Archive for September, 2013

Glens Falls, NY

Posted on: September 16th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Crandall_Park_fountain_Glens_FallsGaining the nickname “Hometown U.S.A” in the 1940s, Glens Falls, New York sits on the Hudson River just east of the Adirondack Park, about an hour outside Albany.  Though far from isolated, Glens Falls is the most urban of its neighbors, Queensbury and Hudson Falls.

Being a halfway point between Fort Edward and Fort William Henry, the area was the site for many skirmishes in the 18th century, during the French and Indian War, and during the Revolutionary War.

The village went through many names, and it was not until 1788 that it began to be called Glens Falls after Colonel Johannes Glen, who appears to have renamed the village after himself.

Glens Falls was incorporated several times to Queensbury in the 19th century, but it officially became an independent town in 1908.

Glens Falls is a fairly quiet town.  Located in the Adirondacks it is a great base for any hiking, cycling or outdoor sports you many enjoy.

During one fine week in September it also becomes home to the Adirondack Balloon Festival.  Don’t miss the fantastic opportunity to take a ride in  hot air balloon and get a gorgeous view of the Adirondacks unlike one you’ll fine anywhere else.

To reach Glens Falls by air, you can fly into Albany Interational Airport and rent a car, or fly into Floyd Bennet Memorial Airport in Queensbury.  It can also be reached by rail via Fort Edward on the Adirondack or the Ethan Allen Express.

Relax in Newport

Posted on: September 13th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

1280px-Newport_sailing_2009bBeginning in the mid 19th century wealthy families from all over the country chose Newport as the premiere summer destination for leisure and relaxation, flocking to build elaborate summer cottages that now dot the coast line.

Today Newport remains an exciting place to come and visit.  It’s filled with lots of exciting things to see and do.  From touring its Gilded Age mansions to exploring its rich history dating back to the Revolutionary War and beyond, or enjoying a glass of wine from one of the surrounding wineries or just taking a walk down Thames Street and enjoying the local atmosphere.

While walking down Thames Street you’ll notice lots of great places to eat.  Newport’s amazing restaurants certainly aren’t limited to the downtown/waterfront area though.  Whether you’re searching for a cozy pub, an easy going cafe, or sophisticated fine dining with local seafood, you will find it in Newport.  Many restaurants offer gorgeous views of Newport Harbor, or great opportunities for people watching on Thames Street.

Newport’s list of places to stay is just as diverse as its list of restaurants.  Stay in chic modern boutique hotels overlooking the bay, or stay in Gilded Age mansions, some of which were owned by the Vanderbilts, known for building especially fine and grand mansions, others which are situated directly on Newport’s famous Cliff Walk and offer unforgettable views.

Newport is a beautiful spot to vacation and its serene seaside, seaside city that offers relaxation and leisure at its best.



Places to Stay in Newport

Posted on: September 12th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Newport_Rhode_Island_USANewport has a wonderful selection of places to stay.  Whether you’re looking to get a taste of Gilded Age luxury by staying in a mansion with a view, or you’re hoping for something a bit more modern and centrally located, Newport will have it.

Bouchard Inn – Located in downtown Newport, this inn offers the best of a bed and breakfast and a hotel combined.  Enjoy a private entrance to your room, a private bath, and a complimentary gourmet breakfast prepared  by Chef Bouchard and delivered to your room every morning.  Bouchard Inn is within easy walking distance of many Newport attractions.

The Vanderbilt Grace – Experience the ultimate in luxury when staying at the Vanderbilt Grace.  One of the few former private mansions of the gilded age to now operate as a hotel, this mansion, once called Vanderbilt Hall, was built by Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt.  Stay here and get a taste of what it was like to live a life of leisure and elegance as the Vanderbilts did.

The Chanler at Cliff Walk – Built in 1870 by Congressman John Winthrop Chanler, “Cliff Lawn” is another former private summer cottage now operating as a hotel.  A member of Preferred Boutique, and Historic Hotels of America, The Chanler at Cliff Walk offers a look into the past at Newport’s Golden Age.  This is the only hotel located on Newport’s famous Cliff Walk.  Take in fabulous views as you relax in luxury or eat on the terrace at the Spiced Pear Restaurant.

The Attwater – This chic, stylish, hotel is centrally located to the waterfront and downtown Newport.  While upscale and modern, it remains comfortable and welcoming, and the staff are more than helpful.

Castle Hill Inn – Sitting on 40 acres comprised of lawn, beach, cove, the Castle Hill Inn provides a unique hotel experience.  Explore the lighthouse, the marina, or the mansion, or stay in one of the beach side cottages and enjoy a private beach.

