Shot by me in Dumbo, Brooklyn
Pic taken by me, Avenue N Train Station, Brooklyn, New York
Shot by me, Brooklyn Bridge – Brooklyn, New York
Pic taken by me at the Roman Colosseum in Rome, Italy (il Colosseo).
Winter didn’t forget about the Northeast. Though we’ve enjoyed a pretty mild winter thus far, we had a pretty quick and sizeable snowstorm last week; New York was a snowy, slushy mess for a few days. Since then, we’ve had quite a few bleak days with intermittent sun. I’m continuously reminded of why I need to take Vitamin D pills.
As I think about the sun, tans, dining al fresco, and iced coffee, I think about my time spent in glorious San Diego – a place unlike any other. I visited San Diego for the first time in 2015 and it was magical. I went for a work trip that I extended so I could enjoy my vacation, but I had no idea I would enjoy it as much as I did. For a small city, there is plenty to do in San Diego and the surrounding areas. From Balboa Park, Shelter Island, La Jolla Cove and Coronado Island, I had an amazing time soaking in the sun.
It was my birthday weekend and for the first time, I went sailing. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it, but it was spectacular! We sailed the Pacific with a small crew of 6 people including our guide/captain. Thankfully, the family who was also on board with us were fun and pleasant, and we all had a good time… because, I did see a group of folks that I was leery about being on a boat with, so I’m glad it worked out for the best. I was able to see sea forest kelp, sea lions, and some dolphins fluttering about as they searched for food.
Sailing was an extremely relaxing experience and I can’t wait to do it again. Next time, I’ll remember to apply sun block to more than just my face and arms. I got an ugly thigh sunburn. The sea breeze feels so good that you forget that you’re sort of baking in the sun.
I’ve also never seen the sun set on the beach in California and I got to experience this beautiful sight while enjoying drinks at the Sunset Bar at the Hotel Del Coronado. Definitely stop by here when you’re in San Diego; it’s a historic hotel and has been around for over 100 years! The scenery is breathtaking, and watching the sunset here is something I’ll never forget. Just make sure your wallet is prepared because this place is definitely on the pricey side. On the way back to the ferry from Coronado island, the sky was absolutely beautiful – I saw so many stars I couldn’t believe it. I’m from New York, so I get to see stars, but not the type of stars that cover practically every part of the sky. Then, on the ferry back to the mainland, there was a firework show that I got to enjoy while on the water, it was a great way to end a birthday.
And of course, when you visit San Diego you definitely have to spend some time at La Jolla Cove. It’s an interesting place because the beach is tiny, so it’s barely a beach, but people flock the area to get an up-close view of the sea lions that hang out on the rocks and swim in the water. Unfortunately, some people are jerks and try to get too close, so the lifeguards around the area do their best to enforce the rules and keep people from the sea lions. I mean, they are still wild animals after all. The zoom was used on this photo.
There’s a lot of great food in San Diego, and I also recommend grabbing a bite to eat in Little Italy if you can. I almost feel like I may have to write a Part II blog post about this quaint little city, that’s how much I enjoyed it and the things to do!
*All pictures captured by me*
Good Eats in Baltimore
Miss Shirley’s Cafe and the Local Oyster:
Miss Shirley’s Cafe – OK, so, I tried to get brunch here on a weekend morning and it didn’t happen. Miss Shirley’s is definitely the go-to brunch spot at the Baltimore Inner Harbor. After heading to the restaurant on a Sunday or Saturday morning, I noticed the crazy line and felt defeated. It was about an hour wait for breakfast. Although this didn’t work out, I went to a cute spot in Little Italy called Mugs’ Italian Bistro. It was quiet, the food was fresh and quickly made, and tasted delicious.
BUT, I went back to Miss Shirley’s on Monday morning and there was no line and plenty of space! For drinks, as you can see above in the middle picture, we ordered the Spicy Shirley, which almost tasted like an appetizer itself – but was amazing; and Miss Mimosa, which was really fresh and crisp tasting.
