My New York Adventure

My first solo trip…I decided to go big. I thought I would take on New York City. I thought a few years of living in Chicago was the preparation I needed and I was ready. I was going to have my Carrie Bradshaw and Holly Golightly moments mixed in with a little of my own style. And I was right, it was sensational!

I decided to use my Delta miles to upgrade to first class. For some reason it seemed appropriate to arrive in a glamours, high powered city like NYC this way. I arrived early in the morning to what was Pride Day in New York. What an awesome way to be welcomed to such a vibrant city. The parade was wrapping up but the streets and sidewalks were packed with supporters and very few protestors. The people watching was fantastic! There was music, dancing, celebration, and laughter every where. Traffic was a hot mess, which my cab driver was very upset about, but the energy of the city was good. It was too early to check into my hotel so I dropped off the luggage and started to walk.

Not far into my walk, I found myself a little Irish pub. I am Irish and friendly so I figured this place would be too. Most of the time when I travel, I don’t necessarily have a “pre-plan itinerary”, I like to wander around a bit, talk to the locals and get a feel for things. What I didn’t realize was that I was walking into a legendary bar, PJ’s Carney’s http://www.pjcarneys.com. Sitting at the bar, I was informed by regulars that this was a place that New York legends would hang out in “back in the day”. I am sure I seemed like Dorthy from Kansas with some of my questions but what I learned about New Yorkers is that they LOVE to tell you what they know and they are proud of their city. After a quick bit to eat and my briefing on the city…I headed out.

Another thing you should know about me…I lack the ability to read a map, I still try sometimes but I usually get it wrong. So when I stepped out of the doors of PJ’s, I just decided to go straight. And yes, I know New York is on ” a grid” but honestly that doesn’t mean much to me. I know I was on 57th, because my hotel was at 57th and Lexington which I felt like was an important fact to remember. It wasn’t long before I was upon 5th Ave. There I spotted… The Plaza http://www.theplazahotel.grandluxuryhotels.com which immediately made me thing of the book “Eloise at the Plaza” so I has to stop in. After exploring this fabulous hotel and grabbing a cappuccino, I headed towards Central Park. It was a beautiful summer day so the park was active. I am sure I stood out as a tourist…with a big smile on my face and pep in my step..I could have broke out in song at any moment. Still didn’t have a destination in mind but kept walking until I emerge and saw this…the MET. New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art!

My first thought, I bet they have an amazing gift shop!http://www.storemet.museum.org I bought a ticket and began to explore the beautiful halls of art, sculptures, and displays. I was also intrigued by the number of artists that were there actively drawing. I listened in on a few conversations they were having and was fascinated by their observations, their theories, and knowledge. I saw beautiful works of art from Rembrandt, Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh and so many others. I was feeling quiet cultured now. I didn’t take in any of the traveling exhibits but I was right about the gift shop…it was pretty amazing. I even found a book about the “Things to do in New York” that I purchased to help me navigate the rest of my weekend.

A view of the bar at Il Cantorini

The afternoon was wrapping up and I had dinner reservations at a place that was listed on the “Sex in the City” guide to NY. The restaurant is located in the village and was featured in an episode of the HBO series, Il Cantorini http://www.ilcantinori.com. Wow, did I make the right pick! I was seated out side by a handsome Italian waiter. It was a perfect warm summer night and there was a lot of activity on the street. Inside was even more interesting with birthday and anniversary celebrations. The restaurant was filled with large bouquets of fresh flowers, you could hear beautiful Italian music playing in the background and the sound of laughter coming from tables of families, couples, and friends, all there to enjoy the evening. The service was top notch. I expected to be overlooked as a solo diner but the manager came over at one point to chat as well as the sommelier, who picked out a delicious Nebbiolo for me to enjoy. People say New Yorker’s aren’t friendly but I haven’t found that to be the case. They can be direct, but I appreciate that. They can be sarcastic but I find that to be entertaining. That evening I met some wonderful ladies from Long Island that were in the city for a play, a couple from the Netherlands , and a family from somewhere in Ohio. After a wonderful dinner of a summer pasta with chicken, I said good-bye to my new friends and headed back to the hotel.

