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!

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!

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!

Valentine’s Day in Paris

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!

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Off to the Louvre!
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It was pretty crowded…
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Especially around the famed Mona Lisa!
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Gorgeous exhibts…
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Needed a break.. Look at the lovely gardens!
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Had to see some more
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Finally… The Louvre was closing and we had to leave
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We walked back to our hotel and saw some neat streets
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After dinner, I was surprised with Moulin Rouge tickets!
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It was a pretty grand entrance and a long wait time….
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But it was all worth it with a bottle of Champagne!
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The next day, we were off to the Palace of Versailles
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A beautiful hall.. I can only imagine the parties they had in here!
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The grounds covered hundreds of acres!
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Drove back towards the hotel and walked around Champs de Elysees… and if you look hard enough, you can spot the Eiffel Tower in the far right corner!
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After dinner, we had to check out the actual Eiffel Tower
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It’s not complete without a romantic kiss!
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Really cool view from the bottom… so intricate!
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And it lights up every hour!
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A Valentine’s weekend isn’t complete without a romantic petal bath!