My first Impression of Copenhagen

My First Impression of Copenhagen

Copenhagen, for some it conjures images of of old world architecture and sleek Nordic design; for others it’s Hans Christian Andersen and a certain ocean-dwelling maiden. Food and the new Nordic cuisine draws others to Danish capital. Cozy and cool, traditional and free-thinking, reserved and welcoming; Copenhagen is a city of contrasts that blend perfectly. After visiting Copenhagen for the first time, here are a few of my first impressions.

Read More

The Iris Inn, a luxury Shenandoah bed and breakfast

The Iris Inn – A Welcoming Shenandoah Hideaway

Two of my favorite ways to unwind are spending a bit of time outside reconnecting with nature and enjoying a good glass of wine. Luckily for me Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, a short 3 hour drive from my home in Virginia Beach, has both in spades making the area an obvious choice for a weekend getaway.

Read More

Tasty Travels- Travel Bloggers Share Their Best Bites from the Road

Tasty Travels- Travel Bloggers Share Their Best Bites from the Road

Some people eat to live while others live to eat; I for one am squarely in the latter camp.The meal that turned me into a foodie will always be etched in my mind; I was in my early 20s and just finishing up the last deployment of my Naval career. We had been out to sea for 159 days straight and after pulling into Marseille France I needed some breathing room. A few of my closest friends and I went straight for the train station and after perusing our options headed towards Avignon. It was late March; gray,drizzly and a bit chilly but we didn’t care. We were in Provence and blissfully had most of the town to ourselves. We settled into our cozy little auberge and just wanting to relax made reservations at its restaurant. What we didn’t know is that we were in for a five course feast and knowing very little French, most of what arrived to our table was a surprise. I enjoyed a delicate vegetable soup topped with a perfectly poached quail egg, had my first tastes of foie gras and venison,  and sampled a number of heady French cheeses. This was all ended with with an intensely rich chocolate-orange pot de creme which still stands as one of the best desserts I’ve had. Looking back, this was a pivotal experience for me. I discovered the pleasures of truly good food and the joys of surprising discoveries on the road.

Read More

Rural Society- A taste of Argentina in Washington DC www.casualtravelist.com

Rural Society-A Taste of Argentina in Washington DC

The dining scene in Washington D.C. just keeps getting better. A number of celebrity chefs along with a wave of creative newcomers looking to make their mark have found culinary inspiration in the nation’s capital leaving me spoiled for choice when looking for a memorable meal. During my recent stay at the Loews Madison I was delighted to find that I didn’t have to go far. Rural Society, the Madison’s flagship restaurant, is Iron Chef Jose Garces’ first foray into Washington D.C and is a new darling among district foodies. Having dined at Tinto and Amada, two of Chef Garces’ restaurants in Philadelphia (the latter of which is solely responsible for my new found love of sherry), I knew I’d be in for a great dining experience at Rural Society.

Read More

The Loews Madison, a boutique luxury hotel in Washington DC just steps from the White House www.casualtravelist.com

The Loews Madison Hotel- My Correct Address in Washington DC

Washington DC is one of my favorite cities for a quick weekend break. History,a vibrant culinary scene, world-class museums and an endless array of festivals and events make DC a perfect place for me to return to again and again. What I hadn’t found though, was the perfect hotel. Each visit I’d stay in a different hotel but none really felt like a good fit; too stuffy, too small, too plain, too far away. Nothing was just right, I kind of felt a bit like Goldilocks. So when a friend recommended I stay at the Loews Madison on my most recent visit I was intrigued, would this be the perfect fit?

Read More

Snapshots from Vienna

Snapshots of Vienna

Vienna is a classical city in every sense of the word. Grand Hapsburg era buildings flank tree-lined avenues and Gothic cathedrals intertwine seamlessly with modern glass skyscrapers. This is a city that influenced the best of European culture; where opera is an obsession and lingering at a cafe for a few hours over fancified coffee and elegant pastries is a national past time. Beethoven, Klimt and Tolstoy along with countless artists and thinkers have all drawn inspiration from Austria’s capital. Vienna wasn’t a city I expected to fall in love with, to be honest I had only planned a few days here as a convenient stop en route from Salzburg to Prague. What I found was a city with a strong sense of itself and an easy-going elegance that’s hard to deny. Here are some of my favorite images from the Imperial City. Read More

A Birthday Trip for me and a Giveaway for you!

A Birthday Trip for Me and a Giveaway for You!

June is a big month in my family; not only do my brother and I share a birthday (5 years apart to the day), but Steve’s birthday is a few short days later. We’ve always eschewed birthday presents in exchange for experiences, we’d much rather go do something than rack our brains trying to find that perfect “thing” that we’d likely just buy on our own later. Recent years have found us whitewater rafting the New River Gorge in West Virginia, completing our scuba certification and a night of relaxation at a nearby B&B. We’ve normally stayed close to home for these adventures in order to celebrate with family and friends(June inevitably turns into a month of rolling birthday parties as we have several close friends who celebrate during this month as well); but with Steve having a milestone birthday (one of those that ends in zero) we figured it was time for a bigger birthday adventure.

Read More

5 things to do on a weekend trip to Boston

5 things to do on a weekend trip to Boston

Boston is one of my favorite cities for a short weekend trip, so much so I’ve been 3 times in the past year. Clusters of distinct neighborhoods are tied together by Boston’s ubiquitous red brick, each equally proud of their own unique charms and of being a part of what makes Boston great. This is a city with working class roots and Ivy League pedigree with restaurants that offer far more than lobster rolls and chowder (though those are certainly worth seeking out while you’re here). The city’s core is highly walkable and the T(Boston’s train system) will get you anywhere else you want to go making Boston the perfect city for a quick sojourn. Here are my recommendations to get a taste of Boston in just a few days. Read More

IMG_5058

The Lengths I go to for Sangria and Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC

It’s Saturday morning,  68 degrees with clear blue skies and a light breeze, the first truly gorgeous day of spring and I’m stuck in traffic. Inching our way through D.C.’s notoriously snarled beltway traffic we arrive at our destination 45 minutes late after a 4.5 hour drive. What could prompt me and my friend Katie (of Domestiphobia fame and the only person crazy enough to join me) to drive 8 hours round trip on an absolutely beautiful spring day?

Read More

A taste of Virginia Beach with Pleasure House Oysters

Virginia Beach on the half shell with Pleasure House Oysters

What comes to mind when you think of Virginia Beach? If you’re like most people you think of the wide, sandy beaches and the gentle waves of the Atlantic; or perhaps the three mile long boardwalk presided over by King Neptune that’s just perfect for a summer stroll or bike ride.Within the past few years, thanks to the hard work of a handful of dedicated watermen, there’s something else you should think of in Virginia Beach.

Read More