Photo by Kai Pilger on Pexels.com

My first day alone in the big city had been even better than I expected. I was excited for the next morning as I had some great plans in store for the day. Stayed tuned for the adventures of day 2. Hint: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Bono, and the Berlin Wall.

Hit the Reset Button

Happy New Year! Out with the old and in with the new. Wipe the slate clean and begin again. Although I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions, I do think the beginning of a new year and in this case, a new decade is a great time to hit the “reset button” on life. Over the last 10 years, my family and I have taken a trip over the New Year’s time frame to do just that. It is always the same destination…a warm and sunny escape from the grayness of Michigan winters.. to the warm and sun of Florida. Nothing is more relaxing to me than the beach…the waves, the sand between your toes, the sun on your face…it opens the heart and mind for reflection. Add in some time with the people I love most in the world and I am in my “happy place”. I have some favorite family, couple, and alone spots that I would like to share with you in the Naples and Bonita Springs area if you are looking to do the same. Let’s start with the family.

Family Time

Bonita Beach is the destination that I have been taking my kids to for the last 25 years. The activities have changed for us, but it is still our “go to” spot. The beach has rich white sand, perfect for building sandcastles together. Love the idea of siblings working together on a plan to build the best castle on the beach. Should there be 4 towers or 6 in the castle? Anything is possible! One person is in charge of filling the buckets of water, the other digging the moat to protect it from intruders and the tide. The other molding the sand as the castle begins to take shape. Usually supervision by a mom or dad is helpful, just to ensure there is peace among the villagers. If your kids are past that age, maybe it is strolling along the beach looking for the perfect shells to bring back as a souvenir. I remember some of my best conversations with my children about their struggles, hopes, and dreams have happened on that beach. All walls seem to come down and the family bond is renewed.

When reality sets in and the family starts to get hangry, there is Doc’s Beach House http://docsbeachhouse.com close by…actually on the beach. It’s ok to leave your stuff on the beach to save your spot (chairs, towels),no one will bother it. Doc’s is a cash only establishment -but don’t worry there is an ATM on site. You can dine inside or sit at one of the umbrella covered tables on the beach. After a delicious burger or fish sandwich and some lively conversation with the bartender or server , it is time to hit the beach again. Maybe up your game with the kids a bit and rent a jet ski , or go parasailing or join a dolphin tour – whatever your level of adventure is for the day, Doc’s offers it all.

Couple Time

Need to reconnect with your spouse or significant other? The BEST place in southwest Florida to do that…2 words…The Ritz. Even if you don’t stay there, it is a great place to spend the day. I recommend getting there early, grab a couple of coffees from the cafe and head out towards the beach. There are miles of white sandy beach you can walk together, hand in hand, admiring the multi-million dollar homes- picking out the one you would want if you won the lottery. Then turning your gaze toward the ocean and watch the dolphins play along the shore, or maybe even take a dip in the warm Gulf waters. As relaxation sets in, the conversation and laughter grows and all of sudden you realize you are on a date.

A date usually includes a meal and it is almost lunch time…fortunately for you without any preplanning, you have a great option close by. Gumbo Limbo at the Ritz. Great Ritz service, delicious options for food and drink and a view like no other. Sometimes there is a bit of wait, but the wait is eased by the perfect frozen margarita or glass of Rose. Once seated, this al fresca restaurant has great views of the ocean and a festive Caribbean atmosphere. The service, in true Ritz Carlton tradition provides the pampering you SO deserve. You are no longer worried about time of day, world events, or to-do lists. It’s just you and your love. Let the rest of the day evolve into a romantic dinner while watching the sunset together.