Places to Eat in Newport

Posted on: September 11th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Newport offers every culinary experience that you could be hoping for.  Whether you’re looking to linger over a divinely cooked couture dish or people watch while you sip your coffee and enjoy a scone, you’ll find a place to suit your needs in Newport.

Restaurant Bouchard – Chef Bouchard was accepted into Le Cordon Blue at the young age of 15, but decided instead to study at Paul Smith’s College.  After many years of hard word, he was able to open his own restaurant, which for the past 20 years has been serving, quality, artfully prepared food, all prepared on site.  Restaurant Bouchard is recognized in Frommers and Fodors as a must stop in Newport.

Rosemary and Thyme Cafe –  This European style bakery is family owned.  Their seasonal is made from scratch wherever possible.  Enjoy their breads, pastries, sandwiches, and soups.

Corner Cafe – Popular with locals and tourists alike, the Corner Cafe offers standard American fare.  If you’re looking for breakfast in Newport, this is the place to stop!

Brick Alley Pub – If you’re looking for a cozy place to enjoy a great steak, fresh local seafood, or just a good drink then the Brick Alley Pub is the place for you.   Located in downtown Newport on Thames St, Brick Alley Pub is where all the action is.

Muse by Jonathan Cartwright – Offering the best that local ingredients and cuisine of Newport County has to offer, Muse by Jonathan Cartwright aspires to be Newport’s premier fine dining establishment.  Chef Cartwright uses local ingredients to prepare seasonal menus that include New England favorites like clam chowder, smoked lobster, and smoked pheasant breast.

Tallulah on Thames – Taking a modern approach to cuisine, Tallulah uses ingredients from local farms and artisans to create works of art on your plate.

Mamma Luisa Ristorante – Open for 20 years, Mamma Luisa provides a delicious home cooked Italian mean in a cozy, warm environment.  They’re a favorite among locals and tourists.

The Mooring – Located at Newport’s waterfront, The Mooring has been providing its guests with delicious, local, fresh seafood for the last 25 years.  Enjoy gorgeous views of the bay from any seat in the house as you enjoy your meal.

Things to Do in Newport

Posted on: September 10th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Marble_House,_Newport,_Rhode_IslandThe list of things to do in Newport is endless.  There are countless historic buildings and homes to tour, plenty of museums, great shopping, and of course, great beaches.

If wine or beer are on your list of interests think about touring some of the local wineries, breweries, and distilleries.

To take in all the spectacular views that Newport has to offer, take a ten mile drive along the coast.  Alternatively, take a walk along the cliffs .

Take a walk down Thames Street and take in all the local culture.  Thames Street is lined with great shops, restaurants, and bars.  It’s also a great place for people watching or just to get a feel for the town.

Ballard Park offers great hiking, and picturesque views.  Enjoy a day out in nature or an afternoon picnic at this beautiful park.

The Naval War College Museum is a great place to go learn about American maritime history.  Located at the original site of the Naval War College, founded in 1884, the museum has an interesting and diverse exploring the history of naval warfare, and the relationship between the U.S Navy and Newport.

The National Museum of American Illustration  is also a wonderful place to spend the day.  Vernon Court, a Gilded Age mansion built in 1898, houses this astounding collection which includes works from Norman Rockwell, Howard Pyle, Jessie Willcox Smith, and many others.

Sporting enthusiasts will enjoy the Museum of Yachting and the International Tennis Hall of Fame.  At the Museum of Yachting learn about the history of the sport through informative informative lectures and exhibits.  At the Tennis Hall of Fame learn about the history of tennis and about the most important people and moments in the history of tennis.

Newport is home to years of history.  That include’s being home to America’s oldest synagogue. Touro Synagogue was built in 1763 and is the only synagogue in the U.S from the Colonial period.

Many of Newport’s Gilded Age mansions are open to the public and available to tour.  This includes, perhaps its most famous mansion, The Breakers.  Built by the Vanderbilts, the Breakers is the most grand “cottage” of the summer cottages in Newport.  Marble House is another Vanderbilt home in Newport.  It is modeled after the Petit Trianon at Versailles.  It features a Chinese Tea House on the cliffs where Mrs. Vanderbilt hosted rallies for women’s suffrage.

There are many other mansions including The ElmsRough Point, and Rosecliff.  Each have interesting and unique histories, being built by heiresses, or tycoons and some, like Rosecliff, were even featured in several films.




Unwind in Newport, RI

Posted on: September 9th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Just 75 miles out of Boston, nicknamed the “city by the sea”, is the charming coastal town of Newport, Rhode Island.  Its picturesque scenery, beautiful architecture, and lively downtown make for a great getaway.

The city was founded in 1639 by a group of settlers who had recently been expelled from Massachusetts for their heretical beliefs and another group who had had a falling out with Anne Hutchinson and her followers, who settled the other side of the island.  Though the political tensions between these groups made the early years of Newport somewhat tumultuous, it grew to be one of the most important trade ports in Colonial America, rivaling Boston and New York.

