Miami Travel Guide

Miami Travel Guide

Known for its stunning Art Deco architecture, sunny beaches and impossibly fun vibe, it was an easy choice for us to make Miami our first trip of the year. After spending a long weekend with my husband and pup in the beachside haven and scouring the city from South Beach to Little Havana, I’m sharing my travel guide for Miami with all of you.

I hadn’t been to Miami in more than a decade and the lure of 80 degree weather in January was just too enticing to pass up on. Because of recent COVID outbreaks around the country, we were a bit hesitant to actually go on our trip, but we were able to get flights on Southwest for next to nothing and got a great deal on our hotel room.

When looking for a hotel in Miami, it’s important to know which part of town you want to be in. If you’re interested in South Beach, I’d recommend the Faena or the Miami Beach Edition. When we booked our original trip, we found a deal on the Betsy Hotel and jumped on it. Although the Betsy photographs well and has a wonderful staff, I would not recommend staying here. The building is dated and the crowd that hangs out around the hotel is rough to put it lightly. We were very uncomfortable the one night we did stay there because the room smelled, we could hear noise from the street outside all night and the room just did not feel clean. The Betsy claims to have beach access, but it is not done through the hotel, it is done through a third party and you have beach access with a lot of other people.

After one night at the Betsy, we quickly switched over to the Four Seasons Miami which is located in the heart of Brickell, the city’s financial center. Although we had to give up the beach, we were so thrilled with our move. The Four Seasons Miami offers impeccable service, a stunning pool, an outdoor area that worked so well for our dog and clean and comfortable rooms (although a bit dated.) If you’re looking for a Four Seasons property on the beach, I’d highly recommend the Four Seasons Surfside. Unfortunately, this gorgeous hotel was a bit out of our price range and further away from most of the things we wanted to do so we decided to stay at the Four Seasons Miami. Another bay-side gem is the Biltmore Coral Gables. When we would go to Miami when I was younger, I would always tell my parents that if I lived in Miami, I would live in Coral Gables and I stand by that today.

If you’re looking to party, South Beach and Miami Beach will be perfect for you. From buzzy clubs and restaurants to partying on the beach, you’ll be happiest here. Brickell also offers a pretty cool night life scene with great restaurants and hotspots like Komodo. Keep in mind that Miami is currently observing an 11 p.m. curfew, but clubs are still open.

If you’re looking for a more relaxed vibe, Bal Harbour/Surfside and Coral Gables/Coconut Grove will be the place for you. Bal Harbour and Surfside offer beach access, luxury shopping, fine dining and several celeb sightings while Coral Gables and Coconut Grove are a bit more laid back and not on the beach.

For fabulous shopping, museums and excellent dining, look no further than the Miami Design District. From public art installations to the famed Institute of Contemporary Art, you will leave this creative neighborhood feeling inspired and ready to take on the rest of Miami. If you’re looking for a bit of history or you have a cigar lover in your group, Little Havana should be on your list. Walking through this neighborhood just minutes from downtown, you feel as if you have been transported to 1965.

We LOVED the food scene in Miami, so much so that I actually ranked our meals from the trip and wrote a full review on them. We originally had reservations at Makoto, but had to cancel them because it would have taken us too long to get up there. If you’re staying in the Bal Harbour/Surfside area, definitely make reservations there one night.

Casa Tua, Mandolin and La Mar are not to be missed if you’re in Miami and if you’re looking for a classic Cuban sandwich while in town, look no further than Sanguich de Miami in the heart of Little Havana.

Houston Hobby Airport at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, January 24th.

COVID Travel Update

As most of you know, my husband and I have felt comfortable traveling to a few places during the pandemic. Everywhere we went, we felt safe because of small crowds, extra precautions people and places were observing and especially because all of our flights were not full. Well those days are over.

All four of the Southwest flights we were on for this trip were completely packed. Miami was packed. Although everyone wore face masks, I did not feel safe in many situations during this trip. Although I am very thankful we were able to go on this trip, had we known about the massive crowds we would encounter on the trip, we would have definitely reconsidered. I wish airlines would do their part and go back to keeping middle seats reserved for flights, it’s not responsible to have that many people in a confined space during a pandemic.

