In Memory, 9/11 Memorial

September 11, 2001 was a devastating day in America when several planes were used in a terrorist attack. The most disastrous planes hit the 2 World Trade Centers in Manhattan, NY killing thousands of innocent people. The damage was incomprehensible as the two towers crumbled. Manhattan was able to stand strong after the attack and re-built a beautiful memorial in it’s place along with the One World Trade building.

Since I live in the NYC area, I’ve had the opportunity to visit One World Trade and the memorial on several occasions. I’ll share my experience with you regarding the sites and why it’s a must visit in this city. The one thing I always find interesting is hearing people’s stories of exactly where they were and what they were doing when it happened. An experience like this will leave a strong impression on anyone.

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This is the One World Trade Tower that stands right beside the 9/11 memorial. It’s the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and was finished in November 2014.

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These are beautiful pictures from inside of the tower. You can see in so many directions. It’s honestly a better view than the Empire State Building. If you look hard enough, you can spot the Statue of Liberty in the bottom picture.

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This is a really special picture. It looks down upon the memorial. The big square was where one of the towers actually stood.

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We finally made our way outside and to the actual memorial. It’s now a beautiful square with a fountain that runs in it. On the outside are names written of all the individuals who passed away that day.

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People leave roses all over the fountain next to names. I assume it’s the innocent victims’ relatives and friends that still mourn the loss of their loved ones.

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Another really special aspect of the memorial is that a light shines from the site for a week before the 9/11 day to commemorate the day and remind us all of the horrible act that occurred. Since we live right across the river in Hoboken, we are lucky to be able to experience this light right outside our door. We captured this beautiful picture on a full moon while we looked across to the NYC skyline.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the victim’s families and friends. This memorial shows that NYC isn’t easily defeated and does rebuild to stand strong.

Hope you enjoyed this post 🙂

Wine and Cheese Party

With our recent fascination with France and French food,  we wanted to throw a French themed wine and cheese party. It was a super casual party with close friends. We wanted to focus more on the delicious wines and cheese that come from the country, than to impress anyone. France is very well known for the different wine regions and also the various cheeses that are produced there. Without further ado, here are some great shots of the parties main stars.

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Here are some of our favorites cheeses we used for the party:

  • Comte Murray’s Reserve
  • Roomano 3 Year
  • Fromager d’Affinois
  • Tomme De Savoie

These were all purchased from a local Murray’s Cheese shop near our house. Picking out the cheeses was a fun experience in and of itself. We had a cheesemonger ask us what we wanted and he guided us to the choices.

In regards to the wines, we try to stick to our favorite wine region: Rhone Valley. Rhone Valley has some amazing Roses, Whites, and Reds that go really well with lots of cheeses.

Some extras that were important and recommend for everyone to use are:

  • Cornichons
  • Dried fruits and nuts
  • Fig jam
  • Crackers and French baguette bread
  • Lastly, delicious charcuterie 🙂

It’s really easy to throw a wine and cheese party! Just as long as you have a solid foundation of cheeses and sides, the wines will come together well. Plus, if you ask party goers to each bring a cheese, the event can be inexpensive. Hope you enjoyed my suggestions and let me know if you had a wine and cheese party, and if you did anything differently.

 

Obsessed with French Desserts

We are obsessed with French pastries and desserts; pretty much any type of french concoction out there. We are lucky enough to live in a city that offers so many of these desserts within a few miles from us. So we decided to go on a dessert kick and try out as many of the French dessert shops around us as possible.

It’s not just the dessert that we are obsessed with, it’s actually the country of France. We tend to gravitate towards the wine, dessert, and food of France. We love the French restaurants that NYC has to offer. We have yet to be disappointed by any of the food that the restaurants have to offer. We’ve also recently taken several wine classes that have exposed us to various wine regions of France, and I have to say, they are by far my favorite. There’s something about French wine that other countries cannot mimic. I love all wine though, but French wine is my favorite.

The history and culture of France also fascinates us. Our very first trip together was to Paris and we fell in love. We’ve talked about moving to Paris as well, but so far haven’t made the leap. But it can happen in the future! We eventually plan on taking a road trip through several vineyard regions in France. This is one of our bucket list items!

For now, we hope you enjoy the pictured desserts below that we immensely enjoyed eating in the various French dessert shops around NYC.

