How to Enjoy A Day to Yourself In New York City

New York City. Where you can simultaneously feel connected to the center of the world and completely anonymous. My love affair with this city is fed by way too infrequent trips to visit. But that may be part of the allure for me. Since I never have enough time to do everything on my ever growing list to check out and see everyone that I’m long overdue to catch up with, I always leave feeling slightly haggard from rushing to try to fit as much as possible in (or over celebrating when I do see dear friends). You can lose an afternoon just trying to get across town, so a poorly planned schedule can seriously throw off a visit.

Last week I was in the city to celebrate a girlfriend’s upcoming wedding and extended the trip by a few days to visit my brother. I ended up with a blissful day completely to myself. Here’s how I spent it:

 

9AM - Wake up late

Jetlag after travel from the West coast is real. I couldn’t pull myself out of bed before 9am.

 

9:30AM - Walk

After checking a few quick emails, I headed outside and was pleasantly surprised with a gorgeous fall day. I love how much you walk in New York, weather you have a destination or are wandering aimlessly.

 

10:30AM - Workout at SoulCycle

Would a trip to NYC be complete without a quintessential workout experience? Don’t be intimidated, come to work hard and be prepared to sweat. And if you can’t take the intensity for 45 solid minutes, the good news is it’s nice and dark in the studio.

 

12PM - Manicure at tenoverten

This salon offers a relaxing, enjoyable experience while focusing on natural products.  The bright and airy location in Soho feels like you are in a friend’s chic apartment, not at a nail salon. A nice pick-me-up and rejuvenating experience.

 

1:30PM - Lunch at Jack’s Wife Freda

After seeing this place all over instagram, I decided I needed to check it out for myself. If you are lucky enough to snag a spot at the cozy bar at the Soho location, warm up with a cup of tea and their famous avocado toast.

 

2:30PM - Shop

Because no trip to New York is complete without some shopping. I spent some time wandering down Elizabeth Street in Soho, my new favorite shopping street, and came across some of my favorite brands. Clare V, Cuyana, Steven Alan, Kit & Ace….among many, many others. I also tracked down my new obsession, the workout apparel Outdoor Voices. Their shop in Soho is just so much fun. I basically tried on everything. Their new colors are so good.

 

6PM -  Dinner at The Mercer Kitchen

This cozy spot in the Mercer Hotel is a perfect place for an intimate, yummy dinner. I am still thinking about the Angel Hair Pasta with mushrooms and parmesan.

 

A Birthday Surprise

I'm lucky I married a guy who loves exploring and experiencing new places as much as I do. And he is also one heck of a good planner himself. Bonus points for his undying love of a good surprise. 

To mark my recent milestone birthday, my lovely husband secretly packed an overnight bag (bathing suit, running shoes - the essentials) and loaded it into the car without my knowledge. As we set out to do some Saturday errands we were in fact (and still unbeknownst to me) on our way over the Golden Gate Bridge for a night away!

The Cavallo Point Lodge has been on my radar for awhile. My parents visited a few years back and had a wonderful time. It is also just a quick 10 minute drive from our apartment and we've driven past the exit often. But when we actually turned off the highway I still wasn't sure what was up.

 A room with a view. 

A room with a view. 

However, from the minute we arrived and the valet whisked away our car, I was blown away.

The service was top notch throughout our entire stay. We had one of the eco-friendly, contemporary suites with views of the Golden Gate Bridge just steps from the main restaurant and bar, but we felt completely removed and secluded. Our room, with a large gas fireplace separating the bed and the sitting area, was a perfect place to relax with some wine and watch the fog roll in and out of the city. We didn't get a peek into the historic lodging, though I can report they are completely charming from the outside. I would definitely recommend a stay in the contemporary lodging - especially as most of them have the unbeatable Golden Gate Bridge views!

After arriving and settling into our room, we explored the property a bit, stopping by the pool and the spa to soak in some sunshine (all with a glass of wine in hand, naturally). We didn't take advantage of any spa services but the aptly named Healing Arts Center & Spa definitely has me itching to plan a return visit. 