Alone time

I travel all the time by myself for work, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I took my first vacation by myself. Such a difference experience. There is no need for making compromises when it comes to what to do, when to do it, or how long to do it. I found a few days (or even just one day if that is all you can manage) at the beach alone can be rejuvenating, reflective, and glorious! I like beach at Naples. Close to downtown Naples so you can add in shopping if you so desire. There is so much do to, so let’s take a walk through a full day. Beginning with breakfast, I highly recommend Jane’s Cafe on 3rd http://www.janesgardencafe.com. The garden setting is beautiful and the French toast is AMAZING. After a delicious meal, a stroll downtown is on the agenda. Great little boutiques line the avenues. Pick out a new outfit, find something beachy stuff to take home or gifts for the people you left at home. After some shopping, head towards the pier for some sun and surf. I love to walk the beach. I can resolve a lot of things in my life with some quiet time along the seashore. I have a practice of throwing shells in the water, representing any negative thoughts or things in my life, clearing the way for new and prosperous things to enter in. Might sound cheesy but it works! After all that soul searching, I am hungry again. Lunch at old Naples Pubhttp://www.naplespubs.com is on my list..mainly for the pickles. Not to say they don’t also have great seafood, burgers, and tacos..but it is the pickles that will bring you back time and time again. After lunch, you can head down to Tin City and take the 2 hour boat cruise through Port Royal and Naples Bay http://www.purefl.com. Sightseeing includes the homes of the rich and maybe not so famous. After a full day of sun and sea, a relaxing dinner at Albertos on Fifth is the perfect way to end the day. Chef Alberto has created a delectable menu of Northern Italian favoriteshttp://www.albertosonfifth.com. A glass of one of the Super Tuscan wines accompanied by a dish of homemade pasta will send you home content and relaxed.

I imagine you all have your own traditions when it comes to welcoming in a new year. Maybe it is a trip? Or an activity? Your own way of finding renewal and a fresh outlook. I hope through what I have shared that I have inspired some new ways. Either with your family, with your loved one, or some needed time alone. Please feel free to share your stories with me. I would love to hear them.

There is the cutest little town..

In Northern Michigan that you may not have heard of. It sits along the coast of Little Traverse Bay, not far from it’s better know “Up North” sister city of Petoskey. It is the quaint town of Harbor Springs. You won’t find any big hotel chains or shopping malls. Instead you will take notice of the peaceful and tranquil setting of this charming little town.

Harbor Spring is about a 4 hour drive north of Detroit. If you are flying, there is a regional airport just north of town, Pelleston, that offers daily connections to and from DTW on Delta. You will need a car as there are many places to visit around the area but for now, let’s focus on Harbor Springs. As head down M115 towards town, one of the first things you notice are the beautiful homes that line the streets. Most of them over a 100 years old with large front porches , perfect for sipping lemonade on a hot summer day. Entering into town, you will see a country church at the end of the street, and a Main St with lots of fun little shops, and a harbor with beautiful boats (and yachts) docked for a day or for the season. During the height of season, the Main Street is full of tourists but it is not the hustle and bustle of other resort towns. It is as if everyone knows its ok to slow down, maybe put away the iPhones, and engage in life in a small town.

First stop for me is always Johan’s Pastry shop on the corner of 3rd and Main. The delicious smells of homemade pastries and donuts …and fresh roasted coffee welcome you. You will notice a group of locals sitting at a small table in the corner. They are regulars that have been coming there for years. They know everyone, can share the history (and a little gossip) of the area, offer a recommendation or two on where to eat or what to do.

Once you are fueled up, take a stroll down Main St. It seems rare these days to find a small independent bookstore but there is a great one in town- Between the Covers. A great selection of books (Bestsellers, Fiction and Non, Biographies, cookbooks, and a great children’s section). Each September the town hosts “Festival of the Book”. In 2020, the event will be Friday September 25th- Sunday September 27th. When the tickets go on sale in early July , you will want to get yours right away as some of the events sell out. The festival features nationally published authors and illustrators across a variety of genres.http://www.hsfotb.org If you are a fellow lover of the published word, you will not want to miss this. This is a great festival for all ages and also includes food, music, and crafts. Fall is such a beautiful time to be in Northern Michigan so you will want to include a trip to the Tunnel of Trees on M115 just outside of town.