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This was a shorter post for sure, but we wanted everyone to know how much we appreciate French culture and food. We have a passion for it and seek it out not only overseas but also in our city. Hope you enjoyed the pictures of the delicious dessert.

More travel posts to come for sure! We have several trips planned and have taken that still need to be posted 🙂

Birthday Weekend at the Poconos

We love nature as much as we love cities and skyscrapers. We honestly love a good balance between the two. There’s beauty in experiencing both aspects of what this wonderful world has to offer us. Adventure comes in all shapes and sizes and we crave all the adventure we can get! That’s why he knew that surprising me with a weekend in the Poconos for my birthday would be ideal without having to take days off work.

The Pocono mountains are located about 1.5 hours west of NYC in Pennsylvania. This is a sparsely populated area of land that offers wonderful opportunities in the outdoors. There are plenty of places to go hiking, go river tubing, camping, exploring quaint towns, zip-lining, and other adventures. We left on a Friday night after work and came back on Sunday in time for dinner reservations for my birthday. We stayed at Crescent Lodge and Country Inn for 2 nights. Here are many of the adventures we squeezed in during our stay:

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This was our personal little cabin in the lodge area. There was a bedroom, bathroom, sitting area, and a Jacuzzi tub!

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After our drive, we were famished. We decided to stop by and eat at the restaurant on the property and were extremely pleased! You can’t go wrong with French Onion Soup!

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There were so many options and he chose the lamb chop which I have to say, stole the show that night. Delicious!

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We called it an early night and got up early in the morning to have breakfast. We came upon this sign that we found fascinating.01b3f34252920b02c0ede6fe704c49f9665a6b44c2

And of course, the actual breakfast. I was super excited about the plans for the day and couldn’t contain it. Our first stop was zip-lining, then an adventure treetop course, we spent some time in the the quaint town that had a great candy store and finished the day in our cabin.

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This particular zip line was located in Kittatinny and offered duel racing zip lines. We were able to go together at the same time on different ropes. It was such a great experience! We love zip lines and have a plan to zip line every one that we can in every country that offers them. More to come in future posts!

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We were off to our tree top adventure after the zip lines! We wanted to spend as much time as we could in the trees!

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I had to get strapped in and harnessed in order to do the adventure.

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There was a lull where he was in the trees and I had gone ahead of him (I tend to be good at these adventures).

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It was such a great time and offered us great picture opportunities. This was a treetop adventure in Skytop, PA.

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After both adventures, we grabbed a quick dinner in town and headed back to our lodge. The property offered different hiking trails and we wanted to take advantage of them prior to leaving.

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On Sunday morning, he surprised me with a horseback riding adventure! After our successful and memorable horse back ride in the hills of Ireland (you can check out the post in  my blog), this has become another passion for me. I want to ride horses with every opportunity I get! And this ride was so much fun! We were able to trot and gallop with the horses and we had never done that before!

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Once the horse back tour was over, we headed back towards the city. He made reservations at a great restaurant in our neighborhood. We toasted with a bottle of rose to a wonderful weekend that was a perfect mix of nature and adventure!

Let me know what fun adventures you’ve had for your birthday and if you prefer City or Nature adventures!

Rose Event: Pinknic!

We have a passion for wine and when we heard about a Rose party on one of the surrounding islands of NYC, we jumped on the opportunity to be a part of it. This was to be a summer lawn party with rose, live music, and pre-made picnic baskets packed by a renowned chef. This event was to be held on Governor’s Island which sits south of NYC. It’s a small Island that used to be a military base and over the years shut down it’s doors. The city of New York has tried to revitalize this little island by creating a day trip getaway for New Yorkers and tourists with park spaces and beautiful views of lower Manhattan.

In historical accounts of the island, Governor’s Island was easily crossed by walking to it from a point in Brooklyn. This was at the early stages of when people first founded America. It’s no longer possible to cross over to the island by foot and taking a ferry across is the only option. There are other pretty little islands that surround Manhattan that can be reached by Ferry, Train, or Sky Tram, but Governor’s has been sitting empty for many years. Thankfully, the island is becoming a fun spot to get away from the city and enjoy a reprieve from the hustle and bustle. Who knows, eventually we may see other modes of transportation to get to Governor’s Island.