I ordered the cornbread squares with jam, which was so delicious! In the first image to the left, you’ll see my “Get Your Grits On” – the jumbo blackened shrimp on fried green tomatoes and grits. This was soooo good, and the portion size was perfect. I think there were about 6 shrimp in total?
The Local Oyster – I didn’t realize this initially, but The Local Oyster is located inside of a marketplace. But, it was easy to get to, and I went on Monday for the $1 happy hour! (Check out the platter, 3rd picture to the right) Oysters and clams were $1 all day and they were certainly enjoyable; I had mine with The Raven beer, a draft inspired by Edgar Allen Poe (who had quite an influence on the city). So, definitely add this on your list of places to go to!
Where to Stay:
Kimpton Hotel Monaco Baltimore Inner Harbor – it’s all in the details! I love the old, historic charm to this hotel, which was once the location of the historic B&O Railroad Headquarters in downtown Baltimore. The images above are taken in the elevator lobby, and only a glimpse into some of the marvelousness found in the hotel. The rooms were spacious and the hotel was conveniently located to the inner harbor and surrounding neighborhoods. Or, you can just take the water taxi to where you want to go from the harbor.
Where Should You Visit?
Federal Hill – if you’re strolling around the Inner Harbor, Federal Hill Park is a nice place to visit. As seen by my image above, with the cannon overlooking the harbor, Federal Hill park is actually a historic landmark. Because it it’s fantastic view, it was once a military outpost. Just beware, climbing up the stairs to the park is not for the faint of heart. It’s a bit tiring if you’re out of shape 🙂 but it’s worth the the climb.
Fells Point – A historic waterfront neighborhood with quaint townhouses, harbor views, waterfront walkways and plenty of seafood. I love how decorative the door knockers are on many of these homes; from crab decor, to lighthouses, and lion faces – you’ll enjoy checking out the neighborhood aesthetics. The image on the top right was a picture perfect scene with an old Ford 150 parked by a street lamp in front of some red brick townhouses. Grab your walking shoes, and take a stroll through Fells Point.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards – Folks in Baltimore love their Orioles, it’s quite the common sight to see orange, white, and black t-shirts speckled in crowds. If you’re in Baltimore and a baseball fan, definitely check out Oriole Park at Camden Yards. To see Camden Yards is a site in itself, it was once a railroad station; the ball park is nestled within a beautiful neighborhood with the reminder of its industrial history.
Other notable mentions – dinner at Phillips at the Inner Harbor was pretty good, be sure to get a reservation though. It gets busy on the weekend. Also, I wanted to eat at Thames Street Oyster House, but it was literally booked through the weekend 😦
Enjoy Baltimore and make sure to make those reservations when it’s time to eat!
The Amalfi Coast in Italy is absolutely amazing! I only had a day trip here, but I’d love to stay for a full week. It’s the home of tasty Limoncello and oversized lemons; this place really leaves a lasting impression. In addition to the beautiful views of the water and the homes built into the mountains, there’s beautiful ceramic tiling and artwork to enjoy throughout the nestled town of Positano.
I love the architecture along this coast – the colors are friendly and serene, exuding the aesthetic of the Mediterranean. The great thing about this view is that due to zoning restrictions, you’ll never see a tall sky rise in this seaside town. The housing structures have been the same since they were built, they have to continuously look uniform.
I’m so thrilled that I got to experience the beauty of the Amalfi Coast and Positano. With mermaid and nautical imagery, great food, fresh fruit and lemons, and views of the sea – how could you go wrong?
Views from Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Spring is almost here and it is getting quite enjoyable to be outside. As much as I love to get away from NYC, I absolutely love the sunsets here. There’s something about the sun shining off the buildings, the shadows that are cast, and the cascading of light down the avenues. In all of this grit and grime, there’s some luster and beauty.