If reading isn’t your thing, don’t worry there are plenty of other attractions. For food lovers there are 15 different restaurants with about about half of them all within a block of each other. A favorite of mine is Willow http://www.willowharborsprings.com. Chefs Chris and Daniel talents have created a very eclectic menu combining local grown ingredients along with delectables from the lakes and farms. The service is impeccable. And, they will even go off menu if you would like to enjoy something special like an Affagato. Another stop that you need to make is at Tom’s Moms Cookies. Nationally recognized and locally made, some of the BEST cookies you will ever have. They open and 10am. There will be a line. But it is worth it.

If you want to enjoy the beautiful weather and spend a bit more time outside. There are plenty of things to do. The Thorne Swift Nature Preserve has over 30 acres of land just off Lake Michigan. You can do a formalized tour or venture out on your own on a choice of 3 hiking trails. The wildlife, flowers, dunes and views are spectacular. Evenings in July and August they offer a Night Walk which is great for viewing the starry sky and the ambiance of the water and the beach in the evening. For beach lovers there is Zoll Street beach, small but a great place to launch a kayak to enjoy the water or hang out a the dog friendly beach with the family. An alternative to Zoll St, is the Zorn Park Beach which has a large sandy beach area, play structure for the kids, and restroom facilities.

There is so much to do that a long weekend or even a week long trip is recommended. There are several great “Up North” towns within a 10-30 drive of Harbor Springs. Petoskey is a big larger and has several more options with shopping, theatre, and dining. There is Bay Harbor, home to the Inn at Bay Harbor (an AC Collection hotel by Marriott)- modeled after the famous Del on Coronado Island. Another favorite spot as they do their famous campfires at night by the water, complete with s’mores. Charlevoix is not much further down M31. Another great town for summer and fall festivals.

My family likes to visit every 4th of July week. We utilize http://www.vrbo.com to rent a house for the week in Harbor Springs or a neighboring community. It is great time to visit and partake in classic American traditions of parades down Main St and fireworks. Nothing beats a Michigan summer night – it is light until way after 10pm, there is the smell of camp fires, the sound of laughter from family and friends enjoying time together, and the laid back atmosphere that let’s you take a break from the world. If you have never experienced “Up North”, now is the time to start making plans.

A Proper Ladies Dinner

I am a very fortunate woman. My travel takes me all over the country and has allowed me to cultivate friendships with some really great woman. Women that lead organizations. Women that care for their families. Women that are making an impact in the communities around them. Women that have challenged me to be better, stronger, and pursue my dreams. It isn’t always possible to spend a much time with them as I would like so when I get the opportunity, I take full advantage of it.

My job often takes me to Richmond , VA. A city with a rich, yet controversial past. Home to a prestigious university. And the setting for a quarterly dinner with some wonderful women. There is no topic that is off the table. Knowing your “walk on” song is a must as well as a love for all music from the 80’s. But it is just a myth that you have to be blonde to attend one of these dinners. Sometimes it is best for other people in the restaurant that we have our own separate room as it can get quite loud with laughter and music.

Richmond has experienced a renaissance over the last few years and has become a great “foodie” town. The setting for this dinner was at the historic Jefferson Hotel, built by tobacco Baron Lewis Winter back in 1892. The restaurant in the hotel is Lemaire. The chef is local to the area and has done a fantastic job incorporating local grown ingredients into fabulous seafood dishes as well as some local favorite beef, pork and chicken selections. Lemaire offers a elegant setting, perfect for the holidays or celebrating a special occasion.www.Lemairerestaurant.com

If you are a history buff, you will want to spend some time in this city. Former capital for the Confederate south, the museums and Monument Avenue tell the story of the of Richmond’s struggle to find peace in a society that was the center of the Virginia’s slave trade. I found a visit to the Virginia Museum of History & Culture very enlightening and sobering; telling a part of history not taught to this depth in most of our schools. The Museum hosts many special exhibits and collections both historical and current in theme. The museum also offers a program Unknown No Longer (virginiamemory.com) that houses a collection of resources for researching African American history in Virginia. Giving generations of families their due respect and to ensure they are not forgotten.