With a Pink and White dress code, we boarded the ferry across the river to Governor’s Island. The logistics of it weren’t greatly thought out since masses of people were heading to the party at the same time. The lines to the ferries were miles long and the ferries weren’t too consistent. We were lucky to have purchased tickets that allowed us VIP access to the ferries and festivities. Once on the Island, we made our way to the venue (which was about a half mile walk from the ferry landing). Once we were checked in, we picked up our picnic basket, bottles of rose, and found a spot on the lawn to camp out for several hours.

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We were surprised at how many people were already gathered and ready to enjoy the music and rose! Even though the clouds look ominous in this picture, we lucked out! It only sprinkled a little bit!

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We ended up finding a spot to lay out blanket and delicious picnic out and got ready to dive into the food! The Pinknic baskets were adorable cream and pink tote bags that included a blanket, our pre-made meal, and various beverages. When we picked up the rose, they were in plastic bags with ice and included rose glasses! We of course kept the tote bag, plastic wine bag, and the blanket! If you look in the background, you can see some of the gorgeous Manhattan skyline!

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The stage was in front of us and the city was behind us. We decided to uncork the delicious rose and dived right in!

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With glasses full of bubbly, we enjoyed our wonderful Pinknic experience!

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The food was delicious! There was a great spread of pork sandwiches, quinoa salad, veggies, and a cole slaw salad.

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We finished off our pinknic with yummy macaroons! We had a lot of fun and carry away lots of memories from that day. It was a unique experience that we were lucky to be a part of in this city!

Have you been apart of any unique experiences or adventures in NYC? If so, I’d love it if you shared them with us! We’re always looking for new and exciting things to do in and around NYC! With how big the city is, it’s hard to stay on top of all of the events that go on, and I’d love to hear some other recommendations.

Weekend in Chicago

For last year’s 4th of July weekend, we headed to Chicago. I know a lot of people head to NYC for this weekend, but I always want to get away from the crowds and experience another city. I’ve been to Chicago many times before and have always had a good time in this city. There’s a charm about the Windy City that holds a soft spot in my heart. As always, we left on a Friday around noon and came back on Monday night. That gave us two full days to really explore and have some adventures!

We stayed near the Magnificent Mile and the 360 degree Chicago building in the Whitehall Hotel. The location was perfect because it gave us access to all of the neighborhoods while we were in the middle of it all. The hotel is more north of the major attractions, but it gave us an opportunity to check out the cool neighborhoods that are away from all the major attractions.

Since Chicago is a couple of hours behind NYC time, we landed with ample time to comfortably leave the airport and settle into our hotel before heading out. Our first night was fairly laid back while the rest of the trip was jam packed! Here is what we covered during a 3 day trip in Chicago:

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The infamous Chicago sign is a must see and picture capture while on a visit to the city. So many different movies, shows, and articles have this iconic sign somewhere in the background. Very cool to see and definitely recommended to happen upon!

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Beautiful old architecture is mixed in with brand new buildings. Our first night was spent wandering around the hotel area and grabbing dinner close by at an Asian Fusion restaurant. The city was looking good so far!

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I honestly don’t remember which night this was, but we happened upon a really cool wine restaurant in a hotel somewhere downtown. I’ll have to do more research on it and let you all know what it was. Such an adorable place with a wonderful selection of wines and charcuterie!

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The next morning, we woke up bright and early since we wanted to fit a lot of different sights in. We started out by walking along the streets to get to an opening of Lake Michigan. We got to a point where you could see the city skyline behind you and the view was beautiful!

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Here’s a panoramic view of the city. There were a lot of people just hanging out. Some were picnicking, others were chatting with friends, there were lots of bikes and roller blades. Locals and tourists both enjoy this stretch of space on the lake.

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We obviously had to visit Navy Pier and check out what the big hub bub was about. Pretty fascinating boardwalk with plenty of restaurants, rides, and benches to relax on. Depending on how windy it is, the pier isn’t suitable for all day.

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We caved and ended up riding on the Millennial Ferris Wheel! It was such a fun experience and provided such an unbelievable view!

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We were so famished by this time, so we decided to try out the famous hot dogs that Chicago is known for. We stopped by an establishment that had been around for a while and looked pretty busy. We definitely enjoyed them!

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This is the John Hancock building. We ended up dining in the Signature Room in the building with incredible views. The food on the other hand wasn’t great. It was a little bit of a disappointment.

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The next day we decided to walk the river walk and came upon amazing fountains.

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I’d say that the riverwalk had more people milling around than the boardwalk by the lake. People were engaged in all sorts of things around the river walks.

