Jensen Beach Diary

This trip holds a special place in my heart as it was Charlie's first look into my SoFla upbringing. I was excited to show Charlie my high school hangouts, the house I grew up in and the unique perks of growing up in a small, beach town.

We flew out just as the snow was beginning to fall over NYC - little did we know it was the actual start of #BombCyclone. We decided to keep it lowkey for our first night and chose a quiet BBQ dinner at home with the parentals.

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We woke up bright and early the next day to sunny 65 degree weather. After a quick breakfast at home, we took to the road and did a mini driving tour of my hometown. I was particularly eager to show him Indian Riverside Park - a gorgeous 63 acre park that sits alongside the Indian River lagoon. It's a popular wedding venue destination and without-a-doubt the number one hangout spot from my adolescent years. We strolled along the lengthy docks, explored the renovated mansion and used fallen palm trees as balance beams on the private beach.

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We then hit up Historic Downtown Stuart and gandered at the whimsy shops and bought quirky dog toys for my dad's pups. As we strolled, I re-realized that Stuart, FL is simply crazy for live music. You cannot walk ten minutes in any direction without hearing some jam band rocking out. It was the perfect soundtrack for our relaxed, exploration day.

Now being of legal drinking age, I was excited to investigate the local bar scene in my hometown. First stop, coffee bar Blue Door. It's in Downtown Stuart and known for it's amazing coffee drinks, movie-night Mondays and an impressive collection of Italian Wines. I was bummed that it was raining so we couldn't sit in the string-light adorned courtyard, so we enjoyed a glass of red indoors.

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Next bar stop - the newer Vine & Barley. I absolutely LOVED it here. They had vintage chess tables as seating and giant, cozy red leather chairs along the back wall which were perfect for people watching. At V&B, you're given a reusable swipe card that you can load and then self-serve yourself. They have over fifty unique wines available.

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After our relaxing day of pretty drives, pretty strolls and pretty wines - we, again, had a nice BBQ dinner at home with Shark Tank re-runs and gin & tonics.

We woke up on New Years Eve excited for the nights festivities. I loved that we weren't in NYC having to decide which hot party or bar to go to, but instead choosing to keep it casual, cheap and, most importantly, very Florida. My dad insisted we go to Twisted Tuna, it's a nearby bar and restaurant in Port Salerno that's unique because you can enter the restaurant by land or sea. It was right on the water and encouraged boaters to pull up to the dock and party on the outside bar. Charlie, my brother and I had a wonderful time sitting at the bar and taking advantage of the much cheaper beer prices FL has to offer.

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I was a bit disappointed that for the remainder of our trip, the weather was gray and chilly and not the Florida sunshine that I promised Charlie. However, we made the best of it. A family favorite growing up was Shuckers, a fun spot on Hutchinson Island where you eat your meal directly on the beach. We enjoyed oysters, crab cakes and Coronas in the chilly, Florida air. 

Charlie and I then hit up The Elliot Museum. I've always loved this space and we had an amazing time learning about my towns history and admiring their extensive collection of vintage cars. The collection is displayed in a glass-enclosed, three-story garage, equipped with a robotic stacking system that allows visitors to select a vehicle and move it on a conveyor belt to a turntable that rotates to offer a better view. It was incredible. 

We concluded my hometown visit with, you guessed it, a BBQ dinner at home. However, this time we added a round of cigars on the porch and a new episode of Shark Tank.

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Charlie and I had recently discovered we were both Slytherins and had a plan to go to Universal Studios, walk Diagon Alley and purchase authentic Slytherin scarves. We packed up our bags and drove the two hours north to Orlando.

Although it was only thirty degrees outside, we luxuriated in an embarrassing amount of butter beers and Lard Lad donuts. The cold meant shorter lines, which was a silver lining. After a day at the park, we hit up Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen at Universal City Walk. Their milkshakes were out of this world and definitely worth the hour long wait.

All in all, our trip to Florida was relaxed, chilly and fun. After the trip we decided to make this our New Years tradition and here's to hoping there isn't another #BombCyclone next year.

