Travel

MY SPRING IN NYC BUCKET LIST

Since I shared my Spring Wishlist (along with a disclaimer that I’m shopping quite a bit less these days) I figured I’d also share my Spring Bucket List – aka all the places and experiences – I’m looking forward to this season. And what better day to share than the first day of Spring!

  1. A stroll along South Street Seaport. I love this area but it can get SO crowded in the Summer. The first really nice spring day is great for walking along the water, grabbing tacos at El Luchador and eating on the benches with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge.
  2. Snagging tickets to see the NYC ballet’s rendition of Jane Eyre. I’m always looking for an excuse to go to the ballet (and Adam has zero interest), so when a friend asked me to join her for this Bronte classic I jumped at the chance! Tickets go on sale this weekend.
  3. A glass of rosé on the Met rooftop – this has become on of my favorite spring traditions. Even better when you can see all of the fresh blooms in Central Park from above.
  4. Running a 10k! This was on my list of things to do in 2019 (for now, my half marathon days are on hold while I see how my knees hold up to shorter distances) and Spring would be the perfect time weather-wise to do it.
  5. We may end up staying in the city over Easter weekend and if so – I definitely want to try a new brunch spot. Although Friend of A Farmer and Buvette (two favorites) are still contenders.
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A STAYCATION AT THE MICHELANGELO HOTEL

Two weekend’s ago, Adam and I packed our bags, hopped in a cab and headed 30-some odd blocks uptown to the check into the Michelangelo Hotel for a staycation. An Italian family-owned 4-star hotel (with other locations in Florence, Milan and Rome) it feels like a taste of Italian luxury but smack dab in the middle of New York City. Think, lush velvet couches and grand staircases and decadent marble bathrooms… all while you’re 3 blocks from Times Square and 8 blocks from Central Park.

The funny thing about a staycation just a 20 minute cab ride from where you actually live is that it really does feel like a vacation. It forces you out of the “comfort zone” of the your usual neighborhood and into exploring your city like a tourist. And relationship-wise I think it gets you out of your usual at home routines. Meaning in the evenings instead of zoning out and watching TV, both scrolling on our phones, we went out and taste-tested cocktails at a hidden jazz bar. Another night we watched a movie but did it with a side of room service pizza (the best pepperoni pizza I’ve had in a long time – and I like to think of myself as sort of an expert in this arena), popped prosecco and turned the evening into a date night in. I took luxuriously long bubble baths and Adam indulged in endless in-room espresso. We lingered over leisurely breakfasts in the hotel cafe, flipping through The New York Times and not rushing anywhere. All of it just felt like such a treat.

And if you’re not a New Yorker looking for a staycation – you can’t ask for a better location to be a tourist. While you’ll be in no shortage of things to do in surrounding areas of the hotel, below are a few of our Times Square area tips:

  • Get in line early at the TKTS booth (under the big steps in Times Square) for same day discount tickets to all the biggest Broadway shows.
  • Head to Black Tap for hilariously oversized milkshakes. Honestly this place is kind of worth the hype though because the burgers are solid and even the plain milkshakes are delicious – although Adam recommends going all the way with the Frutti Pebbles shake.
  • Stroll through the start of Central Park. Hit up the Strand Bookstore kiosk (on the South-Eastern corner), swing through the Central Park Zoo to see the sea lions, and circle back for ice skating at Wollman Rink.
  • Duck into The Rum House to escape the tourist crowds and stay for the classic cocktails and live jazz.
  • Visit one of the world class museums just a hop and skip away from the Michelangelo. My favorites are the Met and the MoMa – but the Guggenheim is great too and the Natural History Museum is perfect if you’ve got little ones

A big thank you to the Michelangelo Hotel for hosting us for the weekend – as always all opinions are completely my own.

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A TRAVEL GUIDE TO UPSTATE, NEW YORK

The Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to Upstate New York

This October, Adam and I finally decided to go find out what New Yorkers rave about every Fall: Upstate. The results? We’re hooked. Just a 2 1/2 hour drive from our city stoop you get a much needed escape into nature (hellooo foliage) and small town charm that’s very reminiscent of New England this time of year. Plus, (thankfully) still delicious food and drink. In short, we’ll definitely be back. Below, my greatest hits from the trip and what I already can’t wait to try on our next trip.