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It’s really cool to see all of the buildings that surround the Chicago River. There are plenty of outdoor dining spaces and tour venues set up to utilize while your around the area.

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We decided to check out the Chicago Art Museum since we love art. He also wanted to replicate Ferris Bueller’s Day off scene by looking at this painting. This was the highlight of the trip for him. Overall, the museum had great pieces that you won’t find elsewhere! This is a must visit if you enjoy art.

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Deep dish pizza. Chicago is known for that and we had to check out Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza before we left. The pizza was delicious, but I can’t say that I’d eat it frequently if I lived in Chicago.

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The Bean. This is really infamous in Chicago as well. It was extremely busy around it and there were a lot of people trying to take pictures of it.

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The Buckingham Palace fountain was another famous scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off movie. The fountain wasn’t as large as I imagined it to be though in real life. Still really cool to check out!

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One of the last things we did was lounge on one of the many beaches that are around the city. This is such a cool part of Chicago that I couldn’t get over how it’s surrounded by all the skyscrapers to one side and then so much water to the other. A relaxing oasis (that also offers a beer pub) right in the city.

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We wanted to check out a suburb of Chicago right before we got on the plane. We’ve discussed moving to Naperville, Il on several occasions due to wonderful ratings online. I will say that the town was extremely charming and I’d consider moving there if an opportunity arose. One of my get-ups is how cold it was. Chicago is a cold city and I have no idea how locals manage during the winter months. I had a jacket/sweater on during the entire trip.

Overall, we had a wonderful time and were able to squeeze in a lot of sightseeing. We walked about 20 miles during the entire weekend though and it was a bit exhausting. I’ll have to write another post on all of the different food and restaurants we had the pleasure eating at in another post! Feel free to leave any comments on any other sights that are a must see in Chicago!

Hamptons – Bike Tour

We ended up doing a day trip out to the Hamptons for a bike tour through the wonderful vineyards on a Saturday. There are a lot of misconceptions about the Hamptons that a lot of tourists fall for. Even though some of these misconceptions are slightly true, the Hamptons have something to offer everyone on every budget. The wonderful aspect of the Hamptons is that it offers a diverse amount of things to do: beautiful beaches, fascinating history, amazing vineyards,  charming bed and breakfasts, and delicious food! There’s no wonder that travelers, like EmiMarie, have this wonderful slice of paradise on their bucket lists. It’s a must visit for all!

We took a tour with East End Bike Tours that operates out of the North Fork. The Hamptons are split up in two forks that veer off the main Island. The South Fork is the Hamptons that everyone knows of with the sunny beaches and uber mansions. The North Fork is a little bit more laid back with bays and vineyards. Both are pretty and should be explored, but offer different things for different travelers.

The bike tour we took started at 11 AM in the morning and ended around 5 PM. The first part of the tour obviously included the most amount of time peddling to our first destination. I unfortunately do not handle bike rides as well as some people do, so I struggled. I couldn’t wait for us to stop! We first stopped at a beach on the way to the wineries to taste some infused olive oils with delicious bread. The hosts did a great job putting it all together while everyone took pictures and enjoyed the beautiful views.

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After a much needed break, we headed off to our first vineyard, Martha Clara Vineyards. This is a pretty sizeable vineyard that can accomodate a lot of people at one time. It is popular for weddings and parties. I will say that the wines weren’t great here. We were kind of disappointed of the selection of the wines as well, but this is also the place were we had our picnic lunch. After the tastings, the location was kind enough to allow the tour to set up the catered food for us. We had a wide range of delicious food that was in perfect timing!

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After the delicious lunch, we set off to our final vineyard, Jason’s Vineyard. The wine here was much better and we ended up buying a bottle called Hercules. We love red wines and this one had the right amount of deep flavors we gravitate towards. The tasting room had a big boat shaped bar in the middle. After spending some time at this vineyard, we all got back on our bikes to return to home base. The tour concluded a little early so we decided to hop on a ferry to cross the Long Island Sound to Connecticut to spend the night there.

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What a wonderful day trip and a last minute plan to cross the sound for another adventure! Please comment below and let me know if you had any day trips in the Hamptons!

On another note, I’ve been to the Hamptons several times before and have done other wine tasting at various vineyards and will say that the following 2 are worth stopping by:

  • Sparkling Pointe
  • Kontokosta Winery

Let me know if you know of any other great vineyards!