Miami Restaurant Rankings by Brit

Miami Restaurant Rankings by Brit

When we were planning our trip to Miami, I had high expectations for the weather and beaches, but wasn’t thinking much about the food. After living in Houston for six years, I became quite spoiled by the *highly* underrated food scene and am usually disappointed by the food in other cities when I travel now. But I was not disappointed by the Miami food scene at all, in fact, I was quite blown away.

To share my culinary adventures with all of you, I’m ranking the seven restaurants we ate at during our trip. We barely scratched the surface when it comes to Miami dining so this is in no way a ranking of all Miami restaurants, only the ones we ate at during our three-and-a-half-day stay.

  1. Casa Tua

Our best meal in Miami was at Casa Tua. The vibe was unlike anything we’ve ever experienced and the food was excellent. We ordered a fish carpaccio, octopus (the best dish we had on our entire trip), the Mushroom Fettuccine (which they are apparently known for), the Red Snapper and finished off our meal with the Italian Casa Tua Doughnuts.

The Red Snapper with the Mushroom Fettuccine

No matter where you are seated for dinner at Casa Tua, you will have the most enjoyable time. Each dining area is unique and oozes sophisticated European charm. COVID guidelines were well respected here and we will definitely be back.

2. Mandolin

A very close second for our dining experience in Miami is Mandolin. This mediterranean bistro is a true gem and should not be missed when visiting Miami. Set in the lush gardens behind Miami’s famed design district, the striking blues and whites that make up this restaurant make you feel like you’ve been transported to Greece.

For lunch, we ordered the Cheese Saganaki, the Ali Nazak, Greek Salad, the octopus and French Fries with Greek Yogurt. We ate every bite and wish we could have tried more, but we were so full. In addition to the lovely setting and insanely good food, the service was excellent and the restaurant felt clean and respectful of COVID guidelines.

3. La Mar

We also loved La Mar. This hip Peruvian restaurant is located in the Mandarin Oriental on Brickell Key. The food was outstanding and we had the sweetest waiter. We ordered the Roll Anticuchero, the octopus, the Arroz con Mariscos and the whole fish which was de-boned, cut up and fried into small bites.

I will say that there were a couple of things that led to La Mar not being my top restaurant of the trip. First of all, I did not feel safe in regards to COVID. This place was packed and restaurant workers were constantly asking patrons to put their masks on, which was unnerving. I do think the restaurant could restrict the number of reservations they take or limit the number of people who are just standing around to alleviate this issue. Secondly, the restaurant terrace is overlooking the bay, which is lovely, but people were smoking on the pathway right beneath the tables which was awful. Third, because the restaurant sits at the base of the hotel, many people use the two entrances on the restaurant’s terrace to get into the hotel so that means random people are walking by your table all night.

4. Edge at The Four Seasons

We ate at the Edge at the Four Seasons twice during our stay. Once for breakfast and once for lunch and we really enjoyed both meals. I noticed the adherence to COVID guidelines the most here compared to any of the other restaurants we ate at. The tables were well spaced and very clean, patrons and workers were required to wear masks (when not at their table) and the food was great.

For breakfast we had coffees, the baker’s basket–a butter croissant, a chocolate croissant and a croissant filled with cream cheese and jam, and the Honey Nut Granola Parfait. For lunch one day we shared a burger and fries by the pool and it was amazing.

5. Sanguich de Miami

Of course we had to go to Little Havana when we were in Miami! After a little cigar shopping, we popped into Sanguich de Miami for Cuban Sandwiches. This sandwich shop is really a hidden gem in Little Havana. All of the sandwiches are made on fresh Cuban bread and are made with high-quality meats.

Cuban Sandwich

Sanguich de Miami was also really good about COVID guidelines and the restaurant felt very clean and safe. There is usually a line so if you’re looking to save time or avoid the crowds, you can order ahead online seamlessly.

6. Mignonette

Mignonette… I’m still replaying this experience in my head because I had high hopes for it, but I don’t find myself wanting to go back. The food we had was good, but there were a few things that threw the experience off for me.

