Who doesn’t love themes?! After tons of research (and to surprise my husband with a pretty unique birthday weekend), I came up with a little fun way to explore Philly and entitled the weekend: our “Colonial ‘Cool’ Weekend.” I know, you must be like “Loren, what does that even mean?” Basically, it’s all about letting the 18th century influence our present-day activities; think about what people back then would be doing/using/watching and find an equivalent to now! While cozying up to a fireplace is great, is there a fun way to experience a fire that outdoors? And with music?

Come, let me whisk you away to the itinerary!

Day One:

After driving in from NYC to Philly (an easy 2-hour car ride), we parked our car into a garage (using the SpotHero app, where we saved $$$ off our first booking and, well, let’s say this app gave us such a steal! Have you guys ever tried it? It was our first time!); it was seamless and we were off to our hotel– the Sofitel Philadelphia– in no time. Although the hotel offered valet parking, we really didn’t need the in-and-out privileges! Hey, save money where you can, right? ūüėČ The Sofitel Philadelphia is part of a French chain and is located in the city center— perfect if you’re going to be doing more of the history stuff around town (book using this referral code to get $25 back after your stay!)

Let there be light!
Create your own candle @ Wax + Wine

The founding fathers (before Franklin’s lightbulb) relied on candles for light, so why not make your own?! An alternative to the sip + paints we’ve been seeing around the country, Wax + Wine delivers a different (and pretty cool) experience to Philly: candle making! It’s a BYOB bar that’ll let you bring in your favorite bottle of vino (or champs) (and snacks!) and they’ll provide you with glasses and plates.

You then descend down to the “scent cellar” where you get to select your favorite scents (ex: lemongrass, rose, blood orange, coffee) and bring it up to create your own candle! They will help you through the whole process and you walk away with a one-of-a-kind! Perfect activity for a date or girl’s night out. Get creative: want a candle for meditating? For dancing? For when you’re taking a warm bath? Go wild!


Dine with the ghosts of our Founding Fathers @ City Tavern

So, while the ghosts are “rumored” to be there (I didn’t see any), there is no denying the fact that this tavern is pretty historic! It is the first tavern ever in the USA [read: old] and the one where George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams would come to discuss constitutional affairs and have their fill! It’s also the place our founding fathers celebrated the first ever “Fourth of July.”

The food at City Tavern is gourmet colonial, inspired by the same food eaten in the 18th century and recipes of that era that were the favorites of some of our past presidents! I actually ordered for a birthday cake to be made using Martha Washington’s Chocolate Mousse Cake recipe and, let me just say, de-li-cious!

Your host/ess and waiters are dressed in colonial garb, you’ll dine under candlelight, drink water from goblets and, after 5:30pm, find a live harpist sending melodies into the air, completing the dining experience.


philadelphia itinerary winter

Glide Over Ice + Chill by a Bonfire @ BlueCross RiverRink

They had ice skating back in the day, so why not enjoy some of that present day, too? From December to March, you get the chance to ice skate next to the Delaware River with the Ben Franklin Bridge lit up behind you, all in the middle of Philadelphia’s Blue Cross WinterFest! Sessions start on the hour (and if you have health insurance with any sort of a cross on it, skating is free! (I wish I knew that beforehand as you’ll have to show proof!)).

After your 1.5 hour skating sesh, head on into the food hall for some grub, play your luck at one of the arcade games in the arcade cabin, or head outside to sit next to a bonfire! They have make-your-own s’mores available, as well as hot chocolates/ice creams (and drinks for the adults at the ski-chalet cabins ;)). The WinterFest lasts until March, making it a fun evening activity during the winter!


Day Two:

Grab a Pourover @ La Colombe and brush up on your Science + Tech
@ Franklin Institute

After a wonderful night’s rest, head on over to Philly-born La Colombe for some pour over coffee and a baked good (word on the street is that their coffee is taking the nation by storm!). Have your drink to stay (the tables and coffee cups & saucers are so elegant (I mean, they are custom made in Italy ;)) or take it to go! A 15-minute walk will get your blood circulating as you make it to The Franklin Institute. “In Honor of Benjamin Franklin” stares at you as you walk up the steps into the museum, where you’ll actually be stared down by Ben himself as you make your way to the ticket desk.

Walk into a human heart, compete against your favorite athlete in a running challenge, catch what the 3D printers are printing, step into a giant steam engine locomotive or catch an IMAX movie, whatever you’re doing, it’ll be sure to be interactive and you’ll walk away learning something new!

