Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A beautiful hotel in Boston where you can toast s’mores!

When planning a trip to Boston, stay at the Fairmont Battery Wharf!  Beautiful waterfront location, exceptional service, modern rooms and even a terrace where you can toast your own s’mores (in season)!

To celebrate our first wedding anniversary, my husband and I returned to the amazing Fairmont Battery Wharf in Boston’s North End, where we were married last year on September 24.

The hotel upgraded us to a Fairmont Gold room which was absolutely beautiful!   

Plus, we had access to the Fairmont Gold Lounge, where we enjoyed complimentary breakfast, assorted non-alcoholic beverages and an honor bar and a "Sweet Dreams" buffet featuring local desserts.

And the best part of the Fairmont Battery Wharf?  The service!  Never in our lives have we experienced such friendly service, so professional and eager to help.  The service really makes this hotel special.

We also really love the hotel’s restaurant, the Aragosta Bar and Bistro.  Incredible service here as well – everyone really made us feel special.  For dinner we split the following:

Tomato, watermelon and feta salad
Roasted PEI Mussels, Harissa Basil Brodo, Cherry Tomatoes
Linguine and Clams, Fried and Roasted Clams, Parsley, Parmesan
Veal Cutlet “Alla Milanese” Saffron Corn Risotto, Shaved Root Vegetables

For dessert, our server brought us to the restaurant’s outdoor terrace, where we ordered s’mores and then toasted them over the outdoor fire pit.  We sipped wine and snuggled and it could not have been any more romantic!

 Here's the outdoor terrace in the daylight, where folks enjoy cocktails and great cuisine!

After dessert, we enjoyed one last drink in the Battery Jazz Bar in the lobby lounge, where we listened to live jazz, which is offered on Friday and Saturday evenings.

On Sunday morning, we were anxious to return to Aragosta for its AMAZING blueberry pancakes, the best I have ever had!

Two more great things that this hotel offers:

·         Located within walking distance to Boston’s Italian North End, financial district, Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, and TD Garden (for the Celtics, Bruins, concerts and other events).

·         A water taxi will bring you to Logan International Airport. One-way fare to/from the airport is $10.00 or $17.00 round trip. Much cheaper than taking a cab!

During our wedding weekend, I had the pleasure of staying on the first floor of the Sea Cloud building with my maid of honor the night before the festivities.  On our wedding night, Jason and I stayed in a 1,400-square foot Presidential suite which offered panoramic, three-sided views of Boston Harbor and a furnished private outdoor terrace overlooking the water.  This was the most amazing hotel room I have EVER seen!  And the view was spectacular as well!

I highly recommend the Fairmont Battery Wharf for anyone visiting Boston (for business or pleasure) or planning a wedding!  You will love this hotel! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hotel Miramare - Perfect for a Positano Honeymoon!

With the first anniversary of our wedding approaching on September 24, I revisited my honeymoon photos from Positano and decided to blog on our fabulous hotel, where we spent our first five nights as husband and wife. Highly, highly recommend! (To read the full trip report, click here.)

Miramare is the red hotel, center
While researching hotels for our honeymoon, a large balcony with privacy was our number one priority.  After much research, we chose to stay at the Albergo Miramare, specifically in special room 210.  We were not disappointed!

Plenty of room on the balcony!
Upon arrival, a friendly porter with the strength of ten men put our luggage on his back and disappeared down the 100 stairs that led to the hotel from the main road. 

Very friendly people work here!
Nicola at the front desk welcomed us warmly and an iced bottle of champagne awaited us in our room.  Our room was large (by European standards), bright and very spacious.

Our room, taken from the balcony
Almost one whole wall, facing the sea, was glass.  We could lie in bed and hear the ocean, and enjoy the warm breeze at night. 

Beautiful glass doors open to the balcony
Our very private terrace had a table with two chairs and two sunbeds – this is where we spent most of our time, sipping prosecco, reading and enjoying the view.  Spectacular!

We especially loved the large bathroom and shower which overlooked the ocean and the harbor filled with tiny fishing boats and yachts.

Don't one can see in!
Breakfast on out terrace each morning, overlooking the ocean and the colorful buildings built into the cliff, was incredible!  Breakfast, which was always delivered with a smile, included fresh juice, assorted pastries and croissants, cappuccinos, cheeses, meats, eggs and yogurt.

We also ate breakfast one morning in the hotel’s cheerful breakfast room, which was full of light and overlooked the bay.

Rosita and Nicola catered to our every request, which really made our time at the hotel special.  One late afternoon, we were hungry.  We called the front desk for a snack, and minutes later this beautiful snack arrived!

The Albergo Miramare offered a complimentary boat ride on a boat, O' Sole Mio, which gave us and six other passengers an amazing tour of the coast.  We had so much fun, even stopped to swim in a cave along the way.
View from O' Sole Mio of Positano - incredible!
The location of the hotel was a challenge to the legs but not a problem at all, about 100 steps down from the main central road and 200 steps down to Positano’s beach. Had to work off all of the delicious meals somehow!

For couples looking for a romantic and private escape, I highly recommend the Albergo Miramare.  It was truly an amazing experience and my husband and I look forward to returning someday! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Little Gem in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom

My husband found the listing for the Bent Arrow cabin randomly on craigslist last summer, and we fell in love with Island Pond in Brighton, Vermont.   We recently spent Labor Day weekend here and I am happy to share this special place with you.

Tucked away in the Northeast Kingdom, the Bent Arrow offers waterfront and mountain views and peace and quiet – a nice escape from Boston!  A four-hour drive from our home, the cabin is located off 91N and then another 20 miles north of Burke Mountain.

Once off the highway, we typically stop for pizza and beer at the Trout River Brewery in Lyndonville or The Pub Outback or Willy’s Restaurant, both located in East Burke.  Don’t forget to try a Switchback Ale, only available on tap in Vermont! 

The cabin offers a master bedroom and a smaller bedroom with two twin beds, a gorgeous fireplace for the chilly nights, a screened-in front porch and a large bathroom with a claw foot tub.

Outside, there’s a picnic table where we eat breakfast and lunch and a dock where we tie up our flat-bottom boat.   The folks who own the cabin live next door and generously offer use of their paddleboat, kayaks and canoes.  They have also taken us for a few afternoon cruises on their pontoon boat, which is really fun.  

Outdoor activities include fishing, swimming, biking and boating, and if you enjoy running, Island Pond is 5.5 miles around and offers some pretty views.  Other than that, there’s nothing else to do but relax, read sip some wine and listen to the loons.

In the town of Brighton, there’s a small restaurant The Pond’s Edge but after a few snacks there, we prefer grilling or cooking our own meals.  There are a few shops and a couple grocery stores, as well as two campgrounds, including Brighton State Park, which also offers hiking trails.

On Sunday morning, we hiked two miles to the summit of Bluff Mountain.  We enjoyed the hike up the Community Trail and the as you can see, the view was very rewarding.  

Should you decide to follow the Lookout Trail to descend rather than the Community Trail, remember that the walk is very steep and very rocky.  The husband was fine but the climb down made me nervous. 

We look forward to our next visit to Island Pond.  If you're interested in the Bent Arrow, please leave a comment and I'll contact you. Oh, and did I mention the fabulous sunsets?