Located in the up-and-coming Edgewater neighborhood, Mignonette is housed in what was once a gas station. They did a fabulous job transforming this place, but upon entering, I smelled something very muggy and musty and that’s not great when you’re about to eat seafood. We also sat at the front of the restaurant which has a large window so all of the oncoming headlights were a bit much for me. Another thing that detracted from the experience was that the waiter originally helping us left unexpectedly during dinner and we were not helped again for quite some time by another staff member. I also ordered sparkling water several times that never came. All of this is to say that our dinner at Mignonette was good, but I don’t think we will be back.

7. LT Steak & Seafood

LT Steak & Seafood, the main restaurant at the Betsy Hotel on South Beach was our least favorite of the trip. Since we stayed at the Betsy our first night in Miami, we had lunch there when we arrived–a burger and the Spicy Crispy Rock Shrimp roll– and then breakfast the next morning where we had oatmeal and the Betsy Breakfast. Although the service could not have been better, the food left quite a bit to be desired. With so many other options in the area, I regret having had two meals here.

Miami Packing List

Miami Packing List

Miami here we come! When I think of Miami, color is the first thing that comes to mind so I’m packing my bags to the brim with my favorite summer clothes and counting down the seconds until I’m on the beach.

I think one of the keys to an easy weekend trip is to not check any luggage. But that is a lot easier said than done. I always travel with my Away Bigger Carry-on because it gives me plenty of room to fit a complete weekend wardrobe. I’m also bringing my favorite beach bag as my smaller carry-on so I don’t waste any space in my suitcase. I bought my Naghedi bag last summer as a beach bag, but I ended up wearing it around town all the time. It is great because it is water resistant, the sand flakes right off of it and it looks so sharp.

To keep your packing concise, I recommend planning your activities and outfits in advance, packing outfits in a similar color palate so you only have to bring one pair of going out shoes and one evening bag. Since we’re going to Miami, I’m packing colorful outfits that work well with neutral accessories. For this trip I’m bringing my favorite Bottega dupe from Amazon and the Castañer lace-up wedges. These shoes seamlessly transition from day to night and are the perfect accent to all of the clothes I packed.

What are your favorite things to do in Miami?! Leave me a comment and let me know!

XO,

Brit

Brit’s Guide to Round Top, Texas

Brit’s Guide to Round Top, Texas

Tucked away in the Texas Hill Country and equidistant from Houston and Austin, Round Top, Texas is the perfect getaway. With a population of 90 (yes, 90 people) this charming town boasts phenomenal food, shopping and culture. A couple of weeks ago, my best friend and I decided to meet in Round Top and do some shopping and I can’t wait to share our recap with you.

When I heard that one of my favorite hat designers was doing a pop-up in Round Top, I thought it would be such a fun time to check out this little town I’ve been hearing so much about. The Sarah Bray Bermuda pop-up was held at the Courtney Barton store in Round Top Village. This adorable shop has beautiful textiles, candles, jewelry and so much more.

In spite of unseasonably cold weather, we had the best time shopping in Round Top. We never made it out to the main Antique fair, but absolutely loved the shops at Round Top Village, Junk Gypsy and the Marburger Farm Antique Show. Whether you’re looking for antiques, clothing or gifts and collectables, you will have no shortage of options in Round Top.

After a long day of shopping and searching for hidden gems, there’s no doubt you’ll need some food and most likely a drink. Luckily, Round Top has excellent restaurants to choose from.

I normally trust Eater for restaurant recommendations, but I actually found the best information for dining in Round Top on the town’s website. For such a small town, there are some serious culinary gems in Round Top and I cannot wait to try them all.

We absolutely loved our lunch at the Garden Co. We had the most delicious tacos, shrimp salad and shared a bottle of Prosecco! This restaurant is adorable, delicious and has a wonderful wine list so we will definitely be back!

Our favorite food from the day though was the pizza at Prost! I had read about it on blogs before our trip and then we ran into my friend and her mom and her mom said that she dreams about the pizza at Prost so we all went for pizza and wine after our day of shopping and it was heavenly!

We ended up making some new friends while we were warming up by the fire. In addition to the pizza and atmosphere, the wine list at Prost is incredible and the service was out of this world. I’ve been told that the pizza is not always available there, just at certain times of the year so check on social media and the Prost website to see when the pizza will be served.

