We decided that a weekend trip to Philadelphia would be a great option for the Memorial Day weekend in 2016. Since we live about 2 hours from the center of Philly, it worked out really well! We headed out on the Friday night after work and came back late on Monday night. We stayed at the Lowe’s Hotel in Downtown Philly which had a great location! Since we love walking everywhere, the Lowe’s Hotel accommodated us nicely in that regard.
This weekend trip wasn’t entirely planned out. There were several sites that we were interested in seeing while in town, but for the most part, we wanted to wing it. With recent hype about the city being the ‘next up and coming community’ to visit, we knew that we had to come before it became crowded with tourists.
I will say that the city holds a soft spot in my heart after visiting for a weekend. There are many beautiful parks throughout the city center, great restaurants, friendly people, and really cool history! If you’re a history buff in love with the founding of America, I’d definitely recommend a visit to this city. Taking some of the history tours is recommended as well since they point out some fascinating facts about the neighborhoods. Some neighborhoods worth mentioning are Old City, Rittenhouse Square, Society Hill, and South City.
Enough said! Now here are some wonderful pictures from that weekend 🙂
You would think that after 4 packed days, we would’ve decided to relax a little, but that wasn’t the case. We were off to go horseback riding through the hills of Ireland first thing in the morning! This was by far my favorite part of the trip. It doesn’t get any better than being on horseback and being out in the open hills of Ireland! An absolutely amazing adventure that we’d recommend everyone to try in Ireland (How do you think people got around hundreds of years ago)! Once the 4 hour horseback riding adventure was over, we headed out to Curraghmore Castle. It is an estate still owned by the same family that has been passed down through generations. We finally ended the day in Waterford with a delicious dinner before heading back to the villa.
On our last day, we went kayaking in Killarney for 5 hours where we got to explore the Lough Leane and kayaked around Ross Castle. The tour was really extensive and we were able to get a lot of sights in that we normally wouldn’t have on foot. We then headed over to the town of Killarney to grab a late lunch and explore the town a little. It was extremely cute and as always, the food was delicious! Once we were full, we set out to explore Killarney National Park. We first stopped by Muckross House to take a tour of the home. Once we finished exploring the Muckross House grounds, we got back in the car to drive around the National Park. We first hiked up to see the Torc Waterfall and drove up for a glimpse of the Ladies View. We finished the day with dinner and drove back to our villa for the final time.
We had no time to spare and were off on more adventures the next morning. Our mornings began really early around 5 or 6 with a quick breakfast in our villa. We ended up going to a local grocery store and figured breakfast would be easy to make with eggs, ham, and cheese between some bread! Simple ingredients, but they were delicious and wonderfully fresh!
I love castles, who doesn’t, right? We visited two different castles on the 3rd and 4th days that took up most of the day. On the first day, we visited Blarney Castle and Gardens. This castle has a famous ‘Blarney Stone’ that is meant to be kissed for good luck. Many line up at the top of the Castle to kiss the bottom of this stone. The grounds of the castle were beautiful and easily took up several hours of exploration! We then headed to the city of Cork and visited the English Market. The second day, we visited Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. This was a special castle in that it was mainly intact with representations of what it may have looked like at some point. It was attached to a folk park that had a little village and other houses representing the time during the Castle’s period. Lastly, we were able to squeeze in a hike in Sheepshead way that offered breathtaking views!
I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland for many, many reasons. Just to name a few: the country is so beautiful, unique, situated on an island, and has some of the freshest food in the world. Ireland mainly exports goods and does not import that much especially when it comes to food. Due to this, Ireland is a country for foodies who love fresh food that has been sourced from local farms. One of the things that really surprised me on our first day, is how friendly the people are. From the gentleman at the customs window, to the car rental worker, and lastly to the shuttle service man, I was blown away by the smiles and genuine warmth. Stepping foot into a country that was so welcoming made me wonder why I wasn’t currently living there! Even though we took it fairly easy the very first day (jet lag crushed us), we still managed to fit in some excursions around the property we stayed at and explored the little town that it was located in. We stayed at Adare Manor and Villas in Adare, Ireland (close to Limerick). The location was perfect for us since we wanted to explore the lower portion of Ireland and stay in a central location to all spots. I tend to overdo each day by jam packing it with various outings and adventures! When we go back, we may do it a bit differently though! Regardless, the experience was out of this world and the adventure will be with us forever!
One of the things I can say would be done differently is the amount of driving we did. Since we wanted to see various parts of the island, we ended up driving up to 3 hours in one direction some days. When we’d mention this to the locals, they’d act stunned. When an Irish person has to drive anywhere that is over an hour, they make plans to stay the night in that location. Growing up in America, we are used to driving long distances and didn’t think that would be an issue. One thing we didn’t take into account is the terrain that Ireland has. The roads are not the same as in America! Even though there were highways, majority of the roads were small country roads that curved every second of the way. Talk about the stress of driving two hours on that type of county road!
We spent six full days in Ireland in the month of May. We were prepared for cold and wet weather, but were pleasantly surprised with a heat wave! We took advantage of the great weather and took hundreds of pictures! Since each day had many adventures packed to the brim, I’m going to split the blog posts up by two days each. The first day was easy and full of sleeping, while the second day consisted of a 5 hour bike tour of Cong and hiking the Cliffs of Moher.