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Barryville Diary

I had been hunting for a ~romantic-weekend~ getaway town for weeks before I finally settled on the aesthetically pleasing Barryville, NY. It was perfect! I had already heard of this lovely town after my #fabulous Aunt bragged that it was her favorite weekend destination and instantly knew it would be the perfect setting for Charlie and mines two year anniversary!

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We started the trip with OMG-it's-a-Fall-weekend-so-it's-mandatory apple picking at Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery. After picking more apples then we knew what to do with, we strolled on over to their cozy mini-bar and got a modest buzz from their wonderful $6 beer, wine and cider tastings (which included a souvenir glass each!). 

After the buzz sadly wore off, we proceeded with our trip. Now, I was especially excited because I had found the punny, designer Stickett Inn on a this list months earlier and had been dying to check it out! With their hammock adorned porch, funky color-by-number art displayed everywhere and our own private spiral staircase that led to a communal hot tub, Stickett proved itself to be more than just a clever name. 

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We decided to keep our first night fairly simple by just grabbing a quick local bite across the street at The Carriage House. It was a great choice for two reasons; 1) it was only a 2 minute walk away and 2) my Aunt disclosed that it was a local's favorite.

Sidenote: Whenever I travel I love finding the spots the locals go to.

When walking back to Stickett, we couldn't help but pop into their cafΓ©-at-day/bar-at-night attachment and we were pleasantly surprised by the tastiness of their gin & tonics. It is also very important to say that not one but TWO puppers joined us for drinks that night. No, we did not serve them alcohol. Yes, they dominated the majority of my attention.

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ClichΓ©: All small quaint towns have great antiquing. Barryville is no exception. Barryville Antique Emporium truly delivered with charm, a gigantic collection of unique goods and friendliness of staff. I specifically admired their working stoplight displayed on the front steps! I hope to return in the near future because I NEED it. Charlie found a funky vintage Bud-Man stein and spoiled me with a gorgeous vintage ring. Success!

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The moment I booked our room at Stickett Inn, planning the rest of the trip spookily fell perfectly into place. Barryville happened to be just a twenty minute drive from Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, yes - the actual fields where Woodstock happened (Did you know that Woodstock did not happen in Woodstock? #whoamomentoftheday) - and it is truly one of the most beautifully designed outdoor spaces I've ever had the privilege of visiting. As a city dweller, I could not stop gawking at the well kept grounds and breathtaking views.

Bethel Woods is constantly hosting festivals and events on the weekends, and our anniversary weekend was no exception. By pure coincidence a Craft Beer festival was taking place, and as you'll soon learn (if you continue to follow me), drinking beers is probably our favorite thing to do together! 

The festival was spectacular. For just $40.00 you're granted a souvenir beer tasting glass (yup, you read right. We've now received two free souvenir glasses in the matter of 48 hours) and access to over a dozen craft beer stands. Simply wait in line, snatch your free tasting and vote via text message for your favorite! And if you're wondering - you're encouraged to "taste" the beers again and again and again.

We then moseyed on over to the Woodstock Museum and marveled at the vintage displays which included a hippie bus that was converted into a screening room! Overall, a perfect Saturday.

 Get it?

Get it?

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We Saturday night-ed the perfect way by bar hopping around the literal three bars Barryville has to offer. (After a quick power nap, of course!) We hit Rohman's (the "perfect" dive bar with a hidden bowling alley upstairs), Dos Gringos (adorable spot with an outdoor patio bar), as well as, our favorite Stickett Inn joint. We chugged gin & tonics and apple ciders all night.

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As devastated as we were to leave Barryville and the accompanying Stickett Inn, we could not hold our excitement for Storm King Art Center. This had been on my list of must-do's after the infamous Master of None episode and I was excited to finally check it out. 

If you don't know, Storm King is this glorious sculpture garden that is meant to be explored during the Fall. It's an hour outside the city and the easiest four hour stroll you can have. It's stunning sculpture after sculpture and 360Β° views. Honestly, words are unable to describe - you have to check it out!

That wraps up our wonderful, celebratory weekend. Leave a comment and let me know if you're considering heading to BVille now!