Whether you’re a Texan looking for a quick getaway or if you’re from out of state and want to explore the Texas Hill Country, Round Top has so much to offer. From culinary delights to vintage treasures, I am certain you will have the best time and I can’t wait to go back myself! Thanks for tagging along with me on this little road trip! Cant wait to share my next travel guide with you soon! Any guesses where we’re going?!

XO,

Brit

Brit’s Summer Travel Series: Park City, Utah

Brit’s Summer Travel Series: Park City, Utah

As Summer comes to a close, so too does Brit’s Summer Travel Series. And the last stop on my journey is one of my favorite places in the world, Park City, Utah. Because I grew up in Salt Lake City, Park City is like a second home to me.

Just 35 minutes from the Salt Lake City airport, Park City is a top destination anytime of the year. Although the town is famous for its skiing, the summer months are just as fabulous. From hiking to river rafting, shopping and eating, there are endless activities to do in Park City that work for people of all ages.

The view of The Canyons from McPolin Farm

Since I’ve lived in Utah, Park City has changed so much. Many of the restaurants and shops are now different and even the ski resorts have had a major shakeup, but it is still charming as ever and now much fancier, which I love. For my most recent visit, we chose to stay at the Waldorf Astoria Park City and absolutely loved it.

The Waldorf was not only a beautiful hotel with huge, updated rooms, but the staff was also incredible. Everyone remembered us and they were so sweet to our puppy, Charlie. Little things like s’mores by the fire at night and the DJ at the pool on Saturday made our long-weekend stay so much fun. We booked our room through Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection so our room was automatically upgraded and we had free breakfast every morning which was amazing. I loved the food at the hotel, thought the wine list was ok and the cocktails were great.

The Waldorf is four miles from Main St. so if you’re looking to be right on Main St., the Marriott Summit Watch is a fabulous choice and affordable. If you’re interested in staying in Deer Valley, the Montage, St. Regis and Stein Eriksen are my top choices.

If you’re a foodie like me, then you will love Park City! I have to start with 501, it was by far our favorite restaurant of the trip and a total surprise. We actually went in because we wanted to have lunch on their balcony. The restaurant is situated right on Main St. and has wonderful views. We LOVED the food and they had an excellent wine list. I had the Ahi Tuna appetizer two days in a row and would have done it for a third if I could. The service was excellent and we couldn’t have asked for better lunches.

We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at Riverhorse and I would say this is a must-try if you’re in town. I made our reservation about a month in advance and the restaurant was full so definitely make a reservation for this one if you can. The service was also impeccable here and the food and wine list were top-notch.

If you’re staying in the Canyons like we did, Powder, the restaurant at the Waldorf, Versante and Cortona are excellent choices and are close by. If you’re looking to stay on Main St., Riverhorse, 501, Yuki Yama, and Tupelo will be perfect for you.

As far as breakfast spots and coffee shops go, I love the Java Cow Bakery. When I was growing up, we would always go here for ice cream (usually after dinner at the Pizza Noodle) and I just lived for it!! But they now have wonderful coffee and breakfast options so I highly recommend checking it out. Riverhorse Provisions, is also a great option for breakfast.

One of my family’s favorite places to go for a celebratory brunch when I was little was the Stein Eriksen so of course we had to go this past weekend. But things have changed. Because of COVID-19, they no longer do brunch as a buffet, but rather family-style and it was not good. The service was great here and the views can’t be beat, but the food did not do it for me. I would suggest going for lunch, dinner or maybe a drink to see Deer Valley, but I would pass on brunch for sure.

The activities in Park City are literally endless! On our long-weekend, we barely had time to scratch the surface. Of course, checking out Main Street should be on your list. Historic Main Street is filled with art galleries and unique shops where you are sure to find something you’ll want to take home with you. We stumbled upon Baranof Jewelers and I found a few gems I will definitely be returning for.

If you’re looking for souvenirs to take home to your loved ones, Park City Mercantile has fabulous leather coasters, cutting boards and more. I also love the Deer Valley Signature Store on Main Street for Deer Valley Merchandise like t-shirts, hats and odds and ends. If merchandise isn’t quite the way you want to remember your time in the mountains, an iconic piece from the McMillen Fine Art Gallery might be more up your alley. Jared and Tish McMillen have captured some of the most stunning scenes from the Rocky Mountains and any of their pieces would be the perfect addition to your home.