In 1663 Rhode Island received its Royal Charter, providing official recognition of Rhode Island as a colony.  It was in Newport that the first governor, Benedict Arnold, was elected.

RochambeauDuring the American Revolution, Newport was taken over by the British to be used as a naval base to attack New York. They occupied the city from 1776 – 79.

Beginning in 1778, the Americans began the “Battle of Rhode Island” in conjunction with allies from France.  American forces based in Tiverton planned a siege on Newport.  However, the French refused to take part because they wanted a frontal assault.  This compromised the plan and the British were able to remove the Americans from Rhode Island.  In 1779 the British abandoned Newport in favor of New York.

Beginning in 1780, Newport served as the base for French Lieutenant General Rochambeau.  Though Rochambeau left the following year for Providence, Newport would serve as a base for French forces for the rest of the war.  Today a monument to Rochambeau stands in Kings Park, honoring his assistance in the war.

During the Industrial Revolution, at the dawn of the Gilded Age, wealth entrepreneurs and robber barons were drawn to Newport’s seaside tranquility.  It became a haven for socialites and the wealthiest families, including the Vanderbilts and the Astors.  They built summer “cottages” (actually elaborate, gilded mansions) in which to spend the summer.

Edith Wharton described the social scene in her novel The Age of Innocence, likely written in her own Newport “cottage”, Land’s End.

It was during this period that Newport gained its association with yachting and sailing.  In 1851, in a race around the Isle of White, a schooner called America defeated a British boat.  The trophy has since been known as America’s Cup.  The New York Yacht Club (who have an outpost in Newport) kept it in their possession from that time until 1983, when it was won by Australia II. It was regained, but lost again in 1995, to a New Zealand crew.  Despite the losses, Newport has strong ties with sailing, yachting, and long distance racing.

In later years Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy both had “Summer White Houses” in Newport.   During the 50s, 60s, and 70s, it was home to a Naval base.  Today it is home to the Naval War College.

Though Newport sustains the image of being the home of the ultra elite, it’s a great place for anyone to come relax.  Spend the afternoon on the water on unwinding on the beach.  Go wine tasting, or tour the mansions that were once the playgrounds of America’s most elite families.  Spend the day exploring Newport’s rich history and its part in American history.

Newport is an easy drive from Boston or New York City.  It’s also easily accessed by Providence Airport.


Get Away To Great Neck, NY

Posted on: September 6th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments


Great Neck is an excellent place to go to escape the city and relax, especially because its so close to Manhattan.  You can get there in no time!

Despite its proximity to the city, Great Neck and the surrounding area is a tranquil getaway that will allow you to relax and unwind from busy city life.  Stroll the streets and browse the antique shops and galleries.

Take a trip back to the 1920’s and see the area that inspired the Great Gatsby.  Once called the Gold Coast, Long Island’s North Shore was home to many of New York’s wealthiest residents.   Though many of those residents no longer remain, their opulent, ostentatious homes still do and they are open to the public.  Taking a tour of a few of these homes, some of which have become museums, or headquarters for land preserves, is only one of the great things that you can do in Great Neck.

When you’ve finished your tours of all the homes that can help you hearken back to Gatsby’s time, come have a bite to eat at one of Great Neck’s stellar restaurants.  Get everything your heart desires from Greek to kosher Persian, to standard American fare.

If you don’t fancy staying in New York City, Great Neck can offer you everything you need, including a quick commute, without the muss and fuss of staying within the city.  Great Neck and the surrounding area have several great hotels which can see to your needs and make sure your stay is everything you want it to be.

Great Neck is an excellent place to come to relax and get away from the city.  Stay for a while and enjoy a slower pace of life or come for a day and check out everything it has to offer.

Places to Stay in Great Neck

Posted on: September 5th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Oheka_Castle_0818bGreat Neck and the surrounding area hotels offer everything that upscale and luxury New York hotels offer, but with the added benefit of being outside the city.

The Andrew Hotel – This boutique hotel is just minutes from all the shopping and restaurants that Great Neck has to offer and just a block from the Long Island Railroad.  Guests are made to feel as comfortable as possible at this Long Island getaway.

Inn at Great Neck – A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the Inn at Great Neck aims to live up to the memory of Long Island’s Gold Coast by providing luxury, elegance, and sophistication to its guests.  Located within walking distance of great shops, restaurants and galleries, and just minutes from train stations and bus stations the Inn at Great Neck is the perfect place for your stay at Great Neck.

Baxter’s Homestead – This B&B located in Port Washington is central to many tourist locations such as the Nassau County Museum of Art.  Enjoy a complimentary breakfast with your stay.

