All posts filed under: Weekend Unexplored

Weekend Unexplored: Bakewell, England

As a weekend excursion from London, I traveled with my family to Bakewell, a small town in Derbyshire in the heart of Peak District National Park.  It was their first trip to the United Kingdom, and my parents were eager to see the countryside of this region as well as the grand estate of Chatsworth House, the setting of Pemberly in Joe Wright’s 2005 film adaptation, Pride and Prejudice (also my mother’s favorite Jane Austen novel).      Getting there: We took to our destination by public transportation, setting off at London’s St. Pancras to catch the East Midlands train to Chesterfield.  From there, a 12 minute walk through town brought us to the 170 Hulleys of Baslow bus stop to Rutland Square in Bakewell.  In total, the trip from London took about four hours.   Where to stay: Although tired, we were met with warm hospitality by our Bed and Breakfast hosts, John and Marie, of Melbourne House. The rate for a double room is 70 GBP/night. A short distance from the town’s center, the …

Weekend Unexplored: Gatsby Afternoon

Held annually on the second Sunday of September, the Gatsby Afternoon picnic attracts hundreds of American 1920 and 1930 enthusiasts to the Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate in Oakland, California.  From approximately 1 pm until 5 pm, revelers can immerse themselves back to the time of flapper dresses, the foxtrot, and fashionable hats.  New York may have its own version of this event on Governors Island but it pales in comparison to the event hosted by the Art Deco Society of California and its East Bay residents. All guests must be in vintage-style attire.  It’s required, meaning there are no spectators.  Only participants are allowed on the grounds.  Maintaining the vintage atmosphere is indeed enforced:  no jeans, shorts, sneakers, polo/tee-shirts, baseball hats, pantsuits.  If an attendee arrives without appropriate attire, he or she is directed to the Costume Closet, a vintage rental/sale station on-site.   I arrived early before the gates opened to grab one of the front spots in line at the entrance.  Wearing a printed vintage style dress, I dressed it up with white …

Weekend Unexplored: Lake Garda Area (Lazise, Italy)

I was lucky enough discover this beautiful lake resort during my trip to Verona earlier this year.  Lake Garda is a pristine, beautiful lake overlooking the majestic snowcapped mountains in the back.  The view is breathtaking and the best part is that Lake Garda is a local tourist destination and is still relatively unknown.  It’s best to go in April to May time when tourist season has not officially kicked off. Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy. Located in northern Italy, the lake is about half-way between Brescia and Verona, and between Venice and Milan.  The drive from the airport to Lake Garda provides a picturesque view of orchids and wineries along the way. Notable Hotel Hotel Corte Valier Hotel Corte Valier (Via della Pergolana 9, 37017 Lazise (VR) Italy, Tel: +39 045.6471210, www.cortevalier.com) I was lucky enough to stay at Hotel Corte Valier for several nights.  This four star luxury spa hotel is conveniently located right on the lakefront. The hotel has 84 lake view rooms equipped with luxury amenities.  The Dome restaurant offers a …

Weekend Unexplored: Verona, Italy

My first encounter with Verona is through reading Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.  When I read the famous play, I often imagined what Verona would look like during that time.  I had my answer when Hollywood decided to film the 2013 version in actual Verona, Italy and the surrounding areas. Earlier this year, I traveled to Verona for a few days and finally understood the charm and the seduction of this city in northern Italy. Verona is a small renaissance city and will take only the weekend to see it all.  The city is best to explore on foot as there are many old alleyways, town squares and bridges to see.  There are numerous  historical sites to visit, places to shops and restaurants to try. Here is La Vie Partagee’s list of must do’s. SIGHTSEEING 1) Walk around the perimeter of the city along the river and explore the castle and monuments lining the walk path. 2) Take the elevator all the way up to the tower at Torre Dei Lamberti (Via della Costa, 1, 37121 Verona) to …

The Original Food Market: The Essex Street Market (NYC)

Even though I have lived in NYC for a long time, I have never ventured into this particular market until one Sunday afternoon.  My friend lives in Manhattan’s Lower East Side for a long time and decided today’s field trip would be a great way to see what the original NYC food market is like before it moves into a new sparkling location across the street.  Essex Street Market opened in 1940 and has survived through tumultuous years before the revitalization of lower Manhattan.  With new residents moving into the area, the market is infused with a renewed vitality and offers a range of culinary products and interesting food stalls.  This market is run by New York City so it is not advertised as much as the newer and more upscale private markets. At first, the market did not look like much to me as compared to the newer ones popping up all over the city.  As I ventured through the maze of stalls, I found myself in markets similar to the ones in Europe. …