Growing up, we would always bike around McPolin Farm. Not only is there a great trail, but because of the iconic white barn with an American Flag, its makes a wonderful spot for family photos and is a landmark in Park City that is not to be missed. Don’t be fooled by the fence around it, McPolin Farm is owned by the people of Park City and is completely open to the public.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip to Park City as much as I did! What are your favorite things to do in Park City? Leave me a comment and let me know what I need to add to my list!

XO,

Brit

Brit’s Summer Travel Series: Philipsburg, Montana

Brit’s Summer Travel Series: Philipsburg, Montana

As the dog days of summer creep on, there is no better time to squeeze in a trip to the mountains. I recently visited my family in Montana and am so excited to share one of my favorite places with you–Philipsburg, Montana.

This once sleepy shuttered mining town has had a bit of a renaissance in the past 20 years. With a charming Main Street, unique shopping and tons of recreational activities nearby, I do believe this will be the next Telluride or Park City.

Because both of my parents are from Southwestern Montana, I have been visiting Philipsburg since I was a baby. Some of my favorite memories from when I was younger, are the days when my grandma would take me to the Sweet Palace to buy me as much fudge and candy as I wanted, look at gems in the Sapphire Gallery and finish the day off with root beer floats at Doe Brothers.

Another one of my must-dos when I’m in town is to see a performance at the Philipsburg Theatre. I don’t believe any performances are being held this summer, but this theatre is truly a treasure. It has been perfectly preserved and offers wonderful entertainment. The town has changed a lot since I was younger, but in all of the best ways.

Located just an hour from Missoula and two-and-a-half hours from Bozeman, it is easy to get in and out of Philipsburg from anywhere in the country. I think it is an ideal vacation destination because there is just so much to do. Within 10-15 minutes, you can be at Georgetown Lake or Discovery Ski resort in the winter months. In recent years, celebrities, artists and business owners have brought a creative flair to the town that has added to Philipsburg’s charm.

The food in Philipsburg is mostly traditional and gives you all of the comfort feels. When I’m in town, I love having lunch at Doe Brothers–a traditional soda fountain restaurant or Boheme, which is an adorable bohemian coffee shop. The Silver Mill is a fabulous choice for dinner, but they are unfortunately closed due to coronavirus.

I’ve also heard really good things about the Philipsburg Brewing Company from my family, but haven’t gone myself because I’m not a beer drinker.

Unlike mountain towns in Colorado and Utah, Philipsburg hasn’t fully tapped into the luxury market, yet. The one exception to this is the Ranch at Rock Creek, which has been consistently voted as one of the world’s top resorts and is just a 10 minute drive from town. At the ranch, you will find true mountain luxury and have access to farm-to-table dining, wine pairings, horseback riding, fly fishing and so much more. But it will cost you a pretty penny. If you’re not interested in breaking the bank, there are plenty of incredibly affordable hotels in the area.

If you’d like to stay in Philipsburg proper, the Broadway Hotel, Kaiser House and Quigley Cottage will be great options for you. The Forest Edge Inn and Seven Gables–a motel, are about 20 minutes away from Philipsburg, right on Georgetown Lake. Until last week I would have hands down recommended at least stopping here for fried chicken, as it has been one of my favorite things to do for the last 15 years, but I had a really unfortunate visit last week. Seven Gables is under new ownership and we had a terrible experience with the staff. The food has never been out of this world, but it was always fun. I can’t say the same anymore so for the time being, Seven Gables will be off of my list.

If you’re ok with a roughly 45 minute drive, Fairmont Hot Springs resort is a wonderful family-friendly hotel option. It is affordable, clean and has tons of activities for kids.

If you’re ever thinking of visiting Montana, I hope you give this charming little town a try! Leave me a comment and let me know where your favorite mountain destination is!

XO,

Brit

Brit’s Summer Travel Series: Palm Beach, Florida

Brit’s Summer Travel Series: Palm Beach, Florida

As summer winds down, Americans continue traveling around the country. This week for Brit’s Summer Travel Series, we are heading to one of my favorite places, the island of Palm Beach! Since I couldn’t go this summer, my friend, Hillary is helping me out on the blog this week. She has been quarantining in the ultra-luxe locale since March and has not only shared some of her favorite things to do in the area, but she has also given a lot of updates about what the area is like now during the Coronavirus pandemic.