PS: I’d give yourself three hours to see everything, not rushing.
PPS: We saw a Paleontologist take apart owl poo and rebuild a rodent’s body. yeah, cool!


candy store USA

Sugar-Coated Candies, Chocolates and all 18th Century– Oh My!
@ Shane Confectionery

Shane Confectionery is the oldest candy store in the USA and holds some of the yummiest chocolates and candy inside! One step in through the door you feel like you’re instantly transported back in time with the moldings/glass cases properly preserved and the shopkeepers dressed in colonial garb.

Head to the back of the candy shop where you’ll find hot chocolate, ice cream and milkshakes being made to order. The flavours on the menu are very unique and insanely delicious! We picked up a Jasmine petal and orange zest hot chocolate and all I can say is.. YUM! Our chocolate pellets were weighed, added into a beautiful copper pot and stirred with a wooden whisk! If you’re unsure about which drink to get (because Jefferson’s hot chocolate seemed like an amazing option, too) for $15 you can get a flight of three hot chocolates to try!


Havana, Oh Nana (ay)
@ Cuba Libre

Okay, so Cuba Libre isn’t exactly Colonial, but the interior is made to look like old Havana and, the way I look at it, Old Havana was founded before the 18th century… like Philly… sooo… there’s that :). Plus, I was craving some latin food ;).

Come with an empty stomach because the portions here are HUGE and, if coming on a weekend evening, be sure to make a reservation on OpenTable! I had the shrimp cilantro-lime with rice that was good, but I hear that their brunch pancakes with mango-cinnamon butter are amazing.

xx,

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O.

Old Montreal

Before we left to Montreal, I did tons of research on places to go and things to do. On the top of my list? Old Montreal. What, with its old-world charm, I just knew that was going to be my crème de la crème. So I resisted going there until towards the end of my trip. And could I resist temptation? Of course not.

We started our day aboard a¬†Grey Line hop-on-hop-off tour bus; these buses are one of¬†my favorite ways to really get a glimpse of a city when you are short on time (plus, the local tour guide tells you so many tips, it’s all golden!). Our ticket was good for two consecutive days, so that left our car at bay and more time for us to play! We passed through many beautiful stops. Montr√©al is such a rich city when it comes to the diversity of their neighbourhoods- and so well maintained!

As we made our way¬†past¬†Old Montr√©al, we saw a peek and, I swear, I never shrieked so loudly in a double-decker bus before! I turned my to my husband, Massimo, and was like, “No, we NEED to hop off!” So we hopped off.

I realized that we slept in and didn’t have any breakfast, so the cutest little restaurant caught my eye (and my stomach’s rumbling), Jardin Nelson. If I died and went to flower-restaurant heaven, this may be the place. They¬†have LIVE jazz, the best oxygen (I mean, with all those plants, right?) and delicious food. I ordered their summer vegetable omelette, sprinkled with goat cheese, and my fav, a mimosa. All super delicious and such a cute brunch spot!

After brunch, we proceeded to walk around Old Montreal, exploring every nook we could. The streets were filled with cobblestones and the amount of cute art galleries, souvenir shops and restaurants/cafés were just unreal. Street performers graced the rues with their music and the joie de vivre was all too-well alive as we walked down the streets. I was so obsessed with the European architecture that I had goosebumps at one point because I truly felt like I was transported back hundreds of years ago.

When I was packing for this trip (if you can you believe it), I didn’t pack a single pair of heels! Not any pumps, not any wedges! I knew that I was going to be walking around a lot and that most of my time was going to be in the streets, so I packed just a few pairs of flats to match back to my outfits. One of my favorites were these pink J. Crew ones that, to me, stand almost as a neutral!¬†But my dress? That I had planned. I found it at Anthropologie a month or so back and I instantly fell in love with it due to its flowiness and its off-the-shoulder cut. While walking around Old Montr√©al, I felt so free and just happy! (One of the reasons why I love clothing: because you start to embody its expression into your life!)

One of the best snacks we had (that offered a good view of Old Montr√©al as well) was at the Hotel Nelligan. Up on their¬†terrace you can order food, have a few drinks, and take in the wonderful sun. How can we go to Montreal and¬†not¬†have poutine?¬†We’ll have one of those, please, waiter. And some crunchy fish tacos, too. Oh, and how can I forget (because I can’t), it also offered a peek-a-boo view of the Notre-Dame Basilica.¬†Upon its completion back in 1830 it was the largest church in North America. It’s also where Celine Dion was married. You bet your bottom dollar I made sure to walk those same steps as Madame Dion did!!

 

After a full day of roaming around the streets of Old Montreal, we decided to head back to Le Quartier des Spectacles where our hotel was for some festivities. If you don’t already know, Montr√©al¬†loves to celebrate¬†and they hold quite the amount of festivals. Planning a trip? I suggest taking a peek to see what’s going on while you’re in town! For us, it was the celebration of Mode & Design, kind of like a¬†Fashion’s Night Out where designers and brands hold events throughout the city, celebrating, well, fashion and design! It was so fitting for us to be there because I love fashion and to see how Canada celebrates it (and¬†what’s trending¬†over there) just wonderful. Hint for fall: faux fur!

xx,
Loren.