Weekend Unexplored: Boston’s Freedom Trail Through the Eyes of Bostonians

The Freedom Trail is a unique experience in Boston that is a must do!  The trail was created 60 years ago and marks the 16 sites that are fundamental to our understanding of the revolutionary war and creation of the Republic.  The trail is identified with a red brick path along the road and is easy to follow. I have done this trail several times in my life.  This time around, I took my dog and invited my college friend and his dog to re-explore the trail.  We hope to provide insights on which sites to visit and which detours to consider along the trail. The trail is best done early in the morning before the throngs of visitors descend upon the sites. TIP! There is a free downloadable brochure that you can save on your phone.  There is an explanation for each site so no need to actually pay for a “tour”. 1) START at Boston Common (139 Tremont Street) The Freedom Trail starts at the Guest Information Center in Boston Common.  Boston Common is America’s oldest …

Weekend Unexplored: Kayaking on Tomales Bay

North of San Francisco, Tomales Bay is a destination that I’ve driven to a handful times when guests have come to visit.  The main purpose of these trips is to eat oysters by the shore.  After claiming a picnic table at Hog Island Oyster Company or Tomales Bay Oyster Company, one can order various sizes of Pacifics to shuck and enjoy raw or cooked over one of the open grills.  The staff sells oyster knives and shucking gloves for use.  And if asked, they will even show a novice how to shuck her very first oyster. In my mind, I always equated Tomales Bay with weekend picnics, warm sunny days, and of course, oysters.  Thus, when a friend asked me to go to Tomales Bay for kayaking after sundown, I was not sure what to expect.  Kayaking has become a popular recreational activity on the bay.  According to the National Park Service, Tomales Bay is the “largest, unspoiled coastal embayment on the coast of California.” Most of the kayaking trips that I have found in …

Weekend Unexplored: Martha’s Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard is a day trip away from Boston and has been on our list of places to explore.  We never seem to find the time to take the trip.  There have been the usual excuses that the traffic to the Cape is insane to brave the crowds on the island for a 1 day trip is too short to justify the long round trip, etc.  Finally, on a beautiful Saturday in June, my husband and I decided it was now or never and went for it. Martha’s Vineyard is a beautiful pristine island off the coast of Cape Cod.  The white houses with shutters and colorful hydrangeas lining the street look exactly like the images in the magazines and movies (probably because these are the houses they filmed!).  The island is dotted with sandy beaches along the coastline and serene vistas. Martha’s Vineyard has different areas to explore: Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, Chappaquiddick, Katama, Chilmark, Aquinnah, and Menemsha.  You can drive around the entire island in one day! GETTING TO MARTHA’S VINEYARD: There …

Weekend Unexplored: 72 hours in San Diego, CA

I have not been to San Diego (La Jolla to be exact) since I was 13 years old when my family and I visited distant cousins. The trip was memorable because it was the first time I fell in love with California. I vowed one day that I’d move to the best coast and be in warm sunshine all year round. Fast forward a couple decades, I ended up in San Francisco with no real summers (or winters) so I’d say I’m at least headed in the right direction. I frequent LA often but never quite make it down to San Diego so when a good friend of mine from the East Coast was looking to have a getaway, I agreed to visit San Diego with my friend. San Diego has a lot to offer. It has a mix of old and new world charm. DAY 1 11:00 AM We arrived in sunny San Diego and made the 15 minute drive to downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter to check into our hotel. The Gaslamp Quarter …

Weekend Unexplored: Backpacking through Yosemite

Wanting to explore Yosemite National Park without the crowds, some friends and I decided to do a 3-day hike with The Wildland Trekking Company along the less traversed trails of the Valley.  None of us were experienced backpackers and owned little to none of the camping gear necessary for the trip.  Booking a backpacking trip with Wildland provided us with an experienced, thoughtful guide, and all of the gear necessary to make for a stress-free journey through arguably California’s most beautiful state park. The most important factor of enjoying the trip was the physical stamina to carry all of the necessary weight.  Each of our packs would have to fit a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, tent, rain gear, toiletries, and bear canisters storing food.  Knowing that I would have to carry a 30Ib. pack over the course of three days, I trained a month before–climbing up and down stairs with weights and doing day hikes with a 15-20 Ib. pack.  I quickly learned that my backpack and trekking poles were the best assets I had …