When I think of Palm Beach, the first things that comes to mind are luxury, pink and palm leaves…a few of my absolute favorite things! But there is so much this little slice of paradise has to offer. Concentrated within 7.8 miles, Palm Beach boasts fabulous shopping, top restaurants and incredible hotels.

You will not be hard-pressed to find an amazing meal in Palm Beach. Some of the best restaurants from New York City are in Palm Beach as well as institutions like the Palm Beach Grill and Benny’s on the Beach. If you’re a seafood lover, there is nothing better than enjoying a cocktail at the Seafood Bar at the Breakers with fish swimming under your glass.

Just as a rule of thumb when traveling or day-to-day life, if there is a Hillstone restaurant in your area, go there. Whether I am in Palm Beach, Montecito or Dallas, I always go to the Honor Bar (and order the Emerald Kale with Rotisserie Chicken Salad, French fries and a glass of white wine), which is one of the many restaurants owned by the Hillstone Group. The food is always amazing, the wine lists are perfection and the service is great.

The activities to do in Palm Beach are endless. A local favorite is bike riding on Lake Trail and hanging out on the beach of course. As most of you know, I am a shopper so Worth Avenue and the Royal Poinciana. The flagship Lilly Pulitzer store is right on Worth Ave. and you can see how the designs for fabrics are made and shop some of the best Lilly styles around! At the Royal Poinciana, you can find things like LoveShackFancy, Alice and Olivia, Hermes, Stoney Clover Lane, Zimmerman and so much more…it is like my dream shopping destination!!

The hotels in Palm Beach are amazing, but pricey. If you are looking to spend a little extra, splurge for the Breakers, the Colony or the Four Seasons. If you’re trying to save a bit, the Chesterfield and the Ben West Palm Beach will be great options for you.

No matter where you stay or play, you will love Palm Beach! Leave me a comment and let me know what your favorite spots in Palm Beach are!

XO,

Brit

Brit’s Summer Travel Series: Fredericksburg, Texas

Brit’s Summer Travel Series: Fredericksburg, Texas

Howdy, friends! This week we are traveling to the idyllic Hill Country town of Fredericksburg, Texas. Fredericksburg is an ideal destination for Texans, as it is nestled in between Austin and San Antonio and a quick drive from Dallas and Houston as well.

My husband and I stumbled upon this dreamy town because we were supposed to go to Napa at the end of the month, but had to cancel due to increased coronavirus fears and restrictions and we thought this would be a safe substitute. Originally established as a German settlement in the 1800s, Fredericksburg has now become a chic destination for wine lovers.

We didn’t know much about Fredericksburg before going, but we were pleasantly surprised with what we found. The town has maintained its German heritage and small town charm, while offering modern amenities from around the world.

Although we were drawn to the town because of the vineyards, I think the shopping I found once we were there was the highlight of the trip for me. We found two shops in particular–Farmhaus and Vaudeville–that literally got me excited to shop. I love shopping, don’t get me wrong, but I’m very picky with what I buy. I hate buying things just to buy something and get so annoyed with tacky tourist shops. These stores, blew me away. It was as if I was shopping in L.A. or somewhere in Europe. The level of curation in these stores as well as the accessible price points were absolutely incredible.

Unfortunately, when we were in town, we ate at one of the “traditional” German restaurants and were not impressed with the food. When we go back to Fredericksburg, we really want to check out the V Supper Club–part of the Vaudeville Umbrella. With reservations, the club is open on Friday, Saturday and Monday nights offering chef’s tastings and specialized menus. If you can’t make it to the supper club, you can always go to the Vaudeville Bistro. We wish we would have gone there for lunch, but instead grabbed a glass of sparkling rosé when we found it. The bistro has an amazing wine list and a really fun vibe.

We chose to visit Signor Vineyards when we were in Fredericksburg and I’m so happy we did. It is set on a classic Hill Country estate and offers delicious wines and an incredible experience. They did tell us its a bit different than usual to visit right now because of coronavirus…they are not offering traditional tastings, but you can buy bottles of wine and have them on the property. We bought two bottles–the rosé and the Sangiovese (a light red.) One thing I thought was really interesting is that all of the wines from Signor are made in Oregon and then sold at the vineyard in Fredericksburg. I was pleasantly surprised when I found this out because I’m a little bit of a wine snob and was kind of dreading drinking Texas wine, but what we found is that most of the wine served and sold in the area is from Oregon, California and Europe.