4130084324440_009_b3Anthropologie

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K.

Kennebunkport, Maine: A Look Into My First B&B Stay Ever!

Ah, Maine. Filled with its lobster rolls, trees, beautiful coastal beaches¬†and breathtaking views, it has definitely found a place in my heart! ¬†If you know me, then you know I am always on the hunt for some weekend travels out of NYC, and with a world so beautiful (and a country that I’ve come to learn offers so much, too), I just knew that this was the year I was finally going to make the trip up.

After a long 6.5-hour drive (note: never leave NYC on a Friday! ¬†Thursdays are better!), we just couldn’t wait to get to our new home for the weekend and relax a little bit before grabbing our camera and experiencing all that Kennebunkport had to offer!

We stayed at the¬†Captain Lord Mansion¬†for the weekend and it was mansion alright!¬†Built in 1814, it housed a family with 10 children, to which it was then renovated and, eventually, opened for guests. Friends, this was the first time I was at a B&B; in the past, I’ve shied¬†away because I really didn’t know what to expect and didn’t really know how I’d feel. But, as my friend Lisa so wisely put it, “Staying at a¬†B&B is the best way to experience New England, it’s quintessential!” And guess what? She was so right.

Having never stayed at a B&B before, I didn’t really know what to expect but the innkeepers, Bev and Rick, were very hospitable in answering all of my questions! On our first night the question we received was, “Will you be joining us for breakfast at 8:15am or 9:45am?” I didn’t know that was a thing! It was a nice, pleasant surprise as it really felt like I was immediately part of a family!

The inn felt¬†very warm &¬†welcoming and everyone there put their heart and soul into making sure that your stay is a wonderful one. Each room is uniquely different and decorated by Bev (she hand-made the draperies, bed skirts and almost all of the comforters and pillows!). No detail is missed: from a beside ring holder, to a black towel embroidered with “makeup” in the bathroom (I mean, smart!), down to¬†two luggage racks in the closet (making sure both him and her get one), you can tell that love was put into their craft.

I just want to sidenote for a second and talk about the¬†bed sheets and mattress- they were insanely heavenly! My husband couldn’t stop talking about how¬†wonderful they felt. I thought he was overreacting until I slept in them myself: life. changing.

From family-style breakfasts (they are¬†super good with dietary restrictions), to rooms upgraded with heated floors, jet-stream tubs, fireplaces and A/C control, you can only imagine the luxury we were experiencing! Speaking of luxury, they also have an on-site spa — guys, it can’t get any better than that!

The Captain Lord Mansion is nestled in the middle of a quaint little residential neighborhood (remember, it was an actual home before ;)) and had a garden that made me feel like I lived there all along. Beautiful fresh flowers adorned the brick walkway that had the names of guests who have been at the inn 10 times or more. And in the center? A fountain that commemorated a couple that stayed with the inn one-hundred times РONE HUNDRED!

I have to say, it usually takes me about a night or two to get used to my surrounding area and bed, as it is different from back home; however, the level of comfort and peacefulness I experienced during our stay here was immediate. I remember turning to my husband and saying, “Wow, what a great job they have done here.” From dashing up and down the spiraling staircases, to chatting with Sue the chef, we felt like we really were part of a family. The staff were all aunts, uncles and cousins, just waiting to share some of their local restaurant picks, as well as educating us on what heat lightning was!

From mini golf, to patio chairs, swings, a hammock, a reading room, a gift shop, beautiful paintings in the hallways, bikes at your disposal and a location so beautifully quaint and tranquil, this definitely will be where we will stay again next time we are in Kennebunkport (we can see how families come and stay 10+ times!). ¬†My husband and I were joking about who’s name would be first on our brick in the garden walkway- it would be mine,¬†obviously ;).

You can get a bottle of wine from their cellar and enjoy it in the garden en plein air. That’s where we spent our first night, just talking about our plans for the weekend. The best part? The inn is¬†so close to downtown. Everything is within walking distance, like the wonderful sailboat excursion we took, as well as some of the cutest nautical shops around and restaurants offering all the lobster dishes you could think of (more on that in my next post ;)). Thanks for following! Keep staying tuned!

Special thanks to The Captain Lord Mansion for partnering with me on this post.  All opinions are my own.

 

Outfit details:
Tote: BP. | Shoes: Nine West | Top: TWO by Vince Camuto | Bottom: Tinsel, similar | Sunnies: Urban Outfitters

xx,
Loren.

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