GETTING THERE:

Most places in the Hudson Valley are about a 2-3 hour drive from New York City making it the perfect weekend (or mid-week!) escape. We hopped from town to town (Windham, Woodstock, Phoenicia, Saugerties, Germantown and Hudson) throughout our stay and most of them are about a 30 minute drive apart.

The Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to Upstate New York

WHERE TO STAY:

We stayed at Eastwind Hotel & Bar and while it was our first trip upstate, I honestly can’t imagine staying anywhere else. I’ve mentioned before that I like to stay places that feel really unique to the area and with it’s rustic, mountain charm meets cool mid-century design the Eastwind embodied how the Catskills felt to me. The common area boasted a wood-burning fireplace, vintage board games and the quaintest little bar, the property had a wooden sauna, badminton on the lawn and shared fire pit for guests at night and the rooms were swoon-worthy in every corner. We stayed in one of the King rooms, but you can also stay in a tiny A-frame cabin that offers the chance to wake up to mountain views. The whole place is honestly just gorgeous and felt really welcoming. I can’t wait to go back up when it’s all blanketed in snow this winter (ps. they’re even putting in a hot tub soon that’s going to set the whole cozy level over the top).

The Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to Upstate New York The Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to Upstate New York The Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to Upstate New York The Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to Upstate New York

WHAT TO DO:

The joy of escaping the city and surrounding yourself with nature is that you can really just slow down. So if you want to simply sit and play games in front of a fire at the Eastwind with mountain views out the window, you should do just that. But if you want to do some exploring, there’s plenty to keep you entertained.

Go Leaf Peeping – There’s plenty of paths throughout the Catskills that are going to offer sweeping views and great hikes – but if you want to take a little shortcut, Hudson Mountain uses their ski lifts in the off season to take you on a leaf peeping ride straight to the top (runs weekend’s only through mid-October). Or simply take a scenic drive – we loved the Five State Overlook in East Windham.

The Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to Upstate New York

Shop Small – Hudson, Woodstock and Saugerties all have endlessly cute little main streets (although Woodstock’s comes with a predictable amount of tie-dye t-shirt shops). I loved the selection of mid-century housewares at Vintage Modern on Tinker Street in Woodstock.

Saugerties Lighthouse – A short little hike out to this lighthouse for pretty views on the Hudson. Don’t forget to check the tides though, you won’t want to get stuck out there with rising waters.

The Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to Upstate New York

Buy a Book – You all know I love a good independent book shop and when we travel I almost always seek one out so I can pick up a book as a souvenir. There was not one but two great shops on this trip: Spotty Dog in Hudson which is magically both a bar and a bookstore and truly like the place of my dreams. And Inquiring Minds in Saugerties which also has a cute little cafe in the back, areas for reading and a record section.

Visit a Local Farm – We didn’t have time to make any stops but I’ve heard good things about Fishkill or Greig Farms.

The Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to Upstate New York

WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK:

The joy of eating and drinking in Hudson is that many places were started by New Yorkers – meaning the food and drink holds up to our impossibly high standards of deliciousness here in the city. So you get to escape into nature.. but still eat like you’re in the city. Win, win.

Cucina Woodstock – Set in a beautiful old manor house with a sweeping wrap around porch, dinner here feels instantly romantic.

Suarez Family Brewery – Between Hudson and Germantown this small craft beer brewery is a great little stop off with a few beers on tap and plenty of tables for hanging out. Give a pat to the cute shop dog for me if you go, we were fast friends.

Phoenicia Diner – Kind of iconic at this point, it’s basically like if the East Village went upstate. A hipster-haven/old school diner that served up solid food (the potatoes and pancakes were our favorite).

The Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to Upstate New York

Shindig – Great little lunch spot in Woodstock on Tinker Street.

Miss Lucy’s Kitchen – Maybe our favorite meal of the trip this tiny little spot in Saugerties feels like home cooking.. but elevated. Make a reservation or come early – on a Friday night we got lucky and squeezed in as the last seats available.

Fish & Game in Hudson and Gaskins in Germantown were both highly recommended to us by friends and Eastwind Hotel as well and on our next trip I hope to try them both!