Many of the guests at Signor brought their own food and wine glasses and had a picnic, which looked so fun, but the vineyard also has a little grocery store where you can get food and water as well as beautiful gifts.

For this quick weekend trip I know we barely scratched the surface on what the town has to offer, but I know we will be back to discover more! I’m not going to say Fredericksburg is on the same level as Napa, but I will say it is a fun destination for a weekend getaway in Texas.

Have you been to Fredericksburg before?! Leave me a comment and let me know what your favorite things are in town!

XO,

Brit

Brit’s Summer Travel Series: Carmel-by-the-sea, California

Brit’s Summer Travel Series: Carmel-by-the-sea, California

Coronavirus fears continue to keep American travelers stateside this summer rather than traveling abroad. Luckily, within the United States there are plenty of destinations that will make you think you’re in another country and you don’t have to use a passport to get there. One of my personal favorites is Carmel, California.

Known for its dramatic rocky coastline and world-class golf, vacationing in Carmel can make you feel like you have been transported to a village in the Irish or English countryside rather than the central California coast. From fairytale cottages to French bakeries, this town oozes charm and offers the perfect vacation for people of all ages and interests.

My dad and husband are big golfers so anytime I am in Carmel, I’m usually tagging along on one of their golf trips. I love tagging along because on the days I do choose to golf, I get to take in some of the most amazing views in the entire world and many of the courses in the area are walking only, so I get a great workout in as well.

Golfing at Cypress Point Club with my husband.

My husband’s favorite golf course in the area and the one that he dreams about on a regular basis is the Cypress Point Club. This golf course is private and very old school which is really cool to see. Carts are not allowed and you are accompanied by a caddy when you play. Most of the caddies at the club have been there for more than 30 years and they know every turn of the course like the back of their hands so it is really fun to play with them. Aside from the outstanding golf, the views on this course are INSANE. The iconic cypress trees that the course is known for line the greens and you can hear the Pacific Ocean breaking on the rocks just feet from you. You might even meet a seal or two when you play.

One of the many stunning views at Cypress Point.

Other outstanding golf courses in the area are of course, Pebble Beach, Pasatiempo, Spanish Bay and Spyglass. My husband is an engineer so he is really drawn to the design of these courses and has told me so much about them. One of his icons, Alister Mackenzie, designed Cypress Point and Pasatiempo. These courses are as beautiful as they are challenging, but they make for a wonderful experience. One of my favorite things to do is meet my husband at the Tap Room at Pebble Beach for lunch after he’s done playing golf for the day. There’s something just so fabulous about having a glass of wine and a juicy cheeseburger in the classic mahogany bar.

If you’re planning to stay in Carmel, I like to start my days walking along the beach and then popping up to Ocean Avenue for a bite to eat and some shopping. Keep in mind that it is never really warm in this part of California so even though it is a beautiful, sandy beach, you likely won’t be swimming. I usually bring lots of layers when I’m in Carmel because the mornings and evenings are cool and the afternoons are warm. I also love seeing the “Fairy Tale Cottages.” Hugh Comstock designed a series of Fairy Tale cottages in town that are so idealic, they make you think you are at Disneyland. They have walking tours available and this is something you don’t want to miss!

One of the enchanting Fairy Tale Cottages in Carmel.

If you’re interested in getting out of Carmel for the day, taking the stunning 17-mile drive to Monterey, should be a top priority. This windy road will take you to one of the world’s most fabulous aquariums. The aquarium is located on Cannery Row…I don’t know about you, but I had to read the book Cannery Row in middle school and all I can say is that A LOT has changed on Cannery Row since that book was written, but it is really fun to explore and great for kids.

The dining options in Carmel are fabulous and will make you feel like you are definitely not in the U.S. My family and I love La Bicyclette and no trip to Carmel is complete without stopping there. This French bistro has wonderful food, service and a wine selection in an incredible environment. Lafayette Bakery is also a must stop for my francophiles out there.

