge chairs around the pool, cacti in the zen yard. The rugged exterior of Thunderbird Hotel in Marfa, Texas is a brilliant contrast to the rustic and modern interiors.

Z and I stayed here during our Western Texas roadtrip, after our initial night in a teepee. It was nice to move somewhere with indoor plumbing, and Thunderbird Hotel was definitely the right choice for us.Thunderbird Hotel in Marfa Texas

Thunderbird Hotel in Marfa Texas

After checking in across the street at the newly opened Capri (the hotel’s check in and store mainstay), we made our way through the garden and up to our second floor corner suite. The room was cozy and the cowhide rug and leather butterfly chair made us feel right at home, considering we have both in our DC abode. White tiling flanked the bathroom where we found fluffy white towels and the most amazing smelling bath necessities by local Texas company Dear Clark.

Thunderbird Hotel in Marfa Texas

Thunderbird Hotel in Marfa Texas

Thunderbird Hotel in Marfa Texas

Thunderbird Hotel in Marfa Texas

Thunderbird Hotel in Marfa Texas

After venturing out to explore Marfa we came back for an after dinner drink at Capri, which is just about the coolest hotel bar I’ve been in outside of Manhattan. I found that the owners are from New York City and had the whole staff trained by NYers, which explains the unique taste and the care in the crafting of everything from their interiors to the cocktails. We ran into a shop owner we’d seen earlier in the day (in a town of 2,000 it’s hard not to keep seeing the same people) and chatted the night away about all things Texas.

Now, Thunderbird Hotel isn’t for everyone. It lacks a television, telephone, mini fridge, and other “amenities” like that; probably under the guise that you’re visiting a new place to explore and not lounge around with TV. But for us adventurers it was the perfect place to lay our heads and spend lazy mornings in each others company.

Thunderbird Hotel in Marfa Texas

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Texas Photodiary

I think it’s true when they say “Everything’s Bigger in Texas”. The sky is a massive, cloudless pristine blue wall that lights up at night, full of bright shining stars you can see so clearly (due to the lack of light pollution). The farmlands are larger than I’ve ever seen before and can span a whole town (literally; there’s a town in Western Texas that is just this one farm). Even the people, they’re big in friendliness.

On my first trip to Texas I feel like I only cracked the surface of this once-independent-nation. It’s a vastly large space with so much variance. We started our trip in Austin, where a friend suggested Jacoby’s for dinner. AMAZING. We closed the place down on a Wednesday night and headed to some live music down the road at Stay Gold. After narrowly avoiding a winter storm it was so nice to be able to walk around in a light jacket and enjoy the warmth that I hadn’t felt in months.

After a cozy night we went out for breakfast tacos; that omnipresent Tex-Mex is enough to make me want to move South in itself! After fueling up we hit the road west for a cool seven hours. We watched the terrain go from dry and rocky to lush and tree laden, to mountains and plateaus, arriving into Marfa for sunset and moonrise.


Resident cat, Marmalade of El Cosmico

Marfa shop Freda

As previously stated, Marfa was easy to explore within just a few hours. With four days in the Western Texas area we were also able to explore the nearby towns of Alpine, Marathon, Fort Davis (for a star party!), and Terlingua (post on that place coming soon!)

afternoon delight at The Saddle Club in Alpine

Nearby Terlingua is the Big Bend National Park, which borders on Mexico’s Chihuahan Desert. Z and I took a sunset horseback ride through the park and it may have been one of my favorite experiences of the trip.

What do you think of my trip? Have you ever been to this part of Texas?

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My NoLA Photodiary

St Louis Cathedral in New Orleans
Every year I make it a goal to visit one new country and one new state. in 2015 I ticked off the country with South Africa but as the end of the year loomed I hadn’t been to a new state yet. What’s a type-a girl who needs her goals met to do? Plan a last minute birthday weekend trip with her beau!

We chose to go in December, straddling our 5 day apart birthdays, hoping to flee what should have been a chilly mid-atlantic winter. While DC hadn’t been cold New Orleans turned out to be the perfect mid-month respite from all things holiday and festive; a trip to focus on us and enjoy the celebration of our birthdays. Here’s a peak into some of my favorite images we snapped on our trip:
QSS in New Orleans
New Orleans Street performers
Brunch at Criollo in New Orleans
Classic Beignets in New Orleans

We loved being able to walk around with our drinks in hand all over New Orleans. We did the classic “Hurricanes” and Long Island Iced Teas the first day but we’re not keen on sweets so we swapped for beer, mimosas, or negronis for the rest of the trip.

We also loved all the great food! From our Birthday Brunch at Criollo to the ubiquitous beignets, we were never starving or undersatiated. Even in December the city was alive with drinks and food and so many people. It was such a great experience to get away and explore a new culture that is Franco-American in so many ways.
QSS in New Orleans
QSS in New Orleans
QSS in New Orleans
QSS in New Orleans

Have you ever travelled to New Orleans? Be sure to check out the rest of my trip and my stay at Loft 523 here!

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