Don’t forget to pick up an apple cider (or 6) from one of the many farm stands or mom and pop shops for the car ride home! Until next time!

The Steele Maiden: Travel Guide to Upstate New York

 

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FALL PICNIC ESSENTIALS

The Steele Maiden: Fall Picnic and Road Trip Essentials

As much as I love Summer, some things – like picnics – are just infinitely better in the Fall. You don’t have to battle hot temps melting your food/drink, you can happily sit out all afternoon without breaking a sweat and (most importantly) apple cider donuts can be a main course. Below, everything I’d want in my basket.

P.S. These photos were taken on our trip upstate New York last week and I can’t wait to share a full travel guide with you all. Coming soon!

The Steele Maiden: Fall Picnic and Road Trip Essentials

SHOP THE STORY:

The Steele Maiden: Fall Picnic and Road Trip Essentials

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A DAY TRIP TO MONTAUK

The Steele Maiden: Day Trip to Montauk

Believe it or not (and I’m firmly in the camp of denial), there are only a few weekends of true, pre-Labor Day summer left. How that happened is always a mind boggling question – but if you are anything like me, you intend to soak them up. One of my favorite weekends of the Summer was the one that Adam and I spent road-tripping out to Montauk (at the very end of the Hamptons). Since I never got around to sharing some of our favorite spots from that trip I figured I would do it now – while you still have time to get out there!

SHOP THE STORY:

GETTING THERE:

There are a few ways to get all the way out to the ‘End of the World’ as Montauk is lovingly nicknamed by us New Yorkers – but we chose to drive. It’s our preferred mode of transport (Adam loves to drive in a way that few people I’ve ever met do) and I love the convenience of being able to pack 2 books and 3 pairs of shoes and not worrying about the weight of schlepping them. Win, win. If you don’t have the luxury of a car and don’t want to rent one, there’s the Hampton Jitney bus or the train. Weekend tickets tend to book up so buy ahead and if you’re driving I suggest leaving bright and early. We did so and avoided almost all traffic, making it from Manhattan to Montauk in about 2.5 hours.

WHAT TO DO:

When we plan a day trip we like to make a pretty good plan of attack (there is less of a luxury of ‘wandering’ the way we do on longer trips) so we went straight to the very end of Montauk first and then worked our way inland throughout the day so that by the end, we were already pointed out of town. First up was Montauk Lighthouse in Montauk Point State Park which was a complete gem of a spot. We didn’t bother going up to the lighthouse itself because we were there for the views and the rocky coastline. We ended up having the beach nearly to ourselves and wandered along the rocks in the morning sun. Well worth the $8 parking lot fee.

Later in the day we made a pit stop at Gurney’s Montauk (as I described in this post). It’s a little more of a “scene” than our style (for example: the parking lot was full of fancy, shiny cars and when the young valet kid brought around Adam’s loud af Subaru with no front bumper, grinding the gears because he clearly had no idea how to drive a race car – we both just burst into laughter. Like how did they even let us into this place?! We tipped him nicely for trying his best and left the place in our usual cloud of smoke.) – but if you’re looking for a glam place with a beachside bar to relax and hang with friends this is it. You can rent a cabana to yourselves to gain access to their beachfront without actually staying at the resort.

WHERE TO EAT/DRINK:

The Lobster Roll back on the main road into town is a true, East Coast family-run seafood joint serving up no frills fare and the lobster rolls did not disappoint. Worth the line outside for sure. For dinner/drinks/music the ultimate Montauk scene lives at the Surf Lodge. Regrettably the place was completely booked and we couldn’t get in even to the bar without having had a dinner reservation. Learn from our mistake and book ahead. Our back-up was to head over the Montauk Brewing Company, because it has all of their homegrown beers on tap, obviously, but also because it had a backyard style hang-out area that offered some shade.

Any other favorites in Montauk? I’d love to get back out there in the remaining weeks of Summer or early Fall!

The Steele Maiden: Day Trip to Montauk The Steele Maiden: Day Trip to MontaukThe Steele Maiden: Day Trip to Montauk The Steele Maiden: Day Trip to Montauk The Steele Maiden: Day Trip to Montauk

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Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle. Based in NYC.