The Valentine First Freedom Center, located in the retail and entertainment section known as Shockoe slip (aka Shockoe Bottom), was the site to the secret meetings with Thomas Jefferson and Virginia’s General Assembly to draft and later enact the Religious Freedom Act of 1786; paving the way to the U.S. Constitution’s 1st Amendment (www.thevalentine.org). Walking down the brick paved sidewalks of this area is like a step back in time. This quaint walkable section of the city offers any options for dining. There is a great little bistro called Bistro Bobette on E. Cary St serving up traditional and French nouvelle cuisine by real French waiters. Sine’s Irish Pub is a more lively alternative that offers traditional Irish food, music, and spirit . Looking for a more traditional menu? Check out The Tobacco Company Restaurant, Morton’s Steakhouse, or The Hard Shell for some great steak or seafood. So many options makes this area worth an overnight stay. There are many options including the Courtyard and Residence Inn by Marriott, which is attached to the First Freedom Center.

As a fan of college campuses, I highly recommend a visit to VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) while in Richmond. The urban setting of the VCU campus encompasses great art, culture, and history…as well as a great bookstore. You can spend a whole afternoon wandering the campus, popping into the gorgeous Cabell Library or stopping for a cupcake at Carytown Cupcakes. Grab a coffee or latte at Lift’s Coffee Shop and for a moment be part of the energy of this vibrate campus. Be sure not to miss the historic Byrd Theatre too. They offers classic movies – a must see for any cinema buff www.byrdtheatre.org

My trips to Richmond began as trips deemed necessary for work but have quickly become a quarterly trip that I look forward to. Each time I discover something new about this great city. And, I know that I have a great meal in store with some fabulous women whom I admire so much. I invite you to make the trip, you won’t be disappointed.

Just a Small Town Girl

Main Street

Love the towns you see in the Hallmark Christmas movies? Or have you ever wanted to go to Stars Hollow ?  Your search will end here. There is a town in Michigan that still holds monthly town hall meetings, offers a Main Street that hosts not only every holiday parade but also a parade for the local little league teams.During the summer;  there is an Art Festival, sidewalk sales, weekly concerts, and even a local Farmer’s Market.  The Historic Home Tour and Classic Car Show in the Fall highlights this little town’s historic past. Home to authors, poets, chefs, and even once the site for movie. It’s the town I call home. To clarify I travel almost every week for work, so when I have a chance to hang out in Milford, Michigan, it feels like a vacation.  

Again my day starts with coffee. There is a great group of guys at the local Starbucks that gather every morning to discuss politics, family, faith, food, and share tips on how to fix almost anything .They have helped me move, have been present for milestones in my children’s lives and have been so supportive in all my endeavors.  They are very welcoming to all, so if you stop in be sure you say hello and maybe sit down for a chat.

So what is there to do in this little town (village ) of Milford? Let’s start with downtown. A walk through town will take you past a variety of boutiques. There is After the Rain, Hoot, and Nana’s that offer unique or one-of-a-kind type items. If you like to cook or bake, you will want to stop by The Acorn Shop and check out the selection of kitchen and dining items or join a cooking demonstration. Looking to update your wardrobe? There are several women’s clothing shops (The Clothing Cove, Tenacity, and Uptown Threads to name a few) that have an outfit for every occasion.