For an elevated dining experience, you can’t go wrong with a chef’s tasting and wine pairing at Aubergine. Roux, L’Escargot and Il Tegamino are also incredible.

If you’re looking for more classic food, the Tap Room at Pebble Beach and Brophy’s Tavern are my go-to’s.

L’Auberge Carmel, Post Ranch Inn, The Lodge at Pebble Beach, The Inn at Spanish Bay, Mission Ranch Inn, Bernardus Lodge, Hyatt Carmel Highlands

Carmel is not a big town so there are not a ton of places to stay. I highly recommend booking a house to stay in if you are in a group, but if you prefer hotels there are some wonderful little gems in the area. I did include the Post Ranch Inn on my list because it is so amazing. It is about an hour away, but it is one of the best hotels in the world and I dream of staying there one day.

For my hotel selections IN the area, I love L’Auberge Carmel. You can’t beat the location and it is a romantic, charming and luxurious spot. The Lodge at Pebble Beach and the Inn at Spanish Bay are obvious choices for the golfers out there. Bernardus Lodge and the Hyatt Carmel Highlands are luxurious and modern, but not in town. The Mission Ranch in is a great option for those not trying to break the bank on a hotel.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip to Carmel-by-the-sea with me! Leave me a comment and let me know where you’re traveling or dreaming of traveling to this summer!

XO,

Brit

Brit’s Summer Travel Series: Aspen, Colorado

Brit’s Summer Travel Series: Aspen, Colorado

Looking for a cool summer escape to beat the heat? This week we are heading to the beautiful mountain town of Aspen! Aspen is one of my absolute favorite places to go anytime of year, but it is so wonderful in the summer.

While Aspen is traditionally known for its famous slopes, the summer months are my favorite. Whether you’re looking for an active vacation or one geared toward relaxation, Aspen has everything for you.

Having fun at the Snowmass Food and Wine Festival

Getting to Aspen is fairly easy. There is an airport in town with flights from a number of cities. If the Aspen airport doesn’t work for you, the Denver International Airport is just a quick three-hour drive away. Once you get into town, you’ll definitely need to start with a good meal. I love going to Ajax Tavern for my first stop. There is nothing better than having mussels, truffle fries and a bottle of white wine at the base of Aspen mountain to start your trip off on the right foot.

The coolest thing about Aspen to me is that it is a relatively small mountain town and it has all of the good parts of major cities–the best restaurants, the best shopping, the best hotels and spas…the list goes on. In addition to glamorous creature comforts, Aspen also has extensive mountain activities to occupy guests. One of my favorite things to do when I’m in town is to take a bike ride from town out to Woody Creek Tavern for lunch. It’s about seven miles from town to Woody Creek Tavern, which is kind of an eclectic spot with a Mexican/American menu. It is super laid back and loved by locals.

The activities in Aspen are endless and whether you are single, in a couple, a family or traveling with your girlfriends, you will not have a though time finding things to do. Hiking is an obvious choice in the summer and the Maroon Bells trail is arguably the most iconic hike people take in Aspen. River rafting in the summer is also really fun if you’re looking for a rush. As I mentioned before, the shopping in Aspen is AMAZING. From the shops downtown to the Aspen Saturday Market, there is so much fun stuff to buy. To fit in with the Western-chic vibe, many visitors stop at Kemo Sabe upon arrival to get a specially fitted hat for their Aspen adventures. I’m not a big night club person, but the night clubs in Aspen are TOO fun to pass up. Whether you’re at Escobar, Bootsy Bellows or Belly Up, you are sure to have the best time and you might even dance with a celeb!

Of course on your trip to Aspen you will need an amazing place to stay! Renting a house is always a wonderful option, but if you’re looking for a hotel, there are SO many incredible hotels to choose from. If you’re looking to stay in the heart of downtown Aspen, The St. Regis, The Hotel Jerome, The Little Nell and the W Aspen are the best, in my opinion. These hotels are regularly ranked among the top in the world and for good reason. They are luxurious, unique and offer incredible experiences. If you’re more interested in being in Snowmass (six miles from downtown Aspen) The Viceroy and the Limelight are also fabulous properties.

Are you visiting Aspen this summer? Leave me a comment and let me know where your favorite summer vacation spots are!

XO,

Brit