Before dinner we stopped in to the Farley Bar. This is one of those cozy wooden bars that you could spend hours in cuddled up by the fireplace. We had a reservation at the hotel's Murray Circle restaurant so we didn't stay long. But there are no complaints here. Dinner was a highlight - one of those meals that exceeded our expectations, all the way through to dessert. We indulged in local oysters, kale salad, duck ... and enjoyed it all. 

A lazy breakfast on the patio the next morning was a perfect way to wrap up our quick getaway. Cavallo Point Lodge is one of those fabulous hotels where you can relax and be pampered but also feel close to nature and enjoy breathtaking views no matter where you are on the property.

For us, it was such a treat to get away without actually having to travel. I loved every minute of my birthday surprise. Can't wait to go back!  

Boulder in the Summertime

Most people will tell you to go to Colorado in the winter so you can ski. Don't listen to those people. Of course I love to ski, and Colorado has some of the best skiing in the world. And you should definitely go to Colorado and ski in the winter if that is your thing. BUT, people in the know will clue you in on a (increasingly less) well-kept secret....

Summertime in Colorado is actually the best time to visit. There is just so much to do. Hiking, biking, camping, hoping from brewery to brewery and dining alfresco are just a few of the (many) activities to partake in.  Town is (a bit) quieter, the CU students are gone, the wonderful farmers market is in full swing, and the Colorado sun (minus humidity) gives you just the right dose of summer heat. And if that sun gets too hot you can always escape to the nearby Rocky Mountains for some fresh air. 

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If you are lucky enough to find yourself in town, here are (a few of!) my not-to-be-missed stops. 

Hike Mount Sanitas. Trust me, the climb is worth it. 

Re-fuel afterwards with a Green Monkey smoothie and a juice at Wonder Press.

Caffeinate at Boxcar Coffee while perusing sister store Cured's well-curated selection of gifts and sampling their gourmet cheeses. 

Pick up the Buff sandwich at Dish.

Work up a sweat at BOCO Fit, my favorite workout.

Take in the views with a cocktail on the Flagstaff House patio.

Relax over a glass of wine at The Kitchen Upstairs.

 

Check out more of my Boulder tips and favorite haunts over in Travel Notes

Welcome! This Is Why I Travel

A lot has been written recently about why now - more than ever - is the time to travel. I couldn’t agree more. In my opinion, it is always time to travel.

Travel is one of the most essential elements of my life. Hardly a day goes by that I am not planning - or dreaming - about an upcoming adventure. My wish list of travel destinations is about a mile long, and I'm constantly adding more. I can't stop. But it's not the luxury hotels, hot new restaurant or the days spent relaxing by the pool that I'm obsessing over. Sure, they may slip into the itinerary and I'll enjoy every minute of that along the way. But what I truly crave is the opportunity to experience something unknown - the feeling you get when you are in a different place, maybe you don't know the language or have gotten lost trying to find the restaurant you set out to find for dinner. Slightly unnerving and completely exhilarating. It's the excitement of finding myself in a completely new place and challenging myself to figure it out. To get the best out of each place - the food, the people, the culture, the hikes, the beaches... For me, my most accomplished feeling is enjoying a destination to it's fullest. And I don't mean necessarily seeing every "must visit" tourist destination, but rather exploring at my pace, chatting with locals to discover hidden gems not in the guidebooks - and really uncovering the essence of a place.

Travel helps me appreciate all I am fortunate to have at home, while simultaneously opening my eyes to the great wide world out there. Travel reminds me of how vulnerable I am and pushes me out of my comfort zone. Travel challenges me to be patient, adaptable and go with the flow. Travel makes me compassionate. Travel teaches these lessons, while also making the world a smaller and more connected place. And trying new-to-me (preferably spicy!) foods, discovering inspiration in foreign cultures and adventuring in gorgeous new landscapes are the icing on top of the cake.

Travel has taught me that I am an explorer at heart. I’m looking forward to sharing my discoveries and recommendations here, hopefully inspiring you to take that trip, go somewhere new, and learn something about yourself. Come wander with me!