The Roslyn Hotel – Located outside Great Neck in nearby Roslyn, the Roslyn Hotel provides an intimate experience to its guests by delivering unbeatable service in a simple, elegant setting.

Oheka Castle – Though somewhat outside the Great Neck area, this castle is said to be one of the buildings that inspired The Great Gatsby house.  During the 20’s it was host to lavish parties where Hollywood’s elite, politicians, and even royalty came to let their hair down. Stay here and get a taste of that luxury for yourself.

Places to Eat in Great Neck

Posted on: September 4th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Don’t let its tranquil suburban location fool you.  Great Neck is home to some really delicious food of all kinds of cuisines ranging from traditional to contemporary. Colbeh – Delicious Persian food, served in a Kosher kitchen! Gino’s Pizza – Still going strong after 30 years, this family owned business aims to serve the community with the freshest, highest quality ingredients available.  They are both your favorite neighborhood pizzeria, with their casual dining downstairs, and your favorite Italian restaurant, with their full menu available upstairs. Laverne of Great Neck – This Great Neck novelty offers Japenese, French Fusion and Thai cuisine.  Their menu offers a variety of well thought out choices all of which are delicious. Ethos – Offering wonderfully prepared Greek food, this restaurant uses fresh ingredients to bring you artfully prepared Greek food with a twist. Kensington Kosher Delicatessen  – Operating for over 30 years, this local gem offers the best corned beef in the area! With delicious hot dogs, fries made to order, and friendly service, it’s everyone’s favorite neighborhood deli. Elaine’s Bistro and Grill – Taking an eclectic approach to Asian cuisine, Elaine’s offers a variety of cuisines including Chinese, Thai, and Japanese all with an American twist. Peter Luger Steak House –  Operating since 1887, Peter Luger Steak House aims to serve only the finest steaks available.  The perfect steak is only one part of what makes dining at Peter Luger’s so great. From the bread basket before your meal to the sides of creamed spinach or German potatoes, to dessert, everything will be meticulously prepared to create the perfect dining experience. Lola – This Zagat rated restaurant offers contemporary American cuisine.  Enjoy peking duck slides, or miso cod lettuce wraps and enjoy a beautifully prepared meal with deliciously presented flavors.

Things to Do in Great Neck

Posted on: September 3rd, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Long_Island_North_ShoreWith its close proximity to the city, Great Neck makes a fantastic day trip from New York.  Just hop on the train at Penn Station and you’re there in no time!

Great Neck, part of the Gold Coast, is of course known for its opulence and obscene wealth made immortal in The Great Gatsby. There are many mansions here which claim to be the mansion from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous book, but we’ll never know which one it really was for sure.  However, many of them are open to the public and you’re free to visit and speculate.

The Nassau County Art Museum is one such mansion and it is also one of the nation’s largest suburban art museums.   Sitting on the 145 acre former Frick Estate, it boasts one of the largest sculpture gardens that in Northeast that is accessible to the public with upwards of 40 sculptures.  The museum also has a beautiful formal garden of some historical importance.  Walk through the garden on some of the guided nature trails.

The Vanderbilt Mansion Museum and Planetarium is another estate worth visiting.  Tour the mansion, built from 1910 to 1936, see the museum which includes a marine museum, and several natural history habitats or see a show in the planetarium.

Sands Point Preserve was once a grand estate but in the 1940s it was turned over to the U.S Navy when extensive changes were made to the house to bring it up to military code.  Most of those changes have since been removed and the house is now operated by Nassau County Department of Parks, Recreation and Museums.  Though it is not furnished, it takes little imagination to see how grand the house must have been in its heyday.  It is surrounded by 216 acres of forests, meadows and beaches.  Follow along on one of the 6 nature trails.

The Planting Fields Arboretum State Park  is the former estate of William Roberston Coe and Mai Rogers Coe.  It sits on its original 409 acres, and retains its formal gardens and original buildings.  Coe Hall, a Tudor Revival mansion, now displays many items which formerly belonged to the Coe family.

Kings Point Park is a 175 acre park in the heart of Great Neck.  With 5 miles of paths, it’s a great place to go for a walk or a run.  It’s also a fantastic place to go for a picnic, with over 25 picnic areas complete with tables and grills.

If you have an interested in local history, pay a visit to the Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society in Port Washington.  See local artifacts from toys, clothes, and tools used in the daily lives of people who lived in Port Washington in the past and learn about what life used to be like.  They operate the Sands-Willets House, built circa 1735, which is a typical 18th century Long Island farm house and is one of the few buildings of its kind still intact on the island.  They also operate the  Thomas Dodge Homestead, which may be the oldest house in the Port Washington area and dates back to the early 18th century.