Weekend in Puerto Rico

My friend and I took a weekend trip to Puerto Rico from NYC. Yes, I took a trip without my partner in crime, but a girls getaway is a must sometimes! We left on a Friday night and flew back on Monday night. We chose a weekend in Puerto Rico for many reasons:

  • Really quick flight from and several flights to choose from
  • Considered a U.S. territory, so we didn’t need our passports
  • We didn’t have to pass through customs
  • The entire island speaks English (Even though my friend speaks Spanish too)
  • Diverse island with beaches, rain forests, culture, and history

We stayed at the La Concha Resort in San Juan. It was surrounded by beautiful beaches and a strip of restaurants and stores just outside the hotel. The perfect mix of relaxation and amenities at our fingertips. There’s just something about being at a tropical beach and not needing a lot around to be happy!

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We had to get a selfie on our balcony
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This was our beautiful view that we were really happy with!

After checking in and exploring the hotel, we decided to go into Old San Juan and grab a bite. We took a quick cab into town that cost us around 10 dollars and were dropped off in front of an old citadel fortress that withstood several attacks on Old San Juan. It was built by the Spanish in the 16th century to ward off intruders and other countries trying to take over the island. This fortress is called Castillo San Felipe del Morro and it is extraordinary! Definitely recommend checking this out on a trip to San Juan.

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We finished our tour of Old San Juan at a cute cafe, but took more pictures along the way.

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The next day, after a relaxing night by the pool and a good night’s rest, we embarked on a tour of the El Yunque National Forest. We took a guided tour that took us through several parts of the jungle. It was an interesting trip and I’m glad that we experienced it, but it was a little bit boring.

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After we finished the rain forest tour, we decided to relax at the beach and take in some beautiful rays 🙂

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Our last full day in San Juan was spent on a catamaran heading towards one of the most beautiful beaches in the world; Culebra and Flamenco beach. The tour included snorkeling, lunch, and swimming to the islands. The catamaran trip was so much fun in and of itself, but the beaches were absolutely gorgeous. These beaches have the clearest water and white sands. Such an amazing way to end a wonderful weekend trip!

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The last morning, we lounged by the pool, had a couple of drinks, and ate around the hotel strip. We definitely could’ve stayed longer to experience more, but the weekend was enough to experience a good part of it.

Feel free to leave a comment, tip, or send me some of your stories of adventures in Puerto Rico!

A Memorable Wedding in Lancaster

One of my childhood friends recently got married in a small town in Pennsylvania and I felt this was appropriate to include in the blog because of it being a weekend getaway from NYC. This couple is special because it stands for what I love and appreciate about America; different cultures and backgrounds coming together. My friend is from Russia and her now-husband is from India. Plus I’ve known my friend since we were 7 years old and she’s one of my dearest friends. We stayed in an adorable bed and breakfast, The Australian Walkabout Inn Bed & Breakfast, with a great hostess. The breakfast was of course delicious and the perfect touch as we were getting ready for the wedding.

Lancaster is an adorable town located about 1 hour away from Philadelphia. This town is known for the Amish people that make up a substantial portion of the population. The town is dotted with adorable farms and rolling hills. There are Amish buggies pulled by horses sharing the road with regular cars. And for the furniture lovers, plenty of Amish made furniture stores abound. This town is also becoming an ‘up and coming city’ with delicious restaurants and young adults laying roots. We explored a lot of what the town has to offer, but want to focus on the wedding in this post. With that said, I’d recommend visiting this charming town at least once in your lifetime!

Now here are some wonderful pictures from the wedding. Please feel free to leave any comments!

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And their life begins by exchanging their vows.
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I had to get a picture of the gorgeous couple before the night got carried away…
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The decor had a rich feel to it to match the couple’s taste.
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The bride and groom approaching their table
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They finally get to sit down and eat. I bet they’re hungry after so much excitement!
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This has to be one of the most beautiful cakes I have ever seen in my life.
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The bride and groom changed into Indian wedding tradition style and began cutting the cake.
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She’s such a beautiful person.. inside and out! This outfit is stunning along with her henna tattoos.
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Delicious dessert!
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I couldn’t imagine destroying such beautiful cupcakes.. but still managed to eat them anyways.
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Beautiful touches throughout.
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And the night finally came to an end. Warm wishes to the wonderful couple!

Let Me Explain…

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.