I know this sounds like a lot of small towns across the country so what makes Milford so special ? It’s the people. People that care about this town and the people in it.  People  that are rooting for Charlie’s new restaurant – Still on Main, to do well.  Kathy at the Milford Feed Store that can help you feed your horses, your chickens, and your average household pet but also there for advice on life, health, and family.  Colleen, owner of Sweet Retreats (aka-the chocolate shop) that never judges me on what is sometimes is “multiple” trips to her store on a stressful day AND remembers that my favorite treat is the milk chocolate peanut butter cup. I was raised here.  I raised my children here. It’s my escape from the vastness of this world.

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Milford is a town that is great for a romantic night out – a glass of wine at The Wine Bar followed by dinner prepared by Chef Gary at Gravity. Maybe a walk down Main St. to one of the several jewelry stores the town hosts? 

For families there is an awesome park that offers one of the best playscapes I have ever seen. Central Park offers movies in the park during the summer as well as family friendly concerts in the La Fontaine Amphitheater . We still have a family run movie theater (Milford Cinema)that offers first run movies for only $6 per adult and $5 for children. They won’t start the movie until everyone has what they need from the concession stand so you have time to load up on popcorn and candy without missing a moment of the movie.

Need a girl’s weekend trip?   There is yoga at In Harmony.  A great DIY workshop  A/R where you can paint, build, knit, or sew.  Lunch at Coratti’s on Main followed by some shopping is a great way to spend the day with your besties. Need a new look? There are 5 Hair Salons and a new Blow Dry Bar (JL Styles coming in January). Be sure to stop in and see Paul and Nancy at Milford Nail Spa for a pedi/mani. 

I haven’t even mentioned that we have great bike trails,  Kensington Metro Park, and Camp Dearborn in the area as well. So if you are looking for year round outdoor fun, be sure to add those to your list.

Have I convinced you yet to spend the day, or maybe even stay the night? Our new Opera House Bed & Breakfast is now open. It is nice to take a step back sometimes and enjoy the simple pleasures that Milford, Michigan has to offer. I hope you take the time to come and visit.

https://www.meetmeinmilford.com/1/Oakland_County_Michigan/files/MilfordWalkingMap20112.pdf

Andy, Jackie, and Me

It’s a cold blustery day in Chicago but the sun is out and the town is wide awake. We have already decided that shopping will be incorporated into the day but also want to make sure we take in some culture.

Our first stop , after coffee (those that know me, know I NEED my coffee)is the Chicago Institute of Arts, there is an Andy Warhol exhibit that has been getting great reviews so we wanted to check it out for ourselves. Getting there early is the key, museum gets busy, and I am not a fan of crowds.

I am fascinated by art, but have very limited knowledge of it. So instead, I just experience it through how it makes me feel instead of trying to figure out what the artist is trying to say. To me, Andy Warhol was this interesting character that I heard about in the 80’s (mainly thanks to Duran Duran), so his style reminds me of growing up in Milford, Michigan and hanging out with my friends, and all that is 1980 something.

One of the highlights of the exhibit is centered around the Kennedy’s. The Kennedy’s have long captivated my interest, mainly Jackie. I think it stems from my mom playing the soundtrack from Camelot; and my sister and I dancing and singing along to it. It sounded like a fabulous place to live with lots of romance and adventure. When I discovered that JFK’s Presidency was referred to as the time of “ Camelot” it immediately resonated with me. Did I mention we happen to be there on the 56th anniversary of the assassination of JFK? Not planned, just coincidence but noteworthy. Wire reports, news paper headlines, little bits & pieces of information that chronologically tells the story all the way through to the death of Lee Harvey Oswald. Experiencing this part of the Andy Warhol exhibit brought back all those memories as well an emotional response to the assassination of JFK (yes, I was not actually born until 6 years after this all happened so I don’t remember it in real time)

I have always admired Jackie for her commitment to her children , family values along with her elegance and style. Andy is able to capture her love, her grief, and her strength in nine simple photographs. It evokes many emotions but mainly empathy for what it must have been like for her and her children during such a devastating time in their family. She was admired by millions but it came with so many difficulties that it must have been hard to be Jackie Kennedy. If you are also fan of her, I highly recommend the book “Mrs Kennedy and Me” by Clint Hill. Mr. Hill was the lead agent assigned to her Secret Service detail and was there by her side in the car when JFK was shot. And there during the many hours, weeks, and months that this one moment left behind.