The bike tour started our really leisurely. We went through a monastery that still had a Monk’s fishing hole attached to the outskirts of it as shown in the pictures. We couldn’t believe a lot of these buildings were still in tact and had to take many pictures. As you can tell from the descriptions, these buildings were erected earlier than the 15th century!
We continued on through a nature trail that had some crazy terrain! There were cool underground caves that housed Monks at some point. The last part is a really cool well that had stairs built in to gather water. The water is said to be extremely fresh having to go through various natural filtration systems to end up in a pool at the bottom. My boyfriend ended up trying some and enjoyed it immensely!
Absolutely gorgeous scenery the entire way! We ended up at a castle that was built around the 15th century as well. The tour guide gave us a background of the castle and mentioned that a famous movie scene was filmed right in front of it.. Can you figure out which movie it was? We stopped by a beautiful lake that had limestone rock all around. The limestone rock was eroded from the constant rain that occurs and had holes throughout.
We finally stopped by for lunch and had a chance to see some sheep and horses grazing in fields. Then we passed through the Ashford Castle property. It is one of the oldest fully in-tacked castles in Ireland. Absolutely breathtaking and has amazing grounds! It is now a hotel and caters to some really famous people. Maybe we’ll stay there next time we decide on another trip to Ireland? 😉
On our drive to the Cliffs of Moher, we were blessed with such a pretty rainbow! We had to pull over and get out of the car to take pictures! So many unexpected delights along the way!
The Cliffs of Moher have to be the most amazing cliffs in the world. They overlook the Atlantic Ocean and offer the best views anyone can ask for! We spent several hours (after the bike tour) hiking the cliffs while the sun set over the water!
These pictures do not do the Cliffs of Moher justice! This should be a must see for everyone at some point in their lives. The majestic cliffs created many photos opportunities for us as well…
Finally.. we got too hungry to continue doing anything at all and needed to find some yummy food to fill us up! I still think of this seafood tower to this day… will never forget how delicious it was!
We were recently invited to a friend’s wedding that took place in Connecticut. The wedding ceremony and reception took place at the same venue. It was at Avery Point (old cottage looking building) that overlooked the Long Island Sound. The ceremony was performed outdoors surrounded by the setting sun (and sadly some clouds) and a small gathering of close family and friends. The reception was indoors with wonderful food and fun music! Since we spent the night at the same hotel as the happy couple, we ended up partying after the wedding as well! Great memories were created with wonderful friends alongside us! Here are some pictures to share of the wonderful night we had.
One of my favorite things to do in life is plan things out! I’m a huge planner and actually get anxiety when a vacation or something else doesn’t have a plan. That’s why when his birthday rolled around, I was really excited to surprise him with something. Knowing that he loves adventures (just as much as I do) and values experiences high, I decided that a birthday cruise around the city would be perfect. I picked a company that sails in March (it’s really hard to find ones that do since it is still cold outside) called Bateaux New York. I opted for the VIP package that allowed us to sit right in front of the windows. It also included dinner, a bottle of champagne, and a bouquet of roses. We set sail on his birthday for dinner and had a wonderful experience! I also bought him a drone that he had talked about forever (and I’ve yet to see him use it). Regardless, the look on his face when opening the gift was priceless! These are the moments that I love the most!
We ended up going to a lot of burlesque and aerial shows at one point (Yes, we binged). I’m not sure why, but we ended up attending many shows throughout several months. They were definitely interesting.. and actually weird at times. But then again, what would you expect from a city like New York. After seeing many varieties of shows that round up many different acts, we’ve maxed out our desire to see any for a while. This is something that we’d recommend anyone to do at least once and I believe the following adventures will spark something in you. If not, I don’t blame you.. these shows are not for everyone!
Over the past several months, we visited many restaurants that we had a lot of fun with. Not only were they delicious, but the experience was an adventure as well. Everyone knows that NYC has amazing restaurants, and we are on a whirlwind to eat in as many as we can. Here are just a few throughout the past few months that are noteworthy to mention and we’d eat at again in a heartbeat!
A red eye flight out of NYC on a Friday night put me in Paris (he had gone ahead of me) on a Saturday morning. After catching a cab to Hotel Banke, I met him in the lobby, tired but ready to explore! After a quick nap, we were off to an adventure packed weekend! We explored as much as we could by foot, looking at the architecture and unique streets. We ended up dining in one night and ate at a romantic duck restaurant (at least that’s what he thought) the next night!
I would like to go back and chronicle all of the adventures we have had together since we met. These posts will include all of the wonderful adventures we’ve been on and will continue to have. That is why you will see multiple posts go up, sometimes on the same day, that could cover various adventures and locations. This is sort of a scrapbook for us, and is meant to remind us of all the wonderful adventures we’ve had. Life is about experiences and this is the best way to remind us of these experiences. Even though this is a personal blog, I want all of you to get some ideas with the various Luxe Life Adventures we’ve had! Go on.. Keep reading about our travels, day to day adventures, and passion for food (especially wine and cheese)!
I unfortunately have not had time to keep up to date with this blog when I initially created it, but am making a personal commitment that I will be more consistent.