There is much more to the exhibit than just Jackie. His most famous pieces are there but also drawings and artwork from all different stages and mediums of his eclectic career. Worth checking out if you find yourself in Chicago from now through January 26th.

https://www.artic.edu/exhibitions/2937/andy-warhol-from-a-to-b-and-back-again

For some more insight to Jackie, I thought I would share this site with you. https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/398288.Jacqueline_Kennedy_Onassis

A little bit of France…in Chicago

As I sit and write my first “official” post, it is appropriate that it is in the small coffee shop,Le Petit Margeaux in the Waldorf Astoria in Chicago. It encompasses so many things I love. The ease and elegance of the French atmosphere. The sweet and savory taste of the freshly baked croissants accompanied by a rich and creamy cappuccino. The perfect setting for people watching. Artists, designers, business men and women. The old , the young, the up and comers and those enjoying retirement.

This is always my first stop in the morning when I am in Chicago. The peace before entering the hustle and bustle of this great city.

What I love about this hotel are the people that work here. Women and men that share that passion of hospitality that I have. That adrenaline rush that you get from meeting new people, making a difference in someone’s day, and making an impact. Serving others as a way to show love to someone, to make them feel important, to let them know they matter.

I must confess…I came here last night for dinner. The plan was to “stop in” for a drink and then head out to one of the many fine restaurants in the Gold Coast area of Chicago. But once I am in this fabulous hotel, I struggle to leave. We met the fabulous Sommelier for Margeaux Brasserie. She shared her great knowledge of wine to help us better understand the Bordeaux wines and the explain the variety of blends from the right and left bank in the Bordeaux region. Paired with a petite filet and butter lettuce salad, it made for a perfect evening out.

There is always so much to do in Chicago. It’s hard to pack it all in a long weekend. I will be heading to the Chicago Insitute of Arts to visit the Andy Warhol exhibit so watch for more updates.

If you find yourself in Chicago, put The Waldorf Astoria on your list of places to either start or end your day. Or both. Bon Voyage!

This is me

I have always believed that travel; experiencing new places, different cultures, and exploring the “non touristy” places in a city is the best education one can get. I fell in love with this kind of life very early on. Growing up in a home, where my mother worked in the travel industry, gave me the opportunity to do things that were not typical of a daughter of a single parent. Caribbean Cruises, long weekend trips to Bed & Breakfasts across the country, and international trips to Canada, Mexico, and France.

My plan when I was in high school was to be a travel writer. Back in the late 80’s though, people really didn’t care what an 18 year old had to say about a weekend in Toronto or Chicago. There were no travel blogs…there was no internet access yet for the average person. So instead I went to travel school, became a travel agent and took advantage of the benefits that came with it. Putting my dream on the back burner.

Life changes came. Marriage, children, divorce. Travel remained a passion but funds were limited. I moved through the travel industry working for a large travel agency in Detroit, than later Norwegian Cruise Line and then Costa Cruise Line. In 2002, I found what would be come my career path…hospitality. It was in my DNA. Hosting people, taking care or anticipating their needs, good food and drink..all right up my alley. I was hooked. I now work for one of the largest hotel management companies in the US and can honestly say I love my job.

Which now brings me to today. I have the time now that my kids are grown and living on their own. I have the resources and benefits of being in the industry to indulge a bit more. And I have my desire to write again.

This blog will be to share my travel experiences to help fuel your passion to travel. To highlight great destinations for singles, for couples, for women , and for families. I hope that you all fall in love with the destinations I have on my list for the next 12 months.

My blog will not be perfect. Technology is not always my friend (which makes me sound so old). My name is Jennifer and I am a writer.